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DNR to have national fisheries experts review Mille Lacs walleye management

The blue-ribbon panel will review the lake’s management practices with the goal of getting its walleye fishing back on track.

In an effort to get walleye fishing in Mille Lacs Lake back on track, Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources will bring a group of experts to bear on the problem.

Considered one of the premier walleye fishing lakes in the region, officials have had to put narrow limits on the size and number of walleye taken from the lake.

Last season, the rules required anglers on the 132,000-acre lake to release immediately all walleye less than 18 inches or greater than 20 inches, except one over 28 inches may be harvested. “Possession limit is 2, with only one over 28.”

The strict slot limits have been frustrating for anglers.

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The panel of national fisheries experts will “review past and current management practices as part of a new effort to increase the legendary lake’s walleye population as quickly as possible with minimal impact to the local community,” state officials said.

Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief said: “We want the lake back on track. This is one strategy to do that.”

Panel members are:

  • Drs. Jim Bence and Travis Brenden, Quantitative Fisheries Center at Michigan State University;
  • Dr. Paul Venturelli, University of Minnesota;
  • Dr. Nigel Lester, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the University of Toronto;
  • Dr. Lars Rudstam, Cornell University and Oneida Lake Field Station.

The lake, according to the DNR “continues to have adequate walleye spawning stock and more than enough egg production and fry to repopulate the lake. The DNR said the lake “hasn’t produced a strong year-class of walleye since 2008.”

The agency said the walleye population has been in decline for a number of years, largely because the vast majority of walleye that hatch do not survive to their second autumn in the lake.