Dayton to hold town hall meeting to discuss Mille Lacs walleye issues

Gov. Mark Dayton will hold a public meeting near Mille Lacs Friday morning to discuss the walleye situation on the popular fishing lake, and how the state might assist affect resorts and businesses.

The meeting is at 11:45 a.m. at Isle High School.

The DNR plans to close the walleye season on the lake, possibly next week, to protect the dwindling population as part of a long-term stabilization plan. Already, anglers can only keep one fish and it must be within narrow size guidelines.

The governor and legislative leaders have discussed a special session of the Legislature to provide aid to the affected businesses in the area; possible assistance includes low-interest loans and property tax abatements.

Mille Lacs area residents expressed deep concerns about closing the season early during a meeting last week with state officials, said the Mille Lacs County Times.

Many said the state isn’t helping enough, and had asked for Dayton to come see it in person. 

The paper said the current management agreement calls for anglers and tribal fishermen to share 40,000 pounds of walleye from the lake, with anglers taking 28,600 pounds and the Indian bands harvesting 11,400 pounds. Ten years ago the shared limit was 600,000 pounds of walleye.

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