DNR and tribes agree to allow Mille Lacs walleye ice fishing

An agreement between the DNR and tribal biologists means there will be an ice fishing season this winter on Mille Lacs.

That’s a relief for anglers and businesses in the area after the summer fishing season was closed early when the walleye quota was exceeded in August.

The DNR and tribal biologists have agreed on the ice fishing season limit of 5,000 pounds of walleye. Last year, they said, the winter walleye harvest was 3,100 pounds.

New data, they said, shows “pounds of spawning-age walleye and numbers of walleye from the 2013 year class were above established benchmarks.”

State Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, said:

“This decision is a relief for hundreds of businesses around Mille Lacs. Ice fishing is a key to bringing tourists to our area in the winter, and I’m grateful that this year’s allowed harvest will be even higher which might help offset some of the decline in revenue due to the early close of the walleye harvest this year.” 

Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief, said:

“This decision allows anglers and businesses to look forward to some harvest opportunity during the upcoming winter angling season that begins Dec. 1.”

He said a final details on the limits will come next week, after another meeting of the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee. Officials will monitor the data and in January assess whether the harvest level has to be adjusted for the rest of the winter.

And in late winter, the committee will determine a harvest level for the coming year.

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