The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is allowing anglers to harvest just one walleye each this upcoming season on Lake Mille Lacs. The DNR says the historically-strict regulations are needed to sustain a healthy walleye population in a lake that has been a go-to location for anglers due to its abundance of large fish.
The DNR said over the years, a combination of environmental factors like changing habitat and more invasive species are factors regarding the decline of the walleye population. In the past decade, the number of walleye you can take home has dropped from 4 to 2, and now to 1.This season's target harvest has been cut from 60,000 pounds to 40,000 pounds.
One walleye rule
Mille Lacs Lake anglers can keep one walleye that's 19 to 21 inches long, or one walleye over 28 inches. Last season, anglers could keep two smaller walleye or one over 28 inches.
Night fishing ban
The DNR also extended the night fishing ban, which will take effect the Monday after the May 9 opener, and run until Dec. 1.
'Why would we come for one fish?'
For the past twenty years, Linda Eno has owned Twin Pines Resort through the good times and bad times. Eno said the walleye limit has already prompted a group to cancel a summer outing. They said, according to Eno, "Why would we come for one fish?"
However, Eno said it still too early to tell if this will hurt her business. She remains cautiously optimistic.
"We are looking forward to some great bass fishing, and maybe even some northern trips, but it doesn't substitute for the Minnesota tradition of fishing for walleye," she said.