Mille Lacs faces 3rd catch-and-release-only walleye season 20 Mar 18

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Anglers and resort owners on Mille Lacs Lake face a third consecutive catch-and-release-only season for walleyes.

The Department of Natural Resources said Monday that maintaining the restriction for the open-water season that opens May 12 will let it keep the popular lake open to walleye fishing all year, instead of closing it midway as it did last summer.

The Mille Lacs walleye population has undergone a long-term decline that has coincided with significant changes in the lake, including more invasive species and declines in forage species.

But DNR Fisheries Chief Don Pereira says the lake’s walleye spawning stock has increased significantly, and it can support more walleye fishing in 2018 as long as a catch-and-release rule is in place.

The DNR allowed ice anglers to keep some walleyes this winter.