Anglers who fish Mille Lacs Lake during the 2012 season will be able to keep walleye less than 17 inches in length, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This is a change from last year's regulation that allowed keeping of walleye less than 18 inches.
The 17- to 28-inch protected slot regulation is designed to keep the walleye harvest by state licensed anglers within the state's allocation of safe harvest. One walleye 28 inches or longer may be included in the four-fish limit. The walleye season is scheduled to open Saturday, May 12.
"We expect anglers to do very well at Mille Lacs," said Dirk Peterson, DNR Fisheries Section chief. "The winter bite was good. The open water bite should be very good, too." He said the new regulation on Mille Lacs is identical to that of Rainy Lake and similar to regulations on several other large walleye lakes.
Mille Lacs Lake is being managed this year for a safe walleye harvest level of 500,000 pounds. The state angler allocation is 357,500 pounds. The tribal allocation is 142,500 pounds. The DNR met with the citizen-comprised Mille Lacs Fishery Input Group twice this past winter to discuss fishing issues.
Peterson reminds anglers that Mille Lacs also offers outstanding muskellunge and smallmouth bass fishing. The muskellunge season opens June 2. The smallmouth bass season on Mille Lacs opens May 26.