Anglers on Mille Lacs will be allowed to keep more walleyes under a less restrictive slot limit announced Thursday by the DNR.
When the season opens May 15, anglers will be allowed to keep four walleyes up to 20 inches. The four-fish limit also can include one walleye over 28 inches. All walleyes from 20 to 28 inches must be released.
Starting July 15, anglers will be allowed to keep walleyes up to 22 inches and one over 28 inches in the four-fish limit. All walleyes from 22 to 28 inches must be released. The slot will revert to four walleyes up to 20 inches and one over 28 inches on Dec. 1.
"This regulation will allow anglers to harvest more fish this year," said John Guenther, DNR director of fish and wildlife. "We'll get closer to the 380,000 pounds of walleye allotted to the state."
Eight tribal bands in Minnesota and Wisconsin will have a harvest quota of 100,000 pounds.
"The majority of our spawning stock biomass -- large, mature fish -- remains protected under this regulation," said Ron Payer, DNR fisheries chief.
The large number of walleyes hatched in 2002, which will reach 10 to 13 inches this year, will not be harmed under the new regulations, Payer said.
"If an angler deep hooks a 10- to 13-inch fish, this regulation allows him to take that fish home and fry it up," Payer said. "But we encourage anglers to release the smaller fish that are likely to survive."
Last year anglers harvested 67,000 pounds of walleyes through a 17- to 28-inch protected slot. The state's allocation was 400,000 pounds.
This year's regulation is similar to regulations on Rainy, Big Sand and Winnibigoshish lakes.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.