First, the bad news.
The DNR on Tuesday announced that anglers on Lake Mille Lacs this coming fishing season will be able to keep four walleye up to 18 inches in length and that the bag limit of four may include one of more than 28 inches. That means a protected slot of 18 to 28 inches.
And the not-so-bad news.
While anglers on the lake could keep walleye up to 20 inches - and one over 28 inches - last year, this year's slot isn't as tight as some had feared.
And finally, the good news.
According to Rick Bruesewitz, Aitkin area DNR fisheries supervisor and biologist, there's a good chance the limit won't change, say, midseason, which some have feared it could after the state and Ojibwe Indian tribe recently set a lighter allowable walleye harvest for 2008.
"One of the biggest objectives was picking a regulation that works in the long run, not just year-to-year," Bruesewitz said. "This has a possibility of working."
In late January, the state and Ojibwe Indian tribe agreed to cut the allowable walleye harvest by 142,500 pounds - from 450,000 pounds to 307,500 pounds. That had those with a stake in Mille Lacs walleye fishing bracing for the worst.
"The regulation was set based on what can be taken this upcoming season and the fact that we're in a Condition 3 situation here and can't go over (the allowable harvest) and that we don't want to make a midseason change," Bruesewitz said. "If you look at the grand scheme of things, it's not as different as other major lakes."
The regulation begins May 10. It was set by the DNR following input from Mille Lacs area resorts, anglers and others with an interest in Mille Lacs walleye fishing.
BRIAN S. PETERSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5864.
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