The DNR announced fishing regulation changes for seven lakes in the 1837 Treaty ceded territory.
The changes will include minimum size limits and slot limits and will reduce the sport fishing walleye harvest on lakes where Chippewa Indians will exercise tribal fishing rights during the 2000 fishing season. The DNR's regulations aim to ensure the long-term health of the walleye populations.
The affected lakes and their regulations are:
A 16-inch minimum size limit on North Big Pine Lake, Aitkin and Pine counties, South Big Pine Lake, Aitkin County and Ann Lake, Kanabec County.
A 17-inch minimum size limit on Goose Lake and Green Lake in Chisago County.
A 20- to 23-inch protected slot on Borden Lake in Crow Wing County. All walleyes measuring 20-23 inches must be immediately returned to the water.
A 18- to 24-inch protected slot on Little Elk Lake, Sherburne County. All walleyes measuring 18-24 inches must be immediately returned to the water.
On Lake Mille Lacs anglers are allowed to keep walleyes measuring 14-18 inches plus one trophy walleye larger than 28 inches. The protective slot limit on northern pike will continue on Mille Lacs and Lake Ogechie. It requires all pike measuring 26-36 inches to be immediately returned to the water.
"It's important to keep tribal harvest in perspective," said Tim Goeman, DNR regional fisheries manager. "During the past two years the bands' walleye harvest from lakes other than Mille Lacs has been as low as zero fish to as high as 150 fish. Many people are unaware that even when bands declare the maximum harvest level, that represents only 12 percent of the total weight of catchable walleyes in the lake, meaning the remainder is available for sport fishing harvest and spawning stock for the future."
In addition to the above-mentioned lakes the eight Chippewa bands intend to harvest walleyes at several other lakes in the ceded territory, but at levels so low that fishing regulations do not have to change. These lakes are Camp and Whitefish Lakes near Garrison, Platte and Lower South Long Lakes, Sullivan Lake, Eleven Lake, Rock, Pokegama and Razor lakes in Pine County, Chisago and East and West Rush Lakes in Chisago County, North and South Stanchfield lakes and Green Lake in Isanti County, and Ogechie and Shakopee Lakes in Mille Lacs County.
The bands had until March 15 to declare where they would exercise their tribal fishing rights. No additional lakes will be added during the 2000 fishing season.
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