Will Lake Mille Lacs be this year's Leech Lake?
Last year, after several down years, Walker's Leech Lake rebounded nicely in 2008.
Lake Mille Lacs, long regarded as one of the state's premier walleye fisheries, also has experienced a bit of a dry spell in walleye harvests in recent years. But like Leech Lake, Mille Lacs may be on the verge of a boom from recent stock classes.
"There are going to be a lot of slot fish to get this year," said Steve Bissett, a pro fisherman and guide who frequents Mille Lacs. "It was a good winter for slots percentage-wise. I think it will be a good summer."
The DNR agrees, saying that water levels are expected to be up this spring, and that the walleye bite, thanks to some up-and-coming larger fish, should provide good action.
Anglers have complained of tight slots and, especially, ever-changing slot regulations on Mille Lacs in recent years. And although last year's regulations remain the same, that fact - that the regs, for a change, are unchanged - is a positive for anglers.
"That's a big help," Gary Roach - "Mr. Walleye" - said, referring to consistency concerning regs on Mille Lacs. Roach, a professional fisherman who also spends a lot of time on Mille Lacs, and others have long complained that a lack of consistency regarding regs on the lake has added to confusion there.
"I think it's a good thing," Bissett said of the decision to keep the regs unchanged.
On Mille Lacs, anglers are required to immediately release all walleye 18 to 28 inches in length. The possession limit is four, with one longer than 28 inches allowed. Also, anglers will be required to immediately release all northern pike 24 to 36 inches in length. The possession limit is three, with one longer than 36 inches allowed.
The state walleye and northern pike season opens Saturday.
Fishing regulations throughout the state, too, will largely be the same as last year.
The one change in state regulations that applies to walleye and northern pike: The "one over" limit now applies to possession and daily limits. Previously, the regulation applied to the daily limit only.
"One over" applies when regulations protect fish of a designated size range on particular waters. Anglers are allowed to keep fish smaller than the size range and can keep one larger than the size range. The "one over" limit applies to the larger fish an angler can keep.
Other changes of note:
New experimental or special regulations on Inguadona and Rice lakes in Cass County. For details, see Pages 25-26 in the DNR fishing regulation booklet.
Anglers may possess fish packaged by a licensed fish packer on waters with fish-size restrictions if the packaged fish will be used for a meal.
Anglers who catch an Asian carp must report the catch within seven days.
A number of lakes have been added to the infested waters list because they now contain invasive species. For a list, see the fishing regulation booklet.
BRIAN S. PETERSON, outdoors editor, may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5864.
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