Mille Lacs Smallmouth, Walleye Regulation Changes

Earlier this week the Minnesota DNR announced regulation changes to Mille Lacs Lake. The greatly anticipated changes aim to help the struggling population of walleye, specifically targeting smaller fish.

The new regulations call for release of all walleye under 18 inches and greater than 20 inches, with the exception of one fish over 28″. The smallmouth slot limit has practically been eliminated, requiring the release of all bass between 17″ and 20″ with one over 20″ and a bag limit of six. The DNR also reduced the pike slot limit to all fish 33″ to 40″ must be released with one over 40″. The pike possession limit is three fish.

From a news release on the DNR website:

“We want Mille Lacs to continue to be a world-class walleye fishing destination,” said Dirk Peterson, Department of Natural Resources fisheries chief. “Currently, the size and structure of the walleye population isn’t where we want it. We are committed to remedying the situation as quickly as possible through regulations that are designed to increase survival of the lake’s younger and smaller walleye.”

“The smallmouth bass and northern pike regulations are designed to protect smaller walleye until we have better information on what these predator species are eating,” said Peterson. “We’ll be starting a predator diet study this spring. Meanwhile, the regulations will allow anglers some additional non-walleye harvest opportunities while also retaining solid numbers of trophy-sized fish.”

Here is a link to the current Mille Lacs fishing regulations page on the DNR website. The DNR also posted an updated version of the 2013-14 fishing regulations.

It will be interesting to see how this impacts the lake, and how anglers react to the changes. It seems like the majority of guys are okay with the tight slot if it means better walleye fishing in the future. Feel free to comment and share your opinion.

DISCLAIMER: The regulations outlined on this page are a summary, and not the precise regulations. Always check with the DNR’s fishing regulations before hitting the water, as they sometimes change.

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