MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Anglers are facing stricter ice fishing regulations on Lake Mille Lacs this season, according to new rules from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The DNR says anglers can keep one walleye between 18 and 20 inches, or one longer than 28 inches while ice fishing between Dec. 1, 2015 and Feb. 28, 2016. That’s down from two walleye last year.
They’re also lowering the number of northern pike that fishermen can take home from 10 to five. That regulation takes effect on Dec. 1 as well, but extends to March 27 of the following year.
Officials have also set a 5,000-pound cap to the rules. If that cap is reached, a catch-and-release policy would be implemented for the remainder of the season.
The rules come after the lake faced a walleye population crisis this summer, when DNR officials halted all walleye fishing on the lake and tribal bands agreed to stop netting. The strict fishing regulations had many local businesses wondering if they would make it through the season without fisherman to boost the economy.
Some wondered if any walleye ice fishing would be permitted on the lake this year, but the DNR announced there would last week.