MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ice anglers will be able to fish for walleye on Minnesota’s premiere walleye lake this winter. The DNR announced the winter walleye regulations for Lake Mille Lacs.

Anglers can keep one walleye, with restrictions. You’ll remember walleye fishing was shut down this summer when limits on the lake were surpassed, and a winter season seemed bleak.

No one is buying the Shiners at Lundeen’s Tackle Castle right now, but owner Bill Lundeen expects that to change come December.

“We’re just excited to get back to work,” Lundeen said.

The DNR announced there will be a winter walleye season on Mille Lacs. Anglers can keep one walleye between 18 and 20 inches or one longer than 28 inches, until the 5,000 pound cap is hit. That’s welcome news for businesses who have felt the pinch since the DNR shut down walleye fishing on the lake in early August.

“One walleye is, it’s less than two, it’s more than none and it’s more than closed,” Lundeen said.

The number of walleyes is down from the two allowed last year.

Owner of Twin Pines Resort Linda Eno thinks it will scare some people away, but she’s optimistic.

“There are still people who will just come up for the camaraderie. At least with the hopes of one fish I think they’ll definitely still come,” Eno said.

She calls the outside of her place desolate right now. Usually anglers would be trolling for fish during the fall. It forced her to close her restaurant for now.

“There’s no sense in keeping the restaurant open. My August business was 65 percent, my September 85 percent and my October business was 90 percent down,” Eno said.

She’s ready for ice fishing for walleye to start, her 40 fish houses to be rented and the bar to be busy.

“We are very excited to be able to promote an ice fishing season,” Eno said.

Governor Mark Dayton said he’s pleased there will be an ice fishing season on Mille Lacs. The winter walleye season begins Dec. 1 and runs through the end of February.

The DNR also announced anglers can keep five northern pikes. That is down by five from last year.

Jennifer Mayerle