MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – First it was walleye, now it’s bass.

Anglers on Mille Lacs Lake hoping to take home their usual four bass this year will have to alter their expectations.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced beginning May 27, anglers will only be allowed to keep three bass.

The DNR said they are making the change to protect the fish and harvest opportunity.

Fishers can keep any combination of smallmouth and largemouth, however all bass between 17 and 21 inches must immediately be released. Mille Lacs also will remain an exemption to the statewide fall and winter closure of smallmouth bass. This means anglers can keep up to three smallmouth bass if they are caught on or before Feb. 28.

“It’s no secret that Mille Lacs is a nationwide destination for smallmouth bass fishing,” Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief, said in a recent press release. “Knowing that we have something special here, we’re proceeding with caution and dropping the possession limit from four to three, which is a good balance between desire to harvest fish and preserving the trophy-sized bass that have made Mille Lacs famous.”

Catch-and-release bass fishing opens the same day as walleye, with northern pike fishing opener taking place on May 13.

For more information on bass fishing or fishing restrictions, visit the DNR online.

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