After a fishing closure of over a month out of concern for the long-term health of the Mille Lacs Lake walleye population, catch-and-release angling for the popular sport fish resumes on Friday at 6 a.m.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources imposed what was originally supposed to be a three-week walleye fishing closure on Mille Lacs on July 7.
But the DNR extended the closure after new data showed state anglers had harvested nearly 48,000 pounds of walleye, exceeding the state's safe harvest quota of about 45,000 pounds.
"After an extended mid-season closure, we look forward to reopening the lake to catch-and-release walleye fishing," said Don Pereira, a DNR fisheries section chief.
State officials negotiated a buffer with the Ojibwe bands that cooperatively manage the Mille Lacs fishery with Minnesota, which will allow state anglers to harvest an additional 11,000 pounds of walleye above the quota.
That will keep the season open through Labor Day.
Later this year outside experts will review the Minnesota DNR's management of walleye fishing on Mille Lacs. Some anglers and resort owners are skeptical of the DNR's estimates of walleye in the lake.
Correction (Aug. 11, 2017): An earlier version of this story inaccurately categorized the state's walleye harvest quota.