It's back to catch-release only for Mille Lacs walleye starting Tuesday

The walleye population is of great concern to the surrounding communities.
The walleye population in Mille Lacs Lake is of great concern to the communities surrounding the popular central Minnesota lake.
Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News File

Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake will return to catch-and-release only starting Tuesday.

For the past several years, anglers haven't been able to keep walleye they catch on Mille Lacs during the summer.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has imposed stricter fishing regulations in an effort to boost the lake's walleye population.

This spring, anglers have been able to keep one walleye of a certain size. But that's ending for the summer, to avoid the state exceeding its share of the lake's walleye harvest.

Tom Heinrich, Mille Lacs area fisheries supervisor for the DNR, says a light harvest last winter made it possible to allow anglers to keep some walleye this spring.

"We were able to offer some harvest in May. But in order to stay within our allocation, then we have to go to catch and release fishing for the majority of the summer now," he said.

Walleye fishing will be off limits entirely for the first two weeks in July.

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