Frustrations continue as ban on walleye fishing is extended.
The Minnesota DNR shut down walleye fishing on Lake Mille Lacs back on July 6. Now, just days before the ban was set to expire, officials have extended it.
Walleye fishing was shut down after anglers exceeded the quota meant to help sustain the lake’s population. In mid-July, CBS Minnesota reports anglers had blown by the lake’s quota by 2,000 pounds.
“We want to allow as much walleye fishing on Mille Lacs as possible,” DNR fisheries chief Don Pereira told the station.
The good news is that fishing will reopen on August 11 when the DNR will allocate 11,000 more pounds of walleye to be taken from the lake. The bad news is anglers will only have until September 4 to fish before the season closes again until November 30.
Fishing is a $1.8 billion dollar industry in Minnesota, especially on Mille Lacs, which is the second largest inland lake in Minnesota at 132,516 acres. Unsurprisingly, the news of the original ban was met with much displeasure from both anglers and local businesses dependent on fishing tourism.
“That ban is going to cost me $40,000 in three weeks,” Twin Pines Resort owner Linda Eno told CBS Minnesota back when the ban was originally put in place.
She organized a protest during a visit to the lake by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.
It isn’t the first time there has been controversy at Mille Lacs over walleye. The DNR made walleye fishing catch and release only in an attempt to help rebuild the population.
There have also been arguments between anglers and the local Ojibwe tribe in recent years over the tribe’s use of gill nets for fishing in the lake. In 2015, the tribe didn’t use gill nets in an attempt to help let the population rebound.
It seems Mille Lacs’ walleye troubles won’t be solved quickly or easily anytime soon.