Mille Lacs Lake Will Be Catch-and-Release Only Again This Year

Mille Lacs Lake will also have a 21-day walleye closure in July.

It was a hotly contested point of controversy last year. Mille Lacs Lake in northern Minnesota is one of the nation's most popular walleye fishing destinations. However, that popularity has come at a high cost in recent years. Unfortunately for anglers, Mille Lacs' walleye season was catch-and-release only in 2016. More bad news ahead. Officials announced recently that 2017 will again be catch-and-release only for walleye.

Adding to that, the lake will also be closed to walleye fishing for three weeks in July. Anglers will only be allowed to use artificial bait from July 7 to 27. This is being done in an effort to extend the season through Labor Day. The 21-day closure was decided on after a successful winter of ice fishing on the lake. Anglers who are fishing for northern pike and muskellunge are exempt from the live bait rules. There are certain restrictions however. They may not possess any walleye fishing gear. Also, the sucker minnows used as bait must be longer than eight inches.

The 2016 season closed on September 6. The 2017 season will run from May 13 to September 4.

According to DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, the "goal is to have the longest fishing season possible while ensuring the conservation of the lake's future walleye spawning stock." 

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