A lack of walleye fishing opportunities has led to a single resort receiving a bailout from Minnesota taxpayers.
Walleye restrictions set on one of Minnesota's best-known lakes have led to a government bailout for a single Minnesota resort.
The Hunter Winfield's Resort, geared to accommodating walleye anglers, received a $150,000 gift from the Minnesota legislatures. The resort claimed it suffered extensive economic losses from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's 2015 decision to prematurely close the walleye season. This would be the first time in history Mille Lacs walleye anglers and business owners would see their walleye opportunities end mid-season.
Possession limits on the lake have been undergoing a gradual decline in an attempt to restore the lake's infamous walleye population, which according to the Minnesota DNR, is due to a struggling juvenile population. In 2012 anglers were allowed to possess four walleye; by 2015, that limit had been reduced to one. To the dismay of local businesses and anglers, the season would completely be closed by late summer.
There had previously been a statewide discussion to provide economic relief for area businesses, but Hunter Winfield's Resort was the only recipient to make a claim.
The DNR responded by warning the government about the consequences of bailing out businesses every time an important natural resource management decision is made.
Many businesses blame the situation on long-term mismanagement by the DNR.
Mille Lacs Lake residents and businesses are experiencing another catch and release summer during the 2017 season including a complete shutdown July 7th through the 27th. In addition, anglers are restricted from fishing between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. until November.