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Protesters Surround Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s Boat

Angry Mille Lacs Lake walleye stakeholders surround the governor’s boat to protest temporary catch-and-release requirements.

The Mille Lacs Lake walleye season is closed for the next three weeks, and area stakeholders aren’t happy. Anglers and business owners shared their distress by surrounding governor Dayton’s boat with protests on Saturday. The Minnesota governor, who was promoting bass fishing on the lake, left without a fish.

Walleye fishing is prohibited on Mille Lacs Lake until July 28. For the remainder of the season, anglers are still required to practice catch and release. Such strict regulations have been at the expense of local businesses and anglers. 

“That ban is going to cost me $40,000 in three weeks.” Twin Pines Resort owner Linda Eno told WCCO on Saturday. It is business owners like her who organized the protest in spite of of the DNR’s management decision. 

I also had a chance to catch up with one angler, Dick Lebrun, who has caught over 800 walleye so far in 2017. Unfortunately, out of this record year of fishing, he hasn’t been able to keep a single walleye. One of his nine days of fishing resulted in 237 fish. With such high catch numbers for a single household, it is no wonder anglers are confused by the DNR’s decisions.  He is  just one of many anglers who have been experiencing “phenomenal” fishing on the lake, despite the DNR’s concerns. 

Walleye Mille Lacs Lake Numbers
Photo Credit: Dick Lebrun

The DNR continues to stress the declining walleye population on the lake.  However, in an attempt to regain the public’s confidence, an outside review will be held on the lake’s management and survey methods. The review will be complete next winter.


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Protesters Surround Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s Boat