The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working to figure out summer regulations for walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake.
Walleye season opens May 14, and one of the options being tossed around only allows catch-and-release fishing.
The other four options all keep the limit of one walleye between 18 and 20 inches – or one over 28 inches – but adjust the time periods when anglers can keep the fish. For example, the season for keeping walleye may start later or end earlier.
The DNR says it presented those options to Mille Lacs Fishery Advisory Committee members earlier this month. Then this week, the committee members gave their input.
Committee members told the St. Cloud Times that they want to keep the lake open for walleye fishing as long as possible. That could mean anglers be limited to catch-and-release.
It won't be long before the official regulations are announced. The DNR says they'll have a decision in March.
The limit for ice anglers also shrunk this year. The DNR said people could only keep one walleye on Mille Lacs. Last year, people could keep two.
And last summer, the lake ended its walleye season early. It closed in the beginning August.
The restrictions and regulations are all due to the lake's declining walleye population. The DNR says it's been decreasing for several years and will take time to restore.
The department says it will stock walleye fry in the lake this year as part of a pilot effort to develop techniques that may help maintain the lake in the future. That will happen this spring.