Skip to main content

DNR says plenty of smallmouth bass in Mille Lacs, but anglers protest looser rules

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The Minnesota Department of Natural resources has called for lighter restrictions on fishing smallmouth bass in Lake Mille Lacs, and some are worried the smallies will diminish as a result.

The Pioneer Press reports from the lake itself, and offers a primer on the latest dust-up between fishermen and the state, with the anglers playing the conservationist role this time.

"Since 2000, smallmouths on the big pond were managed to grow a robust population," the paper reports. "All fish shorter than 21 inches were released; one 21 inches or longer -- a true wall-mounter -- could be kept."

Today, the PiPress says, smallies are more plentiful and larger than ever, according to DNR survey data. But the DNR claims the population surge isn't due to the restrictions, but other factors such as three decades of improving water clarity has meant the lake's main predator, the walleye, has ceded shallow rock humps, now often sunlit, to the smallmouth.

Now an angler can keep six fish less than 17 inches long, or five less than 17 inches and one longer than 20 inches, reports the St. Paul paper.

Some rod-and-reelers are skeptical, and want the other regulations back. Twenty inches might be a wall-mounter in many waters but not, the paper reports, on Mille Lacs, where state-record fish likely lurk. They've started a website -- with a petition to repeal the new regulations.

Next Up

Image (1)

School bus carrying students plunges into river southwest of Fargo

None of the kids suffered life-threatening injuries, though some were taken to area hospitals.

Richfield High School

Richfield High School cancels weekend events after shooting

Two men were shot outside the school's football stadium

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 10.21.38 PM

Sound of shots, mass panic at Richfield football game streamed live on YouTube

Gunfire caused panic at a varsity football game Friday night.

J. Gordon

K-9 search leads to $36K fentanyl seizure during traffic stop

A traffic stop was made after the vehicle was seen speeding through the area.

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 5.20.08 PM

Gov. Walz reacts to Tuesday death of Mankato West student

The governor is a former geography teacher at the high school.

court room

Teen pleads guilty to Minneapolis carjacking, admits to others

The man was yanked out of the vehicle by witnesses before fleeing the scene.

Federal court house

Three plead guilty to roles in murder on Red Lake Reservation

The 2019 murder left another person seriously injured.


Sheriff: Heifer shot and butchered on farmer's pasture near Aitkin

Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to call the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office.


Minneapolis murder suspect arrested in Wisconsin

The man has been wanted by police since the shooting happened in April.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Charges: Man kidnapped woman at gunpoint, forced her to withdraw $1,500

The 56-year-old suspect is accused of forcing the woman to the Seward neighborhood in Minneapolis.

police lights

Police arrest suspect in Oakdale after 10-hour standoff

The standoff with police lasted over 10 hours Friday.