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Fish are biting, but anglers few on Mille Lacs

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The state Department of Natural Resources says Mille Lacs lake, long a mecca for walleye-seeking anglers, had an all-time low number of fishing hours recorded in May, the Star Tribune's Dennis Anderson reports.

The fish are biting, so where are pole-and-tackle-toting tourists? A typical fishing opener weekend will net 100,000 fishing hours on Mille Lacs, but there were only 85,000 in all of May, the Star Tribune reports.

A couple of factors are at play, and one is – you guessed it – terrible weather, the Star Tribune reports. There was still ice on the lake for the May 11 opener, and Mille Lacs has had some dreary cold and rain since then.

Another factor is likely a new catch limit of just two walleye that have to measure from 18 to 20 inches (you can keep one trophy fish over 28 inches). That's down from a limit of four last year, when anglers could keep fish under 17 inches.

The reduction was needed, because Mille Lacs' walleye population is at a 40-year low, DNR officials say. Here's more about the change in the DNR regulations.

Researchers, who headed out to tag fish last month, have been trying to find out why the population has dropped, KARE 11 reported. Invasive species and predators complicate the picture, the Pioneer Press' Dave Orrick reported.

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