Fish issues create disappointing tourism season on Mille Lacs

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A number of businesses around Lake Mille Lacs contend this summer is one of their slowest in recent memory.

WCCO-TV reports that the reduction in the number of tourists and anglers on the lake is related to a reduced walleye quota from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. New regulations allow sportsmen to keep two walleyes between 18 and 20 inches. Last year, the limit was 17 inches and under.

The slot limits have hurt businesses that rely on summer tourists, including bait shops, restaurants, resorts and guide services. The station reports that the landmark 90-year-old Blue Goose Inn on the main drag in Garrison is closing, although its bar will remain open.

Greg Thomas, owner of Gregory’s Resort, told the station that he blames the slot limits for his decline in business. He said he’s lost about $60,000.

“We’re down about 100 percent during the week and 70 percent on weekends. You go out there and catch fish but we can’t keep any," he said.

Terry Thurmer, owner of Terry’s Harbor, said 300 boats used to come through his marina on summer weekends, but last weekend, there were 18. Thurmer said tribal netting during the walleye spawn is a factor in the reduced walleye count.

Here's WCCO's story:

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