The break from walleye fishing on Mille Lacs just got longer

Catch-and-release fishing won't resume next week.

If you were counting on catching the state fish at Mille Lacs Lake a week from now, you'd better adjust your plans.

Walleye have been disappearing from the central Minnesota lake faster than expected this summer, the DNR said Friday, so they've extended a hiatus on fishing for them by another couple of weeks.

So the catch-and-release season won't resume on July 27. Anglers will have to wait until Aug. 11.

“We deeply regret the hardships these new regulations will cause for anglers and business owners," said Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. "But they are essential to protect and enhance the future of walleye fishing in the lake for future generations."

According to the DNR, they and the Chippewa bands had agreed this season's walleye harvest quota would be 44,800 pounds. And that has already been exceeded.

However, there's a little flexibility built into that agreement. So in order to extend the walleye fishing season through Labor Day, the DNR will allow an additional 11,000 pounds of walleye harvest.

So catch-and-release walleye fishing will run from Aug. 11 through Sept. 4. Then it'll be closed from Sept. 5 to Nov. 30. 

What about other fish?

Other fish aren't affected by any of this.

So for bass, muskie and northern pike, go crazy (but still keep the standard lake guidelines in mind). However, you do have to use artificial baits and lures unless you're going after northern pike or muskie – then sucker minnows longer than 8 inches are OK.

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