Skip to main content

Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs will end after Labor Day


Labor Day weekend will mark the end of this year's walleye fishing season on Mille Lacs Lake.

Tuesday night's decision reverses Gov. Mark Dayton's announcement a few weeks ago that the catch-and-release walleye season on the big lake would stay open – even though the state had gone well over the walleye quota it negotiated with the eight Ojibwe bands that also fish the lake.

Dayton and the DNR's commissioner say going over the walleye limit will not hurt the long-term recovery of walleye numbers on Mille Lacs – but it is hurting the state's relationship with the Ojibwe bands.

Biologists with the state and tribes manage fishing on the lake together and have been working on rebuilding the plummeting walleye population. That's what led to the decision that anglers must release all of the walleye they caught this year.

State nearly tripled its quota

In announcing that walleye fishing will end Sep. 6, DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said the Ojibwe (also known as Chippewa) bands had raised "strong concerns" about the state breaking its agreement.

Even in a catch-and-release season, some of the fish that are hooked die after they're returned to the water.

So even though state-licensed anglers have been releasing their walleye, the DNR estimates they've depleted the lake of more than 45,000 pounds worth. That compares to 16,676 pounds in this year's agreement with the tribe.

Last year the DNR shut down walleye fishing on Mille Lacs in early August when the state exceeded its quota.

Dayton said doing that again this year would be devastating to businesses around the central Minnesota lake. But in an emailed statement Tuesday evening, the governor said closing the season after Labor Day would not be as damaging to local businesses.

A member of the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee tells KSTP he was told Dayton spent the weekend meeting with the Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe and the Sep. 6 closing date was what emerged from those talks.

Fishing for northern pike, muskies, and bass continues on Mille Lacs.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

2nd period surge leads Wild to fourth straight win

With three goals in the second, the Wild blasted the last-place Coyotes.

Gopher Basketball / R.J. Stephens

Late-tip in helps Gophers pass first big test, improve to 6-0

Luke Loewe's bucket with 2.4 seconds remaining helped the Gophers stay undefeated.


Man, 40, found dead stuck in air duct at his Otter Tail Co. home

The discovery was made by family members Monday morning.

Biden Minnesota visit stream screengrab - 11.30.31

What Biden said during his visit to Minnesota Tuesday

The president spoke at Dakota County Technical College.

Grand Marais

Cook County registers its first COVID-19 death of the pandemic

The sparsely populated, highly-vaccinated county has continuously had one of the lowest rates of COVID in the state.

Waits family screengrab CNN

Support for MN family after anti-maskers target child of school board chair

An online group opposing Kelsey Waits outed the child as transgender.

Pixabay - school - classroom

St. Paul schools add 2 days to winter break due to pandemic stress

The added days off are meant to acknowledge the stress the pandemic has caused.

Fardoussa Abdillahi

Charges: St. Cloud mother killed baby, placed him in dumpster

The 4-month-old baby was found by officers on Sunday morning.


1 dead in crash at Lake Street intersection in south Minneapolis

There have been 465 deaths on Minnesota roads this year, according to the state's traffic division.


St. Paul restaurateur's businesses burglarized a 6th time

The owner of The Gnome and Hope Breakfast Bar is asking politicians to help St. Paul business owners.

North Memorial Air Care

Teen suffers life-threatening injuries in head-on crash in southern MN

The 18-year-old was airlifted to a Mayo Clinic hospital in Rochester.

foo fighters grohl mr rossi wikimedia

Foo Fighters abruptly cancel Gophers stadium show hours after announcing it

The band is looking for a new venue because of a disagreement over COVID protocols.


Walleye fishing season to end early on Mille Lacs

The DNR says that the seasonal limit has nearly been reached.