ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Walleye fishing on Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake has closed for July.
The planned closure took effect Wednesday, in anticipation of a fall walleye season. Officials with the Department of Natural Resources determined closing the popular lake to walleye fishing in July would provide the best chance for walleye fishing this fall, by reducing hooking mortality when water temperatures are warmest.
“Even with the good walleye fishing Mille Lacs anglers have experienced this year, we have not exceeded our allocation and we don’t expect to,” DNR fisheries section manager Brad Parsons said. “We know many people really enjoy fall walleye fishing and we heard from folks that this was their priority. So we made plans this spring for the July closure to reduce the potential for an unplanned closure in the fall.”
Anglers on Mille Lacs also cannot use most live baits for any species in July. The DNR said the restrictions are needed because of a record ice fishing season on Mille Lacs last winter.
An unplanned closure would be triggered if the state reaches its share of the safe harvest amount agreed upon by Minnesota and eight Ojibwe bands that have treaty fishing rights on Mille Lacs. As of May 31, anglers had harvested nearly 35,000 pounds of their 87,800-pound walleye allocation for the 2020 season.
Catch-and-release walleye fishing on Mille Lacs is scheduled to reopen on Aug. 1 and continue through Nov. 30.