Mille Lacs walleye quota for 2014 will be lowest ever

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 2, 2014 - 8:44 AM

The popularity of the state’s premier walleye fishing lake, Mille Lacs, will be tested this summer.

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lundeye826Feb. 1, 14 7:40 AM

You can only sit back and shake your head. The people who really know Mille Lac (resort owners and old guides) have told the DNR that this was coming for years but went on deaf ears. I can't beleieve the Minnesota DNR can stick their head in the sand like they have done for the past 12 years. I am from out of state and have owned a place on Mille Lac for 13 years. I spend most all my free time plus finances in Minnesota. This is not what i hoped for 13 years ago. I just hope the State of Minnesota steps in to help the resort owners out during this very difficult time. It is the least they could do for messing up one of Minnesota's treasures.

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kenmarkFeb. 1, 14 7:47 AM

I don't get it. If there is a confirmed surplus of large walleyes why not let anglers keep a few trophy size fish especially if you want the tribes to spear them. It might even help the businesses who depend on tourism for a living.

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bgronniFeb. 1, 14 8:32 AM

A few years ago I used to take my son's fishing at Mille lacs just about every weekend. Did not make it there once last year and will probably not go this year. also, had an ice house on the lake for 7 years. sold that 3 years ago, glad I did, it would only be good for firewood now.

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thefalconFeb. 1, 14 8:51 AM

Sadly thanks to the incompetence of the DNR the resorts and businesses will be the ones who will suffer. Lots will probably go out of business. Yet as is always the case in government nobody in the DNR will be held accountable for this.

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jackpinesavFeb. 1, 14 9:08 AM

Leech Lake recovery in past decade can be a model to follow to bring back Mille Lacs. Respectful dealing with tribal issues and case law will also help. This is major economic issue for north-central Minnesota.

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walleyeguy57Feb. 1, 14 9:13 AM

Hope the decision makers for the Leech Lake fishery are paying attention. Leech is in the same position. Leech has carried a slot of 18"-26" with 1 over 26" for several years and the lake has record fish 22" and over. This is more evident on the big lake where the weeds are less. You can have some great fishing and have a better chance of coming home with a plus 26" than a under 18". Yes the slot is moving to 20" on the bottom side but a 1 over 20" or 21" based on the know facts in Mille Lacs could help change this destiny. Netting is still an issue. I have been on this soapbox before in this column. The treaty is not the problem but the almost 150 years of progress is the problem. Boats instead of canoes, huge manufactured nets instead of small hand sewn nets. The harvesting of rice comes close to following the words written when the treaty was signed why is the netting different?

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garcialaterFeb. 1, 1410:01 AM

Hmm. Wonder why there isn't enough to go around? " I am from out of state and have owned a place on Mille Lac for 13 years." Too many people chasing a finite resource. I'm sure the forecasted population growth will straighten this right out. Look what growth has done for White Bear Lake. Or pheasant populations.

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baronvonblogFeb. 1, 1410:37 AM

The native Americans originally proposed netting and spearing on only 7% of the lake when they first attempted to assert their treaty rights. This was a fair offer by the native Americans to be allowed to practice their rights under the treaties. As I recall the DNR supported the effort but the legislators struck the deal down because of a huge outcry by sport fishermen. The native Americans were forced to take their case for their rights under the treaty to court where it was determined BY LAW that they had the right to net and spear the ENTIRE lake not just a small 7% slice of it. What was Mr Anderson's position at that time? The fisherman have been taking over 2/3rds or more of the total harvest every year. My understanding is that the native Americans have always under harvested their share. The native Americans have a vested interest in the continued health of these waters because of their rights to fish them forever. My guess is that the invasive species, most prominently the zebra mussels, are stripping the water column of valuable nutrients which will cause a crash of certain parts of the ecosystem. Look no further than Lake Michigan for how this plays out. There they have a new invasive, quagga mussels. Within a few years they have out competed the zebra mussels in Lake Michigan and they can invade water deeper than 30 feet. Where do these invasives so come from? Most likely from the trailing of boats, live wells, minnow buckets, lakeshore owners bringing boat lifts, water toys or even life jackets from other bodies of water PLUS we don't know if wildlife itself is spreading these things. Originally they were brought in through Great Lake shipping. What is the value of this shipping vs the recreational value of these waters? What has been Mr Anderson's position on invasive species prevention? So stop throwing out the canard that it is the native Americans that are the cause of this decline. My guess is their rights under the treaty supersede Mr Anderson's and if he thinks this should be different maybe the native Americans will negotiate a treaty over this issue, though considering how far they had to go to enforce their rights under the treaty of 1854 I think they will be hesitant to sign anything again! Who can blame them!

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SlickrocksFeb. 1, 14 1:20 PM

I am from Ohio, and zebra mussels invaded Lake Erie decades ago. Initially all the "experts" predicted doom and gloom from the mussels, but as things played out, nothing was further from the truth. The mussels cleaned up the polluted, murky water and you could see a white disk 20 ft. down instead of 2 ft. down. The walleye thrived, but to catch them, what had to change were the fishing methods. The venerable Erie Dearie spinner, which attracted fish by virtue of the sound it emitted, gave way to more subtle rigs like those we use in Minnesota. And today, the western basin of Lake Erie is still a great walleye factory. So stop throwing out the canard that it is the zebra mussel is the cause of this decline.

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hollyseanFeb. 1, 14 1:23 PM

There is too many double trippers to allow people to keep bigger fish. The problem is not the large walleyes. Right now the lake is full of small perch. Don't destroy the population of big walleyes in the lake. Do something about the huge amount of smallmouths. I think the walleye year class revolves around the perch population. Lots of perch means less stress on young walleyes. If we can't stop the netting, can we at least make them wait until after the walleyes spawn every year.

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