Well get ready for catch and release this year. Regulations designed to protect the fish needed to rebuild Mille Lacs Lake’s walleye population will require that walleye anglers use only artificial bait and immediately release all walleye when Minnesota’s 2016 fishing season opens Saturday, May 14.
“A catch-and-release walleye season allows us to protect future spawners yet acknowledges the desire that fishing remain open,” said Don Pereira, fisheries chief for the DNR. “. “Not allowing harvest is a difficult decision but it provides our best option.”
From May 14 to Thursday, Dec. 1, anglers targeting walleye must use artificial bait and immediately release all walleye caught. Anglers targeting northern pike and muskellunge may possess and use sucker minnows longer than 8 inches but all other anglers must not possess any other bait that is live, dead, frozen or processed.
Other changed regulations for the 2016 season on Mille Lacs include:
Walleye: Night closure beginning Monday, May 16, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and continuing through Dec. 1. Muskellunge anglers may fish at night but all baits, live or artificial, in possession must be at least 8 inches long.
Northern Pike: Five fish with only one longer than 40 inches. All northern 30-40 inches long must be immediately released.
Bass: Four fish with only one longer than 21 inches. All fish 17-21 inches long must be immediately released.
My understanding is that the native Indian Tribes have suspended netting this year except for ceremonial purposes.