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Lake Mille Lacs ice fishermen to be allowed 1 walleye

LAKE MILLE LACS, Minn. -- The number of walleyes over 14 inches long have nearly tripled in Minnesota's Lake Mille Lacs over the past five years, the state's Department of Natural Resources revealed Tuesday, Oct. 30, an improvement that will again allow ice anglers to keep one fish daily this winter.

The one-walleye limit starts Dec.1, the third winter where some walleye can be kept after a series of summers that have been catch-and-release only for all walleyes.

Anglers this winter will be able to keep one walleye between 21 and 23 inches long or one over 28 inches long.

The DNR said the number of walleye 14 inches and longer jumped from about 250,000 in 2013 and 2014, after the population crashed, to about 727,000 this year. The DNR estimates the population through test netting and through marking fish, releasing them and seeing how many are re-caught by anglers.

The DNR's fall gill net assessment also showed that the total pounds of mature walleye sampled increased significantly, from 18.9 pounds per net last year to 27.7 pounds per net this year, mostly due to an increase in mature females.

But not all the news is good as some year classes — fish hatched in a specific year — have remained below average.