ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — Stakeholders will meet with fishery managers Thursday to discuss how to regulate hook-and-line sport fishing for walleyes on Mille Lacs Lake, where officials have slashed the quota to the lowest level ever.
The Department of Natural Resources announced in January that the big lake's safe walleye harvest level will be 60,000 pounds for 2014, compared with 250,000 pounds last year. Sport anglers will be allowed 42,900 pounds while eight Chippewa bands with treaty rights will get 17,100 pounds.
In a letter to Mille Lacs Fishery Input Group members, the DNR's Aitkin-area fisheries supervisor, Rick Bruesewitz, said it's a challenging time for one of Minnesota's most popular fishing destinations, the St. Cloud Times reported Sunday (http://on.sctimes.com/1hDfl1V ).
Mille Lacs hasn't produced a strong year class of walleye since 2008, and the DNR has brought in outside experts to help get a better understanding of why. The DNR has said a key problem is that while reproduction is good, the vast majority of the lake's walleyes don't survive to their second autumn.
"We want to improve walleye fishing as quickly as possible without unwanted negative consequences, and we believe outside expertise will help us do that," Bruesewitz said in the letter. "Mille Lacs is a complex system under change and we will need to work together as we weather the current storm and plan for the future."
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Hazelton Town Hall. It's open to the public.
DNR Mille Lacs Lake page: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/millelacslake/index.html
Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com