Minnesota DNR Says Walleye Fishing To Be Open All Summer On Mille Lacs Lake
Great news for Minnesota anglers! The Minnesota Department of Natural resources announced recently that state-licensed anglers will have the opportunity to harvest a walleye 21-23 inches in length or greater than 28 inches throughout the 2023 open water season on Mille Lacs Lake.
The DNR says the more liberal regulations are due to a combination of a lower walleye harvest this winter and an improving walleye population.
“We are pleased to see improvements in both the growth of adult walleye and survival of young walleye in Mille Lacs,” said Brad Parsons, fisheries section manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Those factors create the opportunity for anglers to have a continuous harvest season in 2023.”
The walleye regulations will apply from the walleye opener on Saturday, May 13, until the end of the open-water season on Thursday, November 30. In past years, the DNR had utilized a planned closure to walleye fishing or a ban on using live bait during the first two weeks in July. That will not be the case for the 2023 season.
The following dates are important to note:
- On opening weekend, fishing will be allowed 24 hours a day.
- Beginning Monday, May 15, the night fishing closure takes effect, and fishing hours on Mille Lacs Lake will be 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. for all species.
- From Saturday, June 3, through Thursday, November 30, muskellunge and northern pike anglers using artificial lures or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches are exempt from the night fishing closure.
- Starting Friday, Sept. 1, the night fishing closure is relaxed, with angling hours being 6 a.m. to midnight.
Parsons notes the DNR will continually monitor the factors that determine the state’s walleye take throughout the open water season and if conditions warrant, they will adjust regulations, either to allow additional opportunity if harvest is especially low like it was in 2022 or tighten regulations if harvest numbers exceed expectations.
This year’s winter walleye harvest was 4,300 pounds. The lower catch rates for anglers were due to abundant forage in the lake combined with poor ice conditions in the early season. That drop in walleye take gave the DNR more flexibility to implement open-water harvest opportunities this coming season.
The Minnesota DNR website is a great resource to get more information about fishing regulations on Mille Lacs Lake, ongoing DNR management and research, citizen engagement, and Mille Lacs area recreation opportunities.