The Half Truth You Hear

March 22, 2016

When the media or the DNR talks about a “low” population of walleyes in Mille lacs, they do not include the estimated 900,000 walleyes of the 2013 year class, weighing in at over 600,000 lbs.

Why you ask? Because they don’t get applied to the BIOMASS TOTAL until they reach 14″ or reach sexual maturity.But, and this is a big but,all sizes get applied to HOOKING MORTALITY. Welcome to the whacky world of Treaty Fisheries Management! Chew on that one for awhile.

Steve Johnson, Johnson’s Portside on Mille Lacs.

DNR regs for Mille Lacs walleye draw fire

‘Designed to keep walleye fishing open,’ but mid-season closure MORE likely this year!
March 22, 2016

See COMMENTS below

This summer it’s catch and release only for walleye anglers, who also must use artificial bait. And a season-long closure of night fishing is back for all but Muskie anglers.

The DNR’s new regs for walleye fishing on Mille Lacs were said to be “designed to protect the fish needed to rebuild Mille Lacs Lake’s walleye population.”

Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief said, “Not allowing harvest is a difficult decision but it provides our best option.”

This year’s safe walleye harvest quota remains at 40,000 pounds, (28,600 for state anglers, and 11,400 for tribal anglers.) Yet even with zero harvest, hooking mortality is still a factor.

The DNR expects many more smaller-sized fish to be caught, especially the 2013-year class, given the unusually hot bite this past winter.

Unfortunately, “The possibility of closing Mille Lacs to walleye fishing is greater this year than it was last,” according to Pereira. “Even with our catch-and-release approach, the risk remains considerable.”

The DNR is being particularly cautious with the 2013-year class, which they are counting on to rebuild Mille Lacs’ walleye population.

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Is this how to manage a lake?

These new regs are driven by “co-management” politics as much as by lake biology concerns. They threaten the livelihood of many businesses on and around Mille Lacs. It’s one more reason why we must push for having the DNR go through the legislature when making such major changes.

Charges have been filed in Crow Wing County against four tribal members given citations for gill netting and wild rice violations on and near Gull Lake. Remember, the problems with Mille Lacs started with an illegal tribal harvest and citation in the Mille Lacs area.

Violators and their supporters in Crow Wing County have been very open about creating a lawsuit to “affirm” harvest–and now property–rights for the entire territory ceded by the 1855 Treaty. This includes the Brainerd Lakes, Winne, Leech lake area and a wide band of Northern Minnesota. Can you imagine enduring what we have experienced as “co-management” over so many lakes and so much territory?

Visit to sign up for email alerts, get involved now to prevent many major Minnesota Lakes being “managed” into catch and release!

Forward this to like minded sportsmen and women!

Doug Meyenburg, President PERM

2016 Mile Lacs Regulations


  • Catch and release only on Walleye.
  • No live bait allowed, Artificial baits only, yes GULP is artificial.


  • 4 fish limit 17-21 protected slot, 1 allowed over 21″ in bag of 4.

Northern Pike

  • 5 fish limit 30″-40″ protected slot, 1 over 40″ in bag of 5.

The walleye fishing this summer will be “off the hook.”

The 2013 year class is now ranked second only to the one in the early 2000’s. These fish will be starving if we don’t have a HUGE perch hatch this spring. There are also too many big fish in the system and they may be hungry as well.

The Mille Lacs Fishery Advisory Committee will now be addressing the CAUSE and EFFECT of the management system in place on Mille Lacs. The DNR has told us that everything is on the table. Well, there will be a big pile on the table. My intention is to tear into Treaty Fisheries Management and make it stand on its own as a successful management style. If it doesn’t, and I know it won’t, we can advise to explore a new approach to Mille Lacs. This should include a compromise approach with the Bands, something the DNR has NEVER even mentioned.

Steve Johnson, Johnson’s Portside on Mille Lacs