Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs to close September 6
August 23 | Onmia DNR Fisheries Chief Don Pereira announced tonight that walleye fishing on Mille Lacs will close September 6. He made the announcement at the Fishery Advisory Committee meeting being held at Izatys Resort in Onamia.
This reversal comes shortly after Governor Dayton reversed the DNR’s closure that was tied to hooking mortality reaching (surpassing) the 2016 walleye harvest quota.
Wonder if the Governor is actually calling the shots. Or is he bowing to behind-the-scenes pressure beyond the DNR?
Expect to be reading a lot more in the papers and on the news tomorrow.
Douglas Meyenburg, President
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Mille Lacs Walleye season remains open!
Fishery Advisory Committee points the way
St Paul | August 10, 2016 Governor Dayton has announced that the Mille Lacs walleye fishery will remain open even though the harvest quota has been reached for the season. He said closure “would devastate area businesses and communities.” Tribal leaders were asked for their “understanding and forbearance” in the matter.
The Mille Lacs Fishery Advisory Committee helped point the DNR and Governor in the right direction.
DNR reps at Committee meetings initially rejected looking at “socio-economic factors” in making resource management plans. Later it was pointed out that the Committee’s charge included their consideration.
That’s important because looking at economic loss in the Mille Lacs community wasn’t considered a part of “co-management.” The DNR only looked at things like lake biology, slot limits, and hooking mortality. That’s not the whole picture.
This year the entire harvest was from “hooking mortality.” Local professionals say the formula the DNR uses to assess hooking mortality is severely flawed. For example, do all boats on Mille Lacs get included in scoring hooking mortality? (DNR counts the number of boats times a predetermined number of fish per boat.) Many anglers on Mille Lacs are targeting Muskies and Bass! Not every trailer on shore belongs to an angler. Some are pleasure boats. But this formula would have meant the end of walleye fishing for the season if not for Gov. Dayton’s weighing in.
Will socio-economic factors be part of co-management going forward? Let’s hope so. Even the DNR’s latest press release mentions taking “socio-economic factors into consideration” and preventing “significant economic loss in the Mille Lacs community.”
We must remember that ultimately the State of MN is responsible for ALL natural resources within the state’s boundary. These MUST be managed for all citizens.
Off-reservation (non-Mille Lacs) tribal walleye harvest mostly light
August 6, 2016 — Reduced walleye harvest on Mille Lacs had bands in the 1837 Treaty ceded territory moving walleye harvest activity to other lakes. Last winter, the bands declared their intentions to exercise their off-reservation treaty harvest rights on 73 lakes. Only 10 of these lakes saw any harvest activity, either netting or spearing. These were:
Chisago Lake (Chisago County) – 67 pounds – 21% of quota
Green Lake (Chisago) – 513 pounds – 78% of quota
Rush Lake (Chisago) – 42 pounds – 4% of quota
South Long Lake (Crow Wing) – 245 pounds – 44% of quota
Platte Lake (Crow Wing) – 48 pounds – 7% of quota
Blue Lake (Isanti) – No harvest
Spectacle Lake (Isanti) – 35 pounds – 37 % of quota
Knife Lake (Kanabec) – 7 pounds – 2% of quota
Sullivan Lake (Morrison) – 15 pounds –3% of quota
Pokegama Lake (Pine) – No harvest
All fish are counted by tribal officials. Non-tribal harvest is assumed to be under the quotas. Tribal anglers must get a permit each day they fish. They must declare which lake they wish to fish that day. Access is from designated boat landings that have monitoring. Spearers are limited to fish under 20 inches, with one between 20 and 24 inches, and one of any size.
Are you concerned about:
- DNR’s co-management of Mille Lacs?
- Claims for expanded Mille Lacs “reservation” with expanded tribal law enforcement authority?
- An 1855 Treaty lawsuit?
It’s underway! DNR could end up co-managing off-reservation hunting, fishing, gathering—and “property rights”—in 1855 Treaty ceded territory. Lakes include Gull, Long, Whitefish, Cross, Leech, Cass, Pokegama, and Winnie. The 1855 ceded area includes Mille Lacs! See map.
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