CORRECTION: Reference to gillnets in Dick Sternberg studies should have been to DNR test nets specifically “until they distribute their nets to sample the entire lake basin, they will not have a valid population index–or safe harvest level.”

Dick Sternberg’s concluding statement in Mille Lacs Fish Management Plan summarizes the study, and the major point being made in the previous email (and below.)

“Mille Lacs Lake is a world-class walleye “factory” with a walleye population that has proven to be remarkably resilient. Prior to the treaty-management era, the fishery held up well despite increasing fishing pressure, better boats, improved fishing tackle and precision electronics that enable even novice anglers to locate fish and unerringly return to the spot.”

“Therefore, the DNR should submit a new management plan to the Court that enables them to increase the total walleye harvest to historic levels, which will not only help restore population balance, but also improve the health of the Mille Lacs sportfishing economy.”

Studies can be downloaded from PERM’s website:

That said …..

Whether you are a Mille Lacs angler or just gamble for money, we have a heck of a deal for you. Enter our 50/50 Raffle, where you can win up to $25,000!

PERM and SMLSF are sponsoring the raffle to help bring back Mille Lacs walleye angling and the local economy behind it. It’s another reason to enter, and another way to win.

It’s a good reason to enter, really, because the DNR-tribal “co-management” of the mighty lake, isn’t going to fix itself anytime soon–not without citizen action!

PERM volunteers have been involved for about 20 years, raising funds, informing the public, pushing a case to the US Supreme Court. And more. Our work included getting studies by former DNR biologist Dick Sternberg. The studies showed that given the DNR’s method of test netting, “they will not have a valid population index—or safe harvest level.” But the DNR discounted the studies.

End results are showing they should have listened to Sternberg and PERM.

So we brought a lawsuit against the DNR. The Appeals Court did agree with the basis of the SMLSF / PERM lawsuit. It found the DNR did not take the Hunting and Fishing Heritage Constitutional Amendment into account in its rulemaking. Minnesotans certainly believed in the amendment. It passed by 70 percent of those voting! However, the court also sided with the DNR, saying there is no law that says they have to show they took the amendment into account.

Now we’re working with legislators to correct this, so everyone’s heritage is protected. This should be a non-partisan “no brainer”!

PERM’s position is that “co-management” does not work–especially when half the “co-management team” is harvesting outside state law. The number of fish has steadily gone down since gillnetting during the spawn was introduced into Mille Lacs. Yet DNR explanations for the decline grab at and promote every single thing under the sun, including global warming.

Are we going to let failed politics continue to dictate Mille Lacs management?

It is my opinion the DNR does not want to take the 1837 Treaty decision back to the US Supreme Court. They fear the Court will blame them for the mismanagement. They fear the Court then will turn all management of the 1837 treaty area (which includes Mille Lacs) over to the tribes that signed the treaty.

So remember, that the DNR now manages all our natural resources, and that every square inch of MN is in an ancient treaty area. It’s all “ceded territory,” originally bought from the Indians. “No gillnets in Lake Vermillion” is just a handshake between two tribes, and we don’t know for sure if the rumors in the Gull Lake area are true.

Everyone involved in the mismanagement of Mille Lacs, including the Governor, Attorney General, DNR Commissioner, and a whole bunch of DNR folks should be asked to resign! A properly put together Mille Lacs case can then be presented to the high court. Then all citizens should demand their legislators take an oath to see it through.

But the job starts with us! It takes citizen input and grassroots dollars to take on a bureaucracy as big as the DNR. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Please support our 50/50 Raffle. Here are all the details! Or call us. Fred Dally–218-678-9775 Bob Carlson–218-838-6420 Bill Eno–320-692-4413 Doug Meyenburg– 763-843-1039
  2. Contact your legislators.
  3. Ask your friends to sign up at for email updates. (Send to 10, or send to all your friends. This is a call for grassroots support!) And please include me, in your forward list.

Lets make a change!

Thank you for your moral and financial support.

Douglas J. Meyenburg, President

What fish species is Lake Mille Lacs managed for?

Lake Mille Lacs has been turned into a trophy lake for everything but what originally made it the “queen of walleye lakes” in Minnesota. Reportedly, 90 percent of the fishermen and women came to Mille Lacs for walleyes.

Unfortunately, DNR Fisheries gurus have micromanaged the lake to death, and have effectively avoided what the real demise of the walleye population is. Tribal netting, though reported to be limited, continues. Muskellunge fishing is at its best. DNR Fisheries claims both have little effect on the Mille Lacs walleye fishery.

Netting and muskies appear to have been given Pope status and remain untouchable.

My recommendations: 1) Turn the voluntary walleye stamp into a mandatory Lake Mille Lacs walleye stamp. Allow the governor to negotiate with the tribes a financial agreement to eliminate netting on the lake. That seemed to work on Leech Lake and other lakes where netting—by Native Americans or commercially—was being done years ago. 2) Make keeping Muskies mandatory to reduce this huge predator’s herd.

Lake Mille Lacs cannot be a trophy lake for all species or for all fishermen. Let’s focus on the 90 percent who prefer walleyes.

Paul Dyrstad, Barnum
Outdoor News May 29, 2015 Letters

Mille Lacs Fishing Regulations
These rules are confusing, too

Has anyone followed the fishing regulations on Lake Mille Lacs? For northern pike, the possession limit is 10. But only one may be over 30 inches. However, two northerns of less than 30 inches taken the same day must be in one’s immediate possession before one harvests a northern of 30 inches or greater. What? And for walleye: possession, one, in the slot allowance. No catching one tomorrow if you haven’t eaten the one you caught today. No freezing one until later. What? And night fishing has been suspended. What?

Fix that beautiful lake Up North and help all of the people who depend on it for their livelihood. And, oh, to be safe, bring a lawyer fishing with you.

Susan Wilson, Savage
Star Tribune May 26, 2015 Readers Write

Haven’t we learned our lesson yet?
(Given the management of walleye harvest on Mille Lacs)

Ron Schara wonders if we’ve learned anything, given walleye management on Mille Lacs: –Walleye at a 40-year low “thanks to the DNR’s miscalculated ‘safe harvest’ figures;” –Nobody at the DNR fired or transferred; and –Nothing from the Legislature to help hard-hit businesses around Mille Lacs.

He notes that “DNR Fisheries officials finally admitted their excessive harvest quotas aimed at 15- to 18-inch walleyes was a huge error” that gave us the current situation.

But “making Mille Lacs healthy again will be painful for all concerned.” Shara writes that “It wasn’t just tribal netting, by itself that decimated the walleyes in Lake Mille Lacs.” Tribes with treaty rights have nothing to gain hurting the lake or its anglers.

Recently the Fond du Lac Band–at the request of the Bois Forte Band–agreed not to net and spear walleyes in Lake Vermilion this spring, even though they had the right. The Bois Forte wanted to keep Vermilion known for its tourism opportunities, not for its tribal netting. The request bolstered the Bois Forte’s reputation as “good neighbors.”

Which Schara considered to be good news—and another lesson: “The goodwill of the Lake Vermilion community–its tourism business and all–is considered too important to risk for a few walleye dinners.”

For Schara, treaty rights “are not the issue. The issue is gill nets. It doesn’t matter who sets them.”

He points out that lessons were learned from netting on Red Lake and commercial netting on Lake of the Woods and Rainy Lake. Now those lakes have “returned to walleye glory, aided by state and tribal leadership.”

Schara’s key point: “the comeback of world-class walleye fishing did not occur until the walleye nets were eliminated or severely controlled.”

Read More – Ron’s Ramblings By Ron Schara Outdoor News May 8, 2015