It’s time to weigh in on Mille Lacs Fall walleye regulations

The Minnesota DNR just announced they are now accepting applications for several wildlife, fisheries advisory committees. They want to fill open seats on these committees, including the recently updated Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee.

PERM encourages all anglers concerned about the future of the Mille Lacs fishery to consider this opportunity to get involved by applying for MLFAC membership. Members will serve two- to three-year terms and must commit to attending at least three of the four videoconference meetings each committee has annually.

Apply online through September 16.

Try it out

You can even try out the MLFAC member experience before applying. Just call the DNR to voice your opinion regarding their proposals for Mille Lacs Fall walleye regulations.

According to MLFAC’s Charter, the DNR wants to hear about “significant stakeholder issues,” get advice on how “to respond to issues,” and get advice on “effective and acceptable regulations” for the Mille Lacs fisheries.)

Contact the DNR by calling Tom Heinrich at 320-525-3882. Let them know (in a courteous manner) how to address the sizable under-harvest (per DNR’s safe allowable harvest estimates) that is fair, equitable—and non-discriminatory.

What others are saying

Doug Meyenburg: What we learned at the last MLFAC meeting

The DNR under-estimated what the harvest number would be. Allocation is 80,300 lbs. But up to June 15, state anglers kill was only 12,500 pounds (See #1, #2, and #5 Slides from the MLFAC meeting.)

Keep in mind that about half of that was taken during this past ice season. DNR thought it would be about 30,000 pounds when they set the current regs. However, pressure, bite and water temperature were lower than expected. Even with the low number, walleye fishing was shut down for the first half of July!

The last few pages of the “Mille Lacs Management Plan” discussed at the meeting, show options on harvest the DNR is considering for this fall. (See slide #3)

Option #1: Maintain current regulations (AKA Do nothing). Pros: “offers simplicity and continuity.” (Simplicity–from the people who brought you “hooking mortality.”)

Option #2: Expand the bag limit from 1 to 2 with current harvest slot. Pros: “likely a small increase in harvested fish.” (Play it safe. Hardly a dent in the 40,000 under-harvest.)

Option 3: Expand harvest slot from 21-23 inches down to 20-23 inches, maintain the 1-walleye limit. “Likely a greater increase in harvest.” This option more than doubles the number of walleye available. (See slide #4)

Please note that with these options state anglers get NO CREDIT for staying under the allocation. Anglers can only forfeit the rest of their their quota. But going over has resulted in repercussions in the past. (Like the secretly-negotiated agreement with the Chippewa locking in new harvest limits.)

PERM considers the 25-year DNR/Tribal co-mismanagement of Mille Lacs lake a complete FAILURE.

Javier Serna: Expanded walleye take ahead for Mille Lacs?

Javier Serna, Assistant Editor at Outdoor News, highlighted one one of the DNR’s Mille Lacs Management Plan options in a front page article shortly afters MLFAC’s June 28 meeting.

He noted that, given that state anglers are only at about half of their quota, the option for an expanded harvest slot to 20 to 23 inches and keeping the limit at one walleye, garnered the most support. (But no mention anywhere why the “safe allowable harvest” even at about half of it’s quota, can’t be carried over to the 2022-23 season.)

Joe Fellegy: Fishy politics and remembering a legendary guide

Joe Fellegy, in his Friday (July 29) Outdoor News commentary, credited MLFAC member Laurie Westerlund for her challenging “guesstimated ‘hooking mortality’ as a big factor behind [the DNR’s] tight regs.” Such regs included catch and release “harvest” only, but also total shutdowns.

Fellegy also “found it amazing” that allocations and quotas were discussed without ever referencing and criticizing the state-tribal co-management process that governs–OK misgoverns–the whole scientific and unethical thing.”

PERM honors all treaties as written and supports equal hunting and fishing rights for all citizens.