2010 safe harvest quotas set for Mille Lacs Lake
The 2010 Mille Lacs Lake safe harvest level for walleye will be up slightly from 2009, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Members of the 1837 Treaty Fisheries Committee recently recommended the safe harvest level for walleye at 544,000 pounds, up from 541,000 pounds in 2009. The committee also recommended the yellow perch harvest level at 270,000 pounds and the northern pike harvest level at 25,000 pounds, both the same as last year.
Safe harvest levels are recommended annually by the 1837 Treaty Fisheries Committee to ensure Mille Lacs’ fish populations remain healthy. The committee consists of representatives from the DNR as well as the eight Chippewa Bands that have 1837 Treaty fishing rights.
DNR staff will meet with the Mille Lacs Fisheries Input Group in late February to discuss the state of the fishery and other issues. Currently anglers can keep four walleye up to 18 inches in length. All walleye between 18-and 28-inches must be immediately released. An angler can keep one walleye longer than 28 inches. This regulation is similar to regulations on most other large walleye lakes and supports the goal of maintaining a consistent regulation from year to year.
Last year, walleye angling harvest plus hooking mortality was 141,000 pounds. The state’s 2009 walleye allocation was 414,500 pounds. Several strong year classes of walleye up to 18 inches should provide for better fishing in 2010. In 2009, the allocation for the Chippewa bands governed by the 1837 Treaty was 126,500 pounds. Their total harvest was 101,220 pounds.
For 2010, planned allocations for angling regulated by the DNR were set at 411,500 pounds for walleye, 135,000 pounds for yellow perch and 12,500 pounds for northern pike. The allocation levels include angling harvest and hooking mortality. In addition, a maximum overage of 30 percent is allowed for walleye because 2009 fall population assessments indicate that the walleye population is in good condition on Mille Lacs.
The Chippewa bands established their walleye allocation at 132,500 pounds for 2010, an increase of 6,000 pounds from 2009.