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Mille Lacs walleye fishing catch-and-release, closed July

March 17, 2020 GMT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Walleye fishing will be catch-and-release only again this summer on Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake, which will be closed altogether to walleye fishing in July, state wildlife officials said Tuesday.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said the restrictions are needed in part because of a record ice fishing season on Mille Lacs this winter. DNR officials said Mille Lacs experienced the “highest fishing pressure there in 30 years” as poor ice conditions on other lakes boosted traffic on Mille Lacs.

Anglers harvested almost 30,000 pounds of walleye on Mille Lacs, leaving only 57,000 pounds available, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

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“We know any summer walleye closure is disappointing, but anglers have told us they prefer a planned temporary closure in July to an unplanned one later in the season,” DNR fisheries section manager Brad Parsons said.

The DNR also is setting new limits on bass and northern pike that Mille Lacs anglers can keep.

Minnesota’s walleye season opens May 9 and runs through Nov. 30.