MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday that a month-long planned closure of walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake has begun.
Officials say this planned closure is necessary to provide the best chance for walleye fishing during the fall.
"We know many people really enjoy fall walleye fishing and we heard from folks that this was their priority," said DNR fisheries section manager Brad Parsons, in a statement. "So we made plans this spring for the July closure to reduce the potential for an unplanned closure in the fall."
July is the time when water temperatures on the lake are warmest, which leads to higher rates of hooking mortality.
Also banned during July is the use of most live baits, with the exceptions being sucker minnows for northern pike and muskellunge, and wax worms for panfish and perch.
According to the DNR, this planned walleye closure is the result of a record ice fishing season, when anglers harvested nealy 30,000 pounds of walleye.
If the state were to reach its share of the safe harvest amount agreed upon by tribal leaders, it would trigger an unplanned closure in the fall. That's what the DNR hopes to avoid.
So far through May, licensed anglers have harvested 34,718 pounds of their 87,800-pound walleye allocation for the season.
The catch-and-release walleye season is slated to re-open on Aug. 1 and continue through Nov. 30.
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