Walleye fisherman and resort owners are likely not going to be happy about a ruling issued by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Monday.

The new rules state that only artificial bait can be used for walleye fishing on Mille Lacs and all walleyes caught must immediately be released.

"A catch-and-release walleye season allows us to protect future spawners yet acknowledges the desire that fishing remain open," said Don Pereira, fisheries chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "Not allowing harvest is a difficult decision but it provides our best option." He also said that even with this approach, it is possible the season could be closed this year on the lake.

In addition, anglers targeting northern pike and muskellunge may possess and use sucker minnows longer than 8 inches but all other anglers must not possess any other bait that is live, dead, frozen or processed.

Other changed regulations for the 2016 season on Mille Lacs include:

  • Walleye: Night closure beginning Monday, May 16, from 10PM to 6AM and continuing through Dec. 1. Muskellunge anglers may fish at night but all baits, live or artificial, in possession must be at least 8 inches long.
  • Northern pike: Five fish with only one longer than 40 inches. All northern 30-40 inches long must be immediately released.
  • Bass: Four fish with only one longer than 21 inches. All fish 17-21 inches long must be immediately released.

To see the entire news release, go to the DNR's website.

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