Lake open to fishing for all other species including bass
Mille Lacs Lake walleye fishing will be closed July 7-27, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural of Resources. Fishing for all other species, including bass, is open. Mille Lacs was recently named the No. 1 lake for bass fishing in the nation by Bassmaster.
With the ban on night fishing already in place for the season, walleye fishing on the lake effectively closes at 10:01 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, and reopens at 6:01 a.m. on Friday, July 28.
The walleye fishing closure is to prevent fish from dying after being caught and released. "Conserving the Mille Lacs walleye fishery is a top priority for DNR and the closure is happening when fish are most vulnerable to stress from warm water and high fishing pressure," said Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief.
The tendency for caught fish to die after being released is called hooking mortality, which increases as water temperatures warm.
The decision to close walleye fishing in July was first announced in March. The closure is expected to help extend the fishing season through Labor Day.
During the period walleye fishing is closed, anglers can fish for all other species in the lake including bass, muskellunge and northern pike. When fishing for other species, only artificial baits and lures are allowed in possession, except anglers targeting northern pike or muskie may fish with sucker minnows longer than 8 inches.
A ban on night fishing remains in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. through Nov. 30; however, anglers can fish for muskie and northern pike at night but can only use artificial lures longer than 8 inches or sucker minnows longer than 8 inches. Bowfishing for rough fish also is allowed at night but possession of angling equipment is not allowed and only rough fish may be in possession.
Following the July walleye closure, anglers can catch and release walleye through Labor Day. Walleye fishing will then be closed from Tuesday, Sept. 5, through Thursday, Nov. 30.
More information about Mille Lacs, including progress toward the level of walleye that can be safely harvested in 2017, ongoing DNR management and research, and area opportunities is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/millelacslake.