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Got fishing out of the NW side of Mille Lacs at 5:30pm on Friday and set up in 29 ft. and fished until 9:30am on Sun.  Fishing was OK.  Caught 10 all were 17" - 25" and was able to keep 2.  All but one fish was caught at night and only 2 were caught jigging.  We also missed at least 10 and had a handful of them halfway up the hole.

 

My question is, has the DNR explained why or how they came up with 21" - 23" as the keeper size?  I know that earlier they kept moving the size a person could keep because they were targeting the same year class.  But now, the keeper size has been the same for the last couple years.  I thought I've hear that a 20+ size walleye is one of the best spawners.  Personally, I don't care to keep anything over 20" but the wife likes fresh fish.  

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Rick

Because that's prime spawn size and they have several nice size year classes.

 

Based on past performance, my bet is these nice year classes clean up the available forage, start cannibalizing their own and the catch rate will be phenomenal because of lack of other forage with a sharp downturn in numbers shortly there after.

 

Until the Tribes and the DNR get a handle on how to manage forage balance and biomass for more consistent production it's a cycle with extreme highs and extreme lows.

 

However, the weight based system of harvest management seems entrenched.

 

Maybe in the future they look more closely at a biomass vs lake balance system as the lake management team improves their lake management practices.

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Sculpin

The DNR also recognizes that in order to keep the harvest numbers down, and to keep the lake open for fishing, they need to key on a size that is relatively difficult to catch, and a size that is not overly abundant in the system.  The DNR has a pretty good handle on what is out there, in terms of size, and overall year class, and so the "slot" sizes are established to limit harvest, not encourage it. Expect more of the same this summer, and in your lifetime. Mille Lacs will never be more than a 2 fish harvest lake, if that. 

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I have fished Mille Lacs for over 30 years and have seen it all on this lake.  After seeing the number of people fishing on the lake the last 2 weekends, I don't know if it will ever get to a 2 fish limit.

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Tom Sawyer

Well you for sure won't this summer. I can only wonder what the hooking mortality numbers will be this winter. Deep water is targeted a ton during daylight hours. 

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