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As an avid outdoorsman, as well as a Dakota Sioux Native, I'd just like to say that I enjoy coming to Mille lacs for the opener even though it's about a 5 hour drive for me. The slot limit was a new experience for me since we caught alot of fish but all over the limit. What I don't understand is the controvercy over the Natives. I read in the forum that some one should stand on 169 with a sign that says will work for the natives. Do the tribes in Mn have treaty rights to this harvest? Honestly, I don't know. I personally have always been treated well by the majority of my fellow anglers although my fishing partner,who is caucasion, took exception to what a gentleman said about Natives last year. I got him calmed down by telling him I hear it all the time. I have to admit though, it's kinda funny to see some of the looks we get in the resorts or sitting out side the cabin. A big thanks to my fellow anglers who understand that some Natives look forward to the opener as much as any one else and I'll continue to come to Mille lacs for the opener in the future.

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Welcome to the best fishing web site in the world, Dakotah2001.

There is a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding Mille Lacs. I don't know all the details myself, but a number of MN and WI bands won a Supreme Court decision that upholds treaty rights that were granted to them in the late 1800's. This court decision allows special fishing and hunting rights across a pretty big chunk of land in east-central MN and western WI.

Every spring, usually during the walleye spawn, Natives gill-net Mille Lacs. Their allotted take this year is 100,000 lbs. of fish. 300,000 lbs. have been reserved for the sport anglers like you and me.

Because of the court mandated limits on overall harvest, the lake is micro-managed because the Minnesota DNR doesn't want to find themselves in contempt of court by allowing an "over-harvest" by sport anglers.

The Mille Lacs fishing history is long and runs deep. Resort owners, bait shop owners, restaurants, bars, gas stations, cabin owners, fish house owners and just plain sport anglers all have economic and personal stakes in the lake. The tight slots we've seen over the last several years have severely limited the number of fish that the sport angler can keep. Business is generally down around the lake (although it might be okay this summer due to the tremendous bite). People who used to go to Mille Lacs to catch and keep fish for a meal can no longer do that.

The Native casino on the lake is going gangbusters. The resorts and others are resentful of this because some question why the Natives "need" 100,000 lbs of Mille Lacs walleyes for sustenance. Some say those fish are much more vital to the local Mille Lacs economy. Believe it or not, that extra 100,000# would probably make the difference in allowing a wider slot on the lake.

What has been mostly discussed in this forum is the management of the lake by the MN DNR. Some say the DNR is purposefully underestimating the number of fish in the lake, just to cover their behinds. A number of us think we see a problem developing with the balance and health of the fishery and feel that the DNR is doing nothing to address it. Some blame all of these problems on the Indians and the Treaty and the Supreme Court, but, honestly, that doesn't do anyone any good. Some think that the Natives shouldn't be allowed to use gill nets, power boats, gas lanterns and spotlights. For me, the bottom line is that things are as they are and we've all got to move forward with solutions, not dwell on what has already occured.

This site is managed and monitored very well and personal attacks on individuals, businesses and/or groups are not allowed. If someone gets warned and doesn't heed the warning, they often aren't allowed to stay around very long. Timely fishing information, healthy discourse and lots of fun are all encouraged.

If you read the threads on Mille Lacs closely, the vast majority of what you read will be nothing more than anglers who are genuinely concerned about the health and future of Mille Lacs. Everyone has opinions about how the lake should be managed.

As far as your experiences at the lake itself, well, perhaps the general population isn't as nice as the folks who frequent this web site.

I grew up in Rapid City. I've spent a lot of time hunting and fishing on Pine Ridge, Rosebud and Lower Brule. Most of the time I have felt welcome, but a few times I haven't. I'm okay with all of that. There's a lot of history there, a lot of injustice, a lot of blame and a lot of resentment.....for everyone. A lot of those same feelings are evident surrounding this Mille Lacs issue.....only perhaps a different group is feeling slighted.

I'm just a member of the site here, so my words and opinions are only my own. I've skimmed over a lot of the issues surrounding Mille Lacs to save on space. It's a big, complex issue that won't go away any time soon.

I hope you keep coming for opener, because the local economy there needs your support.

[This message has been edited by huskminn (edited 06-21-2002).]

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Nicely stated huskminn. Very well written.

I hope Dakotah2001 sticks around. This is a great site. Lots of good information.

I live in Baxter, MN and just keep fishing Mille Lacs because it is soooo fun. Going there in the morning!

Take a kid fishing today!

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thanks to huskminn for all the information. I know now that the issues of mille lacs are very real and very complex. As I stated in my first letter, I have been treated very well when we fish mille lacs. As a matter of fact, If I did'nt live so far away, I would be there alot more. I hope that the natives and the sport anglers can work together to keep Mille Lacs the best walleye fishery in the state.!! By the way, I'm looking forward to next years opener and who knows, maybe even some ice fishing this coming year.

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Perhaps since you live in the Glacial Lakes Region of SD, you can part with some info and insight that you have about the fishing in your area. There is a special forum for NE South Dakota.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Be happy to share some info huskminn.!! Right now, the hot spot is a place called Waubay lake. With the flooding we've had,most notably,in 97,this lake has turned huge. Most of the big fish, 26,28 inches we turn back. Ihave yet to catch my PA but I'm sure it will happen sooner or later. Just another excuse to fish right.? Anyway, these big Eyes seem to like a silver spinner with a 6ft snell and tipped with a fathead. Since its flooded land, you tend to lose some tackle but when a big Eye hits, it makes it worthwhile. Only bad thing is the SDGame,fish and parks wants to raise the price on out of state anglers. Same with pheasant and waterfowl. So far, we have been able to block it but politicians usually get what they want.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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