Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake will be closed from Friday through July 27, the Minnesota Department of Natural of Resources reminds anglers. Fishing for all other species will remain open.
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 and reopens at 6:01 a.m. on July 28.
The walleye fishing closure is to prevent fish from dying after being caught and released, 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. Hooking mortality is calculated into the formula when the DNR calculates its safe harvest levels for Mille Lacs.
The decision to close walleye fishing in July was first announced in March. The closure is expected to help extend the walleye fishing season through Labor Day once the season reopens.
During the period walleye fishing is closed, anglers can fish for all other species. 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 muskies and northern pike at night but may use only 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 Sept. 5 through Nov. 30.