Dayton to demand Mille Lacs open for walleye ice fishing

Published 10:21 am Friday, September 11, 2015

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday he’ll insist that Mille Lacs Lake be open for an ice fishing season for walleye.

Dayton’s pledge for a winter season comes a month after the open-water season got suspended early. The prospect of another cancellation has caused anxiety in the tourism-dependent area.

“It’s crucial that there be a season and it be as generous in terms of limits and opportunities as possible,” Dayton said, speaking to reporters after an unrelated event at a St. Paul middle school. “I will insist there will be one.”

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Dayton said he informed his Department of Natural Resources commissioner of his position during a private meeting Wednesday.

The DNR is about to undertake a new analysis of the lake’s walleye situation before deciding on an ice fishing season and restrictions that could be imposed. The most recent survey found the walleye population to be struggling and annual harvest limits already exceeded.