Upper Red Lake walleye regulations more restrictive this winter season
Walleye regulations will be more restrictive on Upper Red Lake following record walleye harvests the past winter and summer, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Effective Dec. 1, anglers can only keep three walleye, and the possession limit is also three. Anglers must immediately release all walleye from 17- to 26-inches. Only one walleye in possession may be longer than 26 inches.
“More restrictive walleye regulations are not an indication of any biological problems with the walleye population on Upper Red Lake,” said Gary Barnard, Bemidji area fisheries supervisor. “The current walleye fishery is in excellent shape, but the great fishing has attracted considerably more angling pressure, which resulted in walleye harvest exceeding the safe harvest range for the first time since walleye angling reopened in 2006.”
The DNR and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa jointly developed a harvest plan for Red Lake’s walleye stocks in 2006 prior to reopening the fishery that governs walleye harvest on an annual basis. The plan allows for some excess harvest in an individual year, but requires a regulation adjustment to manage harvest back within a target range on a three-year average.
Harvest reduction scenarios were the topic at an Upper Red Lake Citizen Advisory Committee meeting in late September.
“Previous advisory meetings were easier when we were relaxing regulations, but everyone on the committee understands the importance of protecting this fishery and adhering to our joint harvest plan,” said advisory committee member Joe Corcoran.
The regulation package had full support from the committee as the best way to balance harvest reduction with business and angler interests, Corcoran added