Anglers fishing during the winter season on Upper Red Lake in northern Minnesota will have a three-walleye bag limit, with only one walleye longer than 17 inches allowed in possession. The new regulation becomes effective Tuesday, Nov. 1.
The fall fisheries assessment on the Red Lakes found the walleye population to be at a healthy, sustainable level with a wide range of sizes. This winter’s walleye regulation on Upper Red Lake is based on the abundance of mature female walleye, or spawning stock, in “optimal” condition. The fall numbers indicated that a regulation that allows a moderate amount of harvest is most appropriate to maintain spawning stock at a level that is both sustainable and promotes the consistent success of new year classes.
Last winter, the bag limit was four fish in an effort to reduce “surplus” spawning stock to a level that is more likely to encourage success of young fish and relive some pressure off the walleye population’s primary forage, yellow perch.
“We are actively managing for optimal spawning stock to maximize the likelihood of strong year classes, which bodes well for future fishing,” said Edie Evarts, Bemidji area fisheries supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Our fall survey indicated that the walleye population is healthy and there should be an abundance of harvestable fish just under 17 inches, and always an opportunity to catch a larger fish.”
The Red Lake Nation and the DNR manage the walleye harvest on Red Lake under a joint harvest plan that the Red Lakes Fisheries Technical Committee revised in 2015.
The DNR will determine next year’s open water harvest regulations after the winter fishing season. An Upper Red Lake Citizen Advisory Committee reviews walleye harvest totals and regulation options and provides recommendations for regulations for the state waters of Upper Red Lake.