|"The Bait Shop"|
... (11-26) New Mille Lacs northern pike winter regulations begin Dec. 1
(Released November 23, 2015)
Anglers and dark-house spearers on Mille Lacs Lake this winter will have northern pike regulations that continue to allow plentiful harvest of smaller pike from the lake, while continuing to protect large fish. The only change from current regulations is a reduction in daily bag from 10 to 5, which is consistent with input received from the new Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee and other anglers. "Northern pike are abundant in Mille Lacs Lake," said Brad Parsons, central region fisheries manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "During the winter season that starts Tuesday, Dec. 1, regulations will be in effect that are meant to protect large pike while allowing a high harvest of smaller pike." The Mille Lacs northern pike bag limit is five, and only one may be longer than 30 inches. Additionally, an earn-a-trophy regulation requires the harvest and possession of two pike less than 30 inches long on the same day before taking a pike longer than 30 inches. These regulations apply to both anglers and spearers. On Mille Lacs, state regulations for party fishing apply. Anglers may party fish, and pike longer than 30 inches may be taken as long as the party has at least two small pike for each large pike harvested. Spearers may not party fish, and therefore each spearer must harvest two small pike before spearing a larger pike. Spearers cannot accept pike caught by another person in order to fulfill the two-small-pike requirement. Spearing for pike on Mille Lacs ends Sunday, Feb. 28, at the same time that the statewide angling and spearing seasons end. The angling season on Mille Lacs is extended through Sunday, March 27, to allow more late-season fishing opportunity. As a reminder, permanent fish houses must be removed from Mille Lacs Lake by March 7. "This fall is much warmer than last fall, which may delay ice formation on Mille Lacs and many other lakes," Parsons said. "Be sure to check ice thickness before you go out and as you travel on early ice." Spearers are reminded to push their blocks of ice back into or under the ice surface. If blocks of ice are left on the ice, mark them with branches or other biodegradable materials that make the block visible to others. For safety, filled holes also should be marked. For more information on Mille Lacs Lake management, go to the Mille Lacs page. For dark-house spearing regulations, see the fishing regulations page.
Bill and Emil just returned from the processor with our biggest haul EVER of wild rice! This is the real deal - not patty (the black stuff that looks like mouse droppings) rice. Straight off Onamia Lake. Some folks love to have wild rice with their turkey... others just prefer the rice. However you like yours, stop in and pick up a few pounds to enjoy! It also makes a great hostess gift for Thanksgiving or even as a Christmas gift.
...(10-9)The fishing on Mille Lacs remains virtually un-tapped again this week - a few folks here, a few folks there, a few muskie, a few northern, a few smallies and even some scattered perch. No one seems to be slammin' 'em but nearly everyone has been scoring some fish. The surface temperature is hovering around 60 degrees. The docks are still in at the public accesses.
The results of the fall netting survey should be available late next week. Hopefully there will be some clairity toward the upcoming winter season.
The new Mille Lacs committee has been selected:
DNR names 17 to Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee
The commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has appointed 17 Minnesotans to a newly formed Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee that will give input to the DNR on fisheries management programs and related issues for Mille Lacs Lake. Members of the committee will contribute to the broader understanding of biological, social and economic aspects of the Mille Lacs fishery and develop recommendations to advise the DNR on potential approaches and regulations to solve identified issues. “Group members will represent diverse perspectives and interests and provide us with valuable understanding and advice about Mille Lacs Lake,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “We are pleased at the pool of applicants and believe the people on this committee will give solid and meaningful input.” Appointed to the committee by Landwehr are members who represent a diversity of angling interests; local business and tourism interests; tribal and academic representation; and local county officials.
Angling Representatives: Mark Utne, Isle; Cheryl Larson, Wahkon; Tony Roach, Willow River; Tom Neustrom, Grand Rapids; Steven Besser, Litchfield; and Peter Perovich, Ramsey.
Business Representatives: Tina Chapman, Chapman’s Mille Lacs Resort & Guide Service, local liaison to Explore Minnesota Tourism, Isle; Eddy Lyback, Lyback’s Ice Fishing and Lyback’s Marine, Wahkon; Steve Kulifaj, The Red Door Resort, Aitkin; Steven Johnson, Johnson’s Portside, East Township; William Eno, Twin Pines Resort and launch service, Garrison; and Dean Hanson, Agate Bay Resort and launch service, Isle.
Local Officials: Mille Lacs County Commissioner David Oslin, Aitkin County Commissioner Laurie Westerlund, and Crow Wing County Commissioner Paul Koering.
Mille Lacs Band Representative: Jamie Edwards, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.
Academic Representative: Dr. Paul Venturelli, Fisheries Program, University of Minnesota.
Information about the committee structure, functions and expectations of appointed members are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake or by calling 651-259-5221.
Bass season open through February 28, 2016. Combined possession limit is six, with only one Smallmouth Bass over 18".
I called the DNR in St. Paul today to get some clarification on the smallmouth regs - the yellow "Mille Lacs stickers" that we hand out THOUSANDS of (the ones that describe the Mille Lacs-specific regs) state that the bass (largemouth and smallmouth) season for harvest "opens and closes with the walleye season". Since the walleye season is closed, we needed some clarification. The DNR says on their website that "Bass season open through February 28, 2016. Combined possession limit is six, with only one Smallmouth Bass over 18". So there it is - since the book that you get when you get your license isn't right, and the Mille Lacs-specific sticker that you get when you come to the baitshops and resorts isn't right, you must be expected to check the DNR's website for the real deal. And folks thought a 19-21 inch harvest slot was confusing!
The "night ban" is now in effect.
The "trailer sticker" that we were all supposed to have this spring has been put "on hold".
If you didn't read this last fall, it deserves your attention this week. Here a link to the DNR'S Hooked on Mille Lacs fall newsletter. You can check out some of the results of the 2014 fall netting survey. Of particular interest is the summary on page 4: "There is nothing in this data that suggests tribal fishing is affecting reproduction". If you're left with a shred of doubt after this compelling analysis, PLEASE contact the Aitkin Fisheries Office of the Minnesota DNR.