Minnesota - Anglers who fish Upper Red Lake will be able to keep four walleye during the 2009 fishing season that opens May 9. The new limit is one more walleye than last season and two more than when the lake was re-opened to fishing in 2006.
“We have been very pleased that a cautious approach to regulating this fishery has maintained harvests within the safe harvest range,” said Gary Barnard, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) area fisheries manager in Bemidji. “It has allowed us to gradually relax regulations to provide even more angling opportunities.”
Harvest estimates for the winter season, which ended Feb. 22, were approximately 52,000 pounds of walleye. Since that level is well below the safe harvest level of 112,000 pounds, the daily bag and possession limit could be increased.
The current protected slot limit requiring all walleye from 17-to 26-inches to be immediately released will remain in effect for the early season, when angler catch rates are high.
Beginning June 15, and for the remainder of the open water season, the protected slot will be adjusted to require that all walleye from 20-to 26-inches be immediately released.
Throughout the open water season, only one fish more than 26 inches is allowed.
The walleye size limit will revert back to the 17-to 26-inch protected range on Dec. 1, 2009. The winter adjustment is necessary because winter angling pressure has been consistently higher than open water pressure.
The bag limit for the next winter season has yet to be determined but will be based on harvest estimates from the open water season. DNR officials hope the four fish limit can continue into the 2009-2010 winter season.
More information about Minnesota’s walleye, fishing and fishing regulations is available online.