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Red Lake's adjusted slot regulations return for 2011

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outdoors Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials have announced that regulations allowing Upper Red Lake anglers to keep larger walleye after June 15 will be in effect again for the 2011 open water season.

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From Saturday, May 14, through Tuesday, June 14, anglers must release all walleye 17-to 26-inches long. Effective Wednesday, June 15, anglers may keep walleye up to 20 inches and must immediately release all walleye 20-to 26-inches long. During both time periods, anglers can possess no more than four fish and only one of those fish can be longer than 26 inches.

The walleye size limit is programmed to revert to the 17- to 26-inch protected range on Dec. 1 for the winter angling season. The possession limit will remain at four fish.

"This will be the third open-water season with the same mid-season slot adjustment and anglers are becoming accustomed to it," said Gary Barnard, DNR Bemidji Area Fisheries supervisor. "That factored heavily into the Upper Red Lake Citizens Advisory Committee recommendation for this option."

The more restrictive size limit remains necessary for the early season when angler catch rates are high and mature spawning walleye are extremely vulnerable. During the first month of the season, anglers must sort for smaller "keeper" size males and immature walleye.

As the open-water season progresses, catch rates and fishing pressure decline, reducing the impact of harvesting larger walleye. The adjustment back to a more restrictive size limit in winter is necessary due to consistently higher ice fishing pressure than open-water periods.

"This regulation package, which has been very popular with anglers and local businesses, has been effective in managing walleye harvest within established safe harvest levels," Barnard said.

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