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DNR seeks input on Leech Lake walleye regulation change

WALKER—The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will seek public input this fall on a proposed walleye regulation change on Leech Lake that would start at the 2019 open water fishing season. Public comments will be solicited at an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Walker Area Community Center, Monday, Sept. 24.

The current walleye regulation on Leech Lake is four fish, requiring the immediate release of any walleye that are within a 20- to 26-inch protected slot limit. Only one fish over 26 inches is allowed in possession. The limit on Leech Lake has been in effect since 2005.

The proposed regulation change would remove the 20- to 26-inch protected slot and replace it with a regulation similar to the statewide regulation, but with a four-fish walleye limit, only one of which can be over 20 inches.

"We have an abundant population of spawning age fish with a wide distribution of sizes, and multiple year classes of smaller fish entering the fishery," said Carl Pedersen, the DNR large lake specialist on Leech Lake, in a release. "Protective fishing regulations combined with very consistent production of year classes over the past 10 years have put us in a very good position."

When future fisheries assessments indicate harvest should be reduced, the DNR anticipates revisiting the protected slot limit at that time.

Following the meeting, comments will be accepted through Oct. 5. Those unable to attend the meeting can provide comments by calling the Walker area fisheries office at (218) 547-1683 or by emailing walker.fisheries@state.mn.us.