Heavy ice fishing pressure the last four years has prompted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to tighten winter fishing regulations on Upper Red Lake, the DNR said Monday, Oct. 26.
Beginning on Sunday, Nov. 1, anglers on Upper Red will have a three-walleye bag limit, with only one walleye longer than 17 inches allowed.
Based on DNR creel surveys, anglers the past four winters have averaged 1.6 million hours of fishing pressure on Upper Red, harvesting an average of 130,000 pounds of walleyes annually during that period.
The new regulations lower the bag from four walleyes, the limit in place during the 2020 open water season and the 2019-2020 winter season.
“Anglers should remember to bring a good measuring device along with them on their trip to Upper Red Lake,” said Andy Thompson, area fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Bemidji. “Many walleye will measure just above, and just under, the 17-inch size restriction.”
The Red Lake Nation and the Minnesota DNR manage walleye harvest on Red Lake under a joint harvest plan that the Red Lakes Fisheries Technical Committee revised in 2015. The technical committee is a joint panel of experts that recommends policies and practices to maintain a healthy fishery.
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.
Upper Red Lake fishing regulations are available at mndnr.gov/regulations/fishing.