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Field reports: Mille Lacs walleye night-fishing ban ends Monday

The night-fishing ban for walleye anglers on Mille Lacs Lake will be lifted beginning at 10 p.m. Monday according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

In past years, the Mille Lacs Lake night closure, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., began the Monday after the May opener and continued through mid-June. This year’s regulations extended the closure to Dec. 1 to help ensure state-licensed anglers did not catch more walleyes than the lake’s safe harvest limit allowed. If that limit was reached, anglers would have had to release all walleyes instead of being allowed to keep two. The possession limit is two fish from 18 to 20 inches. One fish may be longer than 28 inches.

The night-fishing ban was lifted because anglers are catching fewer walleyes on the lake this summer. So far, anglers have caught about 10,000 pounds of walleyes, DNR officials said. Fisheries officials believe anglers won’t catch more than the harvest limit of 42,900 pounds of walleyes.

Anglers have caught fewer walleyes because the walleyes are feeding on an abundance of perch in Mille Lacs this year, and because of reduced fishing pressure.

More than 350 sign up for Duluth hunt

A total of 353 hunters have been registered for Duluth’s city bow hunt for deer this fall, according to the Arrowhead Bowhunters Alliance, which manages the hunt for the city. Of those, 299 are returning hunters and 54 are new to the hunt. Eighty percent of returning hunters, who have preference in choosing where they wish to hunt, were placed in their first-choice hunting zone, said Brian Borkholder, who keeps statistics on the hunt for the ABA.

Last year, a record 391 hunters took a total of 399 deer in the hunt, down from 574 deer the previous year and 26 percent below the hunt’s eight-year average.

Wisconsin’s duck numbers down

Wisconsin’s total breeding duck population estimate of 395,099 is down 25 percent from the 2013 estimate and 11 percent below the long-term mean, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday. The 2014 mallard population estimate of 158,747 is not statistically different from last year’s estimate of 181,200 and is 13 percent below the long-term mean, according to the DNR.

The blue-winged teal estimate of 34,337 is down 53 percent from last year, but the continental estimate for the species is the second-highest on record, DNR officials said.

The late spring resulted in abnormal duck migration and breeding activity, and widespread flooding affected visibility during the DNR’s survey, officials said.