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Field Reports: New bass rule could draw national tournaments to Mille Lacs Lake

A change in fishing regulations for Mille Lacs Lake set to take effect in a few weeks will help attract more national bass tournaments to the area, according to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources news release.

A change in fishing regulations for Mille Lacs Lake set to take effect in a few weeks will help attract more national bass tournaments to the area, according to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources news release.
The rule change will allow anglers to sort bass that are shorter than 18 inches, and keep the largest fish - a rule change that is essential in securing national bass tournaments. The change has potential economic benefits and will not hurt bass populations, DNR officials say.
Anglers on other lakes in Minnesota already can sort bass that they catch. But currently, anglers on Mille Lacs Lake cannot sort fish they have kept by releasing a smaller fish from a livewell and replacing it with a larger fish. The rule change will allow anglers to sort smallmouth and largemouth bass before reaching their possession limit of six fish. The no-cull rule will remain in effect for all other fish species on Mille Lacs Lake.
Mille Lacs fishing regulations allow anglers to keep only one bass 18 inches or longer. The new rule would not allow anglers to replace a bass 18 inches or longer even if a larger fish is caught later during that same trip. In addition, anglers could not cull bass once they have caught their limit of six.
Walleye fishing closed on Mille Lacs
As reported this past week, walleye fishing closed Monday on Mille Lacs Lake, which means anglers can now no longer fish for walleye on the lake. However, fishing remains open for other fish species including smallmouth bass, northern pike and muskellunge. Since 2008, not enough young walleye have been surviving to maturity and replenishing the Mille Lacs Lake population. As a result, Mille Lacs walleye numbers are at a 30-year low.

Apply soon for Ripley hunts
The application deadline is Friday for hunters to apply for the 2015 regular archery deer hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls. Hunters may pick from only one of two hunting seasons: Oct. 15-16 (Thursday and Friday, code 668) or Oct. 31 to Nov. 1 (Saturday and Sunday, code 669).
Hunters may choose from these application options:

  • Through a local license agent.
  • By telephone at (888) 665-4236.
  • Through the DNR’s online licensing site, dnr.state.mn.us/licenses.

A total of 4,000 permits will be made available.
Youth hunting opportunities in Minnesota
Youth can hunt with adult mentors during several organized youth hunting opportunities this fall.
Application forms and more information can be found at mndnr.gov/discover or call Mike Kurre, DNR mentoring program coordinator, (651) 259-5193.
Youth waterfowl hunt

  • Apply by Monday; for ages 12-15.

Youth deer hunts at refuges and state parks

  • Apply by Friday; ages 12-15 in 16 firearms hunts; ages 12-17 in two archery hunts.

Youth and family upland bird hunt

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  • Apply by Sept. 8; for ages 12-17, and family members who want to hunt together.

Youth deer season

  • For ages 10-15; see hunting regulations book or DNR hunting page at mndnr.gov/hunting/deer for permit areas.

Take a Kid Hunting Weekend - On Sept. 26-27, adult residents, accompanied by a youth under age 16, may hunt small game without a license but must comply with open seasons, limits and other regulations.

Sam Cook is a freelance writer for the News Tribune. Reach him at cooksam48@gmail.com or find his Facebook page at facebook.com/sam.cook.5249.
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