Mille Lacs Lake

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Mille Lacs angler survey

An angler survey on one of Minnesota's lakesTo keep track of walleye caught, DNR relies on its creel, or angler survey, to monitor fishing on Mille Lacs Lake.

Monitoring by clerks stationed around the lake begins Dec. 1 and continues throughout the winter and summer fishing seasons.

Although anglers can't target walleye because fishing for them is closed on Mille Lacs through Thursday, Aug. 10, there is incidental catch of walleye. Some of these fish die after being caught and released, a condition called hooking mortality. Based on angler reports to creel clerks, the poundage of fish that die from hooking mortality is calculated and applied against the state's harvest allocation.

The 2017 safe walleye harvest level established by the DNR and Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission is 64,000 lbs., with 44,800 allocated to state anglers and 19,200 for tribal fishing. A provision of the agreement allows state anglers to catch more fish provided total walleye harvest from tribal fishing and state anglers remains at or below the conservation cap of 75,000 lbs.

Mille Lacs fishing Sept. 1-15, 2017


  • Walleye season closed


  • State anglers
    • Hooking mortality estimate: 783 lbs. (330 fish)
    • Released: 15,154 lbs. (6,872 fish)
  • Tribal fishing total: 13,938.5 of 19,200 allowed pounds (7,057 fish)
  • State angler total: 53,166 of 44,800 allowed lbs. (20,068 fish)

Northern Pike

  • State anglers
    • Harvested 488 lbs. (117 fish)
    • Hooking mortality estimate: 220 lbs. (40 fish)
    • Released: 4,001 lbs. (733 fish)
  • Tribal fishing total: 2,834.9 of 50,000 allowed pounds (606 fish)
  • State angler total: 25,123 of 50,000 allowed pounds (6,065 fish)

Yellow Perch

  • State anglers
    • Harvested 98 lbs. (129 fish)
    • Released: 98 lbs. (840 fish)
  • Tribal fishing total: 794.4 of 101,714 allowed pounds (1,057 fish)
  • State angler total: 3,208 of 135,000 allowed lbs. (6,519 fish)

2017 creel reports

2016 creel reports

What is a creel survey?

Unlike many lakes, a creel survey is done each year on Mille Lacs because there are safe harvest limits on walleye, perch and northern pike.

DNR creel clerks interview anglers, measure fish, keep track of hours fished and count boats, fish houses and recreational craft. This year on Mille Lacs, clerks also are asking if anglers used live or artificial bait.

When the data is analyzed, it provides information about angler effort, harvest, size distribution of fish as well as insight into fishing quality and pressure.