Mille Lacs Lake

Walleye lakes

Mille Lacs angler survey

An angler survey on one of Minnesota's lakesCatch-and-release only for walleye from May 13 through July 6; all walleye must be immediately released. Closed July 7 through July 27; no walleye may be targeted. Catch-and-release from July 28 through September 4; all walleye must be immediately released. Closed on September 5 through November 30; no walleye may be targeted.

Only artificial bait and lures allowed in possession on Mille Lacs Lake from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 7, to 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, July 27. Live bait restriction begins again at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and continue through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30. Anglers targeting northern pike and muskellunge may possess sucker minnows greater than 8" in length during these restricted periods.

To 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. The first 2017 creel report will include winter fishing totals.

The 2017 safe walleye harvest level established by the DNR and Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission is 64,000 pounds, with 44,800 allocated to state anglers and 19,200 for tribal fishing.

Although all walleye caught must be immediately released, some fish die after being caught. 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.

Mille Lacs fishing through Thursday, June 15, 2017


  • Higher fishing pressure than last year
  • Temperatures were average


  • State anglers
    • Hooking mortality estimate: 5,349 lbs. (2,177 fish)
    • Released: 128,300 lbs. (56,354 fish)
  • Tribal fishing total: 13,886 of 19,200 allowed lbs. (7,013 fish)
  • State angler total: 21,119 of 44,800 allowed lbs. (8,281 fish)

Northern Pike

  • State anglers
    • Harvested 606 lbs. (138 fish)
    • Hooking mortality estimate: 425 lbs. (102 fish)
    • Released: 7,732 lbs. (1,846 fish)
  • Tribal fishing total: 3,034 of 50,000 allowed pounds (640 fish)
  • State angler total: 14,370 of 50,000 allowed pounds (3,355 fish)

Yellow Perch

  • State anglers
    • Harvested 0 lbs. (0 fish)
    • Released: 28 lbs. (224 fish)
  • Tribal fishing total: 787 of 135,000 allowed lbs. (1,049 fish)
  • State angler total: 3,010 of 135,000 allowed lbs. (6,243 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.