The Mille Lacs Band Department of Natural Resources hosted a meeting at Eddy’s Resort on November 8 to inform Band members of the status of the Mille Lacs ogaa (walleye) fishery, as well as other topics of interest.
Biologists Carl Klimah and Kelly Applegate gave a PowerPoint presentation to nearly 20 who attended. The presentation covered the reasons why the ogaa population is declining, what happened in the summer of 2016 (when the state exceeded the quota), the consensus plan, and a current recovery plan the DNR and Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission are working on.
Band members provided ideas on management goals and feedback on regulations they would feel comfortable with to recover the ogaa population.
Some expressed support for higher quotas for increased ogaa harvest opportunities. Others recommended harvesting more ginoozhe (northern pike) because they are eating juvenile walleyes.
Among the questions asked were:
– What lakes can we gill net besides Mille Lacs Lake?
– Can we make a new management system so that everyone who wants to gill net can? (Last year some people didn’t get to gill net due to the low quota.)
– Are the 52 gill nets used by the MN-DNR to assess the walleye population in the right spots?
– How does the MN-DNR count the fish they take?
Carl and Kelly also handed out feedback forms asking for ways to improve as well as how they felt about the new recovery plan.
“We plan on having more of these meetings, and people really liked that we are holding them,” said Carl. “More meetings will come to discuss the recovery plan as well as to update and educate people on what is going on in Mille Lacs Lake.”