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Minnesota Fishing Reports
News : Red Lake Walleye Fishery Rebounding
Posted by LSF on Jan 28, 2010 (1404 reads) News by the same author

By Doug Smith, Star Tribune
The resurrection of the walleye fishery on Minnesota's Red Lake has been a spectacular success story.

Closed to fishing for seven years because of a collapsed walleye fishery, Red Lake has since reopened and rebounded with a high walleye population.

State and federal officials and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa announced Thursday that they have signed a new five-year agreement to continue working together to maintain the health of the Upper and Lower Red Lake fisheries. The agreement parallels a 1999-2009 agreement that helped restore the walleye fishery.

"The results of our first 10 years is unprecedented,'' said Henry Drewes, Department of Natural Resources regional fisheries manager in Bemidji. "Walleyes are abundant, completely supported by natural reproduction, and angler catch rates have been very good. It's been a huge success.''

The agreement between the DNR, band and Bureau of Indian Affairs states they all will support the Red Lake Fisheries Technical Committee, a panel of experts that recommends policies and practices to maintain a healthy fishery. The agreement also includes a harvest plan, which the groups have been using since 2006. That plan sets harvest quotas for band and nonband anglers based on the health of the fishery as measured by the abundance of spawning stock in the lake.

Since walleye fishing was reopened there in 2006, nonband anglers have caught 3 million walleyes and harvested 1.1 million pounds. Business in the area also has rebounded. The state controls 48,000 acres of Upper Red Lake; the band controls 237,000 acres of Upper and Lower Red Lake, and that area is closed to nonband anglers. The band began limited commercial netting last year; those fish are part of the band's walleye quota.

"Red Lake Band members are pleased that our walleye have come back, and our fishing community is revitalized," Floyd Jourdain Jr., chairman of the band, said in a news release. "We are committed to ensuring that Red Lake walleye are managed sustainably in the future. Renewing this agreement will enable the Fisheries Technical Committee to continue its work to help protect this valuable resource."

The agreement was signed Thursday during a ceremony in Red Lake. Historically, Upper and Lower Red Lakes were outstanding walleye fisheries, but they collapsed in the mid-1990s because of overharvest.

Story courtesy of

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