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Upper Red Lake should be a ‘hot fishing’ spot in 2019

Category: destinations

 May 10th, 2019 by Keith Worrall  341

Modified May 10th, 2019 at 10:06 PM

Upper Red Lake is one of Minnesota’s premier walleye fishing season, and shallow shoreline areas are sure bets for walleye success during the first few weeks of the season. (Brad Dokken | Forum News Service)

UPPER RED LAKE—There is an abundance of walleyes from the 2011 year class in Upper Red Lake. The number is so high, in fact, that the future of the fishery would improve if some of them are removed.

“The walleyes from the 2011 class are now 18 to 20 inches and it is time to replace them with younger fish,” said Tony Kennedy, Bemidji area large lake specialist for the Department of Natural Resources. “People go to Red Lake because of the high catch rates and in order to have high catch rates, you need younger fish. Harvesting fish between 17 and 20 inches is intended to reduce the surplus spawning stock, which has likely been suppressing recruitment of new young fish into the population.”

For the past two summers anglers have been allowed to keep four walleyes but only one fish could be over 17 inches. That regulation did not do enough to reduce the excess spawning stock, so to take advantage of the current surplus of larger fish, the regulation has been adjusted. So this year, with the Minnesota Fishing Opener set for Saturday, anglers will be allowed to keep three walleyes under 20 inches and one fish over 20 inches.

“Red Lake has been in surplus condition with the spawning stock for years and this new regulation will help us reduce the spawning stock to optimal levels,” Kennedy said. “This past December, we heard grumbling from people who were having trouble catching walleyes under 17 inches. Walleyes on Red Lake tend to grow to a certain size and then quit and right now there are lots of (17 to 20 inch) walleyes to harvest. We want Red Lake to be a sustainable harvest fishery and this (regulation adjustment) will help that.”

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