Anglers asked to report tagged fish

Anglers who catch one of more than 40,000 Mille Lacs Lake walleye marked with a numbered, plastic tag are asked to report their catch to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The tags, which resemble a short length of coated electrical wire, are anchored under the dorsal fin on walleye. Anglers are also asked to report catches of tagged muskies or northern pike.

With information gathered from reported tags and other sources, DNR researchers use a mathematical formula to estimate how many walleye live in the 132,000-acre lake. This information provides more precise information for use in assessment models that determine the safe harvest level for the coming fishing year. The tagging project began in the last year. Preliminary results are available annually, with a final report due in 2005.

Anglers who plan to release a tagged fish should write down the tag number without removing the tag. If a tagged fish is harvested, anglers are asked to return the tag to the DNR. Reports of tagged fish should include the following information:

• tag number and approximately where the fish was caught in the lake;

• length of the fish, the date of the catch, and if the fish was harvested or released;

• whether the fish was caught from a boat, a commercial launch or from shore;

• the angler’s name, address, telephone number and e-mail address (if available).

Anglers who report catching a tagged fish will receive information on where and when the fish was tagged and whether the fish had been previously caught and released.

Reports of tagged fish may be reported electronically to fish tags@dnr.state.mn.us, by calling DNR Fisheries in Aitkin at 218-927-3751, by calling the DNR Information Center toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367), or by mailing to DNR Fisheries, PO Box 138, Aitkin, MN 56431.

Mille Lacs Lake is one of the most popular walleye and perch fishing destinations in Minnesota. Anglers spent 3.1 million hours fishing Mille Lacs Lake in 2002. The lake is also managed for trophy northern pike, muskellunge and smallmouth bass.

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