2021-2022 Lake Mille Lacs Ice Fishing Regulations

2021-2022 Mille Lacs Lake Winter Ice Fishing Regulations

Mille Lacs Lake Winter Fishing Regulations Released

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released winter fishing regulations for Mille Lacs Lake which will be effective starting on December 1, 2021.  As was the case during our two prior Mille Lacs ice fishing seasons, anglers will again be allowed to keep one walleye between 21-23 inches or one walleye longer than 28 inches.  The per angler tullibee (cisco) possession limit is reduced to 5 fish per angler (down from 10) and burbot (eelpout) are now catch and release only.

We at the Red Door Resort are looking forward to the hard water season and wanted to provide a summary of the Mille Lacs Lake regulations that will be in place during ice fishing:

Walleye: From December 1, 2021, through Sunday, February 27, 2022, anglers will be allowed to keep one (1) walleye between 21-23 inches or one (1) walleye longer than 28 inches.  All other walleye must be immediately released.

Tullibee (Cisco):  Starting December 1, 2021, each angler’s possession limit is five (5) tullibee (cisco), which is down from a ten (10) tullibee possession limit during the 2021 open water season – which concludes November 30, 2021 – and during the winter of 2020-21.

Burbot (Eelpout):  From December 1, 2021, no burbot harvest is allowed.  All eelpout must be immediately released.

Northern Pike:  All pike greater than 30 inches must be immediately released.  Now through Thursday, March 31, 2022 the daily limit is three (3).  The spearing season lasts from November 15, 2021 to Sunday, February 27, 2022; see additional Dark House Spearing information below.

Perch:  The perch season is continuously open.  The daily limit is 20 fish and the possession limit is 40. 

Muskellunge:  The muskie season closes Tuesday, November 30, 2021 and will reopen in early June 2022.

Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass:  The largemouth bass harvest is open through Sunday, February 27, 2022; all largemouth bass greater than 17 inches must be immediately released.  The smallmouth bass angling season is catch-and-release only through Sunday, February 27, 2022.

Dark House Spearing: Northern pike are allowed to be speared from a dark house on Mille Lacs from sunrise to sunset from November 15, 2021 through Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.  Pike size and harvest restrictions for spearing mirror those for angling (i.e., no spearing pike over 30 inches and the possession limit is 3).  No artificial lights are allowed to attract fish; lighted decoy fish are allowed, but must not contain batteries with mercury.  If you are age 18 to 89 or a non-Minnesota resident, don’t forget to add the Spearing / Annual endorsement to your angling license and please, for ice safety reasons, mark your spearing holes when you depart.  As noted above, the Northern pike angling continues to be allowed after the dark house spearing season closes.

Ice Fishing Shelters on Mille Lacs Lake must be off the ice no later than midnight on Tuesday, March 1, 2021.

Follow this blog and The Red Door Resort’s various social media channels (@thereddoorresort) for the latest updates on ice conditions.  We hope to see you soon on the north side of Lake Mille Lacs!

Current Mille Lacs Lake fishing regulations can be found here

The full DNR press release is below and can also be found here

Mille Lacs, Upper Red lake winter season walleye regulations announced

November 2, 2021

Ice anglers on Mille Lacs and Upper Red lakes can harvest walleye on both lakes this winter season.

A four-walleye bag limit, with only one walleye longer than 17 inches allowed, went into effect on Upper Red Lake on Monday, Nov. 1.

Effective Wednesday, Dec. 1, through Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, winter anglers on Mille Lacs may keep one walleye between 21-23 inches or one fish longer than 28 inches.

The new regulation on Upper Red increases the possession limit from the three-fish limit that was in place during the 2020-2021 winter season and 2021 open water season, when mature walleye were lower in abundance. Results of this fall’s walleye population assessment showed a wide range of sizes with an abundance of mature spawning walleye, which allowed the more generous bag limit while also creating conditions that are favorable for the survival of upcoming walleye year classes.

This is the sixth consecutive year of winter walleye harvest on Mille Lacs, where winter regulations are set after completion of the annual fall netting assessment. Results from 2021 showed that the walleye population has declined from recent years but remains above population lows seen from 2012 to 2016.

Mille Lacs Lake winter regulations also reduce the possession limit for cisco (tullibee) from 10 to five and forbid the harvest of burbot (eelpout).

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s website offers regulation Information on both lakes – Upper Red Lake (link is external)and Mille Lacs Lake.  

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