General Information about Mille Lacs Lake
Mille Lacs Lake is a large, natural walleye Sanders vitreum lake in east-central Minnesota.
At 132,516 acres, it is the second largest lake entirely within the state’s borders. Major habitat features include sand and mud flats, rocky reefs, small exposed islands and points, and sudden sand breaks along the north shore.
European settlers began harvesting fish for market purposes in the late 1800’s. Modern sport fishing
is probably best defined as beginning in the late 1970’s with the introduction of leeches as walleye bait.
Recent evolutions in sport fishing management included a number of special regulations. The first
of these was the introduction of the early-season night ban in 1983. The present regulation prohibits
possession of fishing gear on the lake between 10 P.M and 6 A.M. for about 4 weeks starting on the first
Monday of the season. Also in 1983, winter spearing of northern pike Esox lucius was eliminated. In
1985, the first special walleye regulation was added that allowed only one of the bag limit of six walleye to be longer than 20 in.
Since 1997, in response to 1837 Treaty litigation, walleye and northern pike
regulations have been revised to keep harvests below allocations. Regulations for other
species have also been revised over the years to reduce angler harvest or to maintain fishing quality.
Anglers target a number of species on Mille Lacs Lake. Year-round species include walleye, yellow
perch Perca flavescens, and northern pike. Additional summer species include muskellunge Esox
masquinongy, and smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu, while tullibee Coregonus artedi and burbot
Lota lota can be important in the winter.