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Following last week's decision by Gov. Mark Dayton to keep Mille Lacs catch-and-release walleye fishing open even though sport anglers have exceeded their harvest quota, the next planned meeting between the Department of Natural Resources and the eight Chippewa bands that co-manage the lake's fishery will be in October.

Talks before then between state fisheries managers and their counterparts from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) likely will occur, however, and perhaps frequently.

DNR fisheries chief Don Pereira said last week the important 2013 class of Mille Lacs walleyes remains strong, despite the fishing success many anglers experienced on the lake this summer.

The Mille Lacs harvest quota agreed upon last winter by the state and the Chippewa for the period May-Dec. 1 was 40,000 pounds, with 28,600 assigned to angling and the remainder to the bands.

But by Aug. 1, an estimated 38,000 pounds of Mille Lacs walleyes had been "harvested" by anglers — meaning, in this case, the estimated number of walleyes that died after being caught and released.

Only catch-and-release walleye fishing was allowed on Mille Lacs this year in an attempt to keep the harvest within the quota.

On June 30, the quota seemed safe, according to DNR estimates. But in July, Mille Lacs fishing pressure jumped to 156,000 "angler hours," from the 94,000 recorded in June.

This, combined with lake surface temperatures that at times last month reached the upper 70s, prompted the lake's walleye hooking mortality July 16-31 to rise to 16,295 pounds, compared to a relatively scant 3,843 during the same period in June — traditionally a better fishing month.

The October meeting between state and Chippewa fisheries officials is important because proposals for the Mille Lacs winter angling season beginning Dec. 1 will be discussed.

It's critical, area resort owners say, that Mille Lacs ice anglers are allowed to keep at least one walleye, albeit of a certain size, and that the Mille Lacs winter walleye restrictions are established as far as possible in advance of the lake icing over, so anglers and businesses can plan ahead.