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Brad Dokken, Forum Communications Co., Published April 23 2012

Red Lake to allow nontribal members to fish walleyes on small reservation lakes

For the first time in nearly 20 years, nontribal members will be allowed to keep walleyes on smaller lakes within the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

The opportunity does not extend to tribal waters of Lower and Upper Red Lakes.

The Red Lake Tribal Council on April 10 unanimously passed a resolution allowing nontribal members to keep walleyes on smaller lakes within the reservation. The resolution also applies to the Red Lake River below the dam on Red Lake.

Nontribal members must have a nonresident license and be accompanied by a tribal guide. A list of Red Lake guides is available at tribal headquarters or the law enforcement complex.

According to Pat Brown, tribal fisheries biologist, the council rescinded the opportunity for nonmembers to take walleyes in the small lakes in the 1990s, about the time the Red Lake walleye population collapsed, and the band and state implemented a moratorium on walleye harvest.

The thinking, Brown said, was that band members could still keep walleyes on the smaller lakes and they didn’t want nonmembers harvesting the fish.

The decision to resume limited walleye harvest on smaller lakes comes after the recent announcement that the Seven Clans Casino this summer will begin offering guided fishing packages on small lakes within the reservation.

Fishing season for nontribal members begins the second Saturday in May for all species except largemouth bass, which opens the last Saturday in May, and ends Oct. 31. The exception is rainbow trout and brook trout, which can be fished year-round.

The walleye limit for nontribal members is three daily, six in possession.