Winter season walleye regulations change on Upper Red Lake

Anglers fishing during the winter season on Upper Red Lake in northern Minnesota need to be aware of changes in regulations. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), there will be a three-walleye bag limit, with one walleye longer than 17 inches allowed in possession. The new regulation becomes effective Tuesday, Nov. 1.

The DNR says the fall fisheries assessment on the Red Lakes found the walleye population to be at a healthy, sustainable level with a wide range of sizes.

This winter’s walleye regulation on Upper Red Lake is based on the abundance of mature female walleye. The DNR says fall numbers indicated that a regulation that allows a moderate amount of harvest is most appropriate to maintain spawning stock at a level that is both sustainable and promotes the consistent success of new year classes.

Map showing the location of Upper and Lower Red Lake in Minnesota.
Red Lake in Beltrami County, Minnesota

During the winter season of 2021/22, the bag limit was four fish. The DNR said this was due to an effort to reduce “surplus” spawning stock to a level more likely to encourage success of young fish. Officials also say this helped take some of the pressure off of yellow perch, the walleye’s main food source.

“We are actively managing for optimal spawning stock to maximize the likelihood of strong year classes, which bodes well for future fishing,” Edie Evarts, Bemidji area fisheries supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said in a release. “Our fall survey indicated that the walleye population is healthy and there should be an abundance of harvestable fish just under 17 inches, and always an opportunity to catch a larger fish.”

The Red Lake Nation and the DNR manage the walleye harvest on Red Lake under a joint harvest plan that the Red Lakes Fisheries Technical Committee revised in 2015.

The DNR will determine next year’s open water harvest regulations after the winter fishing season. Upper Red Lake fishing regulations are available at the DNR website (