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Red Lake Re-opens Commercial Fishery

US - After rebounding from a crash in walleye stock in the mid-1990s, Minnesotas Upper and Lower Red Lake have rebounded enough that the Reservation has reopened a historic commercial fishery on their south shores.

Red Lake Fisheries employees Sheri Erickson and Douglas King box walleye fillets. The fisheries plant in Redby has re-opened for commercial processing. Photo: Molly Miron

The Red Lake Reservation’s tribally owned commercial fishery is again processing fillets after more than 10 years. The plant began accepting fish in September, but Sean Rock, fisheries manager, said the plant has only processed about 2,000 pounds so far.

“I probably expected a little more than that, but weather access slowed things down,” said Joel Rohde, Red Lake Nation Foods manager. One of the delays was a heavy snow covering thin ice, making the lake surface slushy, he said.

“Our target is 820,000 pounds,” said Pat Brown of the annual catch. Brown is a Red Lake Nation fisheries biologist.

The Red Lake Tribal Council set up regulations for the commercial fishery. Those who wish to participate check out a cooler from the plant. Fishing by hook and line, they can each bring in a daily catch of 50 walleye ranging between 13 to 20 inches. Netting is not planned for the foreseeable future. The anglers receive $1.75 per pound of walleye in the round. The subsistence fishing limit is 10 walleye per person per day.

Source: Bemidji Pioneer