- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton says the state may be able to ease restrictions on Mille Lacs Lake if this fall’s annual population survey shows its walleye population is healthy enough.

Dayton’s trip on Saturday to highlight bass opportunities on the big lake was interrupted by a flotilla of demonstrators protesting a three-week temporary ban on walleye angling.

The Department of Natural Resources imposed it effective Thursday night to protect the lake’s spawning-age walleyes from dying after they’re caught and released, a problem that grows worse in warmer weather.

Many Mille Lacs resort and business owners distrust the DNR’s current low population estimates because the walleye bite has been phenomenal this season.

Dayton has referred to the annual survey, which was already in the works, in several media interviews since the protest.

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