Generations of Lindy Land walleye fans have made pilgrimages to Minnesota’s mighty Mille Lacs Lake, which has long been considered one of the region’s top walleye factories.

Needless to say it was a sad day when the Department of Natural Resources closed walleye fishing on the big lake earlier this summer after state anglers exceeded their 28,600-pound quota.

While anglers are enjoying fine fishing for other species, including smallmouth bass, yellow perch, northern pike and muskies, the walleye closure was a bitter pill to swallow for everyone concerned about the beloved lake.

Yesterday, the DNR announced a number of changes to its management efforts.

They include adding a new project leader and additional staff; the creation of a new fisheries management facility in the Mille Lacs area — including a cool-water hatchery; a stocking project in 2016; cormorant control efforts; and increased community outreach.

The DNR explained that the latter efforts will include a new 12- to 16-member advisory committee, increased transparency in quota setting, and the promotion of other fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Mussel Power

In other fisheries news around the region, walleyes are helping the Iowa DNR restore native freshwater mussels in the Cedar, Wapsipinicon and Iowa rivers.

Mussels benefit fish populations by creating food and habitat, but have been hurt by pollution, habitat loss, invasive species and other factors. To help restore mussel populations, biologists have stocked stretches of these rivers with walleyes and other gamefish whose gills were inoculated with mussel larvae.

The innovative, if not science-fiction-like approach is already paying off, as researchers recently found restocked Higgins-eye mussels reproducing in areas where they had previously disappeared.