RED LAKE, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is implementing stricter regulations for the winter season walleye harvest on Upper Red Lake, a DNR release said Monday.

Starting Dec. 1, anglers may only keep and/or possess three walleye. They must immediately release all walleye from 17 to 26 inches in length. Only one walleye in possession can be longer than 26 inches, the release said.

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Bemidji Area Fisheries Supervisor Gary Bernard said the stricter regs don't mean there's a problem with the walleye population -- authorities simply want to relieve fishing pressure after several large hauls in recent seasons.

"The current walleye fishery is in excellent shape, but the great fishing has attracted considerably more angling pressure, which resulted in walleye harvest exceeding the safe harvest range for the first time since walleye angling reopened in 2006," he said in a release.

The regulations "had full support" from the Upper Red Lake Citizen Advisory Committee, the release said.

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