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Walleye numbers in Mille Lacs lowest in 40 years

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The walleye population in Mille Lacs (muh-LAX') Lake has fallen to its lowest levels in 40 years, while the lake's larger walleyes may be having trouble finding food.

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Officials aren't sure what's happening to Minnesota's most popular walleye fishery. But Department of Natural Resources fisheries research manager Don Pereira tells the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/WG61Sp ) they're concerned.

Causes could be include the harvest regulations governing sport anglers and Chippewa netters, the explosion of zebra mussels in the lake, improved water clarity or a potential lack of prey fish such as perch and tullibees.

Pereira says it's too early to say if the DNR might tighten regulations on the lake in east-central Minnesota.

Business owners say further restrictions could undercut tourism.

DNR and tribal fisheries researchers will discuss the lake next week.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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