Harvest Guidelines for Mille Lacs for 2020

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Landing Declaration Form

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in effort to keep our communities as safe as possible, we have made harvesting guidelines for this year. We humbly ask that all Mille Lacs Harvesters respect and comply with this plan.

The Wisconsin and Fond du Lac tribes were respectfully asked not to travel to Mille Lacs Lake this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we have asked the other 1837 signatory tribes to harvest within their own reservations for this year, there is a possibility that some may come and harvest at off reservation landings. With that being said, in order to minimize the spread/risk of COVID-19, we ask Mille Lacs tribal harvesters to only use the landings identified below. The intention is not to prevent or limit anyone from exercising their Treaty rights, but is to protect the health and safety of our communities. Please consider that before harvesting at off reservation landings on Mille Lacs Lake.

Open landings for a particular day will be determined by a committee consisting of DNR staff, tribal harvesters and Elders. Considerations for the open landing will include: weather, wind and ice. Please respect the decision of the committee as we want to ensure the safety of our communities. The committee will determine what landings are open by 9am. Due to limited creel teams, staff numbers and safe distance practicing, up to 4 landings will be declared per day. The landings we have identified to harvest from for this year: South Garrison, Wigwam, Indian Point, DNR (Pow Wow Grounds), Cove and Father Hennepin. Although we are going to do our best to harvest from these landings only, the committee may consider off reservation landings in the event of unforeseen weather events that affect access to the landings already identified. Again, we are attempting to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and appreciate your understanding in these challenging times.

HARVESTER DNR TEXT ALERTS – We will communicate via our Text Alert system and share which landings are declared. Once landings are declared, please let us know as soon as possible (instructions below), the method you intend to harvest at the open landings. Make sure you update your phone number by contacting Alyssa Welsh, 320-362-1514. If you do not want to sign up for Harvester DNR Text Alert’s please notify your preferred contact information.

Declaring a Landing - NEW

You can declare a landing Monday – Friday by noon. For holidays that land on a Friday, you must declare on Thursday for Friday or weekend harvesting. For holidays that land on a Monday, you must declare on Friday if you want to harvest on Monday:

  1. Via Google form (best method) Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Landing Declaration Form

  2. By phone: DNR Headquarters D1: 320-532-7439
    Vanessa Gibbs 320-279-9302
    Steven Aubid 218-768-5316

Once you declare a landing for netting: During harvesting season there will be DNR staff member from 5:30-7:30pm to distribute permits. You must pick up your permits within that time. Make sure you have your tribal ID handy. Spearing permits will be issued (same as previous years) at declared landings beginning at 8:00pm.

IF you need to cancel, it is your responsibility to contact any of the DNR Conservation Officers as soon as you are aware. Continued “no shows” to landings could hinder permits issued to you.

  1. Jason Rice: 320-630-2619
  2. Ashley Burton: 218-838-3379
  3. Jeffery Schafer: 320-630-2463

What to expect at the landings

• In effort to keep crowds down to a minimum, harvesters are asked to remain in their vehicle while waiting to launch their boats. Please make sure your boat is ready to launch for when it is your turn.
• While waiting in line to creel fish, maintain social distancing guidelines by keeping 6 feet between you and other harvesters.
• Harvesters may be asked to assist the certified creel monitoring teams with the creel process. This will expedite harvester’s time at the landing and minimize exposure to others. If there are only a few harvesters at a landing at one time, they may not be asked to assist with their creel.
• Harvesters are asked to keep their time spent at the landing to a minimum. This will keep the flow of people coming and going.

We encourage harvesters to use the fish dump. If fish are left at locations other than the fish dump, it creates unpleasant work for others. The dump is off County Road 2 near Whitefish Lake. Copies of the map to the dump at landings for those that need to verify the location.

Don’t forget to put your asemaa down, treat your nets and fish as you would you most precious loved ones. Your patience and understanding is appreciated. There is a lot to consider this harvesting season for all of our communities, and we at the DNR realize some of these changes may seem stringent. Hopefully these safe harvesting practices will aid in slowing the spread/risk of COVID-19 to our communities. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Katie Draper, Commissioner of DNR at 320-515-0846. Miigwech.