ST. PAUL  (AP) - The walleye population in Lake Mille Lacs  seems to be smaller than fisheries managers expected.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says recent netting assessments turned up fewer and smaller walleyes than last year. The DNR says the numbers are the second-lowest since monitoring began in 1983.

The overall long-term trend has been downward since the mid-1980s, but numbers of female walleyes have been stable. The DNR says this might be because walleye harvest methods used by sport anglers and Chippewa bands tend to target smaller, male walleyes.

The DNR says the implications of the decline in males to the overall fishery are not clear. It says walleye fishing has been good at Mille Lacs this year, perhaps due to low perch numbers that have resulted in hungry walleyes.

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