MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials say the state is close to exceeding its quota and probably will have to close the walleye season on Mille Lacs Lake as soon as Aug. 3.

DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr told reporters Tuesday that the state is already within 3,000 pounds of exceeding its 28,600 pound limit for the season. He cites a spike in catch rates and hooking mortality for the first half of July. If creel survey data from the rest of the month shows that the trend is continuing, he says, the DNR will have to close the walleye season on the big lake.

Landwehr is encouraging anglers to target the abundant northern pike and smallmouth bass in Mille Lacs instead.

Mille Lacs' walleye population is at a 30-year low.

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