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Big Bobber

The Future of Lake Mary as a Walleye Fishery

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Big Bobber

After some of the discussions concerning Lake Mary Walleyes, I really hate to make this post, but feel the need to voice a concern. I recently spent a week at a resort on the lake, and several of us got together Friday evening to make plans for next year and compare notes about the fishing this year. There were a couple of items that we all were able to agree on. Number one, there are far too many 11-13 inch walleyes being put into the live well. The second item we all agreed upon is that there appears to be one or two class years of walleye missing from the lake. Non of us caught any Walleye under 11 inches long. If we can all agree on the premise that the smaller walleye eat voraciously and are easier to catch, why did we not catch any smaller fish? These two trends made all of us a bit concerned about the future of the fishery, and whether or not we need to find a different lake to fish in the future.

Some of the patrons at the resort had some local friends (within 10 miles of the resort) come and fish with them for a couple of days. Each day the locals, (who by the way fish several walleye tournaments)would brag about getting into the walleyes. One of our group asked about the size, and they replied 11-15 inches. My wife asked them to be more specific, and they replied one 15 incher, and the rest from 11-13 inches. That means that one afternoon they caught and kept 11 walleye with 10 of them being 13 inches or smaller. The other day they kept 9 in the same size range. My wife's only comment was "Did you have to clean the egg off their faces before you cleaned them?" Some of the perch filets we had were as big as some of their Walleye filets.

With the appearance of missing class years, the mentality to keep the smaller fish will hasten the decline of Lake Mary as a quality walleye fishery. If that happens, the local economy will no longer benefit from the contribution 5 cabins full of people bring to the Alexandria community. The town of Alex will not notice much of an effect, but the local resort owner may feel a rather large decline in their financial results for the year. These 5 cabins will be difficult to fill based on the week we all come to Alex. Not that it matters to most who fish the lake, but the lake, in our opinion, is showing definate signs of moving into a down walleye cycle. Some of this cycle is caused by mother nature, but a good share of this will be caused by the people who fish the lake. All of us need to do our part to protecot the fishery so that we are still able to find some quality fishing in the near future. Our hope is that the lake continues to be a quality walleye fishery as we all like the accomodations at the resort, but the reason we go fishing is to catch enough fish for a fish fry while we are at the lake. We call if fishing, but catching makes it more enjoyable.

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Stratos

I will be heading up to lake Mary this weekend. I think there should be a slot limit on all lakes of. Limit of 4 fish per person 15" to 20" every thing over 20” to 28" go back Keep one over 28" 3 day limit in position.

This is my boat regulation. I get sick when I hear people talking of how they caught there limit and when you see they are 13”and smaller. Not good

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alex1

Very well put, I have to agree 100%. There is way to much of the mentallity of well if all I'm going to catch is the 10-13" I might as well keep them. Totaly wrong, We need to let these fish grow so we can get a substatntial spawning population going. You two have hit the nail square on the head with your posts.

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Wayne Ek

Big Bobber, first I'm glad that your group had a good time in the area. I think if your really serious about evaluating Lake Mary as a up-and-coming walleye fishery then you need to e-mail Dean Beck (area fishery's manager) and get some data from him. Over the next 2 to 3 years we will see a great walleye fishery develope. I think you will be surprised at the information Dean has. We hope to see your group in Alex. for many more years grin.gif

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Big Bobber

Thanks for the reply Wayne. I have read the DNR lake reports from 2005 and 2001. In our analysis, the reports from the resort owner on the overall quality of the Walleye being caught the past two years, the lack of fish being caught under eleven inches, and the lift reports from 2005 seemed to back up our group's conclusion, but maybe the gear that the DNR is using for their counts do not do a good job on the smaller fish. I may need to investigate further with Mr. Beck.

Our concern is a bit selfish on our part. We are five different groups of people who have come together as friends through spending a week together at a resort. There are far less resorts to choose from than there were just a few years ago, and we feel fortunate to have found a resort with great accomodations on a good lake to fish during the time of the year that we can get together. We also enjoy what Alex has to offer for the other things we like to do on vacation as well. We do not need to catch an excess of fish, but we do enjoy a nice fish fry of some quality fish. We all agree that Minnewaska is probably a better fishery today for a more diverse base of fish, but accomodations for several different groups can get to be a challenge to find. Our group ranges in age from fifty to eighty three, and change and trailering to a lake that size could be a challenge for part of our group, and we need to keep an eye on our older friends.

We as a group we are fortunate that we have the same views on conservation of the fishery, and just hope that the lake and community we have chosen as a vacation destination will continue to be our vacation destination in the future.

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bigbucks

Lakes go through cycles & it may be going through one. As far as the not catching many fish under 11", I rarely catch them smaller than that on any lake. I'm thinking they don't bite that much on the gear you're fishing for bigger walleyes with or more likely are in different places then the other sized fish. Those size walleyes are food for a lot of other fish, so I don't think they would want to be in amongst them. Mary had a pretty good bite on it this spring & the fish being caught & kept were generally in the 14-18" range from what I know. To me that's pretty much the perfect eating range.

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Shark

I have a place on Mary and fish a lot. 80% to 90% of the Walleyes I am catching are 13 or 14 inches. I think those fish are from the excellant 2004 year class the DNR reports on the lakefinder website. I think if we all lay off a little (keep a fish or two, that's enough) next year and years to come will return to excellant fishing.

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Shark

I have a place on Mary and fish a lot. 80% to 90% of the Walleyes I am catching are 13 or 14 inches. I think those fish are from the excellant 2004 year class the DNR reports on the lakefinder website. I think if we all lay off a little (keep a fish or two, that's enough) next year and years to come will return to excellant fishing.

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