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Gull Lake Muskies????

51 posts in this topic

I never heard, is that a done deal or is it dead in the water? Has anyone heard what is the status on this project. I know before they were talking about putting in the big fellas this fall sometime. Anyone in the know? Aaron?????

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Everything is still on hold. So we really know nothing more than we did a year ago at this time. The DNR was asked to create a long term management plan for its musky program before it went forward with any new stocking. I'm not really sure where all of that currently stands. But it sounds like it's being worked on. Last I heard on the whole Gull issue is that there would be another meeting in August to discuss it. This will be a DNR meeting, not a public meeting like was held last fall. That's about all I know. Anyone else with more info on the latest, please let us know!

Aaron

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I knew you would respond!! Thanks for the update!

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Last weekend there was a guy walking from dock to dock with a petition against stocking. The reason for his opposition was the increased boat traffic. I'm looking out at the lake crawling with boats- not a fisherman within sight. Heck...I was off by ten.

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I heard that the opposition stemmed from those involved with the site muskytroubles and the sportsman for ethical muskie management (something to that effect) I am pretty disappointed that these shortsighted and selfish individuals brought the stocking process to a halt.

I am by no means strickly a musky angler either, I just as avidly fish other species and I was really exicited to hear of another awesome game fish being introduced into one of the lakes that I regularly fish. Muskies would be a sweet bonus fish when out there fishing eyes.

I am really suprised that so many people think that muskies destroy or adversely affect a fishery. There is no conclusive evidence either way (improvement or ruin). There are studies, but even the best scientific research has some sort of bias to it. It all depends on how the data is interpreted.

sorry bout the rant.

just my thoughts

dan

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Maybe someone should start a petition to stop the pleasure boaters? grin.gif Then would the proposed muskie stocking be so controversal?

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When I last responsed to the idea of stocking muskies in Gull lake, I thought it would be my last post on this subject. However, the notion that stocking muskies has no impact on fisheries (good or bad) flys in the face of reason and thus requires a response. You cannot introduce something into an environment and expect no positive or negetive impact. My other posts dealt with various reasons for opposing stocking Gull with muskies and I do not want to repeat myself. So this post deals only with the notion that there is no evidence showing muskies negetively impact fisheries.

Several months ago, I read two articles in the WI Outdoor Journal titled "Price County Muskies Headed to La Crosse" and "UW Geneticist Assists Muskie Program". The following quotes support my theory that muskies can and do negetively impact fisheries.

"Butternut produced many trophy-class fish over 50" long until it became overpopulated in the early 1990s. More recently, body condition, growth rate, and average size declined in the face of competition for food among abundant adults"

"The muskie transfer from Butternut Lake in Price County should accomplish two objectives - reduce muskie density on Butternut Lake (and thereby take pressure off the forage base to improve muskie and walleye growth rates) and create a new muskie fishery"

" One muskie per acre seems to be the tipping point for most lakes. At one point, Lake Wingra in Dane County had four fish per acre. The fish were skinny, and the number decimated the forage base"

"The goal is a .2 to .3 range, a more natural density he said. By removing fish we will try to get down to .5 adults per acre, then see if angler harvest will bring it down he rest of the way" ON A SIDE NOTE, HARVESTING MUSKIES IS NOT A BAD THING AS PAST POSTS WOULD LIKE YOU TO BELIEVE.

"Sommerfeldt believes that eventually removing 300 to 350 muskies from Butternut will take some pressure off of the forage base. Once the forage base recovers, walleye and muskie growth rates should improve"

"Sommerfeldt also will have to keep an eye on muskie natural reproduction in Butternut Lake. Butternut was last stocked with muskies in 1999, since then we've notice that natural reproduction has kicked into high gear. We're seeing natural fish up to 26 to 28 inches already, and we're still dealing with an artificially inflated adult density out there" ON ANOTHER SIDE NOTE, THE DNR DOES NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS AND CANNOT FORSEE ALL THE CONSEQUENCES AS PAST POSTS WOULD LIKE YOU TO BELIEVE

I am sure many will take offence to my comments and that is regretable. My intention is only to provide Brainerd Lakes fishermen with information in which many say does not exist.

Phil Laube

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If it is selfish to be more concerned about the health of a valuable ecosystem than the adrenaline rushes of muskie fisherman (or lining the pockets of people who sell muskie fishing gear), then I guess I'm selfish.

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#1, Butternut Lake is a fraction in size to Gull Lake.

#2, The WI DNR admits to over stocking the lake. So its not the fish that caused the problems. Its the WI DNR for over stocking.

If any lake was overstocked with any fish (musky, walleye, bass, pike) it would it would have a bad efect on the lake. Fish do have to eat and they eat what they can.

Gull wouldnt be overstocked, the MNDNR wouldnt let that happen.

If the Gull Lake Lake Shore asoc. dosnt want all the boat traffic, stop all the non fishing boaters. There are 5 (if not more) of them to 1 fishing boat in the summer. I realy dont think that a few more boats out there are going to hurt anything. The few boats that would be Musky fishing would be so spread out you wouldnt even notice them.

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I still think the Whitefish Chain would be a much better option. Bigger lake and more deep water forage. Also nobody gets too many walleyes anyways. It could possibly make the walleyes more catch able due to reduced forage, but I doubt it. Best of all, I have a cabin there laugh.gif.

At any rate, the argument about the lake in Wisconsin does not hold water. It's like comparing apples to steaks. These are very different lakes in terms of size, depth and diversity of fish community. You have one or two small lakes to base your argument off of, compared to the evidence from many large lake success stories. Mille Lacs, Vermillion and Minnetonka to name a few. The DNR has done the research and knows what they are doing. I see many customers who form their investment strategies off of what their uncle’s buddy or a guy at a bar told them, despite what a licensed experienced professional recommends. It just doesn't make any sense, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions and fallacious beliefs.

Start stocking the skies!

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While the statement that muskies can not negatively impact a fishery is not true. ANY species CAN have a negative effect on a fishery. It’s a matter of managing your fisheries properly, no matter what the species.

I would like to challenge anyone that believes that muskies in Gull Lake would hurt this fishery. To those people….

1) Show me one lake in the state of MN that has been negatively effected by the stocking of muskies.

2) If number 1 is too tall of a task, show me one lake in any state that has been negatively effected by the stocking of muskies. However, an example of an out of state fishery must be from a lake that meets Minnesota’s criteria as a lake that can support muskies. And it must also be a lake that is managed similar to MN musky waters.

The last two posts already hit on why the Butternut study is really irrelevant to the Gull Lake issue. But I’m glad it was brought up. This is the exact study that the above referenced “musky troubles” or Sportsmen for Responsible Musky Management group uses as their big argument against stocking muskies. The fact that they have to dig this deep to find “evidence” of why muskies are a bad thing says a lot. To find this type of “evidence” they have to look at a lake that would never meet MN’s stocking criteria and also a lake that was stocked at a rate far greater than a MN lake would ever be stocked. I can’t remember the exact numbers. But I want to say that it has been stocked at a rate of approximately 7 times greater than the maximum rate that the MN DNR stocks their waters. Is this what we want to make comparisons to as credible evidence?

All lakes are not created equal. If we were to stock Red Sand Lake in Baxter with muskies, what would happen? It wouldn’t be a good thing, I can tell you that much. Muskies would not be successful there and it wouldn’t be good for the lake. The MN DNR does know what they’re doing, contrary to what many people will try to have you believe. The success of their fishery programs in the state speaks volumes to this.

If someone was to come into your place of employment and tell you how to do your job, how would you take that? This is what we are doing every time we tell the DNR how to do their job. I realize that what the DNR does effects most of us, as we use the resources that they are managing. But this is what they’re trained and paid to do. They are the most qualified people that we have to do this job. If anyone feels they are doing it all wrong I encourage you to go to school, get the proper education, go through the proper training, and become employed with the DNR. This is the best way to make a difference in that field. Although I don’t agree with everything that the DNR does, I also realize that there is much more to their decisions than what we see on the surface. If I have concerns over certain issues, there are the appropriate people at the DNR level to discuss these issues with.

We don’t need to influence the public with false claims, skewed data, or irrelevant data such as how the Sportsmen for Responsible Musky Management group goes about their business. This group is led by a lawyer with lots of time and money. So he is well trained on making people believe “his” side of the story. He’s great at putting a spin on things to make people believe what he wants them to believe. This is what lawyers are trained and paid to do. It’s time for us to let the DNR do what they are trained and paid to do.

Aaron

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The following article was published back in January in response to this exact topic. The bold face font are the main points that I would like everyone to see if you don't want to take the time to read the entire article.

...............

Balance In Muskellunge Populations

Dave Neuswanger

Published January 26, 2007

I supervise fishery management in the six-county Upper Chippewa Basin for the Wisconsin DNR. One of the fine senior biologists on my team is Mr. Thomas (Skip) Sommerfeldt. Skip has the daunting challenge of managing the fisheries of hundreds of small lakes throughout the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, under contract with the U.S. Forest Service. Minnesota anglers and other lake users should know that Skip's management evaluations and ideas on the impact of muskellunge on other fish in small Wisconsin lakes have not been published in any peer-reviewed scientific journal or agency-endorsed report. But for almost 20 years he has sampled fish populations in small northern Wisconsin lakes; and he has observed that lakes with exceedingly high numbers of adult muskellunge often have problems with other species that may be related to the overabundance of muskies. Conversely, lakes with too few large predators have problems too. Generally speaking, we seek a state of balance.

Our colleagues with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are in the best position to judge exactly where that 'state of balance' exists in the waters they manage. Water chemistry is different in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Many Minnesota lakes are more productive than Wisconsin lakes in many respects, and therefore can accommodate a greater number and variety of fish. Minnesota DNR and Wisconsin DNR biologists focus on different things to measure, too. For example, Minnesota DNR does a good job obtaining information about prey (food fish) populations with their standardized gill net sampling program; whereas Wisconsin DNR knows very little about the type and abundance of prey species (yellow perch, ciscoes, white suckers, etc.) in its waters. On the other hand, Wisconsin DNR does a good job estimating the actual density (number per acre) of adult muskellunge in Wisconsin waters, something Minnesota DNR biologists have not done routinely. So Minnesota knows more about the prey, and Wisconsin knows more about the predators. What we both need is better information about entire aquatic ecosystems before any firm conclusions can be reached about the role and impact of muskellunge. Staffing is an obvious limitation to obtaining all the information we need.

Skip and I feel that some of the statements in his unpublished management reports and draft manuscripts have been taken out of context and used to promote the agenda of a few folks in Minnesota who have expressed the unfounded fear that any number of muskellunge in a lake are bad for the rest of the fish community. That is a misuse of Skip's data and a misrepresentation of his opinions. Skip may have evidence of adverse impacts of extremely high numbers of adult muskellunge (over 1 adult per acre) in several lakes where he has actually estimated the density of adult fish. But nobody can legitimately assume that stocked muskellunge would become a problem in any given lake in Minnesota , especially if there is no information on the number of adult fish there. It is quite possible that some of the more productive lakes in Minnesota could support more adult muskies than most lakes in Wisconsin, simply because those Minnesota lakes probably produce more prey. Other fish populations (northern pike, yellow perch, etc.) might even benefit from the introduction of muskellunge into certain Minnesota waters.

My recommendation to anyone concerned about stocking muskellunge in their favorite Minnesota lake is to contact the local Minnesota DNR biologist and ask for his or her professional opinion on the number of muskies that lake could support given the level of productivity and prey availability. Trust in their professional judgment. They know their home waters better than we do. Please do not use concerns expressed under different circumstances in Wisconsin to force your biologists to abide by strategies that may not work in Minnesota. You have good biologists there. They deserve your respect and support.

I have no interest in becoming involved in this controversy. But I feel this letter is a necessary attempt to prevent a small group of Minnesota residents from misusing Wisconsin DNR data by pulling it out of context and using it to support an agenda that few, if any, professional fishery biologists in North America would support.

David J. Neuswanger

Fisheries Team Leader Upper Chippewa Basin

Wisconsin DNR, Hayward

715-634-9658x3521

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Aaron,

That is excellent information that the public needs to be aware of. Thanks for posting that!

Ben

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I do not know too much about it but I guess there is a group that has hired a couple of lobbyists to take the issue to the legislature on the side to put a halt to the proposal. I'm guessing that the issue will be wrapped up at the state capital for a little while. Thats about all I've heard on the issue.

Jason Erlandson

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"1) Show me one lake in the state of MN that has been negatively effected by the stocking of muskies.

2) If number 1 is too tall of a task, show me one lake in any state that has been negatively effected by the stocking of muskies. However, an example of an out of state fishery must be from a lake that meets Minnesota’s criteria as a lake that can support muskies. And it must also be a lake that is managed similar to MN musky waters."

The problem with this logic is that it assumes we have the capability to determine the effects of something like muskie stocking. For example, the perch and tulibee fisheries on Mille Lacs are arguably in very poor shape. How can you prove to me that these are not side effects of muskie stocking. I do not think it is possible to determine the effects of muskie stocking. This is why I was taught in my fisheries management class that when considering stocking a new species, what you stand to lose is more important than what you stand to gain. In the case of Gull Lake, there is a lot to lose. If muskies are stocked in Gull, we will not be able to measure the effects (there are too many factors to consider).

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Other than being a Musky Fisherman I have no vested interest in Muskies being stocked in Gull Lake but I have tried to follow it as much as I can and I have always had a few questions in regard to this issue . Nobody needs to take the defensive - they are just questions .

Why is it so important to stock Muskies where it is seemingly evident they are not welcome and if it was to be stocked does anyone think that the groups opposing the stocking effort wouldn't do all they could to insure its failure ? Aren't there issues like this already taking place at Miltona . I have seen true Musky hating people and they have more regard for a gnat than they do a Musky and NO amount of information or educating will sway their hatred . Is there no way to find another lake in the same area that would support a Musky Fishery as well as Gull lake but has the support of the area residents ? confused.gif

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It’s human nature for people to resist change. Stocking a new species in any body of water is change, therefore you will always have resistance, no matter what the species or what the lake.

I’m not going to go down the “risk” road when it comes to stocking muskies in Gull. We’ve gone down that road before and there’s really no facts to discuss on either side. About all you can do is look at the history of stocking muskies in new water in the state. What were any apparent risks in these fisheries? What was the result?

“For example, the perch and tulibee fisheries on Mille Lacs are arguably in very poor shape.”

Wow. According to who? Even with the huge tulibee die off we had last summer on Mille Lacs due to the very warm water temps, the tulibees were everywhere last fall when fishing the rocks. Surfacing everywhere, being snagged by lures going through the water, thick on the electronics. No shortage of them on Mille Lacs right now from what I've seen first hand, even with the die off.

Tulibee populations on Mille Lacs are effected far greater by the netting that goes on out there as well as our climate. Mille Lacs is bordering on the southern range of existing tulibee populations. So as our climate warms, tulibee population unfortunately, will disappear from Mille Lacs. This has nothing to do with muskies, but rather the climate that we live in. Will the lake crash? Not by a long shot. Although tulibee are a very important forage species in Mille Lacs, there is plenty of other forage out there as well. Perch and suckers are two of the main ones, and there is no threat of either going away.

We can go further to the north and look at Leech Lake. Tulibee populations HAVE suffered a lot on that lake. What are the causes? Netting and climate changes. And what gets blamed? Muskies. Where’s the logic? Muskies are native to Leech. But all of a sudden when a certain species suffers, muskies are to blame?

Perch populations on Mille Lacs - I’m not up to date on the latest on the perch populations out there. But from what I hear on the walleyes out there this year, they’re on the skinny side. This tells me that the perch population is likely down. Also a reason why so many people are catching walleyes out there.

The same thing happened in 2002. Walleyes were being caught by the hundreds and lots of very skinny fish. (muskies and pike that I saw and caught during this time were anything but skinny) People were worried that the fishery was about to crash. All these walleyes, pike, muskies, smallmouth, etc. and no forage. Funny thing happened. The perch population exploded, the fish got fat, and the fishing slowed down. Muskies were out there in good numbers just as they are today. If you’re implying that muskies might be the cause of a low perch population, how could it bounce back like it did?

Think of the number of muskies in Mille Lacs as compared to the number of walleyes in Mille Lacs. And then try to argue that muskies have a greater impact on perch populations than walleyes. This is consistent with all of the high profile musky lakes in the state. Muskies exist in very low densities. We’re talking about one adult fish for every 4 or 5 acres, on average. I don’t have the statistics on walleye numbers to directly compare. But it’s safe to say that if walleyes existed in such low numbers that no one would fish for them on those lakes. Take this into strong consideration when you look at what species have the greatest effect on a lake’s forage base. I’ve yet to see a lake managed by MN’s DNR that has had its forage base depleted due to musky populations.

Fish500, you state that you don’t think it’s possible to determine the effects of musky stocking. The studies are out there that show the effects of fish populations on other species. The DNR is doing test nettings all the time. Search the DNR website for some of these tests. The only problem with this is that it only shows ONE year of data. To get a lake’s history you will have to contact someone associated with the agency that deals with that particular fishery. But it’s relatively easy when you crunch the numbers on enough different studies on enough different lakes to come up with direct correlations on the effects of certain species. Bass to walleye populations. Walleye to perch populations. Northern to musky populations, etc.

Lake Miltona is a great example that people like to use that are against musky stocking. Yet when you look at the data that exists, it shows very clearly that musky populations have not had a negative effect on that fishery. Some of the “problems” that people point to can easily be traced back to other factors.

Fish500, you state that “If muskies are stocked in Gull, we will not be able to measure the effects”. I encourage you to speak with Tim Brastrup of the Brainerd Fisheries department on this topic. Gull Lake is a lake that provides the DNR a rare opportunity to do just exactly what you’re saying isn’t possible to do. They have plans in place that will be an amazing eye opener to the public on the effects of muskies stocked in a new fishery. When I heard Tim discussing the things that they can do and WILL do if given the opportunity, it was pretty impressive on the steps they will take to not only evaluate the stocking effort and effects, but the steps that would be taken to protect the Gull Lake fishery. I am not going to get into any of the details on this one as I don’t want to take anything out of context or provide any information that’s not completely accurate. But like I said, talk to Tim on this one. Lots of information there.

Aaron

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Muskycrazy,

Good points and valid concerns. Lack of education is by far the biggest obstacle we have in not only expanding our musky fishery, but probably more importantly to protect the current status of the musky fishery in Minnesota. But those two things go hand in hand. One of the things that NEEDS to be done to protect our current fishery is to expand the fishery. For walleye fishermen that don’t understand this, imagine if Mille Lacs was the ONLY walleye lake in the state. Although Mille Lacs is a phenomenal walleye fishery, how long would that last if it was the only place to go? Granted, there is more than one musky lake in the state, but the analogy is the same.

“Why is it so important to stock Muskies where it is seemingly evident they are not welcome?”

This is one of the big problems with lack of education. I don’t believe there is ANY lake in the state where such a proposal would be put forward where the public would welcome it. Those that don’t know much about muskies almost always immediately act as if muskies are a sign of the devil.

“and if it was to be stocked does anyone think that the groups opposing the stocking effort wouldn't do all they could to insure its failure”

Absolutely. Again, this is one of the big problems. Like you mentioned, this is a problem on Lake Miltona. Education is about the only thing that will stop this. But some people simply are not open minded and as a result, can not be educated. “Kill every musky” is the mentality of these people.

“Is there no way to find another lake in the same area that would support a Musky Fishery as well as Gull lake but has the support of the area residents?”

Honestly, I don’t know that there would be a much better fit as a musky fishery anywhere in the state than Gull Lake. This is a dynamic fishery that could easily support a first class musky fishery and maintain everything else it already has going for it. But yes, there are MANY other lakes in the area that could be excellent musky fisheries. Without opposition like we’re seeing on Gull? If there would be less opposition elsewhere in the Brainerd Lakes area, I can’t imagine it would be much less. The Whitefish Chain is one that many believe would be better than Gull. I’m not so sure on that one, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Another amazing fishery. The biggest reason the DNR chose Gull over Whitefish in their proposal was due to higher northern pike populations in Whitefish.

What’s interesting to note about this whole Gull Lake issue is that this was out in the public for about 6 to 7 months before the DNR held a public meeting. During this time and the public comment period after the meeting, the support for this proposal was about 85% in favor and 15% against. But yet when ONE loud voice with a lot of money and pull at the legislator makes a stink, everything was put on hold. So to say that the support isn’t there is not accurate. It’s a matter of politics right now.

Aaron

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Once again, I find myself unable to resist the temptation to respond. The time I spend thinking and writing about this subject would probably be better spent remodeling my house. My post above STRICTLY dealt with the notion that there is NO evidence showing muskies have had a negetive impact on fisheries. I was not comparing Gull to Butternut. If read closely and without such emosional bias, you would see this. Before I leave this subject, hopefully for good, I want to restate my initial reasons for opposing the stocking of Gull. They have nothing to do with muskies devistating Gull Lake. As stated in my posts from 2006, they have to do with cost and fishing pressure.

I always find it interesting that once tax money is allocated for a program, those involved in running the program will forever find a way to spend it. As with any fisheries project, there is a cost. The money it takes to stock muskies and monitor the project comes at an expense. Ussually at the expense of other fishery projects. In this age of over spending by the federal and state governements, it appears to me that it is irresponsible to add to the financial burden of the DNR. I have contacted Tim on several occasions to discuss various topics. One of which was stocking Gull with muskies. A reoccuring theme with Tim is the lack of funding for the DNR. I had to remind Tim, that stocking muskies in an increasing number of lakes does not help. The money should be realocated and spent on fixing up landings, studying existing fish populations, adding conservation officers, etc. The DNR should concentrate on improving fisheries in their current state, not conducting fishery experiments with muskies. There are already a number of good nearby muskie fisheries such as Cedar, Alexander, Little Boy Wabedo, Leech, Mille Lacs, Shaminau, Baby, Cass, Deer, Mississippi River, Miltona, etc. We should appreciate what we have.

The topic of overcrowding on Gull has been debated to death. So I will leave it alone.

On a side note, Tim stated Whitefish would not be stocked with muskies because it is a designated walleye fishery and the small pike population was to high. It also appeared the walleye stripping in the Pine River had something to do with it.

In summary, I am opposed to spending tax payer dollars to fund a project which will benefit a small minority of fishermen. I believe it would be wise not to stock Gull and appreciate what we have.

With all that has been said and no matter what happens to Gull Lake, I still feel fortunate to live in Brainerd and have Gull Lake in my backyard. Praise the Lord!

Phil Laube

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Phil,

After the comments you cited on the Butternut study were found to be bunk, were going to change the tune to the fact that DNR is strapped for cash. Neat. Muskie fishing is increasing in popularity for both MN residents and non-residents that vacation here. We have stocking programs for all sorts of fish (trout, salmon, walleye,muskie, catfish)for anglers to enjoy. If the DNR is so strapped for cash how come we continue to stock and aerate lakes in southern mn with walleyes that weren't native there? How come we contiue stock little lakes with stream trout? The answer is angling opportunities! Stocking any hatchery fish in a natural lake so could be considered an experiment, so the DNR has been experimenting a very long time with some dang good results for all species. How would the walleye folks respond if we told them there was no $$$ to stock walleye's in 08, they would think the world had come to an end! One thing that some folks may not know is the local chapter of Muskie Inc. has done a great job assisting the DNR with spring netting, boat launch cleanup, the Ice Extravanzga ect. Folks are simply looking for increased angling opportunies.

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Phil , your claim of fishing pressure is lessened when you state your against it for such a small minority of fisherman . How will such a small amount of fisherman have such a drastic impact ?

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I'm not really responding to anyone's statements that have been posted here. I've been just thinking to myself and had a few questions. I am not a musky hater of any kind. I haven't fished them too many times just a few. It was a fun experience. I don't really think this is a debate over how great musky fishing is. It seems to be a debate over resources and making some changes to the existing resource. Here are some of my questions:

1. If the main idea is to create more opportunity. Aren't there many smaller bodies of water in the area that could offer the same opportunity if stocked with muskies? How about some of these lakes instead of Gull. Edwards, North Long, East Twin, West Twin, Upper Hay, Sibley, Sylvan, Loon, Gladstone, Clark and on and on.

2. With the current situation of overcrowding on Gull, especially the lack of boat ramp space or parking. Lets make a compromise. Let Muskies Inc. raise money for a new landing. If we can add a landing with 40-50 parking spots many lake users would be very happy. Plus the Musky fans would get their muskies. With the budget crisis year in and year out it is hard to believe that the DNR would be able to afford a project like this. If the support for muskie stocking in Gull is great enough from the public than Muskies Inc. should not have too much trouble raising the funds. I'm sure that the DNR would love to work with a program such as this.

3. From an economic viewpoint I really do not see Muskies bringing much to the table here in the Brainerd area. The biggest users of Gull lake are the weekend recreationers or vacationing tourists. They are spending big bucks to be on Gull Lake, many of them $2000-$5000 per week. It is really hard for me to believe that this is the same customer as the avid Muskie angler. The program is declaring that they are trying to establish a trophy fishery. Most of the time only the true die hard muskie fishermen are trophy hunters, since it takes a little more saavy and time spent. Not so much the casual tourist that comes to the Brainerd area year after year. As far as Muskie anglers spending money when they come to the area. That is mostly a figment. Musky anglers and avid bass anglers are very similar. Both are very well outfitted when they arrive. Now days you can shop year round for musky baits without even leaving your living room.

These are just some of the thoughts that have crossed my mind on the subject. Without getting into the biological reasons I have yet to be convinced that muskies in Gull are the right decision.

Jason Erlandson

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I have never taken part in this discussion as it comes up in forums regularly, plenty to lose for me, but maybe it's time. Pretty frustrating subject for me. I know the pressure our musky waters are seeing, because I am out there 5 days a week. I also know that musky fishermen are no "small group of fishermen". I have no data to support this, but it wouldn't surprise me if musky fishing is the fastest growing segment in freshwater fishing.

The DNR is doing an awesome job of managing the lakes that they HAVE stocked with muskies. Mille Lacs is an obvious example of that.

Having said that, I am fairly frustrated with the DNR at it's lack of ability to make a decision on this Gull Lake issue. I personally think the driving force behind their inability to make a decision is FEAR. Not fear of what will happen to Gull Lake as a resource, but fear of the flack they will get from the anti's once they do start stocking Gull.

And while the lake they choose is important, I think if they switch lakes, this debate will continue to happen. They wanted to stock North Long before Gull, and certain people received death threats over that one. The Gull Lake stocking proposal started out peacefully....I personally heard this from Tim Brastrup several times. But the decision has taken too long, and the opposition has had too much time to build it's case and momentum.

And this is where we are at....more meetings. I personally don't think there is anything else to talk about...the subject has already been beaten to death. Either stock it, or say no and move on. Next time you choose a lake, inform the public, have a couple of meetings, and then DO IT! The DNR is in charge, and I trust them.

Here is something I think about often as of late. Musky fishermen are a very polite, ethical, environmentally conscious group of people. The Brained Chapter of Muskies Inc. is always working with the DNR, the public, the lake associations, etc. to educate and enhance (better) everyone's perspective on musky fishing and musky fishermen. This is a GOOD thing. And yet, I rarely hear anything negative from our club, it's members, or musky fishermen in general. By negative, I mean general complaining about our situation to the folks in charge, instead of just amongst ourselves. Our "situation" is that we have 400 and some lakes in Crow Wing County, and not one is managed for muskies. We have listened to stocking proposals for years, and yet nothing happens. Most of us in the Brainerd area have to drive 45 minutes to fish water that is being beaten to death. Still a good experience, but it could be so much better. Spread all those fish that are willing to bite across the masses that are fishing them, and the reality is that it decreases everyones chances of catching one. And don't we all just want to be successful? Contrast that with at least dozens (if not a hundred or more, I don't know how many?) of lakes that are stocked and managed for walleye fishing in Crow Wing County. Is this fair?

I am not a person that likes to complain, nor do I like conflict. I don't condone being a jerk and raising heck with the DNR, or walleye fishermen, or lake association members, BUT, maybe it's time musky fishermen organize, put their foot down, and (politely) put some pressure on the powers that be. Seems to work for other groups who are not quite so polite? And, it seems like what we're doing isn't necessarily working either.

There's my rant.

I love musky fishing, and when the season is open, I spend the majority of my time pursuing them, but I do fish everything that swims around here too. Walleyes, Bass, Pike, Panfish, Sturgeon, etc. As a matter of fact, I spend alot of time on Gull too. And like Mille Lacs, Bemidji, Miltona, and Vermilion (to name a few), I think Gull has the potential to be one of the best walleye, AND musky lakes in the state. Seems like a no-brainer to me. I say stock it and let it prove itself. And when it does prove itself, go and do the same thing somewhere else nearby!

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First off Aaron, I wish you would stick to the facts (which most of the time you do and are very good at) and not try to discredit anyone based on their occupation ie. the lawyer with an opposing view. You are trying to kill the message by dicrediting the messenger. Many could do the same with any rheteric coming out of a Muskie Inc members mouth. Remember, Abe Lincoln, one of the greatest presidents in American history, was a lawyer.

As I read the posts, it becomes clearer that those who love to muskie fish, many of whom belong to Muskie Inc, are to passionate and emotionally involed to be persuaded in any other direction than the continued introduction of muskie in as many lakes as possible. So I am again forced to repeat myself. I am going to hit on the big 3 reasons why muskies should not be introduced into Gull.

#1 (My primary reason)- COST. There are allot of people who think they are entitled to government handouts and it appears a number of muskie fisherman have jumped in line. To maintain muskies in waters of which they are not native, costs money. Money which could be better spent in other areas. To which many answer, well what about walleyes. First off, walleyes are native to MOST (NOTE I DID NOT SAY ALL) of the lakes and it is by far the biggest attraction to those spending tourist dollars. A cost benefit analysis would probably show they make the state money as walleye fishing contributes millions to the state and local economies. In addition, if you have been following politics for the last couple years, you find that the DNR HAS been concerned about underfunding. This is hardly a debatable issue.

#2 (secondary but still very important) - CONGESTION: The following was taken from Tim Bastrup "Tim Brastrup, DNR Brainerd area fisheries supervisor, developed the muskellunge stocking plan as a result of input from the local Muskies, Inc. chapter, whose members have reported increased crowding on lakes within 25 to 45 miles of Brainerd such as Mille Lacs, Cedar, Shamineau, Alexander and Woman lakes. "Twenty-five to 45 miles isn't an unreasonable distance to drive for a muskie fishing opportunity," said Brastrup. "But the issue has become one of crowding."

When I personally spoke with Tim Bastrup, one of the primary reasons for the introduction of muskies to Gull, was to relieve what Muskie Inc. memebers complained about as overcrowding. Why would you think that in the future, Gull would be any different. Gull, at times, is already very crowded. I suppose in the future you would argue that we need more muskie lakes to illeviate pressure on Gull. By that time, most will probably have forgotten this discussion. We must also bring up the idea of muskie tournaments. I understand that this is a hot topic among members of Muskie Inc. Tournaments would also contribute to over crowding. Again, you will argue, but walleye and bass fishermen have tournaments. To which I would argue, we are not introducing walleyes and bass into new lakes and then demanding to hold tournaments.

#3 (not as big a deal to me) - FISHERY IMPACT: As I have stated before, muskies in Gull would not devistate the fishery. However, there would be an impact. All the studies show that muskies love to eat suckers etc. But they also show that muskies eat walleyes and crappies to a lesser extent. Gull is roughly 9400 acres. If stocked at a 7:1 acre/fish ratio, that would be roughly 1350 muskies. If all those muskies ate, lets say 10 walleyes a year, that would be 13,500 walleyes in which I could not catch. Cost to the fishery would be 13500x$30/walleye equels $405,000. The walleye cost was for an adult walleye and was taken from the DNR. Even if these numbers are skewed, how can you argue with the logic.

Several years back, I was fishing Alex at night in the fall for walleyes. I was set up on a small point bobber fishing. Fishing was good and then it all stopped. Five minutes later, I caught a muskie. After I caught the muskie, the walleye fishing never picked up. I would say this had a negetive impact on my fishing. In addition, bass anglers (of which I am one) who have fished the lake for over 25 years will tell you that the bass in Alex have repositioned themselves since muskies were introduced. To which Aaron has responded in the past, well look elsewhere. To which I would respond, we have, and won tournaments doing so. But I would consider this a negetive impact on the bass fishery and the musky fishermen would consider this a casualty of war.

To move one, lets also remember that Gull has a number of smaller attached lakes, which as fisheries go, are completely different than the main lake. How would muskies impact those smaller attached fisheries? This no longer becomes an apples to steak comparison. More like apples to oranges.

Many say, where is the data to support muskies causing a negative impact on MN fisheries. To which I say, show me where muskies have had a positive impact on fisheries. To which you will say, look at results for Lake Alexander. To which I would say, just think how much better the lake would have been without muskies.

Aaron, thanks for pointing me to the Musky Troubles website (www.muskytroubles.com) The following was taken from their site. "To illustrate this point, let's review the Lake Miltona Data from the DNR. The first-year stocking of muskies reached maturity of 36 inches in 1989 and 40 inches in 1990. As the muskies matured, the walleye counts diminished. The walleye counts over the years: in 1986, 23.0 per net; in 1989, 28.0 per net; in 1995, 23.3 per net; in 1999, 7.1 per net; in 2000, 12.0 per net; and in 2003, 10.9 per net. This decline in the walleye fishery occurred even with the DNR's stocking of over 24.6 million walleye starting in 1995 through 2003; and the stocking of 105,248 fingerlings and adult walleyes during the same time period. In addition to the DNR stocking, the lake association also put 59,483 walleye fingerlings in the lake from 2000 through 2005."

Ironically, I find it funny that many of you go to great lengths to distance data from WI fisheries to that of MN muskie fisheries. To which I ask the question, why did MN DNR officials go to the WI DNR for much of their information on Muskie stocking. The following taken from the MN DNR proves my point. "Efforts to stock muskies to control stunted panfish populations generally have failed. Muskies seem as ill-suited to the task as do northern pike. When muskies were introduced to one Wisconsin lake, the number of largemouth bass dropped. The number of yellow perch increased while their size decreased. Muskie actually appeared to contribute to the problem they were thought to correct. In another Wisconsin experiment, muskies were stocked in a lake filled with runty bluegill. Though the muskie fattened up quickly, the bluegill population showed no effect."

Since we could go round and round on this subject till we are all dizzy, I would suggest for those interested, to research the topic and come to your own conclusion. By researching the topic on the internet and by talking with fishery experts in and out of the DNR, I have come to the conclusion that Muskie Inc should look somewhere else to stock muskies. In my opinion, the risk outweighs the gain.

Phil Laube

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You say that Muskies are not native to Gull. Someone let me know if I am mistaken, but before we put in a dam on the Gull River, muskies were able to get to Gull Lake pretty easily from the Mississippi. That would make them a native fish and should allocate money for stocking.

Let's look at the cost of stocking walleyes into lakes that they are not native. How about we take all of the money that is spent stocking non-native walleyes into lakes and put it towards stocking muskies in Gull and any other lakes that might have been native in before we changed the landscape.

There will always be people with excuses as to why not stock them. Bottom line is there are more muskie fisherman than ever and the sport is growing faster in Minnesota than any other fish species.

Why should our tax money be spent on muskies???? It would be interesting to see how much muskie fisherman contribute in taxes from the equipment we buy. We pay taxes too.

Now on to how muskies eat walleyes. I would venture to guess that walleyes eat 10 times more walleyes than muskies do. I would also venture to guess that walleye fisherman eat 10 times more walleyes than muskies do. So if we are so concerned about the walleye populations, we should ban walleyes and walleye fisherman from the lake - problem solved tongue.gif Now I am getting out of hand. Just a joke.

If not Gull, then lets move on to Pelican. Who's up for muskie fishing on Pelican?

Can't we all just get along and coexist?

Mysterio

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