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hanso612

proposed statewide slot limit.

25 posts in this topic

Anybody else have a problem with the proposed statewide slot limit specifically applied to Burntside, Snowbank and other smelt lakes that are put and take fisheries? With no or little natural reproduction doesn't it make more sense to let the cigars grow quickly on abundant smelt and harvest bigger walleyes for the table. The state already has a one fish over twenty inch limit statewide affectively limiting Burntside to a one fish lake anyway. The intent of the proposal is to make the regulations more uniform, but It is clear that there are many lakes that would be exceptions getting us right back where we started with lots of special regulation lakes.

I also am troubled with managing statewide for a single species. Walleye is not king in my book. The best thing that ever happened to red lake was the crappie explosion. Will these boom and busts-which are a natural phenomena- end when we manage for big walleyes only? (It's the same argument tree huggers make for saving old growth forest when we know it is the most sterile invironment. For pure biomass nothing beats a good clearcut.)A statewide slot would handcuff fisheries managers and not allow them to protect other important species(lake trout in Burntside for instance).

I for one love searching for the next hot bite and take pride in catching fish when others are not. The lakes I love to fish most are those that others call dead seas, lakes were most of the mature fish are pressured hard but the forage base is heathly leaving the opportunity for a true trophy to a skilled fisherman willing to put in the hours. Nothing would ruin fishing faster for me than if everyone were catching 10 pound walleyes. A trophy is a trophy only in relation to others.

Instead of looking for a magic one size fits all, I would love to see more resources going to protecting the watershed- enforcing set backs of sewage, buffering of inlets, limits on fertillizer- and most of all Mercury. Where is the outrage that we can't even eat the few big fish we catch. Healthy lakes take care of themselves, species will find a way to fill the void but only if the base is healthy. Thanks, Hans

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I enjoyed your comments. What is your source for the "proposed statewide slot limit"? I'll read it over and perhaps return here and post my thoughts. I don't think Snowbank is a put-and-take operation. My last check of the DNR's website showed it hadn't been stocked in several years (but perhaps their info is not complete) and I'm sure it does not have smelt. Please correct me if I am wrong about this.

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You're right, zappy, no smelt in Snowbank, according to DNR surveys. Hope they don't get there. Plenty of natural walleye and laker reproduction in Snowbank.

I would like to have fished Burntside before the smelt were introduced all those decades ago and the lakers and walleyes and cisco had good natural reproduction.

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Sorry for the mistake on Snowbank, my bad. I think the point is still a good one. There are lakes where managing for walleyes would be in direct conflict with managing for other species. The list of these exception lakes would soon be as large as the list of special regulation today.

I would like to read the source document from the DNR round table. I just read an article in the Outdoor News where they also discused dropping the possesion limit to four and changing the date of the opener. I have seen many discusions on other threads about limit and opener changes but very few on the slot following the article three weeks ago. I hope it is not a serious consideration. I hope the reason I'm not hearing more of an outcry about it is that I made more out of the article than was intended.(highly possible)

I think there are many crappie fisherman out there who would love to see intense magagement for crappies. With mercury and PCB contamination a real problem, I know I would like to be feeding my family more crappies. I also know of many river systems with minimum length limits for walleyes and to change them now would only convince me further that we are not using science but public opinion to make our fisheries management decisions.

After reading my other thread, my words on old growth forest came out to harshly for the point I was making. Old growth needs way more protection than we are giving it, but there is a need for burn areas and clearcuts-just like there is a need to protect special populations of fish other than walleyes.

I would appreciate any links that would clarify these proposals. Sorry about the fact check, bad grammer and punctuation, and horrible spelling(hey I'm just doing this because I can't be fishing) Thanks, Hans.

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Hans, I think this is a good discussion, and I'd be very interested in some specific examples of how you believe managing for walleyes could be a negative for lake trout in lakes shared by both species.

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I think the DNR management for walleyes has turned much more to a trophy production focus, than a 'eater' focus.

It makes sense, it is better for tourim, likely cheaper when you dont have to stock as many walleyes, and encourages C&R and selective harvest management practices, besides it eliminates the confusion of fisherman which has to make enforcement much easier.

As a fisherman I would much rather catch 28 inch walleye than 18, even if there are a couple less.

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I'm not a fisheries biologist, but would love to read more peer reviewed research with statistically significant sample sizes with reproduceable results. I assume that if there were a lot of it out the DNR would roll it out. The problem is with control groups(comparing aples and oranges) and then universally generalizing from these small underfunded studies. Weather and forage availabilty often do more to predict year class success than harvest levels and carryover making any attempts to play god futile anyway. That said, I am in favor of harvest limits. It just seems intuitively obvious that all lakes are not the same, nor are the desires of fisherman.Therfore, regulations should not be the same for every of lake regardless of type. Some lakes are known as trophy fisheries and others as super fertile with almost unlimited reproduction potential(Devils Lake,ND). Doesn't it make sense to manage lakes for the type of fishery they are most suited? Who best to deside- the resorter or the fisheries manager?

To answer your question of an example of species competing,look at smelt and whitefish in Burntside. I can imagine a case where walleyes could be stocked in suffient numbers to impact lake trout either through predation or compitition. With global warming and increasing year round sewage a successfull yearclass of walleyes could be just the tiping point for lakers. It makes sense to manage the few two story lakes for the rareity of there habitat vs. the ease of reading the regulations. What works on Millacs might be a disaster here. Let's let the professionals make these type of desisions.

To be brutily honest, I love Burntside just the way it is but find it really hard to catch a walleye under 20 inches. Thanks, Hans.

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Thanks for the perspective, Hans. I totally agree that it's better for the fishery itself to manage them individually.

In the "for what it's worth" category, comments the DNR made about Burntside after the 2005 assessment indicate that natural laker reproduction appears to be strengthening. I'd expect that to be updated this year or next year and will eagerly await what the DNR has to offer. I'm also interested in the evolution of the Bside smelt population. Typically, smelt get introduced and explode in numbers in a short period of time with enough forage, than may level off and eventually decline. Interesting to see if smelt numbers may have actually started to drop. It's sure possible. Not that it's so easy to gauge, and of course there still are smelt all over the place on the electronics.

Not that fisheries biologists are always right, but they are the pros who are trained to know their onions, and it's always worth hearing their interpretation of the data.

I'll include those comments here. It's pretty long but offers some interesting perspectives.

*************

Status of the Fishery (as of 07/18/2005)

Burntside Lake is in Ecological Lake Class 2, which consists of 15 lakes in northeast Minnesota that are very large and deep, have irregular shoreline shapes, and have clear and soft (unmineralized) water. Burntside Lake is smaller and has clearer water than typical for this lake class.

Burntside Lake was thermally stratified on 07/18/2005 with surface temperatures about 76 F and bottom temperatures about 43 F. Good oxygen for trout (more than 5 ppm) was retained to the bottom in each of the three basins (North Arm, East End, West End) of this lake. The water quality in 2005 was similar to previous investigations on this lake that showed Burntside Lake was an oligotrophic lake with excellent water quality and low water fertility.

Fish populations in 2005 were investigated with twelve stratified deep water standard gillnets and with twelve deep water smelt gillnets. The stratified deep water standard gillnets were set in water depths of 60-93 ft, where the temperatures were 43-47 F. Twenty one previous deep water gillnet investigations have been conducted on Burntside Lake, dating back to 1950. The deep smelt gillnets were set in water depths of 24-90 ft, where the temperatures were 43-64 F. Annual smelt gillnetting has been conducted in Burntside Lake since 1987.

SMELT POPULATION

Smelt were first observed in Burntside Lake in 1970 and a variety of nets were used to catch smelt through the mid 1980's. Regular smelt assessment gillnetting began in 1987 at standard locations (two nets in each of the three basins on Burntside Lake: North Arm, East End, West End), with nets that were 6 ft x 100 ft with 1/2" bar mesh multifilament, and 6 ft x 150 ft or 200 ft x 3/8" bar mesh multifilament mesh. Standard smelt nets (200 ft x 6 ft, with one 100 ft panel of 3/8" bar mesh multifilament nylon and one 100 ft panel of 1/2" bar mesh multifilament nylon) were introduced in 1992 and previous 3/8" bar mesh net catches were converted to 100 ft equivalents for purposes of comparison with the new nets. Two mid depth smelt nets were added to each basin in 1998 to ensure that the entire water column from the thermocline (at about 30 ft) to deep water was sampled.

These smelt gillnet investigations showed that smelt catches averaged 130/standard smelt net from 1987 through 1995. Smelt numbers then declined, averaging 35/standard smelt net from 1996 through 2005. The 2005 smelt catch was 12/standard smelt net. Smelt numbers in 2005 were evenly distributed in each of the three basins of Burntside Lake, in contrast to previous investigations where fewer smelt were found in the North Arm. Seventy seven percent of the smelt captured in 2005 were caught in the 3/8" bar mesh, which was fewer than the 92-99 percent captured in the 3/8" bar mesh in recent smelt investigations on this lake. Smelt sizes in 2005 averaged 5.2"; the largest was 8.5".

Also captured in the smelt gillnets in 2005 were three slimy sculpin, one large (26") lake whitefish, and four lake trout. All of the lake trout were larger fish (21-23") that had been caught by their teeth and jaws. All were fin-clipped, indicating they had been stocked as yearlings.

OTHER COLD WATER FISH POPULATIONS

Lake trout have been stocked into Burntside Lake since 1912. Since 1988 about 70,000 Gillis Lake strain lake trout yearlings have been stocked in Burntside Lake every other year. Since 1984 all stocked lake trout have been fin-clipped for later identification, to determine their survival and growth, and to monitor for the presence of unclipped trout that were produced by natural reproduction.

Lake trout numbers in 2005 (1.9/gillnet) were similar to the median catch of 2.1/gillnet in all deep water investigations on this lake. By weight, the lake trout catch in 2005 of 4.5 lb/gillnet was higher than the median catch of 3.2 lb/gillnet in all deep water investigations on this lake. Lake trout sizes in 2005 averaged 15.9" (2.3 lb), which was larger than the average size of 15.1" in all investigations on this lake. The largest lake trout captured in 2005 was 29.1". Nine of 23 lake trout stomachs examined in 2005 were empty, eleven contained smelt, two contained slimy sculpins, and one contained unidentified fish remains. No diseases or parasites were observed on any of the lake trout examined in 2005.

Of the 27 lake trout captured in the standard deep gillnets and the smelt nets in 2005, 17 were fin clipped, indicating they had been stocked. Nine of ten unclipped lake trout were aged using their otoliths. The remaining unclipped trout was a large individual (29.1") that was released alive.

Of the nine unclipped lake trout, two (8.2", 8.8") were age two, from the 2003 year class (a year class that was stocked). Two trout (10.3", 11.9") were age three, from the 2002 year class (a non-stocked year class). One trout (15.7") was age four, from the 2001 year class (a stocked year class). One trout (22.7") was age six, from the 1999 year class (a stocked year class). Three trout (23.2" - 25.4") were age seven (a non-stocked year class). The presence of these young, unclipped trout indicates that natural recruitment of lake trout is occurring. The proportion of naturally produced lake trout in the deep gillnet and smelt gillnet catches has increased in recent investigations, from 11 percent (3 of 27) in 2001, to 23 percent (6 of 26) in 2003, and to 33 percent (9 of 27) in 2005.

Sixteen of the 17 fin clipped lake trout had clips identifying year classes that could reasonably be assigned to the fish based on their lengths. Four trout were from the 2003 year class stocked in 2004 and averaged 10.1" (range: 7.7-11.3"); they were somewhat larger than the two unclipped (8.2" & 8.8") trout from the same year class, perhaps because of faster growth in the hatchery of the stocked yearlings. For older trout, growth rates were similar for stocked and non-stocked fish. Six trout were from the 2001 year class stocked in 2002 and averaged 14.0" (range: 10.3-15.6"). Five trout were from the 1999 year class stocked in 2000 and averaged 21.0" (range: 19.9-22.0"). One trout was from the 1997 year class stocked in 1998 and was 23.6". All of these lake trout, stocked or naturally produced, had growth rates that were faster than the median for lake trout lakes in the Tower Fisheries Management Area.

The lake whitefish population in 2005 continued a trend of nonexistent recruitment, resulting in declining numbers and increasing sizes. Whitefish numbers in Burntside Lake averaged 9.5/deep gillnet from 1950 through 1981, declined to an average of 5.2/deep gillnet through 1985, then gradually declined to the 2005 catch of 1.2/gillnet. Whitefish sizes gradually increased during this time, from an average of 14.1" in the first two investigations, to an average of 24.6" in 2005. No whitefish under 22" were caught in 2005.

Cisco have apparently been extirpated from Burntside Lake. An average of 4.1 cisco/deep gillnet were captured from 1950 through 1986. Cisco numbers then gradually declined, and no cisco have been captured in the last four deep water gillnet assessments.

We feel that the introduction of smelt has resulted in the nearly total failure of natural recruitment of walleye, lake whitefish, and cisco in Burntside Lake. Lake trout natural reproduction was also poor and has only recently showed some signs of rebounding. These are all cold water spawning species that do not nest or otherwise protect their eggs or young following spawning. The literature has many examples of similar recruitment failures in lakes stocked with smelt (e.g. Evans and Loftus, 1987. Colonization of inland lakes in the Great Lakes region by rainbow smelt. International Symposium of Stocks Assessment and Yield Prediction. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Vol. 44, Supplement 2:249-266). The mechanisms by which smelt affect recruitment of other species may be direct (by preying on eggs or young fish) or indirect (by competing with these species for forage, particularly invertebrate forage). The apparent decline in the smelt populations in Burntside Lake, if real and large enough, may result in an increase in natural recruitment of the affected species.

For Additional Information

Area Fisheries Supervisor:

650 HWY 169

TOWER, MN 55790

(218) 753-2580

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Thanks for the information that's the kind of hard data I thrive on. Now interpreting it is another thing. I've been watching all the un-finclipped lakers go back down the hole in recent posts. I also have anecdotal evidence of naturaly reproducing lakers and have caught many different length walleyes from the same school. I've heard deep water fish are hard to survey and with all the smelt there are palagic walleyes all over. These open water fish are also hard to survey(catch too). I think Burntside is as healthy a fishery as its going to be, awesome in most respects. So, if it's not broken don't fix it!

I think the argument of keeping the regulations consistant in order to aid the casual fisherman(I've yet to meet one yet) or to make enforcement easier is an insult to law abiding fisherman. Minnesota has some of the most knowledgable fisherman in the country and all of us are capable of keeping up with regulations. I also think our CO's need no help identifying what kind and how long a fish fillet is. These rules of pinching a tail and what fish fillet you have to keep a patch of skin on are the ones that complicate it for the tourist. These rules designed to keep us honest only inconvience ethical fisherman. and we all know the cheats are going to do whatever they want anyway. Trying to stop the unstopable is no way to set policy or do fisheries management. It's a slap in the face to those of us who are already conservation minded and I think that's most of us or we would be seeing way more fine revinue.(any hard data on fine totals for the year?) Just my 2 cents worth.

I grew up fishing giant flatheads on the ST Croix and my eye is always drawn to your user name- stfcatfish. What's the story? Thanks, Hans.

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I grew up fishing channel cats on the Red River near Grand Forks, N.D., and it was a natural handle.

I haven't fished cats for several years now, but the inclination is still there. Trouble is, the laker bug that bit me six years ago hasn't let go yet. grin.gifgrin.gif

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 Quote:
think the DNR management for walleyes has turned much more to a trophy production focus, than a 'eater' focus.

This is because the bigger fish produce more eggs. In order to have more eater fish you need to have more eggs.

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I just picked up a copy of In-Fisherman's 2008 Walleye Guide. Great read. In their Science Factors section, they cited a South Dakota State study that measured the relationship of filet size in weight to the size of the fish. Their findings have some relevant info to our discusion of statewide limits and what fish are best to keep on Burntside.

Willis and VanZee found that a 14 inch walleye weighing close to a pound produces about a .3 pound of fillets(A restaurant size portion is .4 pounds) Fillet weights climb quickly as fish length increases. A 22 inch walleye produces about 1.5 pounds of fillet. If an angler harvesst two 13 inch walleyes their four fillets weigh .44 of a pound. One 16 inch fish walleye produces more fillet weight than the two 13 in fish. One 19 inch fish produces as much meat as four 13 inch fish.

In a lake with very little natural reproduction it is very clear that it makes more sense to havest one 19 inch fish than four 13 inch fish. Even when the the fucundity of a 19 inch fish is taken into consideration the sheer numbers of smaller fish needed to make up the same fillet weight negates the marginal number of eggs of the larger fish.

I think this study would apply to lake trout as well but couldn't find the data.

Just an observation-most of us wide body fisherman eat three times the suggested serving size. I'm not saying it is right, but after a long day on the ice I understand. Thanks, Hans

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I think sometimes we get ahead of ourselves. Their is a difference between proposed and actually any serious thought on the idea of this doing. A statewide slot that would be the same everywhere would be a very bad idea, because of growth rate difference and maximum size potential varies extremely. Some lakes can only grow McDonald fish.

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I love the one over twenty four rule, but remeber how quicky it changed to one over twenty. I was not aware of any public comment period on this change. I know I'm way out in front of this issue, but believe strongly enough that 20 inchers are exactly the fish we want to be keeping on Burntside.(see above study)

The same magazine had a great article on the effects of global warming on walley/lake trout lakes, making the same points I made above about competition of species. I don't think it's the stongest arguement, but one of many against a state wide slot.

I wish I had some fishing stories to share but I don't-hence my yearly rant on politics when ever all the new rules come out.

Keep the great photos coming for those of us stuck down here. Thanks, Hans.

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IMO, the one eye over 20" is sound management. That change didn't effect me none the least because I had evolved long ago to letting those large spawners swim, so that was easy for me to accept. This rule allows the angler the opportunity to take home a trophy.

The idea is let the spawners go to reproduce and take the younger fish. As long as you don't take more then the lake is capable of putting out then it works well.

I would much rather see that because it evens the harvest out as opposed to a slot that targets only a couple year classes.

I haven't fished any lakes between Duluth to the Canada border where any larger walleye year classes dominate a lake. So its my observation that protecting the larger eyes is working.

Are there some lakes where the balance leans toward mature eyes and less younger year classes. I'm sure there but lets look at those lakes. Most would either have no natural recruitment or

they have slots.

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Personally, in lakes that have natural reproduction I would like to see a protected slot of 20 - 28 inches with 1 over 28 inches. This allows a person to keep one to put on the wall and allows most of the adult females to survive and spawn.

I practice this even though it isn't a law on most lakes, anything over 20 inches goes back.

As far as lakes were no natural reproduction occurs, that is a whole different story. Obviously there is no need to protect the spawning females unless you want to have a trophy fishery. However, even in these lakes, I would rather release a fish over 20 inches in the hopes it will grow to be a 30 incher. But that is just my personal opinion, I can understand keeping larger fish from these lakes to take home for supper.

Thus, because lakes can be so different, I do not think a statewide slot is a good idea.

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I like the one over 20" rule. There is no need to take more than that according to the South Dak. study. But what I think it implies, is that if we want a meal, one 20" is the way to go. Then four little ones get the chance to grow into a trophy. I'm not advocating taking a limit of bigger fish just one 20". If a statewide slot is imposed many people will be keeping many more smaller fish. In Burntside the trick isn't to get 20 inches to trophies, the smelt take care of that, the trick is to get more little ones past prey size. I think four fish at 13 inches have a better chance to make it to a 30" than one 20" The slot is great for the vast majority of lakes but is backwards for Burntside.

The biggest concern I have with the state wide slot is all the practicle implications- like not being able to throw your fish on the ice or the might freeze and can't be measured, or not being abale to transport fish in a way that preserves the flavor(walleyes greatest asset).

It also puts at risk many great tradtions like spear fishing or any other method of taking fish that could kill it. I can see a real push to outlaw bobber fishing with suckers or lindy rigging with bait because we might catch too many fish outside the slot that are wounded but can't be kept. Thanks for the great debate, Hans.

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The one over twenty rule is alright, but most ppl will probably keep that one over 20 plus three 14 inchers. So that would probably not be better then 4 14 inchers would it? If the slot kept you from keeping fish from lets say 19-26 inches. A lot of people are not going to catch one over 26 to keep if they even wanted to. A lot of people dont look at the one 20 and say its enough versus keeping their limit so they can enjoy meals at a later time.

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hanso612,

I think I will have to disagree with you on you opinion that 4, 13-inch fish have a better shot at gettng to 30 inches than a 20 inch fish. In northern MN, it takes many years for a 13-inch fish to reach 20 inches because growth rates are generally pretty slow. I am not sure of the percentage of 13-inch fish that actually make it to 20 inches but I would guess it is pretty low when you factor in predation by other fish, birds, humans, etc and possible other mortality such as disease. My guess is that far less than 25% of 13-inchers ever see 20 inches.

Burntside may be a different story because of all the smelt and, from what I hear being I have never fished Burntside, the fish that are caught are usually larger fish. So human induced mortality on 13-inchers may not be too great.

Just my thoughts.

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Grousehunter, I absolutly agree with you, that that's what people would do. That's why on Burntside a 15 inch minimum with only one over 25 is the option that makes the most sense. The eaters get to harvest fish at a size that maximizes the filets without harming the resource and many fish are left for the trophy guys.

I have no study to back up my suspition that one of 4 medium size fish has a better chance of making it to 30" than one 20". Burntside is high in the fourth quartile for growth rates and my own experience shows that the fish are exceptionaly large for there age. The palegic nature of Burtside walleye make them very hard to catch especially for casual anglers,so fishing pressure is minimal. This is a very unique lake and large enough to warrant its own special regulations.

Slots are a well intentioned way of limiting harvest and have been succeesful, but at what cost? The sheer fact that fish must be accuratly measured and kept in a state where a CO can check that measurement has made for an enforcement nightmare. One that has lots of negative consequences for the average fisherman some enfringing on civil liberties and other just practical. The fact that we are here debating what is best for the individual fisheries is proof that most of us- through education-can find out the best option for our lakes and voluntarily do it. We are also able to easily tell if our neighbor is over number limit but it would be very intrusive to ask to see a measurement. We can-and most of us do- police ourselves on this issue.

The hardest part is when I'm trying to teach my three boys right and wrong and that it's ok to kill and eat fish, and then in the same breath, tell them we can't keep a wounded fish flopping on the surface because it is outside the slot. This is a choice that should not be legislated but taught. If I am wrong about this I have a lot harder lesson about our fellow men to teach my boys.

Sorry, again about the long post, but I can't help but believe slots are a bad, bad thing. Thank, Hans.

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You make some very good points! I only wish all fisherman were as conscious of the resources as we are. The probelm is, without the laws some people would keep whatever they caught, and I agree, it is a horrible feeling to release a large fish that you know will not survive just because it is in a slot. On the other hand, when slot limits are followed, I have seen them make vast improvements in the size and number of fish in certain lakes.

I agree with you the Burntside should have its own regs. Thanks for the good discussion.

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Your not wrong on thinking that keeping a fish that is flopping around on the floor and going to die anyways is the right thing to do, but on the other hand how many people that are not as honest will throw the fish on the floor so it flops around and almost dies so they can verify that it needs to be kept. In my opinion there are more people out there that would love to keep a big fish then to let it go. That has been the mentality for many generation of a lot of fisherman, but since it is now hurting our fisheries because of added pressure and better electroics etc. we need to put laws in place to protect it..such as Slots and lower limits of fish. Not everyone will police themselves and that is why it is important to set the laws for them. Some will just ignore them anyways but most will follow the law for fear of being caught more then doing something because it is right for the fishery at hand. I think slots are neccesary for certain lakes/most lakes it will definatly help. They are not there to confuse your little kids of what is morally right and wrong, but if in the overall picture it helps the fisheries then so be it. There is always going to be a side to everythinig that someone doesnt like or that has circumstances that you feel you need to break a law because how you feel morally on it or a life/death or emergency situation. Take the chanse if you want to on keeping that fish you know is going to die, but if you get caught accept the punishment because the CO's have no way to prove or disprove that it was going to die.

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Grousehunter, Thanks for the input. I hole heartedly agree that slots help fisheries and I'm also afraid to admit that there might be more scoff laws than I would hope for. My point about policing ourselves is partly about watching what we ourselves keep, but mostly about being able to educate others. A situation I see often, especially down here in the metro is a hot bite will occure and the same fisherman will pound the same spot day after day. Like I said above it's easy to spot an over limit, but hard to spot a over length. We are the eyes of the DNR and can help by reporting over limits and double dipping but its very hard to report on length. On a hot bite the thing to do isn't to get the CO involved if they are with in the law, but as men we should not be afraid to make a casual suggestion to a fellow fisherman that they are exploiting the resource and give them reasons why.

I know of many lake owner assosiation on small lakes who have agreed to manage their lakes and have posted recomendations for visitors. The visitors have a right to fish the lake within the law but assosiation members don't shy away from starting a friendly conversation.

90 percent of the fish have always been caught by 10 of the people. And good fisherman should be rewarded, but what I am seeing is that the fishery is being harmed by good fisherman making many trips to the same good wholes.

There are other ways to limit catch that don't have all the negative consequences of slot limits. I like the reduced limit, and would love to hear suggestions on trip reduction(think South Dakota pheasants) or total poundage. There are people who need fish to eat and are out every day, and I know some guides who bragg of three or four thousand fish years, and I probably keep way to many big ones myself-but I think in the long run we need a way to even the harvest out. Any suggetions? Thanks, Hans.

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 Originally Posted By: hanso612
but as men we should not be afraid to make a casual suggestion to a fellow fisherman that they are exploiting the resource and give them reasons why.

This is a great idea, however, the majority of the time it will fall on deaf ears, or may even create an aggressive situation. I'm all for educating the public. In fact I find myself trying that too much, and have realized over and over again that you cannot teach those that do not care to learn! And unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there that are set in there ways and don't want to hear someone preach ethics.

Slots limits are very necessary, as well as micro-managing various lakes. It will create a pain due to all the regulations, but so be it. If you can't figure out the regs you have much bigger problems to deal with... They're not THAT complicated, try reading slower!

Great discussion ya'll!

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Anybody catch Joe Fellegy's article today in Outdoor News. I think he's talking about us.(wink)

On a related note from this same paper, more proposals are outlined for this terms legislature. Lots of the changes are designed to close loopholes caused by the problems I have discussed with slots.

I had a ball on Vermillion last summer catching slot pike. I think it has really helped there. I think it's to early to tell if its helped anglers catch more eaters or is that slot getting hammered? The one pike over thirty rule changed to a possesion limit from a daily limit is clearly designed to fix a loophole around inspection rather than biology. Over a week end two fish are dead regardless of wether you eat one saturday night or bring both home. Looks like if you want to eat some pike you have to come along.(no arguement here)

VHS is the real scary stuff and could make all these arguments moot. I would hate to be a bait dealer today. Hans.

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