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CaptJohnWI

Recycle those smallmouths

38 posts in this topic

Who says catch & release doesn't work? I got to looking at some of those bass pictures I recently posted and noticed something odd. I had two different guys take the pictures who will vouch that I am not pulling yer leg. RainySameBass.jpg

I might have this old girl plumb wore out by Spring.

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HEY JOHN,

YOUR RIGHT SAME FISH.

SINCERELY,

FISHMEISTER

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Sure looks like the same fish. I took the picture on the 4th, she certainly was a beauty. Good job John.

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Very nice Captn!!

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HI S.B.,

DON'T THINK THE CAPPY-TAN IS BIG ON EATING SMALLIES, JUST LIKES CATCHING THEM.

SINCERELY,

FISHMEISTER

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Yep I agree seems to be the same smallie. I'd be interested if it was caught in the exact same area. I bet it isn't all that unusual for smallies as they likely roam very little this time of year.

Good Stuff!

RD

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Yup, same spot.

 Originally Posted By: Rainydaze
Yep I agree seems to be the same smallie. I'd be interested if it was caught in the exact same area. I bet it isn't all that unusual for smallies as they likely roam very little this time of year.

Good Stuff!

RD

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 Originally Posted By: Rainydaze
Yep I agree seems to be the same smallie. I'd be interested if it was caught in the exact same area. I bet it isn't all that unusual for smallies as they likely roam very little this time of year.

Good Stuff!

RD

That's one of the main reasons that the season closes in September in most of Minnesota. In fact the DNR should do the same thing on Rainy. Smallies tend to hole up in specific locations in the winter. They can be very vulnerable. The sportfishing club should push for an earlier closing IMO.

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Here we go again..

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 Originally Posted By: Super Black
Here we go again..

I don't mean to stir the pot. I know about last years posts about this. All I was saying is smallies congregate in the winter.

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HI S.B.,

WHO THE HECK EATS SMALLIES, YUCK...LIMIT IS 5 OR 6, I DON'T THINK ANYBODY ANSWERED YOU BECAUSE LOCALS DO NOT SAVE THEM. I WOULD EAT A BULLHEAD 1ST!!! ALSO, I KNOW ANYONE WHO FISHES SMALLIE TOURNEYS LIKE THEM TO BE RETURED TO THE WATER., WHICH I SUPPORT COMPLETELY.

UFFDA ARE YOU CHIMING IN ON THIS ONE ???

SINCERELY,

FISHMEISTER

READ THE CANADIAN RULES...AS THE ABOVE MAY HAVE CHANGED!!!

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We had two young boys from Cambodia stay at our place on Rainy. One of the boys caught a Smallie and insisted on keeping it. He said his mom would fry it up for him, “head and all”.

I couldn’t live with myself if I sent a guest home with a whole fish. So I proceeded to filet it for him. The smell inside was awful. But being the good host, I said nothing.

I vaccum sealed his boneless Smallie filets and pictured how excited his family would be enjoying a taste of Rainy Lake Small Mouth. I also sent home a few packages of Walleye filets, just so they have something to compare to.

Berng.

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What Minnesota needs to do is make it catch & release during the spawn. The fish are far more vulnerable then to the casual angler who tend to keep everything legal. I believe that is why it is much easier to catch 4+ pound smallmouths on the Canadian side of Rainy. No big ones get harvested during the spawn.

Anybody fishing smallmouths in November or February is not likely to keep any. A mite different in June.

I am all for limiting the catch but not the method or time of year fishing is allowed. If you have to toss em back, most meat hunters go elsewhere.

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HI,

THERE IS NO SEASON ON SMALLIES OR SIZE LIMIT ON OUR RAINY BORDER WATERS, I WOULD AGREE THEY SHOULD HAVE A SEASON. THERE IS A SEASON ON INLAND WATERS IN MINNESOTA & IT DOES HAVE A LATER START DATE THEN THE WALLEYE OPENER. FURTHERMORE THERE IS NO SEASON OR SIZE LIMIT ON THE CANADIAN SIDE OF RAINY. I ALSO TRULY BELIEVE VERY FEW FOLKS THAT FISH RAINY ACTUALLY KEEP SMALLIES TO EAT, SO I'M GUESSING THE AMOUNT THAT ARE TAKEN FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION DOES NOT HAVE A EFFECT ON RESOURCE.

SINCERELY,

FISHMEISTER

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In 06 the estimated harvest was quite minimal. I don't believe the reason bass fishing is better north of the border has much if anything to do with harvest. I believe there is simply better smallie habitat there just like there is better crappie habitat. Looking forward I would still rather see bass closed at least during pre-spawn and spawn for several reasons.

And for the record there are very few things I don't eat but bullheads are one of the few. I'd rather eat a dog.

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 Originally Posted By: fishmiester_86
HI,

FURTHERMORE THERE IS NO SEASON OR SIZE LIMIT ON THE CANADIAN SIDE OF RAINY.

SINCERELY,

FISHMEISTER

There is a size limit but no closed season in Canada for all of Zone 5! Dec. 1 - June 30 the limit is two bass and both must be LESS than 13.8 inches. In other words in Canada for seven months starting Dec. 1 the big spawning females CANNOT be kept.

It is extremely easy to rape a lake of big females when you can KEEP them off the beds (like on the Minnesota side of Rainy). There is plenty of good habitat on the MN side for smallies but it takes about 20 years for a bass to hit 4+ pounds and most get kept before that. Chequamegon Bay on lake Superior has similar growth rates to Rainy. Three times over the last fifty years it was over-fished during the spawn and all the hogs disappeared. Now the limit is one a day over 23" with Catch & Release only during the spawn. Fishing there is now much better since the rule changes.

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HI JOHN & UFFDA,

1ST OFF UFFDA, I'LL LET BELL KNOW SHE IS NO LONGER SAFE IN YOUR HOUSE(LOL). AND JOHN, IF THERE IS A SIZE RESTRICTION OR SEASON ON THE CANADIAN SIDE FOR SMALLIES, THEN HAS IT JUST SWITCHED??? AND IS RAINY IN ZONE #5, I HONESTLY DON'T KNOW., JUST REMEMBER THE LIMIT BEING 5 OR 6 WITH NO SIZE OR SEASON., HOWEVER THE ONLY BASS I EVER SAVED IS A MOUNTED STRINGER THAT HANGS IN BORDER BOBS, CAUGHT ABOUT 27 YEARS AGO. ONE NICE THING ABOUT RAINY LAKE, WE HAVE A HAVE MONSTER NORTHERNS- MUSKIES-CRAPPIES-SMALLIES-WALLEYES-BOUBOT-SO YOU A CHOOSE THE FISH THAT TURNS YOUR CRANK. I'M NOT SURE IF I WILL EVER BE CONVERTED TO SMALLIES, THOSE CRAPPIES & WALLEYES ARE STILL #1 IN MY BOOK. I'M GLAD YOU MOVED HERE UFFDA...MAYBE SOMEDAY I WILL WIDEN MY HORIZONS.

SINCERELY,

FISHMEISTER

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Rainy is in Zone 5. The rules have been that way for a long time. That is one reason the Ft. Francis tourney is held AFTER June 30. Wouldn't be a very exciting weigh in if you could only bring in two under 14 inches per angler. The limit is four with no size limit come July 1.

So you can fish em all year but only keep big ones AFTER July 1. I still think that is why the bass fishing is so much better in Canada.

I like to fish crappie but the only ones I can find on Rainy are too deep to release successfully. Maybe one of these Springs I will find them in the shallows. I am glad so many guys prefer walleyes, leaves all those other fish for ME.

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Hey guy's. I'm not one for keeping any smallies either. I would rather see them swim back and get ready for another fight some other day. Those big smallies are so old and deserve the right to keep swimming and fighting. I just use that saying with all my posts as my signature. Hope I didn't offend anyone.

T-15 day's to paradise!!!

Any reason to bring an auger extension??

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So far no need for an extension on your auger. I had about 6-10 inches to spare on Rainy last time out.

I don't think your signature bothers anybody. Not me fer sure.

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 Originally Posted By: Super Black
Any reason to bring an auger extension??

I'd bring some warm clothes that's for sure.

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Hey Guys,

Not to let the cat out of the bag, but these smallies can be had with great consistency on not only both sides of the border here on Rainy, but also the river and several area lakes this time of year. I'm not a big smallie chaser, but could hardly keep them off my line the past couple trips. Literally was hooked up with them every 5 minutes with many many over 4 lbs biggest being about 6lbs. They are tough scrappy fighting fish, and seem to hit most anything. Definately put a test to my crappie set ups! When you find some structure they are loaded on it. I'm typically chasing crappies when finding these fish. Some of the other bodies of water I lay mention to have more pressure than we are experiencing here without question. I don't often fish for them, and never keep them. In fact last time out I was consistently moving around trying to avoid them.

Great thing about fishing is that there are so many trophy game fish that it helps minimize some pressure on specific species. I am interested in the 20 year comment though captain. Maybe Uffda could confirm that. That is truly an old fish. I've landed a half a dozen that have gone 22 inches over my lifetime. Does that mean they are 25 year old fish? Doesn't seem right, but I'm not a fisheries biologist.

Good Fishing Guys!

RD

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I did some scale aging this winter but not from Rainy. I will ask the guys who did and report back.

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Hey RD, want to get together some time?

Here is proof of how long it takes them to reach 18 inches on Rainy. That is how big this one was when I caught it in 2004. Took eight years to grow another 3 inches after it was tagged!

RainyBass.jpg

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Well since the discussion is again getting to this point there are some graduate research papers that give great insight into this topic. These are only two of many research papers that support the same data.

Smallmouth bass growth rates are not set in stone. They are effected by several factors, which Erin Dunlop from the department of Zoology at the University of Toronto hightlighted in her graduate thesis paper "Native and introduced populations of smallmouth bass differ in the concordance between climatic and somatic growth.

What she determined in this paper is that growth rates are not static, rather they are effected by 8 external climatic variables(cloud cover, forst frequency, precipitation, mean air temp, minimum air temp, maximum air temp, meand summer temp, and growing days with temperatures greater than 10 degrees celcius)

What she found in her study of ontario lakes was that all these factors played into the growth rates of the smallmouth bass. There was also one variable that she didn't account for, which is stated in a second thesis paper... Dunlop, E. 2005. "Patterns and processes of life history variation in the smallmouth bass."

Dunlop states in this follow up thesis paper that lakes that contain high quality food sources(such as smelt in Rainy) had higher adult growth rates of smallmouth bass. Simply put higher quality food equals faster growth rates for the smallmouth bass.

To sum this up there is a table of growth rates located on the back of Dunlops "Native and introduced populations of smallmouth bass differ in the concordance between climatic and somatic growth." thesis. She analyzed smallmouth growth rates on an age basis of 1 to 4 years old and discovered that although growth rates vary, they are generally very high. On average she found that smallies have grown 7 cm at age one. 7 cm at age two, 6 cm at age three, and 5 cm at age four.

Now you have the results, so lets to the math. In four years from the initial fry stage of the small mouth life cycle it will grow 25 cm, or 10 inches in four years. When added to the gowth that occurs during the fry stage, you are looking at a 12 or 13 inch smallmouth after only four years of growth!! That is not even hitting the massive growth stage that occurs when these Rainy Lake smallies are feeding on crawfish and smelt!! There is simply NO way that a smallmouth takes 25 years to grow 20 inches. If that were the case we'd be in trouble.

I was interested in determining growth rates of smallies at the adult level, but I couldn't find any. So I asked the Ichthyology prof and he said that growth rates should remain close to the results from ages 1-4. So if you do the math from ages 4-8 at an average growth rate of 5 cm/year, it only takes 8 years to grow a 20" smallmouth. Even if you cut the growth rate down to an inch/year, it is only 14 years or so to grow a 20+ inch smallie.

I encourage you to google Dunlop's thesis paper "Native and introduced populations of smallmouth bass differ in the concordance between climatic and somatic growth." It's a great insight to smallmouth bass growth rates.

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