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james_walleye

Outdoor News letter.........

9 posts in this topic

So i'm reading the latest outdoor news and there is a letter to the editor about the walleye numbers being down in last falls test netting. This guy states its very clear to everyone whats going on, its all the females full of eggs being harvested in nets every spring. I guess hes suggesting that females are being taken in the nets and that the lake isnt sustaining its self properly anymore via the spawn. Any thoughts? I fish Mille Lacs a few times a year but i'd like to hear some thoughts of some people that are closer to the lake. I guess i thought the nets were designed so that bigger females didnt get caught in them? And this netting has been going on for years and all of a sudden just last fall this number shortage occured. Why havent we seen a decline in the past if the netting was impacting spawning? My question is this guy on to something or is he highly mistaken on the whole Mille Lacs situation? I have a pet peave with people who send in letters to the editors when they have no clue of the whole scope of the situation. But it very well may be that i'm far enough away from the situation to realize whats really going on also.

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Your skepticism of that letter is not unwarranted. The person who wrote the letter doesn't know what they are talking about. Here, read this thread but read it backwards because the important stuff is near the end.

http://fishingminnesota.com/forum/ubbthr.../gonew/1#UNREAD

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Yeah that is interesting Muskie. Everything in that post near the end was kind of what i was thinking. You have to read the letter and how straight forward and almost hostile it was. It just bugs the heck out of me when someone writes a letter like that and has not one clue about what is really going on. And the thing is, you could explain to this guy everything in that thread you posted and give him the info on what is really going on and his opinion wouldnt change. He has a chip on his shoulder and thats that.

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I don't know much about the test fishery in the spring. But I do know a lot about gill netting. I fish in Alaska every year for Salmon. Just because the fish didn't come up in the net doesn't mean they weren't in the net possibly causing mortality due to the net. That net cuts through gills like its a hot knife through warm butter. Just a suggestion, but those females and males for that matter could be getting caught, thrash around a bit free themselves but their gills are already cut. Sockeye Salmon gill net mesh is considerably smaller than King Salmon mesh and I've seen 30+ pound Kings in a salmon mesh. Just because they say the larger Walleye's can't get caught in it doesn't mean they don't.

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Well if a net is designed so that a 25" walleyes snout won't even fit through it to even get to the gills, how are you suggesting that it happens? I'm sure it does somehow, but i'm also sure that mortality from people who catch and release a walleye after holding it out of the water for 5 minutes does more harm to the lake than the walleyes that may somehow get in the net and struggle free.

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I dont see whats so bad about that letter to the editor. You dont think taking 122,500 pounds of fish in one shot is hard on the fish population, male or female?

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 Quote:
The tribal fishery is composed mostly of males. Last year 84% of the 52,000 fish they harvested were male. That means that they killed only about 4,000 females. Also, in the spring gill net fishery, 85% of the fish they harvested were between 15 and 19 inches. The reason their catch is so skewed to smaller fish and to males is due to the mesh size of net they fish with (they are limited to between 1.25 and 1.75 inch mesh), and to the behavior of the fish. Males come into spawn, and hang out in the area for the entire spawning season; whereas, females come in to spawn, do their business, and then head back out into outer lake areas where they are not vulnerable to the nets. The ratio of females is a little higher now than when they first started fishing, because we have such a good female spawning stock now.

The gentleman was referring to a biologist telling him that it took a lot of males to fertilize the eggs of one female, and then in armchair biologist fashion, noticing "the writing on the wall," linked the decline in fall test nets to the early spring tribal harvest of mostly males.

It does take a lot of males to fertilize the eggs of one female. But that's because she may produce up to 200,000 eggs. It's not unlike pheasants or ducks...females mean much more to the population than males. Females need, and get protection (in the form of the larger-size protected slots). Males are just swimming bags of sperm. Kill one and another will takes its place.

So no, the tribal netting of mostly males has little effect on the long term viability of Mille Lacs lake walleyes.

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Chise, this was a different letter in an issue 2 or 3 weeks ago.

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I don't care for the netting, don't get me wrong i hate it. But taking that many pounds of fish out in one shot has never affected the lakes population before, why would it all of a sudden last year? Thats the problem i have with it.

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