Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

  • Announcements

    • Rick

      Members Only Fluid Forum View   08/08/2017

      Fluid forum view allows members only to get right to the meat of this community; the topics. You can toggle between your preferred forum view just below to the left on the main forum entrance. You will see three icons. Try them out and see what you prefer.   Fluid view allows you, if you are a signed up member, to see the newest topic posts in either all forums (select none or all) or in just your favorite forums (select the ones you want to see when you come to Fishing Minnesota). It keeps and in real time with respect to Topic posts and lets YOU SELECT YOUR FAVORITE FORUMS. It can make things fun and easy. This is especially true for less experienced visitors raised on social media. If you, as a members want more specific topics, you can even select a single forum to view. Let us take a look at fluid view in action. We will then break it down and explain how it works in more detail.   The video shows the topic list and the forum filter box. As you can see, it is easy to change the topic list by changing the selected forums. This view replaces the traditional list of categories and forums.   Of course, members only can change the view to better suit your way of browsing.   You will notice a “grid” option. We have moved the grid forum theme setting into the main forum settings. This makes it an option for members only to choose. This screenshot also shows the removal of the forum breadcrumb in fluid view mode. Fluid view remembers your last forum selection so you don’t lose your place when you go back to the listing. The benefit of this feature is easy to see. It removes a potential barrier of entry for members only. It puts the spotlight on topics themselves, and not the hierarchical forum structure. You as a member will enjoy viewing many forums at once and switching between them without leaving the page. We hope that fluid view, the new functionality is an asset that you enjoy .
Sign in to follow this  
fishuhalik

Biggest sturgeon

Recommended Posts

CANOPY SAM

Sturgeon eat walleye eggs! Just like suckers and other bottom feeders.

It might just be supposition, but that may be the reason why they are in the river in such abundance at the same time as the walleye spawning run.

I wonder how many walleye eggs a 70 lb. sturgeon eats in one day?

It's interesting that they seem to follow the walleyes. I guess I can't speak for the mid-summer presence of sturgeon in the Rainy as I only fish the fall bite, but there sure are a lot of em' in there in the fall as well - right along with the walleyes.

Maybe the sturgeon are always in the river?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
troyfideldy

Just had an amazing thought, Canopy Sam could the sturgeon be heading up the river to spawn just like the all mighty walleye? NO WAY it can not be the time of year and water temperature. In the fall could the water temperature and food supply draw the sturgeon and walleye together into the river? That also just can not be. The walleye and the sturgeon have been living together harmoniously for thousands of years. Neither species has a negative effect on the other species.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CANOPY SAM

Troy, I sense a little sarcasm in that. Are you a fisheries biologist? Because I am.

There is absolutely no question that sturgeon eat large numbers of walleye eggs. Did I ever say that the sole reason sturgeon enter the river is to feed on walleye eggs? No. Sturgeon spawn in the river in the spring when the water temps reach 52-53 degrees.

I am only slightly concerned about the rapidly growing number of sturgeon in the river. They are bottom feeders and are opportunistic, meaning they'll eat whatever their big vacuum cleaner noses can find. That's why the bigger, older fish are so toxic. Bioconcentration of pollutants.

The numbers of sturgeon in the river have been steadily rising since tight restrictions were applied to their harvest. They are growing larger every year. They are an extremely hardy species, and in time could most certainly begin to have a negative impact on the overall numbers of walleyes in Lake of the Woods and subsequently the Rainy River.

I was only wondering if many of these great old fish were now living year round in the river, or if there might be some correlation to other species movement that key their migrations.

The walleyes spawn in the river in the spring, and so do the sturgeon. There are also large numbers of both species that spawn on the reefs and sand bars out in the lake. The walleyes follow the shiner minnow run into the river in the fall. Maybe the sturgeon do as well? I don't know. That's essentially all I was asking. I haven't fished for sturgeon during the summer months up there so I don't know if they spend all year in the river or not.

Feel free to spend some time talking with resort owners on the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods and see how they feel about the increasing numbers of sturgeon. Many are not happy as they pose a significant threat to the walleye population, and that in turn threatens their livelihood.

If you think one species cannot overpopulate and negatively impact another more desirable species I suggest you do a little reading on the history of Upper Red Lake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CaptJohnWI

And have you heard the one about how all the crappies in Red Gut Bay of Rainy Lake eat all the walleye fry (like URL)?!

What a lame excuse to use to keep netting crappie on Rainy. The short window of opportunity that crappie have to eat walleyes is far exceeded by the years walleyes have to eat crappie. I have caught many walleye with crappies in them but never one crappie with a walleye fry. The only reason the crappie took over URL is over-harvest of the walleye. If there had been a decent amount of walleye in URL, there would not have been the explosion of crappie.

I have heard this same argument about stocked musky eating all the walleyes even though there were 100 pike for every musky in that body of water. Musky may eat a walleye now and then but the pike eat just as many and they are far more numerous on most waters. Knew one guy that killed every musky he caught because they "eat all the walleyes". He told me he used to be able to catch his limit of big walleyes in the morning and then go back in afternoon and get another limit but now that they they stock musky, he can't catch any walleyes. I pointed out there are far more pike than musky in that water. Perhaps the fact that he and all his kind were keeping 10 big walleyes/day during the spawn had something to do with their demise.

There is no shortage of small walleye in either LOW or Rainy Lake. And if there ever is, it won't be because there are lots of sturgeon, musky, pike, crappies, or minnows. It will be because of over-harvest by people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silver Scale

Well said John. I couldn't agree more. LOW walleye population is not in trouble even with a slowly increasing sturgeon population. I think if you go back and look at historical records you will see that there were alot more walleyes in LOW prior to the sturgeon collapse in 1905 from human exploitation due to commerical netting. In 1894 alone there was over 900 tons of both walleyes and sturgeon netted. Enough said. The notion that sturgeon are going to eat all the walleye eggs and hurt the walleye fishery is nonsense. Sort of like the timber wolves are going to eat all the deer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Silver Scale

Stureon fishing can be very good all summer long all the way up to I-Falls so yes they are present all summer long. You can also catch them in the river prior to any walleye movement into it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CANOPY SAM

Thank you for answering my question Silver.

I was not suggesting that sturgeon would wipe out the population of walleyes. I was merely discussing the possible impact they may have.

Here are some points to consider.

1) Walleyes and crappies are not top predator species. In the Rainy River system Lake Sturgeon have very few natural aquatic enemies. How many walleyes do you find in the bellies of sturgeon John?

2) URL was an example of an ecological imbalance fed by the perfect conditions. It was partly caused by mans' intervention, it's also still being resolved by man's intervention - to the tune of $$$.

Other examples? - Leech Lake Cormorants

- Spiny Water fleas and shiner minnows

- Milfoil

- Snow geese

3) We're not talking about big fish eating little fish here. We're talking about large vacuum cleaners sucking lots of walleye EGGS off the bottom of the riverbed.

4) There will soon be a limited hunt to control the burgeoning population of wolves in Minnesota.

5) The possible long term impact of an uncontrolled population increase of any species can have devastating and far reaching affects on a reasonably balanced ecosystem.

Don't kid yourselves if you think this couldn't happen. It happens all the time. Am I suggesting that we act on this immediately? Of course not.

I do know there are numerous resort owners, and fishing guides up north that are concerned about it. That's why I brought it up. Not to Grandstand about what I know to be true, as some have done. Just to talk about it, find out some information, and give it some thought.

By the way, my "Biggest Sturgeon" is around 20 lbs. out of the rainy. I'm looking forward to getting into a true giant someday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mwodziak

Canopy Sam,

As a fisheries biologist, do you believe that populations and ecosystems are ever completely stable or balanced?

To me, it seems that almost all people believe that these ecosystems are supposed to be perfectly stable or balanced when there is no effect from us. I really don't believe that any ecosystems are ever stable or balanced, with or without help from us. I think they simply change based on certain weather conditions and patterns over decades. And I think theres a chain reaction when you get one particular period that is better for one species, can either help or hurt other species. You can see that if walleye populations and sturgeon populations can survive massive over harvest like what happend 100 years ago, they can defenitely survive some recent fluctuations in population.

Bottom line, I really don't believe that a large sturgeon population could make a noticeable change in the walleye population. As long as we don't mess with it...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fishgutz77

Keep the science coming SAM your on the right track.

I guess I'll have to start some record keeping on the July and August downrigger counts up there to see where this is going.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CANOPY SAM

Excellent questions. I believe you are exactly right. No ecosystem is ever in perfect balance. That's what makes the world so exciting.

Although Darwin's Theory of Evolution really can't be proven (many people lose site of the obvious word "THEORY" in there), as we have no empirical evidence what-so-ever of any species evolving, or having evolved in recorded history other than microbes, and that appears to be only attributed to prolonged exposure to antibiotics, I think there is more than enough evidence to support the close examination of a potential imbalance in an ecosystem, and the relevent intervention by man to prevent such occurances.

Many of the ecological tragedies that we've witnessed have been self-limiting. Upper Red Lake for example would have likely leveled itself out over time as the two or three "boom" years of crappie reproduction came to the end of their lifespan. Walleyes would have naturally made their way back up the food chain. It was not in the economic interest of the related communities or the state to wait for this to happen.

In the case of snow geese there was, and still is a grave concern for the natural tundra grasses upon which they feed and nest during the summer months. There were, and still are so many birds, and so much competition for food that they litterally eat the plants down to the roots, ultimately killing the grasses, and resulting in the starvation of young birds unable to migrate south.

This was thought to be a justifiable reason for the mass reduction in their population levels. One also has to consider the extreme likelyhood of rapid disease transmission and mass die-off in this type of ecological imbalance. This is a very real situation, and it happens with many species in many ecosystems all over the world.

However, this again is an example of a self-limiting natural event. Darwin was correct with his observation that only the strong survive. This is ultimately beneficial to a species as it eliminates the weaker animals, and passes on only the strongest genetics to the next generation.

We, as humans, and avid users of the planet's resources just don't like to wait around for a couple hundred years until the populations swing back around. We intervene and do what we can to help. That's precisely why I sympathize with, and always defend the Department of Natural Resources, and the US Fish and Wildlife Services.

So many people seem to think they could simply step in and do a better job than what these men and women are currently doing. Personally, I can't even imagine how they (the wildlife officials) could possibly improve on our current hunting and fishing. Fish and game are plentiful almost everywhere in the US, and it is a direct result of the diligent work, and articulate management planning executed by sportsmen and women all over the nation.

Do they make mistakes? Of course. Who doesn't? We learn from our mistakes. But we should never lose site of the future, and what we might do to improve our planet for generations to come.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ANYFISH

Canopy Sam,

Instead of asking us your science questions could you answer some with some citied material to prove your ideas. Suckers and sturgeon will not have a noticable impact on walleye populations because the already low survival rate of fry and the standerd (yet naturally fluctuating) recrutment of young walleye. If you would like to find good answers to your questions call the Baudette area fisheries or the Ontario Ministry on Natural Resources and they have years of study already into the Lake Sturgeon. I to went to college for natural resources and feel that your education as a fisheries biologist should have kept you from making such a silly assumption that suckers and sturgeon could make any noticable impact. Sturgeon do spawn after walleye but they remain in rather deep (typical deeper that 10)water during the the walleyes spawn, helping to limit thier predation. Although some eggs are certainly eaten not enough to make an impact. Also sturgeon are very limited on thier reproduction and females in this system do not spawn until approx. 26 yrs of age and males 17 yrs, females also only spawn once every 5 or more years. So my theory is that the sturgeon population can not grow fast enough to have a sudden impact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PerchJrkr

suckers spawn prior to walleye? is that why in may when the walleyes are done and back in the lakes im spearing thousands of suckers in small creeks and rivers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PerchJrkr

...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ANYFISH

My intentions were not to argue, but rather to give the best info I could at the time. I value any biologist opinions even if I disagree. I will recheck my info regarding sucker spawn but walleyes spawn around 47 degrees and suckers at a lower temp. And although you may spear or net them in May( assuming you spear early on in may), they may be resident suckers and/or may not be feeding.

I rechecked and stand corrected white sucker spawn around 50 degrees F and redhorse up to 60 degree's, sorry for mis information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CANOPY SAM

Anyfish,

Thanks for the recommendations for accurate stats on the Rainy. I'm not at all offended by your comments above, except for maybe the "silly" part.

I simply opened by initiating a slightly seperate conversation about big sturgeon and their potential impact on the fishery. Even though I do know something about fisheries biology, I would never presume to be an expert - even with a college education.

I don't think this is the place to post a dissertation on the life-cycle of the Lake Sturgeon. I was only stimulating some conversation and seeking some insight and opinion.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, and I'm entitled to mine. I wouldn't insult anyone simply for submitting their thoughts about an issue.

The fact is Lake of the Woods is a massive body of water. Most people don't even recognize just how big it is. As a whole waterway, in it's entirety, it stretches a couple hundred miles into Ontario Canada north, into Lake Winnipeg and on up to the Northwest, and through the Rainy River into Rainy Lake into Kettle Falls and on, and on, and on.

Can we really have any impact on a body of water this large? Can any one single species impact an ecosystem this large? Well, we've had a pretty significant impact on fishing grounds in the Oceans of the world over time. Lamprey eels nearly wiped out the Great Lakes fisheries years ago, and they continue to be a nuisance.

It's only conversation, something to think about. Thanks for your input though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jarnotski

Key word is "WE" have had a significant impact. There are numerous instances where we have tried to blame the lack of fish on other factors when I strongly believe we have more of an impact on the fisheries than the abundance of native species. I do agree that exotic species can drastically change any ecosystem, but when it comes to the king fish of minnesota (walleye) man can certainly play a big role in decreasing the fishery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this