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

      Fishing Report Clubs - LIMITED MEMBERSHIP - Join Today - FREE   01/24/2018

      Fishing Minnesota had added a new menu item (see above) called Fishing Report Clubs. It's a way to keep the really good fishing reports coming and being shared only with those who also provide detailed fishing reports. We will only approve new members who request to join if they have already posted a recent fishing report in the area forum, associated with the Fishing Report Club area  you want to join. We are going to limit the number of regular memberships, in the Fishing Report Clubs, to the top 20  members in each Club, to those with the best frequency and quality fishing reports provided in the club and less so in the regular fishing report forum open to all members. The higher quality fishing report reserved for the club of course. If  you want fishing reports  around your area, I would Join Now, some of the clubs are starting to fill fast. Use the Fishing Reports Club link in the Menu above (after you've posted a fishing report in the regular area forum) and request to Join.
  • RECEIVE THE GIFTS MEMBERS SHARE WITH YOU HERE...THEN...CREATE SOMETHING TO ENCHANT OTHERS THAT YOU WANT TO SHARE

    You know what we all love...

    When you enchant people, you fill them with delight and yourself in return. Have Fun!!!

Sign in to follow this  
maxpower117

Lessons From Erie

Recommended Posts

maxpower117

The DNR seems to remain fairly quiet about the details of their plan to fix Mille Lacs. They they give us short term or year by year goals and quotas, they seem to lack, or at least it appears that way, a long term plan.

I feel as though the DNR has been managing Mille Lacs in a reactive fashion rather than proactive. Every time there is a crisis the protected slot gets bigger and the harvest quota gets smaller. We've been doing this dance for more than ten tears now and look where it sits.

I'm not blaming the DNR for the current crisis, I'm blaming myself as an angler for demanding the quick fix every time there's a crisis. We accept that this year may be lost, but we fully expect that next year should be back to normal.

We blame the netting. The netting targets a specific size of walleye resulting in a gap in year classes of fish and a shortage of males. Our slot limit is another reason we have this gap.

It seems more obvious now than ever that the forage is at an all time low. The perch seem to be gone. The tullibees are in low numbers for at least the past decade. Eel pout are almost nonexistent. I don't think it's a coincidence that this has happened at the same time as this crisis.

Now, to explain the title of this thread. It seems as though this dance has happened before. Lake Erie is eerily similar. Pardon the pun. They've been thru this. Almost exactly these same scenarios. They tried to fix it with slots and quotas. They failed. They have zebra mussels, they have netting, they have huge fishing pressure, yet the lake is in excellent condition. They've been able to come together with other states and Canada to work together on a solution and it worked. Mille Lacs only needs the MN DNR and the native bands to work together.

Walleye Population of Lake Erie

Also:

Detroit River-Western Lake Erie Basin Indicator Project

Background

Walleye live and breed in Lake Erie and the Detroit River. As juveniles, they consume mainly zooplankton, which are microscopic animals, aquatic insects, and other young fish, but their diet changes to mainly small forage fish as they mature. Successful maintenance of walleye populations depends heavily on successful spawning. Many factors affect the success or failure of walleye spawning, including water temperature, currents, wind and storm events, and also a healthy forage base.

As adults, walleye are top predators in Lake Erie's food web. This position makes them good indicators of ecological health not only because their health and distribution are dependant upon a healthy forage base, but also because they impact other populations. As a keystone species, instability in the walleye population could lead to instability in other populations as well. That, in turn, could possibly lead to a compromised ecosystem or deterioration of the fishery.

Annually, approximately three million walleye are harvested from the western and central Lake Erie basins for commercial and sport usage. The fishery is cooperatively managed by the Lake Erie Committee (LEC) of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The LEC is a binational group, with representation from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the New York State Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Walleye is of enormous economic importance to all jurisdictions (Locke et al. 2005). Conservatively, the walleye fishing economy is valued at tens of millions of dollars annually.

Status and Trends

In 1970, legal walleye harvest was prohibited due to mercury contamination coming from the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers. Legal walleye harvest was renewed, on a limited basis, in 1972. International harvest quotas were later introduced in 1976. Throughout the 1980s, the combination of good water quality, many juvenile fish entering the exploitable stock, and management allowed the population to increase (Figure 2). This changed, however, when in the late 1980s to the early 1990s several factors in conjunction with fishing pressure and low amounts of juvenile fish caused walleye productivity in Lake Erie to decrease. Introduction of non-indigenous species, such as zebra mussels and the round goby, caused the food web in Lake Erie to shift from pelagic (open water) to benthic (bottom feeding) diverting energy away from walleye populations. In addition, warmer winters increased the numbers of predators, such as northern pike and muskellunge, present in the spring during spawning. Spawning habitat was also lost, due to urban development, river barriers, lower lake levels, and pollution. These factors induced a decline in the walleye population, beginning in the late 1980s and lasting 10-15 years. A critical minimum in the population was reached in 2000, causing declining angler interest and compromised commercial economics (Locke et al. 2005).

walleye-population.gifFigure 2. Walleye population (ages 2+) in Lake Erie, 1978 to 2005. Walleye population quality levels: 0-15 million = crisis, 15-20 million = rehabilitation, 20-25 million = low quality, 25-40 million = maintenance, 40 million and higher = high quality.

In an attempt to control the walleye decline and restore the population, a Coordinated Percid Management Strategy was developed (during 2001-2003) by the LEC which set that year's annual "Total Allowable Catch" at 3.4 million fish. It also restricted harvest timing to reduce fishing pressures on isolated spawning walleye. However, due to low reproduction success during this time, the walleye population failed to increase, and the "Total Allowable Catch" was reduced again to 2.4 million fish in 2004 (Locke et al. 2005).

To maintain a healthy fishery, the LEC has determined that the walleye population should be maintained between 25 and 40 million fish ("maintenance level"). This value is desirable to provide sufficient fish for commercial and angler use, and also to promote walleye migration from west to east.

The LEC has been estimating walleye population size in Lake Erie since 1978 (Lake Erie Walleye Task Group 2005). These population estimates are based on systematic gill net sampling, measured fishing effort and harvest, tag recovery rates, and use of mathematical models. Walleye population size in Lake Erie was rated in "crisis" in 1978 and generally increased through the 1980s (Figure 2). From the late 1980s through 2000 the walleye population exhibited a decreasing trend. From 2000 to 2005 it has exhibited an increasing trend, with the population rated as "high quality" in 2005. The "high quality" walleye population of 2005 is attributed to improved management techniques, increased in food availability, and improved reproductive success in 2003.

Management Next Steps

The plan for the management of Lake Erie walleye is a cooperative and collaborative product of the LEC member jurisdictions. It is an example of all of the jurisdictions' commitment to the ongoing sustainability and economic viability of this important fishery. The culture of collaboration is critical to the proper management of the walleye fishery of Lake Erie.

The following are the goal and objective from the "Fish Community Goals and Objectives for Lake Erie" (Ryan et al. 2003) that are relevant to walleye:

Relevant Goal – Secure a balanced, predominantly cool water fish community with walleye as a key predator in the western basin, central basin, and the nearshore waters of the Eastern Basin.

Relevant Objective – Provide sustainable harvests of walleye for all areas of the lake and maintain and promote genetic diversity by identifying, rehabilitating, conserving, and/or protecting locally adapted stocks.

Researchers and managers have collaborated to estimate Lake Erie carrying capacity for walleye in order to help achieve a sustainable population. Further, researchers and managers continuously assess, set management priorities, and take management action in a process of continuous improvement. Both sport and commercial harvest quotas are established by managers to help achieve desired goals and objectives.

Research/Monitoring Needs

To help ensure maintenance of walleye stock diversity and sustainability of the population, a number of areas of needed research and investigation must be addressed. These include:

* mortality (determine if current assessment programs provide accurate estimates of mortality, both at the population and stock-specific levels);

* stock contribution (continue to develop tools to identify stock specific origin of individual fish to determine relative contribution of stocks to the Lake Erie walleye population);

* size selective management (determine the utility and management implications of establishing size limits for angling fisheries and mesh size restrictions for commercial fisheries for achieving fishery objectives);

* seasonal closures of fisheries/sanctuaries (evaluate the value of these techniques in improving fry survival and/or protecting fish before they spawn);

* fish community interactions (identify interactions between populations that might impact production); and

* social and economic effects of population abundance (estimate social and economic impacts of various fishery and harvest objectives in order to maximize benefits).

Link to study

It's time to get anglers the correct and complete information to pressure the DNR to start investing in the long term. Not this year or next. 5-10 years from now.

This is purely an armchair solution at this point but I'm considering doing something about this. What? I don't know. Any suggestions? I've tried to find the right contacts at the DNR who manage Mille Lacs without success. Any help?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fishgutz77

this maybe over simplified but:

1. get the nets out of the lake during spawning.

2. leave the slot 18-20 so once a fish is through that, it is home free.

3. I had to sever two friendships due to them taking over fish while night fishing and with another guy at a private place not to far from Izatys. STOP! you all know who you are. Illegal harvest is way more than you think. ( ice guys too )

forage bio mass returns in 3 yrs. ( given current zebra mussel pop growth )

It will take 5-7 yrs for the large preditor imbalance to work it's self out.

sorry to say but sustainable fishing of the sporting take at 330,000 lbs is 7 yrs away.

only stocking can accelerate the process after yr 4 when forage base is level.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  



  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Wanderer
      Has your tip up been in deeper water, shallower or the same? I’m hoping to get some iced this last weekend of the season. Devils Lake in ND is a good bet.
    • Mark
      Catching a lot of them in 34 feet
    • tca12
      Back on the Horseshoe chain I put in another 7 hours seeing zero pike yesterday.  I must be using the wrong decoys since I can draw in sunfish, crappies, bass, and catfish all day.  Finally caught a pike on a tip-up outside the house so at least I didn't get skunked again.  Looks like that will do it for spearing season unless I can figure out a North Dakota lake to try...
    • Reid Saarela
      Quick report from last weekend: Fished a couple midlake reefs in big bay and the walleye seemed to be non existent aside from a few dinks, although, the action was pretty decent. Jumbo perch, tullibee, and a few crappie kept me busy. From hearing other people’s late season reports along with my experience last weekend it seems like a lot of the walleye have moved to different types of structure, perhaps shallower?? I’m not sure, but had very few marks that appeared to be walleye.  
    • IceHawk
      Agree Pike they new there Stuff bought a few guns there and great prices!
    • IceHawk
      Anyone one of you guys ever use Dave Smith decoys?  They sure look realistic but wow come with a price. I like the avian X and I have a couple custom painted from a artist friend that look real good also.  Yes I  realize  a lot of people  don't use decoys. And I realize there is a time and situation for that  But I'm kind of a decoy junky lol! i rarely find my self going with out any. 
    • mrpike1973
      I agree Ice Hawk. I liked Sportsmans seemed to have more people that actually fished and knew what they were talking about for help.
    • IceHawk
      Great vid on my bucket list also. I always loved seeing those peacock fisherman throwing  those woodchoppers. Seems like a very aggressive fish I need to target someday 
    • IceHawk
      Bring a scoop of each and try a variety the fish will tell you what they are preferring. 
    • IceHawk
      Boy your lucky sure miss the one in St Cloud  they always seem to carry a great selection for everything. We are kind of limited with only Mills and Scheels . Dicks just doesn't have it for me. 
  • Share & Have Fun