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Scarface

Fishery meeting ---where was everyone????

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Scarface

I went to the Fishery meeting in Baudette last night and learned a lot. There were 19 people in attendance all resort people except for about 3 of us. In summary the fishery people stated that a proposal for new walleye/sauger limits will be presented in the fall by the DNR. Several different analysis of the lake indicates that it will only sustain an annual long-term harvest of 435,000 to 500,000 pounds of walleye annually. Already this year we are over 600,000 pounds. Mike Larson said we are riding the crest of 3 large year classes and things are going good, but what happens where we get 3 weak year classes and all the fish have been harvested from the good years. The fishery and DNR people's Goal to stabilize LOW and soften the peaks and valleys.<BR> <BR>The resort people at the first meeting in Baudette were in support of more conservative limits. Most resort people last night were highly critical of changing the limits. Some resorters didn't speak much. <P>The most disturbing thing I heard was the lack of distinction between the words catching and harvesting by the resort people. The words were used interchangeablely, a fish caught was a fish kept as far as they were concerned. Some were also highly critical of the idea of not being able to keep any between 20 and 28. Two comments were “my customers won’t come if the have to release those fish” and another was “I’ll have to put my resort up for sale”<P>It was rather interesting watching fact and science be debated with fear and emotion. Mike Larson and Tom Heinrich did a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.<BR> <BR>There were similar meetings held in Roseau and Warroad and the attendance was dismal, I think they said 2 people at one and 7 at the other. With input like this from private anglers the Resorts are going to make the new regulations. We need to get more people giving their input to the people making the new rules. 60% of all boats on the lake are private (I thought it would be more) so we need to let them know what we think.<P>The bottom line is that some changes will be proposed by the DNR this fall to get the annual harvest to below a 500,000 pound harvest. All indications are that it will be a walleye/sauger limit of 4 & 2 in the summer and 4 & 4 in the winter. Plus a no harvest slot of 20 to 28.<P>What do you think??????<P>

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Scarface

I read my post and should state that the harvest goal is actually about 450,000 pounds, not simply less that 500,000.

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JZ

All I can say it's about **** time. Resort owners need to protect there well being anyway! Half of the fish they send home with guests gets forgot about and thwown away. I hope they change them.

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soultwist

I think that the lakes where you can both catch a lot and keep a lot of fish are fast disappearing. Those resort customers are going to find there is no place else to go. Maybe in the short term the fishing will be more attractive on some Canadian lakes where they started to protect the fish years ago, but if the DNR's plan actually works LOW should become better place to fish then it is now. That will bring people to the resorts.

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Hines R

Well I had written about 2 pages worth of stuff on here ealier today about this topic but lost it when I had an error in my password. I guess I still managed to post a pretty long reply with this one.<P>I'm a little torn about the whole thing with lowering the limits, but the more I think about it I really don't have a problem with it. I would like to be able to keep about 4 to 5 eater walleys, and whatever for Saugers. We only kept(caught) 4 nice fish on Saturday of opener and 4 people had a meal that night from 4 fish with some leftovers. I probably could have eaten a little more but when you consider that we could have kept a total of 24 fish total that day it sort of changes the perspective.<P>Initially I didn't really like the idea of a slot either. At least not one like they had on Mille Lacs. However, I generally ALWAYS release fish after they get above 3 1/2 to 4 lbs.. I realize this is a personal decision but their is nothing nicer than taking a picture and then displaying the fish to everyone around me as I'm hanging over the side of the boat releasing her. This is a personal decision that we choose to follow but I've watched a couple that fishes LOW all the time cleaning fish to eat that are in the 5 to 8 lbs. range and it makes me mad. I've heard her say as she's cleaning a fish that she thinks the big ones taste better. My brother and I have both felt like clubbing her when we've seen this. To keep the stupid people from continueing to do this I would gladly support a 20 to 28 inch protected slot. My feeling is that a slot like this would probably allow the ability to keep the limit to 5 or even 6 fish below 20 inches, with only 1 trophy fish being over 28 inches. A slot like this would keep the launches from keeping the big females that can really keep a lake going.<P>Here is another valid question. How many fish generally die after being brought up from deep water especially with crankbaits downrigger fishing. Will the morbidity rate make it so that people may as well have kept the fish anyways.<P>I did speak to one of the resort people and this person had some valid points. How do they know how many fish are taken out of the lake? Look at opener with all the people up their fishing this year and most boats only bringing in a couple of fish for the weekend.<P>I'm pretty sure this will be a hot issue over the next year. Hopefully, the DNR looks at all of the issues and makes a good decision for the lake, and also for the people who's businesses depend on it.<P>Ryan

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Scarface

There was a lot more information given at the meeting than I could ever repeat (even if I could remember it all). Tom Heinrich (Large Lake Specialist MN-DNR Baudette Area Fisheries) did explain how he calculated the numbers and how the weights are estimated from the creel surveys.<P>At the very end of the meeting fish mortality and down rigging was discussed. Tom stated that if the fish were properly handled there were no problems with them coming from the deep and being released (sorry Widetrack). He said the he felt the fish in the summer had a much higher metabolic rate that helped them recovered easier and faster than they did in the colder water in the winter, although the said that he had no factual data to support his opinion. Tom and the resort owner he was talking with, who was not a fan of down rigging, agreed that if there was a high mortality rate, there would be significant evidence of it floating on top, especially when the boats are bunched up.<P>Another thing I didn’t realize is it is the winter fishing that is really on the increase and is the bulk of their concern. <P>They distributed a handout at the meeting that gave a bunch of scenarios that would reduce the harvest, 6 fish, 5 fish, 4 fish, different no harvest slot sizes and ending the season earlier. Tom emailed it to me and I posted it on my web site if anyone wants to see it. <P>no unauthorized links please and thanks<P><BR>[This message has been edited by fiskyknut (edited 05-22-2004).]<p>[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 05-26-2004).]

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Hoffer

We simply have to face the fact that catch and release is the future to protecting the sport. I for one, would never cancel or think twice about making a fishing trip if there were a slot limit in place or the limit was reduced. In fact, I would feel better about spending the time and money to visit a resort on a lake that has more protection and selective harvest in place for the fishery. Fish all day - catch more fish - release more fish - and go back to the resort or home and grill a nice steak - it doesnt get any better.

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great fishing 4-U

I have been going up to LOW 3 or 4 times a year for at least the last 15 years. most of the time we do good but I have to say the fish size seems to be getting smaller and smaller we still get some big ones but not like we used to. everyone likes to take home fish for a meal or two and some will get upset if they cut back on the limits but I think the DNR is doing the right thing. Something has to be done, I think Lake of The Woods is the best walleye lake in the state maybe in the country and I would like to see it stay that way.<P>------------------<BR>great fishing to all

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bturck

Scarface: Thanks for taking the time to attend the meeting and to post many of the points that were discussed. I personally would not have a problem with a protected slot in the 20-28 size. I also believer a low end slot might also be a good idea ie; nothing under 13". There are still lots of people who will take sardines just to fill the stringer. One other point I would like to make, is regarding enforcement. I know we are under a budget crunch in the State, however in 5 years of coming to LOW an average of 5 times per year I have been checked by one CO and one creel census person. I'm not disputing their harvest numbers just questioning how accurate they might be with such limited personal? Good luck and hang on, and keep the information coming for those of us who are several hours away. Bill

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Hines R

I've been checked several times by the census people. I slip my boat at Borderview so when they see us come in it's just a short walk over for them so they've come over to ask us questions which we don't mind. I'm not sure how many times though but it was at least 3 to 4 times last year. <P>I was actually a little impressed that they checked us when we weren't coming up to the boat launch site and that they walked over to our slip. <P>I'm not an ice fisherman, but I've always heard that it is busier in the winter than it is in the summer. I tend to view things from a summer fisherman's viewpoint. I guess I just never have liked hardwater!<P>I wouldn't be completely against a slot at the low end, but I'm not sure what the inch length should be. 10 inches, 11 inches, 12 inches? I just generally look at a fish and know if it's not big enough to go in the box. I just don't want this to end up being like Mille Lacs was. I like to have a good fish dinner one night, and then have steak the other nights. Too much red meat in your diet isn't healthy right? <P>Ryan

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curt quesnell

Scarface,<P>Thanks for going to the meeting and putting<BR>what you heard on FM. A few days ago I<BR>had a real long post all done up and zapped<BR>the whole thing by mistake (just like Hines)<BR>and didnt have time to do the whole thing <BR>again. <P>RiverBend Resort pays it's winter guides<BR>to clean fish so they have a very accurate<BR>count of fish cleaned at the resort through<BR>the winter months. 3.7 fish per guest. That<BR>number may reflect Walleyes AND Saugers. <P>60 percent of the anglers on Lake of the Woods catch either one or two fish. <P>We are catching so many little fish now <BR>because of 3 HUGE year classes in the last<BR>5 or 6 years, and all these fish are 14 inches or less. The numbers on big fish are excellent but the numbers of these tiny mites<BR>are excellenter (?).<P>If the harvest weight is waaaayyyyy up and<BR>the fish are small and 60 percent of the <BR>fishers are catching small weights. It <BR>follows that the number of people fishing <BR>must be unbelievably big.<P>The push is on for a statewide limit of<BR>4 Walleyes and a slot of some kind. Change<BR>seldom does the kind of damage predicted and<BR>I doubt this will send the industry crashing<BR>like some would suggest. If Lake of the Woods<BR>can keep additional Saugers as a bonus catch<BR>we would still have an edge attracting people<BR>to come and fish.<P>I hope this works in a positive way for<BR>everyone involved. I hope it reduces the<BR>harvest on LOW to the goals set by the<BR>experts and I hope the economic benefit<BR>of all the tourism continues.<P>And, finally years ago when the limit on<BR>LOW was 10 Walleyes and 10 Saugers it was<BR>tough to catch a limit. I used to pray to<BR>God to make me a good enough fisher to<BR>limit out on a regular basis. It seems <BR>my prayers might be comming true.<P>------------------<BR>Curt Quesnell<BR>NorthCountry Outdoors Radio

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JZ

Curt, isn't it all about catching. Wouldn't you rather catch 20 fish and bring back 4 than catch 6 all day. Resort owners should be promoting this not fighting it.

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Guest

I talked with Nick Painovich Resort owner of Zippel Bay to some length on the 20th and 21st. We caught our limit of the little guys and only one 6 pounder worked the southend of the lake with the jigs and shiner combo but our coversation was two fold He(Nick) and I are apposed to the limits proposed , He has been on L.O.W. for 27 YEARS and I have been fishing the area for 16 plus years and the fishing is great with many 16-22" fish up and coming nice fish why all the bother for slot limits . the lake is abounding with nice walleyes and sauger. <BR>Let the DNR know about 90% of the owners and anglers are apposed to the proposed slot limits !!!<P><BR> SET THE HOOK !!<P>------------------<BR>"Tricky"

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jlm

One thing that has not been mentioned is the increased pressure LOW in going to see in the upcoming years. Our state is expected to explode population wise over the next ten to twenty years. Unfortunately, this means that LOW will not be a remote place anymore. There will be more and more cabins and more fisherman hitting the lake because it is the last fantastic eye fishery in the state (I know that can be argued). The result of this will be higher yearly harvest weights. I for one support a lower limit and a minimum limit as well. It is tough to do, no question about that. However, if we are not proactive, we may be putting Minnesotas best at risk of being another average fishery. I have been fishing it for almost 20 years and never want to lose that opportunity. It is easy to see the fear that many resort owners have but for me personally, I would go there to catch big fish rather than to catch few dinks. People are pouring into Canada to have a chance at a wopper and a few eaters. Not to take home limits for everyone. LOW is and still can be the same (if we protect it). Now factor in the population growth and I see nothing but expansion and tons of fisherman begging to get in their doors. Just my opnion!

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curt quesnell

Everyone,<P>This is a good topic. Unfortunately, a topic<BR>with no correct answer. What ever is done,<BR>when ever it is done, only time will tell<BR>if the decision was a good one.<P>We would all like to catch fish like crazy<BR>on LOW forever and we are paying the biologists, and fisheries people to make <BR>sure that happens. I could live with<BR>a 4 fish limit ( and maybe some extra Saugers).<P>Thanks again for your opinions, keep em<BR>coming.<P><P>------------------<BR>Curt Quesnell<BR>NorthCountry Outdoors Radio

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snaggletooth

I know this for a fact that the reason that you didn't see many people at the meeting is because some of the resort owners have asked their guides not to attend meetings. I know this because I work at a resort as a full time guide. We have had meetings of our own at our resort as well as some of the other resorts have done this and our owners know what our input on the topic is and they will and have expressed it to the correct people at the correct times. Next-to you RustyTrcka- I am not sure what you are saying about the 90% of the resorts are opposed to cutting the limits. I don't know a single resort that is based on the Rainy River or Bostic Creek that are opposed to it. And to be blunt-that is pretty much all of the resorts. Maybe Mr. Paniovich told you that but I can't believe it. I have known him since I was about 5 or 6 years old and he is a very educated man about the lake. And I know that I have heard him say that he is opposed to it but not completely against it. As far as the resort I work at. We have about 12 full time guides and another 4 or 5 part time guides and we are not worried about the DNR cutting the limit. It would do nothing but help the lake. As far as the slot, we are a little worried about it. It may work and all but what we are worried about is that if we catch a fish that big-which we do catch quite a few-and the fish is gill hooked or has swallowed the hook-it doesn't matter if you downrigging or baitfishing either!-then what? I would hate to give a pelican or a cormorant a free meal. That is really the only concern I have about any of the changes. And that is another point. What about all the Pelicans and Cormorants on the lake. Doesn't anyone think that they are making an impact on the fish?

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curt quesnell

Snaggletooth,<P>we might have a miscommunication going here.<P>Rusty was saying most of the resort owners<BR>do not want or dont see the reasoning behind<BR>changing the limits. I was at the first<BR>meeting and thats what I got out of it.<BR>(90%?...who knows).<P>There are some Resort owners embracing the <BR>idea for change. Three that I can come up<BR>with and name.<P>The Dnr said at the first meeting that the<BR>Cormorants and Pelicans have little or <BR>no impact on LOW fish populations. They <BR>went on to say that the days of the huge<BR>numbers of these birds are past and more<BR>normal populations are returning.<P><P>------------------<BR>Curt Quesnell<BR>NorthCountry Outdoors Radio

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jlm

I am not sure about the pelicans but the cormorants have been a major issue throughout MN. I recently read that the federal government has given special privilages to the state of MN to deal with these birds. That is a big step since these are migratory and protected birds and are managed by the feds. Good to see people are talking about the issue anyway. I am sure that if they are a problem on LOW, they will be addressing the problem. Anyone else have better information than myself about this issue?

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lakowoods

I went fishing one time last year and we witnessed a string of cormorants coming from basil channel heading for Bufflo Bay, that lasted for almost 2 hours, they were flying close to the surface of the water, it was what you want to say incredible amount of birds no guess on how many, but i would have to say thousands and thousands of useless birds! guess how many each one has to eat to survive?

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Guest

MR. Snagletooth,<P> The slot limit is what we were talking about ...Don't get your shorts in a bundle !!<P>Thanks CURT QUISNELL for your input, I am glad to see that you are up on the latest on this agenda, The three LARGE resorts that are pushing for this Are the ones that are all for this !! Kudos to Nick and staff at the awesome Zippel Bay Resort !!<P>------------------<BR>"Tricky"<p>[This message has been edited by Rusty Trcka (edited 05-27-2004).]

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fiskyknut

Well what could it be....Cormorants? Sturgeon? Way to many big Pike? The ever growing population of visiting winter anglers? All the resorts 6pack boats and their downriggers?<P>Almost seems there is a sky is falling mentality going on sometimes.<P>I think the fishing is good, darn good. I think all lakes have an ebb and flow as to fish populations, LOTW is no exception, just can't see how people think it could/should be better and better each year. <P>Stopped at my moms place in Roseau the other day. She had been going thru her attic and found some pictures of me when I was 5....37 years ago, opener 1967 on LOTW! You should see these these stringers of fish, before the days of catch and release for sure, and the commercial fishing was going on bigtime then too.<P>I think our DNR has done a great job in their managing the fishery and will put the resource first, special interests should'nt come into play what-so-ever. <P>Regards....fiskyknut<P>

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snipe

What I got out of the meeting was that the choice was:<P>1) Shorten the season.<BR>2) Reduce limits.<BR>3) Slot limits.<P>Anyone care to talk a bit about which option you would like to see? My choice would be to do whatever it would take to keep the longer seasons.

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BLUESHARP

Slots are a pain.I eat my gut hooked fish.I would hate to waste them.Shorter season would just cause more congestion.Lower the limits if need be.What's next no live bait,LOTW permits like the BWCA?

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bturck

This has definitley been an interesting topic with as many opinions and viewpoints as the amount of fisherpersons. It can be a hotly contested topice (check the Mille Lacs Forum, as this has been an ongoing controversary for many years down here) I believe that all of us need to be involved, fisherpersons, resorts, and the DNR in an attempt to do the right thing whatever that may turn out to be. No matter how it finally turns out 100% satisfaction is not possible. Over the past few years I have had the chance to bring several people to LOW winter fishing who have never expierenced this type of fishing. The chance to catch and release 30 or more fish per day for them was just great. We need to do the right thing to insure this type of fishing in the future. Many thanks to all of you who are close to LOW and are able to relay the points of interest from a local perspective. I firmly believe that input from all of us is crucial to a solution that will maintain this fishery and be in the best interest of the majority. Good luck and hang on. Bill

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hanson

What a great topic! Everybody has their own viewpoint as to what should be done. I haven't been fishing Lake of the Woods too long but there are a couple things that I've noticed in the last few years that concern me.<P>1. The number of icefisherman. If you haven't icefished Lake of the Woods in the last 2-3 years, you are in for a surprise. This isn't just a Lake of the Woods phenomenon but a statewide phenomenon. Ice fishing is extremely popular.<P>2. The number of little fish being caught. This is actually a good thing but it still concerns me. In a couple years, fishing will be absolutely fantastic when these little guys grow up. How about we let them go so they can grow up. Just because its a 12" sauger doesn't mean that's all the bigger its going to grow. I personally would rather catch (10) 20-28" walleye in a day and have to let them go because of a proposed slot restriction than a (100) 12 inchers and keeping a limit of the ones that might go 13". I'm changing my techniques next winter to go after the bigger ones but there are still too many people filling their buckets with little fish.<P>3. Saugers deserve some respect too! wink.gif <P>I'm just speaking about the hardwater season on the lake since I don't get to fish LOW open water very much.

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