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smallie_hawgin

So is it the Regulations?

12 posts in this topic

Just wanted to put this out there to see y'alls thoughts. Is it the slot regs (12-20 protected, 1 over 20, with 3 daily bag) that have been in place since 1990 that makes the St. Cloud to Dayton stretch so good or is it something else? Just curious what all the river rats think?

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I think it certainly doesn't hurt things, and I would expect that it has indeed increased the average size of the bass in that stretch.
A case in point is the new experimental regs regarding northern pike, anglers tend to keep the nicer fish. Pike (similar to smallies) are agressive and if you know their patterns, are not really too tough to catch. I think anyone who has fished this state for a while would agree that we have seen a dramatic overall decline in average size for that species. I have no objections to keeping legally caught fish for consumption or mounting if it's a trophy, but I think we might be loving our sport to death in some cases. We fish the Rum with some regularity and strictly because the Rum is a much smaller river I would think it is a more fragile fishery than the Mississippi.
We have landed numbers of nice smallmouth in there and have not kept any, for us, the fun is in the catching. I don't like bass to eat, so releasing them is pretty easy to do. To me, it would also make sense to have some slot restrictions on the Rum.
I think we will be seeing many more lakes and rivers with special regulations and slot limits, and for the most part I am in favor of it.

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I don't profess to know the answer...but I believe the regs help. What I do think has a impact is the warm water discharge from the two power plants. Longer growth season...

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I definitely think the reg's have had an impact. I've fished the stretch between 101 bridge to Clearwater for about 15 yrs., and the last 3 have been incredible!!!!

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I say move the regs all the way down to the Coon Rapids dam.
I would think it could only help it get better.

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I'd vote for protecting them all over the river.

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I think smallies in general should be protected. Hey, it's my favorite fish smile.gif

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Special regs work great in certain situations, the river notwithstanding. But I believe, the real reason this fishery remains such a smallmouth bonanza is not due so much to slot limits as it is to habitat. Up and down the Miss you've got perfect smallmouth water-- innumerable places they can effectively feed, avoid excessive current and obviously, reproduce.

Water quality, believe it or not, actually plays a large role in the bass' success as well. For many years, water quality has remained high throughout most portions of the Upper Miss. Smallmouth survival hinges on it. Loss of water quality spells doom for smallmouths, which is exactly what happened to a once thriving population in the Minnesota R.

More recently now, an alarming increase in the number of reported erosion cases-- most notably in the Grand Rapids area-- probably poses the greatest threat facing the river, ever-- much greater than the perceived threat of over-fishing. Erosion means excessive basin siltation, which spells a loss in fish habitat, as it nearly always also leads to a loss in water quality.

I'm certainly not saying we're going to lose this wonderful fishery anytime soon-- far from it. But the changes a river undergoes via siltation borne from excessive riparian development can be dramatic, and rarely pretty.

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Thanks for that info Toad. It's easy for us to take it for granite this great body of water. I was wading and caught 2 nice smallies on luch break just today. Let's hope it lasts. <>< <>< ><> ><>

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Toad and others, If it was all habitat in your opinion, why has the population significantly improved since 1990? I am definitely not disagreeing on the quality habitat. But that habitat has been there for hundreds of years.

We all have seen improvements of smallmouth fisheries all across the state, but at significantly lower levels. Are there folks that noticed the same changes in the upper stretches (Brainerd-L falls, Blanchard to Sartell)? While I know a bit about the St. Coud to Coon Rapids stretch I have only limited knowledge of the others. Anyway it is still good to realize that habitat is by far one of the most limiting resources. If we all can do our part to educate others on proper land use (don't mow near shorlines, allow natives to proliferate, don't dump grass clippings on the shoreline, minimize runoff, etc., etc.), the river may be able to withstand development pressures from all of the sprawl. Good discussion!!!

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I like others have fished the stretch of river in question for a very long time. I have also kept records of every single trip. I am here to say i don't believe the req. brought on by the smallmouth alliance have made a huge difference, if any. Why, simply because when these reqs. were imposed there wasn't alot of pressure to begin with. You would never see the boats you do now, and even back then catch and release was the popular thing to do. I knew and know alot of fisherman on the river and none of them kept smallies, cats, walleyes yes, but not s.m. Now there are more fisherman and I think almost all of you would say that even if these reqs. weren't in place you wouldn't keep any if but a few to eat. Smallies are delicious, and even if an occasinal one was kept by someone for the frying pan it wouldn't harm this incredible fishery. In my records spanning twenty yrs I catch more big fish now, but i am also a better fisherman then i was back then. It takes a long time and alot of work to learn how to catch big s.m. consistently. Last year i pulled in over 900 s.m. so i think i get a pretty good idea of what shape this fishery is in. Do these restrictions hurt a body of water, of course not. And in some bodies of water i believe they are a very important management tool. The reason i am catching bigger s.m. is beacuse i have a better understanding of the fish and river. The smallmouth fishing on the river has ALWAYS been excellent, it has been nationally acclaimed well before these restrictions were imposed. Gapen would bring russian diplomats here, as well as other celebrities to this area to fish, why? Because it was an awesome fishery. The river's eco-system, river cleanliness and that your a better fisherman has contributed to the increase in big s.m. caught. I have read many posts on here of local river fisherman saying that a 20" s.m. is a once in every 5 year fish, or they just got their first 20" after yrs of fishing or they can't believe that others are catching them somewhat frequently. Do you think these folks would be convinced that the restrictions have helped?.

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The simple answer in my mind,,,,,

The regs can only help it get better; not worse.
Extend the regs down to the Coon Rapids dam.
If the regs save a fish today from being harvested, it saves the possibility that it can grow to be a trophy some day.
Maybe it was great years ago, and as stated very few people were seen fishing it many years ago. Today it IS getting fished more, so either try to protect it or let nature take its course.

Bring on the regs!

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