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Neighbor

Leech Lake Slot limits proposed

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Neighbor

What are your thoughts on the proposed slot limits for Leech.

Voice your opionion by emailing DNR fisheries manager for the lake at harlan.fierstine@dnr.state.mn.us

I am all for them.

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Gofishleech

They are atleast a year too late IMO. "Better Late then never"!!!

There were way too many 20plus inch fish removed from the lake last year. Can,t blame anglers when that was all they were able to catch. But

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full force five

All for it . . . I'm all for a state-wide slot limit.

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leechlake

I don't understand why people don't want it along with a reduced limit. I'd bet 99% of the people won't be effected by a 4 fish or 6 fish limit on Leech (or for that matter 2 lately). Like GOFISH said too many 20 plus fish are taken out. If you only catch 2 -22" walleyes on vacation and want a fish fry guess what happens to those fish, dinner. I'm looking forward to the day when Leech is a good walleye lake, great would be better, right now it is poor or worse and needs our help.

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Warrior95

I agree with you LeechLake and GOFISH to some degree.I have a cabin on Leech and have been fishing it for 35 plus years and truthfully i think Leech is just in a down cycle because i've seen it happen before on Leech.Everybody is crying wolf a little to early.The problem is that the mentality of the fisherman has'nt changed yet.Everybody still wants to go up there and bring home fish to eat(me included) and if they can't because of the proposed slot limit on Leech they will stop going up there,which will really hurt the economy of the area.I don't really think we want more resorts closing on Leech.Four more resorts are going up for sale this spring.As far as the bad walleye fishing goes on Leech i'm not sure what all the fuss is about.because this past spring was about the only bad year that i've had on Leech and i blame that on the cold spring we had.The lake has changed to some degree,some of the good weedbeds are'nt there anymore,why i'm not sure and the water clarity is better which does not help fishing.One thing i have noticed is that Leech is turning into more of a nite bite lake than it ever used to be.I hope something is done this comming year with the cormerant situation.I actually found a dead one floating around Goose Island this past summer with a 15 inch walleye in it's mouth.Something needs to be done.Good luck to us all this comming season.

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LakeTahoe

I haven't completely given up on Leech yet. I have read (and heard) many opinions and I just feel the lake is on a down cycle as well. However, I think we should ask the government to do a fly over with a B-52 and drop a couple "items" on Pelican Island, to rid it of cormorants. We should also relook, or atleast monitor the netting that is going on there as well. Mille Lacs is watched under a microscope for that, why can't they do the same for leech. (maybe they are, but I haven't heard anything) Any one have thoughts on that?

The real losers that would come from a proposed slot IS the resorts and all the other "shops" that prosper from the summer and, in some cases, winter fishing economic coat-tails. I'm scared one day I go to leech and there won't be any bait shops around because it's not worth it for them to stay open in that area. frown.gif Who knows the ramifications.... This should be relooked carefully!

Anther concern I have is where are the small walleyes, I don't remember that last time I caught one on Leech (10-15 inchers). Atleast on the Eastern side of the Lake? Can someone answers these questions?

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leechlake

I think that the cycle is also a part of the situation on Leech. My family has had a place up there since 1952 (I'm 37 years old myself) and obviously nature cycles. I have two points. If I'm out fishing with a buddy we'll have just as much fun if we have the opportunity to keep 8 fish or 12. 4 or 6 fish isn't going to make or break the fun ( I'd suggest as I did above 95% of the time you arent' going to catch more than two or three walleyes a day anyway so what's the difference). My second point is about the quality of fishing. Here's my scenario; 4 father and son teams are going to go fishing and fish a lake for four days in June that they have never fished before. Vermillion, Winnie, Mille Lacs, and Leech. All four teams get local tips and information to enthusiastically go fishing and have a blast. I would bet that 9 times out 10 (I don't believe that ratio is an exageration) the Leech team would catch the least amount of fish and end up fishing a different lake the next year. That hurts the local businesses.

My last point is that of deer hunting and dnr management of the herd and it's relationship to walleye management. The dnr has four zones for firearms season, and a archery, and muzzleloader season. Each zone is individually managed for antlerless deer. Certain parks are managed to effectively manage deer. As a whole the dnr factors in road killed deer, poached deer, deer that hunters do not register, along with legally taken registered deer to come up with a formula to manage the resource. Not perfect but a common sense approach.

Meanwhile the leech lake walleye limit has had one change to it in the past 30 years, the taking of only one large fish is allowed. WHAT!!! That makes no sense. Could you imagine the dnr locking in on one deer management plan and sticking to it for 30 years. This year in our area we could shoot 5 deer total, what if that was the rule in 1998 when the deer herd was slim pickins. Wouldn't make sense, the walleyes need to be managed. Sorry for the Christmas ramblings. I want to thank everyone on our site for the fun year, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Kris

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Bad Moon

I have a cabin on the east side of the lake and primarily fish for walleyes in that area. It has not been very good for the last few years, for sure.

Be advised that tribal netting still goes on, daily in the spring and fall and somewhat less in the summer. I can see them go out from the Brevik landing early in the mornings. They set nets on the south side of Bear Island. I don't know how many they get but they are not doing it just for the exercise.

You are correct about the small walleyes. We never catch any either. You would think there would be a few showing up among all the perch a guy catches.

The water clarity on Leech was the most clear we have ever seen this year. There were a lot of small perch under the dock too, more than we have ever seen. Both of those factors can make for tough walleye fishing too. Perhaps there is a fishing " down cycle" too as some people suggest, but I don't think that is what is happening.

A slot limit seems like a done deal. Although I don't think a slot limit has ever been proven to work, it does seem like a good idea in theory. I don't relish the thought of releasing 20" walleyes so they can go and get caught in a gill net, but that is what is going to happen.

I recently sent a letter to the Fisheries dept. in which I voiced my concerns for the lake. I don't know if they give a rats patoot about my ideas, or if slot limits is the only thing they can think of. It certainly is the cheapest alternative and the easiest to do, and that may be the deciding factor in their choice of actions.

I do believe it is possible that the cormorants are getting a lot of the small walleyes. I read somewhere that the Fisheries dept. is considering a 3 year study on cormorant diets to see if they eat walleyes. I suggested that instead of that, the money be spent on a 90% kill of the cormorants. If after 3 years there are still no little walleyes, let the birds take over again. If I am right, we are 3 years ahead on the walleye recovery phase.

Another thing I suggested was to try to turn Leech into a crappie lake. Nature made it happen On Red Lake, maybe man can make it happen on Leech. Look what the crappie bonanza has done for Red Lake and the surrounding economy. Leech has some crappies already and there are large areas of the lake that would support a huge crappie population. I don't think cormorants would prey on crappies either.

Just some ideas. If the fish don't bite I can still sit by the bonfire among the skeeters and mayflies, and enjoy the sunset. Life is good.

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kevfish

The problem was not created overnite. In my opinionwhy try to solve it overnite. Start by taking care of the bird problem and reduce the limit to 4 fish. After a few years see what kind of impact this has had. Then if need be impose a slot restriction. I think the slot restrictions are what turn anglers away. If you impose too many restrictions the first year it may be a shock to the area busineeses. If ones only concearn is the lake then to impose a tight slot would be the thing to do but the buisnesses would suffer. Have a long time progressive plan- not a all at onec plan. JMO

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leechlake

I talked to the head fisheries guy last spring (harlan?). They said there was an overabundance of perch and they thought (they don't have the money to study other baitfish)other bait fish also. Per their comments, "subsistance" netting and whitefish netting do not do any statistical damage to the lake. They walleye population was down 15% at the time. Those were the facts according to them, I don't remember any comments on cormorants at that time. I can't imagine netting has no impact but that's what they say their studies show.

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Warrior95

I agree with you totally kevfish.The DNR is jumping into this proposed slot way to drastically.Why not lower the limit to 4 walleyes instead of 6 since there is no proof that slots work anyway.The other thing is where did the DNR come up with this idea that the perch population is way down in Leech Lake, the last 2 or 3 years i have never seen so many small schools of perch in the lake.I think that's half the problem right now,the walleyes are'nt hungry because of all the extra food in the lake.

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