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LakeTahoe

Bigger than 12"

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LakeTahoe

My question is about Gull Lake.

Where are the walleye's that are bigger than 12 inches... I know they are in the Lake, because we caught a good number of them in the fall. Where do they go for the winter? We spent two days of solid fishing on gull this past weekend and out of close to 60 or 70 walleyes there were only 2 at 12 iinches. The rest were 5-10 inches and even watching the aquaview for two solid days as well we saw none bigger either. We mainly target 20-30 FOW. They are probably deeper, Maybe 50 FOW or something, We did try a bit of 40 FOW but nothing. If the bigger ones bite deeper are we talking same twilight bite or what?

Gull should be killer in about 2 years though!

LT

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AWH

I don't fish for walleyes much, and haven't fished Gull for a couple of years now. But it seems that's been the story out there for about the past 4 to 5 years, wait two more years! Can anyone explain the small walleye cycle that Gull seems to be in? Everyone knows that the big ones are in there. But when you have so many small ones that beat the big ones to the bait, it makes it tough. What will it take for this lake to get out of this cycle? Is it just a matter of time or is it something else?

AWH

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AWH

I just looked at the stocking data for Gull. Over the past 5 years, an average of 3.2 million walleye fry have been stocked in Gull per year. With the huge numbers of small walleyes in this system, when do they scale down their stocking efforts? I'm far from a walleye expert, but is there not a threat to create a somewhat stunted walleye population if this trend continues and they continue to stock the numbers that they have been?

It seems like they could scale back (not only in Gull, but other lakes that have an excellent self-sustaining population) and use some of this saved money to begin a musky stocking program in Gull. Actually, I'm serious about this comment. But without bringing muskies into the equation, how is walleye stocking effecting Gull right now, either positively or negatively?

AWH

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Toad

Good ol' AWH, take a walleye question and turn it into talk about muskies. wink.gif You've got muskies on the brain. I feel for you, man. Anyway, at least if they ever did stock 'skies in Gull, there'd be no shortage of food, right?

Like you mentioned, though, Gull's a prime example of the new and improved "acclerated walleye stocking program." It's what fisherman asked for several years ago, when, admittedly, walleye numbers had dropped to relatively low levels.

To my knowledge, Gull's never been so quickly infused with such a huge influx of walleye. Truthfully, no one really knows what's going to happen. My primary concern lies with the perch populations in these lakes. Real easy for exceedingly abundant (and hungry) young walleyes to deplete perch stocks in a hurry. It's happened in lots of smaller area lakes, so conceivably, it could happen on Gull. Fortunately, larger adult walleyes also rely on super-abundant ciscoes. So for now, it remains to be seen whether the lake will overcome this "shock to the system." On a lake as diverse as Gull, the future still holds great potential.

-a friend called Toad

P.S. Forgot to mention, LakeTahoe, you might consider checking shallower, rather than deeper. We've scored quite well on nicer sized fish lately by scooting right up into the weeds-- 10 to 17 feet of water. Worth a check. smile.gif

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koeps

Toad had the right idea--do not forget the weed areas--this fall the best areas were still in the weeds-same place that most hung around all summer.Theoretically deeper should be better and maybe true-we did have a report today that some guys did well in 38 feet but on flats instead of steep structure. But don't forget the weeds--the baitfish hang there so if fish want to eat-hmmm dinner!!

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AWH

I know Toad, I've got issues! But I did just have my boat winterized yesterday. So I finally gave up on the open water season! But back to the walleyes...it sounds like the plan is to continue stocking Gull at the rate they have been?

AWH

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Sportland_Bait

Those muskies sure would eat well with all the 5-12 inch bait out there right now. Heck, in a few years we could have one heck of a trophy muskie fishery. I'm guessing the state might not give up on the walleyes just yet.

You are right Toad, there just isn't enough factual info to know what will happen in the future. I guess mother nature will probably correct things. It sure would be great if those little guys grow up, we'll just have to wait and see. The bigger fish are there somewhere. Along with lots of small ones we had very nice fish through much of the season, and they were all very healthy.

Jason Erlandson

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AWH

Man, can you imagine how the walleye guys would love muskies if they were introduced into Gull? Not only could Gull be a world class musky fishery. But with all the walleyes under 12" out there right now, they couldn't help but eat some of them even though they aren't their preferred forage. Heck, they might accidentally eat a walleye while opening up to eat a 16" sucker. But with this help the muskies would provide in controlling the small 'eye population, all of a sudden the bigger walleyes would be much more frequent in everyone's catches. All thanks to the musky!!! And as the walleye population stabilized and got back to a more well balanced size distribution, the muskies would again be taking advantage of the vast amounts of suckers, ciscoes and perch in Gull - leaving the walleyes to thrive as well.

LakeTahoe, here's my advice on getting onto some bigger walleyes out on Gull. And really, this can go for any body of water that has a lot of small fish. First, I would take Toad's advice and try shallower. But there will still be small fish in there competing with the bigger ones. So with your bait selection - go big! If you're using any kind of jigging spoon I would go with the biggest one you can find. Otherwise, I would get the biggest golden shiners you can get ahold of. They might seem too big for walleye fishing. But that's the idea. You'll keep the 10" fish away and you'll hopefully land some of the bigger fish that we all know live in Gull.

If you don't think walleyes will eat an 8" shiner, they will. I tried bigger shiners the last time I ice fished on Gull a couple years ago. But I didn't get the biggest shiners I could find and I wished I would have. I was using shiners that were about 6" and I still caught six to eight walleyes in the 12" to 13" range. But I did manage a few better ones as well. Believe it or not, I've caught a 14" walleye on a 9" Suick. So you could still catch some small walleyes on those big shiners. But chances are you'll keep them away and the bigger ones will take you're offering instead.

Good luck!

AWH

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LakeTahoe

Thanks for all the good information.

Next time I am up there it will likely be the contest.

Good Luck!

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ccarlson

The walleye inbalance on gull right now is interesting. As AWH said, three and even 4 years ago we were all saying, "just wait two years". Well that has come and gone and we see the same thing.

Obviously the fry stocking is working very well. Fry stocking best emulates natural reproduction. In contrast to a statement made above, you must realize that around the Brainerd Lakes area, natural reproduction for walleye is very, very limited and can not be relied upon to sustain a good fishery. So what is the solution? Possibly take one year off and see what happens? Who knows. I get irritated in retrospect because (I'm going to play the blame game here) things were going great on gull for many, many years and then in 1993 the state level DNR decides to drastically reduce the stocking of walleye statewide including Gull Lake. That continued through 1997. As Toad said, fishing did make a noticeable downturn following those years. I would say certainly enough to lose the good balance that was happening on lakes like gull.

(This is not to blame the current area fisheries office which I feel is doing a great job and doing their best at evaluating as it is going on.)

I don't know the answer but over the past year I've noticed a trend that puts Pelican lake one year ahead of where Gull is on this inbalance issue. Correct me if I'm wrong but things are looking better at least for catching some decent walleye on Pelican this year compared to the past two or so. Since gull is stocked at even a lower rate than pelican, (pelican is fry stocked at the same level plus stocked with fingerlings which gull is not getting) perhaps gull will find it's balance and the situation will improve as it is on Pelican.

Of course, time will also tell if lakes such as pelican and gull can sustain the numbers in relation to the forage. I don't think pelican has hit a danger point yet in terms of actual damage happening at this time. I know theoretically that is a valid concern by some.

Too bad it was "fixed" in the first place when it wasn't broken.

By the way, I'm a walleye fanatic and I'd love to see muskie in Gull (or whitefish, or N. Long). I think walleye anglers are way to mis-informed on the effects of what muskie do to their walleye populations. Too many people using scare tactics to frighten everyone on the possibilities when the truth is they don't know the effects. Muskie were the ones that took the blame for the walleye slowdown on many lakes when reality is it had everything to do with the statewide walleye stocking cutback from 93-98. Ironically, Muskie anglers paid a bigger price in PR for the walleye stocking reduction in a round about way than walleye anglers did.

ccarlson

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MNUser

I too find the small fish abundance interesting. It is fun when you have a child along and they catch many fish. They could not care about size.

I still have to wonder about the size ratio. This lake gets a lot of pressure from anglers who are fishing for a living. I just don't see how any lake can sustain those numbers of fish removed day in and day out. Many anglers I have spoken with have to wonder if some lakes will every recover when fish in that 16"-24" range are removed in vast quanities daily. We all know it happens and have seen it first hand.

I'm not trying to point fingers or place blame. I know that this a very "hot" topic. I have been fortunate enough to catch my fair share of really nice fish from Gull and others and I can honestly say I don't keep many fish for the simple reason my kids turn their nose up to it. I will trade with my neighbor on occasion since he lets me borrow the power washer when I need it.

I read Walleye Dan's acticle in the Brainerd Dispatch last Sunday. I agree with what he wrote and I hope we can all follow suit. Pelican was really good this summer/fall. I only hope it is not over harvested because of that.

2 more years guys and Gull will be on fire!!!!

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