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JBMasterAngler

Tullibee Stocking

36 posts in this topic

The DNR stocked tullibee into Lake Elmo a few years ago to boast the forage base for walleye, pike, and muskie. It seemed to have worked so far, so I'm wondering why the DNR doesn't try the same thing in a few other metro lakes. I think White Bear and Phalen lakes are deep and clean enough to support tullibees. And I'm sure the walleye, pike, and muskies would love the new treats! What are your opinions on this?

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They get far to warm to support any sizeable population of tullibee.

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Even Mille Lacs is on the southern border for big numbers of tullibee.

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Here's a great article about Tullibees from the DNR website. Sorry its so long, but I think really interesting.

I think what they're getting at is lakes have to have pretty deep thermoclines for them to survive? Or at least adequate oxygen? Maybe a lake like Waconia could support them w/a deep thermocline or Tonka?

Cheeseburger with fins

Game fish grow fat off this oil-rich cousin of trout and salmon

At a recent meeting in St. Paul, DNR fisheries officials discussed with members of a conservation organization how the agency might boost numbers of big fish.

"Using special regulations," explained Fisheries chief Ron Payer, "we could increase numbers of trophy northern pike, muskies, or lake trout on any of our major lakes with a strong tullibee population." What was that about tullibees?

It turns out that this poorly regarded cousin of trout and salmon has the same effect on game fish as cheeseburgers and chocolate malts have on big NFL linemen, say biologists. Tullibees are food?a big, rich, fatty food. And the more of them that pike or other predators can eat, the bigger the game fish get. It's because of tullibees that Minnesota's classic big fish lakes continue to produce those classic big fish. Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs, Leech, and Cass all have healthy tullibee populations.

These sleek, silvery fish with big eyes?Coregonus artedi?are members of the salmonid family, which includes salmon, trout, and whitefish. Tullibees get their scientific name from the Greek word coregonus, or angle eye, and from the Roman artedi, after Swedish naturalist Petrus Artedi (see tragic note, below right?Ed.). They also go by other names, including ciscoes (what biologists call them), chubs (though they aren't related to creek chubs), lake herrings (though they aren't related to the saltwater herrings commonly found pickled in jars), and tullipees.

Tullibees are closely related to lake whitefish. Like whitefish, tullibees spawn each fall over rock and gravel beds in shallow water. Tullibees are a bit smaller, ranging from 14 to 20 inches long and weighing 1 to 5 pounds. Whitefish get up to 10 pounds.

According to Bob Ekstrom, DNR large lake specialist at Bemidji, tullibees are pelagic fish, meaning they cruise for food in open-water areas rather than near the shore or the lake bottom. Their main diet consists of zooplankton, tiny invertebrates found throughout a lake that resemble shrimp.

Because of their free-roaming lifestyle, tullibees seldom feed near a lake bottom, where walleyes live, or near weedy shorelines, where northern pike normally roam. That means the predator fish must exert additional energy to find tullibees. Tullibees are so rich that game fish make the effort, Ekstrom says.

Because tullibees use a volume of water not used by other species, they increase a lake's carrying capacity. Lakes that have tullibees can produce more fish and more big predator fish than those that don't.

"Tullibees are important to anglers because they convert zooplankton into a prey item eaten by large game fish that anglers value," says Ekstrom. Some northern lakes have tullibees and others don't because the species needs both clean and cold water to survive. Once the water temperature exceeds 65 degrees Fahrenheit, tullibees suffer. Even some northern lakes can become too warm for tullibees. In the Bemidji area, for example, tullibees die off about once every 10 years, when the sun heats lake water above the species' tolerance.

These die-offs keep tullibee numbers in check. Because adult fish are too large to be consumed by anything other than big muskies, northerns, walleyes, or lake trout, an occasional summer kill appears to be nature's way of preventing tullibees from overpopulating lakes.

For reasons unknown to biologists, it's usually the adult tullibees that perish during these die-offs. According to Dennis Schupp, senior research biologist at Brainerd, this phenomenon is part of the complex puzzle that contributes to game fish growth.

"In cases where there are fewer adult tullibees, you will have more juveniles," says Schupp. "Because those juveniles are a size that your average walleye or northern can eat, that means more food for a lake's main game fish population."

When the average size of tullibees gets too big, he adds, relatively few game fish can eat them.

Another factor contributing to game fish populations, says Schupp, is the growth rate of young tullibees. Usually, newly hatched tullibees grow too quickly to be eaten by newly hatched walleyes. But in some years, climatic conditions appear to retard tullibee growth, providing young walleyes with a feast.

"It's like a bunch of little bratwursts swimming around for those young walleyes," Schupp says.

DNR biologists monitor tullibee populations because the fish is an essential part of a lake ecosystem. If pollution or some other factor were to harm tullibees, the food chain would be disrupted.

Says Schupp, "Walleyes and northerns would no doubt survive if a lake's tullibee population disappeared, but they'd end up leaner because they'd lose a fish that's packed with rich protein."

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I don't believe thermocline effects baitfish, they can live below it because they don't consume the amount of oxygen that gamefish do. And because White Bear and Phalen get so deep I think they could survive and provide an additional forage to the predators in that lake. I don't think there would ever become a quality fishery for them down here, but I can live with that. I'd much rather catch the bigger walleyes. If trout can survive in square or christmas lakes (and they are much more sensitive to temperatures, clean water, and oxygen levels) then tullibees can survive in White Bear or Phalen, and maybe a couple other lakes.

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Waconia maybe but Minnetonka no. Reason? Waconia is a bit like Mille Lacs open and windswept. Keeps the overall lake temp lower because the wind mixes the water and themocline either doesn't setup or is very deep. That is the reason ciscoes can survive in Mille Lacs. Minnetonka for the most part is too warm with a themocline around 25ft.

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Good point Mark,

Waconia has possibilities, but I doubt that the DNR would do it. I would love to see the skis in there if they did make it though.

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Lac Lavon in Apple Valley/Burnsville has been stocked a few times with tullibee. I am not sure if it has improved the fishery, but there seems to be a decent pike population in there.

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Big Marine is fairly deep and has clean water, I'm wondering if tullibees could survive there too. The pike fishing is already fantastic in that lake for both qaulity and quantity, just imagine if they had that extra boast from a tullibee snack here and there.

I thought lake st. croix would be a good one too because it's deep and clean and well oxygenated, but then I thought there's already plenty of food in there in the form of shad.

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Quote:

Waconia maybe but Minnetonka no. Reason? Waconia is a bit like Mille Lacs open and windswept. Keeps the overall lake temp lower because the wind mixes the water and themocline either doesn't setup or is very deep. That is the reason ciscoes can survive in Mille Lacs. Minnetonka for the most part is too warm with a themocline around 25ft.


Mark, you may be correct here, but I think of Mille Lacs as an exception to the rule. When a deeper lake statifies, the cooler layers provide a barrier from the warmer surface waters. I think the pelagic Tullibee, to a certain extent, depends on the thermocline and it's temperature "protected" water as a temperature refuge in the Summer. I think they can even survive below it, where the water is the coolest (and the O2 is rarest), for periods of time. How they survive in Mille Lacs is beyond me...I think I have measured surface water temps around 80 F. If this water is mixing through the water column, it can't be a lot cooler at 30 feet. Anybody take temp measurements throughout the water column on Mille Lacs?(I've done it a few times on statified lakes and the temp difference is amazing). I've also marked huge pods of Ciscos in the Fall at 75-90 feet deep in the Fall on Lac Court Orielles. This was before turnover...it could be though that there was some sort of thermocline that deep.

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I've done it on the big pond and it cools off fast. Minnetonka will be in the high 70s all the way to 20ft depths by August. Not good. I also think Mille Lacs carries a higher load of plankton due to the wind churning it up but I have nothing to back that up other than intuition. FYI shad are just as good as ciscoes when it comes to fattening fish up but we are just a tad too far north. Pool 4/Lake Pepin however is not grin.gif

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The st. croix is loaded with shad, mostly really little ones. I see schools of them cruising just beneath the surface all the time. But yeah, lake pepin is nuts when it comes to shad! I fished it last summer and after dark when I was boating back to the launch the surface of the water looked like it was raining shad. Harriet and Calhoun are deep and the water quality is improving, windswept too. They also might work for tullibees.

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Quote:

I've done it on the big pond and it cools off fast. Minnetonka will be in the high 70s all the way to 20ft depths by August. Not good. I also think Mille Lacs carries a higher load of plankton due to the wind churning it up but I have nothing to back that up other than intuition. FYI shad are just as good as ciscoes when it comes to fattening fish up but we are just a tad too far north. Pool 4/Lake Pepin however is not
grin.gif


Just a note on shad, while they are great for predator fish (large crappies included), they are really really bad for bluegills and other fish. Down in my old neck of the woods (Iowa), the DNR has had to do several reclamation projects due to shad infestation.

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Quote:


Mille Lacs carries a higher load of plankton


Inever heard before if their is plankton in Mill lacs, but I do know their is larva from may flies and fish flies (fish flies are those pesky things that hit in july during the day out on the flats. You motor out their and stop, the next thing their up your nose and in your eyes). I have cought tullibee and gutted for smoke house and found bug larva in them. Used to sell them in the bars in bethel MN with a friend named Duke. used to roll one fish up in newspaper after smoked and sell them for $5.00 a fish. people would eat them right at the bar. Also i will note, I catch most of my tullibee in fall during full moon. They spawn in late fall in shallow rock area's. The other good time of year is winter. Early morning and sunny outside. I have found them out around 5 mile flat, right under ice 3-8 feet. This is in 25-30 of water. Anything shinny with fat head they will eat. just thought I would give a run down of what I know.

Thanks,

SHACKBASH grin.gif

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I like your idea and would love to see them stocked in Phalen schooled up in the 90 foot holes. In the winter there is a lake we fish that is loaded with Tulibee and they are real fun to catch through the ice. The ones we were catching were 12-16 inches and a blast through the ice.

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I don't know if they'd ever grow big enough to interest anglers down here in the metro area, I'd rather take a weekend trip to catch them up north anyway. But even if they only grew to 6 or 7 or 8 inches that's perfect eating size for the fish that would benefit from eating them. People would be catching 10 pound + walleye and 50 inch + muskies! That would be awesome in a lake like phalen or harriet.

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One little lake that you wouldn't expect to have them in is Silver Lake, but my wife and I caught two (about 5" a piece) while catching a mountain of little sunnies, crappies, and perch a couple of weeks ago. I was a bit suprized, but I guess it does have an approximately 45ft hole where they can hide in the summer. Too bad I couldn't catch the walleys or pike that have been feeding on them wink.gif

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Most likely what you caught was a plain old shiner minnow. They look very similiar to tullibee.

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I can guarantee you 99.9% that the DNR will not be stocking tullibee in any more metro lakes including Lake Elmo.

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I think the DNR should stop wasting money on stocking walleyes and muskies in some unnecessary metro lakes and use that money to better maintain the fishery in the other lakes where walleye and muskie stocking is actually effective.

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I think the DNR should stop wasting money on stocking walleyes and muskies in some unnecessary metro lakes and use that money to better maintain the fishery in the other lakes where walleye and muskie stocking is actually effective.


I've said the same thing for years, but it has fallen on deaf ears. There are a lot of fish that get wasted because they're stocked in places they have little chance of survival.

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Island, Silver, and McCarrons lake in ramsey county are a few. I'm sure any of you guys can think of a number of lakes in the metro area where stocking walleye and/or muskies makes no sense.

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Hey JB, I don't want to hijack the thread, but this might be an interesting discussion. Personally, I like it that the DNR stocks some of the mud holes. There have been a few over the years, especially a few in St. Paul I can think of, that were very good to me until the "word" got out.

Although I'd agree about Island Lake. I've hit that stinkhole twice & received nothing but wet lines & lures for my trouble. Couldn't even buy a stinking panfish. That lake is evil...

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Supposedly the lake is full of hammer handle northerns. There's a billion potato chip sunfish in there. I think the DNR started stocking catfish in island lake a few years ago also, and I've heard some people have had good success so far.

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Getting back to tullibee though. There are a number of lakes south of mille lacs whose water quality isn't that great, yet they still support a fair population of tullibee. The best example is sauk lake in sauk centre. That lake has poor clarity and suffers from VERY bad algae blooms in the summer. Lake koronis in paynesville and cedar lake in annandale are also some examples. So if tullibee can live there, they can live here. I want to add south center lake to the list of possible tullibee lakes.

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