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Seriously! My wife and I counted over 100 Cormorants in Frazer Bay this past Saturday. Seen other areas also that we counted anywhere from the mid teens to the upper 40's. Not sure how many out at Potato Island. Is this a problem or acceptable?

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There has been a big increase in the Fraser and Black Duck Bay area in the past two years. It is a problem and I hope the DNR is watching and planning a solution. They say each eats a pound of fish a day. That's hard to imagine, but if true, I can imagine the damage done.

RLG

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Yes, DNR is suppose to be monitoring them so they don't get out of control.

By my standard they are out of control already. I hang around Wolf Bay and up until ~3 years ago it was a rarity to see even one. This year I boated thought a flock of maybe 50-75- way more that last year.

How can they be doing the lake any good? They eat fish! Let the fish eat the fish(well this brings up the Muskie eating walleye argument but thats for another discussion). OK so loons eat fish also but there are way way way less loons than cormorants.

I'd say reduce their numbers by at least 1/2 and soon! What can thay hurt?

StillFishin'

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Can't say much about Wolf or the East end, but on the far West end of the lake there are definitely MANY more cormorants hanging around this year. It's very obvious to any casual observer. I've seen flocks upwards of 50 several times this year around rocky areas of Wakemup and Norwegian Bays. Fishing has been good this year, but it is a concerning trend.

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Potato in Big Bay has over 100-200 just about every day that I'm out there.

Walleyes are too expensive of a resource to let the Cormorants go wild. It will be interesting to see what the dnr does if anything.

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Ok, so:

If the Cormorants are increasing on the west side year after year, muskie are well matured into 50"ers, Large Mouth numbers are increasing....

Doesn't that help explain the shrinking numbers of walleye on the west end over several years?

Not an expert, just putting two and two together.

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The fishermen couldn't have anything to do with that could it? I see that they changed the slot and it seems Vermilion has enjoyed some of the best walleye fishing they've had in recent years. I'm not going to tell you muskies don't eat the occasional walleye, especially one struggling on the end of someone's line, but it is well researched that it is not one of their preferred forage, especially when their preferred is available. Which it is in spades in V - suckers, whitefish, ciscos, perch...

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Many more cormorants on east side and walleye population good there. Likewise musky.

On the other hand, perch population in East down.

It is necessary for DNR to have actual concrete evidence Cormorants are damaging the fishery before the Feds let them take action. Unfortunately the leech lake example doesn't count.

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It sounds like somebody needs to trap and relocate a couple of racoons onto Potato Island.

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Cormorants will "spook" more easily than gulls when they are on their nests. If you drive by an island with both birds, you can spook the Cormorants but not the gulls if you keep the right distance. I'm not sure if the gulls will peck the Cormorant's eggs or not, but I have observed this spooking behavior many times. Gull island (on the way to wolf bay) is a good place to try this out. I too have seen flocks of 50 or more Cormorants in Niles bay often times on the community walleye spots in 15-20 FOW. I've often wondered if they are feeding on the walleyes or on the perch and other gamefish.

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I think I read in the latest SCLV newsletter (which I don't have in front of me at the moment) that the DNR counted around 400 nesting pair on potato island, which was a major increase since last years count. Anybody have any ideas on what is causing the population to boon (lack of predators, climate change, etc.)? Way more of those buggers out on the lake this year than I can ever remember.

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You are right, the newsletter indicated the nests had grown from 30 to 430 in a few short years! Hopefully it will be covered this Saturday at the SVLV annual meeting. I'm planning to attend (my first time). If anyone knows some of the officers, perhaps you can mention our concerns to them so we can better understand our options. I would like to meet some of the regular posters on this forum at the meeting - any thoughts on how to connect?

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If "YOU" as sportsmen wait for the DNR to do anything about the cormorants "YOUR" lake will die the same fate as Leech Lake did in the late 90s early 2000s. We would see thousands of cormorants diving and driving the fish into the shallows. It took years of reducing the numbers of cormorants and restocking to bring Leech somewhat back to where it used to be. A cormorant eats 1 1/2 times its weight in fish a day. Call the DNR and your state representatives now - press them until they respond.

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If "YOU" as sportsmen wait for the DNR to do anything about the cormorants "YOUR" lake will die the same fate as Leech Lake did in the late 90s early 2000s. We would see thousands of cormorants diving and driving the fish into the shallows. It took years of reducing the numbers of cormorants and restocking to bring Leech somewhat back to where it used to be. A cormorant eats 1 1/2 times its weight in fish a day. Call the DNR and your state representatives now - press them until they respond.

Make that your congress-person and senators, since they are protected by the FEDS. Maybe Al Franken can help out.

Seriously, it is Federal Law that protects cormorants. Until there is actual proof of them doing damage they cannot be controlled.

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I had a good friend who lived on Leech Lake and was very involved on the issue as part of their property association. While it took the cooperation with the feds, DNR and the band, they (the property association) were successful in obtaining the permission to shoot nesting birds on the main island where they were nesting. The primary driver was the damage being done to the island.

Perhaps a baseline assessment could be done here on Potato island and then yearly monitoring to document potential damage being done to the island by the explosion in the cormorant population.

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Thanks for sharing the MPR interview, but what a disappointment listening to this gal! Don't expect any help from her.

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Thanks for sharing the MPR interview, but what a disappointment listening to this gal! Don't expect any help from her.

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There have been huge groups of nasty critters in the Breezy Point area.. at least four hundred... they are a serious problem. I payed close attention today and there were hardly any moments while fishing or driving that I didn't have one or more in view and I covered about 15-20 miles today. The numbers have become unacceptable. Unfortunately a decision will likely be made long after the damage has been done.

full-19099-22884-cormorants.jpg

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Did anyone attend the LVSC banquet on Saturday? I'm interested to hear if there was discussion about cormorants. Had I not needed to replace my truck's transmission, I would have been there!

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Yes,it was a big topic last Saturday at the dinner with lots of data on the the increases in population, comparison to the Leech Lake and control options. The SCLV board has met with the folks from Leech Lake as well with the DNR and appear to be a driving force in addressing this problem. While I came away pleased with their involvement, it's still going to come down to the DNR support, the US fish and wildlife service willingness to give a permit to control them and funding. It appears Duane Williams supports control so that's a start. Even if the DNR and US fish and wildlife service agree with the need for control, I have my doubts the DNR will fund it.

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How about Gov't approval ( Fed, State, Local, DNR) and local funding? Seems like the locals could eliminate issue at a reduced cost compared to BIG GOV'T.

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Unfortunately the DNR has to hire certified exterminators to do the job!

If the local public decided to take care of the problem they are subject to a $10,000.00 fine for killing migratory waterfowl! crazy

Cliff

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Alka seltzer wrapped in bread work nice too. Remember to feed the birds on Potato island. wink

j/k Don't hurt birds, that is wrong. smile

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  • 2 weeks later...

Casey,

We have a cabin on Breezy Point and have noticed in the last three years that the cormorants have gone up in our area while the fishing has gone down. We used to have many species of fish at our dock. We have nothing now days. We could drop the camera under the dock and see many walleyes, bass and bluegills. We even had the resident muskies there also. It was a great lazy man way of fishing. Slip bobbers and a cooler of beverages and you could catch fish all day long. Now days there is nothing. The neighbors say the same thing. Hopefully times will chang.

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I have noticed the cormorants fly west each morning for about 1 1/2 hours after sunrise to feed. Then they return East around mid-day. I think the Sportsman Club is our best hope as they seem to be on top of the situation, however, even if the Club + the DNR are successful in getting the necessary permits for control, it will still take money, as the feds require special methods and personnel for any control to take place. I heard the cost will be around $50,000 per year and the DNR is out of money.

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