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Ryan_V

New lawsuit

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willyfahey

Technically, all that "stuff" that's out of the DNR's control is supposed to be taken into account when the DNR make their final decision on regulations. They are the ones with all the data that show climate change, water quality change, forage base, etc. They made this mess by not making the necessary changes earlier in order to preserve the walleye fishing at Mille Lacs. Too much focus was put on smallmouth, muskie and northern over the last 10-15 years or so. It's not the fault of the fisherman who followed the guidelines that the DNR set forth. If your argument is that we weren't supposed to be following the DNR guidelines to begin with and not keep the fish they said we could, then you've proven the incompetence of the DNR and made the case for the suit.

As for the fisherman the target other species, they are stuck on the side of the road. This lake is historically a walleye fishery. The DNR have faultered by ignoring that heritage. Managing the lake to preserve, grow and maintain walleye on Mille Lacs should be the main priority.

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bassfshin24

I'm with DTRO on this. Why do you think Smallies, Pike, and Muskie are doing so well in that lake...because those who target them practice C&R! I'm not saying all walleye guys keep what they can but I would guess a majority of the people fishing for eyes keep everything they can.

And guess what willyfahey...this lake maybe have been a walleye lake in the past but it isn't anymore. This lake is now a Multispecies destination whether you like it or not.

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CaptainMusky

The flaw I see is that "safe harvest" levels are set in place for allowable harvest which then results in limits and slots.

Well, the walleye anglers whether by hook and line or net harvested fewer fish than what was allowed so there shouldnt be a problem right?

Walleye fisherman not C&R? You obviously havent fished Mille Lacs in the last 5 years for walleyes to make that comment. You do FAR more C&R with walleyes than those that are kept. Turning it into a complete C&R fishery for walleyes wouldnt solve the problem either. Too many big fish, too few small fish.

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DTro

walleye walleye walleye walleye walleye walleye walleye walleye

 

I always thought the heritage of ML was being “The Dead Sea”?

 

Is it possible that the lake is just going through a cycle?

 

No? Well then maybe the DNR made a big mistake. It is entirely plausible and could very well be the case. But, is it such a tragedy?  Walleyes are a plentiful renewable resource here, not something like a Sturgeon fishery or a Redwood Forest that will take decades to replace.  Give it a few years and bam, right back to the so called glory days. 

 

In the meantime, why not adapt?  How about erecting a big ol Smallie statue on the highway in Garrison or inviting the PWT Bass tour and giving them free reign for a couple of weekends?  How about a World Class Carp tournament?  Heck you could even start a marketing campaign.  “Welcome to Mille Lacs…NOW home to fish that fight back!”

 

Believe it or not outside of the walleye box, there are a lot of people that actually like to target other kinds of fish.  GASP!  shocked

 

Signed

Scandinavian Iron Range White Dude

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pushbutton

To those that believe in a DNR boogy man, or conversely that they have magical wand powers.....uhmn.....yeah....ok. It is a government entity that does or does not do for a multitude of reasons, some which maybe good for some and bad for others. Cronyism, back door deals, special favors, lobbying efforts, partisan votes, votes by completely uneducated legislators ......some completely separate from the Aitkin office, or even the DNR itself, have all influenced Mille Lacs policy. Then add to that a court case forcing them to share a resource with some of the major players not willing to share, or at least always seeking the most for their respective sides .....top that off with some nasty invasives along with ma nature not playing by the rules.....you got to get more fingers to point....or more lawyers ....to sue more people.

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CaptainMusky

Dtro, Mille Lacs has been and always will be a fixture walleye lake. Sure, walleyes can be a renewable resource by enhancing stocking efforts, but Mille Lacs is one body of water that isnt stocked and relies solely on natural reproduction.

Sure what is going on in the lake now may be cyclical. Its also not terribly different than what happened to Red. Granted I would say Red was significantly worse and I dont think anyone would argue that.

What happened when the walleyes plummeted there? The crappies took off. Its the same thing that is happening with the pike and smallies in Mille Lacs right now, but ONE major difference.

On Red, the crappies needed about 10 different things to come together in order for them to have the boom they had and they all did.

On ML the smallies and pike are always very successful spawners so they can really overrun a lake in a hurry.

a BASS tourney is intriguing. Sure it would bring in some money for a couple weekends, but would that even put a dent on what they are losing because of the walleye situation? I doubt it.

There is nothing stopping you from enjoying the carp and smallies to your heart's content. In fact, many people already have been, but those numbers pale in comparison to the rest who enjoy fishing for a fish that "doesnt fight back"

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bassfshin24

If you read my comment Captain I said they keep everything they can. Meaning every fish that they can keep legally they do.

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CaptainMusky

If you read my comment Captain I said they keep everything they can. Meaning every fish that they can keep legally they do.
I did read your comment. Just because they keep a fish doesnt mean they do not C&R. Like I said, C&R for walleyes wouldnt cure the problem this lake has right now anyway.

Even if they keep everything they can, it was still below "safe harvest" levels so whats the problem?

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bassfshin24

I was just saying that I believe over harvest was one of the main contributers to the problem that the lake is facing today. With all the fish that netting takes out of the lake and all the fish that anglers take out of the lake...I don't see how the lake can maintain a good population of eyes. This is just my opinion. I maybe be completely off but I don't feel like I am.

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Alagnak

Being that the vast majority of WALLEYE fisherman are in it for the meat (just look at all of them that drive past ML now to go to Leech, Red, LOTW because of the limit) I think the resorts that care about the lake AND their customers should just promise to send home every customer with two walleyes- but close the lake down for keeping fish. They can buy them from a commercial source elsewhere with a good population. That way all of the WALLEYE fisherman that want to just drive and hour and a half to get away from the old lady can still fish ML and still come home with MEAT so they can puff their chests up to the wife and friends because there was still blood shed of the ever so not so tasty and not very good fighting WALLEYE.

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Michael L

What I find interesting with all the tension and unhappiness from the locals up there with the Native Americans is they are wanting exactly what they criticize the Natives for.

They are upset with the white man and his government.

Ideas of an interest free loan to help weather the financial storm are not enough, expect more of monies to be given to them if there were to be so.

Claiming angling heritage rights that benefit them financially.

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DTro

Dtro, Mille Lacs has been and always will be a fixture walleye lake. Sure, walleyes can be a renewable resource by enhancing stocking efforts, but Mille Lacs is one body of water that isnt stocked and relies solely on natural reproduction.

And produces more eggs than the entire state of MN stocking program each year. Its a walleye factory, plain and simple. This lake DOES NOT need to be stocked. It needs to be managed differently. The DNR admits this and has a plan in place that will hopefully turns things around.

I'm sure a lawsuit is the better way to go though.

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CaptainMusky

I think the lawsuit is ridiculous and will not accomplish the desired result. If its successful it may set the recovery back several years because of more red tape handcuffing the dnr from being able to do their job in the name of being transparent.

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tat2jonnie

As a walleye fisherman that lives and works on Mille Lacs, I can say that I am very disappointed in the results of the DNR/GLIFWC management.

It's getting harder every day to put food on my families' table.

I don't care who's fault it is. We just need to FIX it.

The DNR/GLIFWC co-management has proven that it CANNOT solve the lake's problems.

They say that they are working on it, but admit that with so many variables, that they don't have a clue............

Meanwhile, it's Rammen soup again.

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Gordie

Quote:
I don't care who's fault it is. We just need to FIX it.

If that doesn't work then who would get sued...

All this trying to fix stuff is what the problem is!

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Red Miller

Being that the vast majority of WALLEYE fisherman are in it for the meat (just look at all of them that drive past ML now to go to Leech, Red, LOTW because of the limit) I think the resorts that care about the lake AND their customers should just promise to send home every customer with two walleyes- but close the lake down for keeping fish. They can buy them from a commercial source elsewhere with a good population. That way all of the WALLEYE fisherman that want to just drive and hour and a half to get away from the old lady can still fish ML and still come home with MEAT so they can puff their chests up to the wife and friends because there was still blood shed of the ever so not so tasty and not very good fighting WALLEYE.

If God didn't want us to eat WALLEYES, he wouldn't have made them out of MEAT. Get over it!

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DTro

I wonder what Bass and Musky and Carp are made of??

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GravelBar

How many times have you seen a restaurant with bass, musky or carp as the special? How about the casino?

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tat2jonnie

No, the problem is people thinking that the problem will take care of itself.

Here's a 2011 article:

Bands' walleye harvest continues to rise

Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune Updated: March 3, 2011 - 11:25 AM

The walleye harvest levels for the Chippewa bands on Lake Mille Lacs stir debate.

When eight Chippewa bands begin netting walleyes this spring on Lake Mille Lacs, they will be shooting for a record harvest -- 142,500 pounds.

That 71 tons of fish is 42 percent more than the bands' allocation only four years ago, and reflects a rising harvest by Chippewa netters since 1997, when courts affirmed the bands off-reservation hunting, fishing and gathering rights.

This year, the bands' target share of walleyes would be 26 percent of the "safe harvest level" agreed to by the bands and state, meaning non-band anglers still get 74 percent, or 397,500 pounds.

But the actual band harvest the past three years has averaged 42 percent of total harvest. Last year, the bands harvested 124,000 pounds, while non-band anglers took home 271,000 pounds -- a 69-31 percent split. Twice in the past eight years the bands' actual harvest exceeded 50 percent of the total walleye take, the numbers inflated because of low overall harvest.

"At some point, the state might challenge the amount the band is declaring," said Dirk Peterson, state Department of Natural Resources fisheries chief. "We don't know what the number is that would cause us to do that. So far, the relationship [between the state and bands] has been good. It's been friendly tension. We have a common interest in the health and well-being of the Mille Lacs fishery."

Brad Kalk, commissioner of the Mille Lacs Chippewa band natural resources department, said it would be irresponsible to try to predict future harvest levels. But he said there is growing interest in netting fish among band members.

Zorn said he's uncertain whether that interest will continue to grow. "The major factors that drive band member interest are the need for fish for food and cultural purposes," he said. Fish consumption advisories, overall health of the fish population in a lake and spring weather patterns also affect where and how much tribal members net fish, he said.

Each year, the 1837 Treaty Fisheries Committee, comprising DNR, GLIFWC and band members, determines the safe harvest level for Mille Lacs. That was pegged at 540,000 pounds this year, down 4,000 pounds from last year. The band's allocation has been increased by 10,000 pounds, while the non-band anglers take has been reduced by 14,000 pounds.

As for the future, the bands' next five-year plan "is certainly a big unknown," said Pat Schmalz, 1837 Treaty biologist for the DNR. "We think the 18-28-inch reg is pretty flexible, and even if the tribal allocation gets a little bit higher than it is now, we can utilize it."

"Here we are at 65 tons in spring 2010," Steve Fellegy said. "I have grave concerns about what the future brings, based on the past."

This is now the future. Total safe allowable harvest is 60,000 lbs. for both parties.

What's it going to be NEXT year?????????????

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Carp-fisher

Ok, I'm going to chip in my 2 cents as a temporary weekend armchair biologist (like most people here)....but probably an elephant in the room is the fact that alot of the heavy walleye pressure is from livebait action. Sure the slots are tight and the harvest is controlled, but that don't do any good if theres a bajillion dead fish due to gut hooking. There, I'm done.

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Alagnak

How many times have you seen a restaurant with bass, musky or carp as the special? How about the casino?

Have you ever been out of your county/ state? There are other fish on menus you know. Tough to see through those walleye tinted shades though.

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tat2jonnie

Yeah, Carp-fisher, I wish we could do a crash course on catch and release for those that need to pull that 20 cent hook out of their gullet or throw the fish back before it's revived. It's shameful.

By the way, do you ACTUALLY eat those carp you catch? Just wondering, cuz I've never eaten one............

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kgpcr4

Being that the vast majority of WALLEYE fisherman are in it for the meat (just look at all of them that drive past ML now to go to Leech, Red, LOTW because of the limit) I think the resorts that care about the lake AND their customers should just promise to send home every customer with two walleyes- but close the lake down for keeping fish. They can buy them from a commercial source elsewhere with a good population. That way all of the WALLEYE fisherman that want to just drive and hour and a half to get away from the old lady can still fish ML and still come home with MEAT so they can puff their chests up to the wife and friends because there was still blood shed of the ever so not so tasty and not very good fighting WALLEYE.

Now that's hilarious. C&R kills a ton of fish. We have all seen the floaters and the guys who caught fish after fish when the bite was on and killed many of them only to puff their chest and brag their C&R and how high and mighty they are for conserving the lake when they killed as many or more than the guy who caught and kept some to take home to eat. The big C&R guys are a joke.

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tat2jonnie

Have you ever been out of your county/ state? There are other fish on menus you know. Tough to see through those walleye tinted shades though.

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GravelBar

Have you ever been out of your county/ state? There are other fish on menus you know. Tough to see through those walleye tinted shades though.

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