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mwal

prey study in Pioneer Press

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mwal

Check out article in Pioneer Press. Smallmouth are not eating walleye. Looks like walleye cannibalism is the worst offender.

Mwal

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wormdunker

Hopefully the DNR can now reconsider reversing or relaxing their recent knee jerk Small Mouth regulation change. Coincidentally it would have been nice if they would have used this scientific data to begin with. Kind of proves they are just throwing Shart at the walls in St Paul!

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mwal

I went out on the net and there are lots of published studies on the smallmouth eating walleye fallacy. Ontario MNR, SOUTH DAKOTA Dept F and game. Various college papers as well. All say the same thing smallmouth eat mostly crustaceans, mayfly larvae then small small fish of which are mostly not walleye. The study does show that the pike do eat anything including walleye. But apparently walleye are very cannibalistic.

Mwal

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Hopefully the DNR can now reconsider reversing or relaxing their recent knee jerk Small Mouth regulation change. Coincidentally it would have been nice if they would have used this scientific data to begin with. Kind of proves they are just throwing Shart at the walls in St Paul!

I'm a bass fisherman and I think the one's having the "knee jerk" on this issue is people who think like this. What is "knee jerk" about having the limits being the same in the rest of the state? And that's not even true as their is a slot on Mille Lacs for smallmouth.

The big problem is the DNR giving walleye fishermen the perception that smallmouth are a major contributor to the down fall of the walleye population. Hey walleye fishermen, it IS NOT the bass causing your walleye to not be there. Please, don't go blaming someone else's prize gamefish for something that it didn't have anything to do with.

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leech~~

So, Smallmouth don't eat Walleye but Largemouth do? Seems odd to me that you can throw any old shiny lure out in a lake and either one will hit it but they are selective on which live fish they eat? whistle

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So, Smallmouth don't eat Walleye but Largemouth do? Seems odd to me that you can throw any old shiny lure out in a lake and either one will hit it but they are selective on which live fish they eat? whistle

Largemouth and walleyes tending to not get along has nothing to do with them eating each other. It relates to what is typically what habitat that makes for a great walleye lake, doesn't typically make for a very good largemouth lake and vise versa. There are exceptions, such as Leech which is a great lake for both.

It may be true that Mille Lacs smallmouth are eating machines, but your typical small walleye isn't doing things that put it on a smallmouth basses radar screen as far as being smallmouth forage, so walleye's don't typically show up in a smallies stomach. Is that really all that hard for walleye fisherman to understand?

Also what makes a bass hit "any old shiny lure" as you call it, may have nothing at all to do with a fish feeding. Ever hear of triggering the strike? Your typical walleye probably moves in such a way it is unlikely to trigger a smallmouth to try and hit it, let alone eat it.

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willyfahey

Clearly, there's is no way anyone can make any determination from any information found in this article. Samples taken over a one year period can hardly be seen as a good foundation for anything. I think there needs to be a lot more work done by the DNR before something happens. I think the article is written in poor context due the lack of key data such as actual number of fish sampled.

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wormdunker

My apologies Search You apparently know all and see all. I will bow down to you.

Fact: Small mouth regulation changed drastically for 2014 season.

Fact: Previous regulation turned the lake into a world class Muskie and Small mouth fishery.

Fact: Previously the DNR altered the SM regs only slightly each year but always protecting the fishery.

Fact: Resorts, Walleye Fishermen Guides alike (not all in each instance I admit) blame the Small mouth for the Walleye Population collapse.

Fact: The Small mouth regulation change on Mille Lacs was a KNEE JERK Reaction to public outcries from said groups mentioned above.

Fact: This Predator/Prey research was not completed prior to the rule change so one can only summarize that indeed the small mouth were being blamed.

Now I ask you this, does the walleye regulation on ML match the reg in the rest of the state? NO. So after years of special regs, the creation of a world class fishery on several fronts Why would they take extreme measures and alter the regulation in such a way that you almost promote a catch and kill mentality?

I am not against people catching fish to eat them but when you manage a lake, create a world class reputation then create regs like the current, you are almost begging people to come and clean it out.

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bassin

totally agree with everything you said worm. Whether the DNR did it on purpose or not the way they came out and changed the smallie regs made it seem like they were putting the blame on the smallies. And whether it was their intension or not people took it that way. It totally created a kill a smallie save a walleye mentality. They need to reverse this or its going to go down hill in a hurry. I get that pretty much every other lake in the state you can keep bass and for the most part it doesnt harm the lake. But this lake is different. Everybody is walley crazy and if there is even a hint another fish is causing the walley issues then kill them, kill them all.

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ANYFISH2

Whoa... take a deep breath guys.

I love smallmouth as much as any of you, take a step back, lets look at this in a bigger scope.

1. Like it or not Mille Lacs will and is viewed as a/the premier WALLEYE lake. Not going to change soon, if ever.

2. "Knee jerk" or not there is little reason for tight restrictions on bass on Mille Lacs. Release ethic is too strong in regards to bass.

3. The kill the smallmouth sentiment will pass when walleye pop. Begins to recover, the community learns how beneficial/lucrative smallmouth could be, and more proof is given that thier effects are minimal.

I also believe that smallmouth may play a roll in this yet. I doubt they prey on walleye enough to have a impact overall. But they are added biomass, and maybe thier young are competing with the young walleye (I doubt 5" bass are eating primarily cayfish) causing they walleye to go into winter in a lesser condition, resulting in poor recruitment.

These studies are steps to recovery as are the relaxation of the regulations. If they (DNR) would have done these studies and or any to come, first, before doing anything tangible. People would have cied foul them saying they did nothing to stop the crash.

If the situation on Mille Lacs was simple or they (DNR and thier biologists) knew exactly how to fix it, it would be done already.

I guess whether your a walleye angler, smallmouth angler, northern pike angler, muskie angler, or a perch angler when it comes to Mille Lacs, we are all going to have to except some sacrifice.

If we are not working/looking for a solution we're just adding to the problem.

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leech~~

I don't think they are cleaning out any lake of Walleye, but Bass Large and Small mouth are opportunist gulpers. I don't think they would turn down a meal if it came by! wink

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wormdunker

Whoa... take a deep breath guys.

I love smallmouth as much as any of you, take a step back, lets look at this in a bigger scope.

1. Like it or not Mille Lacs will and is viewed as a/the premier WALLEYE lake. Not going to change soon, if ever.

2. "Knee jerk" or not there is little reason for tight restrictions on bass on Mille Lacs. Release ethic is too strong in regards to bass.

3. The kill the smallmouth sentiment will pass when walleye pop. Begins to recover, the community learns how beneficial/lucrative smallmouth could be, and more proof is given that thier effects are minimal.

I also believe that smallmouth may play a roll in this yet. I doubt they prey on walleye enough to have a impact overall. But they are added biomass, and maybe thier young are competing with the young walleye (I doubt 5" bass are eating primarily cayfish) causing they walleye to go into winter in a lesser condition, resulting in poor recruitment.

These studies are steps to recovery as are the relaxation of the regulations. If they (DNR) would have done these studies and or any to come, first, before doing anything tangible. People would have cied foul them saying they did nothing to stop the crash.

If the situation on Mille Lacs was simple or they (DNR and thier biologists) knew exactly how to fix it, it would be done already.

I guess whether your a walleye angler, smallmouth angler, northern pike angler, muskie angler, or a perch angler when it comes to Mille Lacs, we are all going to have to except some sacrifice.

If we are not working/looking for a solution we're just adding to the problem.

Waiting to Exhale............ The end game on this will likely be the impact that Zebra Muscles play on the entire Mille Lacs Food chain and the continuous harvest of a narrow band of sizes of walleyes being caught in gill nets. I never said that Mille Lacs will ever be known that anything other than a walleye fishery.

Little reason for tight restrictions? Perhaps tighter restrictions needed to be in place on Walleyes? So put a regulation in place that could potentially have a tremendous impact on a species?

Ahh crayfish have babies too......but I get your point and the article said nothing about the diet being exclusive to Crayfish. it did say they eat insects and some minnows as well.

You do know there are groupons and living social deals from Launches and resorters luring people to not only come and catch smallmouth but also provide cleaning instruction after their trip. Here is a tip, CLEANING IS NO DIFFERENT THAN A WALLEYE.

I was solo happy I could slit the throat of a 19 7/8" walleye last Sunday. I caught it in 4' of water windy shore on a brown tube......Who is eating who's food?

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wormdunker

I don't think they are cleaning out any lake of Walleye, but Bass Large and Small mouth are opportunist gulpers. I don't think they would turn down a meal if it came by! wink

"I don't think" similar scientific research behind this statement as the DNR's current Smallmouth reg.....

Winter 2014 DNR Mille Lacs Regulation Think tank results " AHH ERR I think them there smallmouth are eating them there Walleyes"

Summer 2014 DNR actual Testing results: "Ahh Errr I think we was wrong"

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delcecchi

I follow this with interest since much the same situation exists on the west end of Vermilion, only with no nets and no zeebs.

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leech~~

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ANYFISH2

Wormdunker I hate the "kill the smallmouth " sentiment as well, including the marketing of such. I have heard plenty of remarks at resorts this year. Although talking to the same guys later, NONE of them kept a single bass, all were released. It is hard to break habits good or bad, I think the institution that is C&R will prevail, and smallmouth will continue to flourish. Plus, they are one of the few fish known to eat zebra mussels.

Also, I couldn't agree more, that zeebs probably are having the largest impact lake and species wide.

In my mind I think spiny water flees may be a quiet problem with young of the year fish as well.

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jigginjim

I would bite on to what anyfish2, has posted. Not only could the spiny water flea pose an issue, but also so can the muskies. We all hear about the guys fishing walleyes just to have a large skie, come eat your walleye. I idea that fish (A) doesn't eat that fish (B) is just dumb. Put a small enough fish in front of any other fish, it's going to be lunch or a snack. Sooner or later the larger fish will eat the small fish. Do you really believe a smallmouth bass will not eat, small walleye but will eat perch. Now lets look at other fishing eating and killing machines, Pelicans and cormorants. It doesn't take long of these fish eating monsters to clean house.

There can be so many sides to this puzzle-pie that no one thing can be blamed other than. WE HOSED UP THE FOOD CHAIN. Think of this "you can only shoot does for deer hunting" what happens? DUH!!! I DON'T KNOW? please!!!!!!!!

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wormdunker

I would bite on to what anyfish2, has posted. Not only could the spiny water flea pose an issue, but also so can the muskies. We all hear about the guys fishing walleyes just to have a large skie, come eat your walleye. I idea that fish (A) doesn't eat that fish (B) is just dumb. Put a small enough fish in front of any other fish, it's going to be lunch or a snack. Sooner or later the larger fish will eat the small fish. Do you really believe a smallmouth bass will not eat, small walleye but will eat perch. Now lets look at other fishing eating and killing machines, Pelicans and cormorants. It doesn't take long of these fish eating monsters to clean house.

There can be so many sides to this puzzle-pie that no one thing can be blamed other than. WE HOSED UP THE FOOD CHAIN. Think of this "you can only shoot does for deer hunting" what happens? DUH!!! I DON'T KNOW? please!!!!!!!!

Of course the Muskie/Pike will eat anything. Heck I have had numerous submarines inhale 4+lb smallies on Mille Lacs while flossing its teeth with my Power Pro. The Pike family is not the problem. It is the forage base for everything that should be the concern of the DNR. Zeeebs filter the water so much water it is likely having a major negative impact on he micro level food source that feeds the young of the year. Not sure how mucu the spiny flea has to do with it, I am sure some. The combination of both is a major problem.

Birds eat fish in every lake, I have not witnessed too many cormorants on ML however. At least not hundreds and thousands as we used to see on Leech.

Regarding what Smallies eat, I have never seen a smallie puke up a bait fish after being caught except on rivers where I see shad puke......Crayfish puke is always prevalent on lakes. Heck that is why they follow each other, they love crawdads so much they prey on the regurgitated remains they puke out during the fight.

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I would bite on to what anyfish2, has posted. Not only could the spiny water flea pose an issue, but also so can the muskies. We all hear about the guys fishing walleyes just to have a large skie, come eat your walleye. I idea that fish (A) doesn't eat that fish (B) is just dumb. Put a small enough fish in front of any other fish, it's going to be lunch or a snack. Sooner or later the larger fish will eat the small fish. Do you really believe a smallmouth bass will not eat, small walleye but will eat perch. Now lets look at other fishing eating and killing machines, Pelicans and cormorants. It doesn't take long of these fish eating monsters to clean house.

There can be so many sides to this puzzle-pie that no one thing can be blamed other than. WE HOSED UP THE FOOD CHAIN. Think of this "you can only shoot does for deer hunting" what happens? DUH!!! I DON'T KNOW? please!!!!!!!!

A walleye that is hooked on somebodies line isn't exhibiting normal walleye behavior. It is saying to the Muskie, there is something wrong with me come eat me. Normal walleye behavior doesn't scream for a muskie or a smallmouth to come an eat it.

As far as the results of this forage study, they pretty much match what forage studies in other bodies of water have shown that smallmouth don't typically feed on walleye, same goes for muskie. People may not want to believe it, but different fish have preferred forage. If a fish is able to get it's preferred forage, it will eat that almost exclusively. So long as there are abundant crawfish, perch, and shiners in Mille Lacs the smallies simply won't eat very many walleyes. So long as there are abundant tullibees, perch, suckers, and shiners in Mille Lacs the Muskie simply won't eat very many walleyes. But oh, isn't it so much more fun to disbelieve the science and speculate wildly about how this fish and that fish are eating your walleyes.

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MuskieFever

We all know what the real cause of the Mille Lacs walleye demise. If you don't think so, I want whatever you're smoking cuz it must be good!

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river rat316

We all know what the real cause of the Mille Lacs walleye demise. If you don't think so, I want whatever you're smoking cuz it must be good!

Yes walleye guys not releasing anything in the slot for years, and having twice the take as the nets..... got any other bright ideas?

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TurnUpTheFishing

I never said they are cleaning out any lake of Walleye, but Bass Large and Small mouth are opportunist gulpers. I know dam well they would not turn down a meal if it came by! wink

No, you don't. Trying to make yourself seem so knowledgeable is actually doing the exact opposite for yourself.

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leech~~

No, you don't. Trying to make yourself seem so knowledgeable is actually doing the exact opposite for yourself.

Dude, you can throw a door hinge out in a lake and a Bass large or small will hit it! Your telling me that if young eye's move into a rock pile in the evening to feed that a Small mouth wouldn't take it if it could! crazy

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southender

My apologies Search You apparently know all and see all. I will bow down to you.

Fact: Small mouth regulation changed drastically for 2014 season.

Fact: Previous regulation turned the lake into a world class Muskie and Small mouth fishery.

Fact: Previously the DNR altered the SM regs only slightly each year but always protecting the fishery.

Fact: Resorts, Walleye Fishermen Guides alike (not all in each instance I admit) blame the Small mouth for the Walleye Population collapse.

Fact: The Small mouth regulation change on Mille Lacs was a KNEE JERK Reaction to public outcries from said groups mentioned above.

Fact: This Predator/Prey research was not completed prior to the rule change so one can only summarize that indeed the small mouth were being blamed.

Now I ask you this, does the walleye regulation on ML match the reg in the rest of the state? NO. So after years of special regs, the creation of a world class fishery on several fronts Why would they take extreme measures and alter the regulation in such a way that you almost promote a catch and kill mentality?

I am not against people catching fish to eat them but when you manage a lake, create a world class reputation then create regs like the current, you are almost begging people to come and clean it out.

FACT: mille lace is managed as a WALLEYE lake first and foremost, musky and smallmouth are secondary.

FACT: most musky and smallmouth fishermen come here for the day from the cities. They don't buy bait, they buy their gas in the cities, and don't spend the night at a resort or motel. Some will spend $10 to launch at a resort.

FACT: musky and smallmouth fishermen bring no economic impact to the mille lacs area.

FACT: with the small amount of people that actually keep smallmouth, there will be NO impact on the smallmouth fishery.

FACT: you should have been fishing musky and smallmouth here 20 years ago, the musky were not as big, but 5 in a day was not uncommon. The smallmouth on the other hand were just as big and nobody fished for them except for a few that figured it out.

FACT: I could go on and on just like you, but the real fact is, you musky and smallmouth guys whine just as bad as the walleye guys, there just isn't as many of you.

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TurnUpTheFishing

Dude, you can throw a door hinge out in a lake and a Bass large or small will hit it! Your telling me that if young eye's move into a rock pile in the evening to feed that a Small mouth wouldn't take it if it could! crazy

No, Im not saying it has never happen and will never happen agian but its not the norm and definitely not the automatic natural response you seem to believe. You seem to have bass confused with walleye fisherman, see a walleye and their stomach starts rumbling and mouth watering.

Your "I know dam well" statement is based solely on, well, nothing really, and the fact that there have been a multitude of studies that say walleyes are not preferred prey for smallmouth leads me to believe that you actually have no idea what you're talking about, dude.

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willyfahey

If you are so slow that you haven't figured it out yet, the DNR has target population densities based on weight for all fish species in Mille Lacs. The smallmouth and northern pike populations have begun to exceed that margin thus they increased the limits. It's not because of predation. The outcome will be fewer yet larger fish. One can assume if the demand for these fish as a meal were higher the limit would have been less. But, the reality is very few eat them. So, for those of you who do, enjoy!

I am happy with the changes because it brings a larger percentage of game fisherman into the experience that is what the DNR calls management.

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BrdHunter01

So, Smallmouth don't eat Walleye but Largemouth do? Seems odd to me that you can throw any old shiny lure out in a lake and either one will hit it but they are selective on which live fish they eat? whistle

Agree 100% In August and September we troll Raps for walleyes on the shallow rocks. Can't keep the Smallmouth off our line. Talk about 'knee jerk' reactions. cry

Please note: Not enough smallmouth were collected in the fall to glean any useful data.

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BrdHunter01

We all know what the real cause of the Mille Lacs walleye demise. If you don't think so, I want whatever you're smoking cuz it must be good!

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delcecchi

Because that explains young walleyes not surviving to adulthood?

Makes complete sense. crazy

It is possible it is a cannibalism thing going on. As I said before, Lake Vermilion's west end has a similar situation, with not many small walleye making it. Vermilion has a slot, but minimal netting and no zebra mussels. The DNR is stumped as to what is going on.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • whateverisbiting
      I would love to see more restrictions on all species but they have to include a protected slot.  There are so many success stories it should be obvious by now.  It seems to work better when a mid-range length is protected or all fish over a certain length go back.  I have heard concerns that restriction will reduce interest including from out of state (economic impact), but with better fishing I doubt that is the case.  I think what helps with this is allowing 1 trophy over a certain size in your limit.  As for the stunted theory...as a kid I fished a lake where I could limit out on 8" crappies any time but never caught one over 9".  We were told to keep as many as possible so we could thin them out.  A 9" minimum was put on the lake.  And like magic when I went back and fished as an adult almost all the crappies were just under 9", but I caught a limit between 9-12 inches.  I remain somewhat skeptical of the stunted fish theory...not that it does not exist, but it is an overused excuse.  Just reducing the limit does not help...you need to add the slot with it.  Or just use the slot, which is somewhat self-limiting in what you can keep.  For some, reducing the number you can keep is a psychological boost...they can say we limited out!  With the new northern regulations, I have already seen the impact in increasing size...all fish from 22-26 go back and now I am seeing those small northerns get some bulk (it is not because they are stunted and people are keeping all the northerns under 22" to thin them).  I don't think that "educating" people is effective; if you care, you already know.  It needs to be legislated.
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