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Ballyhoo

Just want to feel the group out on how everyone feels about the pressure put on the lake during the winter and also the spring river fishing season.  I think the pressure has exploded the past 5-8 years and am really concerned that the lake can handle it.  I don't want this place to turn into another Mille Lacs.  What does everyone think?

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ANYFISH2

Here is my opinion, from 4 hrs away.

There is no doubt pressure has increased.  I has to have an impact of some degree on the lake.  

However, with the increase in pressure there has been regulation changes along with it.  With more to come I am sure.

The spring river fishing really doesnt concern me much.  The reason why is the window of the bite is so short, and that only a small fraction of L.O.W's fish spawn there.  Although even with a 2 fish limit alot of fish are taken home.

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Doug87
Posted (edited)

To much pressure. I hope some day they will lower limits to 4 fish year round. People will still come and it couldn’t hurt to try for a few seasons. I haven’t heard anyone say there are to many fish in Lake of the Woods. The Canadian side is the only thing saving this lake. 

Edited by Doug87
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tipupsonly

Ice fishing has exploded to the point where one should worry about LOTW, Red, Mille Lacs, etc. Fortunatley,  LOTW is massive. However, the north end of the US waters are getting hit harder and harder. It’s insane how many people are on the lake on weekends. The amount of pressure on any lake is a turn off to me personally. I’d rather catch less fish away from the crowds and it’s getting harder to get away. The slot is the key on this lake and so many. I do think the limits could come down or the slot tightened, but it doesn’t NEED to yet. No one cares about the sauger but they keep you and your flasher busy. 4 and 4 is a good number but maybe you go to 3 walleye and 5 sauger in the winter? Most buckets are filled with more sauger anyways.  It’s amazing it keeps kicking them out. 

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DRAGFOOT
Posted (edited)

Its hard to argue with many of these points. One big thing to consider is how many jobs the fishing in that area creates. Not saying that makes it ok for the lake to be raped, but many people count on fishing to be able to pay their bills as there isn't much else (or not enough to go around anyways) around there for income. Lower limits may keep people from making the long trip. And the spring season helps that economy a bunch I'm guessing.

  One thing I don't understand is why its 4 and 4 for 8 total walleye/sauger limit in the winter but then 6 in the summer? There is waaaay more people fishing that lake in the winter vs the summer.

 

The next post we hear about will be why the DNR doesn't allow two lines for fishing. I say whats the difference, you can only take one limit anyways.

Edited by DRAGFOOT
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leech~~
Posted (edited)
On Monday, March 19, 2018 at 12:00 PM, Ballyhoo said:

Just want to feel the group out on how everyone feels about the pressure put on the lake during the winter and also the spring river fishing season.  I think the pressure has exploded the past 5-8 years and am really concerned that the lake can handle it.  I don't want this place to turn into another Mille Lacs.  What does everyone think?

I'd say you hit the nail on the head with the Mille Lacs issue and more wheel houses then years past. If more smaller lakes had some roads plowed people may not have to go to all the bigger lakes to get on.

Edited by leech~~
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Ballyhoo
2 hours ago, CANOPY SAM said:

When we're lined up on a fairly thin strip of ice on the southern shore of the lake it seems darn near impossible that ANY fish could go without being caught beneath the thousands of fish houses.  But take a moment to look to the north.  It's the north end of this lake that is it's saving grace.  There are literally THOUSANDS of square miles of water out there that goes completely untouched by sport fishing every year.  We can see, on a clear day, 30-35 miles north across the southern basin, but Lake of the Woods runs another couple hundred miles north of the southernmost islands (Oak, Garden, Big Island, etc.).  It's connected on the Western shore to Lake Winnipeg and the Red River of the North by rivers.  It's connected on the Southeastern shore to Rainy Lake and countless other bodies of water beyond, by the Rainy River.  To say this body of water is huge is a gross understatement.  One could spend a lifetime exploring this water and you wouldn't put a scratch in the tip of the iceberg

The exception is this year.  Adrians plowed road went right to Knight and Bridges and there has to be close to 400 houses out there.  Looks like the north side of pine at Christmas.  That kind of pressure is not good for those reefs and area.

As far as sportfishing never being able to damage the lake, and judging by your comments Sam, I think you agree, I don't want to take that chance.  This lake not only provides enjoyment for everyone, it also provides employment for many hundreds of people and is the lifeblood of the county.

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delcecchi

My concern is that slots have turned out to to be a bad thing sometimes, mille lacs being the poster child.

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gimruis
Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, DRAGFOOT said:

One thing I don't understand is why its 4 and 4 for 8 total walleye/sauger limit in the winter but then 6 in the summer? There is waaaay more people fishing that lake in the winter vs the summer.

There may be way more pressure in the winter but the harvest is MUCH higher in the summer.  Fish are far more active and feeding heavily in the summer months than they are in the cold water months.  Plus in the summer there is this thing called hooking mortality.  The days of keeping 4 or 6 walleyes and 10 crappies are coming to an end.  Its unsustainable virtually everywhere including a large body of water like LOTW.

Edited by gimruis
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holmsvc

I think everyone buying a wheel house and heading out for days at a time is what has really caused fish to move out of the area more than anything. 

I think it would be interesting to have the major resorts track the fish cleaned by their guides summer verse winter.  It sure seems to me they take way more people out ice fishing than summer fishing.

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BisoNation
21 hours ago, tipupsonly said:

Ice fishing has exploded to the point where one should worry about LOTW, Red, Mille Lacs, etc. Fortunatley,  LOTW is massive. However, the north end of the US waters are getting hit harder and harder. It’s insane how many people are on the lake on weekends. The amount of pressure on any lake is a turn off to me personally. I’d rather catch less fish away from the crowds and it’s getting harder to get away. The slot is the key on this lake and so many. I do think the limits could come down or the slot tightened, but it doesn’t NEED to yet. No one cares about the sauger but they keep you and your flasher busy. 4 and 4 is a good number but maybe you go to 3 walleye and 5 sauger in the winter? Most buckets are filled with more sauger anyways.  It’s amazing it keeps kicking them out. 

lakes like Ottertail Lake had 1000-1500 castles on it this year.  we are very concerned about pressure.  good points in this thread that could apply to many other minnesota large lakes.

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Ten point

I have to agree with what canopy Sam said I also have fished this lake for 40 year's when I started you basically caught what got through the nets lots of small walleye there was not much fishing pressure in the winter now you have down riggers covering a lot more water and catching not only walleye but they also get there saugers most of the time we have way more pressure in the winter I also remember the northern fisherman it was almost sad to see them dragging trophy northerns around the ice on the end of a gaff but I also think this is still one of the best fisheries any where I also agree there are not enough conservation officers out there are to many people that take over there limit they have no respect for the resource but the trash on the lake is a lot less then it was ten years ago this is my opinion not saying that I am right just my opinion.

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tipupsonly
Posted (edited)

Not to get off topic and bring up that other lake, but I think lower limits and slots are going to be more and more common. I think Mille Lacs is a great example. That lake is packed all winter with a 1 fish limit. If that is keeping people away I’d hate to see it if the limit was 4! Small lakes need these slots even more as they can get fished out quick if the bite is hot.   In theory as long as you have those protected slot/spawning fish your fishery should be safe...ie LOTW. The only exception would be multiple or many years of poor young year classes in which case you run into the Mille Lacs problem, which with regulation changes is rebounding nicely now.  Slots are NEEDED along with the willingness to reduce bag limits when needed. The problem with stricter regulations is the resorts and tourism industry has to be taken into consideration and whether you like it or not they will rarely want to see decreased limits or seasons shortened. Just my opinion. 

Edited by tipupsonly

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Sculpin

Someone made mention of hooking mortality earlier, and sad to say, that is going to be one of the most significant issues going forward in terms of determining harvest on many of the premier walleye lakes in the state. Lake of the Woods,? perhaps not,  given its sheer size, but once hooking mortality comes into play, and a DNR imposed "quota" has theoretically been met, the lake is shut down.

Mille Lacs is the poster child for this methodology, and one of the primary reasons the lake has been shut down the last couple summers.  There has been no actual summer harvest, except by the Bands, and then "hooking mortality".

Lakes like Winnie, Leech, Vermilion, and all the high pressure walleye lake could be prime candidates for hooking mortality, and given the amount of angler pressure both winter and summer, worst case scenario closures could occur very easily.

There is no question liberal limits need to be changed on many lakes, and I think that that is something that needs to take place quickly, before there are other Mille Lacs scenarios being played out. 

Mille Lacs is not in fact rebounding nicely, there is optimism, but if the vaunted 2013 year class does not have a successful spawn  this spring, the DNR will once again scratch their collective heads, and go back to their funny drawing boards. Its a make or break year...    

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ANYFISH2

Just remember guys, only one lake in the state has a harvest quota!  It is the one in the "worst" shape.

all our big lakes lakes including LOW track harvest but dont employ a quota.  The biologists in these areas seem to have a nice grasp of the conditions of these lakes.

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DRAGFOOT

The reason MIlle Lacs gets hit so hard is its so close to the metro, can go fishing for the day real easy. With lower gas prices, people are willing to drive to LOW to fish and spend the additional resources for a room. Once gas prices go back up to $4 per gallon, watch the fishing pressure change on the lakes further away. When I got my place 10 years ago, the resort I am at was super quiet in the summer to the point I was nervous they would close...not the case anymore!

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gimruis
Posted (edited)

Yes, I agree with Dragfoot.  The reason Mille lacs gets hit harder with pressure is its proximity to more people.  You can go there and back in a day if you live in the cities or st cloud, etc whereas you can't do that with some of these other big lakes up north.

Also, hooking mortality in Mille Lacs is a bigger issue than others because its further south and its generally shallower.  For such a large lake, its not very deep and it warms up quicker.  Warmer water = higher hooking mortality.

Edited by gimruis

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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