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Ballyhoo

Lake of the woods dnr survey

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Ballyhoo

Follow the link to read about the plan the DNR and steering committee has for LOW.  I think it is a step in the right direction but personally wouldn't mind seeing the season on the Rainy River close April 1st.

 

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakeofthewoods/index.html

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DRAGFOOT

I want the fishing activity for the local economy, but it would be kind of cool if they could close the Rainy River for spring fishing to see how that worked out, but that's probably not realistic.

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slammer

I like the changes for the winter season limits and Rainy.  Wouldn't bother me if Rainy was closed in the spring either.

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Ballyhoo

Even with the walleye season closed, the area will still be busy with Sturgeon fishermen. 

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DRAGFOOT

I'm not trying to start an argument, but it seems I've heard of a lot of incidental walleyes being caught during that time. Carry on.

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srj

My opinion is no fish kept. The Rainy is such a special fishery that I think we can all eat burgers. In that cold water, with almost everyone fishing jigs, hooking mortality is surely very low. I've fished the spring run since the years where you would not want to eat the fish.....thanks Boise.  I hope this special fishery isn't taken away from us...….unless compelling evidence can show we are damaging the LOW fishery.

I hope all interested folks weigh in on the plan. To me, it is obvious the fishery is changing, but is it just natural cycles or are we putting too much pressure on the resource? One observation: sure not many charters fish near the south shore these days. Why are those fish gone?

Whatever it takes...…...we need to keep this lake special. 

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PRO-V

Just my 2 cents but it sure seems like the south shore bite and the bad shiner runs of the last few years are related. Don't see anywhere near the bait balls we used to.

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slammer

I agree with srj,  whatever it takes.  They could lower the open water limit to 3 eye/2 sauger.  Dont think too many would oppose that.  With the wheelhouse craze over the last 10 years,  you could almost figure somthing had/has to change.

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FowlSki

I’d like more restrictive limits and changing the size limit to less than 14 and 18-28 released for walleyes and less than 13 for sauger.  Way too many tiny fish being cut up in the cleaning shacks in the winter.  Catch and release on the rainy makes sense too.  Seems most folks go for the big fish anyhow.  

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dnovak

For walleyes I wouldn't mind seeing a minimum size restriction and keep the slot on big fish with the option of keeping one trophy fish (if you so choose.)  But if we are going to make changes, IMO it makes the most sense to implement them on the lake for the entire walleye season.  Cutting out your 2 "under" fish during the spring run isn't going to make a difference.  (I go up every year for a week.  I maybe eat 2 fish while I am there and bring home my 2.)  I would also like to hear what the experts have to say on hooking mortality rate during spring run. I don't think I have ever seen a dead walleye floating by in the many years I have fished it.  I do agree with SRJ though, the Rainy River is something truly special.  I don't know it there is anywhere you can go and have that kind of potential of catching true trophy fish!   So, if it takes making the spring run a C&R season to keep it alive, it wouldn't break my heart. 

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DJ_Slick

Tightening the winter limits to match summer just seems logical, and doesn't bother me one bit.  I actually supported this idea years ago.  Personally, I don't think the summer limit need to be reduced, but I wouldn't necessarily oppose it either, depending on the proposal.  I think the current slot is fair, and a minimum size is unnecessary.  Reducing the winter limit would probably eliminate a few of those "tiny" fish being sliced up in the cleaning shack.

Eliminating the spring river season wouldn't bother me either, but the proposed catch and release only still lets people have a chance to catch those big spring ladies without significantly reducing the population, particularly of the supposedly lower number breeding males.  Can't really say I've ever heard of a game fish or animal where the male population is being considered a reason for concern over reproduction...

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TooBusy

I am pleased they are looking to stay ahead of the situation before it becomes a bigger problem.  There is no doubt in my mind that the amount of winter fishing pressure has increased significantly.  It stands to reason that is going to result in more fish going into a bucket.  Cutting back from 8 fish to 6 in the winter is a step in the right direction, but it is not going to have much effect on the walleye take during that time as 4 walleyes could still be kept.  I would be interested in the implementation of a minimum size, at least for walleyes.  I do not know If that would make much difference on the overall take and would like more information on the subject.  Like anything else, people have different standards for what is considered a keeper.  My personal standard for eaters for walleye is 15" - 18", but that is my choice. 

Saugers are considered a high volume/numbers target, and since they do not get anywhere near the same length as walleyes, the acceptable minimum is probably harder to establish.  My personal minimum for saugers is 14".  Again, that is just me.   

I really don't know what effect the Rainy spring run has on the fishery.  To me it would make sense to make it a catch and release season only.  As stated by someone else, the water is cold, and fish are generally caught jigging, so it would appear that hooking mortality would be relatively low.  I have fished the Rainy in the spring in the past,  but I decided a couple of years ago that I would not participate in the spring run any longer. 

There is no doubt that I like to eat fish, but at the same time, even if the entire lake was strictly catch and release (not that I am suggesting this), I would still spend the same amount of time fishing.  That being said,  at this time I support the recommendations coming out of the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Input Group.  I would support even more restrictive policies, but could not bring myself to support things staying exactly the same or more liberal limits.

Only time will determine how this all plays out.

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DRAGFOOT

I don't see why the winter limits are different, nobody has ever given me a good answer on that. Winter has the most fishing pressure but also the bigger limit. There is also no denying the increase in the amount of wheelhouses.

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srj

It would seem unlikely the DNR has anywhere near an accurate number for fish kept during the winter. The number of fish caught and eaten by guys in wheelhouses and sleepers is seemingly uncountable. It's a big lake but the road network for us anglers to pursue the schools of fish in the basin is amazing. I am starting to wonder if there is a correlation between the winter catch with the wheelhouse numbers explosion and the fact the south shore bite only lasts a couple weeks in the spring. Also, it was not all that long ago the ice fishing was pretty good most of the winter without going out 10 miles or more. It's hard to imagine Big Traverse getting a significant dent in the population by anglers in the winter, but it does make me wonder. North and east of the big basin, the fishing has stayed consistently good even with all the charters making daily runs north.

Our new Large Lake Specialist surely has an interesting and challenging job. Hopefully, one of these days when someone asks him the simple question "Where did the fish go?", he will have an answer.

Participate and good luck

 

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