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Just started spearing, noticing some cold shoulders?


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I've never been big into the fishing community, but I started spearing this season and I've fallen in love.

Though, I've seen a few threads where people have spoken out against spearing which I understand, but what's the reason behind some of the flak?

I've received a couple sneers when asking bait shops if they have decoys, and just a general distaste towards spearing.

I mean no disrespect towards anyone, I've had way more positive experiences. Just wondering about some of the negative attitudes towards spearing.

Thoughts?

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People think spearing removes the trophy pike from "their" lakes.

 

It's a blast watching through a spear hole!

 

Welcome to FM @Bizhu.

 

Pics and reports of your adventures would be great!

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I know a few of them.  They are all much older than I am.  They spear for one and only one reason: to harvest a large pike (over 30 inches is what the DNR calls a large pike now).  They fully admit it too and they've been doing it for years and years.  They have no interest in spearing small ones, you know, the ones that we actually need removed from the lake.  I'm not going to get into the problem with this but it is in fact proven that this practice has contributed to an abundance of lakes loaded up with small pike.  That's why the bag limit in most of the state is now 10 fish with a restrictive slot.  Other factors are at play that have contributed to this problem over time too but spearing is no doubt a part of it.  The other issue I have is that some lakes now (Mille Lacs) allow spearing on designated muskie lakes.  Some people can't tell the difference and then they spear a muskie.  No such thing as catch and release with a spear either.  You spear them, they die.  If you spear a 40 incher, you likely just eliminated the largest predator in the entire lake.

 

If you're willing to spear the 21 inchers Bizhu, by all means, have at it.  Take 10 a day.  I'm not against spearing in general, I'm against spearing large pike and not spearing any small ones.

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AlwaysFishing23

Very well said! Almost all the older gentleman I now have this mentality. They Don’t realize what there doing to a fishery spearing all the big fish year after year, trip after trip. Then when you try to approach them about the issue and spearing big pike it’s like talking to a brick wall they don’t see what their doing. But there the first ones to complain all the big fish are gone. For me spearing is a good pass time but I can only last a few hours before I get really bored so I only do it a handful of times per winter at best, its fun no doubt but I've taken a new liking to trolling with cranks for these critters. When spearing I prefer to fish lakes with a good population of small pike. I think there better eating anyway! And for those Of you who say the bigger ones have more meat per fish well that’s true but you can keep 10 under 22”! 

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It is a generational thing for sure.  Most of the old timers that spear pike over 30" do eat them, there are still people who will fillet a 26" walleye to.  We have regulations that do allow this and although it may seem that people are constantly taking big fish I do think that there are more people who do not.  I think the movement has slowly grown regarding conservation of fishing.  Spearing was something I did a lot in my teens and really enjoyed it.  I speared regularly on a lake loaded with 20"-25" fish and the locals loved people who speared because the pike had essentially taken over the lake.  It all depends where you go.  I'm not much for eating a 36-40" pike and I'm not going to mount it so why spear it?  Spearing is a sport, legal to do and fun.  So do not let anyone sway you from doing it! 

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67 here and don't want any big one's I enjoy seeing them swim by!!!!  didn't get out this winter with some health issues, but plan to next year!!!

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If we didn't have a pike problem the daily bag limit would not be 10.  I think we can all agree that there is a pike problem in this state and that spearing has at least partially played a role in that.  I'm not saying it is solely to blame because its not.  The same group of old timers spearing that are after a big one in the winter are after big ones during soft water too...so its definitely not just spearing.  At least with a rod/reel and lure, you can catch photo and release it.  Perhaps its more of a generational issue like Kettle said.

 

The number of people participating in it has definitely gone down over the years.  I can't cite specific numbers, but its likely low enough now where its not making a significant dent anymore.

Edited by gimruis
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snagfinder

I think spearing should be done away with. Why would you rather not have that big northern on the end of a line so you get the fight and option to release. That being said that's just my opinion its legal so if that's what you enjoy by all means do it. Everybody does something that other people don't like so don't worry about what other people think and do what makes you happy. There is way more important things to use your worries on.

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eyeguy 54

Never speared. Is it a guessing game for the slot or is spearing different?  

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Wanderer
1 hour ago, eyeguy 54 said:

Never speared. Is it a guessing game for the slot or is spearing different?  


Doesn’t take too long to be a good guesser if you’ve been around pike a lot or fished certain bodies of water regularly.  The new limits make an adjustment for a mistake fish.

 

I have speared but not enough to call myself a spear fisherman, I don’t think.  I’ve seen a couple nice pike but most of them run 24-26 inches in my experience.  I also would not spear a mid 30’s pike nor have I been waiting on the BIG one.  I have no idea what I’d do if I saw a true 40 in the hole.  I DO feel confident I could ID a muskie though.

 

Big pike killing by hook and line or by spear is more of an individual’s prerogative than the means by which they do it, IMHO.  Plenty big girls get harvested by sucker or Cisco’s during the spring open water opener.

Edited by Wanderer
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AlwaysFishing23
1 hour ago, eyeguy 54 said:

Never speared. Is it a guessing game for the slot or is spearing different?  


Its basically a guessing game we as spear fisherman use our decoys as a guide measurement. I use 8” from somewhat of a friend I know and 14” homemade decoys. So you can see how we “guesstimate” sizes of fish but like in science it’s just a guess or estimate not a for sure until you throw the spear maybe get that pike you “thought” was x length and come to find out it’s to long or to short. This is the time spearing isn’t super fun to me having to be super careful with fish sizes but that’s part of the experience.  I’m sure that there are unfortunately a spear thrown here and there that take fish of illegal sizes.

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AlwaysFishing23
31 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

Doesn’t take too long to be a good guesser if you’ve been around pike a lot or fished certain bodies of water regularly.  The new limits make an adjustment for a mistake fish.


For me even with my excellent vision trying to judge a fish size when it’s in the water is impossible. Every fish I spear (under 10 a season) I think is way bigger before I threw the spear then I get it up only to go “ooh that’s small”. Judging fish sizes is not easy. Using your decoy to determine fish length by how many decoy lengths is much more precise ( to a point of course).

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First off but this is my opinion. That 10 fish limit on pike is a crock of BS. Not every lake needs to reduce them little snakes. Sand and bowstring are 2 that should. Some lakes all our going to catch are the slot size. Vern there done that.

 

I can also sense this is going to the way of anti spear vs muskie Inc, do I'm done here.

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Wanderer

Relax @smurfy...  😄

 

@Bizhu if you’re starting your spearing in Ely, don’t take the cold shoulder thing too seriously.  There aren’t as many spearers there and they’re kind of a closed group.  Central MN is kind of the hotbed for spearing and that’s where most of us commenting are from.

Edited by Wanderer
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34 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

Relax @smurfy...  😄

 

@Bizhu if you’re starting your spearing in Ely, don’t take the cold shoulder thing too seriously.  There aren’t as many spearers there and they’re kind of a closed group.  Central MN is kind of the hotbed for spearing and that’s where most of us commenting are from.

😒 I know. That 10 fish limit irks me to no end. Then mess with my spear chucking.😬🙃 I'm better now.

Edited by smurfy
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eyeguy 54

Bowstring has a gazillion. 

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Sand does too, but the size structure has gotten a bit better the last 5 years or so IMO. Still a lot of 17-23" ones in there, personally I like 'em around 20" if I'm going to keep them. Only 1(32") > 26" in the last 10-15 years out of there but I, like most I know,  don't use minnows very much.

Edited by gunner55
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And our family has helped do it's share to help the DNR reduce that population. Makes great pickling material.😆👍

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I would like to share a story.

 

When I worked for the DNR years ago, spearing on Mille Lacs was still prohibited because it was a designated muskie lake.  My last year working there, they lifted the ban on spearing.  One day in January, two older gents came into Garrison Sports each holding what they thought were 50+ inch speared pike.  Turns out they were both muskies.  The worker at Garrison Sports informed them of their mistake and there was a conservation officer on site within 30 minutes to hand out citations.  That experience proofed to me first hand that some people simply can't tell the difference.  I muskie fish and it something I'll never forget.  Its in my memory forever.

 

The spearing ban on Mille Lacs is still lifted and I often wonder how many more muskies have been speared by mistake.  The next state record muskie is likely swimming in that lake and I hate to think of someone who can't tell the difference spearing it...

 

Edited by gimruis
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Wanderer

Thanks for sharing the story @gimruis.  That’s a bummer.  Those gentlemen just didn’t know what they were dealing with.  I’d wager if they hook and lined those two muskies they’d still have shown up dead at Garrison Sports.  


If you really think about it in that light, is the spear really at blame?  They didn’t know what they had until they got turned in.

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18 hours ago, Wanderer said:

If you really think about it in that light, is the spear really at blame?  They didn’t know what they had until they got turned in.

 

Most lakes with muskies still ban spearing.  I personally think Mille Lacs should go back to the way it was for decades.  Just my opinion.

 

You are probably right.  If they had caught it trolling in soft water, they probably would have done the same.  I don't know.  I personally think that most people spearing know the difference when they see one, but obviously not all of them do.

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19 hours ago, gimruis said:

I would like to share a story.

 

When I worked for the DNR years ago, spearing on Mille Lacs was still prohibited because it was a designated muskie lake.  My last year working there, they lifted the ban on spearing.  One day in January, two older gents came into Garrison Sports each holding what they thought were 50+ inch speared pike.

 

 

I'm assuming they planned to get those fish mounted, which leads to a question I've wondered about...can you get a speared pike mounted?  I would assume the holes left by the spear would make it pretty tough, but maybe the taxidermists have some tricks up their sleeve.

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1 hour ago, Getanet said:

 

I'm assuming they planned to get those fish mounted, which leads to a question I've wondered about...can you get a speared pike mounted?  I would assume the holes left by the spear would make it pretty tough, but maybe the taxidermists have some tricks up their sleeve.

yes you can and they can cover the holes/marks...   I have seen it done..  very interesting...  and there are replicas too...

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On 2/24/2020 at 4:49 PM, snagfinder said:

I think spearing should be done away with. Why would you rather not have that big northern on the end of a line so you get the fight and option to release. That being said that's just my opinion its legal so if that's what you enjoy by all means do it. Everybody does something that other people don't like so don't worry about what other people think and do what makes you happy. There is way more important things to use your worries on.

Well most lakes with muskie in them are non native to the lake and are stocked. I think they should do away with that also.

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15 hours ago, smurfy said:

Well most lakes with muskie in them are non native to the lake and are stocked. I think they should do away with that also.

 

Most lakes with walleyes are non native too, what's your point?  Maybe we should stop stocking them also.

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