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Walleye bag limit change


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walleye101

Are Minnesota anglers aware of legislation currently in progress to lower the statewide bag limit from six to four?  I sure don't hear much discussion about it. 

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Wanderer

The only thing I read on it was there wasn’t a lot of push back from the public due to such a low percentage of people actually catching the 6 fish limit on a routine basis.

Four seemed to be adequate for most.

 

I fish walleyes but it’s not my main target species so I’m not the greatest at it.  The regulation change would rarely affect me.  Really probably never, except there might be a few more in the lake to catch. 

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whateverisbiting

I prefer a slot approach seems to be a better balance for the meat eaters and the CPRs.  Also you can bet the meat eaters will just bring their fish to the freezer and go out and get more.  I see people taking limits every day. With the slot there is better compliance.

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walleye101

What would be the intended purpose of implementing a statewide slot limit? 

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whateverisbiting

I was not suggesting we do that or don't do that state wide.  What I am saying is if there are any restrictions either on a single lake or statewide then my opinion is a slot does more to protect a population.

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monstermoose78

I say lower the limit to 2 walleyes and first two you catch then you are done!

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Wanderer

They put slot limits on lakes they actually pay attention to and that get heavy fishing pressure.  Slots aren’t a one size fits all “solution” if you will.  Each lake has different needs.

 

8 hours ago, whateverisbiting said:

I prefer a slot approach seems to be a better balance for the meat eaters and the CPRs.  Also you can bet the meat eaters will just bring their fish to the freezer and go out and get more.  I see people taking limits every day. With the slot there is better compliance.

 

Yah, those folks make me scratch my head. Keep taking until there isn’t any to take anymore.  So a lower daily limit means a lower possession limit.  Maybe harder to make the extras disappear or fewer to send home with every licensed angler that visits.

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whateverisbiting

They just implemented slots for northers with 3 zones across the state a few years ago, which is a good case study.

 

The lake I fish is in the region with 22-26" slot but they INCREASED the limit from 3 to 10 with 2 over the slot allowed.  The lake had a few larger northers but most were in the 20-26 inch range.  I LOVE the slot; fish are clearly shifting larger with many more between 26-30".  Larger fish means more eggs which means more fish.  It works.  Plus compliance is higher because you can get caught on the water with an illegal fish.  You don't get caught with over limit in your freezer. 

 

Hasn't helped the perch population at all they are thick but too small to be worth keeping been that way forever.  Hope that will change.  Eyes are super fat though!

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monstermoose78
50 minutes ago, whateverisbiting said:

They just implemented slots for northers with 3 zones across the state a few years ago, which is a good case study.

 

The lake I fish is in the region with 22-26" slot but they INCREASED the limit from 3 to 10 with 2 over the slot allowed.  The lake had a few larger northers but most were in the 20-26 inch range.  I LOVE the slot; fish are clearly shifting larger with many more between 26-30".  Larger fish means more eggs which means more fish.  It works.  Plus compliance is higher because you can get caught on the water with an illegal fish.  You don't get caught with over limit in your freezer. 

 

Hasn't helped the perch population at all they are thick but too small to be worth keeping been that way forever.  Hope that will change.  Eyes are super fat though!

Except on Mille Lacs lake the jumbo perch are almost gone

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whateverisbiting

Probably because people can't keep eyes so they are taking home perch.  It's a clear pattern for area lakes that a lake has a hot bite with good year class it gets hammered for a couple years then they move on to the next bite after depleting the fish.  For 3 years I watched 50 boats cruising outside the cabin at night.   Last year no one one the lake they depleted the eyes. A slot would eliminate this problem.  No matter to me I switched to bass and northern. 

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monstermoose78
1 hour ago, whateverisbiting said:

Probably because people can't keep eyes so they are taking home perch.  It's a clear pattern for area lakes that a lake has a hot bite with good year class it gets hammered for a couple years then they move on to the next bite after depleting the fish.  For 3 years I watched 50 boats cruising outside the cabin at night.   Last year no one one the lake they depleted the eyes. A slot would eliminate this problem.  No matter to me I switched to bass and northern. 

No the perch being eaten by eyes they say

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whateverisbiting

Well the we need to keep more eyes!

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walleye101

Interesting that folks are suggesting slot limits or even lower bag limits as solutions to a problem that has not been identified.  DNR fisheries "supports" this bill, but did not initiate it because they would be required to show need and reasonableness for the change. Showing need seems like a pretty reasonable requirement rather than arbitrarily reducing harvest opportunity.

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whateverisbiting

Actually I already addressed this but will state it more directly.  Having a slot state wide ensures we maintain a stable population of fish in each lake that cannot be removed.  It takes a long time for a lake to recover a species once it gets overfished and this is not just the big lakes and it is happening all over the place.  Upper Red Lake is good case study (I can cite case studies of smaller lakes as well but won't to protect those lakes).  Though to be honest I loved the HUGE crappies that was a unique opportunity and I was quite disappointed when they turned it back into another me too walleye lake so I have not been back since.  So, to what I said earlier, I see the value of it but there are trade-offs and I don't necessarily agree or disagree to it.  Once you remove one species another will take over and personally I am not that picky so I adapt.  If I were focused on walleye I would have a different view.

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walleye101

Minnesota's best walleye fisheries are anything but stable populations. These populations are constantly cycling with new robust year classes recruiting to the fishery every few years. Harvest of excess spawning stock actually stimulates frequent strong recruitment. The closest thing we have to stable walleye populations are lakes dominated by old fish with low to moderate recruitment replacing natural mortality from the aging population. 

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whateverisbiting

I fully agree that lakes go through cycles but that negates nothing I said.  MNs best walleye fisheries are that way because they have a slot.  Rainy, Winnie, Leach, Mille Lacs, and Red were destroyed and the slots brought them back.  Lake of the woods a slot was put in before it got depleted and that fishery is awesome so easy to catch a limit there and a great mix of small fish and jumbos...just a matter of time for other lakes.  Can you be more specific what lakes you are referring to that have just large fish and no slot?  If it is not one of the well known lakes be careful if you name it here its fished out in 3 years if it does not have a slot guaranteed.

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walleye101

At the risk of sending this thread further off the rails, let's talk "slots".

There is nothing majic about a protected slot limit (PSL). It can be a useful tool if your spawning stock NEEDS some protection, or if there is demand for growing larger fish.  All of the lakes you mention have had a PSL in the past, and some still do.  The most used PSL originally, protected all fish from 17-26 inches, because that protection covered almost all the mature females in a population (and lots of mature males). The thought at the time was that if some spawners are good, more is better, or at least can't hurt.  Wrong!

Almost all those lakes have since adjusted those PSLs, or eliminated them. Red closed the fishery during restoration, then used the PSL while spawning stock still NEEDED some protection. Upper Red has since abandoned the PSL all together for much less restrictive, one over 17", or 20" regulations. Both allow considerable harvest of spawners. The other lakes mentioned have all experienced some stockpiling of excess spawning stock and suppression of new year classes, causing managers to make multiple adjustments to allow more harvest and free up productivity.

Lake of the Woods, which you didn't mention started out with a 19.5-28" PSL to be more compatible with Ontario's regulation (50cm). That worked out well because it allowed considerable harvest under the PSL, reducing spawner density before they grew into the PSL.  Finally there's Mille Lacs which has continued with very restrictive harvest regulations, currently with a closed summer season, no PSL, but insted a two inch harvest slot limit.  Lot's of large fish, an abundance of spawning stock, but recruitment of new young fish has been dismal. 

Now can we get back to discussing why a statewide bag limit reduction applied across all Minnesota walleye lakes, natural or stocked, makes no sense? 

 

 

 

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