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26" Upper Walleye Slot - Wallhanger or End of Spawning?


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Do female walleyes stop spawning at a certain age/size?  I am wondering if the 26" upper slot limit was picked to allow people to mount a "trophy", or keep a very large walleye for consumption.

 

I have never had a fish mounted, and would probably consider having a replica made if I catch a walleye over 31".  I have only kept one walleye over 26" (a 28" fish caught in 2013 winter that would not have survived if released), and that fish was not very good to eat.  Maybe it was at the end of its life.

20220122_145301.jpg

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I can’t personally answer that but I’m pretty sure 26-30 inch females do quite a bit of spawning.  The over 26 allowance is for keeping anglers happy about being able to keep a “trophy” at some point, knowing that harvest is likely minimal.

 

I agree the table fare quality decreases with every inch past about 24.  I prefer the under 20 walleyes for eating but occasionally keep one up to 24.

 

Over New Years weekend my wife caught a 25 that she wanted to keep.  Her fish, her choice.  It was a little thin and very old looking.  It was a male; a big male IMO.  She thought it was good when we ate it but I thought it was soft and watery.  To each their own on that I guess.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

Nice one you have there in your pic!

Edited by Wanderer
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so as i understand it a smaller female lays less eggs then that 26 incher with maybe a better hatch rate but the 26 incher may lay MORE eggs with better genetics????🤔 but what do i know..... 

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44 minutes ago, Wanderer said:

26-30 inch females do quite a bit of spawning.  The over 26 allowance is for keeping anglers happy about being able to keep a “trophy” at some point, knowing that harvest is likely minimal.

I bet a much larger % of fish kept over 26" end up on the table rather than the wall.  I would personally like to see the upper slot changed to 28".

 

25" male walleye?  I didn't know the males got that large.  Guess I will have to check their gender from now on just for information.

 

The picture I posted was a picture of a picture developed from a negative 9 years ago.  Reason for the poor photo quality.

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16 minutes ago, JerkinLips said:

 

25" male walleye?  I didn't know the males got that large.  Guess I will have to check their gender from now on just for information.


I was surprised too.  I’ve assumed anyway the large milky white sack instead of roe was an indicator.  Like when you clean perch the males and females are obvious.  Some of the 15 inch walleyes had some roe in them.

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I've always understood the upper slot exemption for walleye to be intended for trophies. I'm with JerkinLips about upping the slot to 28 or even 30" specifically on Vermilion. If we are talking trophies, a 27" walleye (which is my PB) is not a trophy. It is just a really nice walleye. Trophy is different for everyone but I think that on a lake such as Vermilion, there could be a consensus on what defines a trophy. The DNR could definitely contribute some information about how the big girls spawn at those bigger lengths. If they say that after 26" they really don't contribute too much to the spawn....then I guess I would be fine leaving it where it is.

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Each lake is different based on the genetics and growth rate.

 

I would never consider keeping a walleye over the top end of a slot to eat.  They taste like mud.  Years ago, I might consider keeping one to get a skin mount.  My mindset on that has now changed too because I had a tiger muskie replica made last year that looks freaking awesome.  Unless the fish dies, I'll never get a skin mount again when I can release the fish alive, regardless of species.  A replica does cost a little more but it last a lot longer and never needs any refurbishing.  The satisfaction I get knowing a large fish was released alive so that someone else can potentially catch is very important to me.

 

The restricted slot on each lake is intended to protect the prime female spawning fish.  Their lifecycle is like a bell curve and they reach their peak spawning rate at a certain age.  The fish over the protected slot may still be spawning, but they are not at their peak anymore.

replica 1.jpg

replica 2.jpg

Edited by gimruis
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i'm going to Lake of the Woods over super bowl weekend. it will be my first trip there ever. i dont currently know what that slot is, i will find out before i go, but if i get anything bigger then the slot........it will go on my wall!!!!!!!!!

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A couple of us fished LOW last winter. Fun time but it was 70/30 saugers to walleyes and I think that I caught the biggest at 22 inches. The kid that drove the bomber across the lake said it was the biggest he had seen that week, so I guess that means nobody was catching whoppers.

 

Good luck fishing. It was still a lot of fun.

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thanks.....looking forward to it.......now it all depends on the weather and if my buddy can get time off!!!!!!!!

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Vermilion is a weird lake. I've probably caught 12 -15 fish that measured 26.5 inches. My family has seen the same thing amongst relatives.  It's like they hit that size and stop. I've caught one 27.5,  and seen a 28.5 and 29 caught.  That's it for real big fish over the slot. I know there are still a bunch of 30 inches swimming in the lake, I just never seem to catch them.  Bumping the slot to 28 would be okay. I'm not really for it or against it. I still don't like having to toss back fish that are likely to die. Bigger walleye take more time and effort to get in. While I have zero plans to eat a walleye over 20 inches, leaving a dying fish for the seagulls and crayfish seems silly. 

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17 hours ago, jparrucci said:

While I have zero plans to eat a walleye over 20 inches, leaving a dying fish for the seagulls and crayfish seems silly. 

 

I'm confident that almost every big muskie, bass, and walleye I release alive swims away and survives.  Even ones that are deep hooked.  I have the ability to remove the hook very quickly and get it back into the water.  Do some of them die?  Perhaps.  But I know for a fact that if I kept it, it would 100% die.  Having the right tools and the ability to do it quickly and efficiently makes a big difference, especially in the warm summer months.  Also, I rarely use live bait anymore and live bait has been proven to cause a higher mortality rate.

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41 minutes ago, smurfy said:

 

i've fished Manitoba a few times, barbed hooks are a no-no, and i dont remember ever having fish get off because of it. i've often though of bending all my barbs for easier hook removal but never did yet.......maybe this year!!!!!! besides it might be easier to remove it from your body too!!!!!!!!🤔🥴 


SAME! 

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1 hour ago, smurfy said:

i spear in the winter, i hardly ever lose a fish, but i've seen pike with spear marks that survive, i've cleaned pike you could see old spear marks.

That is remarkable.  One tough critter no doubt about it.

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it is truly amazing what these fish can survive. long time ago and i dont know why i remember this but i do, we got to know and old guy that lived close to the cabin. got to know him good enough we left him the keys and would call him when we where going up in the winter to start our 2 burner fuel oil stove at the time.

 

anyway he was quite the story teller.......one wondered how much you could actually believe, but he told us he was spearing on the lake the cabin is on. telling us he had seen about an 8lb pike with a leader coming out of the side of this fish.....he didnt spear it.

 

well after some time about a 100 yards from where he had set up, someone in our group did in fact spear that fish. that leader was literally coming out the side of this fish in the area of where the stomach was!!!!

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Cool story!

 

FWIW, the only hooks that fish can dissolve are bronze hooks - the “old fashioned” kind.  The newer hooks like most of us are using don’t dissolve.

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1 hour ago, Raven77 said:

What's an "ell"?

I was thinking he’s talking about an eel…

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My buddy has an ex-wife who's name started with an L but was too hard for me to pronouce (I was lazy) so I just called her "Ell." Reading in the story above that this thing had something sharp coming out of its inside, led me to believe this was about his ex-wife but now I'm not so sure... 😆

Edited by SkunkedAgain
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17 hours ago, Wanderer said:

I was thinking he’s talking about an eel…

OK, thanks.

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On 1/22/2022 at 7:32 PM, JerkinLips said:

25" male walleye?  I didn't know the males got that large.  Guess I will have to check their gender from now on just for information.


Just for giggles.  11 inch male on top; 11 1/2 inch female on the bottom.  She’s deeper too.

 

Milt vs roe.

F9D76ADC-98DE-4E60-B812-D3B081AF821B.thumb.jpeg.094085a09f02c40c05a0856591578733.jpeg

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