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not sure
the guys at work said they were, but were tight lipped as to where...

so i guess just find the river and start lookin and trying.
Monty

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That's the same answer I always get.

A local area lake or river, as the case maybe.

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just got home from the dam about half hour ago.
we caught a small northern, but not crappie or eye.
we spent about an hour fifteen fishing from dam at various spots.
a couple hours earlier i saw a couple guys pull in a couple pike or eyes on the east bank at lovers lane. hard to tell as i was across the river.
that is the best i can do.
Monty

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If you find that guys are tight lipped... It is because they don't want to see the resource dissappear! Like it or not, some guys in this town feel like when the fish are biting that it is their duty to get a limit ( or two) everyday, and stock their freezers full, or to feed every mouth in the neihgborhood. Lets face it. If a lot of guys keep lots of crappies, there won't be any more in a hurry. Some of you may think, " oh, you'll never fish them out," don't count on it!
As for me, I think you have to put your time in to find your favorite spots. I have at times help a few guys out only to find that soon 12 people are there because of word of mouth.
Yes, Fishing should be enjoyed by everyone! But, some have a selfish attitude around here. I am not a fan of the game hogs and wanton wasters! Last year at the dam I saw a whole limit of nice crappies laying in the dirt by the dam. Some people are just not responsible. I guess I am just trying to be a fishing advocate here.
Anyway, its a free country. Do what you want to.
Remeber to catch and release! Keep only what you need. And please turn in poachers.

Thanks,
Johnny


[This message has been edited by johnnyC (edited 04-24-2002).]

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Johnny, you made a couple of great points. Years ago we didn't have crappies like we have now and I think the resource will become depleted if the bucket fulls keep getting hauled out. We are fortunate to have a number of different species in the river system. I don't have a problem with people taking some to eat but when people are feeding everyone else in town I think that is wrong. Everyone is entitled to do your own thing but don't complain about it when fishing "isn't what it used to be!"

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Johnny,

I have been saying for a long time that
the river fishers work harder and longer
for their fish. The really good River Rats
have earned every bit of success they have.

They also are very tough to get info from,
and I cant say I blame them for being tight lipped. They have put in the time and effort
and dont feel the need to make it easy for
everyone else. These Crappies were planted
here, if they were all caught (which aint
gonna happen) more could be supplied). If you
want success in the river you need to show
the real fishers you are willing to put in
the time and swap some good information.


I am not much of a river fisher, I have picked a pattern or two over the years and
dont practice that too much. I have a
huge amount of respect for the River Rats
and admire the success they have. I learned
some time ago you can insult them by asking
for information. (you can get the info you
want, you need to let them give it to you)


Curt Quesnell

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Curt, are you saying that Red Lake has had no impact on the crappies here in town and that these fish were just planted? The boom on Red Lake has a direct impact on the crappie population in the Red Lake and Thief Rivers.

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Ya curtty, fill me in on these PLANTED crappies!!!!!?????? I think at sometime in there "crappie life" they where taking a big crappie crap in lower Redlake. Just my 2-cents worth brother Quensell.

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I agree with Johnny, Ripper, and Mark!
All the way down to the crappie "crap" theory. If we don't manange this resource, it won't last forever. It's just like Upper Red Lake. If you have 3,000 cars on that lake every weekend and everyone keeps 15 crappies, the numbers will dwindle. It's not rocket science. The same holds true on the river here. Yeah, you may not catch them all out, but it will get harder and harder to catch a limit.
Just a thought?
Keep on fishing.
decoy

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Curt,
You said in your post that if all the crappies were caught, that more could be supplied. My goodness, that is what happened with the walleyes in Red Lake. I sure hope that people who fish the River dont do what the netters and the sport fisherman did to Red Lake. I say,
Catch a lot, eat a few, release a lot and have fun!

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Looooook what you started Curt!!! You opened up a BIG can of worms here. These "river rats" you talk about may put in a fair amount of time finding fish, but the "average" big water angler puts in his fair share also!!! Spend some time with me on Upper Red Lake and I'll show you structure that you'll never believe would've been in that "BIG CEREAL BOWL"!!! It took many years to find these spots, and the same goes for fishing in the Islands on L.O.W., you don't just find fish there overnight. I love a good B.S. session, and you got one going know!!! "The crappie mortition" M.D. Bieganek

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Geez fellas, thanks for stopping by.

I just got off the phone with the DNR
Fisheries office. Stocking of Bluegills
and Crappies was done about every other
year in our rivers until the dredging projects. They will begin again sometime
in the future.

The person I talked to said the Crappies
we are catching now are part of that 95
year class on Red Lake. (Big Mark gets
a star). I asked why the difference in
average size from here to there and he said
there must not be as much to eat here.

Lip Ripper, I never even came close to
saying Red Lake had no impact on the RedLake
or Thief Rivers. I did say "these Crappies
were planted" and that wasnt 100 percent
correct. I have been catching Crappies in our
rivers for many years,most are to small to
keep.

Decoy, make that number 6-10 thousand vehicles
every weekend on Red Lake (Not everyone catches limits, many catch nothing). I will
defer to my resident Red Lake expert Baitco
to answer your question. Mark, how was
fishing at the end of the season, after
the fish were pounded again for almost 3 months. ?

It is a complete unknown what will
happen to Red Lake in the next few years.
The Fisheries Biologists say "Take the fish,
enjoy the boom, these fish will die of
old age before you can catch em all with
a hook and line." Others may think differently. I hope that the Crappies
can keep my friends over there busy and
prosperous till we can go to work on some
of those HUGE Red Lake Walleyes.

Rock Roll
What decimated the Walleyes on Red Lake
was greed and gill nets.......period. Its
got nothing to do with hook and line fishing.


The Walleye population on Red
Lake crashed. In just a few years we will
be swinging away at more and bigger fish
than Red Lake has seen in decades. Fish
are a renewable resource. If you want
proof, check Red Lake in a couple years,
Check Lake Erie now,any of the other Great Lakes, check the entire Missouri
River System. Fish have been grown in
these systems like corn in a field. These
are among the best fishing lakes in the
world and all of them had little or no
fish population at one time or another.

I am NOT NOT NOT saying dont respect the
resource. I am not saying cheat and double
dip on limits. I AM saying follow the laws,
act responsible, but catch and keep as many fish as you want to (up to the limit).

Our two wonderful rivers have very little
fishing pressure and lots of fish.

There...I'm done.

Curt Quesnell

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To keep things going a little bit...I know that the Bluegills they(DNR) stock are netted out of Union Lake. We happened to be there one day when they were emptying the traps about 5-6 yrs. ago. But where are the Crappies netted and transplanted from? Isn't the DNR worried about getting different genetic strains in the rivers(Red L. and Thief). Also is anyone catching any of these Bluegills?
All I know is that both above and below the dam the population of crappies has been incredible for the last 5 years. Still the biggest they seem to get is 12-13in.
And, the closer you get to the reservation the more you can definitly tell those fish are coming straight out of Lower Red. Big, fat and wide.

P.S. Practice C.P.R. ;-)

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I dont know how well the Bluegills take in
the river. I have seen them in the lilly
pads east of the beach but not many.

The DNR Rivers Specialist that I talked to
seemed to indicate that the Bluegills and
Crappies came from the same place.?

Curt Quesnell

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Whitetips,where have you been hiding out? I agree,there are about as many bluegills around these days as there were crappies 10-20 years ago. Occasionally you will catch one. It will be interesting to see what happens to the crappie population in the rivers once Red Lake gets back into the full walleye swing. My guess is that the numbers will decline dramatically.

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Fishing was fantastic. Many people left the lake with limits (And Overlimits). I personally think with the lower lake not being fished, we could have good crappie fishing longer than the D.N.R. predicts. These fish will cycle from lower to upper and keep anglers happy for awhile(the same as the perch do). What i've seen and heard is we might have a small 97 and 99 year class in the lake, and time will only tell. But one thing is for sure, these fish in the river here came from one place and one place only, and that is upper and lower red!!!!! Ask any person from this area who grew up and fished the thief and the redlake river and 99% will tell you that they have never caught the numbers and size of crappies that they are catching in the last 4 years. I remember catching crappies in the late 70's and early 80's while we where trolling for walleyes, big crappies too!!!! We will always have crappies to fish in red lake, because before, nobody really knew how to catch them. I personaly have become a crappie addict(just ask my wife). The river system in and around thief river has a lot to offer the local angler but it is a fishery that can be exploited very quickly. I can respect locals keeping there "Honey-Holes" secret. I have a couple of "Spots" myself and its a place to take my children and enjoy some quality time with them, a person has to be careful who he tells, because tell one wrong person and before you know it half of the town is rubbing elbows with you. This is just my 2-cents worth, not fact or gospel, just my opinion. I'm Going off for Redlake right know so I'll give a report monday!!!

[This message has been edited by bieganekbaitco (edited 04-26-2002).]

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It seems that the crappie population has a direct connection to the usage of gill nets in Red Lake.

Any comments?

PS Curt, thanks for doing all of the fact finding. Hope you don't take the questions and comments personally.

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I know for a fact that this crappies have been here for years ,one of the first crappies i ever caught was on the thief,it was 18.1/2inches long and that was 24 years ago,and i do think thay came from red lake. thats my 2cents

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Rat, nobody is disputing the fact that there have been crappies in the river for a long time. The point that is trying to be made here is that ever since Red Lake exploded onto the crappie scene, we have benefited from it too. One of the biggest crappies I have ever caught was caught on the Thief trolling a shad rap about 10 years ago. I

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Curt
I agree with you that the netters on U.R.L had a lot to do with the depleting of the walleyes,however to say that the sportsmen had nothing to do with it at all i believe is wrong. just look at the L.O.W. On the south side there hasent been any netting for quite a few years, yet the D.N.R has reduced the sauger limit in the summer and reduced the walleye limit on the Rainy River. This is a direct indication to me that sportfisherman do have a direct impact on the fish.
I do not agree with what the Biologists say about take the fish, they will die of old age, thats just like saying kill all the deer and when we run out they will just supply us with more.
My point about the rivers is this, for the last 3 or 4 years we have had a very good crappie bite with a lot of 10 to 14in. being caught .I hope that all sport fisherman will be responsible and catch a lot ,keep a few, and have a great time. "Peace"

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I totally agree with you Rockroll. Many people on this river do a great job of catch and release around TRF. It is a few that "see blood" and kill more than their share of fish. The problem is not that some people kill enough for a meal which is totally fine but some people here take 2 to 3 limits a day. I grew up with the St. Louis River in my back yard. We never kept any of my fish at my secret spot for smallies. This is a very unique situation that I had to fish. There are 2 dams about a mile apart and nobody fishes it so the fish are for the most part "locked" in. The smallie action is nonstop. If people would have kept those fish down there you would not catch 100's like you can standing in the same spot. One of the river people here can vouch in a spot called the "rock" or on the "spillway" you can catch fish until your tired of catching them, until you used all your lures in your tackle box or your beer is all gone. My point is nobody keeps fish in that stretch and over the last 15 years I have fished it and it keeps on getting better. Here in TRF, we are fortunate enough to have a great crappie population that these fish are pretty easy to find and pretty easy to catch. They will be wiped out unless people practice responsiblity and use more C&R. Most people do a super job of that here and everyone on this forum I know does this but a few bozo's can ruin this for everyone.

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do some of you actually think that the number of people we have right now fishing the river can crush the fish population. Think about it, from the res. line to the dam must be over 40 miles of water, then up the Thief a ways, then below the dam for miles, that's alot of water, and alot of fish. If I chose to keep a limit of fish to eat I don't think I need any of your permission. And I suppose none of you have ever have had over ONE limit of walleyes in your freezer from the river of LOW. By the way all eye's over 19 inches go back in the water in my boat, but crappies have at em, don't rape and pillage anything but if you want to keep fish, the DNR sets the limits.

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Fish are a renewable resource if they are harvested wisely. There is nothing wrong with keeping a few fish for the frying pan. I keep a few "eater" size fish when caught on a lake with a healthy population of that species. For example, walleyes roughly 15-19 inches. It does no good to make people feel bad for keeping fish. After all people are out there to enjoy themselves. Fishing on a lake with a 24" maximum size limit on northerns convinced me of this philosophy. Catching a dozen northerns over 30" in one afternoon is what I call fun.

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Time to throw in my 2 cents worth. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, our crappie explosion has not been from plantings. Our crappies come from Red Lake. While I agree that fish are a renewable resource look how long it takes to renew the walleye population at Red Lake. I have heard of people taking buckets of crappies at the dam. Catch enough for a meal and release the rest. The first year they found out about those crappies at URL that crappie band was 1/2 mile by 7 miles wide. Last year 1/8 mile by 2 miles. It won't take long before it is really tough to catch crappies there. The average fisherman at URL has had a harder time finding and catching them then when that population was first found. I think if people keep putting heavy fish pressure and keep taking limits out our rivers they will be hard to find just like they were for you guys 10 years ago. You can show me any fishing study that proves otherwise but common sense tells me this will happen. Planting may have contributed a little to this crappie population but my gut says thank Red Lakes.

[This message has been edited by Wobbler (edited 04-26-2002).]

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Thanks for the quality discussion everyone.

Rock Roll, The limit was reduced on Lake
of the Woods as part of deal made with
Ontario to make them more Minnesota friendly.
Notice the reduction is only in the summer
when the Saugers are harvested mostly in
the deep water by charter boats (and those
equipped to fish near them) Ontario couldnt
stand to see people fishing legally in their
province without giving up more than the price of a fishing license. So they concocted
the story of low sauger numbers due to "day
trippers" catcing them all. It was never
true, there were a few smaller year classes
and the numbers were down but only a little
and only until a strong hatch came into play.


Fishing was better than even the oldest old
timers could remember last year. It wasnt
because you could catch 6 less Saugers either. On Lake of the Woods (since the
gill nets dissapeared) it is all about
"year classes", just like the "95"Crappies on
Red Lake. The difference is Lake of the
Woods deals with about 15 year classes, some
big some not so big. Right now, there are many very good year classes in catchable range.

By the way, the 2000-2001 year class on LOW
is a GIANT. In 5 years, these will the nice eaters, older classes will be gone and newer
ones will take its place. Its called balance
and Lake of the Woods will generally have
pretty good balance since the nets are gone.


Hook and Line Harvest on Lake of the Woods
doesnt reach the harvest quota set for the
lake. Following the rules (slot and limit)
sportfishermen cant hurt the lake.

If 5 bad year classes would come in a row
or 5 out of 6 bad year classes and suddenly
there were not very many 13 to 17 inch fish.
Fishing would suck and then watch the fingers
fly.

Harvest reports and reports on fish populations are available on the DNR website
if you are interested in the best data available.

Finally, I agree with Baitco. Crappies will
continue to be catchable in Red Lake even
after the Walleyes take over. Not in the
numbers there are now but enough to make
it worth fishing for once you have the Walleyes you want. Its gonna be so thick
with Walleyes this Crappie fishing may pale
by comparison.

Thanks again everyone

Curt Quesnell

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Stiffrod, nobody said you needed any permission to keep anything.

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I've posed this question before and never really gotten an answer. Are the crappies in the Red Lake River system attaining an average size that is similar to the Upper Red Lake crappie? Biology would dictate that these fish, if they are the same gene pool and year class, would be roughly the same size even at different locations. There may be a few elemental variations in their environment such as water current, forage base, and competiton from other species that would effect a difference in overall size. For the most part though, these fish should be generally equivalent in size if they hatched from the same year classes.
I think there exists the possibility that the crappie population in the Red Lake River is actually made up of more than one genetic strain. The rivers source has seen an explosion of crappies, and crappies have been stocked in the river system as well. One of the posts earlier asked if this would be a bad thing. I believe the answer would be no. Biological diversity is what supports an ecosystem. If you take away one link in the chain you risk the very collapse of the whole system. Similar, yet different species can greatly strengthen an ecosystem by offering healthy competition, along with a symbiotic (living with and helping each other)existance. Conversely, if one particular species should become extinct due to some adverse environmental condition the other species that exist within the same system may begin to flourish. This is what probably happened at Upper and Lower Red Lakes.
The DNR, scientists, and outdoorsman alike can all hypothesize as to what really goes on beneath the waters surface. Statistical analysis of tangible ecological beings can elude to answers. But, statistics can be easily manipulated in order to derive a desired outcome.
The discussion here really isn't about what's there, or why it's there, it's about doing what is right to keep it there.
So many of you are aware of other sportsman (and I use that term loosely) illegally harvesting crappies from this river system as well as the lake. Why don't you turn them in?
Many times the trouble we have with "managing" wildlife in our state comes from our own ill-prepared intervention. I firmly believe that nature will right itself given the opportunity. Curt and Rock are absolutely right. Catch a bunch, keep a meal, let the rest go! Abide by the law and hold others to it as well.
Good Fishing - it's always good!

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Just for the record fellas, I never once preached about catch and realease in any of my posts. I live to fish and I love to EAT fish. Odds are the fish I catch will eventually end up in my Fry daddy!!!


Since the Crappie explosion on the Red Lakes, there has been dramatic increase in the crappie population in red and the thief river. Just wait till the walleyes boom(again). This river will be full of Ol' marble eyes!!!!

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