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Selective Harvest, not just a good idea.

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Selective Harvest, not just a good idea, but a critical one in order to insure a healthy fishery.

Often when chatting with anglers either in the field or at a seminar they ask me, "Hay Eddy, "How can I catch a 10 lb class walleye?". My best answer to them is, first release a lot of 7-9 lb class fish, and you will.

Selective harvest is the best tool we have to manage a river or lake system so we all need to understand the need to fallow slots without being forced into laws saying we must. In the long hall we all benefit from the practice of selective harvest by the increase in the quality of the fishery and the reduced health risk from not eating these large fat fish with higher contaminant loads.

Fish in the 15" to 18" year class range are the best and safest eating fish from most any system and especially rivers of the region. Larger trophy class fish have the greatest risk of heavy metal and PCB contaminant build up in the fatty tissues and meat, they are your highest risk in acquiring a dose of something you could do without guaranteed.

We are fortunate to have a abundance of very productive river systems in the region that often produce trophy and world class walleye and channel catfish. We must also understand that it is not a bottomless pit of piggy fish, it is a closed system much the same as a lake in all actuality. By harvesting the larger fish that may be passing on vital genetic traits we limit the future of the fishery and possibly endanger our own health by eating them. I am not preaching no harvest just a responsible one with eyes to the future.

Get more bang for your buck is what I say, enjoy the thrill of the catch plus the compounded thrill of releasing that piggy walleye. Simply take a few pictures along with the length and girth measurements so you can get a high quality replica mount that will out last and natural mount 10 to 1 in years, plus look as good as the day you caught it 30 years from now. Replica mounts are far the best investment both in self gratification, long term welfare of the river system, and a very wise use of your precious pay check. The graphite mounts have become far cheaper over time so they are now easily the best bet going to make your trophy room look its absolute best.

As anglers we must look past our stringers into the future to insure our continued enjoyment of our sport while guaranteeing it will be there for our children and there children to enjoy.

Thank You and good fishing.

Ed "Backwater Eddy" Carlson
Backwater Guiding Service
10409 Co. Rd #17 S
Horace, ND. 58047

[email protected]


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Yeah!! what he said!!!Put the piggys back so I can catch em too!

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Ed your right on the money, and I couldn't have said it more eloquently. There are, however, a series of other questions we have to consider making if we're to take the Red into the next century ....

We need to "support" (via various means eg. clubs individual letters, articles in popular magazines) efforts to put the best fishery science to work for us... Up here in Manitoba we haven't done any research on our channel cats for nine years.... What's happening to those critters - if anything at all? Are our management policies doing the best for a robust yet fragile population? Is it time we get back to taking a good objective and critical look at how these fish are doing? What's happening in your area, do you know?

Moreover no (nothing by our provincial resource managers) research has been done for a long time on the Red (North of 49) and Lake Winnipeg walleye/greenback populations. The information on populations that we receive comes from commercial fishing interests on the big lake ("biased" if I might hazard an opinion - I have to be careful as a member on the wife's side of the family fishes commercially for a living on lake WPG.). Nonetheless, wouldn't you guys like to come up to a fishery that was twice as good (I know it's good but imagine eh!) .... well if we bought out half of the commercial licenses for the south basin of Lake Winnipeg it could be reality --- they did it on Lake Michigan didn't they!

Are we anglers willing to pay more for angling licenses, fisheries stamps etc. to help pay for the research and enforcement that is so badly needed for many waters right now and right next door to us.... Are we ready to bite the bullet if what we learn says we have to change the way we have used the resource for umpteen years. If Leech lake in MN. and the Whiteshell region in Mb. are examples of measures to be taken and reactions to them then we've still got a long way to go.....

Is there anything that either side could do to help to maintain or improve the fishery for the other? Yup I think so.....Our natural resources branch could be nudged into doing some research if organizations from south of the border were to ask questions about those cats and walleyes who might make their way south if there were more of them to make the trip ---- wouldn't you be interested in having a better fishery? And last but not the least, I rarely hear anglers talking about the effect/impact that the Garrison diversion project ((ND)water out of Devil's lake) would have on the specific aquatic life of the Red (I don't have an opinion because I don't know enough!). Will it effect our walleye and cats in a negative way?

These are a few of the questions that I have for the future of OUR fishery: The Red and all of its tributaries. Catch and release will definitely help and we can play are part in preserving the great fishery we already have but what else are we required to do to assure the future viability of the Red. The issues it would seem are monstrous but if we chip a little at each question we might provide for the conditions of some momentous improvements for all users of the resource.

Thanks Ed for starting such an important discussion. It does spark interesting thought and discussion.

Dan Kiazyk
Cat Eye Outfitter
[email protected]

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Great story, you made the cover of FM on Monday night.

Hey, isn't getting close to election time again and we've forgotten our ol' crony Eddy?

The story above is another reason to VOTE BACKWATER EDDY come election day. Write ins count.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Wanderer
      @chaffmj   Good luck out there!
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