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rich4walleyes

Poss New Limits

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rich4walleyes

Did anyone else read the info in the Outdoor News this week about the possible change in the limits for Lake of the Woods? Sounds like a good idea to me what I am reading. What does anyone know or think.<P>Rich

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curt quesnell

Rich,<P>There is a push for a statewide 4 fish limit<BR>on Walleyes. If you remember when the limits<BR>were changed for crappies and perch and blugills a very short time ago it was determined that changing the limit from<BR>6 to 4 on Walleyeswould make very little difference in harvest numbers so it was set aside.<P>It is back again and the big harvest numbers<BR>on Lake of the Woods over the last 2 seasons<BR>are at least part of the reason why.<P>I guess it is a matter of when. Some say<BR>it could be as soon as December of this year.<BR>At the meeting I was at this spring they were<BR>talking 2006.<P>I hope they keep additional Saugers on LOW<BR>as part of the bag.<P>I'm not crazy about the idea but I can live<BR>with a 4 fish limit. I hope it accomplishes<BR>what they want.<BR><P>------------------<BR>Curt Quesnell<BR>NorthCountry Outdoors Radio

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Fisher J

Here is my 2 Cents worth:<P>I am 100% opposed to this idea. I read an article in my local paper today (St. Cloud Times) about this subject. There is no way in hell that the safe harvest of walleye is 450,000 lb. of walleyes. That is what they pull out of Millacs lake each year (Which is not a safe harvest for that lake, but I will not talk about the gill netting). LOW is 5x the size of that lake. Size comparisons would lead me to believe that a safe harvest would be at least 1 million lbs. There is only 600,000 lbs pulled out of there. <P>The fishing at the lake is better than ever with the removal of commercial fishing (I think that there is still one in Canada). Every time I go up there I catch more and more Walleyes. They are also good sized ones too.<P>Another proposal I am strongly against is the slot of 20-28 where you have to throw them back. Some days that is all I catch. If the DNR puts that in on LOW they might as well put it on every lake in the state. I do not catch the numbers of those fish in the St. Cloud Area.<P>Reducing the total limit to 4 walleyes would be crazy for that lake. If the DNR does this they might as well reduce the limit to 1 for the rest of the state. If there is a problem at LOW there is sure as hell a much worse problem in the rest of the state. <P>I checked the DNR site and the public meetings on this issue are September 28 from 7-9pm at Lake of the Woods School in Baudette<BR>and September 29 from 7-9pm at Roseau High School in Roseau. I will be going to one of those meetings. I strongly urge the people who care about this issue to attend one of those meetings.<BR>There is also a meeting in St. Paul about this issue on September 28 from 8:30 AM to 4 PM<p>[This message has been edited by Fisher J (edited 08-17-2004).]

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AaronM

Nevermind...<p>[This message has been edited by fishingfrenzy (edited 08-16-2004).]

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wareagle

I'm with Rich!! I also think that it is good that the DNR is thinking/planning to change the wae/sar regs.<P>First of all, having talked with the DNR, target harvest levels are set based on a model using a variety of factors such as growing degree days, total dissolved solids and water transparency. Since these factors are different for every lake comparing Mille Lacs to LOW based only on size would be like comparing apples to oranges. Not to mention harvest has exceeded the target 6 of the last 7 years the exception was 1999.<P>The DNR also said that by just reducing the limit from 6 to 4 would not save us (the public) enough harvest, but by incorporating a protected slot with the reduced limit it would get us (the public) very close to the target harvest level. However, if those 2 walleye are that important. I believe there is a Morey's fish market in Motley on your way home to the cities (joke here). <P>Second, Fisher J, I mean no disrespect to you, but I don't understand why you are so strongly against the protected slot. You would still be able to keep that trophy fish with the new Regs. Also, when you say "some days that is all I catch". Correct me if I'm wrong, but you can only keep one of those fish anyway. Right?? I'm not saying you don't have a right (now of course)to keep one of those fish, but is that one fish really that important?? If it is, I guess I'm sorry, but I don't understand that mentality.<P>Granted I've only lived on the Big Lake for a couple of years having lived in Central MN most of my life. But I would like to pose a question to everyone. <P>Would reducing the limit from 6 to 4 stop you from coming to LOW?? If the answer is YES, I'm glad smile.gif that means less boats for me to deal with. If your answer is NO, then I would hope you would support the DNR's proposal. They are the experts, let them do their job. If you don't believe me call them. I was more than impressed with their knowledge and they are more than willing explain things to you. I would much rather be proactive than reactive because once the walleye fishery starts to decline the walleye population maybe to far gone to rehabilitate.<P>I also second Fisher J about going to the public meetings. I'll be there. Whether you are for or against the regs change the DNR needs to know!! Generally they only here the sqeaky wheels, but they need to here the supporters as well.<P>I guess that is more than my 2 cents, let's go fishing!! <P>wareagle

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EsoxHunter

Since LOTW management is shared between Minnesota, Ontario and Manitoba, maybe you'd be interested in why the lake is receiving more pressure. Even though this is on the Canadian side I believe it affects all fish stocks on the lake. Our walleye limit for next year is 2 fish. However, I believe the sportsman is being expected to compensate for this, check it out:<P>I thought all would be interested in seeing what the Supreme Courts redefinition of native subsistance fishing has brought to our lake. This issue is affecting so many across Canada and it's time the concerned sportsman who was put at the bottom of the list as well as anyone concerned about conservation speak up. Have a look at this:<P><A HREF="http://www.looneybeaver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1518&start=0" TARGET=_blank>http://www.looneybeaver.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1518&start=0</A><P>Court decision that brought this mess on us:<P><A HREF="http://www.bloorstreet.com/200block/rsparrow.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.bloorstreet.com/200block/rsparrow.htm</A><BR>

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Hines R

I spoke to one of the big guys in the Minnesota DNR the other day down here in the city's. I don't remember his name, but he was very helpful, and knew his stuff. To be honest I was initially calling because I was very unhappy after reading a Minnesota Public Radio article about Red Lake that the tribe was going to have a say in what happened on that lake. I was confused as to why the DNR would pay to stock the lake when they tribe still get's to decide how it is fished. I found out that the tribe paid for half of the stocking, and their has been an understanding reached before the stocking was done as to acceptable limits of fish being taken out of that lake. He felt it was not only the commercial fishing that hurt the lake, but angler's taking multiple limits as well.<P>I don't plan on fishing Red Lake so let's talk about the big LOTW. The thing to remember is that Canada has already changed their regulations. You can only keep 4 fish per day. I'm not sure how they work the sauger slot. Personally I don't really worry to much about the sauger usually. I just count to 6. I don't mind it shifting to 4 fish with whatever for sauger. I generally let the bigger fish go. Pretty much anything over 20 inches so I won't have a problem with the slot. Realistically though if they lowered the fish to 4 and then only allowed one fish over 19 1/2 inches this should accomplish what their looking for.<P>It's the ice fishing that is really taking the most fish out of the lake though. <P>They are going to have a meeting in the Twin City's at the Minnesota DNR building at some point about Lake Of The Woods. My understanding is that you can go in and voice your opinion if you can't make the meeting as well. I'm pretty sure they have to see your face though to put it into the log for opinions. I'll post it when I found out when the meeting is. <P>I will say the DNR guy was really helpful. I called in already initially mad about the Red Lake thing, and he just had the answers to all my concerns and questions.<P>Later, Ryan

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wareagle

HinesR,<P>Check out Fisher J's post. He has the times and places of the meetings listed. You can also check out the DNR website under news releases (I believe) for the times and places. The DNR will also take phone as well as written comments.<P>regards,<BR>wareagle

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Hines R

I missed the date for the St. Paul meeting in his post. I'm in town that day but I just looked at my calender and I'm scheduled for childbirth classes. I guess I'll just have to register my opinion by calling, and stopping by the DNR office. <P>If I try to back out of the childbirth classes I won't need to have an opinion anymore.<P>Ryan

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walleyenerd

Interesting thoughts Fisher J. I appreciate that you have insight into Lake of the Woods management to the extent that you know for certain that 450,000 pounds of walleye is way out of line. Before I address your concerns about estimating fish yields I should point out though that Mille Lacs Lake has an area of 132,516 acres, while all of Lake of the Woods is about 900,00 acres. That makes all of Lake of the Woods 6.8 times as large as Mille Lacs Lake, but I don’t think that Ontario and Manitoba would feel it is appropriate for us to assign allowable harvests to their waters, so lets just talk about Minnesota waters. The Minnesota portion of Lake of the Woods is about 317,000 acres, or about 2.4 times as big as Mille Lacs Lake. Feel free to check my math. Before you tackle something as complex as estimating fish yields please be sure you can calculate a simple ratio.<P>With regard to comparing the potential yield of Milles Lacs Lake and Lake of the Woods you should realize that fish yields are based on more than surface area. The models used to calculate fish yield on Lake of the Woods are based on water clarity, heating degree days, average depth, and total dissolved solids.<P>Water clarity relates to how much light penetration there is in the water. Light is needed to make plants (the base of the food chain) grow. More light allows more plant growth, and therefore more potential fish food. Heating degree days are a measure of how warm the climate is around the lake. Warmer equals more fish. Average depth is similar to light penetration, except it relates to how much light gets to the bottom, and defines the limit of rooted plant growth. Shallower lakes can grow more fish. Total dissolved solids are the nutrients in the water. More dissolved solids equals more fish. A good analogy (that means comparison) to predicting fish yield can be found in agriculture. If you have an idea of how warm your climate is, how much rain you can expect to fall, the length of your growing season, and the amount of nutrients in your soil, you should be able to predict average crop, by type of crop, yields. Simply saying my field is bigger than yours is not a good predictor of crop yield.<P>Two different models have been used to predict walleye yields for Lake of the Woods. One model predicted about 430,000 pounds of walleye, the other predicted about 450,000 pounds. I suspect that with two separate predictors coming so close to each other the biologists that manage the lake feel they might be on to something.<P>Another point to keep in mind is that Lake of the Woods supports fisheries for species other than walleye. There are also a sauger, northern pike, and yellow perch fisheries. Sauger have a yield of 250,000 pounds, about 100,000 pounds of pike and 60,000 pounds of yellow perch can be harvested. I don’t think targets for burbot and tullibee have been set, but they are also taken. You have to add all of these harvests together when you estimate how many fish can come out of a lake. I’m not familiar enough with other species on Mille Lacs to comment, though it appears that walleye and yellow perch dominate the harvest.<P>Finally, the health of a fish population can be described by the variety of age classes there are in the population. More age classes equates to a healthier population. The additional age classes are added to the old end of the age distribution. That means more large fish in a healthier fish population. If harvest of the young/small fish goes up there are fewer that survive to get old and large. There are plenty of walleye populations in Minnesota that don’t have many old, large walleye in them. Feel free to fish those lakes. If you want a quality fish population, come to Lake of the Woods. Just realize that maintaining a quality population is not without cost. The cost to maintain Lake of the Woods is lower limits, and you have to through some fish back.<P>Did you ever smoke Fisher J? Did you quit when you had serious health problems or did you quit before that? Perhaps you still smoke. That is what you are advocating for Lake of the Woods, gambling against the doctor’s advice.<P>I do agree with you on one count though. By all means attend the public meetings. I would urge supporters to attend as well as those in opposition though. The meetings are for public input as to whether there regulations will be adopted. If supporters don’t attend, all the DNR will hear is from those opposed to a change.<BR>

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AaronM

Wow WalleyeNerd, Welcome to fishingminnesota! Great post..

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curt quesnell

I just deleted a very long and rambling<BR>post on this issue (You're welcome)<P>Perfect winters for fishing.<BR>Fish that are willing to bite<BR>More and more anglers every year.<P>equals huge, over quota harvest!<P>Lowering the limit to 4 Walleyes won't <BR>change the harvest enough. The 4 Walleyes<BR>and the slot will do a better job of it.<P>Remember there is no shortage of these<BR>larger fish. This new rule isnt trying<BR>to protect them, it is designed to lower<BR>the harvest number. Yes that means keeping<BR>less fish.<P>If we were guarenteed bad ice for a few <BR>years and a May and June like we had this<BR>year for a few years we wouldn't be having<BR>this conversation.<P>Fishing is great on Lake of the Woods the<BR>limits are generous and EVERYBODY found out<BR>about it.<P>If we can keep the people coming to LOW and<BR>spending their money in the community, enjoying the tremendous fishery while doing<BR>what we can to protect the resource, then<BR>I am for a lower limit and the slot.<P>Still fairly long and rambling<P>------------------<BR>Curt Quesnell<BR>NorthCountry Outdoors Radio

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bturck

Once again a very interesting topic that will be visited many times with many opinions. I for one have enjoyed the past 6 years fishing LOW and have found it to be one the greatest walleye fisheries I've had the pleasure of fishing.<P>By no means do i have any answers to the question posed so I will keep my personal feelings in tow at this point and take in the information being presented by people who seem to have more knowledge and information.<P>ONE QUESTION: Who determines what the harvest limit has been, hard or soft water. In six years I have been checked only once (average 4-5 trips per year) regarding the amount of fish caught ( other than the resort guides who stop often during the day). If the DNR states 400,000 pounds or whatever has been harvested where is this information gotten. Thanks guys, I will stay in touch with this topic and continue to learn. Bill Turck St Cloud

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Big G

Actually,<BR>Ontario LOTW limit is 2 fish. Possession is 4 fish. And, only 1 fish over 18 inches.<P>The fishery is at an all time high. This year, we had 2 days where me and a buddy hooked over 100 eyes in just half a day......That is fly-in quantity!!!!<P>We spent a week up there.......Ate fish 4 times.........By the time we left, I was tired of eating fish. 4 fish to bring home to the family is plenty.......<P>------------------<BR>Let em go, so they can grow!

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wall-i-slayer

Do you guys realize that you can still go out on some inland lakes and catch a limit of 6 -23 7/8" walleyes. (leech,cass,Vermilion,ottertail, etc.) <BR>I think that inland lakes are more of a priority than LOW. I totally agree with the 20"-28" slot on lake of the woods, but it should also include other good and at times great walleye lakes in our great state. Has anybody taken a second to think of why LOW has had more consistant fishing than others in recent years ( exception this spring which was actually inconsitant on a lot of lakes). How about ending commercial fishing? your probably saying hey that was 20 years ago. But lakes don't rebound over night on their own. How about changing the limit from 10 to 6. That could be part of it. Maybe the tighter regulation on the rainy river during the spawn season? How about that more anglers are practicing catch and release. My point is this, there are more walleyes in the lake than there were 10 years ago. Their is also less bait fish than there was 10 years ago. If there wasn't fishing would not be as good. If the DNR changes the slot limit the good news is that fishing will get better than this which would make it phenominal. On the other hand you folks better get use to more people on the lake(because if their biting they will come), and you guys better get use to seeing dead walleye laying on the lake from hooking mortality especially in july and august with warm water. Hooking motality on fish released during these months is 10%(DNR study on lake mille lakes, although that is with live bait.) Is it also possible that with better fishing the bait fish population could fall lower? Equaling slower growth rates for walleyes? I live by lake mille lacs, and I have seen what quota fishing does to a lake. the fishing gets better than ever. millions of pounds of fish get relesed back into the lake(3.5 Mil in 2002), and after spawn you start to catch fish that are long but skinny(I MEAN SKINNY). Resort owner had dead walleyes that drifted to shore lined up along Hwy 169. I can't recall how long the line was but it was sad. I quit fishin the lake cause I felt bad for the walleyes. I felt that by catching one that I was causing more harm to the walleye that was already very stressed. <BR>A lot of people were worried about the walleye population crashing. Thank god for mother nature in late June the bugg hatches started, than an explosion of yoy perch came into affect, and for 2 summers now their has hardly been a consitant bite. Actually it's been very very tough fishing. The walleyes only have to swim for a minute with thier mouth open to fill their there bellies. So they are very hard to catch. Now weren't those tight slot restictions, and lower bag limit worth it. anyone on Mille lacs will tell you that (% of catchable fish / % of bait fish = % of fishing success) The DNR Cannot control mother nature and you folks shouldn't let the DNR think that they can.

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rooster30

very well said wall-i-slayer<BR>I also have not fish that lake for 3 years the DNR really messed it up and they know it! that is why they keep adjusting the slot. they keep trying to fix their mistake. <BR>the same thing will happen to LOW. the facts already are there.

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curt quesnell

Hi Ryan,<P>I will be up Saturday and Sunday. Gonna<BR>fish with my Dad and his buddy Gordy. Gordy<BR>is 83 we will have as much fun and conditions<BR>allow.<P>Its not the same thing to compare LOW to <BR>the tragedy of Mille Lacs and Mille lacs is not the DNRs doing, they shouldnt have to take the guff for it. You can thank the courts for that one (or those who wrote the treaties way back when). However, I am sure<BR>they are serious about reducing the harvest<BR>to the sustainable target. If this doesnt<BR>do the job we can expect further restrictions.<BR>Bill,<P>There is an ongoing harvest census year <BR>round on LOW. They dont count every fish<BR>but I am sure they are using some formula<BR>from the fish that are counted. We meet<BR>up with the census takers a few times each<BR>year at the boat landings. They say it is<BR>more difficult to count in the winter because<BR>it is cold and very dark when everyone comes<BR>off the ice all at once at the end of a day.<P>That 425 to 450k pound harvest has been the<BR>number for quite a while, we just started<BR>doubling the thing lately. For years we<BR>were well under that number.<P><BR>Thanks everyone so far, <BR><P>------------------<BR>Curt Quesnell<BR>NorthCountry Outdoors Radio

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AaronM

***Info From the DNR Website<P>Drewes said 1.9 million hours of angling pressure was recorded on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River last winter, the highest ever. Ice fishing pressure rose to record levels the previous seasons as well. "The increase in winter fishing is what’s driving the higher harvest levels," said Drewes. <P>The input meetings will use an open house format, meaning there will be brief presentations by DNR staff followed by informal question and answer opportunities. <P>The proposed regulations changes include: <P>Lake of the Woods - Walleye opener - Nov. 30 <P>- walleye/sauger aggregate limit would be six (not more than four could be walleye) <P>- walleye and sauger between 19½ -28 inches would have to be released immediately <P>- only one walleye over 28 inches total length could be possessed <P>Lake of the Woods - Dec. 1 - April 14 <P>- walleye/sauger aggregate limit would be eight (not more than four could be walleye) <P>- walleye and sauger between 19½ -28 inches would have to be released immediately <P>- only one walleye over 28 inches total length could be possessed <P>Four Mile Bay of Lake of the Woods - March 1 - April 14 <P>- walleye/sauger aggregate limit would be two (no fish over 19½ inches) Rainy River - Walleye opener – February <P>- walleye/sauger aggregate limit would be six (not more than four could be walleye) <P>- walleye and sauger between 19½ -28 inches would have to be released immediately <P>- only one walleye over 28 inches total length could be possessed Rainy River - March 1 - April 14. <P>- walleye/sauger aggregate limit would be two (no fish over 19½ inches) Dates and times of the meetings are: <P>Twin Cities: Sept. 28. Department of Natural Resources Headquarters (2nd floor), 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. <P>Baudette: Sept. 28. Lake of the Woods School, choir room (room E-139), 7-9 p.m. <P>Roseau: Sept. 29. Roseau High School, study room, 7-9 p.m. <P>International Falls: Sept. 30. Rainy River Community College (room SC-115), 7-9 p.m. <P>For those unable to attend a public input meeting, written or phone comments will be accepted at the DNR Area Office at 204 Main Street East, Baudette, MN 56623. <P>People can also call (218) 634-2522 or send an e-mail to [email protected] Comments must be received no later than Oct. 15."<P>Myself, I'm for all of this. Anything that helps the lake...

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bturck

Curt: Thanks. I figured there must be some forumla that they use to the best of their ability.<P>To be honest I am still on the fence on this one. Not that I'm againist a managed fishery, its just I due to lack of fisheries management knowledge don't know what the answer should or should not be. One thing to consider however is that If something is given away (current limits or slots) you can bet it will not be given back either. ie: for whatever reason Mille Laces is in the condition it is today you can be a 6 fish limit will never return to that body of water. Just something to consider.<P>Also I agree with you Curt. The DNR did not screw up Mille Lacs Lake. They were and still are in a tough situation based on Supreme Court rulings. When all of the controversay started there we followed the leader who told us we could beat the Indians one more time. We could have bought ourselves out of the who problem for under a million dollars. My nickels worth. Bill

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Hines R

You know it is nice to be able to keep a fish that you know will die if you release it. I know hook mortality is an issue. Generally, the only time I keep a bigger fish is if I feel it can't survive because the hook was too deep. Usually I'll try to see how it does in the livewell, and they usually don't fare that well in the summer with the crankbait fishing. Other times of the year in shallower water you can release them later if they look like their doing fine. <P>If a slot is enforced their won't be a choice about whether you can keep a fish that will not survive being released, and their is nothing worse in my opinion than letting a fish die and go to waste or for that matter any animal. In my opinion that's a sin! <P>Mille Lacs is a good example of how screwed up a lake can get. I've fished Mille Lacs lake three times and have yet to boat a walleye on the lake. I would hate to see Lake of the Woods become another screwed up lake like Mille Lacs. <P>I guess I'm personally more in favor of a 4 fish limit with one fish over 19 1/2 inches. I enforce my own slot on myself, and most of the guys that care about the lake do as well. <P>By the way I did look at the Ontario fishing regulations and it states that for border waters if you are a resident of Canada how many fish you can keep depends on whether you have a sport fishing license or a Conservation license. A Canadian Resident can keep 4 fish in one day with only one fish being over 18 point something inches. If they buy the cheaper license it is only 2 per day and 2 in possesion. <P>Non Canadian's can buy the more expensive license and have four in possession, but only keep 2 in any one day if they buy the more expensive license. Otherwise the license most of us would buy we would only be able to keep 2 per day, and 2 in possession. It make sense to buy this license since that's all you can bring back anyways.<P>I leave tonight for 3 days on LOTW. Is anybody else going to be up their this weekend.<P>Later, Ryan

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Chilly Willy

I know hook mortallity is a large issue while fishing for walleyes. I don't know for sure if cutting the line off and releasing the fish with the hook buried in it's throat is the best thing to do, but thats what I've been told to do. Does anyone have an idea if this is the best thing to do or if there is something else that can be done? Or, does anyone know the death rate of fish with the hook still in them exists and by how much does this amount affect the hook mortality rate?

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srj

Modifying limits always creates controversy. I used to spend a great deal of time on Whitefish Bay and watched the collapse of the walleye fishery there in the 80's. Not a pretty thing. The camping restriction and the slot eventually made Whitefish a decent fishery again but the years it took to acomplish that were painful. Lots of other fisheries have crashed too--Mille lacs and Oahe due primarily to natural factors, many Wisconsin lakes due to netting, even Lake Erie is much reduced. We have such an awesome fishery here if would be unforgiveable to not insure its stability. I think we have to trust the DNR to make the adjustments needed to maintain our lake. IF the new regs don't seem to be working, then WE need to make that known. But I can't imagine anything worse than trying to "bring the lake back"--lets make sure it doesn't crash. Keeping 14 fish in the winter has seemed overkill for a long time. It's great to have bonus sauger but it wasn't very long ago that there were very few keeper sauger. Whatever it takes, lets keep LOW great.<P>Ryan I'll be on the lake Saturday--white Yarcraft, SteveJ on the radio.<P>Good luck to all<P>

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EsoxHunter

Don't just trust your DNR, the netting on the Canadian portion of the lake is is drastically increasing and having a devastating effect. You should be very concerned about what the OMNR is doing and let them know how you feel. This fishery is in jeopardy folks!

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curt quesnell

Chilly Willy,<P>You have posed the million dollar question.<P>Cutting the line is recommmended. Maybe a<BR>better idea is to avoid gut hooking a fish<BR>if possible. Lindy style rigs gut hook lots<BR>of fish, jigs or crank baits usually arent<BR>way down the fishes mouth. Fishing deep water when you are catching many protected<BR>fish, using something less intrusive would<BR>help mortality.<P><P>------------------<BR>Curt Quesnell<BR>NorthCountry Outdoors Radio

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widetrack

I know this is apples and oranges, but a study was done on leaving a single hook in the bellies of Muskies caught intentionally this way. 100% mortality.<P>I can't believe walleyes are any tougher.<P>

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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      My recollection of Sylvia is it being a nice, clean looking lake that would have nice views.  Bass were plentiful when I last fished it but ran pretty small on the weedlines.  You had to fish the slop to get better sized bass.  Couldn’t tell you a thing about walleyes there. I agree with Tom, Clearwater is a more dynamic fishery.
    • Wanderer
      We had to cut the hooks on one of my fish this year.  Caught on a Cisco Kid, 2 of 3 sets of trebles in the fish.  Just by how they were twisted, the leverage made removal by pulling very difficult and the fish would thrash when I attempted to work them out.  Made the decision pretty easy to cut the hooks. I’m honestly considering going barbless on everything.  Half the time the lure shakes free in the net anyway so the pressure is what keeps them buttoned until netted.  The plus is if one of us gets one in the hand when working on a netted fish, it won’t hurt so bad getting it out!
    • Wanderer
      Thanks for the feedback.   We have the time from hookset to release pretty short I think.  I read earlier this spring the average fight these days lasts 90 seconds or less.  I’ll admit I was amazed to hear that but after a half dozen muskies that have come to net this year, that’s no bull.  We usually have em netted on the first pass by the boat.  My 48 inch net allows one to do all the handling in the water while the other gets the bump board laid out and phone ready for a pic. A quick measure and quick pics and back in the water they go. Thats about as much as we can do.  70 degrees is lower than I expected to hear.  We were seeing those temps on opening weekend in Ontario.  We didn’t like seeing 80 last Friday on Leech.
    • delcecchi
      What do you think of the "cut the hooks" method of dealing with Muskies?   Small bolt cutters to make the process fast.   Just wondering.  
    • guideman
      Typically temps over 70 degrees are considered dangerous for handling Muskies. The length of the fight and the time you take handling the fish will make a difference. That is one of the reasons we use heavy line and big rods, you don't want to battle the fish to the death. Skip photos on smaller fish and remove the hooks with the fish in the net, in the water, not on the bottom of the boat. "Ace"   "It's just fishing man"  
    • Tom Sawyer
      Sylvia would have been my 1st choice, until it recently was discovered to have Stary Stonewart. Pretty devastating invasive. I'd bet Clearwater holds a state record large mouth bass. It also has strong walleye year classes.
    • Wanderer
      I was able to get back out on Leech last Friday the 13th.  Had to take a day off work to get some fishin’ in! This time was strictly for muskies but bass and pike showed themselves anyway. 🙂  The morning waves were still rolling from either the night or Thursday and the lake was rougher  than expected at 6 am.  The forecast said 0-5 and eventually the wind did calm from the northwest, switch, and then proceed from the southwest.  The effect for us was basically almost a 180 degree switch while we were out there and we didn’t see any fish of any size after that.  I think the switch was complete by roughly 1 pm. The other thing that raised our eyebrows was the surface water temps.  We started seeing high 76’s right away on the main lake but climbed pretty quickly to 78-79 mid day and was topping out at 81 by the afternoon/evening.  This made us really want to focus on deeper weeds but weren’t having much luck locating them.  We just weren’t in the right part of the lake.  But that’s how you learn - by doing. Total muskie count for the day = 2; 1 follow (mid 40 class) and one boated (41.5).  The day went SUPER fast for 10 hours of fishing.  Black bucktails raised the two for us.  I had the follow, my partner caught the fish. The temps had us concerned about the fish but my monster 48 inch net enables us to keep the fish completely in the water until it’s time for a quick measure and pic. Still trying to come to grips on what’s too warm for fishing muskies.  This one was on the line for no more than 2 minutes, including the net time before the hooks were out.  Maybe another minute to get the phone and board out and glove on for grabbing it up.  Less than 1 minute to measure and photo, then back in the drink for an easy resuscitation.