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AWH

Why are so many people frustrated by big fish?

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AWH

The Mille Lacs walleye fishery right now is unbelievable. It's hard for me to understand people's frustrations with catching too many big walleyes. I understand that people would like to catch a few that are in the slot so they can get a meal. But don't people enjoy catching those big pigs?

In the majority of lakes, these 25"+ fish are a rare thing. In Mille Lacs, it's common place. I think it's awesome that we have a fishery in the state that can put out fish of this proportion. In a musky outing there this fall, I caught 3 of my 4 biggest walleyes of my life. They weren't muskies, but what nice bonus fish. No other lake in the state can put out big walleyes like Mille Lacs.

Look at a lake not too far from Mille Lacs in the Brainerd area, Gull Lake. You can catch tons of walleyes out there, but right now, it's hard to catch ones that are big enough to keep. 90% of them that you catch are under 14", at least from my experience. Same scenario as Mille Lacs, it's hard to catch many fish that you can keep. The only difference, the ones you get in Gull are small and the ones in Mille Lacs are big. I'd take catching big fish anyday.

I do understand people being frustrated by not being able to keep most of what they catch on Mille Lacs. But I think we should take a look and realize what we have there. A world class walleye fishery with an unbelievable average size. I may be wrong, but I think the slots that have been put into effect over the past several years have had a significant impact on the very large average size of the walleyes out there. I say to the DNR, keep up the good work, you've helped strengthen an already awesome fishery!

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Guest

I agree 100%. There are plenty of lakes out there that you can go and catch a meal if you want. There are only a few places you can go out and catch monsterous walleyes with any regularity. Last night I was able to release a fat, healthy 27" fish. Our average fish this winter has been 21-23". We have caught a few 24+ with the 27 being the biggest. I had one up to the hole twice, but ended up snapping the line the second time trying to get its head facing up. That fish was easily larger than the 27. Fighting fish that big sure makes it fun.......

Guys plop down next to your shack and start fishing. They ask if you've been catching any walleyes. When you say yes, they ask if any have been in the slot.....who cares. I'd want to know what the biggest one was, not how many in the slot. Tournament fishing would be the only reason to look for slot fish. If you want fish to eat, take home perch.

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bmg

well spoken awh ... I would be fine even if mille lacs was 100% C&R if it meant I could catch half as many big fish as I have caught the past 2 years ... and for those that can't sleep knowing they let a big walleye go rather than eating it - go to cub or rainbow foods, it's much cheaper, more convenient, easier & less time consuming!

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Cyberfish

I hear ya!

I went out Saturday and only got one, a 14.5 incher.
Sure it tasted good, but Id rather get into a school of them lunkers!
It was easy this fall to get a limit of big hawgs but winter fishin' is different, least for me anyhow smile.gif
I wish I could troll on ice grin.gif

Cyb

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Guest

I agree, I don't mind at all letting nice lunker walleye's go(that I know will live to see another day), even if that means going home with none in the bucket. Maybe it's the musky blood in me preaching "catch and release", but I sure appreciate the quality fishing that Mille Lacs has to offer, if everything in that lake was strictly C&R I'd still go every week. It's like those Canadian lakes that are stricly catch and release, only on Mille Lacs you can keep fish and you have a better chance of catching a lunker, of any species!

Hats off to the DNR, and all the ethical fishermen out there!

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Dave

I was on Mille Lacs a few times last summer. It sure was fun having my arms sore at the end of the day from all that reelin' in fish.

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TUMBLEWEED

Here is my two cents on your question......

I am going to address the side of prople who
like to catch some fish to eat as well as
just go fishing.The slots no doubt are part
of the reason there are so many big fish now.
I am willing to wait and see just how good it gets,with the hope that they will open up the slot a little more for those of us that like
to eat fish,and not just catch them.

As for comments like "If you want to eat
walleye,go to Cub", Who knows how fresh
that fish would be,or what watershed it came out of,are just a few of the questions I would ask myself. That, and the fact of actually fishing for,catching,cleaning,and cooking up a batch of truely, fresh walleye
brings its own reward.

Does this mean we go back to the "cram the freezer full of fish" Hardly..Why, with
all the nicer fish available, the limits could,and I think should,be reduced.

Lets talk a little about catch and release
while we're at it. You refer to Muskies.
Yep, a whole lot of fun when they are biting.
However,nobody goes out Musky fishing with any intention of catching a dinner,do they??
The same thing rings pretty much true for
our Bass fishers(although,the smaller ones
are not all that shabby, fried up!!).Now lets
talk about eyes.To me,and many others,the
bonus is catching a big fish,just the opposite of your side.And when you are catching all these fish and releasing them,
remember there are some that do not make it.
I'm not looking for those big fish anyway.A
good three pounder would do me just fine.
Maybe someday................

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Guest

AS A SPORTSMAN I LOVE CATCHING BIG FISH. LAST OCTOBER MY WIFE AND I CAUGHT 15 WALLEY'S
1 EVENING AND ALL WERE 25 INCHS PLUS. WE RELEASED THEM ALL. IT WAS SOME OF THE MOST FUN I HAVE EVER HAD. WITH THAT BEEN SAID I ALSO LIKE TO EAT FISH. THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN FRESH WALLEYE. I WOULD NOT SAY WE WERE FRUSTRATED BUT WE DID WANT A COUPLE OF SLOT FISH. I AGREE THE DAYS OF FILLING A FREEZER ARE OVER AND I NEVER MUCH UNDERSTOOD THIS HORDING OF FISH. I WILL TAKE WHAT I EAT AND RELEASE THE REST. I GO TO MILLE LACS FOR THE BIG BOYS AND CASS FOR DINNER.

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bmg

jiffy foot -

nobody is forcing you to fish mille lacs ... if you want to keep everything you catch, there are thousands of other lakes to fish. it may also be a good lesson to teach your kid that he can't always have everything he wants.

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Cyberfish

I wouldn't mind seeing the slot dropped and have a limit of -1- walleye instead.
I think that would maintain the great fishing we have now. There are plenty of 3 pound walleyes for everyone to take one for a nice meal when they hit the big pond smile.gif

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Guest

I think the slot limit is a poor way of managing fish. Im sure the dnr has numbers to prove that it works but they have not considered the political affects. It simply is not fair to people who only fish once or twice a season and it is sad to have to tell children they have to throw their huge fish back. We need a rule that allows everyone to take home a fish.

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fisher13

I think the slot is a good thing to some extent. Maybe opening it up a little wouldn't be a bad idea. The fact is that no matter how they do they can't satisfy everyone, and the dnr thinks that the way they are running it is best for that specific fishery. I think everyone would agree that they would like to see mille lacs flourish so the next generations can have this same success. By the way is anyone having any luck on Mille Lacs?

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Guest

Fished on the west end Saturday from 3-700PM. Caught 5 eyes all over the slot. The largest was 22". Also 3 perch (not jumbo). It would have been nice to come off with a couple of fillets for the pan, but just pulling them up and watching them swim away was worth the walk onto the lake. The bite had been better in that area over the past week, largest caught and released was 28". Lots of ice heaves as has already been posted. I worked 13-15' of water well away from the cluster of houses, right off the rock bar. I was great just to be in my own little world for a few hours.

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Guest

Guys/Gals,

Let's be realistic here, If Mille Lacs is puting out 20 to 25 inch walleyes consistently, common sense tells me that we should shoot for a happy median on the take. 90% of the reports are fish in the 20-25 inch range. Lets set the limits on take home fish set at two! One Meal!!! I can live with that. Lets leave the 20 and under alone. To grow up some more. Two fish 20 to 25 and 1 over 30 for the wall. This would not only maintain that fisherie but it would also keep everyone happy. The success is only shared by the die hard fisherman anyways. 60% of the anglers out there could care less if they caught a darn thing. They are up there to have a good time partying and gambling. Another very good reason for allowing some take of the abundant year classes.... Our fishing tradition is declining in the younger age groups. A 9 year old who catch's his first walleye and it's a 2-3 pounder and I have to tell him we have to throw it back! Buttnine sense Dude!!! Let the kid keep his 3 pounder and let dad keep a another for his pallette!!


CPR intact, Let's get real!!!

Mr.Pragmatic and Practical comming at you, we'll see you on the big pond!

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Flick

I'd rather catch those three pounders now and again in a few years when they're 5-6lbs. and up. The catchin's better than the eatin'-especially with these nice fish.

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AWH

I think putting a slot on any lake of a range in the 20"s is sending a bad message. For example, the slot of 20" to 25" that was suggested. That is sending a message to people, especially kids and any anglers that are new to fishing or those that haven't caught on to the concept of catch and release, that those are the fish we should be keeping. In my opinion, that would be a bad move.

Even if there was no slot on the lake, I would still be throwing back the 20"+ that I would catch out there. The smaller, 15" to 20" are not only the best tasting, but they're also the most healthy to eat. Not only that, but it's better for the fishery to release the larger fish.

We need to teach all anglers, old and new alike, the reason for catch and release fishing. People also need to be taught which fish (as far as size ranges) are the most advantagous to release. A larger slot range would have a very negative impact, in my opinion. Especially on such a high profile lake such as Mille Lacs. It would create a mind set among anglers that it's a good thing to keep walleyes in that size range. Yes, Mille Lacs would not have a problem sustaining its fishery if many of those fish were kept. But most lakes could not.

For those that are frustrated by not catching many fish in the slot, you have many options. As was stated in other posts, there are plenty of other lakes to choose from if you are desperate for a meal. And if you can hang on a few years, you will probably be able to catch all the slot fish you could want on Mille Lacs. Last year's hatch was huge, near record proportions. People are starting to see many very small walleyes come up in their catches. Soon enough, they will all be pan size and right in the slot. Then we might hear people asking where all the big fish went, that they're catching too many eaters.

Fisheries are always changing. Let's take advantage and enjoy the unbelievable fishery we have in Mille Lacs right now. It will always be there and will always be a great fishery. But we never know when our opportunity to go out and catch the number of big fish that we can right now will end. Enjoy it while it lasts. For now, we don't have to travel the hundreds of miles (to places like Lake Erie) to catch giant 'eyes. They're rigth here in our back yard!

AWH

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crappie getter

I was on the big pond this morn. watched a 23" swim back to the bottom it was a awesome sight.It's a outstanding fishery.I fish the Miss. river in the spring around Red Wing,where there is no slots just fish over 15".Let me tell you its no fun to watch guys stick 6 walleyes form 5-9 pounds,full of eggs,in their livewell to take home for a meal(Tasty big walleyes out of the river below St. Paul).Protect the big fish!Look around the twin cities you cant find big fish except carp.As for the kids take a camera,take a couple of pictures and take the best one blow it up and stick it in a frame.That memory will last alot longer than a meal.I remember fishing Mille Lacs,as a kid,all day and not catch a walleye!Something must be going right.

The more big spawners in the water will result in stronger and bigger year classes and a couple of years nobody will have a problem catching slot fish!!

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legendelite

Here's my solution for both sides:

1) If you want to stock the freezer with walleyes, head out to Oahe...2002 limit is 10/day 30/possession.

2) If you want quality/large walleyes, go to Mille Lacs for catch and release.

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