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to all the people complaining about the slots

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Guest

ok this has been bugging me for a quite a while. i dont know about you guys but i just like to catch a bunch of fish and if i get to keep some thats just an extra bonus. its called fishing not harvesting. i guess what i am trying to get at is if its so bad releasing fish why dont you just go fish somewhere else and stop complaining?? just an idea there are plenty of lakes in minnesota that you can keep any walleye you want on so if thats a big deal to keep all the fish you catch and burn the lake out go fish there. i dont mean to piss people off but im just getting sick of ppl saying that it sucks fishing on the big pond because you cant keep anything....but yet they still fish it??
-kyle

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kyle: I don't fish the Pond any longer, not only because of the slots. I don't belive the the DNR has any freaking idea what they are doing on, or to the lake. The one thing that surely WILL kill the lake is if people take your suggestion, to shut up and take what ever the DNR sees fit to hand out. I would think that if you are concerned about the welfare of Mille Lacs as a viable fishery into the future, you would want people off their collective hind ends, and making as much noise as possible! Sorry to have inconvenienced you, but please, just scroll on past my comments on the slots from now on, as I for one plan on bltchin, to everyone that will listen, on the off chance that they too, will get a bit hot and start putting pressure on the politicos to do the Right instead of the Easy thing, for a change.

[This message has been edited by Labrat (edited 06-14-2002).]

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Guest

I would agree that the DNR probably is making a huge mistake. But on the other hand I fished Thursday (3 Hrs on water) Caught 40+ eyes...Several under the slot,,17 over 20"...10 over 25",,,Biggest 29.5",,,only two out of forty plus fish looked undersized compared to length,,,I agree this cannot go on indefinately without negative effects,,,I basicly agree with both of you,,doing or saying nothing will accomplish nothing,,,but whining and crying generally accomplish the same results..just mu 2 cents worth!!

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Guest

Kyle,, the mortality rate on the released fish would surprise you to no end.. Badly hooked fish,, rough handled,, fought too long and hard,, these things add up to dead fish and no one benefits from released fish that end up dying in a couple days,, except maybe the bald eagles and other scavengers that live off what we have to throw back.

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Long Gray Line

My brother in law and I fished ML for 3 hours Wed. We boated 21, 2 under, 2 in, and 17 over the slot. What worries me is that the DNR has said (Mpls Tribune Sunday article) that the perch and tullibee populations have both crashed in that lake. The walleyes won't be far behind. In the past, you could always depend on perch stealing at least a few of your leeches/minnows. Not this year. I've seen one perch so far. There are more creative ways to manage a lake than this. The current slot puts all the pressure on one, maybe 2 year classes. Why not go to a total length slot. For example, you can keep fish totaling up to 65". That way you could have 4 16" fish, 2 22" fish and 1 under 21", what ever the combination. This way we spread the pressure to multiple year classes and give some options to the angler. If you want a little bit larger fish, you'll have to take fewer. How about having to keep the first 3 fish you catch - no culling? It'd probably shorten up the fishing day but again it'd spread the pressure. With all the big fish in the lake, catching walleye is a gas on Mille Lacs. But, even according to DNR netting reports, it's destroying the predator/prey relationship in the lake. Enjoy while you can or do something about it soon!

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Guest

hey thats a really good idea. that might be the way to go. my post wasnt about the hatchery dieing. it was just about all these people that complain about not being able to keep any fish yet they still fish the lake. great idea though

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Grabs

Kyle, I don't think you will find anyone complaining about how great the fishing is on Mille Lacs, or really about how many fish they get to bring home in comparison to how many they catch. Most people are genuinely concerned about the future of the fishery. When people complain about not being able to bring fish home, they are mostly complaining about the fact that everyone fears the worst in this situation, and that the fish the catch today could be dead tomorrow, or at least in the near future. Everyone is enjoying the great fishing without too much problem, but this great fishing has to come at a cost. If this "was" the correct way to manage a lake from a biological stand point, then why don't you think the DNR is doing it on all the lakes in the state? Or at least a handful of others. The fact of the matter is that this is not the correct way to manage a lake; therefore it isn't and won't be done on other lakes.

Like so many have already stated, enjoy it before it is gone, because someday, someday soon, it will be!

------------------
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[This message has been edited by Grabs (edited 06-14-2002).]

[This message has been edited by Grabs (edited 06-14-2002).]

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Guest

I have three questions for all the chicken littles here who think that the walleye population is going to crash and burn....

1). What year do you predict that this is going to happen? (and why)

2). When it does not happen, will you all be man enough to admit that you were wrong?

3). What the blazes do you think the walleye population in general, and the fish population in general, looked like on Mille Lacs and other Minnesota lakes prior to European settlement anyway?

Get a grip guys... for decades we anglers have literally pounded the **** out of any fish population we could find. For the first time in living memory, we are finally going to see a walleye population on a major walleye lake have a chance to reach middle age, rather than be killed by an angler in the first 20% to 40% or so of their lifespan. This is going to open a lot of eyes about just how badly we are overfishing every lake in North America. Will it change anything nation wide? I don't know, but I sure hope so.

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Guest

I think there are very few anglers screaming “the sky falling”. What we are asking, myself included is, “Are those storm clouds on the I see on the horizon?”

The food chain in any ecosystem must have a large and healthy base in order to support the large predators. It seems to me that there is some evidence supporting the claim that the base is depleted.

In answer to #3 the in the previous post: “Condition of the lake prior to settlement” The entire food pyramid was larger, stronger, and healthier. Presently, we may have a “top heavy” pyramid. Nature will make the adjustment. Many older year classes could die off. Some anglers would like those older fish in livewells, not floating belly up.

Reducing harvest of larger fish improves large fish population. But what are we doing to improve the forage base to keep these fish healthy. Are the present policies improving the health of the fishery? Or, simply improving the short term fishing?

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james_walleye

LaBrat sorry you are wrong. The only way to kill Mille Lacs is too lift the slots. No one knows how the baitfish situation is going to turn out. Most likely just like every other lake in the state that goes through this. Its not a new thing...baitfish numbers low in a lake. This **** lake has such a mic

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Guest

Let's just consider the reasonb . . . oops, I mean UNReasonableness of New Math (as invented by MN DNR & GLIFWC). Looks like we'll have had a 14-16 inch slot this entire season; and we're on track to exceed the safe harvest level ?? The safe harvest level is supposed to be 24% of the walleye biomass in the lake (total weight of all walleyes over 12 inches). Being that there are soooo... many 20-24 inch walleyes in the lake and being that 20+ inchers weigh so much more than those still in the mid teens, HOW COULD ALL THE FISH IN THE LAKE THAT ARE 14-16 INCHES THIS YEAR EVEN COMPRISE 24% OF THE TOTAL WALLEYE BIOMASS IN THE LAKE???????? Seems to me that if there are 400,000 lbs of catchable walleyes in this small slot limit this year, that there are way more than 1.6 million lbs of walleyes in the lake (the number that simple math indicates with a 25% harvest rate of 400,000). I'm concerned that Mille Lacs is thus being over managed on the TOO CONSERVATIVE side. We may be seing the first indications that this can be as detrimental to the fish population as managing on the too generous side. Isn't there a big enough range between TOO conservative and TOO generous to hit the target if we use biology instead of political convenience?!!

[This message has been edited by GEM EYE GUY (edited 06-18-2002).]

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gem eye guy -
With the current slot, when they count a percentage of released fish (in which the came fish can count several times), we could exceed our quota easily. And the possibility of actually harvesting any fish for the table while doing so is minimal. Just as a quick example - the common ratio is about 10 fish to every one in the slot. If they take 10% of the others, this would mean for every fish caught, you are taking 2 times the pounds. Then if they factor in these as larger fish (a 24 incher weighs more than a 14 incher), it gets even worse. The 20 inch fish I was able to keep on a nearby lake tasted good. I'd starve if I had to get fish out of Mille Lacs to eat, unless it was a 20 lb northern. And wouldn't that be good on the table.....
gte

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huskminn

I have frequently stated on this site that I feel the walleye population will "crash and burn", as Scaup coined it. If I am wrong, I will gladly proclaim that I was wrong. I frequently am, so, for me, it's never a big deal to admit it.

However, I think I'm pretty safe in my assumptions because every lake crashes and burns at some point in time because there really isn't such a thing as "balance" in nature.....there are really only extremes. Average them all out and you might get the perception that there is balance, but, examine them year to year and there really isn't.

I believe that there is a baitfish and perch shortage on Mille Lacs. I am sure this shortage was initiated by a couple of poor year classes caused by regular old bad weather, which is what mostly affects any attempts at fish reproduction.

A couple of bad year classes of prey fish is no big deal....happens all the time....but, we've got, as Scaup states, a "middle aged" walleye population that does nothing but eat larger bait fish and perch. And there's a lot of them. Combine the two factors and the bait fish population can crash.....and it only logically follows that the walleye population will crash, too.

That's all fine and well. It happens all the time on lakes all over the world. It's been happening for millions of years in ecosystems everywhere. It's nature's way of restoring "balance" to an ecosystem.

But, Mille Lacs is a unique situation. Very popular fishing lake. Heavy pressure on its resources from sport anglers and meat takers. It's under state and national scrutinty due to the politics involved in enforcing an old treaty. And, now this is the thing, it's being managed not according to biology, but according to Supreme Court mandates.

We could be taking some of the older walleyes out of the system to reduce the pressure on the bait fish. Personally, I'd be very happy if I could keep one fish between 20" and 22". Two people in the boat and we've got a fine meal. We're still leaving all the 23"-26" prime spawners in the lake. We could be taking the edge off the extremes a little bit. We could be trying to get the lake closer to the averages. But, we're not...at least not overtly.

All that means to me is that the DNR cares more about the Supreme Court rulings and abiding by the mandates than they do about the general health of the fishery. I can't necessarily blame them....I'm sure they aren't interested in being in contempt of court. But, by the same token, they aren't working very hard to negotiate a different settlement that allows them more wiggle room. In effect, they are sitting and waiting for everyone else's hands to be forced first. That's the safe road to take and, it will eventually give them more power to manage the lake, but I think they are sacrificing the lake in the process.

Now, let me throw another idea in here....

I could have just missed previous mentions, but the recent article in the Strib was the first time I had heard that the DNR was counting hooking mortality towards the total harvest pounds. I found this very interesting. This may be their ace in the hole.

Hooking mortality on these larger fish could indeed be helping the DNR restore some of the "balance" to the lake. And, they don't have to get anyone's permission or negotiate any deals to manage Mille Lacs in this way. Hooking mortality is just there, taking bigger fish every day, counting towards the total.

The Strib article wasn't real clear on how the DNR figures hooking mortality. It states a hooking mortality of 65,000 lbs. so far this year and 70,000 lbs. for all of last year? That is ridiculous. Fishing was great last year...all year and all winter. There is no way that hooking mortality for one month this year basically equals hooking mortality for a total span of 9 months last year.

It almost seems that the DNR expects and wants more pounds of fish to die by means of hooking mortality than by means of falling into the slot and being kept.

I am leveling a pretty big accusation. But, it does seem to be the perfect way for the DNR to manage the lake. If fishing is great, the hooking mortality goes up, which removes more of these fish from the system, but the DNR can estimate hooking mortality at any percentage they want in order to meet the mandates. What a sweet deal for them. No hard decisions have to be made, no deals renegotiated....hooking mortality is the only variable that the DNR still has complete control over.

When will the walleyes crash and burn? I guess I don't think they will for a while. I think we'll see is a gradual decline in the quality of fishing for a few years and then, suddenly, the fishing will just be poor. And then, drastic measures will need to be taken to restore the fishery as soon as possible while the resorts and anglers sit around and wait.

My only point with all of this drivel is that I think the DNR could be actively managing the lake to avoid the day when drastic measures need to be taken to save the walleye fishery. But, it takes work and risks to actively manage the situtation. It is politically easier to just sit back and let the chips fall where they may. If the lake crashes, the DNR can point fingers at the Indians, the Supreme Court and hooking mortality. What could they do, after all? Their hands were tied the whole time, right?

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Guest

Bravo huskminn;

Yours is the first(including my own drivel)well thought out post I've seen in the thread. And here I was begining to think I was the crazy one, expecting the puppets in office to do the Right instead of the Easy thing.

When do I think the lake will crash? I think you that fish the lake still have a better idea than I. Are you not seeing it already? How many of those 70 plus trips, you brag about to your friends are filled with Walleyes with big heads and skinny bodys? Ask any avid aquarist how long those fish last in an enclosed system, let alone an open competitive system. Do I think the lake is going to decline? Of course! When?

Ok, three years, if the policys don't change.

If I'm wrong, you can jump up and down with all of your NAA NA NAA NAA NA,s and I will take the hit with boo hoo's.

But....... TAKE A DEEP BREATH HERE!!!

what if i am right

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Borch

I tried posting some of what huskminn said very well today, yesterday but it didn't show up for some reason. This counting hooking mortality towards the total harvest is really fuzzy math at best. Given the cool water temps thus far this spring and most fish being caught in 20 ft of water or less. Hooking mortality based on previous studies done should be less than 5 percent. But the DNR sticks to 10 percent which is more realistic for fish caught in deeper and warmer water. How are they getting the info on total fish caught and released. Creel surveys? How accurate are these? How many fisherman come off the lake KNOWING exactly how many fish they caught. Also if the guy in front of you tells the creel surveyer that they caught 55 between two anglers in 5 hrs and you've been there all day and caught 2. Are you gonna tell the creel surveyer two or a couple dozen.

From now on the only fish I caught are the ones they can measure in my livewell. They will turn our 24 percent(already an underestime of the resource) into 12 percent(or less) in no time.

Enjoy the resource while you can. Nothing lasts forever. This bite definitely won't.

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gte
yes, I realize that the total harvest number which is used to determine if we went over 400,000 lbs is: slot fish harvested + tribal harvest + release mortality. My main point though (which I will continue to contend) is that the 400,000 is based on a ridiculously low estimate of total walleye biomass in the lake. Same point Borch was making at the end of his post. My concern is not as much for my dinner table as it is that the lake be managed in the range of what makes biological sense and is good for the future of the fishery. I suspect that the current management is more what is easiest politically and while creating phenomonal fishing RIGHT NOW, is not necessarily good for the FUTURE of the fishery.

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Walleye Seeker

People,

Borch has it figured out. This fall or next spring I will be telling the survey crews the same thing. The only walleyes I caught are the one's in the live well. All 2 or 3 slot fish. The 10% mortality rate is a complete joke. I've counted 5 floating walleyes this year in 40+ hours of fishing. The DNR is releying on us to give them a better assessment of the fishery. IE: Survey crews & send the information on tagged walleye's. It's BS. Most guys have been boating 30+ walleyes in 4-6 hours. If the 80+ boats that I saw on the north sand Saturday each caught 25 walleyes. Is the DNR saying that 200 walleyes are now dead on floating? Please the numbers don't add up. My recommendation is to be MUM. The DNR is going to do what they want regardless of what the fishing public or resort owners want. One last rant. Build a Casino in Garrison (State Run)If the tribe wants to dance. LET'S DANCE. Enough pussy footing around. Build the casino or stop netting that's your choice. Call your representives and let's get this done.

Seeker

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NINETOE

Walleye Seeker , I agree, especially with the casino angle.

------------------
...Hail The Flashlight King....

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Guest

If you can not comprehend that a bait fish crash will ruin a lake, take a gander at what the S Dakota DNR is doing on Oahe. A 15 Walleye limit, with 10 or 11 fish having to be under 14"(?). They are desperate to remove the over population of smaller fish in order to keep the whole lake from crashing. Where as on Mille Lacs you have just the reverse, an over population of larger fish.

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SpikeRoberts

Some things to think about....

1) A large percentage of the netting is done by WI tribes that receive little/no benefit from the Mille Lacs Casino. As such, any attempts at coercion through the construction of a state run casino would likely be futile.

2) huskminn's well-reasoned analysis highlights an important aspect -- biological cycles. The impending "crash" is a naturally occurring cycle; the predator-prey relationship naturally fluctuates to the extremes that huskminn points to. The desire to ameliorate those extremes is no more "biological" than the current management -- it is also a political/economic management, albeit management motivated by diffreent political/economic interests than the current manangement.

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james_walleye

LaBrat if everything i have read is true...the walleyes in Mille Lacs under 14" eat 8 times more baitfish than the walleyes over 17" do. I think thats where a lot of people are missing something (if this is a true figure). A lot of people dont understand the total biology of a lake(including myself). It makes sense that the SD DNR is trying to eliminate the small eyes in Oahe if the figure about small eyes eating more baitfish that large eyes is true. And remember the baitfish crash on Oahe wasnt due to walleyes eating them all up. Maybe im dumb...maybe im naive as hell...i dont know. But up to this point the DNR has brought this lake to be one of the top 3 lakes in the US im my opinion...and it has a lot to do with the slot. I would sure hope if the lake really was in dire straits something would be done about it. Im putting alot of trust in the DNR here...but its because i admit i dont know as much as they do about the situation. All i know is that i've never fished a lake that has this caliber of fishing and i want it to stay this way.

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huskminn

Spike, you bring up a good point. The fact is, any "managed" resource, be it forests, water, fish or grasslands, is managed with some human realized goal in mind. It just so happens that the Supreme Court has taken management influence and power away from the traditional holders--resorts and sport anglers.

We all want fishing to be good for as long as possible.....who cares what The Lake wants, right? wink.gif

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Guest

Walleye Seeker by feeding erroneous or deceptive catch information to a creel survey crew you by your own actions are virtually guaranteeing mismanagement by means of deception of data.

The creel survey data is critical information utilized in many long-term fishery management decisions. Decisions ranging from stocking to ramp maintenance, plus a whole lot more. Misrepresenting data is foolish and irresponsible behavior for any sportsman, in my book.

How else do you expect data to be gathered for monitoring stocking needs of a system or for use in future negotiations with tribal treaties? All this data is critical to the long term success and maintenance of the fishery as a whole.

Going out of your way to provide bogus information or denying information is foolish and shortsighted, both for the angler and for the future of the fishery as a whole.

------------------
Backwater Eddy..><,sUMo,>

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Borch

BW Ed,

I definitely agree with you in regards to the creel survey on 99.9% of the lakes that are actually managed. This lake isn't being managed but rather divied out based on a court decision. I guess this info could be beneficial in regards to negotiations with he tribal council. But that's about it.

Certainly every lake goes though ups and downs in regards to fish population and baitfish.

What tends to get fisherman upset is that up to 75% of the allowable harvest will be released fish mortality. Much of which is based on very conservative statistics. I know the DNR is trying to do it's job in an almost impossible situation. I just don't agree with how conservative their decisions have been especially this season.

What happens when we hit the allowable harvest levels like the DNR is predicting? You can't even do a 100% catch and release because they still need to factor in hooking mortality that will cause us to exceed the harvest further.

I, like many others have just made the decision to fish elsewhere so as to not contribute the the harvest total even though we don't keep anything. I just feel bad for those trying to make a living up there.

There are other great pieces of water to fish with far less politics.

Places where you can tell the creel surveyor the truth and not have it leave a bad taste in your mouth. frown.gif

I gotta go I just get way too worked up when I think of what's happening to this lake.

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harvy56364

I totally agree with Labratt& huskminn. For all you c&r, this Cinderella is about to loose her glass slipper. Lets all get ready to eat quiche.

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 06-19-2002).]

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