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Overcoming The Slot

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Guest

Well the DNR seems to think we are going to go over our allowed Walleye consumption. I just can't believe they are counting fish that they think are dead that were released. If tell i creel person i threw back 50 fish in a day, are they estimating that 10 percent are going to die? And then counting them towards the total harvest? What about the fish that fall out of the tribal nets or the fish that are half speared? Are they counted towards the bands total harvest? It seems to me from what iam hearing, most guys want to take home 4 fish to eat. Does the DNR know it may take someone 8 hours or more of fishing to do that? My partner and I caught 85 fish in the Wave Wackers tourney and worked our butts off to weight in 4 fish. Doesn't make sense to open up the slot so a person can get a limit to eat and get off the water and not kill more fish than they have to? Where does the data come from that shows the mortality rate anyway? Here are some tips that may help you over come the slot. I learned some key points last week when never before i had to target such a tight slot for a tournament. First i noticed the smaller fish we caught will usually always be close to or actually hugging bottom. My Lowrance X-85 and LMS-350 would not mark these fish. It was very hard to see the transition between the fish and the hard rock bottom. These fish were only seen on a Sitex-CVS 106 color video recorder. Now these fish iam talking about are typically 13-171/4 inches. The slot fish are obviously mixed in with these fish. To target these fish when the bite is hot is to use a 4-5 foot snell and a plain hook. Leeches seem to work best. Getting the bait as close to bottom as possible moving slow worked best. We noticed these fish were stationary and hovering right on top of them was the key. Whether it was control drifting, front trolling or backtrolling. When we hooked fish in the 13- 17 inch range, we tossed a marker and worked that spot to death. Of the 85 fish we caught in the tourney, probably 80 percent were 1/8 of an inch under the slot or over the slot. The same tactic worked with bobber fishing on day 1. We set one line just inches off bottom and the other a foot or more. The smaller fish came on the line set closest to bottom. Slot fish are almost impossible to target. Until someone figures out the best way to manage the lake, we have to live with what ever they give us. I hope these tactics will help you next time on the water. Good Luck

------------------
MILLE LACS AREA GUIDE SERVICE
651-271-5459 http://fishingminnesota.com/millelacsguide/
click here

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Guest

Derek....seems as though you weren't where I thought you'd be today.

What's up?

PCG

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Guest

D-Man
The only way for the masses to 'overcome' the slot is to back off catch and release fishing. They do indeed 'count' a percentage of all released fish toward our 'kill'.
In effect, the lake is being managed for catch and release. I think they should be open and post figures of 'actual' harvest, and catch and release totals with what they are using to adjust for 'mortality'.
Say you c&r 50 fish - what do they base the 10% on? Some arbitrary virtual weight? Or 50 13" fish? Or maybe they say they are all 24" fish.
Somewhere there is a middle ground - even in Canada you can at least have some shore lunch. I hope the lake doesn't crash. If it does, be ready for catch and release for the rest of your lifetime.
I'd gladly support some kind of tiered license system, where you have some option, similar to Canada. The extra money could be put soley into stocking the lake.
gte

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Benny

gte, if you go to Canada and eat a shore lunch of two walleye then you better include those two fish toward your limit for that day.You are allowed to eat those fish and return the next day, but not all in the same day.If the PP'S see you catch them, and then return to the water and catch more that day they will pinch you for over limit.Sure you can do this and maybe never get caught, but it only takes one time to feel the PP'S long arm.
We usually catch and release all but two fish per day, eat those two fish.Then repeat the next day.Technicly your not even supose to catch and release legal size fish, they call this sorting up there and can nail you for that also.It is awful hard to make it stick though, but all ways remember you are in a foreign country and they don't like us very well!
Hope I have helped out in giving this info, Benny

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Long Gray Line

Here's a reply about the slot I put in another forum. I have an idea about a different way to manage the 'slot'.
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. 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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harvy56364

D Man I respect the fact that you guide. What I can't relate to is the fact that you don't relate to the rest of us that know this lake is hurting! There are no baitfish! I hope there is a mayfie hatch so that thay can have a meal for a change instead of the allmighty catch & release fishernut!! How can a professed walleye fisherman time & time again drag up something that is starved for a meal & feel good about it! I am not a do gooder, but lets think about this. I love fishing like anyone. BIG TIME CHANGE IS NEEDED! Sorry, but I live here too.

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harvy56364

Gullguide, I appreciate your defense of a fellow guide. We all have to put food on the table. It has to be hard to make any money on ML when anyone with bait on a hook can catch 20 walleyes in a day. I just hope I am wrong with the scenario I see right now. I don't like to ruffle feathers, but this is a free country to express your thoughts. But when someone whines abought having to catch 80 walleye to only weigh in 4 at the end of a tournament, [then tell how to catch 80], I have to wonder what the real sportsman is in some of us. Thanks for letting me vent.

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GullGuide

harvey,
In defense of D-Man, let me tell you that all the walleye that I have caught or have seen caught have been very healthy looking fish. They do not at all look like fish that are starving, in fact, they look quite plump. There are other types of forage available for them besides perch and cisco. Crayfish, insects and other types minnows. Until I start seeing big-headded, skinny fish, I will be convinced that they are adapting to the lack of the preferd forage.

------------------
>"////=<
Gull Guide Service
fishingminnesota.com/gullguide
Brainerd-Mille Lacs-Willmar
Bemidji-Ottertail

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Guest

I guess i didnt see where the whining was? And Harvy if you live on the lake? You should know what happened in 53, 82 and 91? Or are you a transplant? The only whining i see is in your post about starving Walleyes. Come on, whats next Harvy are we going to see Walleyes standing on 169 holding "will work for food" signs?

------------------
MILLE LACS AREA GUIDE SERVICE
651-271-5459 http://fishingminnesota.com/millelacsguide/
click here

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Guest

Harvy. This site is for exchanging information and sharing ideas about fishing. If you want to express your freedom of speech, you need to vent on your local DNR office where the real problem exist's. I don't see anything in the above post that questions who is a sportsman when someone shares information or ideas.

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harvy56364

no I think it will be the D man standing on 169 holding up a will work for the natives sign

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huskminn

D-man,

I think you've been a great addition to this forum and site. Your information is always up to date, concise and forthright. I will be fishing on Mille Lacs next weekend with someone who rarely gets to fish for walleyes and really enjoys eating them. Your post is good food for thought in trying to get a couple of slot fish for this guy to take home to his family.

I personally haven't seen evidence that you are ignoring the problem on Mille Lacs or that you can't "relate to the rest of us". I'm sure you have just as many opinions on what changes may need to be done to the management of the lake as any one of us do. Because of your profession, you've got to take the positive attitude and deal with what has been handed to you. Many of us have the luxury of playing arm-chair fisheries managers...you do too, but that is really not your role here and what benefit would it add to the site?

I think it's fine to express opinion on this site (as long as it's civil and relatively useful), but we should all take Gullguide's advice and express the same opinion to the DNR. I've done a little of that and should probably do more....there's always room to do more.

If I only had a dime for every two cents......

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early007

D man I know exactly what you are talking about. We witnessed the same thing during the wave wackers. On another note, I wish people quit complaining about the slot limit. The casual fisherman has never had it any better and probably will never see anything like it again. I mean what a great place to bring kids or novice anglers to catch a walleye. I hope that people will realize that if the DNR would have had a larger slot size this year that we would've hit the quota and the season on mille lacs would be closed. Sure anglers would have loved taking fish home to eat but that joy would be short lived when they couldn't fish anymore. I don't agree with all the politics that govern this body of water but I know that all the whining in the world won't change a court decision. I believe that the DNR has its hands full when it comes to managing this fishery for the future. In my oppinion I believe the lake could be in some trouble. But we won't see the results for a couple of years. In the mean time I'm going to play the cards that were dealt to me and enjoy the great fishing.

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REA

I like the close to the bottom theory D-Man, I'll give `er a try this weekend. Had the same type of Wackers, must have caught 80 (didn't keep track) but had only 2 slots!
I respectfully disagree with Gullguide. I would estimate that 1/2 of all walleyes caught over 20 inches were skinny, some even "odd" looking. Heck 1 team in Wackers weighed in 2 over 28" and were each under 6 1/2 lbs. Been fishing ML tourneys for a while and have never seen that.
I've had no perch nibbling at crawlers, caught only 1 this year, very few pods of baitfish on the sonar, no minnows around the docks on shore, and even fewer seagulls than usual, all point to a major baitfish problem.
I'm afraid that 2 years from now, you will be guiding on lakes not called Mille Lacs.

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GullGuide

REA,
Thats funny...
Was out last night and caught 26 fish in an hour and a half. Not one of them looked skinny at all. I guess if you would compare them to walleye say from the Glacial Lakes region of SD where they look like footballs, then yes I would agree, but they looked fine to me. smile.gif

------------------
>"////=<
Gull Guide Service
fishingminnesota.com/gullguide
Brainerd-Mille Lacs-Willmar
Bemidji-Ottertail

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REA

Ah yes, all is right with the world! I guess some people perceive things differently. Lets assume for a minute the fish are not "thinner than usual", and are "adapting" to alternative forage. To what do you attribute the catching of 1 million pounds of walleyes in less than a month? The so called "best year ever" on Mille Lacs was `91 or `92, when I think the figure was 1.2 million pounds were caught total for the year! I was there and never caught 70 a day. The DNR attributed that catch to a strong year hatch in `88.
The DNR established a 2 inch slot this year because of the treaty, above average numbers of walleyes and "lack of available forage". In other words, they saw it coming. Lets enjoy it while we can !

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Rick

Hi REA,
where are you getting your numbers and facts from. Specifically:
To what do you attribute the catching of 1 million pounds of walleyes in less than a month

And also where did the DNR state the following that comes from you:
The DNR established a 2 inch slot this year because of the treaty, above average numbers of walleyes and "lack of available forage". In other words, they saw it coming.

I saw over 100 walleyes caught last Sunday and everyone looked healthy.

Will the walleyes crash? I don't know. Just as I didn't know if the Upper Red Lake Crappies would be fished out over a year ago, yet they are still going strong. Majority of anglers thought they'd be finished right now.

The DNR is working hard to get good data on Mille Lacs right now, till the hard facts are in everything else is just opinion.

Check the PERM site, they have a great article and looks like the DNR is trying to get some good answers hopefully.

Personally, I'm loving the great fishing right now on Mille lacs, it's never been better.

Saying the lake will be dead in two years is little more than scare tactics based on opinion only (without hard facts), in my opinion.

As for catch and release, it sure has made Mille Lacs a heck of a lot closer to those highly productive Canadien lakes.

I'll take a year or two of this kind of fishing close to home any day over catch and kill.

I agree, It would be nice to take a fish or two home for fresh walleye dinner, but catching walleyes like this sure beats the eating.

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REA

Note to Rick - The million pounds of Walleyes caught, came from Dennis Andersons article on June 9th. The lack of available forage statement came from DNR news release on Feb 6th. I wish I knew how to "paste" the web pages here and save you the trouble of looking them up, but I'm not that great with computers !

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Guest

i have noticed lately while fishing mille lacs that many fish around 3 mile have growths on there bodies
have any other fisherman seen this ??

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Guest

I have seen the same thing on a few fish in the past couple of years. I had read some info from the DNR that this is a stress related thing that comes on after the spawn. They claim it is normal and is not fatal to the fish or bad for human consumption.

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