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Dead Fish


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I've fished the lake quite a few times this year and haven't seen many dead fish floating. However, I was up and fished on the 4th and couldn't believe the dead fish I saw. All looked to be 20" plus. Why are they there all of a sudden? The recent heat wave, they've finally starved to death, or just the hooking mortality. Maybe I was lucky and just didn't see many before but it's like it changed overnight.

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I had the same experience. I think the warmer water has something to do with it, hooking mortality rates go up quickly as water temps rise. I remember seeing a study done last year that tracked mortality at walleye tournaments that put mortality rates near 40% for tournaments held in July and August. We fished Mille Lacs on the 3rd and Winnie on the 4th. The difference in fish weight was really obvious. A 20" fish on Winnie was at least 1 to 1.5 lbs heavier than a 20" Mille Lacs fish. I had an interesting experience on Mille Lacs. I was adjusting the length on my slip bobber rig by dropping a bare jig head to the bottom to set the bobber stop and caught a 23" walleye on the bare jig. I guess that says something about how hungry the fish are.

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When they die, walleyes sink. then as they begin to decay, their air bladder fills with gas and they float up. When the water is cold, they can sit on the bottom for weeks before they decay enought to float. You see so many floaters now because the recent hot weather has warmed up the water.

It is true that mortality goes up when the water warms, but most of those fish you see floating now died some time ago.

Bernie Barringer's 10,000 Lakes Guide Service
Call toll free 800-890-FISH (3474)
[email protected]

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Why not havest some of these fish instead of letting them die?
I really think the DNR should change this slot and let us keep some of those fish instead of letting them waste away... frown.gif

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Noticed a big difference in the "strength" of the walleyes caught in Vermilion as compared to Mille Lacs this year, could barely keep a vermilion 18 "er in hand and flailing himself all over the boat while the Mille Lacs fish was a lot more lethargic.

Maybe time of year had something to do with this as I was on ML mid June and on V over the 4th of July but the difference in the robustness of these fish was quite apparent.


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