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andy j

Duluth area resevoirs, Do they need walleye slot?

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andy j

I was thinking about the four resevoirs north of Duluth (Fish, Island, Boulder, Whiteface) After thinking about it, I would think that these lakes could be great walleye fishing lakes if there was a slot limit put in effect on these lakes. I know a lot of you guys probably don't want to hear this but hear me out. I hear a lot of complaints about anglers catching a high percentage of smaller eyes on these lakes. But then I here a lot of reports from people seeing anglers keeping limits of these smaller eyes. These resevoirs all have good natural reproduction and don't need stocking efforts to keep a fishable population. I think about potential of these lakes if they were managed more closely. I could see them as walleye factorys with the good natural reproduction that these lakes have. If you look at all the great walleye producer lakes in the state the number one thing that makes them great is natural reproduction. The only differnce between these four lakes and other walleye factorys in the state is that I think that these lakes get more walleye specific pressure per acre then the bigger lakes in the state. I think that in the other areas that a lot of anglers fish walleyes but there is a bigger percentage of anglers that fish for other species. I know that there are guys around here that fish for other species (bass,pike) me included but I think the percentage is much lower in this area, I am not sure why but comparing it to other areas of the state I have been. I don't have a problem with keeping a few walleyes for the table but come on keeping 11-13 inchers in my opinion is not a good idea. When taking these fish out you are never giving them the opportunity to reach maturity to reproduce. I just don't get it if someone want meat so bad that they would keep a limit of dinky eyes, why not run over to pike lake a take a limit of keeper size perch and get more meat. What do you guys think, I think a slot would do good things to the lakes and maybe make these lake more of a state wide attraction, atracting more people to come to this area, helping business, resorts, baitshops, resturants, etc.

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Northlander

Andy I dont care if these people from other places come to these lakes to fish. I already see what the high pressure has done to the St.Louis River. These lakes get hit hard enough by the locals, they cant take much more. Maybe the exception being Island because its bigger.

As far as a slot I would agree. I also would like to see a 2 fish limit ( walleye) in our area. This would stop some people who go out several times a week from keeping a big limit every time out.

I dont see Fish, Rice or Boulder ever being "walleye factories" just because they are so small and cant sustain a huge # of fish. I think they would be much healthier if , like you say, people didnt keep inmature fish and werent allowed to keep as many. So a slot. Lets say you could only keep eyes 14"-20" or so and a limit of 2 fish would probably do us some real good.

great topic man. Thanks for that.

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biff

I think I would rather see a slot protecting the middle and upper fish say 19-29 inches...I do not think these lakes have a problem producing smaller fish. I would rather see somebody keep a 13 incher than a 23. I also would not mind seeing a reduced limit. I would throw island in there as well, its bigger but I do not think it is as fertile.

While we are at it I think Northerns are in desperate need of a slot, something along the lines of 30-40". There are a lot of lakes that could really use some sort of pike management. And how about the St. louis river...I believe this river could really put out some big pike if it had some management. Too many 10 pound pike dragged around on stringers to show off, does anybody really need to eat a 10 pounder? I do not know why the dnr puts the good restrictions on little lakes like sturgeon and leaves the places with real potential like the st.louis, chequamegon bay etc. without any good pike management. Speaking of the St.louis, I would also like to see them put the same regulations on smallmouth that they put on chequamegon.

There is a lot of potential out there that could be utilized with some better management.

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Quickstrike

The lake i grew up on in reduced the walleye limit from 5 to 2 a few years back, today the walleye fishing still isn't what it was like when i was a kid but you are seeing more and bigger fish come out of the lake. i think a reduced limit would be a better plan then throwing in a slot.

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wormburner

Hey AJ, good topic, sounds like our conversation on Saturday. I am all for some kind of slot or reduced limit, I think one of the problems is there are just so many more people that fish now days. Look at how far the boating industry has come to make it so comfortable while we are out there, and I am not blamming them. I think we all have to be responsible for our natural resources, and take a couple here or there, but I don't think every outing should be based upon comming in with a limit, but some people will never realize the impact they make when they keep every thing they catch. I fish Bass (is that a swear word?) and every thing I catch gets released, my wife has made the statement more than once, "all that stuff for fishing, and we never have it for dinner". I am not opposed to anyone keeping fish, but moderation is the key somewhat. Some thing needs to be done. Personally, I would rather catch them than clean em', but a "meal" once in awhile hits the spot. smirk.gif

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Surface Tension

I don't like the thought of slots and lower limits. I'm not convinced these lakes need them either....yet. All those 11" eyes your getting right now is a product of a strong year class and are not the only strong year class in Fish Lake. The area you've been fishing is notorious for predominately putting out eyes that size. Like all lakes Fish lake has her secrets. Ask STFcatfish about the year class of 18+"ers. Or look the 24.5 eye I posted here from this fall. I can tell you of outings on Fish Lake were it was hard to find anything under 18" to keep for the table. Fish Lake has never been know for hawgs in the 30+ class nor has Rice, its just the lake and nothing to do with fishing pressure. All these lakes, Fish, Rice and Island have been hit hard for decades and still pump out eyes year after year. How can they do that? Good spawning class fish and good forage. To put a reduced limit would put a boom and bust cycle for the eyes on these lakes, all induced by strong year classes competing for available forage that would otherwise be reduced by harvest thus making room for subsequent year classes. As far as Island lake. what an under utilized lake this is in the winter. Its also our number one lake for trophy eyes in the area. No way is this lake fertile. Theres so much shallow water weed laden bays there that are natural incubator of forage, eyes, pike, crappies and whatever. Thing is with Island Lake you can find eyes in 8' of weed choked water or in 45' of water at the same time of year. I realize I'm not in the consensus here but I have spent more time on these waters too. One thing to keep in mind is we made ice late and the early season ice bite has passed us by before we got that ice.

I guess If there was a slot I'd go with release the 14" and under with one fish over 20" Statewide.

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musky hunter

I'm all for slots where they can be shown to improve the fishing. The rumor is that Boulder was hit hard last winter and gave up many bigger eyes and that it was hard this year to find an 18" fish. I'm all for slots. Most of the lakes that have slots have improved fishing. When I hear people complaining that all the fish they are catching are over the slot, that's when I know the slot is working. But it has to be based on sound science and biology, not rumor and emotion.

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Steve Foss

There's no question slots can work, and do famously well in many cases. As to whether or not a particular lake needs a slot limit "yet," I'd say that most lakes that should have one should have had one before the regular run of anglers thinks it's appropriate. By the time the fishing drops off too much as measured by average angler results, it takes too long for a slot to have the impact it should.

As for which lakes should or shouldn't have a slot, well, that's a tricky business, isn't it? Let's leave slot popularity/unpopularity out of it for a minute, and just assume we're going on biology and angling pressure. Even within those considerations, there are so many variables about forage, lake type, fishing pressure and reproduction capabilities that it really does take a fisheries biologist (or someone who's spent years fishing the lake and paid close attention to the details mentioned) to figure it all out. Its not that DNR biologists are especially smarter than anglers, necessarily, just that it's their job to have a handle on things.

Now, they clearly don't always have a handle on things. But, often, they do have it figured out, but the DNR must bow to some degree to public opinion, because the Legistlature oversees the agency, and the Legislature is subject to public opinion. In some cases, DNR wants slots and public screams bloody murder. Then no slots. In other cases, slots do get put in place.

On Lake Beltrami near Bemidji, the only lake I've fished hard for 20 years running, they put a slot for pike in a few years back, and I'm all for it. In another 10 years we'll be able to see pretty definitely whether there's been an impact. Because that's the other thing about slots. As a rule, it takes a run of years before you can tell if they're working or not.

Good topic, good discussion. cool.gif

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andy j

The way I look at it I can't even imagine that slots or a smaller bag limit could be bad on the walleye population in any way. I understand about the predetor/forage balance but we are not talking about a no kill, catch and release only deal here. If you guys think that these lakes get to much pressure and that there are to many eyes being kept per acre of water then changes should be made. I haven't spent much time on these lakes but I would honestly be very surprized if there wasn't enough forage to go around for more walleyes in these lakes. I do know that fish lake has a good population of perch and shiners. I actually caught a few shiners last year out there fishing for panfish, and saw some on the camara a few weeks ago. I might sound simple on my thinking but one walleye that is released because of a slot or reduced bag limit is one more that someone else can catch. It might not seem like a big deal, but if these lake get as much pressure as you guys say then It sure wouldn't hurt.

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ripstick

I have been fishing fish and island lake for anumber of years now. In the past, have seen some nice fish caught and released. I know there iare afew people who will keep them, more who won't. But I have seen what Happened on mile lacs. To many fish with ripped out guts, because people are pissed of that they cant keep them. I have seen more people keeping 12 to 13' than big ones. One of the biggest worrys would be water leavels. but whos to say whats right.

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