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cmpeterson1

Raping the walleyes

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cmpeterson1

I sorry guys but I can't bite my lip no longer.From christmas-new years day 5 of us caught over 170 walleyes on Pelican,95% of those fish are still swimming.And not 1 perch,whats wrong with that picture.While taking a break walking around,struck up a conversation with gentleman near by.He said that since he's lived on the lake,the trend is "to small today-gone tomarrow".While talking more he explain what he ment by that.These small walleyes are guide fish,and that the guides will take them out when their of sise[14"-17"]He said he knows 2 guides very good,and 1 told him "My boat took over 1600 walleyes out Pelican this year".The other 1 said he took over 1200 fish.He said think about that while,the state stocks the fish and they make the big bucks to catch them.He also said some of them make $40-$50,000 not counting tips.I asked him what they pay for a guide lis. JUST A MN.FISHING LIS.WOW is this true???? confused.gifAnother guy came over and stated "thats why they got their tires slashed on N.long years back,they had a hot bite going and did'nt quit till the fish were gone."Also said Round lake years ago came into prime,they didn't even take the boats out of the water."Bait shop would run new people down to the access .For the last few days I've been thinking about this.The # of guides{20-30}x$30-$50,000 ayr.=BIG BUCKS.Or 20-30 guides xlets say 4 customers aday X 3 limits aday for 4-5 months=alot of fish. These guys also told me some guides brag about how many fish they them selves catch for there customers.A guide Canada doesn't catch your fish you,a hunting guide doesn't shoot your animal. shocked.gifIf it was me I wouldn,t complain to much about paying afew $$$ for a guide lis.if it went 100%back into stocking the Brainerd lakes.Why should the state [us]pay for their 5 month income.WOW do feel better,I didn't post this to slam anybody.I just enjoy go back home[brainerd]and ice fishing with my 2 sons.Its not about catching a limit every time out,just enough for a meal or 2.Hell I don't care if I catch anything,I get more of a rush watching them catch the fish.And then there's times when they gang up on "THE OLDMAN"when they out fish me , crazy.gifI always get the last word in "its along walk back-Or I out weigh you 90lbs. grin.gif

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MNUser

Thanks for posting. I can see your point and know many others who share your thoughts.

I personally know a lot of the area guides. I have a lot of respect for them. They are good people who work hard. Many feel the guide business needs to be re-evaluated to make sure this resource is available for our children.

This is a limited resource. I hope my kids can enjoy it like I do now.

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fishrog12

Yes, there are a few guides who limit out all summer and fall on pelican and some of the other lakes. They know how to fish very well and have all the hi tech equipment. There are a couple of guides who can make $500 a day, seven days a week without tips! People come to the area to fish walleyes. It seems like very few guides practice catch and release. Its catch and throw them in the live well. I have guided part time and you cant talk people into fishing other species. They want walleyes even if its 95 F. and flat calm. Check out what they stock in pelican and gull. No wonder theres scads of 8" wallys. When theres a hot bite it not just the guides who slaughter the fish. This goes for wallys, panfish, or bass. Upper hay lake had a large school of very nice crappies several years ago during the winter. Of course word got out and the hordes descended on the hole and pretty much slaughtered the crappies. The same goes for sunfish. There are very few large sunfish lakes. No one will give up that secret. People like taking the large fish out and filling up the freezer. You dont see photos of somebody holding a small fish or a small deer. There almost always trophies. I would like to see Minnesota adopt something like Canada has, a conservation license, where you can only take home 2 wallys/ person. How much meat do you need?

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walleyedan

I guess I better pipe in. I am a guide, and a busy one. I took about 200 half day trips this year and I had many guides do trips for me. There may be some guides that can't get it out of their heads that we need to really think about the future of fishing. But the majority of guides that I work with and most of the ones I know are not "rapists". We are out there to teach people how to fish and show them a good time so they have a positive experience in this Brainerd Lakes Area. This area has flourished because of tourism and fishing guides have always been a key ingredient in the whole scheme. The problem isn't the guides, it's every Tom, Dick, Harry and Sue! The guides aren't the only fisherman that have the knowledge/know how to go out and find and catch walleyes on a consistent basis. Think about the people that go out on Pelican at night in the spring/fall and "rape" the walleyes. Not to many guides that I know fish at night. And I would be willing to bet that there is a pretty amazing number of walleyes that get "raped" at night. Anyway, I could go on and on and on about different things, but the bottom line is educating everyone. And as you know, that is impossible. Back to my 200 trips, of them I did not take home a full limit even once. I could have a few different times, but elected not to for one reason or another. We as guides (the majority of us) aren't the rapists that you think we are. We are decent people that love to fish and love to teach others to fish. Something definitely needs to be done, so keep counting how many you catch and more importantly keep counting how many you release. 170 walleyes, like my Dad say's "friends that count, don't count".

Walleyedan

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Guest

I'd like to add my .02 on this one as well.

I guided on Gull and other area lakes for about 4 years. The first year I guided exclusively at night as not to "compete" with the guides during the day. I'm pretty sure I was one of the first to do this since many of the guides thought I was nuts. Other guides picked up on it after a few years and I'm sure a number of them now do it on a regular basis.

Dan is right, you can put a dent in the population fishing at night. That first year it was almost a sure thing to limit out every night. I feel a little guilty about taking as many fish as we did those first 2 years, but from day one I never let anyone keep one over 3 lbs and I made that clear before we even went out.

But what really did a job on those fish was not me, it was the non-guide boats that were out there too. Think about it. Out of the 2 dozen or so boats that were out there on a weekend to the 10 or so out there during the week, only one of them was a guide boat. I averaged maybe 3 trips a week, but there were at least 6 non guide boats out there every night for 3 months straight. Who do you think put a bigger dent in the population?

I know that if I still lived up there I would still be guiding, but I would have gone to an almost total catch and release operation. I would not have been booked 200-250 times a year, but at least I would have known that I was doing my part towards conservation. To me, a guide trip is more about education than actually getting fish for the freezer, and I made it perfectly clear before we even closed the deal that all muskie, pike, bass and walleye over 3 lbs went back. Almost all of my clients said they respected that and if they were doing this purely for the meat, they'd go to Morey's instead of hiring a guide...cheaper that way!! grin.gifThe last year and a half that I guided, we fished almost exclusively for bass and muskie, so keeping fish was not an issue.

Do I begrudge other guides for double and sometimes tripple tripping and keeping a limit everytime? Sure I do, but that is thier livelyhood and they have to make hay while the making is good. When you hear figures like $50,000 a year, you have to take into account boat repairs and maintenence, truck repairs and maintenence, gas (which we all know is not cheap nowdays), oil, bait, tackle, broken gear replacement, insurance, taxes, advertising fees....it all adds up, so it's not like they have 50k in their pocket free and clear. It is NOT a get rich quick buiseness at all.

Like Dan said, most are starting to come around and realize that fish are not an infinate resourse. To protect the future of thier profession, they have to protect the future of the fish as well. But it will take a long time, if ever, to change the "meat hog" guide reputation amongst locals in the area.

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MNUser

I agree Tom. These people need to be pointed out to the DNR. A couple years ago I contacted the DNR and reported a boat on Sylvan that was out every evening catching crappie after crappie. They even bragged about the numbers....was easy to find them once they left. They lived on the lake! How stupid. Ruin your own backyard.

It all comes down to greed. Hopefully most can just fish for the fun of it and not try to feed their families for the whole summer on fish. Go to Cub.

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Fish-on

I would like to weigh-in onthis one. Have been a part-time guide to supplement my income, I have seen some of what you are talking about but I think there are a couple points that should be made. For one thing, I would NEVER consider being a full-time guide if you could only take in $50,000 a year. That would probably end up being about a $25,000 a year profit, if that. Toss in another $5,000 in tips and you can see that it is not much of a living these days.

Additionally, you must understand that people want to eat fresh fish, and it is their privilege to do so. If they want to take their legal limit it is really not up to the guide to tell them they cannot. I NEVER told a client they could or could not keep any fish, however I strongly encouraged them to release any walleyes over 22 inches or so, and good sized northerns, etc. If a person was thrilled with a 25-inch walleye because it is their personal best, and they really want to have it mounted, then it is the guide's responsibility IMHO to put the fish in the box for them with a smile. You can do your best to educate people, but it cannot all be done in one trip and most people who book a guide are casual fishermen who don't fish all that much so they can't get the whole picture and understand the dynamics of selective harvest in one day or half-day conversation.

Bottom line here is that while guides are out most every day, and they are high on the skill level chart, they still only take a fraction of the fish that are taken out of a body of water except in rare circumstances. Taking 1600 walleyes out of a lake like Pelican isn't going to do any long-term damage to that lake. The number of fish that are there is the reason why the guides are choosing that lake. It is a walleye factory.

At times I think we have become too enamored of this "catch and release" mentality. Walleyes are a renewable natural rexource, they are good to eat and good for you. Nothing wrong with taking some home to eat, and even taking a limit from time to time when the getting is good.

I have been fishing the Brainerd Lakes area for more than 20 years and I think the walleye fishing is better now than it has ever been. I think the loudest complaining is usually done by those who feel it is somehow "their" Lake and "their" fish and they are simply jealeous that someone is getting a bigger peiece of the pie than they are.

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Guest

I don't want to start an argument here, but I took your second paragraph as a direct attack on my comments, which I'm sure it was.

I had the luxury of not having to rely on guiding as my sole source of income. I could, and did, tell those who booked with me what they could and could not keep. This was plain as day and well known before they even contacted me. I pretty much chose who was going to use my services. If they were out for meat, they never called me to begin with, and that was my intent all along. There are plenty of guides out there that would be more than happy to take out those types of clients. Is there anything wrong with that? No, not at all.

My clients were out for the catching and learning, and they were very enjoyable trips. I think I had about 100 trips my busiest season, and every single one of them knew before they even paid me one nickle, that it was mainly a catch and release outing. I never had to tell them that they couldnt keep anything cause they knew it going in. Did we keep fish, yes, but they were within the limits I set forth ahead of time.

You chose how to run your service and I chose how to run mine. Let's leave it at that.

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Farley

I would never hire a guide, not because I think I'm a great fisherman, but because I like to find them on my own. But I do think that they should have to get some sort of license if someone is paying for their services. Especially since our tax $ funds the DNR who stocks the lakes with the fish that these guides are taking out. Most businesses need some sort of license, guiding is a business making a profit off of our resources, it makes no sense that anyone can guide with just a fishing license. You probably dont even need that since it is legal to be unlicensed in a boat that is catching fish, if you are not fishing. Not that I think guides are bad sportsmen, I'm sure most of them are very knowledgable in conservation, but what does it teach the rookie angler when you go out for two days and keep two limits of fish? It teaches them that there are tons of fish in these lakes, nothing about conservation. Tom, I admire how you set guidelines before you went out with your clients. It aint the 50's anymore, conservation is just as big a part of fishing as bait is.

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Sportland_Bait

Great Day on Pelican CM I'll bet that was a blast. I just wanted to comment on some of the numbers the gentleman told you. I'm thinking that the 1600 and 1200 may be exagerated a little. With all the lakes in the area and the bites changing daily on various lakes, the area fishing guides don't fish each lake that often. In our boat storage business we are at the landings numerous times everyday, I just didn't see the guides out there day after day. After doing the math it seems a little unrealistic. It may have happened in the past but it didn't happen last season. The bite just wasn't that good. I could see a guide boat catching 1600 fish in a season, but it's hard to believe they were all keeping size. Second, most of the busy guides prefer not to keep fish. They will if the client wants fish, but many do not. The guides that are booked heavy get many of their trips from convention groups, that client usually doesn't want any fish. They just like to get out on the water and catch a few. Plus in July and August the walleye bite is tough, so most guides fish for a mixed bag of bass, northerns and the occasional walleye. As far as Guides making big bucks. It is just the opposite. They are doing it because they want to be their own boss, and work in the fishing business. Or they do it to supplement an existing income. It is very hard to earn enough money just guiding. There are only a couple of area guides that take 200 half day trips a year. So those couple do take home $40.000-$50,000 a year gross. So if you figure $20,000 a year in expenses, you end up with $30,000. That ends up being about $10-$15 per hour at a standard 40 hour per week job. Trust me, guides put in more than 40 hours per week. Just ask Dan he's one of the busy guides, he'll tell you how many hours he puts in. It's a fun occupation but it is a lot of work for the return you end up with. The younger guides really have an awareness that we need to protect our resources. Both Dan's guides and my guides all work hard at teaching and promoting catch and release and selective harvest. With some of the older guides and services it is or was a different attitude. Hopefully we can all work hard to preserve the area for the future.

Jason Erlandson

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JJJ

Here's my 2 cents. This would protect the walleye from the common fisherman and the guide. Impose a statewide slot for 20-27" walleyes that must be immediately returned to the water. This would protect the breeding populations in all lakes and rivers of the state. The DNR can stock fish as usual and the ones that live long enough to make the slot would full fill there intended purpose to the DNR(license revenues) as breeding stock before they die or are harvested for a trophy. If someones personal best is 24" they can get a replica or a picture of there personal best. What's wrong with a picture? I may be over simplifing the issue because we have different lakes and rivers that have different habitat and produce at varying ranges. I think we should protect the breeding walleyes and let the others be harvested or released depending on the angler. This would improve and protect the natural reproduction in lakes and maybe even decrease the amount of stocking the DNR does because there would be a breeding population in all of our waters.

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cmpeterson1

first thing,5 of us fished most of the week.2'nd we only kept about 15-20 fish,all the rest were between 8"-13"none over 18".And yes Walleyedan we did count,it's the compitition between father and sons. And here I'll say it I was WRONG to say or lead anyone that all the guides are rapists blush.gif .There I said it,but!.After reading the posts,I think we can all agree there is a problem,am I right?Correct me if I'm wrong,restrictions going on Pelican this spring??If so Gull,Whitefish and other lakes in the area will be next.So why doesn't the state just drop the limit to 4 fish,no fish between 21"-28"state wide done deal.And yes I do hear people say "I pay'd good money for that boat and I'm keeping those fish".With the state short falls on stocking,what other ideas come to mind?? And this ones for sportland,we were in 28'-34'bottom pivit pt.we could see the bait fish come through on the locater then the walleyes.They were gourging on golden shinners. The thing that that made me mad was,every fish caught was spitting out 2-3 golden shinners.The sad thing was I paid big $$ for my shinners and the walleyes had better looking shinners in their mouths wink.gifTell the people to try the shore line breaks on main lake,nobodies fishing grin.gif them. grin.gif

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Sportland_Bait

Thanks for the info CM! Sounds like the fish up there are really eating well, that should make for some healthy heavy fish in the future. I wish the walleyes on Gull were eating like that, maybe then they would grow a little. I'm not a fisheries biologist and don't claim to know everything but I think we could use a limit change to 4 walleyes per day with a protected slot on many of our lakes. That's just my oppinion but I think we should have done something years ago.

Jason Erlandson

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walleyedan

It's just a saying! I realize it's fun to count sometimes!!

Walleyedan

p.s. I don't think there are any restrictions going on Pelican this year.

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Fish-on

Tom I have no idea how you could have interpreted anything I said as a direct attack on you, or as even being directed at you.

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Fish-on

JJJ said, "protect the walleye from the common fisherman and the guide"

This statment baffles me and really is a bellwether of a serious problem we have regarding the way we view our resources. Walleyes are OWNED by the common fisherman and the guides, they should be used wisely.

Look closely again at your statment, it sounds like it was written by an animal rights activist.

What we need is good sterwardship (conservation) of our natural resources, not protectionism.

CMpeterson, you must not have read the same posts if you think we can all agree there is a problem. Seems to me the "problem" is in your eyes. If there is a problem, it is the problem that we have people including the DNR that are contantly trying to run around fixing things that aren't broken.

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fishrog12

People think that if we have a slot limit the breeders will automatically increase and spawn like crazy. You need spawning habitat for the breeders to spawn. They need gravel and fist sized rocks to spawn successfully, and then you need the right weather conditions. Most of the large lakes in the Brainerd area have very little spawning habitat, thats why they stock them. It doesnt just automatically happen because there are millions of 5# female wallys. I still think they could lower the limit to 4/person (wallys)or lower. Thats more than enough for a meal or to take home.

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gowdy

Gents,

I post on the Cass Lake site, and just happened upon this thread.

I've fished Cass Lake for well over 25 years, and the walleye fishing is better now than it was back then. One of the major reasons, in my opinion, is that fishermen are better educated nowadays as to what to keep and what to throw back. A lot of that comes from fishing with a guide a time or two.

I've fished with Brian Jones who is the moderator of that site a ton of times. He's a professional guide and earns his living that way. He educates his clients. Not only in how to catch them, but also in what to keep and what to release.

The guides that I have fished with on Cass are very conservation concious. They have to be. They earn their living on that lake.

From my experience, it's not the guide or the casual vacationer who damages a lake. It's the local population who wants to keep a freezer full of fish.

A perfect example of this is the lake that I live on. Nice, 150 acre lake full of huge bass. It used to be full of huge bluegill also. But since you can't keep any bass, a couple of lame brains were keeping the huge bluegills in very large numbers. I was incredulous one night to be talking to this old grunt down at the marina and he was bragging about keeping hundreds of 1 pound bluegill. Needless to say, the 'bullgills' are pretty much wiped out.

Take care and good fishing.

Gowdy

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koeps

Hello all this is Bill Erickson--owner of Koep's Sport Shop and the Nisswa Guides League here in Nisswa. In the older days of guiding,yes it was catch and keep all fish but let me tell you that nowadays the majority of the real guides( not the guy who has a boat in his garage and just calls himself a guide) has promotes C & R to his guests--heck we even offer a discount for stictly a C & R trip. But when I moved back to the Nisswa area from Int'l Falls-where Catch and Release is promoted more than ever-My wife and I began working with the guides more than ever to promote this program and yes they were doing it before also to some extent but people need to realize that when a customer spends the $200 for a trip they want fish for the most part and a great experience is what they will get. This is going to take time to get all into the c & r idea but it will come. There are a few meathunter guides around but I know Dan and Jason and we are all professionals and if we want to keep our jobs for the future and for our kids we DO promote the c & r program. But one should just take a look at the lakes when the fish are hitting and who is out there every day at the same spot--usually it is the ones that have cabins here or live up here on the lakes--not the guides--I know I use to be on years ago when my family owned a resort(Point Narrows) on Upper Gull Lake. As one has mentioned--a Guide annual fee is something I would prefer--It would get rid of -I hope-the fly by night guide who is just in it for the money. It worked for us firearm dealers when they increased the price on FFL licenses and it worked in Int'l Falls--it would work here and all over Minnesota..Sorry for the length of this and I will get off my soapbox now but it is a very touchy subject..Thanks Bill

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Crappie Kid

The real problem is communication. Meaning too many Fisherman (Guides included) tell others(friends, other Guides) where they did well. If us as fisherman could keep our mouths shut when we find good fishing(I am guilty of this also) We would reduce the amount of pressure on these fish because instead of someone going right to a spot they were told to go(via GPS)they would spend more time looking for fish themselves. Hey they might even learn something that way. _We all need to break the chain of communication when it comes to fish location! The Kid.

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muskybuck

I tend to agree that the locals are the ones that ravage the lakes and destroy the fisheries more than the guides do. I too have seen a small lake with pound sunfish be fished out by a couple of oldtimers. They lake was surrounded by private property and so not too many people got on it. The sunfish all went in the freezers however. People get a kick out of giving fish to their neighbors and so on and this really adds up fast. People get upset because guides and 612er's come and take their fish not even realizing who does the most damage. Its the locals who go out every day after day after day.

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gowdy

Muskybuck,

Amen, brother.

Take care,

Gowdy

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Toad

Really, it doesn't serve any purpose to lay blame at the feet of any one group. The past is the past, period. But times have changed. Today, a lot of good walleye fishermen, including guides, release a lot of sizeable walleyes. And that ethic will continue to perpetuate itself, so long as respected groups and individuals continue teaching about selective harvest, including the scientific basis behind the principle.

We all like to eat some walleyes, right? Point is, we can and should continue to do so. When In-Fisherman coined the phrase, they could've just as easily called it Selective Release, but no, there was a reason for keeping "harvest" in the picture. And even though the lakes we're talking about are sustained chiefly by stocking, still doesn't mean we shouldn't return most fish above a certain size, say 20-inches. Larger adult fish, even if they aren't reproducing, help keep lakes in balance in a variety of ways.

So stocking will remain a reality for a majority of lakes, or at least, will remain necessary in order to sustain viable fisheries. We almost certainly will, however, eventually see special length limit restrictions placed on all major walleye lakes. While I'm not opposed to reducing the walleye limit to 4 fish, I'm far more convinced that restrictive length limits play a more effective role in helping maintain a relatively balanced fishery. If we don't do this-- especially in the face of perpetually increasing fishing pressure--I think we could see some of these lakes become virtual "put-and-take" fisheries, not so different from many cookie-cutter rainbow trout waters.

Finally, what often drives the point home is to realize just how few adult walleyes actually swim in waters such as Gull, Whitefish, Pelican and others. We're not talking about millions of fish, not even hundreds of thousands. They may stock 4 million fry per year, but survival is exceedingly low, just as a lake can only support so many fish.

The entire Whitefish chain, for instance, by DNR estimates, harbors approximately 11,000 mature walleyes. In this case, a bit of quick math drives the point of "finite fishery" home rather dramatically. As well as just how important releasing the larger fish remains. Truly, I've got a lot of faith that most of us will continue to do this, and increasingly so, which is also why I'm optimistic about the future of these lakes.

-a friend called Toad

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cmpeterson1

In my eyes,yes I see a problem.Yes any joe with a boat can take a lot of fish out of any lake,and he will.And if these people are taking that many fish and other fisherman know that for a fact,their nobetter then them for not reporting them.I like fish just as much as the next guy{maybe more}but I don't fill the freezer.If I do freeze my fish,itsto have a fish fry with the inlaws.Since I started this post,I've talked to couple of friends who are guides.We all agreed that there is a problem,not just in the Brainerd area but state wide.With the new GPS,locaters,boats and tackle,its not the 60s-70s anymore.And they agreed that some lakes have been hurt,They said Round,N.Long and Edwards are fine examples back in mid 80's.They got on a hot bite and they fished it til it was done,they said we know we hurt those lakes.but also said they saw alot of locals fishing them hard too.Everybody agreed to much pressure,to many fish were taken out.Even the locals have learned the tricks of the trade,by getting the stocking reports of the area lakes,they know how long it takes for a fry and fingerling to be catchable.They both agreed that they would be willing to pay a fee to guide,and that the state would take that $ to stock the Brainerd lakes only.[or the area that he guides]Then we talked about the general public,DROP THE LIMITS ON WALLEYES DOWN TO 4.Also stated the fact that they see people taking to many fish.Said 1 guy was fishing same bar as him made 2 trips to lake home,finally asked him how many fish do you need ??Home owner reply was "I have A bunch of people coming over for a fish fry" It was nice to have that cel.phone which he used ,does'nt know what happened to the guy.No the problem is not the guides alone, its the greed.

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walleyedan

I'd pay for a guide license, no problem!! As long as that money went to a good cause.

Walleyedan

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