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Big Birch


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What has happened to this lake in recent years? This used to be a premier walleye fishery in the past and now you hardly hear anything about this lake. Since I drive by it every day (the east side), I can see very little activity on the lake. Has anyone fished this lake or the the numbers currently down?

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We had some great years up there...fishing the islands and a few bars was really productive about four years ago....the last two years have been POOOOOR for us as well...I've heard that the one's caught are nice-sized, but don't count on it....a guy can go hungry fishing that lake...I wonder if the pike/walleye ratio is out of whack???

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The last DNR test netting they stated since the 24" northern regulation was implemented the northern numbers are up and the walleye numbers are down. Unless the northern population starts to decrease the walleye are going to have a tough time in there.

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I agree with you guys. Did great for walleyes until 2 years ago too. That year, I accidently lost a rod and reel overboard. I talked to some guys who said they might look for it with scuba gear sometime.

Anyway, these guys told me they regularly scuba dived the lake, and that the bait fish population they saw was the most ever, 2 years ago. So I quit fishing it. If the bait fish exploded and the bigger pike want bigger meals of walleye, seems like a double wammy on catching walleyes. Hopefully then, their is a huge bait fish population to at least sustain the walleyes... of course if pike are eating more and more of them... frown.gif Hey, at least some fish are happy.

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We catch a few here and there. Usually they are pretty nice. I think the DNR screwed up when regulating the lake for northerns. It used to be a great walleye lake, and it has a lot of really good structure for them. And it just seems like a lot more people around here want to fish the walleyes, I know there is some, but not to often do I hear of people going out there to try and fish trophy pike.

I know that if you have big pike in a lake that it can be substantial to a lot of different species. If you look at the number of big northerns in there now to compared when the program started how many years ago. There ain't that many more big northerns than there used to be.

The only thing that has had a huge increase is the number of small pike, and they need to eat too, and if there is that many pike, that is that many more walleye that are going to be eaten.

And yes if small pike is the problem the slot only protects anything over 24", but where a lot of the northerns get controlled is by spearing them. It is very hard to tell what 24" is 10 ft. under the water. And some people like to spear bigger fish.

Next season they will open the slot to allow 1 fish over 36". This will hopefully help the problem somewhat.

Eyes.

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Do Pike really eat Walleyes? I don't think that they have that large of an impact on them think of all the other fish you have. I really enjoy fishing Birch for sunfish there are a lot in there and decent sized too. Don't you guys think that a pike would prefer a sunfish or perch to a little walleye?

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We have caught some 16" to 17" walleyes that have had big scrape marks down there backs. I don't know what else could have done it. I know I said that there aren't many more big pike than there used to be and the little pike can't eat these bigger walleyes, but I'm sure they can eat smaller ones.

The last couple years have been bad with these small pike. Sometimes we are out in 35 to 40 ft. of water and will mark a school of fish and when we go to fish them (with lindy rigs usually) they will all be about 20 to 25" pike. We repeatedly make passes and keep pulling out pike. This just doesn't seem right to me. confused.gif

And yes, there are some dandy sunfish in that lake. smirk.gif

EYES

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I have fished Big Birch for walleyes and have done fairly decent a few years ago. We haven't been open water fishing there for the past few years because we've been fishing other areas more now. As far as the walleye population goes, I don't believe that pike and the DNR are entirely to blame. Think about it, when Big Birch started to become a great walleye lake, fishing pressure increased quite a bit. Probably due in part to word of mouth, magazine articles (I have several of these "Minnesota Sportsmen" in which they mention Big Birch often), and yes, the Internet. The more people you have catching and keeping walleyes, the less there will be. Being that Big Birch has limited to almost non-existant natural reproduction, they can't be replaced too easily. So therefore stocking has to supply the lake, and that's where the pike come into play.

Yes, pike do eat walleyes, but it's not the big pike that are doing the damage. Just like 'eyesmaster said, the little pike need to eat, and a freshly stocked walleye fingerling will fit the bill quite well. BUT, other fish eat walleyes....bass, other walleyes, heck even big sunfish and crappies will eat those tiny walleye fry that the DNR plant.

So, I don't think it's just one thing, but rather a combination of too many little pike and the amount of pressure the lake recieves. An "Average Joe" fisherman who hits the lake once a week and keeps atleast one walleye probably wont do that much damage, but with the amount of pressure and walleye harvest that took palce, it can add up quickly. That may be the bigger problem.

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Musky Tail you said it very well. Yes there are many factors to there being less walleyes. Their used to be more fishing pressure than there is today, because of the smaller number of walleyes that there is now, and the DNR probably also realized this and that probably is one of the reasons why they have been stocking the lake fairly heavly with walleyes.

These are the stocking reports from the last few years.

Year ----- Species ------ Age ------ Number

2000 ----- walleyes ------ fry ------ 1,900,000

2001 ----- walleyes ------ fingerling------ 33,400

---------- walleyes ------ fry ------ 1,900,000

2003 ----- walleyes ------ adult ------ 109

---------- walleyes ------ fingerling------ 9,144

---------- walleyes ------ fry ------ 1,900,000

---------- walleyes ------ yearling ------ 1,297

This may seem like a lot of walleye but, there are still way to many small northern. Putting all these pond raised walleye in just seems like an easy food for the numerous small pike.

EYES

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