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Slots are dumb?


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Ok, I'm sure I'll take some heat for this but it's good conversation and It's nice to get some others feedback. Having fished for the past 20 years of my life, I have seen NO improvement in the fishing in this state. Sure if you want to run to the "big, hot" lakes when the bite is on you can score. Think of Red Crappies, Winnie Walleyes etc... My problem with slots is that I have seen no improvement in my catches but most importantly it punishes the casual fisherman whose with their family on a vacation. I feel it's unfair to the guy who gets out 15 times a year total to have to throw back some fish because some people are able to fish year round and clean out a lake. A perfect example was on a lake down by Mankato. The "farmers" would go out everyday and get their limit and take them to all their friends. Day in and Day out they were pulling in their limits. So we decide to put limits and slots in place to monitor this. The concept is great the other problem is enforcement. In my years of fishing, I have been stopped a total of 2 (TWO) times! And this was at the landing. How is the DNR going to control the people who have cabins on a lake and can drive up to their place unload and go back out? We all see the DNR at the landings checking people as they come off. As I'm sure we will all agree society is changing and some for the worse, honesty is not a part of most people's belief, nor is following the rules. Now let me have it.

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So if we didn't have slots then these people you are complaining about would stop? Is that what your saying?

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Slots are to protect us in the future. It may be tough to see the impact right away, but it will be good for the years to come. Nothing can be bad about a slot unless it is somthing similar to the Milacs 14-16 a few years ago. The big ones don't taste good anyway. I actually have my own slot no matter the lake I fish. If it is my cabin, I treat it just as I would as a guest on a different lake. The big ones should go back, but it's up to each person who owns a license to do as they chose. Slots are smart in my opinion.

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You may not see much improvement, but have you fished all the lakes? And hasn't there been in increase in fishing pressure over those 20 years, especially certain species? Slots are meant for trophy potential, and for keeping big spawners alive, how can you have a problem with those attempts?

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My opinion on slots is that, as stated above, improves potential for trophy fish some, but mainly will help prevent the populations of fish from declining. An improvement isnt always seen but benifits are just about always there. With the massively increasing fishing pressure it makes alot of sense to put slot limits on certain lakes. I would like it to be in effect on more lakes but the DNR can determine which lakes need it. As for the enforcement, there are always those who will break the laws but the simple fact that its illegal will help alot because most people will obide by the laws even when they know they can get away with breaking it. I do agree that there should be alot more DNR out there enforcing the laws and regulations, I never get checked except for when I am on one lake where there are county park workers everywhere.

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Wow. I might be going out on a limb here, but I think that Steamboat is right. My theory is that the Anti's have force fed us enough B.S., whether we realize it or not, to believe that all of these special regs are necessary. We are willing to let them take an inch at the prospect of re-establishing "trophy" waters. The truth is, the only way to do that is to shut fishing down all together on certain bodies of water, and that has already happened. Granted, some of the larger lakes can sustain themselves for some time, but look no further that Red Lake. The walleyes were depleted, no one went there for ten years, the crappies got huge, the word got out, the masses came, the the crappies got fished down, the DNR stocked the XXXX out of it with walleyes, the walleyes are now clearly abundant and healthy, and VOILA!!! Serious limitations on how much and how big the walleyes should be for the bag. My thinking is, who cares how many and how big the fish could be if you can't even fish for them? Cripes-the St. Croix has had a 15" minimum rule for a big heap of time and I still don't see ANY change out there in size or numbers. Mille Lacs a couple years ago proved that sport fishing ain't so great. I was DISGUSTED by the amount of walleyes just floating around for the gulls to peck at. I can't imagine how many of those could have been enjoyed by all kinds of people. And guess what- there is still a great population of eye's out there! Go figure. Keep in mind that the DNR isn't out there just for "us". They are lobbied by all kinds of interest groups, and money talks. Unfortunately, groups like the Greenpeace, Sierra Club, PETA, Audubon, etc... have some mighty big bank rolls, and they all would love to see "nature" kept without us meddling. Look at the crap they have gotten done in the National Parks! It is getting to the point where we can't even go into them. I am not for raping the resources we have been blessed with. I just want to remain a part of it.

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Ok, lets set a few things straight. Red lake had an unpresidented year class of crappies (I can't remember the year), one that will never be seen again. Sure, the lack of pressure did help those fish get bigger but because the walleye season was closed isn't the entire reason. Pike season was open and look what happened there.

You mention Mille lacs, and how many dead fish there where a few years ago. That was the mentality of people that opposed the slots. Thinking "if I can't have it then nobody can". People are naturally opposed to changes and new rules, and if they don't fully understand them then the rules must be wrong. Go back to Mille Lacs now, it is a wonderful fishery that is there because of the slots. I'd say that compliance with the rules is very high.

Due to the increase in fishing pressure of the last 10-20 years we have to convince ourselves that this is not your fathers fishing lake anymore. We as a whole must practice catch and release and selective harvest if we want to keep some.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, we only have a few limited options if you want to make every lake a fantastic fishery.

1. Close the season statewide for a few years

2. Statewide slots

3. Raise licsense fees to cover the cost of increases stocking ($10, 20, 50 per year?)

4 Mandatory C&R on certain species

Now which one of those makes the most sense and will keep the average fisherperson happy and not complaining?

I believe (and from what I've read) the answer is slots. I do not believe it's a perfect answer but I have to agree it's the best answer.

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I can't really imagine a logical thinking person having a probelm with slots. I agree sometimes it can be frustrating, but when is the last time you heard a fisherman say "Dang, that fish is just to big"

How many fish do you want to keep anyways? Are you looking to keep everything you get or would you release a big fish that doesn't taste good and is a big spawner?

The slot limits on most lakes that I am familiar with seem very reasonable. Mille Lacs you can keep 4 fish under 20". What more do you want? Thats plenty for a meal. If you want to stock the freezer go to the grocery store and buy it.

Can anyone clarify the possession rule for me? Do fish caught and put in your freezer count towards your possesion limit? And is the possesion limit different from your daily limit?

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Your possession limit includes any kept fish in the freezer or where ever. Daily limit is how many you can take in that day. Depending on where your are fishing daily can equal possession. If you have 6 walleyes in the freezer you cannot keep any more regardless of any daily limit the lake may have.

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Thats what I always thought. I know of way to many people that will keep fish regardless of how many fish are in the freezer. I always thought that was wrong.

My philosophy has always been, bring home enough for one meal every now and then. You don't need fish 7 days a week, and you don't need 30 walleye fillets sitting in your freezer.

But I think I personally only kept 5 fish all last year.

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John, I'd be fascinated to find out how you managed to drag the Sierra Club into a discussion on slots. That seems more like a shot of partisan politics & a larger problem you have with the organization than anything that actually has a bearing on this discussion.

I'm all for slots; then again, I probably keep 4-6 fish out of the metro waters per year (& maybe a few more from the BWCA) so the slots don't bother me a bit.

We are no longer a bunch of hunter/gatherers scraping out living off the land. I'm all for anyone who's legally fishing to keep a meal; I love fish & wonder why I don't keep more (OK, I'm often too lazy to clean them!). Then I look at my two little girls; look at the massive crowds even on small, 60-100 acre lakes; see the increasing technology; the great boards like this one used by folks to increase their fishing skills; etc. Add all that up. Add it up! I want my girls to be able to go fishing within an hour of our house in 10 years & have a shot at a big northern or lunker walleye. Without some kind of regulations to restrict people from taking breeder fish, I don't think that's going to happen.

Do slots always work? Of course not. Neither does bypass surgery. Want to give that up too?

Lastly, (1) I think this is a good discussion to bring up & (2) if you don't like slots, I'd like to hear some alternatives that you think might work. I don't think anyone's naive enough to think doing nothing is a viable option.

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With regard to slots - I think they are appropriate and their intentions are good. I have seen vast improvement in the number and quality of Walleyes on the lake we fish in Canada. I think slots had a great deal to do with that. I don't mean to get off the subject here but I have seen others mention taking more than a legal limit, not honoring the slots, poor enforcement,etc. In my opinion, we need to add "extremely harsh fines" to the list. I think we are way to lenient with those who do break the law and get caught. Personally, I think the fines should be very painful and highly publicized. I mean even things like losing your boat, motor, and large dollar fines would make most law breakers think twice. I am not interested in matching the fine to the law that is broke - break any law and you will pay. I know there are exceptions but if we are going to play the game, we better understand and abide by the rules. I don't expect everyone to agree but I just wanted to express my opinion.

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mnfishingguy, I'm all for raising license fees if it means more enforcement. I've been checked once since I bought my boat in 1998. That's ridiculous. We need more DNR folks on the beat & more teeth in the regs.

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This is a great discussion, but I just cannot agree with those of you who think slots are a bad thing. I admit that I am only a youngster who hasn't been fishing for 50 years, but I am a history buff, and that includes the history of fishing in Minnesota. For those of you who think we should do nothing... look at what that has accomplished in the past 30-40 years. How many old photos do yo see of "proud" anglers showing off their 100 walleye catch for the day or the 50 pike between 5 and 20 lbs. Our states fishing history is loaded with pictures and stories of days like that and look at what has happened... tons of tiny pike and very few walleyes over 24". The reason it is so rare to catch 15 lb northern or a 25 inch walleye is because fisherman decimated the populations by keeping everything. Now, I realize that we have had slots for several years and the fishing still hasn't returned to the way it was - maybe it never will, but you cannot say that it hasn't improved. If you honestly feel that way then maybe you need to change some of the ways you go about catching fish. Slots are going to preserve the sport of fishing for our children and their children. If we do our part by abiding by the rules our future generations will get to enjoy this wonderful pastime just as we do.

My last point is this. What is the difference in satisfaction if you catch a 30" walleye and CPR it vs. catching it and taking it home? To me, and this is just my feelings, I feel even more satisfaction knowing that fish is out there reproducing and giving someone else the same thrill that I just experienced.

Good Talk.

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I for one have been fishing a small lake north of Grand Rapids, and they have had a slot size on Northerns for close to 10 years, if not more, and honestly I can say that I have no clue as to where the big northerns are in the lake, because my family repeatedly catches the "hammer handles" and nothing bigger than a few pounds. Has the slot worked there? Answer to that for me is No, it hasn't. Does it work on other lakes? Yes it does, I am sure.

A question to pose to everyone, What is the mortality rate of "trophy fish" that are caught and released, due to stress of being caught? I don't know and would like to know, if possible.

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Not sure what the issue is with the slot?????? How many 25" fish do you want to put on the wall, and why would you eat it? A 20" to 28" walleye is definitely a nice fish but hardly what most guys would call a real trophy. Too Big to eat and too Small to put on the wall. I dont know about your family but my kids have a heck of a lot more fun fishing for perch and sunnies than they do fishing for walleyes so I dont think it ruins my trip that I cant keep walleyes in a slot limit. Certainly you could put some effort into catching a few panfish that would taste better than an eye over 20" anyway.

The slot might not be as effective for the walleyes, but it works for the muskies. I would have no problem with putting a 55" min slot on the muskies. OK, its not really a slot but similar. Take note of how many fish over 40" you see on a lake that has a size limit of 40" and how many more large fish you see on lakes that have the 50" slot.

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Slots are basically a way to force the idea of selective harvest onto all. Personally I will always use selective harvest when I keep fish no matter the regulations, it just makes sense. To me, I see no need to eat big fish - of any kind, Personally I would feel bad eating a 15 inch crappie or a 15 lb pike or a 8 lb walleye. They are too rare to eat and too much fun to catch, and I like to know that the fish is still in the lake. I certainly agree with higher muskie slots because IMO they are only a sportfish and should be kept for no reason other than to go on your wall, I dont know anybody who goes out ski fishin to get dinner. I agree there are way too many people that go out and keep there limit of fish when they already have a bunch in their freezer, and most of them dont even know what they are doing is illegal, they think the limits dont apply to there freezer.

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I own a cabin in Northwestern Ontario roughly 10 years ago a slot was implemented on my lake: all walleye between 18-21 in slot and you can keep one over, with 4 in possession. It all makes since to me, have a healthy population of adult fish, keep smaller fish to eat. I wish Minnesota would implement one statewide; it would reduce the confusion of which lake has what regulation. Of course we all know the state of Minnesota would not do anything based on common sense. Anecdotally the fishing keeps getting better every year or at least the same. How many lakes can say that? Most fish you catch are around 20”, good fun!

The ministry has harsh but good rules, plus they enforce then regularly, we are checked on a regular basic.

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I recently read a conversation about big crappies/ sunfish and in that convo the people participating said that the days of the giant bulls are gone, never to return. Frankly, slot limits are not to benefit our generation, but for future generations. Slot limits are to help repair the damage that our and past generations have caused and is presently causing. Granted an immediate by product of slot limits is the increased chance of a trophy. But think of things in this light... reproducing trophies carry the genetic make up to reguvinate dying fisheries and elevate our present world class fisheries to a place they have never been. Without slots to put limitations on what we as anglers are allowed to keep than those trophy fish that carry the fundamental make up of a good fishery are gone and fisheries that are dying will die and those world class fisheries we have now will begin to die.

As far as enforcement goes... we are walking into the realm of politics. Very few politicians value the outdoors as an outdoorsman or woman. At least not enough to go beyond talking about it in the local newspaper and making it a reality. I know quite a few Conservation Officers and A LOT of cops that want to be COs, most of which are sportspeople themselves, and nothing would make them more happy to see more enforcement of the natural resource laws. Some will even go as far as saying that since the state doesn't want to put money aside in the maintainance of this state's great natural resources than the limits should be more strict and the penalties for not adhering to them more severe.

We often get caught up in the immediate ramifications for us and don't look at the larger picture. Our natural resources are very deliquate and are in a constent battle for simple existence. IF WE BLEED THIS WORLD OF EVERYTHING IT HAS TO OFFER NOW, THAN WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW?

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I personally am in favor of slots. However I think they way they are applied to our lakes and species seems to be random and some times illogical. I realize the DNR is trying their best and that they are aiming to move angler behavior in a certain direction. There are some slots that on the surface just appear as though they don't work.

HOWEVER there whenever you measure the success of a slot or a limit change you need to compare three things, two of which are easy to get and one is difficult. You need to compared the state of the lake when the slot or limit was implemented against the state of the lake now. You also need to compare the lake to what it would have looked like if the slot or limit was never put in place.

Bottom line we may think slots are not helping because we don't see a big change in a given lake. However you don't know what the state of the lake would have been if the slot was never implemented. The slots may be working and we don't realize it. Slots may only keep a lake at a current state and not actually improve it.

Good discussion.

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I'm all for the slots also. One thing i do know is that this state needs to "severely" punish these over-havesters of our fish and game. If you "NEED" to feed your family to survive, go to court, if i'm on the jury, i'm on your side. This isn't the depression era, so i'm thinkin this shouldn't be the case. If your from another state or country, you're done, you should never be allowed to use our natural resources ( with a legal license) again.

Come on let's quadruple these fines!! And publish their photos in the papers !!

Then you'll see how effective the slots are !! grin.gif

Very good discussion.

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This may be getting too complicated, but I would like to see a slot limit where you could take 1-2 fish in the protected slot. On Kab the slot is 13-17 and 1 over 23. I go up twice a summer for a week each time, and had weeks where all we caught was 18-20 inch fish. Every year the cost of lodging and gas goes up, and it would be nice to get a fish meal out of it.

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I'm for slots. I can think of a good example of what happens when there are no slots. One class of fish that don't have slots are panfish. Try to find a panfish in the metro bigger than 7". They are hard to find. People fish for pannies and keep the big ones. Soon, all we get are lakes full of stunted fish. The "baby" fish you're tossin back might not be a baby at all, but a full blown adult that survived by staying puny. There are now a lot of tiny panfish in the metro. I'd recommend that if you like crappies and bluegills, do all of us a favor by keeping a few small ones to eat and throw back one or two of the big ones. I know the small ones harder to fillet and all, but part of being a good sport is sharing. Personally, I try not to take more than I'm going to eat that day.

D

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I dont know, i fished Winnie well before the slot and now fish it a total of about 10 days a summer now. The difference is incredible. The amount of eyes over 20" you can catch now compared too before the slot isnt even close. And it gets better and better every year i go there. A true testament too what slots can do. Its not for every lake. It wont do too every lake what its done too Winnie or Rainy Lake. But the whole deal is slots can only help a lake, it cant hurt a lake. 99.9% of the time if you get into walleyes on a lake with a slot you are catching some that can be kept for the table. How often do you fish a lake with a slot and only catch 20"+ fish. What im saying is if you have too put back a couple 20" or 22" walleyes it shouldnt be a big deal because you almost certainly have a couple nice 15-17" fish in the livewell. The best of both worlds, a few nice fish for the pan and those 20" females going back too become future 25" or 28" fish. Its much more impressive too me too see a snap shot of a 23" eye someone caught than too see a 23" eye hoisted out of a livewell.

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Regarding stunted fish,I think it is more complicated than taking the big ones out. on tonka I have fished for 40 years and it was hard 40 years ago to get nice sunnies and it is still hard to get nice sunnies. the problem as I see it is that the lake is jam full of sunnies and not enough predators-habitat - feed etc.you could have a complete shutdown of the season on sunnies and the size wouldnt go up it needs to be fished down IMO. How many partys go fishin and get their limit every time? not many! even so called experts cant fill out all the time. on Big Stone there was a slot for years to protect the walleyes. after it was done and the dnr reveiwed they admited it had done nothing to improve the size so now they dropped the limit to 4 I have fished that lake all my life and could limit out' maybe every 4-6 times I fished. It was easy at times most often it was work.I beleive that slots help but only if they make sense for the lake in question not just a one size fits all. As to big walleyes be honest with yourself, how many times have you gone out and popped a limit of 25 -30"fish? I have, but thrown them back even before slots they taste off and dont fry well!anyways they didnt get big by being stupid!!so I will agree that some slot is needed but it isnt as critical as some would have us beleive let people eat fish but enforce the limits andfine the offenders and let it go.there will be fish to catch in the future for my grandson and his too,I think pollution will play a bigger role in the future of fishing than anglers will. jmtc!

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I also think slots are dumb I think you should be able to catch and keep whatever size fish you want. If you want to eat a big fish thats your buisness. The number of people who would do that are in such a minority that I dont think it would even make a difference. Who knows how many of them slot fish that are released even survive. If they are just gonna die then I would rather have some one eat it and get some use out of it. All you people on this web site think you have all the answers its kind of funny to watch everyone jump on a guy for stating his opinion, so go ahead and tell me how wrong I am now. KILL em and GRILL em.

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Mr. Horn you can do what you want but that fishing style is the reason we have slots. If everybody kept everything they caught we wouldn't be having this discussion, as there would be nothing to catch. We all have to make descisions about the world we live in and how we treat it, and sometimes we can't put ourselves first.

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This is exactly what I am talking about. I never said that people should keep everything they catch. I said they should be able to keep what they want regardless of size. Make sure you understand what people say before you jump all over them. Mr fishin guy. Some of you people are so ignorant its not even funny. Not everyone is gonna believe the same things you do. Just because they have a different opinion than the all knowin fm'ers doesnt make them wrong. If its brown its DOWN!

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Settle down there young horn. Nobody jumped on you. In fact he only condemned the "style" of keeping whatever you want.

Its amazing how few people know the biology of fish. Most people don't know that 95% of walleyes over 22" are females. Its a fact. A crappie over 12" is 10 yrs old or older. Guess what, all egg layers.

If you assume all fish are the same and that you're entitled to keep whatever you catch then we will deplete the fishery. Look at Red. The crappies cycled with the walleyes and the walleyes left because why.....PEOPLE took too many!!! Now people are keeping crops that are 15-18" long. Why? How many fish are you gonna mount? Not to mention artificial mounts look better and last longer.

Slots don't work on every lake or in every situation, but they are the first thing to try for management ideas.

I totally agree with the comment on how panfish are managed (or not managed). 2 years ago everyone was whining cause they lowered the possession limit on sunnies and crappies. Who cares?!? I can't find a limit of eaters anymore. There is a small lake in Eden Prairie that used to put out amazing pannies, it ended up in the Outdoor News and that winter it looked like Grand Central STation. Now I can hardly find a fish over 7". Its hard throwing them back but I know thats the only way to get bigger fish back.

Oh and finally, the dead fish on Mille Lacs the other year. Everyone seems to think those fish were dying because there was some kind of high mortality rate of fish released. If that were the case there wouldn't be any trophy muskie lakes. The fish were dying because of a lack of forage. Too many little fish trying to share all of the forage. Same reason deer die in a harsh winter.

I'm not trying to be holier than thou, just trying to speak to people with selfish, narrow-minded opinions.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Mike89
      just off to the west is a State park and a lake access is in there too..    it's called Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
    • smurfy
      🤣 so you drove threw Remer then? home of sasquatch!!!!!!!!🤗👌
    • leech~~
      Funny, my wife and I drove by Big Rice on our way to Grand Rapids. I pointed to the launch and said, somewhere there's an old rotting couch in there, two clowns 🤡🤡 on the forum keep joking each other about pissing on. She said gross! Cuz that's what guys talk about on forums! 😆😅🤣
    • smurfy
      i think he moved it down south of remer..........closer to his recliner by big rice lake!!!!!!!!🤣🤗
    • gimruis
      You can still fish Mille Lacs during the closure from July 1-15.  You just can't specifically target a walleye or use live bait.  There's plenty of smallmouth bass and pike in the lake that you can target with artificial lures and you might get lucky with a muskie.   The wind can be an issue out there though.  If that doesn't sound appealing to you, try the Rum River.  There is an access in Kathio State Park that would work well for a kayak.  You could go upstream and downstream from there too.   I think you will need to purchase a daily pass to use that access in the park (it might be like 5 bucks).  I haven't fished there in years but I fish the Rum River further downstream every season and the fishing in there is fantastic during midsummer.  Look for current breaks, seams, and deeper holes.
    • chaffmj
      Sorry I didn't see your post earlier. Glad your place was ok. Lake Country power said they had 20 poles toppled in one area!
    • leech~~
      You still have your trailer and place up there? Maybe you should do some summer rentals of it to help pay the taxes and up keep on it? 👍
    • fins_n'_feathers
      The water is starting to slowly go down. From what I can tell it looks like it’s down about 5-6 inches. The wind was terrible over the weekend though. I’m sure many properties suffered damages with Sundays winds. Things are finally starting to head in the right direction but it’s going to take a very long time for things to get back to even somewhat normal. 
    • Rivergroup
      Stopped at VC last week as well.  Didn't have pizza, but the sandwiches and appetizers we had were good.  The service was very good.  However, that's the first and only time we had been there.
    • delcecchi
      Any other info about VC?   Got kid and and fam coming up.  Been a couple years but really liked it.   Reviews on line still good.   Did Mark just hit on a bad night or has it gone down?   Being on west not a place we go often.
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