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My question is,how does this lake continue to kick out quality fish with the pressure that it recieves year after year? It doesnt matter if its summer or winter fishing as the lake always has alot of people on it.Is this lake going to take a drastic drop in fish population? confused.gif

Is there that many fishermen and women practing CPR,so the population wont get hurt? So many times you here of all the fish getting caught that you wonder how long this can last.

I know that I personally only keep a very small percentage of the fish I catch.I would hate to see this fishery have the same fate as some of the other lakes in the area.

Hopefully we are all trying to watch just how many fish we harvest from this great lake. smile.gif

I know I am very guilty of posting sometimes to much on this lake as far as the bite and wonder if im cutting my own throat.I would hate to see this lake go backwards. frown.gif

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Good question Harvey Lee! One obviously I can't answer, but have wondered myself. One thing that does seem to be apparent though from reading posts all over this site, is that some of the best fishing, both in numbers and size, has been away from the crowds. Perhaps this means that a majority of the fish in this lake, or any other, will survive the onslaught of fisherman and fishing pressure.

I really don't have an answer myself, but am interested to see if anyone has some more in-depth information about this.

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Very interesting topic. I saw a show one time on this very topic and the main point was to maintain a QUALITY fishery. Obviously, it would be impossible to deplete the fish in Washington to an extent that fishing would no longer be an option for this lake. A much higher possibility does however exist of depleping the "big" fish in a lake. The show went on to explain that a lake can become full of stunted pannies if the lake is hit hard for many years and the majority of the larger panfish are taken out. Fish, much like people, carry specific genes that determines whether or not they are going to grow big,medium, or stay smaller. When enough of the big fish genes are taken out of a body of water you have a real possibilty of a lake full of smaller fish.

I really doubt Washington is a candidate for this sort of thing to happen. Usually, it's a much smaller body of water that has tremendously hot bite that is very well publicized for a couple years in a row. I guess the morale of the story is that it is much better to keep the smaller pannies for the table and keep the big ones going back to make other big ones. Believe me---I'm no expert in this topic at all---this info is more or less a recap of something I saw on the tube.

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They stock the heck out of that lake, for walleyes anyway.

From what I have seen as far as the sunfish and crappies, the bigger bull sunnies that are in there now haven't been NEAR as easy to find as they have the last couple years. In years past, the dinks were all over and it pretty hard to find a bunch of bulls like is possible now. The few bigger crappies have always been in there.

I know they are biting better away from the crowds (especially the nicer ones), but it takes about zero skill to catch a limit of decent sized sunfish out there right now. Even guys in the crowds are taking buckets full home. Not saying they're all king size, but limits are being yanked out day after day, pail after pail. I don't think you're seeing too much C&R on the panfish.

All that being said, I don't see it being fished out. It has had that kind of pressure for as long as I can remember and it still keeps kicking out fish, always has. Must get a heck of a spawn every year because it is dang near ALWAYS the place to be for panfish.

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I too wonder about that Tom.... Be comforted however that I'm not hurting the population much. I couldnt catch a cold fishing on Saturday... wink.gif I do however truly believe in the very catch and release program that the DNR pushes so much. I think Red Lake is a good example of how much the population of good fish can be at least at a decline from being fished too hard. Education of fellow fisherman may be the best we can do without help from laws and limit restrictions... This forum however helps us to become more aware of things that some of us might never think of.

Mike

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Nice topic Tom. I'm sure we'll see a lot of opinions and theories on this issue.

I think it's a combination of ample food and optimal spawning conditions and habitat. The pannies and 'eyes that I have caught out of Washington are generally tall and thick and look very healthy. The fish in this lake are not "missing too many meals". The bug and baitfish population in Washington is pretty amazing, much like the gizzard shad population in Madison or willow cat population in Gorman. I also have come to realize over the last few years that Washington has a great selection of structure, specifically in regards to bottom content. This lake is really set up well to handle windy days without effecting the spawn. So, this also brings to light that although panfish are not necessarily thought of as a C & R fish, it is imperative that we do. These larger 'gills and crappies need to go back in the lake on a regular basis because they are very solid reproducers. I think Washington will always kick out panfish, but if we're not careful, the quality could become less and less.

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C&R and selective harvest are key I believe to the successful management of a fishery. I've seen what it can do on the Canada side of Rainy Lake. About 10 years or so ago, the Canadian govt. put size and number limits on the walleyes. Before that time, it was rather difficult to find and catch any number of walleyes. Within 3 years of the new regs going into effect, there was a boom in walleye populations and it is now a truly awesome fishery where, when we go, it is not uncommon to catch 1-2 dozen walleyes in the 4-6 pound range in one day, not to mention the 2 or 3 dozen slot size walleyes that can be caught in a day also.

C&R and selective harvest are essential for all species of fish, in my mind. Imagine what could happen (possibly) if, when MJ and the guys had kept all those 13" - 14.75" crappies they were on a month back (and maybe still today). Probably about the largest crappies in Washington and possibly the key spawners in that system. They practiced C&R on those fish because they new the importance those fish have in a lake that size. It's times like this when we all need to step back, enjoy the moment, and release fish for the future. For some people I know it's hard to let the "big one" go because we spend so much time in persuit of the biggest fish in the lake, however a camera and picture will last much longer than the fish ever would, and you get to show so many more people a picture than you would the actual fish. Plus you have the knowlege that the fish is still swimming in there, and that the following year it will be all that much bigger.

Okay, I've rambled on enough here, but I agree that C&R is key to managing all fish species in a lake, along with selective harvest.

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It might be, but the fact is, it has been this way on Washington for many, many years. Pressure is always huge, fish are always being pulled out and there are lots of big ones, small ones, short ones, tall ones coming out.

Not saying keep them all, but the pressure has and will always be there and it still produces year after year.

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Willy,

I'm quite certain I've seen willow cats in Gorman, mainly in the NW corner of the lake. Their features did not seem to be quite that of a small bullhead. I've also cleaned 'eyes from Gorman that were packed full of them. Their "wiskers" had more the look of a small catfish.

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I think you're right on the mark Willy. It seems to fall back more on food and environment than anything. Sometimes when things need to be just so to be perfect, it happens. Lake Washington seems to be one of those lucky exceptions. However, C & R certainly can not hurt the body of water, but rather help the body of water.

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This is a great point, it is to bad not everyone reads this forum I totally agree with the c & r look at some similar lakes, shields is a perfect example, 5 years ago you couldn’t get on the landing, everyone was filling up on very large sunfish and crappies now your lucky to get an average size, another is Spring Lake near Prior lake, I witnessed people taking buckets of pan fish out of that lake. I think people need to be better educated when purchasing a fishing license; the DNR should get more involved.

Lake Washington was great for me last opener my boat had 3 people in it and we boated 16 walleyes but only brought home 5 the reason was they were too big, after getting home I found out that a friend and his family caught over 45 walleyes that same weekend, they took every one home, it made me sick thinking about it, we all need to set good examples.

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I have been fishing this lake since the mid 70's and the walley pop is as good now as ever, some of this due to the stocking program. The lake does kick out a ton of panfish but as I have noticed in the last couple of years the what I call west basin has been as a whole more produtive and the east basin less productive. Now this is a rule of thumb there is always the exception to the rule. But a few years ago it was the east basin that was more productive. I don't know way but it could have something to do with pressure and C&R practices over there and it finally has caught up with the east side. I do think the North access has had an impact on that side of the lake.

Just my two cents

Farmer

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A willow cat is a channel cat. Yes, there are willow cats in Gorman.

Walleyes are stocked heavily in Washington. The DNR website shows no other stocking this millenium other than eyes. Washington is rumored to have minimal amount of walleye natural reproduction because some of the DNR surveys showed fish that didn't correspond with the surveys.

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A willowcat or madtom is not a channel cat. They have a stingers and a rounded tail. A channel will have a forked tail.

I know that there are channel cats in there.

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I could post links stating they are the same, but that is against forum policy.

google it. same thing. could be a regional slang thing???

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TeamWalleye

I fished Shields for many years until approx 5-6 years ago when the fish pop. went down bad.Shields use to have panfish like Washington,maybe better,and that lake got hammered.This is why I ask the above question about Washington as I see the same thing happenning again.Lots of nice fish,many fisherman,winter and summer.The north landing on Shields use to have 10-15 boats at the landing at 7 a.m. on a weekday.

Another lake that got hit very hard for some years was Cedar by New Praque and then that went to pieces.Washington looks to be going down the same path. frown.gif

When this happens to so many local lakes it makes you wonder which lake next.So many people retired and the fishing pressure is like no time before.

I hope im wrong.There are still alot of people fishing that have the fill the pail mentallity and that hurts bad.

We need everyone to practice more Catch&Release. smile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif

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I would believe its in the success rate of the average fishermen. A perment house in one spot(or group), may or may not be catching alot of fish. Or else those of "US" in portables, willing to move around, drill 20 holes, move about the whole lake, wouldn't have too until we find where the active fish are. Along with this, TO, hit the nail on the head with all the different structures it has to offer. Along with the physical size of the lake, as aposed to a Sheilds lake, can probibly withstand more pressure. I've only been on Washington over the last 4 years. What was it like 10-20 years ago? Techniques and innovation have had a big role for me in the last 20 years.

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Lake Washington has a ton of spawning habitat like others have pointed out. You could stand in the middle of Bakers bay and point in every direction and there is spawning habitat for panfish. I have fished the lake hard for the last 10-12 years and it has always been a great panfish lake. It hasn't been until the last 3-4 years that I have started to figure the lake out. I've become more mobile, and ventured off on my own a lot more then I did when I was younger.

I think it would be hard to hurt the panfish pop. on Washington. Walleyes on the other hand, need our help. With the lack of natural reproduction, and the word getting out that there are lots of walleyes in the lake, it could get over harvested very easily. I would like to see a slot limit set up on every lake in MN. I can't tell you the number of times that I have seen a stringer full of 3-4 pound walleyes coming off of our area lakes. It makes me sick to think about it. Also, I have seen my fair share of 10-12" fish being take out. Madison is a good example of that. I think that DNR need to force people to be selective on the fish that they take home to eat.

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I've seen the same thing on our area lakes in regards to limits of huge fish being taken out. It makes me sick. I'm in total favor of a statewide slot on walleye, northern, and bass. One of the best things the DNR has done in quite some time was to reduce the limits on our pannies a few years ago. IMO, they need to take one step further and implement the slots. Too many stories about lakes like Rainy and Schields really taking a downswing in fish populations for everybody not to take notice. Also, in most instances, when the slots are implemented the fishing is greatly improved and the size structure of a lakes fish population has a chance at maturing. Hopefully, someday this can happen.

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A state wide slot, huh? I like the way you think. I've been advocating that for a few years now by sending letters and e-mails to the DNR.

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I would be all for it, just because I've seen it work. I'm glad they at least put the 20" limit on.

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Maybe it's one of those things that slowly but surely things will continue to happen.

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If people would just keep what they need for a meal instead of packing their freezer full, which most go to waste, then there wouldn't be any problem. I don't understand the thought process of people that think that you have to clean everything that you catch. I personally don't care to make a career out of cleaning fish. Don't get me wrong I usually always keep enough for a meal or two, but that's about it. Catch and release is definately a good thing.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • smurfy
      yeppers......nuttin more aggravating the boat motor issues!!!!!!!   what was the problem the first time???????
    • Hookmaster
      Nice fish Kettle. Hope it's really "fixed" next time.
    • Rivergroup
      Our group will be returning in September as well. Wish we were able to be there now to lend a hand.
    • smurfy
      dang...tough to hear..........hope the good people up there recover soon!!!!!!!!!
    • MarkB
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    • SkunkedAgain
      Word is that the river has peaked and therefore the town can start the process of recovering sooner.
    • smurfy
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    • Kettle
      Someone said 4 inches in the past week, more expected this weekend. A few roads, including county roads that are asphalt ended up with sink holes. Lakes are the highest I've ever seen in the 30+ years coming to the area and now living here. Several people lost trees Tues night
    • smurfy
      Dang Kettle  that bites. Great to hear fishing was good though.   How much rain you get up that way?
    • Dash 1
      50 in 6 hours is great. Boat issues really put a damper on a great day though. Hope you get it fixed quickly.  
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