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GoggleEye

Why so many 26 and 27 inchers?

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GoggleEye

I was wondering if anyone can tell me why there are so many nice 26 and 27 inch walleyes in Mille Lacs? I have caught so many fish this size this year and I am loving it. I am assuming that it was because of a good reproduction year (whatever year that may have been??), but if anybody else can shed some light, throw your 2 cents in. I can't wait till the coming years....there are going to be so many 30+ inch trophies out there if everyone keeps doing their part in CPR'ing. Good luck all.

GoggleEye

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river rat316

28" slot......

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GoggleEye

Ya, I know the slot is working well, but there seems to be more 26 and 27 inchers than 20-25 inchers. I guess it may be because I tend to target larger walleyes with the baits I use and the areas I fish too.

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TrophyEyes

First of all it was a great year class (there is another good one in the 21-22 range). Second of all the slot limit. Hopefully people will allow them to grow to 30". It will take a collective effort in the next 2-6 years to put as many of the big ones back in the lake to keep good numbers in the 30"+ range. Obviously some will make it, but let as many go as possible and there will be that much more. How fun would it be to go out and catch multiple 10lbs fish in a year or even better, a day? It's up to us.

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Willy

Quote:

there are going to be so many 30+ inch trophies out there if everyone keeps doing their part in CPR'ing. Good luck all.


I doubt it. It has been this way for quite a few years now and a 30 inch eye is just as rare now as it has ever been on Mille Lacs. For whatever reason, not very many fish in Mille Lacs grow bigger than 26-27 inches. I don't know why, but that is the way it is.

Not saying there aren't some in and around the 30" range, but they are few and far between. Best time to get them would be the fall and even then it is pretty rare to hear of many that make it past 28 inches.

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rodmaker

GoogleEye,

I know, it's a blast getting those 25-27 inchers. cool.gif For me the 28 ++ are the ones I can't catch. 27 3/4'" was the biggest for me last year during the Summer.

Does anyone have a different pattern, or do anything different during the Summer (besides going up in Fall). to catch these???

Rodmaker

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Shack

Earlier in season (for this year early Jan.) I my self had

a good run of 24-27 inche walleyes. I spent most of that

time in Jan. out of Father Henn. park access. Due north

around point to left. There is a little hump due east of a

little island right their. Some ice heaves at that time blocked you in. Right in a cluster of house, just east of

the island (in about 13-15 of water) I had very good luck right at dusk for thoughs walleyes. During day caught alot

of jumbo's as well. Possibley going to try their again.

Keep fishing,

SHACKBASH

P.S.

how do you up load photo's onto this page. I have some milac

photo's I would like to show? laugh.gif

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MuleShack

I would have to concur with this, first 3 weeks in Janurary had 20+ fish between 24 and 26 inches. Didn't score anything 27 or over, but spent most of my time on the rocks and gravel. I was going to ask, but seen Trophy eyes call it above. I have not caught a fish in the 20-23" range all winter...I didn't know if it was me or if others were seeing the same thing. Have caught lots of fish between 15 and 19, but just curious on the gap between 20-23". How many of you are seeing fish in this range? and in what numbers?

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MuskieJunkie

Quote:

how do you up load photo's onto this page. I have some milac

photo's I would like to show?
laugh.gif


You have to use a host site, check out the Muskie Photo Board thread under the Muskie Pike forum, Petrowski explains how to do it.

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rms

Remember about 7 years ago when the slot was 14"-18", then went to 14-16". There were alot of 18.5-21" fish in the lake at that time. They are now the 26-27" fish you are catching--they've been protected a long time.

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Shack

Not a one!

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Kyle Sandberg

I can almost be sure that the males only grow to about 26-27".

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river rat316

I had one between 20-25"es today get off at the hole, I just caught one that was 17"es so Im pretty sure on the size of this one. I think it was closer to 21-22"es though

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Team Otter

Right on target RMS.

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TrophyEyes

I promise there will be a lot of fish caught over 28" in the next 3 years. These fish don't stop growing, they just begin to be taken out of the lake because someone puts them on a wall or eats them. That is why the Mille Lacs fishing pressure will never allow them to get to be 30"+. Either everyone needs to start encouraging release of these fish or the DNR should extend the limit to 30"+ to allow for true monsters. How many people would like to be sitting here in 3 years talking about catching 2 or 3 30"+ fish?

Take pictures and measurements and get a replica made, who knows you may be able to catch the fish again when its bigger.

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Flick

We saw quite a few 25-26" fish, only one hit the 27" mark and nothing bigger than that. This past weekend the size seemed to be either 16-17" or 22-23". In that same spot I did see 3 fish that I would say were 27"+ fish but they acted like they've seen a spoon or two before.

I am curious what these fish will bring in a couple years, obviously bigger 28"+ fish, but how long that will last is the question.

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gorrilla

Trophy eyes nailed the reason IMO....

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Nova

I wish this would happen, but doubt it ever will. To get a fish in the 30" range you have to have a better food source. These fish have plenty to eat, but the nutritional value isn't high enough to get these fish over the 30" mark. Lakes that hold a good food base of oily fish like cisco, hearing, and even tulibee have a much better chance of growing fish faster and bigger. The fish just seem to platue at the 26-29" range. If the tulibee population were to come back strong it would increase the chances of that 30" fish. There sure are a ton of the 26" plus fish out there and you can get one every day in the summer. I have fished this lake every weekend in the summer for 20 years and have yet to get one over 30" Sure would like to. I totally agree that we need to release EVERY fish between 20"-30" for this to be a possibility. A fish that large is poor table fair and the replica mounts are very realistic so there is no reason to keep those fish. I would love to see the slot go to 30" on ML.

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rodmaker

TrophyEyes,

You are 100 % correct I believe!! WE need everyone to release these bigger fish 28 ++. They are not good eating!!! If anyone catches one over 28, take a few photos and release it!!!

Anyone who has had a graphite replica done will never go back to a real fish mount. They will never fade color, they will never chip or crack!! Matt up at Artistic Anglers is the best by far!!! I have a 17 " Crappie, a 21 " Smallie, and a 42" - 26 lb Salmon from Lake Michigan. This guy knows how to paint fish!!!

For the bigger fish, 28 and above, like I posted earlier but no response yet. Do you have a different pattern, or presentation for these guys during the Summer ???

Thanks,

Rodmaker

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gorrilla

Nova, the forage base is as good as you could ever hope in ML. Just look at growth rates of muskies, walleyes, and northerns. They don't just quit growing at that magical 28" mark, its most likely fishing mortality and harvest...

By the way a tulibee IS a cisco and my spelling isn't perfect either, but I think you meant to type herring.

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BigTen

Some bodies of water have the ability to consistently grow walleyes to 30+ inches, some do not. IMHO, Mille Lacs does not. A true 30" walleye is a rarity on ML. I am not a biologist or anything, but nutrition could very well have something to do with it. The fish seem to top out around 26-28 inches or so, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, those are still really nice walleye. However in my opinion, Mille Lacs will never consistently grow 30's like some waters. You cant tell me that all of the 26-27 inch walleyes are from a year class, and there is only a few fish over 28 still in the lake? My bet is that the 26-27 inchers are from several year classes, and the majority of walleyes in ML are maxed out when they reach this size. But thats just my opinion.

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Nova

Gorilla, you are absolutely correct, the food base is outstanding, but it doesn't have the high protien/fat that lakes like Erie have. There is plenty of food to get these fish to the upper 20" size, but not the protien/fat base to get them over that mark IMHO. Sorry about the spelling and thanks for the correction blush.gif

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shadyzr

Just wondering what size the gill nets target???

DO NOT get this post wrong, Im not attacking anyone.

just an honest question.

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GoggleEye

I would love to see the limit go to 30", even if it is just an experimental thing to see what happens. If it works, great...keep it. If it doesn't start producing 30" fish after a few years, then put it back to 28" so those who maybe catch their first big walleye can keep a 28 incher, or even better...get a replica and put her back in the drink. It's worth trying to see if the limit is really what is preventing these fish from growing to 30 inches. Then you would know for sure if the forage is the problem or not....that is the only real way to find out. I have a gut feeling that if the limit were raised to 30", that a lot of the walleyes in ML would be capable of growing to that mark (especially the females). I hope I see it someday because I am going to be in heaven! For now, I guess I am going to have to wonder on over to the likes of Bay De Noc, Rainy Lake, and Chequemegon Bay for the 30 inchers. I still love Mille Lacs though....how could you not??

GoggleEye

GoggleEye

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Willy

You could increase the slot to only one over 30 inches and it still wouldn't happen. There have been lots of those 25-26-27 inchers in there for quite a while now. Why? That is all the bigger most get!

Remember the year that the bite was cake out there? I will bet that most people that fish there alot caught tons of fish in that 25-26-27 inch range. Don't you think alot of those would be 30 inchers by now?

Most of the fish just don't grow past that 27-28 inch mark, that is just the way it is on Mille Lacs.

I agree with you that we everyone needs to let those big ones go, but I still will highly doubt it will increase the number of 30 inchers in the lake. Anyone that has fished there for quite a few years will tell you the same thing.

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chadice

I agree that those fish seem to 'top out' in the upper 20's on Mille Lacs. I also agree that the shifting slot limit, for 14-18, 14-16, then on to 20-28 has done a ton for protecting some of those year classes, some of those fish that were 16.5 iches ~5 years ago have been protected every year since! (which is great). I personally have caught more big eyes this year on ML than I can ever remember, and I don't work all that hard (mostly in the permanent). I got one that was 27 3/4 this winter that was a blast, but she sure was an ugly fish.

Heard only one story of a guy out of Mac's Twin Bay off of Road I that got a 32 inch fish a couple weeks back. Heard it from someone who heard it from someone who heard it from Kevin. Anyone else here this? Other than that I have not heard of any others over 30 this winter. Sure has been fun this winter.

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lundeye

Milac is a great lake. I drive four hours one way twice a month just to catch and release 20 plus inch walleyes. I hope this summer is as good as last summer.

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TrophyEyes

There is no way that I am going to accept that these fish stop growing at 28". The food sources do play a role, but Mille Lacs from what I have seen has plenty. There is no lack of perch, Cisco or any other source. Fishing pressure is the difference between lakes that carry monster fish and lakes that don't. I have 7 walleyes from 30"-33.5" and they have been in lakes that might have 1,000 people fish them a year, other than Saganaga. I was in a boat in Manitoba with three other guys. In two hours we caught 17 fish over 27”, the biggest being my 33.5”. There were only three boats on the lake and you could only remove fish between 13” and 20” for table fair. Trophies were not allowed to be removed (the community decided on this, it was not law). That is the reason for success, not because it was a different strain of fish that could grow bigger or that there was more food. These fish got to be that big because they were left in the lake, end of story. We can make all the excuses we want, but it is our selfish nature that gets in the way of catching big fish. I am not calling anyone out, I have two on my wall that are not replicas, so I am talking about myself as well.

Put the fish back in the lake and your success on big fish will increase, I promise. Its no different that hunting whitetails. If you shoot every 2 1/2 year old 8 pointer that walks by, you will never see a 200 class deer.

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rodmaker

TrophyEyes,

I still think there are 30" there. The increase in slot may help. I'm sure most people if they catch a 29 or 30 may bring it home for the wall. Can't blame them.

I still believe graphite is the way to go. Next time you get one. give Artistic Anglers a call. I haven't been disappointed yet.

Do you think there is a different pattern or method to catch these bigger fish. What type of presentation do you do for the bigger ones in the Summer?? Still looking for one over 28" from there.

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eye warrior

I suppose theirs always that exception,but last summer 26" to 30"was fairly common. The wife did hit a 32"er out on sloppys, measured,threw back,and had a replica made.What a hog

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • whateverisbiting
      I would love to see more restrictions on all species but they have to include a protected slot.  There are so many success stories it should be obvious by now.  It seems to work better when a mid-range length is protected or all fish over a certain length go back.  I have heard concerns that restriction will reduce interest including from out of state (economic impact), but with better fishing I doubt that is the case.  I think what helps with this is allowing 1 trophy over a certain size in your limit.  As for the stunted theory...as a kid I fished a lake where I could limit out on 8" crappies any time but never caught one over 9".  We were told to keep as many as possible so we could thin them out.  A 9" minimum was put on the lake.  And like magic when I went back and fished as an adult almost all the crappies were just under 9", but I caught a limit between 9-12 inches.  I remain somewhat skeptical of the stunted fish theory...not that it does not exist, but it is an overused excuse.  Just reducing the limit does not help...you need to add the slot with it.  Or just use the slot, which is somewhat self-limiting in what you can keep.  For some, reducing the number you can keep is a psychological boost...they can say we limited out!  With the new northern regulations, I have already seen the impact in increasing size...all fish from 22-26 go back and now I am seeing those small northerns get some bulk (it is not because they are stunted and people are keeping all the northerns under 22" to thin them).  I don't think that "educating" people is effective; if you care, you already know.  It needs to be legislated.
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      You might not find much opposition on forums cuz the people that use them are learners.  This is our life and we’ve paid attention to what goes on out on the water/ice.  We’ve had our times when we’ve realized what our own actions have meant and make efforts to be better sportsmen and conservationists.  If all of us here kept every legal fish we catch up to our limit, we’d be WAY over on possession - who can eat that much fish?  We don’t view a freezer full of fillets as food security, we view a lake full of swimming fillets as food security and fun security.  Making a smaller withdrawal from the lake here and there is better than living on a couple jackpots per year when one really lands on em.   That statement might sound arrogant but I believe it to be true.  
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