Smith: Legislative intervention has tipped fish balance in scores of lakes

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 22, 2014 - 8:15 AM

A change in 'angler attitude' is needed to protect the future of the walleye and perch populations.

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Douglind33Jan. 22, 14 1:49 AM

I've been an avid piker for years and have caught and released many trophies. I fish only artificials, use no treble hooks and release most gators without bringing them out of the water. Now, I'll take the DNR seriously when they urge the legislature to ban spearing. Nothing kills more big esox than cold steel. Sure it's popular with some so-called sportsmen. Dynamite would also be popular if legal. Show some political fortitude and do the right thing.

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sjfellegyJan. 22, 14 6:13 AM

Dick Sternberg, retired DNR fisheries biologist, like the guy in this story with common sense, predicted in 2002 if the DNR manages Lake Mille Lacs like it has the past 14-15 years--to accommodate gill-nets during the spawn--, Mille Lacs walleyes would crash in ten years (2012-2013). Maybe the new "P.H.D.'s should listen to the older guys?

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murphydogJan. 22, 14 6:57 AM

Stop listening to lake associations that push for special regs. on "Their Lake". Most asso's. represent less than 50% of the lakeshore owners on any given lake.

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hollyseanJan. 22, 14 8:26 AM

I'm not against spearing, but something needs to be done about the amount of big pike they spear per year. I know some guys that take several in 1 season. Maybe the DNR needs to have a list of lakes that have to many pike in them every year and only allow them lakes to be speared or have a more liberal limit to for anglers. why don't somebody have a big pike and smallmouth tourney on Mille lacs instead of walleye and perch contests.

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gimruisJan. 22, 14 8:38 AM

This is a trend that has been going on in the smaller lakes in MN and the Midwest for years. Its the exact opposite of walleye fishing. Walleye anglers typically keep the smaller eaters and throw back the bigger ones whereas pike anglers keep the big ones and throw back the snakes. Now there's no big pike left to keep the small ones in check and they're eating everything including perch and newly stocked walleyes. What's needed is an angler attitude shift, not more experimental regulations.

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nathanhaleJan. 22, 14 9:25 AM

We fish a metro lake loaded with small northerns. We keep all the 2-5 pounders and let the bigger ones go after taking a good picture. More folks should do the same. Pike are tasty and 2-5 pounders are good eating.

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DRJSKJan. 22, 14 9:29 AM

I never really remember much of a problem with anything, until the DNR started with all regulations. People used to keep plenty of small northern. We used to catch and keep 2 – 3 pound fish. Then the DNR decided they needed to be at least 30 inches in our area and you can only keep one. There are so many different regulations that the DNR fishing booklet is 100 pages. It has gotten ridiculous and none of the regulations have seemed to really help anything. If they focused more on invasive species, maybe that would make a difference.

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laenhtorJan. 22, 14 9:38 AM

One problem is that very few people fish northerns anymore. When I was growing up everyone fished them. Not all lakes can support large northerns. As far as spearing goes the number of spear fisherman has dropped dramatically from years past. There are far less northerns speared now than 40 or 50 years ago. I would say let people keep more northerns up to 26inches.This would allow people to keep northerns that would be big enough to eat.

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jackpinesavJan. 22, 14 9:40 AM

This makes sense. Big education/attitude change by sportsmen is needed for this; not simplistic bar talk. And big pike are not good eating at all. Take a photo of big pike, put it back and lets get rid of the overpopulation of small pike. Follow the science.

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markapJan. 22, 14 9:40 AM

The whole situation can be fixed by increasing gill netting on spawning beds, more use of sonar and spears to kill trophies, and any other non sportsmanlike practices people can come up with. I have found the enemy he is us.

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