Overfished and out of stability? Angler perceptions and DNR studies paint contrasting images of Lake of the Woods seafood populations

Overfished and out of stability? Angler perceptions and DNR studies paint contrasting images of Lake of the Woods seafood populations

A audience and avid Lake of this Woods fisherman took me personally to endeavor last week for a recently available tale we published of a Campbell, Minn., angler whom boated “at least 60” walleyes over 25 ins throughout a June day at the big pond.

TJ Harig, who supported their claim by sharing a few pictures beside me, stated their two times on Lake of this Woods served up the sorts of fishing he might never ever experience once more. According to Lake for the Woods laws, which need fishermen to discharge walleyes from 19ВЅ ins to 28 ins, Harig stated he circulated all the big walleyes but additionally caught eater-size fish.

I am a sucker for the fish that is good, and element of my work is sharing the successes (and problems) of hunters, anglers as well as other out-of-doors enthusiasts therefore I was fast to bite whenever Harig shared their story. It absolutely was the absolute most story that is read our site for at the least 2 days operating.

This summer it seems I’m having to fish vicariously through the stories and experiences of others in addition, truth be told, between the pandemic and storm damage from a recent and ongoing barrage of severe weather at our property in northwest Minnesota.

My buddies will attest that this turn that is undesirable of has made me personally quite cranky, on occasion.

‘Pretty disappointed’

My tale on Harig’s visit to Lake regarding the Woods, which later on was included in WCCO within the Twin Cities, possessed a comparable impact on a fisherman whoever family members for a long time has owned a cabin regarding the south coast of this Lake associated with Woods and fishes there often.

“Pretty disappointed,” was their response to the storyline.

“Not yes why anybody may wish to inform that tale, specially since bad as the fishing has gotten in the last couple of years as a result of extreme stress on the pond,” he composed. “Maybe you would might like to do an account in the more side that is realistic of person who has fished the pond for approximately 50 years that can not barely get a keeper anymore between mid-June and September.”

Simply the past week, he stated he’d spent more than 15 hours fishing Lake of this Woods and caught just two keepers.

“when I see or read a tale similar to this i simply bristle!” he penned. “we wish their next 10 trips are just like mine so he will not be therefore fast to boast.”

He included: “Something has to be performed to either decrease force or restrictions (or both), however a ‘one in a million’ tale like this does not assist.”

Although the reaction that is harsh me off-guard, i’ve had comparable concerns, specially concerning the standard of wintertime fishing stress on Lake for the Woods. All the way to Garden Island, some 25 miles from the south shore of the lake during a mid-February snowmobile/ice fishing trip to Oak Island on the Northwest Angle, I saw plowed roads and a city of wheelhouses.

Time was, you aren’t a snowmobile had that area of the pond pretty much to by by themselves.

A number of columns we penned in regards to the escalation in cold temperatures fishing force produced tremendous reaction from other fishermen, nearly all of who additionally had issues in regards to the quantity ice fishing force.

The figures are staggering.

Considering outcomes from a creel study the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources carried out this winter that is past fishermen logged almost 2.8 million hours of ice fishing time in the big pond from December through March, smashing the prior record of 2.1 million hours throughout the cold weather of 2019.

This winter that is past number probably could have been also greater if the pandemic had not brought go to a screeching halt within the last half of March.

Fishermen additionally kept a predicted 243,803 pounds of walleyes and 461,240 pounds of saugers this previous wintertime. In contrast, anglers during the cold winter of 2019 kept 370,000 pounds of walleyes and 479,000 pounds of saugers.

So, harvest this previous wintertime was down, despite a considerable rise in fishing force, in line with the DNR creel study outcomes.

Away from balance?

Another longtime Lake for the Woods fisherman from my hometown of Roseau, Minn., this week said he believes the pond is going of stability and contains way too many big walleyes, seafood that either autumn in the protected slot or are also bigger.

“It’s a phenomenon that is strange you are fishing and you also set the hook and you state it seems too large and no body receives the web extremely fast,” he stated. “then you definitely set the hook and say, ‘This feels as though a keeper.’ Guy, (they) obtain the net today as you’re finally planning to get someone to consume.”

We shared the 2 anglers’ frustrations with Phil Talmage, area fisheries manager for the DNR in Baudette, Minn. The DNR’s annual fall population survey on Lake of the Woods, which begins the Tuesday after Labor Day and continues for 17 consecutive days, yielded walleye and sauger numbers that both exceeded DNR management goals as i reported in December.

The study produced good variety of 13- to 15-inch saugers and abundance that is above-average of- to 19-inch walleyes; 13- to 14-inch walleyes had been somewhat below historic averages in final autumn’s study.

Asked this week exactly exactly just how he’d respond to the declare that Lake associated with Woods has gone out of stability, Talmage stated present laws perform a “great task” of protecting spawning-size seafood, meaning the abundance of bigger walleyes just isn’t astonishing.

“We do monitor the whole fishery very close, and also at this time around we now have great amounts of seafood underneath the protected slot,” Talmage said; “keepers” not as much as 19ВЅ ins, to phrase it differently.

If fishermen are not catching keeper-size walleyes in time-worn locations, Talmage indicates attempting various areas.

“they truly are available to you,” he stated. “Lake of this Woods is a big and powerful pond, and walleye can maneuver around a whole lot.”

Wherever you stay on Lake regarding the Woods, its fishing force and walleye that is current trends, be nice to your messenger.

The time that is last caught a walleye, and on occasion even had a chance to fish for them, was inside my February ice fishing visit to Lake of this Woods.

Possibly i am using this pandemic too really, but I’ve very nearly forgotten just what a walleye appears like. And it’s really making me crankier each day.

That said, I would be wondering to listen to your thinking if you should be A lake that is frequent of Woods angler; strike me up.