Category Archives: Fishing & Ice Report

December 5th, 2016

The weather forecasted this coming week will start to freeze things up out there on the lake. If it will continue cold we will be getting out there in two to three weeks with houses, and sooner for the portable people.  Time will tell.

With this years harvest slot of 19-21 inches or one over 28″ and a 1 fish limit has generated interest again for the anglers.  And with the way the Walleyes are recovering it will improve as time goes on.  The Perch population is recovering some also and there are more “catchable” sized perch out there this year too.   So I’m hoping that the weather will cooperate some and allow us to get out there and fish.

Keep a Tight Line!         Eddy

November 29th, 2016

With the recent warm we lost pretty much all of the snow we received a week ago.  Over Thanksgiving weekend some private owners came up and worked on their houses.  With the weather the way it is right now I would advise the rest of you get up and check your house over and make improvements needed now instead of waiting any longer.

Today marks a milestone so to speak to me.  The guy that started all of this with his wife Phyllis.  Clark Lyback (my Dad) would have been 100 years old today if he was still alive.  He passed away in 1984 unexpectedly at the age of 68, and that is when my life changed forever.  There isn’t a day when I’m out there on the ice that I don’t think of him.  Sometimes the thoughts are happy and other times they bring sadness. You would think that after 32 years the hurt of loss would go away but I guess it doesn’t.   You just learn to live with it.  I’ve attached a picture of him when he got his first V-plow on his Jeep for the ice roads…if he only knew what he started almost 70 years ago…    🙂

dad-and-his-jeep

Keep a Tight Line!   Eddy

November 20th, 2016

Our first winter storm blew thru over the last couple days and left us with 4-8 inches of snow. All the trees near the lake were snow and ice covered and a lot of branches blew down in the 40 mph winds.  The water temps had to really take a tumble the last couple days.

The next two to three weeks we will be working on  finishing up the loose ends and getting ready for first ice. Hopefully mother nature will get us out there in a reasonable amount of time. This will be my 40th something year out there and even though things are getting a little harder and slower to do I still am getting excited about it.  And as long as I feel that way you will see me out there….

Keep a Tight Line!    Eddy

lybacksw

November 17th, 2016

Well we are finally going to see a change of seasons. This fall up to this point has reminded me of a few years over the last forty some that it stayed warmer late then all of a sudden it happened.  Who knows these days with all the changes that the world is going thru..

Anyways, a presidential election is finally over and the country can hopefully see some changes in the way things happen in our government.  Don’t know if it’s going to be good or bad, but glad at least something else will be tried. After seeing what this country had evolved into over the last 30 plus years, (and it’s government and policies) I am glad it finally happened…

We are getting the rentals just about wrapped up and are working on servicing the trucks to get them ready for the season. I’m hoping we will have a little earlier start like 2013. But if we can get everyone out there by Christmas and actually have a Christmas week like we used to it would be a blessing.

Keep a Tight Line!     Eddy

November 4th,2016

Yesterday it was announced that there will be a Walleye harvest on Mille Lacs Lake for angler’s this winter. The harvest will be one Walleye per angler between 19″-21″ long, or one over 28″

It is a start to the signs of the recovery of the lake.  The 2013 year class will be mature spawning age by this coming fall and the fall assessments this year show the 2015 and especially 2016 year classes very strong.  Proof that if you give this lake a chance to recover it will despite claims of invasive species, clearer water and global warming.  Now the next big goal will be how to insure a balanced harvest by both the MN Anglers and Bands can be accomplished…

With the Smallmouth Bass in Mille Lacs Lake in the national spotlight has put all of us up here in a “golden” opportunity so to speak of getting back on feet economically along with the improving Walleye population.  It is so important now to make sure this lake’s fisheries can be taken care of so once again Mille Lacs Lake will be the “goto” place for many fishermen for years to come.

Keep a Tight Line!          Eddy

November 1st, 2016

It is getting closer to winter even though the weather is showing it yet. Maybe another symptom of global warming. And very well could be, but I’m hoping we still have our “seasons” up here.

One of the reasons I’m posting tonite is today was a clear, no wind day on Mille Lacs and about dusk a breeze started from the northwest at dusk.  When I went out to check the wood boiler I could smell “tullibee” in the air off the lake. (this is the time when they spawn when water temps drop to the mid 40’s).  it was one of the rare things we get to experience when you live on this lake. When they come into the reefs to spawn, you can actually smell them. (And this is not the “crab farts” that Captain Phil Harris of the “Cornelia Marie” on “Deadliest Catch” joked about either….  🙂  )

It made me think about how this lake despite all the changes, ( with “political treaty management”  and the State of Minnesota’s DNR’s Fisheries division has been forced to go thru because of it.) , that if left alone for awhile it will take care of itself.

The writing on the wall so to speak, is that with no significant harvest in the spring during the Walleye spawning by the tribes, (whether by natures late ice conditions in 2013, or the minimal spring harvest because of the low harvest quotas we have endured the  last two years, both on the bands and angler’s side), Mille lacs lake is recovering. This late summer’s assessments have shown that this years,(2016 Walleye)  is almost as good as as the 2013 year class is as far as survival so far.  I applaud our DNR Fisheries division for it.  Despite how hard it has been for most of us up here.

The best part of all of this the will be now real record of how not messing with the fish when they are spawning is good for Mille Lacs Lake biologically. Despite all the talk, (and much of it true, that Mille Lacs is changing  because of invasive species, global warming, sewers around the lake being more affective), if the fish are left alone to reproduce,along with proper management, they will recover.

It is something alot of us that have lived here long thought.   Something to ponder on…  In 2011, there was 3250  gill nets set in Mille Lacs lake set on Walleye spawning grounds…and anglers regulations were set by our DNR to keep the numbers in the creel for them.  It created a big eating machine that decimated the baitfish to the point the Walleyes were “cannibalizing”  themselves.. Since the restrictions of harvest it has been minimal.  Compare it to the  the recovery of our surviving  year classes we have now.  Yes, anglers have taken a hit too with the restricted harvest.  But the biological facts will prove as this lake recovers and if managed the right way that netting during the spawning time was the major causes of Mille Lacs Lake Walleye decline….And a proper, balanced harvest of Mille Lacs Walleyes on both sides is warranted, (and should be demanded by all of us), in the future.,..   No More Nets during spawning….period!  That is something I have been fighting for 40 years since the beginnings of the Mille Lacs Lake Advisory Assn.  Maybe I can live long enough to see it end.  it is what we ALL should be about…  Wake up..

Keep a Tight Line!

Eddy

October 14th, 2016

It has been a long time since I’ve post on the blog/report.  It was a busy summer up here with a lot of changes in the fishery, the focus on Small-mouth Bass, the frustration with the fishing regulations to help the “recovery” of the Walleye, dealing with keeping a business going that revolves around the lake and it’s fishery, and talking to everyone that walked into the door at my marine business I own and trying to keep afloat… All in all there has not been much time to reflect on it like I do every nite when I’m home in the winter.  (Days are shorter then… 🙂 ).

A highlight of the summer for me was having  Seth Feider –  (a bass  fisherman (and great person too) that bought a Bass Cat boat from me), fished the Bass-master’s Elite Series all year and won the Bass-masters AOY Tournament at Mille lacs this past month.  He was the only Minnesotan that fished the series and with his boat with Lyback’s Marine on it was pretty cool to see for me.  The show about the Mille Lacs tournament will be on ESPN, Sunday, October 16th and again sometime in November.

Last night we had the “October” Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee meeting which we talked about the possibility of harvest for the upcoming winter and summer season.  We talked about the effects of the Bass-masters tournament the the future impacts from bass fishermen on the lake. We talked about accomplishments of the committee and it’s future direction for the next year. And also on of the members of our committee resigned.  Jamie Edwards –  who was the representative for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and also one of their political lobbyists, and director of Government relations for the Band.

He attended the first two organizational meetings and to my recollection, attended one mid summer when we invited the GLIFWC representatives to our meeting so we could learn more about what they do and their view and opinion of what is going on. During that meeting the only people he talked to and communicated with during the “break” was the State of Minnesota’s elected representatives, members of GLIFWIC and MN DNR officials.  There was little or no attempt converse with other members of the committee that I seen. Otherwise at almost all the other meetings his attendance was by phone connection and when ever asked about the Bands opinion the answer was always “I will have to get back to the group” , which never would happen.  Obviously he was put there as an observer by the Bands and not to be an active participant of the group like the rest of us were.

In his resignation letter to the committee, he call the group a “hostile and biased” committee.  He and the Mille Lacs Band “copied” Governor Dayton along with the members of our committee and DNR officials with his letter. (Apparently there is special privilege there)..   Everyone on the Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee encouraged the Bands presence and many times ask for more participation so we could understand more of their culture and reasons. The members concerns have always  been and will always be the lake and it’s fishery. (We started that idea back in the 80’s with the Mille Lacs Lake Advisory Assn.  We knew that if we did our best to preserve and protect Mille Lacs and it’s fishery, anglers would come to the lake we lived and worked on.) The 17 member committee is made up from a very diverse group of citizens. 3 county commissioners, President of the MN Bass Nation, A member of the Northern and Muskie Alliance.  two guides from northern Minnesota, a DNR forage study biologist, five fishing related business around Mille Lacs, a realtor/lakeshore owner, and a retired lakeshore owner on Mille Lacs.

Another major reason in the letter of resignation was that the members of our committee felt it was “culturally offensive” that netting Walleyes during the spawning season was not good for the welfare of a fishery and it’s sustainability was stated as such.  Most of us non Native Americans in Minnesota have a “culture” also after over 160 plus years of being a State, (Minnesota) of the United States of America too.  I am saddened and outraged they always go to the “racist” scenario. Especially when our only concern is the recovery of a Walleye fishery that belong to all of us citizens of the State of Minnesota along with the Bands according to a treaty decision.  There isn’t one person on the committee that doesn’t recognize and accept the Bands right to harvest, their “culture” and traditions.  But also there isn’t one person on the committee that agrees that harvest during the spawning season is good for Mille Lacs Lake by nets. The DNR officials cannot state the same because of the “political” treaty management process they are stuck in currently. But the MN DNR’s policy has always been to protect species while they are reproducing or we would have open seasons all year long. I agree and support with our MN DNR’s statewide policies of that that have been there for over 100 years.

The saddest part of all, since the treaty decision and subsequent harvests during the spawning season for Walleyes, the Mille Lacs Lake’s fishery has been in decline and so has it’s community. And that is whether anyone “officially” wants to admit it or not, has been a contributing factor..  Most of us that have lived here all of our lives remember when we all, Mille Lacs Band members and locals got along. I used to bowl at our local bowling ally with friends from the Band, went to school as a kid and had Native American friends in my class that were truly friends.  Most of that has disappeared because of this political treaty management, and not by my intent or others to keep Mille lacs and it’s fishery healthy for all. But now we are “termed” biased on this committee by the his resignation letter. I considered Jamie Edwards a friend also as he brought his boat to us to work on, he knew my sister, lived just east of where my business was and we got along well,  And now because of my concerns for Mille Lacs and it’s fishery… I’m considered a “racist” by the Bands..   Those that really know me and people that know what all I’ve really worked for all these years know differently…

Keep a Tight Line!

Eddy

May 27th, 2016

It has been a long time since I have put anything on this (my report/blog page).  Last time  was on April 1st. Since then alot has happened on Mille Lacs scene since then in regards to the Walleye regulations and it’s  fishery. First we had a “catch and release” fishery with no live bait, which the Advisory committee (which I am a member of) with a conference call with the Governor and DNR officials fortunately was reversed for the live bait portion overturned.

Now at our last meeting, (which I couldn’t attend due to work at my marine shop), some of the true problems of the Mille Lacs and it’s Walleye fishery decline, (in my opinion) was talked about and right away the  “media” reports of the meeting started talking about the “race” card in respect to the fishery and treaty rights again. (mainly due to the influence of the Bands and their advertising with the media and the lobbying contributions by the Mille Lacs Band to Minnesota’s Senators and Representatives.)  and guess who is one of the members of of the the Mille Lacs Advisory committee but one of their lobbyists. You can decide for yourself what happened after that…. Unfortunately the only “card” they have to play is the Supreme Courts decision to allow treaty rights to harvest.  And the last 15 plus years of abuse of Mille Lacs’s Walleye resource by harvesting with gillnets and spears during the reproductive time of year for Walleyes ,(and or any other wildlife) has proven over time is counterproductive to the species survival if done during that time. And is proven in other places besides here.  Example: (Do we or they shoot deer while they are carrying fawns?)

So anyways, I get an email from a member of the council a couple weeks ago because some of us were talking via email that we felt there was a need to work on making a resolution that said if Mille Lacs was to have a “catch and release” fishery that we felt that because the DNR’s methods of censusing the “hooking mortality” of catch and released Walleyes had a (admitted by DNR officials), had the possibility to have a 25% to 35% margin of error by their that we needed “no closure” at Mille Lacs to help businesses survive during the fisheries recovery. And that we felt that the gill-netting of Walleyes during spawning was “culturally offensive to today’s society’s beliefs and detrimental to fishery biologically.  His response was that it was “culturally offensive” to them to say that in our statement that we said it was “culturally offensive” to us, and he stated that he was surprised that the state would even pay out money to have a committee that would say that ….(Wow)… Guess who that was… it proves that is all they have to fall back on, after almost two hundred year they still don’t care about the resource. But they try they try to portray themselves as the caretakers of it…(their record doesn’t prove that at all for anyone that really checks it out.)…the more we expose the truth, the more the majority will decide.

I am so sick and tired of this crap and the people that  just because of an outdated treaty think they can turn back time and rape a resource to it’s almost distinction, (Red Lake for example, Northern Wisconsin lakes for example), with no regard the times, all of us are living in now. (not 200 years ago). Along with the government that the rest of the country, including us in Minnesota that pays taxes to take care of them in so many ways, would think that there would be some understanding instead of demanding of it.  Everyone except them have learned over time that harvesting a natural resource when it is reproducing is wrong and to protect it during that time is important. (Must be a reason for that).

For almost 40 years I have stood my ground on this issue based on the protection of the fishery. Not the objection to treaty rights of harvest that were affirmed almost 19 years ago.. (Even though I have been termed  “racist” because of it many times…I am not.)  Long before the treaty stuff started I was objecting to gill-netting during the time Walleyes were spawning and I met face to face with the Mille Lacs Band Chief at the time Art Gahbow when at the age of 23, I was president of the Mille lacs Lake Advisory Assn.  The day after a meeting with the tribal council where I and other members presented a petition to them objecting to the mention of them starting to net during the spring for Walleyes.  (They had been doing it for years long before to celebrate a tradition of their culture, and all around the lake knew it and respected it . But they announced they were going to do it in larger proportions, and made it known to the media.)

I was at my Dad’s place and two big Lincoln’s drove in and guys in black suits and Art Gahbow in full Tribal dress got out of the cars and walked to my Dad’s office for his Ice Fishing business and came in.  The first thing Art said to my Dad was “Hi Clark!  How have you been?”  Turns out my Dad and Art were friends back in their school days, they talked for awhile and then he turned to me and asked “are you really going to go thru with this petition and make it  an issue?”  I told him as a representative of the Mille Lacs Lake Advisory Assn.  I was going to to protect the reproduction of the resource and make it and issue. And that is how this all started for me…….

To hear all the bullshit and politics these days and seeing how our State of Minnesota’s officials cover it up because of money and allow the destruction of it’s citizens resources that they are supposed represent, and because of a old treaty and the people it represents can’t change with the times and celebrate a tradition, instead of thinking they have to live on it like they did 200 years ago is to me totally nuts.  It would be like me because I’m Norwegian, be a “Viking” and conquer lands and all the stuff they did then and wouldn’t do now…..or maybe us “Vikings”  should……   lol   🙂

Keep a Tight Line!

Eddy

April 1st, 2016

The lake is starting to give up it’s ice.  Ice out will be earlier this year compared to average by about 3 weeks due to lack of cold weather this winter.

lybacksq

Mille Lacs will be catch and release for anglers this coming summer due to the effects “Treaty Management” and which lead to the decline of the Walleye population in my opinion. Meanwhile the Bands are “netting Perch” and spearing Walleyes during the spawning season again.  I’m sure the Walleyes know not to swim into a “Perch” net……   Crazy world we live in these days….

I’m not against Bands right to harvest or treaty rights, but to harvest a resource that is supposedly in trouble during the time it is reproducing is against all nature intended it to be.  A federal court decision still doesn’t mean it is good for natures way of doing things.

Eddy

March 16th,2016

I thought I would show a picture of tonight when I got home from work.  lybacks

I want to thank all the positive e-mails from Minnesota residents that read my March 11th report/blog.  It is good to know that those that live in Minnesota and know about Mille Lacs Lake and it’s history of being a  great fishery so close to so many people in this State for so long is important.  The lake has always been an important part of my family’s life since my grand father homesteaded where I live now over 110 years ago. And along with many, many others in Minnesota that have come to for years, it is time for us that care speak up. It is time for all parties involved in the management of the great resource this lake provides for us to take care of it for everyone.  To use backward, out of date policies of harvesting fish during their spawning season just doesn’t work…anywhere, let alone here.  Just because some document says you can, doesn’t and shouldn’t mean a thing when it destroys the resource for all like it has….and the last last 15 years of “treaty management” has proven to all to everyone that this is not the path to follow.  Wake up Minnesotan’s….It’s time to change this!

Thanks for your support!

Keep a Tight Line!     Eddy