January 21st, 2015

Today fishing was about the same with small Walleyes, Walleyes too big caught. and small Perch the main theme.  Not many out there as the weekend so not much to report.

This warmer weather and steadier lower barometer is keeping them active and is really nice to be out there fishing. it sure is a big change from last winter.

I got a chance to read the “blue ribbon panel” report yesterday and was even questioned about it by a ON reporter.  The report pretty much restated what was already known by most that keep up with the situation Mille Lacs has been put in by “treaty management”.  It talked about the bands and anglers targeting the same sizes of Walleyes, creating a lake full of large Walleyes which will obviously “cannibalize”. It talked about invasive species, the clean water act causing water clarity issues. Temperature changes causing the decline of Tullibee, Pretty much everything already known by most.  They talked about the effects of increasing numbers Cormorants on Mille Lacs, based on info from Leech Lake. It was overall a good explanation of what has happened here. And of course said that reproduction rates stayed the same or improved despite the and disturbance of spawning beds during the spawning season. And the problem is the survival rate from year one to 3. Even the reporter from ON appeared convinced that it wasn’t and “issue” because their studies prove it.

My unanswered questions that remain are these.  If spawning grounds had not been disturbed by netting and spearing during spawning, by what percentage would have the reproduction increased? Would it have made a difference with the “cannibalizing” by increase 0-1 year fish?  It appears that the last two years when we had late ice, and not much for harvest activities, Mille Lacs ended up with two very strong year classes, and the first year survival numbers appear to still be strong despite the cannibalizing.   And my other question is. If all of this harvesting is ok in the spring, how come our DNR has areas closed for angling in this State during spawning to protect the the reproduction?  Why are Mille Lacs Walleyes so different?

It is my hope that our DNR and the Bands fix what they have broken by the political “treaty management”, Start looking ahead and being proactive with their methods instead of waiting until thing are falling apart to “analyze” and make changes. The politicians in St. Paul need to realize that fishing is a big part of Minnesota’s economy and quit playing games with lobbyists money given to them. What has been allowed to happen by their neglecting to protect our State’s resources here and on other lakes is harming our standing as the “go to” State for fishing.  Those of us that live here and provide services for the anglers deserve a better life than we have had the last 15 years.

Keep a Tight Line!      Eddy