Overfished and out of balance? Angler perceptions and DNR studies paint contrasting photos of Lake associated with the Woods seafood populations
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A audience and avid Lake of this Woods fisherman took me personally to process last week for a current tale we composed about a Campbell, Minn., angler whom boated “at least 60″ walleyes over 25 ins within a June day at the big pond.

TJ Harig, who copied their claim by sharing a few pictures he may never experience again with me, said his two days on Lake of the Woods served up the kind of fishing. Depending on Lake for the Woods laws, which need fishermen to produce walleyes from 19ВЅ ins to 28 ins, Harig said he circulated all the big walleyes but additionally caught eater-size fish.

I am a sucker for the good seafood story, and section of my task is sharing the successes (and problems) of hunters, fishermen along with other out-of-doors enthusiasts thus I was fast to bite whenever Harig shared their story. It had been probably the most browse tale on our web site for at the very least two times 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 unwanted change of occasions has made me personally quite cranky, in certain cases.

‘Pretty disappointed’

My tale on Harig’s visit to Lake associated with Woods, which later on was included in WCCO within the Twin Cities, had an effect that is similar a fisherman whoever household for a long time has owned a cabin regarding the south shore of this Lake associated with the Woods and fishes here often.

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

“Not certain why anybody may wish to inform that tale, specially since bad as the fishing has gotten within the last several years as a result of pressure that is extreme the lake,” he penned. “Maybe you would wish to accomplish a story from the more side that is realistic of individual who has fished the pond for approximately 50 years that can not barely get a keeper anymore between mid-June and September.”

Simply the week that is previous he stated he’d spent more than 15 hours fishing Lake associated with Woods and caught just two keepers.

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

He included: “One thing should be achieved to either decrease force or restrictions (or both), but a ‘one in a million’ tale such as this does not assist.”

Even though the harsh response caught me personally off-guard, i’ve had comparable issues, particularly in regards to the degree of winter fishing force 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, a person with a snowmobile had that area of the pond pretty much to by by by themselves.

A few columns we penned concerning the escalation in wintertime fishing force created tremendous reaction from other fishermen, almost all of who additionally had issues in regards to the quantity ice fishing stress.

The figures are staggering.

According to outcomes from the creel study the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources carried out this previous cold temperatures, fishermen logged almost 2.8 million hours of ice fishing time regarding the big pond from December through March, smashing the last record of 2.1 million hours during the cold winter of 2019.

This winter that is past number probably could have been even greater in the event that pandemic had not brought journey to a screeching halt within the last half of March.

Fishermen additionally kept a believed 243,803 pounds of walleyes and 461,240 pounds of saugers this winter that is past. In contrast, fishermen through the cold temperatures of 2019 kept 370,000 pounds of walleyes and 479,000 pounds of saugers.

So, harvest this winter that is past down, despite a considerable upsurge in fishing stress, in line with the DNR creel study outcomes.

Away from stability?

Another longtime Lake for the Woods fisherman from my hometown of Roseau, Minn., this week explained he believes the pond may be out of stability and has now a lot of big walleyes, seafood that either autumn in the protected slot or are also bigger.

“It is a strange event when you are fishing and you also set the hook and you also state it seems too large and no body gets the web extremely fast,” he stated. “then you definitely set the hook and state, ‘This is like a keeper.’ Man, (they) obtain the net today because 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 amounts 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 survey.

Expected this week exactly just exactly how he’d react to the declare that Lake regarding the Woods is going of stability, Talmage stated present laws execute a job that is”great of protecting spawning-size seafood, meaning the abundance of bigger walleyes is certainly not astonishing.

“We do monitor the entire fishery very near, as well as this time around we now have great amounts of seafood underneath the protected slot,” Talmage stated; “keepers” lower than 19ВЅ inches, to phrase it differently.

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

“they are on the market,” he stated. “Lake for the Woods is a sizable and lake that is dynamic and walleye can move a great deal.”

Wherever you stay on Lake associated with Woods, its fishing stress and current walleye populace styles, be good to your messenger.

The time that is last caught a walleye, if not had a way to catch them, was within my February ice fishing visit to Lake associated with the Woods.

Possibly I’m using this pandemic too really, but I’ve nearly forgotten exactly what a walleye seems like. And it’s really making me crankier each day.

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