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Old 08-22-2017, 02:36 PM
SNAPFisher SNAPFisher is offline
 
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Default Pike and walleye management input

Hey all,
I just received an email on this topic. I'm not sure if this is new or old though and it says it closes Sep 5th. I never see it as a bad thing when input is sought. I know there are some pretty passionate members on here on management so hopefully you can provide your input:

https://talkaep.alberta.ca/northern-...ent-frameworks
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:52 PM
SNAPFisher SNAPFisher is offline
 
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Some questions will make you think before answering. Many of the questions are ones that are asked on here regularly. Give yourself a voice and take it
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Old 08-22-2017, 03:27 PM
scel scel is offline
 
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Maybe somebody can set me straight here...

I have a PDF that I downloaded years ago. There was a legitimate scientific paper attached to it, but I cannot seem to find it.

http://wildernessnorth.com/wordpress...rowthChart.pdf

Use this document as a grain of salt guideline.

I have always been perplexed on the concept of 'minimum size limits' for walleye and pike. A 3lb walleye and a 4lb pike will be around 10 years old.

Any pike bigger than 63cm will likely be part of the active breeding population (i.e. 5 years or older). Likewise, any walleye larger than 40cm will likely be part of the breeding population.

Slot sizes make the most sense to me, but they are more difficult to enforce. Saskatchewan's policy of 'maximum retention of which only 1 may be larger than XXcm' is great, but SK has provincially a more sustainable fishery because the sheer amount of fish holding water, but they still have fairly restrictive retention with greater human population access.

What do you think of minimum size limits?
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Old 08-22-2017, 04:32 PM
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Good basis for a questionnaire but they should have had comment sections on the later questions.

Reduced open seasons of 1-3 weeks would be an absolute gong show, I wouldn't even want to imagine what this would look like.

I don't get fisheries love for these tags. It is a ridiculously labour intensive process that creates a ton of work and requires close monitoring(that doesn't always happen). It is far from a perfect system as we saw with Battle Lake.

Minimum sizes works, fisheries was nice enough to tell us that previously but it is also obvious if you go fish a lake with minimum size limits. The only time it fails is if the minimum size wasn't set high enough to allow the fish to breed a few years or if there is excessive poaching or netting. Yes it is hard to catch a fish big enough in lots of these lakes but there are still lots of fish in them and they do constantly grow big enough to allow anglers to take home a meal now and then.

Slot sizes still make the most sense to me on the majority of our lakes. What I think should be done and is the simplest is the following.

On lakes that are in bad shape stock the lake to help speed up recovery and have them C&R until the population gets a foothold.

On the remainder of lakes there should be a province wide slot limit of say 50-55 or 50-60 cm and then vary the limit quantity based on lake location(lakes like Slave might be able to sustain 2 fish and remote lakes maybe 2 whereas anything close to a city leave to 1). This makes enforcement super easy and ensures sustainability across the province and would also lead to a number of more lakes with trophy fish.

Then in a small select group of lakes small numbers of tags or permanent C&R could be used to create trophy fisheries.
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Old 08-22-2017, 05:40 PM
Drewski Canuck Drewski Canuck is offline
 
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Slot sizes do work great for the simple reason that the large fish carry on breeding and the genes for the large fish get put back into the population of smaller fish, some of which make it through to breed for years to come.

BUT, there are big fish that are well past their prime, being the 9 pound plus, 20 year plus fish, that just end up being kept by the Square Hook Crowd.

After a fish has been breeding for so long, the egg fertilization potential simply drops off, and there is a lot less recruitment anyways.

How about trophy tags for lakes that use a slot size, so that the resource does in fact get utilized, and does not just go to a select group that do not have to put the over size fish back like the rest of us.

The balance of the age structure will still continue with no difference because after 20 years, there has been ample recruitment of the gene pool from these large fish for multiple generations before the large fish is removed from the age class.

Drewski
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Old 08-22-2017, 05:51 PM
NSR Fisher NSR Fisher is offline
 
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Lots of talk about "low fish populations" but what about the other side of the coin? Some lakes I know could use a cull of the massive swarms of 40cm walleye. Pigeon, Buck, etc etc.

On these types of lakes IMO it makes more sense to have a MAX size limit rather than a minimum.

Fish gets to 45 or 50 CM and he's now safe to keep breeding. Anything smaller usually isn't sexually mature anyways, so its fine to harvest those at a slightly higher rate.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 08-22-2017, 05:59 PM
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what about a yearly limit of harvest per person , like Chinook salmon you write each retained fish on your licence , once you harvest your fish limit for year you are in to catch and release for the rest of the season.
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Old 08-22-2017, 06:52 PM
The Spank The Spank is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fish99 View Post
what about a yearly limit of harvest per person , like Chinook salmon you write each retained fish on your licence , once you harvest your fish limit for year you are in to catch and release for the rest of the season.
That is exactly what I wrote in the comments sections asking about Special Harvest Licenses.
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fish99 View Post
what about a yearly limit of harvest per person , like Chinook salmon you write each retained fish on your licence , once you harvest your fish limit for year you are in to catch and release for the rest of the season.
That could work in conjunction with minimum size or slot limits but wouldn't work on its own because too many people would go to the close easy lakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NSR Fisher View Post
Lots of talk about "low fish populations" but what about the other side of the coin? Some lakes I know could use a cull of the massive swarms of 40cm walleye. Pigeon, Buck, etc etc.

On these types of lakes IMO it makes more sense to have a MAX size limit rather than a minimum.

Fish gets to 45 or 50 CM and he's now safe to keep breeding. Anything smaller usually isn't sexually mature anyways, so its fine to harvest those at a slightly higher rate.

Just my 2 cents.
The problem with those regulations is that places like Pigeon would be fished out in no time because very few if any of the fish would reach the max size to become breeders. The lake would survive for a few years but once the older fish died off from natural causes or poor handling etc there would be nothing to replace them.

A similar example can be seen at Wabamun right now. The walleye did not directly affect the large pike population but they destroyed the younger pike population and now you can barely catch big pike because they have died off due to other reasons and have not been replaced.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewski Canuck View Post
Slot sizes do work great for the simple reason that the large fish carry on breeding and the genes for the large fish get put back into the population of smaller fish, some of which make it through to breed for years to come.

BUT, there are big fish that are well past their prime, being the 9 pound plus, 20 year plus fish, that just end up being kept by the Square Hook Crowd.

After a fish has been breeding for so long, the egg fertilization potential simply drops off, and there is a lot less recruitment anyways.

How about trophy tags for lakes that use a slot size, so that the resource does in fact get utilized, and does not just go to a select group that do not have to put the over size fish back like the rest of us.

The balance of the age structure will still continue with no difference because after 20 years, there has been ample recruitment of the gene pool from these large fish for multiple generations before the large fish is removed from the age class.

Drewski
If there were too many fish not being caught during their slot size then the limit for that particular lake could be increased.

What I would do rather then trophy tags(cause I hate the tag system) is allow people to keep the fish after they reach trophy size. So lets say regulations like one between slot size of 50-60 cm or one over 75 cm.

Having too many big fish isn't a problem to me. I have no problems with catch and release and would far rather have a lake I could go to and catch 10 lbers easily then a lake where I can keep a fish from.
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:46 PM
Tcon Tcon is offline
 
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I got half way through that survey and declined to submit. It will provide little to no value and was a horrendous example of steering people into one bad option over another. Worse yet, they will use it as part of their decision making process, so scary.
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Old 08-22-2017, 07:53 PM
Tcon Tcon is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavYak View Post
A similar example can be seen at Wabamun right now. The walleye did not directly affect the large pike population but they destroyed the younger pike population and now you can barely catch big pike because they have died off due to other reasons and have not been replaced.
Are you sure that is the reason? I have a lake lot on Wabamun and have been fishing it almost exclusively this season. We have no issue catching healthy populations of both pike and walleye in a wide variety of size classes. The pike size of Wabamun was unnatural due to the higher than average water temperatures while the plants were open. Maybe the decline in pike size (if there is one) is a normalization based on a more natural environment.
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:41 PM
pikeman06 pikeman06 is offline
 
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There's people on this forum that truly believe a lake over run with walleye at the cost of all other species is a sign of successful fisheries management. It's good fishing because all they got left to eat is frozen parkers minnows. The zero walleye limits and 63 cm pike limit has pretty much wiped out the pike now and effected the gene pool as well. It's only gonna get worse. I can go on for days about this and others will defend the state of our fishery to their graves.
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tcon View Post
I got half way through that survey and declined to submit. It will provide little to no value and was a horrendous example of steering people into one bad option over another. Worse yet, they will use it as part of their decision making process, so scary.
That is what annoyed me about them not including comment sections. Just a survey giving people bad options so that they will support the tagging option...

All the questions about walleye management why nothing about slot sizes? Minimum sizes but with increased minimums? So many options not address but hey at least they offered to open lakes for 1 week so we have 1000 anglers try to fish the same lake for their limit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tcon View Post
Are you sure that is the reason? I have a lake lot on Wabamun and have been fishing it almost exclusively this season. We have no issue catching healthy populations of both pike and walleye in a wide variety of size classes. The pike size of Wabamun was unnatural due to the higher than average water temperatures while the plants were open. Maybe the decline in pike size (if there is one) is a normalization based on a more natural environment.
I am without doubt that it is a huge part of the reason. The lake literally collapsed within 2 years and the used to be massive population of 20-32 inch fish was decimated. I bet it is only 1/4 of what it was 3-4 years ago if that, I used to go out and catch 50 pike in a few hours after work and it was literally hard to not catch a pike. Now you have to work a lot harder to even find the pike and if you can get 50 pike in a full day of fishing you have had a pretty good day.

The big pike are all still healthy but lots of them die off just due to poor handling and natural causes. The locals see them wash up regularly and the biologist for the lake pretty much blamed us fishermen when I was messaging him about the pike dying off due to the walleye overrunning the lake...

This is far from the first time AB fisheries has done this to a lake though. They did the same thing to Ste. Anne, Pigeon and probably a number of other lakes as well. They are infatuated with walleye and destroy the pike population by overstocking the lake till it is overrun and full of stunted walleye... At least with wabamun if they leave it alone there is a chance of a quality walleye fishery in 5-10 years, that is if they ever start to grow...
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  #14  
Old 08-22-2017, 10:26 PM
wind drift wind drift is offline
 
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Default Slot limit info

Found this to be very enlightening:
https://mywildalberta.ca/fishing/reg...ta-May2017.pdf

Definitely worth a read.
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:34 PM
wind drift wind drift is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tcon View Post
Are you sure that is the reason? I have a lake lot on Wabamun and have been fishing it almost exclusively this season. We have no issue catching healthy populations of both pike and walleye in a wide variety of size classes. The pike size of Wabamun was unnatural due to the higher than average water temperatures while the plants were open. Maybe the decline in pike size (if there is one) is a normalization based on a more natural environment.
Don't forget the lake was closed for a few years after the spill. The bank account increased when the annual withdrawals were reduced big time. Even with catch and release, fish are killed. Mature pike can be hard for inexperienced or poorly equipped anglers to handle. How many times can a big pike get hooked, handled, photographed, and bounce around on the rocks or the bottom of a boat before it's the last time?
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:53 PM
linemanpete linemanpete is offline
 
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If they go to pike and walleye tags, I suggested each license purchased would get a free draw or one for each species. Otherwise I still see it as a huge cash cow, and although I haven't searched hard, have never found where that tag $$ is going.
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:05 AM
calgarygringo calgarygringo is offline
 
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Read the article on slot sizes. Funny he mentions how people take so many close to size and is basically poaching them out but never mentions maybe more policing of the fishing may take care of that issue.
Keep everything shut down and no policing and more will be poached.
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavYak View Post
That is what annoyed me about them not including comment sections. Just a survey giving people bad options so that they will support the tagging option...

All the questions about walleye management why nothing about slot sizes? Minimum sizes but with increased minimums? So many options not address but hey at least they offered to open lakes for 1 week so we have 1000 anglers try to fish the same lake for their limit...



I am without doubt that it is a huge part of the reason. The lake literally collapsed within 2 years and the used to be massive population of 20-32 inch fish was decimated. I bet it is only 1/4 of what it was 3-4 years ago if that, I used to go out and catch 50 pike in a few hours after work and it was literally hard to not catch a pike. Now you have to work a lot harder to even find the pike and if you can get 50 pike in a full day of fishing you have had a pretty good day.

The big pike are all still healthy but lots of them die off just due to poor handling and natural causes. The locals see them wash up regularly and the biologist for the lake pretty much blamed us fishermen when I was messaging him about the pike dying off due to the walleye overrunning the lake...

This is far from the first time AB fisheries has done this to a lake though. They did the same thing to Ste. Anne, Pigeon and probably a number of other lakes as well. They are infatuated with walleye and destroy the pike population by overstocking the lake till it is overrun and full of stunted walleye... At least with wabamun if they leave it alone there is a chance of a quality walleye fishery in 5-10 years, that is if they ever start to grow...
So you are complaining about not catching 50 pike a night anymore? At 5-10% release mortality, is there any wonder the pike population collapsed? How many others were doing that?
That guy who has all the university education, probably knew what he was talking about. Not like those walleye you are complaining about ate them. What reason do you have for those pike dying?
Reread what you wrote. To me, it looks like you are a big part of the loss of a pike fishery. Reminds me of the old farts I grew up with. "We used to haul home gunny bags full of pike. Fishing sure isn't what it used to be....."
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Old 08-23-2017, 10:21 AM
SNAPFisher SNAPFisher is offline
 
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Ahhhh, hopefully this post is not another sideways one.

I saved my comments for the survey. Yes, it does steer a bit so if you don't agree with any of the options... I get that. Don't forget though they posted an email address you can send additional comments to and I did that as well. It made it easier to explain on questions where neither option were great to me.

Have a voice
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Old 08-23-2017, 06:03 PM
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I get these questionnaires everytime one comes out. Once you fill one out you get put on the list. I love having a voice in the process.
Unfortunately they can only give us limited options. And if you don't fill these out, you are the one to blame if you don't like the results.
I find it is nice that it isn't just the vocal lobbyists that are being heard. I don't belong to any of them so at least this way I have a say. I'm tired of the old loud mouths screaming over top of us quiet people. This gives us a chance to get our input heard.
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Old 08-23-2017, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDave View Post
So you are complaining about not catching 50 pike a night anymore? At 5-10% release mortality, is there any wonder the pike population collapsed? How many others were doing that?
That guy who has all the university education, probably knew what he was talking about. Not like those walleye you are complaining about ate them. What reason do you have for those pike dying?
Reread what you wrote. To me, it looks like you are a big part of the loss of a pike fishery. Reminds me of the old farts I grew up with. "We used to haul home gunny bags full of pike. Fishing sure isn't what it used to be....."
As I said in the post you quoted handling was a big issue with the big pike especially with the people that needed to get a weight, pictures, lengths etc. It barely affected the younger population because the lake was overrun with them. The lake handled that mortality for years, it wasn't until the walleye were stocked and the fish were visibly starving(which is why I contacted the bio...) that it cratered. C&R mortality during that time was much higher, the fish wouldn't even put up a fight and then lots of them would just float away... That is why I stopped fishing the lake...

You obviously don't know any of the details as to what happened at Wabamun and I would advise you do some research on here before jumping to conclusions and incorrectly placing blame on myself and many of this forums other members...
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:11 PM
pikeman06 pikeman06 is offline
 
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So if handling is such a big mortality issue why not let the guys looking for a fish to eat keep a smaller fish and get on with their day? I just don't get the keeping of large pike for so many years. Now you got guys going thru all those fish looking for a keeper and probably killing ten percent in the process for a fish that might not even exist and even if it did it would be the last one you would want to kill if protecting a gene pool or trying to sustain a collapsed fishery.
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Old 08-24-2017, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavYak View Post
As I said in the post you quoted handling was a big issue with the big pike especially with the people that needed to get a weight, pictures, lengths etc. It barely affected the younger population because the lake was overrun with them. The lake handled that mortality for years, it wasn't until the walleye were stocked and the fish were visibly starving(which is why I contacted the bio...) that it cratered. C&R mortality during that time was much higher, the fish wouldn't even put up a fight and then lots of them would just float away... That is why I stopped fishing the lake...

You obviously don't know any of the details as to what happened at Wabamun and I would advise you do some research on here before jumping to conclusions and incorrectly placing blame on myself and many of this forums other members...
Lol never your fault alway something or so else's fault. Any science to back up this claim? Something that the biologist might say? Nope.
Research on here? Thanks that helped me poop. Great laugh.
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Old 08-24-2017, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RavYak View Post
As I said in the post you quoted handling was a big issue with the big pike especially with the people that needed to get a weight, pictures, lengths etc. It barely affected the younger population because the lake was overrun with them. The lake handled that mortality for years, it wasn't until the walleye were stocked and the fish were visibly starving(which is why I contacted the bio...) that it cratered. C&R mortality during that time was much higher, the fish wouldn't even put up a fight and then lots of them would just float away... That is why I stopped fishing the lake...

You obviously don't know any of the details as to what happened at Wabamun and I would advise you do some research on here before jumping to conclusions and incorrectly placing blame on myself and many of this forums other members...
Rav, I'm curious to know what your observations were on this, i.e. what year did you start seeing the pike crash and when did you stop fishing Wab? I ask as a fisherman who is on the lake about every other weekend in the summer (I'll fish from our dock from time to time) and quite honestly haven't noticed the starving or sickly jack that others on this forum have spoken about. However, I have noticed the number of fish that I'm catching go down, but quality is consistent with 3-4 years ago

Granted, I'm maybe catching 2-3 fish in the hour or so that I'm casting, so my sample size is vastly smaller than most others. I would say I'm catching 10:1 pike vs. walleye from the dock. Flip that ratio when out in open water on the boat though, when I can't keep the walleye off the hook
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Old 08-24-2017, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDave View Post
So you are complaining about not catching 50 pike a night anymore? At 5-10% release mortality, is there any wonder the pike population collapsed? How many others were doing that?
That guy who has all the university education, probably knew what he was talking about. Not like those walleye you are complaining about ate them. What reason do you have for those pike dying?
Reread what you wrote. To me, it looks like you are a big part of the loss of a pike fishery. Reminds me of the old farts I grew up with. "We used to haul home gunny bags full of pike. Fishing sure isn't what it used to be....."
5 to 10% mortality rate....really? Do you club your fish before you release them? Very made up stat. Rav fishes a lot, I would guess viewing His photos etc. that His released mortality rate is less 0.5%. On pike, likely half that. At least try to argue with facts.

Spruce
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Old 08-24-2017, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by dryflyguy View Post

Granted, I'm maybe catching 2-3 fish in the hour or so that I'm casting, so my sample size is vastly smaller than most others. I would say I'm catching 10:1 pike vs. walleye from the dock. Flip that ratio when out in open water on the boat though, when I can't keep the walleye off the hook
Lots of Walleye = not a lot of pike. Your problem is simple.

Spruce
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Old 08-24-2017, 10:08 AM
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I've said this before on another reg discussion, but people confuse the slot size for managing fish when it's really meant to manage people, and the amount of pressure that people put on a fishery, which in Alberta, can be a lot depending on the lake.

That being said, what RavYak is suggesting is a minimum size limit to protect the fish up until after they've had a chance to spawn a few times, and then pair that with a slot size that hopefully protects fish over a certain size, so hopefully you'd get a few big fish that go through the slot. I think it's an interesting idea, I like it. But like others have said, you can tell when you're fishing a minimum size limit lake.... the fish can be pretty scarce once you reach that magic number.... So I wonder how many would actually make it through at the end of the day. Good experiment to try, anyway.

Then you've got the enforcement issue, people pinching those tails extra hard on one end and trimming the tails on the other to stay in that size limit.... Somebody in this thread suggested more officers on the landscape, but that's not exactly free and easy either. There are no magical solutions to ecology, friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDave View Post
So you are complaining about not catching 50 pike a night anymore? At 5-10% release mortality, is there any wonder the pike population collapsed? How many others were doing that?
That guy who has all the university education, probably knew what he was talking about. Not like those walleye you are complaining about ate them. What reason do you have for those pike dying?
Reread what you wrote. To me, it looks like you are a big part of the loss of a pike fishery. Reminds me of the old farts I grew up with. "We used to haul home gunny bags full of pike. Fishing sure isn't what it used to be....."
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Old 08-24-2017, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by The Spruce View Post
Lots of Walleye = not a lot of pike. Your problem is simple.

Spruce
Well, I wouldn't say catching lots of walleye is the problem necessarily, I still catch a fair share of pike. My question was more towards the quality of the fish than the quantity

If I was noticing the quality of fish declining with the number caught, then that would be a problem, which Rav had alluded to. I just haven't noticed it to the degree that he and others have, so I was more curious about the timeline of decline for Rav specifically

You're right though, there is a direct link between the introduced walleye and numbers of other fish in the lake. Been awhile since I've seen the minnow schools clouding the water around the docks...
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
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Well, I wouldn't say catching lots of walleye is the problem necessarily, I still catch a fair share of pike. My question was more towards the quality of the fish than the quantity

If I was noticing the quality of fish declining with the number caught, then that would be a problem, which Rav had alluded to. I just haven't noticed it to the degree that he and others have, so I was more curious about the timeline of decline for Rav specifically

You're right though, there is a direct link between the introduced walleye and numbers of other fish in the lake. Been awhile since I've seen the minnow schools clouding the water around the docks...
I used to be in favor of slot sizes, but revised my thinking.

The problem is the accidental kill ratio that occurs with many species, especially walleye. If the fish is too deep and brought up, its air bladder will expand. That's a great way to kill most of them, even if released.

I've gone to the concept that it's better to keep the first 2 or 3 or 4 or whatever the limit is that you catch, size be damned. You are going to save a lot more of the 'breeders' that way. You won't be hauling as many fish in, but you won't be killing as many either, and you get to keep them and eat them.

I'd love to hear from a biologist on this.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:07 PM
Salavee Salavee is offline
 
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Originally Posted by normstad View Post
I used to be in favor of slot sizes, but revised my thinking.

The problem is the accidental kill ratio that occurs with many species, especially walleye. If the fish is too deep and brought up, its air bladder will expand. That's a great way to kill most of them, even if released.

I've gone to the concept that it's better to keep the first 2 or 3 or 4 or whatever the limit is that you catch, size be damned. You are going to save a lot more of the 'breeders' that way. You won't be hauling as many fish in, but you won't be killing as many either, and you get to keep them and eat them.

I'd love to hear from a biologist on this.
I'm not a Bio and I would like to agree with that approach. However, I think most anglers would just keep the largest and release the smaller ones in any event... a practice that's been going on forever. That is counter-productive to retaining the desired year classes, which necessitates the current slot limits. Banning natural baits altogether would go a major long way to improving the mortality rates on released fish... the fewer fish caught and released .. the more fish survive.
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