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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!!

I am writing an argumentative English paper about fishing regulations in MI. I have a question for everyone, and I expect just general opinions from everyone and for NO ONE to get into a huge fight about anyone elses answers! I personally have only been fishing for 3 years now. My man got me into Bass fishing, and we have branched out from there. My favorite fish to catch is Pike though. So my paper is based on Pike mostly, but can be general in all aspects of fish size and limits.

Ok, so the question is: Do you think that MI fishing could improve if the DNR imposed stricter limits on catch and keep numbers, and sizes of fish (Pike being the main focus, but all fish including Walleye, Bass, and even pan fish)? MI is known for their "World-Class" fishing, and don't get me wrong, I have caught some nice size fish, but nothing that great, compared to what you could catch in say, Canada- in regards to size (length and weight). Out of all the different lakes I have fished in the last 3 years, I just feel like many of them have been so over-fished. And again, everyone's opinion is different, so a 24" Pike might be a huge fish to one person, but honestly..thats just a baby to me. My largest Pike yet is 31.75"

So if the DNR were to raise size limits and lower numbers of catch and keep fish, would that lead to more quality over quantity of fish caught? For example: MI regulations on Pike says you can only catch a Pike over 24" and you can only keep 2 (obviously not the same in all lakes, this number is just one example from the regulations book), would the quality of fish (size in length and weight, and numbers of larger fish) benefit in your opinion if the DNR raised the size limit to say 30" (which is the limit in WY-again, just another example as I lived there for 5yr), and the keep limit to only 1 fish?

In Canada, they have slot limits. These slot limits help protect the Pike that are in their prime breeding years from being over fished so they can continue to produce more Pike. Canada's slot limit just in zone 1 is: no Pike can be kept if they are between 27.6"-35.4", and only one Pike can be kept over 35.6". These slot limits keep the Pike population producing Pike and also helps improve the quality of the fish caught.

Thank you everyone, and I hope to get some great opinions!!!
 

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Keep @ it; you'd be surprised at the 35-48+ inchers that are lurking in many (most?) lakes with pike in them. I've never really liked slot-limits, but I have to admit that they do work as intended. One of my favorite lakes to (ice) fish for pike has slot limits (Bass LK in N. Kent County near Gowen), and they do seem to be working there as intended....
 

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"improve" is by nature a subjective term, so in your paper you'll have to make sure to clearly define what you mean by "improve northern pike fishing"

i suspect that for many people, regardless of size structure, reducing the bag significantly would not improve fishing for them, because they want to harvest fish

Slots work in some lakes, not so much in others. Gotta have people willing to harvest hammer handles when there are lakes over-run with them

fishing pressure is way higher here than in Canada, so even with reduced bag limits and stricter length or slot limits, I still think you fall short of getting anywhere near the quality size structure you see in Canada



but for a simple, wide-ranging answer to your question, yes, I think if harvest pressure was reduced, the size structure of pike in many michigan lakes would improve
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"improve" is by nature a subjective term, so in your paper you'll have to make sure to clearly define what you mean by "improve northern pike fishing"

i suspect that for many people, regardless of size structure, reducing the bag significantly would not improve fishing for them, because they want to harvest fish

Slots work in some lakes, not so much in others. Gotta have people willing to harvest hammer handles when there are lakes over-run with them

fishing pressure is way higher here than in Canada, so even with reduced bag limits and stricter length or slot limits, I still think you fall short of getting anywhere near the quality size structure you see in Canada



but for a simple, wide-ranging answer to your question, yes, I think if harvest pressure was reduced, the size structure of pike in many michigan lakes would improve
thank you for your reply! I appreciate it! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Keep @ it; you'd be surprised at the 35-48+ inchers that are lurking in many (most?) lakes with pike in them. I've never really liked slot-limits, but I have to admit that they do work as intended. One of my favorite lakes to (ice) fish for pike has slot limits (Bass LK in N. Kent County near Gowen), and they do seem to be working there as intended....
Thank you! Although I agree that yes, somewhere, in many of these lakes there is that monster pike roaming around, there just are not as many as there used to be it seems. they are far and few between. :) appreciate the feed back!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
"improve" is by nature a subjective term, so in your paper you'll have to make sure to clearly define what you mean by "improve northern pike fishing"

i suspect that for many people, regardless of size structure, reducing the bag significantly would not improve fishing for them, because they want to harvest fish

Slots work in some lakes, not so much in others. Gotta have people willing to harvest hammer handles when there are lakes over-run with them

fishing pressure is way higher here than in Canada, so even with reduced bag limits and stricter length or slot limits, I still think you fall short of getting anywhere near the quality size structure you see in Canada



but for a simple, wide-ranging answer to your question, yes, I think if harvest pressure was reduced, the size structure of pike in many michigan lakes would improve
would you agree to the argument on the opposite side of what I am asking, that "i bought the license, so I'm going to catch fish. I paid for it, so I'm going to get my money's worth."? (and I don't mean you, just the thoughts of many in general)
 

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I fish for my dinner first, trophy second. A lot of people could care less about catching trophies. Why should they be limited to what they keep if they don't care about trophies?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I fish for my dinner first, trophy second. A lot of people could care less about catching trophies. Why should they be limited to what they keep if they don't care about trophies?
Agreed! I fish for dinner and fish trophies too!!! And just like you, dinner first, trophies second. Even when fishing for dinner though, do you fish for quality (larger/heavier fish) or quantity (smaller, sometimes dinky fish-with that said, you would just keep a bunch of small ones, over one nice big one)? thank you! :)
 

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Bigger fish will have more toxins in them then smaller fish. So I prefer the smaller fish from deep clear inland waters. There is so much more to your question. Think of a fish tank, if you have just 1 fish in it and feed it it will grow. Now put 10 fish in there and feed the same amount you were feeding the one and the growth rate goes down. You have to remove some of the competition for food. Seems like most of Michigan's lake's have too many specie's of fish, hence more competition and stunted growth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Bigger fish will have more toxins in them then smaller fish. So I prefer the smaller fish from deep clear inland waters. There is so much more to your question. Think of a fish tank, if you have just 1 fish in it and feed it it will grow. Now put 10 fish in there and feed the same amount you were feeding the one and the growth rate goes down. You have to remove some of the competition for food. Seems like most of Michigan's lake's have too many specie's of fish, hence more competition and stunted growth.
Very good point! thank you! :)
 

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Agreed! I fish for dinner and fish trophies too!!! And just like you, dinner first, trophies second. Even when fishing for dinner though, do you fish for quality (larger/heavier fish) or quantity (smaller, sometimes dinky fish-with that said, you would just keep a bunch of small ones, over one nice big one)? thank you! :)
I keep them as I catch them, regardless of size.
 

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Check out the link below for a study on a southern Michigan lake that was unfished. C&P of a small section gives you an indication of what fish populations are like when pressure is eliminated. Managing to reduce human impact may or may not "improve" the fishery as others have pointed out. One fisherman might prefer catching 50 bass weighing 4oz each and the next would rather get 3 weighing 4# each. They both caught about 12# of fish yet might be very dissatisfied with the other anglers day. These differences are pretty pronounced and have been getting a lot of study lately. Trends among anglers show that managing for less exploitation is the preference of younger anglers and managing for greater or at least unreduced exploitation is preferred by older anglers.
My preference is that as much water as possible be assessed for its capabilities and those that can produce exceptional trophies be managed for that, those that can produce exceptional numbers but not size be managed for that and the majority be managed to strike a happy medium. I think the current pike rules, with three different management strategies, is a good example of such a program.

Age and length- frequency analysis indicate that there is a high proportion of older and larger bluegills in the population. These characteristics are typical for unexploited populations, which indicate that Hart's Lake supports a unique bluegill resource. Unexploited fish stocks are characterized by a high proportion of old fish, slow individual growth rates, and low rates of total annual mortality (Clady et al. 1975). The presence of old fish and a skewed size structure towards larger sized panfish in Hart's Lake is reflective of low exploitation. When unexploited populations are opened to fishing, length and age frequency distributions typically shift toward smaller and younger fish, mean age declines, and total mortality increases as a result of increases in fishing mortality.



https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/2009-72_284556_7.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Check out the link below for a study on a southern Michigan lake that was unfished. C&P of a small section gives you an indication of what fish populations are like when pressure is eliminated. Managing to reduce human impact may or may not "improve" the fishery as others have pointed out. One fisherman might prefer catching 50 bass weighing 4oz each and the next would rather get 3 weighing 4# each. They both caught about 12# of fish yet might be very dissatisfied with the other anglers day. These differences are pretty pronounced and have been getting a lot of study lately. Trends among anglers show that managing for less exploitation is the preference of younger anglers and managing for greater or at least unreduced exploitation is preferred by older anglers.
My preference is that as much water as possible be assessed for its capabilities and those that can produce exceptional trophies be managed for that, those that can produce exceptional numbers but not size be managed for that and the majority be managed to strike a happy medium. I think the current pike rules, with three different management strategies, is a good example of such a program.

Age and length- frequency analysis indicate that there is a high proportion of older and larger bluegills in the population. These characteristics are typical for unexploited populations, which indicate that Hart's Lake supports a unique bluegill resource. Unexploited fish stocks are characterized by a high proportion of old fish, slow individual growth rates, and low rates of total annual mortality (Clady et al. 1975). The presence of old fish and a skewed size structure towards larger sized panfish in Hart's Lake is reflective of low exploitation. When unexploited populations are opened to fishing, length and age frequency distributions typically shift toward smaller and younger fish, mean age declines, and total mortality increases as a result of increases in fishing mortality.



https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/2009-72_284556_7.pdf
GREAT read thank you so much for that! I so appreciate that! :)
 

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I fish strictly for food and return all large (trophy) fish, weather target species of not. I would also add that as license fees go up the people I know have become more mercenary about their fishing. They feel they have to justify the expense by taking more fish home.
 

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"improve" is by nature a subjective term, so in your paper you'll have to make sure to clearly define what you mean by "improve northern pike fishing"

i suspect that for many people, regardless of size structure, reducing the bag significantly would not improve fishing for them, because they want to harvest fish

Slots work in some lakes, not so much in others. Gotta have people willing to harvest hammer handles when there are lakes over-run with them

fishing pressure is way higher here than in Canada, so even with reduced bag limits and stricter length or slot limits, I still think you fall short of getting anywhere near the quality size structure you see in Canada

but for a simple, wide-ranging answer to your question, yes, I think if harvest pressure was reduced, the size structure of pike in many michigan lakes would improve

Great post, but I think that most people targeting pike or the bass / walleye fishermen that catch pike are not keeping them. Pike are great eating fish, but most of my friends don't want the stinky slime in their boat and don't want to mess with the bones. And keep in mind that most lakes don't possess the necessary characteristics to produce trophy pike.

Tough to compare Michigan fishing to Canada. The lakes I fish up there are vacant of fishermen compared to those down here. And as Kazoo said, there are more trophy pike here than most believe. You just aren't going to get the hogs throwing in the shallow weed beds in the summer. Find a lake with a good population of ciscoes or suckers and learn how to use electronics. They are there...just a lot deeper than where 95% of the fisherman are offering.

I like what the DNR is doing right now as well. If they identify a lake that is overrun with pike, they change the regs for that lake to get things back in balance. State wide bag reductions or slots wouldn't really work as well as most imagine, as lakes would have to be managed based on their type (meso vs. oligo, etc) and carrying capacity. Lots of variables.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great post, but I think that most people targeting pike or the bass / walleye fishermen that catch pike are not keeping them. Pike are great eating fish, but most of my friends don't want the stinky slime in their boat and don't want to mess with the bones. And keep in mind that most lakes don't possess the necessary characteristics to produce trophy pike.

Tough to compare Michigan fishing to Canada. The lakes I fish up there are vacant of fishermen compared to those down here. And as Kazoo said, there are more trophy pike here than most believe. You just aren't going to get the hogs throwing in the shallow weed beds in the summer. Find a lake with a good population of ciscoes or suckers and learn how to use electronics. They are there...just a lot deeper than where 95% of the fisherman are offering.

I like what the DNR is doing right now as well. If they identify a lake that is overrun with pike, they change the regs for that lake to get things back in balance. State wide bag reductions or slots wouldn't really work as well as most imagine, as lakes would have to be managed based on their type (meso vs. oligo, etc) and carrying capacity. Lots of variables.
We do use fish finding electronics when we fish. that is something that isn't an issue. but I totally agree and understand where you are coming from when you talk about lakes being managed based on their type, etc. Appreciate the feedback! Thank you!
 

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We do use fish finding electronics when we fish. that is something that isn't an issue. but I totally agree and understand where you are coming from when you talk about lakes being managed based on their type, etc. Appreciate the feedback! Thank you!
Do you search just above the thermocline? Find a pod of bait and you might be surprised at what is lurking just below. Getting the tanks to bite is another story. In my high school years, one of my neighbors was pretty good at pulling big slimers out of 60 FOW, 30 and 40 feet down. Great big jig head with an 8 or 9 inch sucker. I watched him bring a dozen fish to the dock one summer that were all in the 38 to 40" range, a couple over 40". I fished the lake a lot and most guys thought a 33 or 34 was a big pike on this lake. Of course they were dragging or casting plugs and spoons in 20 FOW or less. I got a couple pushing 40" in the 4 years I lived there, but never had the electronics or the skills that my neighbor did. Good Luck!
 

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Hi all!!

I am writing an argumentative English paper about fishing regulations in MI. I have a question for everyone, and I expect just general opinions from everyone and for NO ONE to get into a huge fight about anyone elses answers! I personally have only been fishing for 3 years now. My man got me into Bass fishing, and we have branched out from there. My favorite fish to catch is Pike though. So my paper is based on Pike mostly, but can be general in all aspects of fish size and limits.

Ok, so the question is: Do you think that MI fishing could improve if the DNR imposed stricter limits on catch and keep numbers, and sizes of fish (Pike being the main focus, but all fish including Walleye, Bass, and even pan fish)? MI is known for their "World-Class" fishing, and don't get me wrong, I have caught some nice size fish, but nothing that great, compared to what you could catch in say, Canada- in regards to size (length and weight). Out of all the different lakes I have fished in the last 3 years, I just feel like many of them have been so over-fished. And again, everyone's opinion is different, so a 24" Pike might be a huge fish to one person, but honestly..thats just a baby to me. My largest Pike yet is 31.75"

So if the DNR were to raise size limits and lower numbers of catch and keep fish, would that lead to more quality over quantity of fish caught? For example: MI regulations on Pike says you can only catch a Pike over 24" and you can only keep 2 (obviously not the same in all lakes, this number is just one example from the regulations book), would the quality of fish (size in length and weight, and numbers of larger fish) benefit in your opinion if the DNR raised the size limit to say 30" (which is the limit in WY-again, just another example as I lived there for 5yr), and the keep limit to only 1 fish?

In Canada, they have slot limits. These slot limits help protect the Pike that are in their prime breeding years from being over fished so they can continue to produce more Pike. Canada's slot limit just in zone 1 is: no Pike can be kept if they are between 27.6"-35.4", and only one Pike can be kept over 35.6". These slot limits keep the Pike population producing Pike and also helps improve the quality of the fish caught.

Thank you everyone, and I hope to get some great opinions!!!
I think the first question you must ask is,,,"what is an improvement in fishing?" would it be larger fish? more fish? particular speci? is a quality experience in fishing , catching more fish? or keeping more fish?
personaly while I enjoy the fishing experience,,much of fishing for me is harvesting good food. to me a bass is one of the least attractive fish to catch,,and yet at least one nationwide chain of stores is built on bass fishing.
 

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If you really want to see how fishing should be regulated check out the online fishing guides for Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakota's. Those states seem to get it right. Michigan's biologists are heavy on science and low on common sense. A good majority of our inland walleye fisheries have tanked up here in the U.P. because of their new "if it's not broke, we'll break it" brand of lake management.
 
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