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Heading up to Higgins this weekend to smelt fish, if the smelt fishing isnt good does anyone know other small lakes near there to do some panfishing?
 

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Don't have to go far. Higgins was a great perch lake long before the invasive species that so many relish were introduced. Just gotta spend a little time to find the big ones. Being mobile is a must.
 

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Don't have to go far. Higgins was a great perch lake long before the invasive species that so many relish were introduced. Just gotta spend a little time to find the big ones. Being mobile is a must.
Smelt are not an invasive specie, they are a cold water fish, higgins lake is a cold water fishery. perch on the other hand are a warm water fish.
That is why smelt are thriving and the perch are stunted, there is plenty of perch in the lake but they are mostly small, although I have caught several 12'' and 13'' inchers.
There are a lot of people that like eating smelt and higgins is one of the few places left to catch smelt.
 

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Smelt are not an invasive specie, they are a cold water fish, higgins lake is a cold water fishery. perch on the other hand are a warm water fish.
That is why smelt are thriving and the perch are stunted, there is plenty of perch in the lake but they are mostly small, although I have caught several 12'' and 13'' inchers.
There are a lot of people that like eating smelt and higgins is one of the few places left to catch smelt.
They do fit the definition of invasive species according to wikepedia, but as described in the definition 'introduced species" may be more appropriate. My apologizes.
Your analogy on cold water versus warm water...stunted but 12 and 13 inchers available is totally off base in my opinion.

Some of us prefer to target perch which are native to the lake and some prefer to target smelt which are not.
 

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Smelt are not an invasive specie, they are a cold water fish, higgins lake is a cold water fishery. perch on the other hand are a warm water fish.
That is why smelt are thriving and the perch are stunted, there is plenty of perch in the lake but they are mostly small, although I have caught several 12'' and 13'' inchers.
There are a lot of people that like eating smelt and higgins is one of the few places left to catch smelt.
You are mistaken, Here is some info that will explain the effect of smelt on native fisheries. They devastate not only perch but trout also......How long have you been fishing the lake ?

http://www.d.umn.edu/~thrabik/Hrabik et al. 2001.pdf

http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/library/338381.pdf

http://www.lansingtown.com/watshdocs/appdxvii.pdf

http://www.iisgcp.org/exoticsp/Rainbow_Smelt.htm
 

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You are mistaken, Here is some info that will explain the effect of smelt on native fisheries. They devastate not only perch but trout also......How long have you been fishing the lake ?

http://www.d.umn.edu/~thrabik/Hrabik et al. 2001.pdf

http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/library/338381.pdf

http://www.lansingtown.com/watshdocs/appdxvii.pdf

http://www.iisgcp.org/exoticsp/Rainbow_Smelt.htm
I have been fishing the lake for 40 years, been through the cycle of abundant splake, brown trout and jumbo perch.
The splake and browns are all but gone due to discountinued plantings.
The jumbo perch are gone due to over fishing in the 1990's, although some still remain they are few and far between. without the huge population of adult perch, the smelt thrived and out populated the perch.
The lake trout fishery has always been good, some of the articles do not pertain to Higgins lake, as far as trout, it is a put and take fishery, not much natural reproduction if any at all. There has been no evidence that smelt in higgins lake has been detrimental to the trout in the lake.
The bottom line is the D.N.R. is managing the lake as a cold water fishery,
smelt and trout are cold water fish, perch are not.
 

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So, are there any smaller lakes in the area good for panfishin? Or should there be a new thread called "panfishing roscommon county... no smelt debate please"
 

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So, are there any smaller lakes in the area good for panfishin? Or should there be a new thread called "panfishing roscommon county... no smelt debate please"
Best comment to a post ever. Somebody had to say it.

Try Lake Saint Helen.
 

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Thanks Swampbuster, great reply, I also have been fishing Higgins for awhile, started in 1972 to be exact. I've seen the cycles good and bad. I love to fish so I'll fish for what ever is on top at the time. I for one love those little smelt, I think there great table fare. I'm getting tired of swampbucks ranting and raving about the lake, there's alot of real fishermen out there that know more about that lake, but they don't have to get on line and try to impress everybody. The fishermen I'm talking about were fishing it when he was peeing yellow.
 

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If your looking for a good fishing spot in Roscommon, try Fred's they got a great fish fry!! lol Usually around 1 am on friday night there is a good run of blondes if thats what your into if the smelt aren't biting.:evilsmile
 

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Thanks Swampbuster, great reply, I also have been fishing Higgins for awhile, started in 1972 to be exact. I've seen the cycles good and bad. I love to fish so I'll fish for what ever is on top at the time. I for one love those little smelt, I think there great table fare. I'm getting tired of swampbucks ranting and raving about the lake, there's alot of real fishermen out there that know more about that lake, but they don't have to get on line and try to impress everybody. The fishermen I'm talking about were fishing it when he was peeing yellow.
Thanks RAP for your support, Higgins lake has a great fishery, right now it just happens to be smelt and lake trout.
There are a lot of people that love eating smelt and Higgins is one of the few places left where you can still get them.
 

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swampbuster and rap,

I get that you guys love smelt, a lot of people do. I fish for them also, eat a few and use them for bait. Used to make a little money when they first became a fishable population catching them and selling them live to the bait shops, Enjoyed smelt dipping in the spring in big and little creek also.....Some other things I enjoyed

Shore fishing for browns and rainbows, Dragging cowbells for lakers with a real chance at 20+ pounders, big rainbows in the cut when they dropped down into the big hole below the dam to spawn, Chasing atlantic salmon by the ram center, Loved the splake and kokanee great eating there........ And of course limits of nice perch anytime I wanted.

I have seen the cycles also......Except it was one big cycle, A ever increasing population of smelt and the end of all the those other opportunitys.

You Think the laker fishing is on top, Maybe you should take a look at the master angler awards on the MDNR website and see if you can spot the trend.

Swampbuster, You said something about discontinued plantings......They never stopped planting browns and rainbows, The fish are just not showing up later in the harvest........I wonder why.

Personally I still do pretty good out there, could be a lot better though. Someday maybe we will get a big die-off of smelt, Then you can see what you have been missing
 

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You can always just hit Houghton Lake for panfish its not far down the road if you want to get into gills, walleye, hammerhandles, etc.

Swampbuck would love to see them plant kokanee in there again. Even though they arent huge how awesome would it be to chase land-locked red salmon in MI i could only imagine.

Also couldnt they increase the size of the plantings of lakers and browns to decrease the amount of smelt since I would think the smelt would be the primary forage for trout. Are they possibly managing the lake to hold this large population of smelt? Just a thought.
 

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Its not so much the amount their planting. I believe its competition for food between the juvenile fish and smelt causes many trout and perch not to make it, as has been demonstrated in other lakes

I dont know what the DNR's plan is or if they even have one. It has always been managed as a trout lake. Science has shown that Smelt will have a negative effect on juvenile trout, So I guess its just a vicious circle........If it was up to me I would dump 50,000 or more pike in there, They dont reproduce in higgins But they would put the hurt on them smelt and then die out.

The DNR did not plant smelt. That was done by a local 30 or so years ago. They could change some rules to maybe control them like allow netting..... I think we are stuck with them unless we get lucky and they die off like they did in the great lakes.

Kokanee's were pretty small but they were the best tasting salmon/trout I have ever ate and beutiful fish. I liked splake a lot also.....Even the atlantics were good........Dont know why they quit doing them, It was only for a short time and gone.
 
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