I skimmed / read through the whole thing. My take is they are giving us the following options although I strongly disagree and believe an option should be to have slots on inland lakes protecting spawning fish say 20-27” are off limits with one allowed over 27” for a trophy. Here’s the bottom page of options, but I’d suggest emailing the dnr and letting them know if you support otherwise.
Email the MI DNR at [email protected]
1. 15-inch minimum size limit and daily possession limit of 5
Goal: Protect juvenile Walleye from harvest prior to maturity and allow for harvest opportunities of adults that align with sustainable mortality rates.
2. 13-inch minimum size limit and daily possession limit of 5+
Goal: Provide anglers with increased harvest opportunities while attempting to reduce density of consistently slow growing populations.
Note: In waters with high density Walleye populations that are hindering prey fish populations fisheries managers may also consider a daily possession limit that exceeds five fish.
3. 20-inch minimum size limit and daily possession limit of 2
Goal: To maximize the trophy potential and catch rate through catch and release of quality sized Walleye. In addition, protect adult Walleye from harvest with the intent of maintaining high density of adult Walleye for predation to improve panfish size structure.
4. No possession of Walleye
Goal: To protect Walleye from harvest with the intent of using Walleye predation to improve panfish size structure in waters with stunted panfish populations. Also, to prevent human consumption of contaminated fish.
5. Delayed possession season (May 15th) in the Lower Peninsula
Goal: Protect populations that are congregated during spawning activity in waters that have colder than average water temperatures compared to other lakes in the Lower Peninsula.
So are they looking at implementing one of these options across the state universally or picking and choosing on a lake to lake basis? I read through it and couldn't really tell. Lake by lake would make sense to me but of course someone will then complain that we're making walleye regs like the trout regs and they'll be too difficult to comprehend. But I like the idea of managing some Lakes for trophy potential and managing others for increased harvest possibilities.
Very interesting read. Most surprising thing to me was the number of lakes in the Lower with variable nat repo. My impression had been that because of the consistent stocking very few could sustain a fishery on their own. I guess I got that impression when they had to stop stocking and my catch rates collapsed.
I think the options are designed to give the DNR a menu of management tools and they'd like to know which ones are most acceptable to fishermen.
2. Not a lot of objections on the Bay. How many lakes would this apply to? Gogebic and maybe some others in the UP? Serious question, it's not like I have an intimate knowledge of the 375 walleye lakes in the state.
3. I'm not fond of this option. Would rather see a limit of 2 and a minimum size of 15". We've all fished lakes that produce keepers in the spring, shorts all summer and keepers in the fall. Maybe if more of those keepers made it past spring we'd have more 17-20" fish in the fall and the following year. Fishermen would select the larger fish because of the lower creel and the overall size structure could bump up. I'd rather catch 10 and keep 2 than catch 3 when I can keep 5. "In addition, approximately 45% of anglers responded that a successful inland Walleye fishing trip meant catching three or more fish". Sounds like 3 is a good outing for a lot of people. Trying it on a few lakes that already have consumption advisories would be workable.
4. Meh. If it works ok but seems like the larger problem is panfish limits on those lakes. Also worry that bass will be suppressed by the walleye and as soon as the stocking stops the 'gills will stunt again.
5. That's ok. As I said above, I didn't realize how many lakes have variable reproduction. Cutting some of them (& spawning rivers) some slack during the spawn seems like a good idea. Yes, it would add a little complication but it's only 2-3 weeks of exceptions.
6. How about no closed season on the lakes that have no natural reproduction.
It would be interesting to hear from those in charge about the inland lakes where this stocking has actually created a quality fishery. At least in the area that I live and spend most of my time fishing, their efforts have been a failure. As an example, there is Chippewa Lake.
The DNR truck pulls into the landing, and dumps thousands of spring fingerlings into the lake. The first thing that happens is that the northern pike and largemouth bass go on a feeding frenzy. The survivors that are lucky enough to find cover in the weedbeds are then exposed when the lake association's weed kill fires up. The pike and bass go back on the feed.
So how many of those thousands survive long enough to grow too big to be considered prey? Would it help to stock even more of these fish, or would it help to hold off stocking until the fish are bigger? Its just my opinion, but whatever expense the DNR incurs for this stocking is money wasted. No one that I know thinks of this lake is a destination for walleye fishing.
If we're going to see scarce funds go into this effort, then they should limit their efforts to lakes and rivers where these fish have a chance to become self sustaining at some point in the future.
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