bago system slot limit?
Here is an actual report for this spring - and looking really, really poor.
I fish the Wednesday night league - Winnebago Walleye League out of the east shore, Bobbers. We have 18 or 19 boats, with overall, pretty darn good fishermen. There are not weekend warrior type guys. Fish from 5-9, and many guys prefish before.
Results - 1-17" walleye. 2 or 3 short walleye (15" or better), 1 19" sauger (could not be registered). That is it folks. In 3 weeks of fishing, 1 legal walleye!!!
Not looking good to say the least. Even if we use the excuse the fish are not down yet, same was the case in past years and many walleye have been caught. We can talk about bait fish, but talking with our group, it is not like we are seeing big balls of baitfish (almost all have excellent electronics and KNOW how to use them). People are fishing all over the system and no methods are working.
As we have worried, the lake may have finally gave out.
Just our personal experience;
Looking back at the last 3 years catches. We were hammering the eyes 3 weeks ago already (before you start, we don't even keep the eyes we catch). Crappie were staged outside points and river mouths as well. Was slow 2 and 3 years ago for the 5 of us who fish together, and even slower last year but, still catching some fish. This year, NADA for eyes or crappie as of yet. Haven't even heard of northern being spotted yet this year. Very few pike last year but, a least a few seen here and there. Walleye Weekend catches last year should have been a warning to the DNR! Last fall was the worst in years for White Bass, Eyes and Pike. Looking at the similarities in the indicators from the 70's and 80's. When walleye declined dramatically and a limit of even 15 inch walleye was rare for decades, it seems to be too late already. The decline in White bass has been going on the last 10 years and quite dramatic the last 3 years. They don't even run at all in the South Side rivers anymore. People say it's because of all the bait fish in the system. That's why catch rates are down over all. Why do you spose there are so many bait fish anyway? A decline in White Bass, Walleye, and Pike. And an explosion of bait fish. I wonder if there's a relationship....
Is it just me or does everyone just catch limits of all fish out here. Spring, summer, winter most people seldom seem to be catching all these fish when you ask question at the launches, etc. Everyone throughout the state wants limit changed on all bodies of water, are the fisherman in this state that good at catching fish, it will get to the point you will not even be able to catch a fish for a fry as limits will be so small, getting close to thinking of selling the boat and just go,with a guide a couple times a year. How many others have thought about the,same thing. Think of revenue loses.
A couple of you know me here and I thought I would mention a few things. This is overall a good discussion of concerned fishermen which is good to see.
One of the big year classes of Walleyes, I believe 2012 or 2013 which were the 19'to21" fish really took a beating with harvest, way over what they could sustain. Unfortunately this class was counted on to keep producing which isn't going to happen.
Discussions we have had with the DNR do not seem to show support for a slot limit here and seasonal changes were not looked at positively. Unfortunately the immature fish are not looked at as closely as mature fish and I have not heard any support for bringing back a size limit. A decreased bag limit would be one tool they can use with the increase pressure.
WFT is working on a Sauger project now which have had very little natural reproduction since WFT had to stop hatching them. We are seeing older Sauger but not a lot of smaller ones. There have also been a lot of small Perch in the nets but not the older Jumbo's. We are also seeing some big Crappies and the hatch last year was huge.
there are Ebs and flows with perch. the perch fishing was BAD for many years in the late 90's into the early 2k's. Then it was REAL good for 10 years or so...last two years not so much.
Now you can go to the upper lakes and fill your live well with perch in spring and fall...so I think the system over all is fine for perch.
I do agree with a 15 fish panfish bag though if they came up with that.
Something definatly needs to be done with this system. Yes it is Wisconsins premier walleye factory. But it cannot withstand the pressure it receives now forever. I would think a three fish limit with a protective slot from 20 to 24 to protect the healthiest spawners is the best option. If three fish isnt enough for a fish fry throw a few other species in the mix.
The panfish situation needs to be addressed also. Gone are the days when you could catch a limit of true jumbos as the perch population is all caught out before they can reach there true potential. At the very least you should be allowed no more than 10 or 15 of one species of panfish.
We should appreciate this system and great opportunities it provides. But gone are the days of take,take,take as no system can handle that in this day and age of increased technology.
peterskeeter, the "they" you speak of don't pay tickets anyway.
Hard to ticket people when they claim not to speak English
Also, group bagging is NOT legal. you can get bagged for 2 people throwing fish in the same bucket. one guy catching 7 eyes and the other guy 3 is illegal. you get caught filling your buddy up, you both are getting tickets.
If you have separate buckets even, you put 5 in yours and then put 3 in his bucket, you get the fine for 3 over your limit and you'll both lose your fish.
back to the original post, 3 fish a day is waste of time for people looking for a meal. 3 eye's can't feed my family, esp a 15-16 inch fish. 5 fish, 15 inch limit would work. a slot limit would just deplete the system of age classes like it did the 2 and 3 years ago. If you'd get a year again with very low forage, certain age classes would get the chit beat out of em again. I know a single guy that kept 184 walleye's 3 years ago and he brags. What does a single person need 184 walleye's....but him keeping track just shows you what type of Dbag he is. Braggert at is it's best.
If someone can live stream under water cameras. Why can't the DNR monitor a live feed at the most popular fishing spots? That's got to be cheaper than paying a warden to never show up and enforce the law. You could have retired cops or volunteers monitor from home. Play back and count each persons catch. This would pay for itself in a weekend! There are Pan and zoom functions on cameras available on the web. Hel, the sign posted 'Video Surveillance' (in multiple languages) alone would at least be somewhat of a deterrent!