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Angler Preferences

10/18/19 @ 8:53 AM
User since 1/27/10

Greetings fellow anglers.  I thought I would start a discussion on angler preferences.  

A fairly frequent theme I often observe is oppositional viewpoints regarding high minimum length limits for gamefish.  They are often times mistakenly viewed as as being prescribed to a lake to solely provide a trophy angling opportunity; when in actuality the high minimum length limit may be applied to provide an action/C&R opportunity.

Balancing angling opportunities with science, social and economic objectives can be a challenge.  What's your preference?  Catch & Release, Harvest or Both?  Why & where?

10/28/19 @ 6:15 PM
User since 6/25/02

To add to the latest post.  There is a possession limit which is twice the daily limit so many fish hogs are breaking the law.  It is within the law for a warden to enter your home and check your freezer.  We were checked 20 years ago on a fly in lake in Ontario and we weren’t even in camp.

10/28/19 @ 12:39 PM
User since 2/6/06

I'm like most and prefer a mix of both.  Some fish need more harvesting and some need less.   I'd like to see a smaller limit of panfish rule placed in much of the state.  I have thought a 10 or 15 per species limit would be great, especially during vulnerable times like the spawn.  

I like eating fish, but I can't tell you the last time i kept more than 10 perch or 2 walleye in a day.  I like fresh fish, so filling my freezer isn't for me.   I know a lot of people that don't know how to release a fish, and i can imagine many fish get thrown away freezer burnt.  Most of these fisherman aren't on these websites.  They fish like they've always, and like most rules they are not meant for responsible people.  

I agree with a slot on walleyes, but that is variable as well based on location.  I fish the Mississippi and i'd love a Petenwell slot here, 15-20 inches.  

10/28/19 @ 10:35 AM
User since 5/31/10

I'm with JKB, I only keep a few fish a year and most of what I do keep are ones that won't survive if released.  I'm not a trophy fisherman, just one who likes opportunity. I make a couple trips a year to Pool 9 to fish the float and have a blast due to the variety of fish caught and throw back 90% of what I catch even though it's nearly a 4hr drive to get there. There's a place a few blocks from my house I'll hit up when I don't want to drive that is full of carp that is good for a couple hours of fun. 

10/28/19 @ 8:39 AM
User since 2/16/17

How do you have a measure of the effectiveness your bio manipulation if you didn't have a measure of carp abundance-density, native plant abundance-density before you started the 40 in size limit. So how can you measure now 12 years later whether the 40 in size limit has improved anything in regards to carp population or native plant populations. Usually you have a baseline so you can see a before and after to see if the 40 in size limit has a positive effect, no effect, or negative effect on the lake. I don't think the before and after numbers for these 2 key areas your experiment-study exist to show if anything improved.  You likely have some before and after water quality measurements cause I believe the city of Muskego takes historical measurements for this. I am curious to know if there has been a significant improvement of water quality since the 40 in size limit was imposed.  As I recall reduce the carp population(which there is no measure of) increase the native plant population( which I don't believe there is a measure of) and improve the water quality which I believe there is a measure of but I haven't seen data on water quality. These 3 things were the reason for the bio manipulation study-experiment. It is very difficult to determine the effect-success of this 40 size limit if you don't have before and after measurements for all 3 of these areas. In my opinion it has not helped the fishery. I believe it has made it worse. I also believe it has not had an effect on the carp population which appears from myself and comments from others as high as ever. Native plant species populations I believe we can only guess since  measure wasn't taken before the 40 in size limit is in place. Maybe I am just a numbers guy who believes in sound evidence and science in whether something is working or not. I am not disputing past successes with Big Muskego which are real. I do question the effectiveness of this most recent bio manipulation project which for 12 or more years I and others believe isn't doing what it was intended to do so end it. Carp density and native plant density before and after the bio manipulation project started are important and this is why I call it a flawed experiment. Other studies I have read do density measurements on carp and plants before and after to measure effectiveness.  I guess I and many people just haven't seen any positive results since this 40 size limit bio manipulation project was imposed. Doing the same thing for over 12 years ( will be over 15 years when project possibly ends) isn't helping this lake.

10/28/19 @ 8:35 AM
Flyrod Man
User since 8/13/09

Live in N/Wis.  Never take limits, only enough for a meal.  Game fish of any kind, always catch and release except walleye-only enough for a meal, 2 people.

10/27/19 @ 9:31 PM
User since 1/27/10

My personal preference has nothing to do with the waters I work on.  I try my best to keep them separate.  Big Muskego project has been an amazing part of my career.  I feel blessed to have been a part of it starting for me with the gamefish salvage effort, drawdown, chemical treatment, restocking and continued maintenance efforts.  The project really started as a water quality issue.  Water was so turbid and full of algae that it has been documented that a dog could walk on top of the crusty algae mats.  The project was planned and implemented by numerous hard working stakeholders with habitat improvement as a priority.  Part of the bio manipulation strategy for bm is to maximize predatory fish abundance to maintain low panfish abundance which in turn results in more zooplankton.  More zooplankton results in less algae and increased water clarity.  Common carp are also a continued threat to habitat on bm.  Carp resuspend nutrients often referred to as internal nutrient loading.  Internal nutrient loading can also result from wind & wave action.  Emergent vegetation can reduce wind fetch and reduce wind driven turbidity.  Static water levels reduce emergent vegetation, which is why we have floating bogs lately (sustained high water from above average rainfall). Maintaining a high level of native species diversity can help reduce the negative impacts of invasive species such as starry stoneware, common carp, Eurasian water milfoil and any others that are not already present in bm.  This is no experiment, this is an example of a highly successful project.  Big Muskego has maintained excellent water qualty, tremendous wildlife habitat and an a great fishery for over 20 years.  Like I said, I hear you loud and clear little luck.  You would prefer harvest opportunities for pike with implementation of the 26 x 2 regulation.  Natural reproduction now accounts for a large percentage of pike recruitment in bm.  Pike are the main defender of predator prey balance on this delicate, deep water marsh.  Pike are more resistant to winter kill than bass.  Bowfin are another key predator species that are helping  keep things in balance.  Another Win for the pack!

10/27/19 @ 3:44 PM
User since 2/16/17


If you prefer harvest opportunity  then how come no harvest opportunity of northerns for over 15 years on Big Muskego with a 40 in size limit? Hmmm?

10/27/19 @ 3:39 PM
User since 1/27/10

18x3 for walleye has more than one benefit.  In addition to increasing nr potential on some waters, it also has potential to increase yield.  As fish reach maturity, they are eating and growing like a high school senior.  On productive waters, the extra added year or so allows for putting on some body mass.  As a harvest oriented angler myself, I woul prefer three18s over five 15s.  Much like I would prefer a three year old doe over a 1.5 year old.  Better yield.  

Rule simplification is why the 18 x 3 is county wide in southeast counties.  Most stocked lakes in waukesha county have nr potential, but there are a couple that are put grow take.   We prioritize stocking on nr potential or restoration efforts.

6 point in close, better go.  Thanks for the feedback!

10/27/19 @ 4:39 AM
User since 6/25/02

In reading some of the posts there are a few concepts that some people need to understand.  One is that a body of water can only produce a certain amount of life whether it is bait, panfish or small and large gamefish.  The concept of biomass seems counter to the Muskego lake limits.  You cannot have large numbers of both small and large gamefish unless the lake is unusually fertile. The biggest detriment to larger gamefish is a high number smaller gamefish.  The only way to have a large number of large gamefish is to have large populations of Cisco, sucker or shad and probably a lower number of gamefish.  The Escanaba lake experiment proved you cannot produce large populations of large walleye without a Cisco or shad forage base.  To date after approximately 20 years , there has been only one 28” walleye caught in a fyke net or by rod and reel.  The walleye regs have been catch and release for 20 years with the ability to keep one over 28”.  Like I said, one has been caught in 20 years.

Secondly,  every lake has different conditions.  You cannot regulate Green Bay walleyes like a small lake in northern Wisconsin.  Different forage bases produce vastly different populations.  There has to be different regulations for the diverse conditions on different lakes.  With that said, I think that concept in northern Wisconsin where there about 6 different walleye size limits on the lakes up there.  It is very confusing especially when signs are ripped down at landings.

The walleye size restriction that has me scratching my head is the 18” size limit on stocked lakes that don’t have any natural reproduction.  The 18” limit was designed so all females went through at least one spawn.  Why is it implemented on lakes where walleyes don’t spawn successfully?

10/27/19 @ 3:58 AM
User since 6/25/02

I catch and release all gamefish with the exception of a few small northerns and walleye 18” and under.  I will keep a few meals of panfish. I teach my sons and members of a fishing club the same.  I want them to experience quality fishing in the future.  My father was one who kept everything that he caught and fed the neighborhood.  He was brought up in the depression era when you fished to provide food for your family to survive.  Most situations aren’t like this any more.

  I hate it when people catch a large fish, bring it home to show people and then throw it in the trash because they find out they can’t afford to mount it.  First of all, graphite’s are a much better alternative to skin mounts. Secondly, all large gamefish in Wisconsin are under a mercury warning.  Mercury and other heavy metals accumulate in the tissue of fish.  The older the fish, the greater the contamination.  Bring a camera and have a plan and the tools for removing hooks before you go fishing.  It is just responsible use of a resource we all share.  I fish in northern Wisconsin most of the year but ice fish in central Wisconsin.

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