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More Muskie Fishing -> Muskie Biology -> Your thoughts? Minnesota Muskie Populations
 
Message Subject: Your thoughts? Minnesota Muskie Populations
VMS
Posted 9/24/2019 8:11 AM (#947188)
Subject: Your thoughts? Minnesota Muskie Populations





Posts: 3464


Location: Elk River, Minnesota
Hiya!!

Was just perusing the internet and came across this article from 2014. Granted it is definitely "dated," but from my experiences on different bodies of water, I believe we are still experiencing a trend of less fish in our waters, but bigger ones overall.

The article is an interesting read and I'm curious to others thoughts out there on it as well...

https://www.twincities.com/2014/06/06/minnesota-muskies-growing-huge...

Thanks

Steve
esoxaddict
Posted 9/24/2019 2:38 PM (#947202 - in reply to #947188)
Subject: Re: Your thoughts? Minnesota Muskie Populations





Posts: 8691


Seems pretty much in line with the "new reservoir syndrome" we've talked about. Never really considered that the bigger muskies would be eating the smaller ones in any great numbers, though. I wonder if that's only a factor in lakes with less than adequate forage.
BNelson
Posted 9/24/2019 2:39 PM (#947203 - in reply to #947188)
Subject: Re: Your thoughts? Minnesota Muskie Populations





Location: Contrarian Island
it does seem like many lakes have less fish... the obvious ones are ML and V but that is many years in the making.. one thought and not sure how plausible it is, is to simply put in bigger fingerlings, maybe grow them 2 yrs? get them to 18-22" and less would get eaten if that is what is going on...
esoxaddict
Posted 9/24/2019 4:43 PM (#947208 - in reply to #947188)
Subject: Re: Your thoughts? Minnesota Muskie Populations





Posts: 8691


Well, I'd venture to say that yearling muskies are pretty much food for everything else in the lake except pannies and perch. We've seen a pretty significant increase in LMB populations over the last 10 years, and those things will eat anything that fits in their pie hole. I eat them every so often, and I can't think of a fish I haven't found in their stomachs. What Brad is suggesting sure wouldn't hurt. At least that would prevent them from being eaten by some of the fish.
TCESOX
Posted 9/24/2019 6:28 PM (#947215 - in reply to #947188)
Subject: Re: Your thoughts? Minnesota Muskie Populations





Posts: 1152


Another thing that might be worth looking at is the timing of the stocking. Unless I am mistaken, most stocking occurs in the fall. Perhaps if we waited and stocked in the spring, the fish might be slightly larger, which might help out-size them as prey for at least some fish. Also, you would be putting the fish into an environment with a lot more cover and more easy to find food, as opposed to a pending winter with fewer weeds and big fish that are gorging. Even if there is a slightly higher survival rate, it could make a difference.
VMS
Posted 9/24/2019 9:42 PM (#947222 - in reply to #947188)
Subject: Re: Your thoughts? Minnesota Muskie Populations





Posts: 3464


Location: Elk River, Minnesota
I found the theory of bigger fish eating the smaller fish quite interesting in the article, but I don't know if that would necessarily be the case on all bodies, though...

Apart from Leech Lake, many of the bodies of water in the Longville Lakes area do not produce as many fish as they did about 5 - 6 years ago. The lakes in the region are not stocked, and the only one that was stocked was Baby with Shoepack back in the 80's. Baby had a great population, and that was reflected in a study around 2013 or so (I don't remember the exact year). Since that study, though...fishing has been way way down...

I sometimes wonder if targeted studies that have fish being netted in the spring during spawn could be an impact as well. Could the stress of netting, handling and release during spawn be a big enough impact that is too much for the fish to handle?

I would hope that my thought would be way off the mark, but on lakes that are not stocked and falling off like many of the stocked bodies of water, has me thinking something is missing.

I also wonder if lakes just go through ebbs and flows of population.... For about 15 years things were good, but smaller fish were not showing up in catches. Watched the 32" or so fish grow to be mid 40", but nothing for smaller fish. This year, I managed to catch a 38" on a body of water I would normally see a fish on every piece of structure. No follows whatsoever.

I have hopes that fish have just changed their forage habits and have moved to open water, but have yet to find a pattern... You'd think those that troll would have decent luck on the open water, but that is not happening either....

I will admit, I have not seen the perch population on the lakes anywhere near where they used to be. There would be times where 30 perch would follow a bait to the boat. I have not seen that on Baby or adjoining lakes for years....

I'd be interested to hear from our DNR biologists on how other populations of fish (prey species) vary over the years and how that might impact muskie populations as well..

Steve

chasintails
Posted 9/25/2019 11:55 AM (#947241 - in reply to #947222)
Subject: Re: Your thoughts? Minnesota Muskie Populations




Posts: 450


Interesting, my question is are fisherman seeing the same in their catches at places like Bemidji? I know the lunge log is not a true barometer, but what is it showing for this lake? Only tankers being caught? Probably nothing registered recently if that is the case. I know some lakes show many year classes like Leech lake, you could catch sevearl fish with all different age and size.
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