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Winter spearing on Slot lakes - - - 19 messages. Showing 1 through 10. Go to page: 1   2 
Anglers for Habitat
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Daily Subscription Msg 1 Posted: 03:49 PM 02/27/09 (CST)
Monday a bill was introduced in the House that would allow winter spearing of any size Pike on lakes with Pike slot limits. Summer anglers would still need to obey the rules. The reasons stated by rep.tom.anzelc@house.mn who authored the bill is that Pike under 24 inches are too small to eat, and that if you spear a Pike that is in the slot - you can get a ticket. His point is that you can't catch and release a speared Pike. There are about 120 lakes that have some sort of Pike special regulation.

So, as winter and summer anglers; what are your thoughts on this ??


BigBite
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Daily Subscription Msg 2 Posted: 09:46 PM 02/27/09 (CST)
Now let me get this straight... it is now a penalty to spear a pike on lakes with a slot limit on pike, if that fish is in the slot. But, since spearing a fish kills it, we may as well make it legal to keep the fish. Has our government gone mad? That's like saying it is against the law to kill a deer out of deer season, but we may as well make it legal because the deer is dead anyway.

Why are these people, who have know idea what they are doing, writing and passing laws for things they know nothing about? Next thing you know, they will be taking the recently passed tax increase for dedicated funding for the natural resources and try to build a dog park, and maybe a couple of golf coarses while they are at it.

I just don't get it... crazy smiley crazy smiley crazy smiley
confused smiley




JCU
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Daily Subscription Msg 3 Posted: 09:28 PM 03/03/09 (CST)
Advocates of HF 621 will tell you 4 things
1. Spearer’s are in so few numbers that their impact could never be felt by the fish community.
2. Pike don’t get that big in MN
3. The regulations don’t work.
4. It’s a ban that makes us criminals

I’ll address these issues in that same order

The impact of spearing:
On Lake Bemidji we’ve seen the most extreme end of this practice, 6% of the angling hours were through spearing or 8026 total hrs, this accounted for 51% of the total fish and pounds harvested according to creel surveys; this will of course change lake to lake, this will be noted next in the overall average.

Darkhouse spearing accounted for 15% (important number) of the northern pike yield in number of fish and 22% of the yield in weight overall in the state.

Large (.24 in) northern pike are heavily exploited and that both angling and spearing are culpable.

Data shows if a lake is going to be managed to increase the size of Pike both spearing and summer anglers harvest has to be reduced, as research shows these fish start to be harvested at 24 inches.

The benefits of the catch-and-release regulation are lost when harvest reaches approximately 15% (refer to above) the same number statically shown in creel surveys and studies to reflect spearing alone no less angling exploitation.

Fish Size
We have the same Pike genetically in MN as they do in Canada the difference is we only have a few examples such as Red and Mille Lacs with the regulations to grow these fish.

The Regulations work
If a lake had 20% of the pike over 24 inches before the regulation, the percentage increased to about 38% after the regulation on average. A 5% increase in the percentage of northern pike over 30 inches does not at first seem like a substantial change, but it means we added one more fish over 30 inches for every 20 fish in the population. In that context, we had a fairly large influence on those big northern pike. Increases of about 3-4 inches in average length don’t seem very meaningful, they actually represent more than doubling the percentage of fish over 20 inches.

Ice-out trapping data from Lake of the Woods (with 30-40 inch slot limit) also showed increases in the percentages of northern pike over 30 inches, particularly for female fish. The slot length limit in Lake of the Woods began in 1996.

The interpretation is that, in spite of the fact regulations did not work in every lake, the broader-scale statewide picture was that length regulations were having a very large impact on sizes of northern pike compared to reference lakes over the same time periods.

One study states this information that could shed light on why not all lakes rebound with regulation:

Populations where large fish were selectively harvested (as in most fisheries) displayed substantial declines in fecundity (reproduction), egg volume, larval size at hatch, larval viability, larval growth rates, food consumption rate and conversion efficiency, vertebral number, and willingness to forage. These genetically based changes in numerous traits generally reduce the capacity for population recovery in as few as 5 generations; this could explain why some lakes do not respond to regulations.

The DNR has spelled out in the Long Range Pike and Muskie plan to have no more than 125 lakes with special regs for Pike this is needed to address Hammer Handle lakes as well as the public's want for more opportunities to catch large pike as we found out during public input of the plan.

This is not an unreasonable amount of lakes considering the thousands that are subject to open harvest with no more than one over 30 inches.

It turns good people into poachers and anti spearing:
We cannot sacrifice our troubled pike lakes just because one man was caught poaching a 35 ½ inch fish, this is an ill fated attempt legalize poaching, secondly spearing is legal in these lakes but it needs to be done responsibly.





Muskies Inc Chapter 54
merkman
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Daily Subscription Msg 4 Posted: 03:16 PM 04/08/09 (CST)

The thought that 15 thousand darkhouse spearers statewide fishing only in the winter can harvest more fish than the 1.4 million anglers fishing in the winter and summer is definitely interesting, especially considering that darkhouse spearers are out numbered 99 to 1 in the winter season and 100 to 0 in the summer season.

I have yet to find spearing so effective.

As a darkhouse spearer I cut a 2' X 3' hole in the ice.
I have a couple of methods available to cut the 10 linear feet of ice that is 6” to 36" thick.

1) Ice Chisel (not recommended for obvious reasons)
2) Power saw (quick but very wet, not recommended in bellow zero weather)
3) Manual Ice saw (my recommended method but still lots of work!!)
4) Ice Auger (a great way to make one big block of ice into a whole lot of slush to remove from the hole)

Once the hole is cut then the darkhouse spearer needs to remove the ice from the hole.
Ice weighs aprox 58.5 lbs per cubic foot; a 2'X3' hole contains .5 cubic feet of ice per inch of ice thickness.
The following chart shows the weight of the remaining ice or slush in a 2’X3’ spear hole once it is cut.

5 inches = 146.25 lbs
8 inches = 234 lbs
12 inches = 351 lbs
15 inches = 438.75 lbs
20 inches = 585 lbs
25 inches = 731.25 lbs
30 inches = 877.5 lbs
36 inches = 1053 lbs

Cutting the hole and removing the ice is what happens each time a darkhouse spearer moves to a new location or is away from their darkhouse longer than 2-3 days.

Most will agree that Swiss Cheesing a lake with a power auger in the winter or trolling around in a boat in the summer are much more effective ways to locate fish.


Darkhouse spearers and anglers both practice selective harvest, "catch and release" with anglers and "look and release" with darkhouse spearers.
Sportsmen who practice selective harvest by either method are becoming more and more aware of the increased levels of pollutants in large fish and the advantages to keeping large fish in the ecosystem.
Remember it is not the method of harvesting fish that results in a large fish being harvested; rather it is the choice and decision of the sportsman harvesting that fish.

Neither "catch and release" nor "look and release" is perfect method.

Using the "look and release" method recommended for identifying slot limit fish that is documented on the MnDNR website promises an approximate 98% effective rate.

This means that a good rule of thumb is with this method 2% of slot limit fish will be misidentified by the 17 Thousand darkhouse spearers in the winter.
This 2% of unintentional kills is at least comparable (if not less than) with the hooking mortality that the 1.4 Million anglers use in the summer and the winter months.

Now we get to the meat and potatoes of the issue that most darkhouse spearers have with the current laws.

Here is the big difference between how darkhouse spearers and anglers are treated when an unintentional kill does happen.

Remember we are talking about the same "crime" and the same dead fish here.


Darkhouse spearers who unintentionally kill a slot limit northern though misidentification are instructed by the MnDNR to

- Turn themselves in to a Conservation Officer
- Get issued a ticket for spearing an illegal length fish
- and be subjected to the following fines
Maximum fine of $1000 and up to 90 days in jail.
In addition, any gear used to take the fish could be confiscated (such as rods/reels, spears).
License revocation is a possibility if two or more violations in a 3 year period, or if restitution value is over $500.
Criminal record for the offender.

Anglers who unintentionally kill a slot limit northern though hooking mortality are instructed by the MnDNR to
- Return the fish to the water immediately
- face no fine


So when people ask me if I am all for making the laws, rules, and regulations fair between darkhouse spearers and anglers, I have to say yes, I would love to see that.
WebDude
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Daily Subscription Msg 5 Posted: 03:19 PM 04/08/09 (CST)
Hey merkman,

Welcome to My Fishing Pals. Glad to have you aboard!



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nofishfisherman
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Daily Subscription Msg 6 Posted: 04:48 PM 04/08/09 (CST)
welcome Merkman,

You bring up some good points.

I guess I don't have a problem with spear fisherman, i don't really understand why people do it though. Are you looking for a meal or are you looking for the one large trophy pike?

Basically I just can't support letting spearers take any size fish from slot lakes. In my mind that basically says, "Hey everyone, look, these lakes are being managed to produce the largest fish in the state, come and spear the heck out of them."

I understand the difficulty in being persecuted for taking a slot fish by mistake. I just don't think the solution is to throw the slot out the window. In my mind the solution woudl be to close all spearing on slot lakes. I know thats not the best solution for spearfisherman but its whats probably best for the resource atleast for now.

Fortunately its on a very small number of lakes (120) so its a small price to pay for larger pike.

Once the slot has had a chance to boost the large pike population in the lake I would be in favor of a specific spearing season at some point in the season where all pike can be targeted on the lakes that are deemed to have a stable population of pike. This could be a lake by lake regulation and possibly rotating between slot limit lakes.


merkman
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Daily Subscription Msg 7 Posted: 03:36 AM 04/09/09 (CST)
“That's like saying it is against the law to kill a deer out of deer season, but we may as well make it legal because the deer is dead anyway.” -BigBite

That is an interesting analogy BigBite.

With the current laws for slot limit lakes the analogy would be more like.

If a car unintentionally kills a deer on the road the driver of that car should face poaching charges.

If a pickup unintentionally kills a deer on the road the driver of that pickup should walk away facing no charges.
merkman
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Daily Subscription Msg 8 Posted: 05:28 AM 04/09/09 (CST)
“I guess I don't have a problem with spear fisherman, i don't really understand why people do it though. Are you looking for a meal or are you looking for the one large trophy pike?”

Darkhouse spearing sportsmen practice selective harvest for the same reasons that angling sportsmen practice selective harvest. The reason for this is simple; at the end of the spear sits a sportsman just like at the end of the rod sits a sportsman. Darkhouse spearers are not poachers as many would have you believe. Each member of this group of sportsmen who practice selective harvest either by angling or darkhouse spearing has their own reason for practicing this legal method.

I personally practice selective harvest on lakes for several reasons. Some of those reasons include the enjoyment of catching, processing, and eating my own meal, the personal satisfaction I get from harvesting a fish from a lake less than 5 miles from my house, and bringing that fish home and processing and eating it within hours of catching it. The bottom line is I am a carnivore and I eat fish. I have the choice to support the open ocean fishing industry and eat a commercial fish caught by a net, processed in the open ocean, and shipped to me from some third world country across the globe in numbers that have lead to the depletion of cod, New Zealand Hoki (now there’s a pretty fish… yes that is what they are feeding us), and Alaskan Pollock to name a few. By fishing locally, I know it is not allot but at least I am doing something to help the global issue of the overharvest of fisheries worldwide.

Like any other sportsman out there, growing up we ate every fish we caught, and we caught every fish we could. In today’s world; just simply knowing about the higher concentrations of pollutants in big fish and the advantages that large fish give to the long term viability of the fishery as a whole it is no longer feasible to eat every fish we catch or to throw at every fish we see. That is why I as a darkhouse spearer choose to “look and release” many fish that I see. Last darkhouse spearing season I took 2 fish.


“Basically I just can't support letting spearers take any size fish from slot lakes.”

Nor can I.
I do not believe that most darkhouse spearers support that either. Ask around you will see what I am talking about.


“I understand the difficulty in being persecuted for taking a slot fish by mistake. I just don't think the solution is to throw the slot out the window. “

Nor do I believe that throwing the slot out the window is the answer. The solution is to fix the law that wrongfully persecutes a darkhouse spearer for taking a slot fish by mistake and lets the angler walk free and clear for the same “crime”. Unfortunately when open and honest dialogs do not happen, and a group of sportsmen are unfairly and unjustly outright or effectively banned from partaking from their legal method of selectively harvesting fish; “crazy” laws like this are proposed. If we don’t like to see “crazy” laws like this proposed then we need to do our part to open our minds and allow darkhouse spearers to be an actual real part of the equation before it comes to proposing “crazy” laws like this one. A real part of the equation does not include passing or supporting laws that force darkhouse spearers to remove themselves from the equation.

“In my mind the solution woudl be to close all spearing on slot lakes. I know thats not the best solution for spearfisherman but its whats probably best for the resource atleast for now. “

Just think what closing all fishing (angling and darkhouse spearing) on slot lakes would do for the resource. I know that’s not the best solution for sportsmen but it is probably best for the resource at least for now. The same reasons that you would use to argue closing these lakes to everyone are the same reasons that these lakes should not be closed for the 1% of the population that darkhouse spear only in the winter months.

One important fact that most people overlook is that with these unfair and biased laws that are in place, the majority of darkhouse spearing sportsmen already have a self imposed ban on these lakes, for the one simple reason that they do not want to be made a criminal for a simple honest mistake. Honestly ask yourself the question; if the law were changed so that anglers faced the same punishment that darkhouse spearers face for unintentional killing a slot limit fish, how many of those anglers would have self imposed bans on these same lakes?

The fact of the matter is that these lakes are successfully being managed for 1.4 million anglers right now. I do not think it is a far stretch of the imagination that the fish biologists that work for the state of Minnesota cannot find SOME WAY to include the 1% of sportsmen who darkhouse spear. Darkhouse spearing sportsmen just want to be honestly included in the equation for the proper management of these resources. The current laws do not support that. We just like angling sportsmen are looking for laws that are fair and equitable.

Sportsmen supporting the bans on another group of sportsmen is a very slippery slope that people might want to think about before setting the precedence that just might be used to ban your method of fishing next.

“Fortunately its on a very small number of lakes (120) so its a small price to pay for larger pike.”

Most darkhouse spearers already have outright and self imposed bans on over 35% of accessible lake acreage in Minnesota for slot limit and musklunge managed lakes based off laws that outright discriminate against their legal method of selectively harvesting fish. How much should darkhouse spearers bend before they break?

I always chuckle at the people who think there are not a lot of large pike in Minnesota waters. For most of them they leave their comforts of the city and head up to one of the “overfished” big lakes “up north” Once they get to the lake they race out to the largest group huddled up fishermen and start fishing. Then they say that there are no large pike in Minnesota.

If you want to catch a large pike in Minnesota here is what you need to do. Go where others don’t.

There are over 10,000 lakes in Minnesota. Many of these small “potholes” have little to no fishing pressure on them for the simple fact they are too close to many people. These lakes have many many small sunnies and crappies in them. Very few of these sunnies or crappies ever getting to any size. After darkhouse spearing I know exactly why this is. It is because of the large northerns use these fish for forage in these lakes. A small lake like this near my home winterkilled this winter. There were many 10 ~ 18 lb northerns dead on the bottom of this lake after the winterkill. I think most people would love to catch a 10 ~ 18 lb northern, the fact is you have a lot better odds of doing it by not following the crowd. Here is the key, get smart do some research, fish lakes that are taken for granted, and you will catch large northern pike.
merkman
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Daily Subscription Msg 9 Posted: 05:29 AM 04/09/09 (CST)
"Hey merkman,

Welcome to My Fishing Pals. Glad to have you aboard!"


Thanks Webdude.
It is great to be here!
BigBite
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Daily Subscription Msg 10 Posted: 06:55 AM 04/09/09 (CST)
Hi merkman... welcome to the site.

While I agree with most of your points, you are incorrect in the fines imposed. They are both the same. The difference is that in regular angling, you cannot know in advance of what you are going to pull out of the water. If you hook an illegal fish, yes, you must put it back in the water immediately. If you keep that fish (i.e. put it in the livewell, take it home, clean it, etc.) the fine is exactly the same whether spearing or angling. Also, if you kill an illegal fish, I would hardly think a conservation officer would have you put it back in the lake. The crux of the matter is the intent. Most conservation officers will let you go if your intent is in the right place. The problem with spearing is that you can visually see before you kill while in angling, you never know. If a kill was an accident, in any case, most officers will reprimand you and let you go. If an officer thinks that a kill was intentional, you will get busted. The fines, confiscations, and restitutions are all the same, regardless of the type of fishing.




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