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Finders Keepers

Largest Pike this winter?

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John Kelley, Thank you very much for your input. It is very interesting what your friend in England told you about what they did in order to achieve such good trophy fisheries. But I am guessing that they also took measure to preserve and/or enhance spawning grounds and how much (if any) harvesting of smaller fish was occurring. Still, it can be very tricky to maintain a trophy fishery because there has to be enough smaller fish reaching a larger size to take the place of those trophy fish that will eventually die of old age as well as a healthy forage base and habitat. But maybe when there are a good amount of trophy size fish, they will naturally control the numbers of smaller size fish to an ideal level.

 

I am also curious about what the pike populations and size in Minnesota are like now. I know they have invested a lot of effort in muskies for quite some time and they have been quite successful but I am not sure about how many waters are producing trophy muskies and if any of the musky waters there are naturally sustained or have become naturally sustainable following a stocking program.

 

There are always so many things that can affect the balance of a fishery. Even without our influences, I am sure there would be fluctuations due to natural causes. But we are, no doubt, a big part of the equation and we must do what we can based on monitoring, research science and controlled actions in partnership with the DEC to make sure we don't throw the equation out of balance.

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I would like to open this discussion back up as we begin to prepare for next year's Winter Classic Tournament. Right now we are looking at the possibility of implementing a C&R Division/option for Pike and Steelhead. So here are my thoughts:

 

Offer the option to enter the C&R Winter Classic, a tournament aside from the main event where anglers only target pike or steelhead, with a registration fee of $10/Division/Angler, and 80% payback. Registration before Jan. 1st would be required, and we would send a confirmation email containing an angler # embeded within a random fish picture. Anglers would be required to take and submit 2 pictures when entering a fish: one with the angler holding the fish with the waterway in the background and displaying the angler's unique picture ID, and one with the fish alongside a clearly visible measuring tape also with the angler's unique picture ID visible. Placement would be based upon length only, followed by time both pics are submitted. A ruleset would be made specifically for the C&R Classic, and would include such parameters as, “angler pictures must be submitted on the same day as the fish was caughtâ€, and “angler integrity surrounding the catch will be based on the honor system, however a lie detector test may be issued for any entry challenged by another angler who submits a protest form and required depositâ€. Anglers would not be allowed to enter fish in the general tournament for pike or steelhead if they wanted to enter the general tournament and fish for the other species. The general tournament would run as it did last year.

 

I realize requiring all anglers to enter the C&R event would be ideal, but due to the number of anglers who do not own a cell phone capable of taking pics or who do not have internet access (as we have experienced in the IPA Series), this simply is not feasible. Thoughts? Again, I am open to options and suggestions, but keep in mind this must be manageable on our end when considering the possibility of including 1,000’s of anglers. 

Edited by Finders Keepers

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There's way too many tournaments in general. I understand the excitement and thrill of competition but ultimately I think it has nothing but negative effects on all bodies of water.

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You both are missing the larger picture for tournaments. Small tourneys may not have a positive impact, but larger tournaments not only draw anglers into the region supporting the local economy, but they also offer exposure to sponsoring companies that then can offer exposure for the tournament to create a bigger draw, and with a larger angler base monies can be put back into the fishery in such ways like restocking programs and youth fishing programs and events. 

 

The event will happen, so yes I am looking for suggestions on implementing a C&R aspect to the event.

Edited by Finders Keepers

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Yes, It would be an option for those who want to release their fish (as opposed to being required to keep them as in the general tournament). The prize pool for those two divisions would be created from only those who enter and select that option.

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