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Kevin J Legg

Protecting SLR walleyes

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Was wondering if others think we should take measures to protect the great walleye fishery we have here on the river. I have seen the fishing pressure increase over the years and think perhaps a slot limit should be set similar to Canada. Any thought?

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Kevin, I Think slot limits can be an effective measure in fishery management. The timing is right to begin this dialog - a proactive approach is certainly preferable when exploring measures to protect our fishery. I would definitely be open to a slot limit or some additional or alternative measure of management if it further enhances the sustainability of the SLR walleye fishery. What are all of the management options available?

Edited by EsoxAC3

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Many schools of thought on that topic....managing it for more of a trophy fishery doesn't really make sense to me...walleye are for eating...but managing it for long term sustainability is what we need imo. I have heard many arguments on how to do that and really have not researched it enough to have an educated opinion on the how...

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The Bay of Quinte has a 4 fish limit. Only one can be over 25 inches or so. I believe that allows plenty for the table but protect some of the mature spawners. Perhaps a three fish limit with a slot limit ( perhaps 18-26" with one allowed over 26") I would like to see some data on the historic SLR walleye population but after talking to DEC fisheries I'm not sure they have much. It's better to error on the conservative side than try to react after the population has dwindled. Long term sustainability seems to be what we all support.

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3 fish is plenty and 1 big fish is plenty! I too would love to see some data, but pretty sure it isn't out there. I'd be in favor of statewide 3 fish 18" for starters...and you don't get hardly anything filet wise off an 18"...but around 20-21 they add up. Harvesting the right fish to both utilize the resource and allow it to be sustainable, with an emphasis on the sustainable part! Err on the side of caution!

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Maybe taking a good long look at the ice fishing season on them is a place to start. Guys target the hell out of them in Chaumont bay, which could very well be some of the fish in the river. Some release, some keep. Either way, it is a ton of stress on the fish. IDK. Just a thought.

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Hi Kevin,

With the increase in fishing pressure have you experienced a drop in your catches vs prior seasons? If the regular experts on the river start to see a catch rate decline then I think some protective change would be worth trying.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I know this has been discussed on other forums but not a lot here -  Catch and Release methods for deep water caught fish.

I have seen people jig up a nice walleye from 90+ feet of water and use a hook to pop the stomach (or bladder?) that is sticking 4" out of its mouth and send the fish back. I have heard this is bad and it will result in the fish dying a slow death.

I have also read where you can make a weight with a release and send them back to depth - basically decompressing them like a scuba diver. This supposedly needs to be done quickly after catching it.

It is fun catching these fish from deep and often don't need to keep all that I catch.

What do others do to release deep water caught Walleyes?

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Puncuring the swim bladder is an effective method when releasing a fish..... This method is commonly used on ocean fish that are pulled out of the deep. I have seen a large syringe used to puncture and remove air as well as a scalpel or exacto-knife on larger fish. The swim bladder heals quickly and the alternative of not removing the air results in far more fish fatalities.

I think we should always try to keep a fish if there is a reasonable question about its survival, as long as it is legal to do so. Walleye and perch are particularly vulnerable to mortality as it relates to live release.... It is an interesting topic.

Edited by EsoxAC3

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To each his own, but I fish for walleye because of the challenge and to eat them. I'm more in favor of catch my 3 and I'm done...in the spring and fall when I get into them heavy in shallow colder water then yes I might catch and release a few. I wouldn't even attempt to release a fish that was caught that deep with its bladder out of its mouth...I just wouldn't want to waste a nice fish. There are probably guys who can do it successfully though how you know the fish survive is beyond me.

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I agree with.Justin. I never try to release those deep caught walleyes. Most of the ones I catch at night aren't real deep and can easily be released. That said, those that are released at least have a chance to survive but none kept have any chance. It's certainly a shame to waste a nice fish that will die.

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Maybe taking a good long look at the ice fishing season on them is a place to start. Guys target the hell out of them in Chaumont bay, which could very well be some of the fish in the river. Some release, some keep. Either way, it is a ton of stress on the fish. IDK. Just a thought.

I think this is where the concern should be. I see every year people taking their limit of walleye in the 10lbs.+ Size.

Ice fishing should be limited to slot not boat fishing. I usually fish more in the lake but the fish I catch are always in the bogey side and have only caught a handful in the last 10 years under 24"

Sent from my thinking chair...

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MHO - I still believe it is with the spawn where the most damage or beneficial adaptations can be made to promote sustainability... 

 

Several of the guys on here have brought more walleye conversations to the forefront, most notably Kevin and Justin, and I wondered if there was a walleye unlimited or walleyes for tomorrow organization in NY.  I did not find one.  Should there be one?  A group of dedicated conservation minded people to get together and work out some ideas and maybe even get lobbying body like other big organizations.  The State loves the $$ aspect of the trout/salmon fishery but after that it all of the other fantastic fisheries is just frosting on the cake with seemingly less promotion.  A good example is that it is still 5 pike creel limit when that is way too high.  But even so, they have made some adjustments by (changing existing rules)  reducing creel limits and raising minimum size in many bodies of water as well as closing stream/river sections during the spawn.  Could there be more that can be done?  Is there pathway to having a fishery like the midwest has.  My opinion above is what I have felt is most crucial but I am definitely open to all ideas...

 

  • The fish have not adapted or recovered as fast as our technology to get them has advanced. 

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I don't think keeping the biggest walleye hurts a thing. I've read several studies and all of them say the huge females produce more eggs for sure but fish in the 18-24 range produce more viable eggs and fry. If this is true we need to adjust our management practices. Maybe protect the 21-24 inch fish...what do you guys think?

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If you find out let me know. No 18 inch walleye lives when it gets onto my boat. Anything over 21 inches goes back unless it is for a special reason. I kept a few big ones last weekend and I am still feeling bad about it. If you have something to back it up I will change my ways

Sent from my SM-G900V using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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I don't think keeping the biggest walleye hurts a thing. I've read several studies and all of them say the huge females produce more eggs for sure but fish in the 18-24 range produce more viable eggs and fry. If this is true we need to adjust our management practices. Maybe protect the 21-24 inch fish...what do you guys think?

This size is the slot on many Canadian lakes, so those guys are a head of the game for at least 10 years as that's the last I've been to Canada, I saw in my time of 20 years of fishing the same Canadian lake, as a fly in lake only it was fantastic as time went on it became a drive to lake, 10 years later we were debating maybe to try another lake. Then the outfitter sold the lake rights to the guy that has it now, but the first thing he did was put a slot limit on the lake, lots of guys were pizzed but he needed to increase the population. This year the older guys went for their last trip to this lake, they caught a lot of fish in that bracket, which is good and a few over 24" one most remember those cold water eyes grow much slower than say Erie or Ontario also those northern lakes don't have the forage we have down here, perch, pike, walleye, and whitefish and suckers are about all they have to choose from.

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Seems like there is a lot of info to digest.

Edited by EsoxAC3

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Exactly Kevin! I'd love to read some actual data from the slr...seems like if the most prolific spawners were 100% protected we could harvest more and have more fish to fish for...right? Might be frustrating if you get on a bunch of that size fish and I'm sure any change will be unpopular at first, but that doesn't mean it isn't better for the fishery.

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Lots to think about and interesting dialogue. Wish there was some river walleye population data to examine.

Between you and Prof. T, you guys could start your own study on SLR 'eyes. I mean that in the most envious of ways.

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Hahahah.... We could greatly improve the SLR walleye population by limiting the fishing days prof T, kevin, and Roybee spend on the water!! I say that most respectfully and enviously too......... They r truly skilled walleye anglers.

Edited by EsoxAC3

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