Radical wintering proposal

  • gillsandspecks
    Participant
    Hiawatha, Iowa
    Posts: 235
    #1311113

    For 30 years I’ve been noticing our backwater wintering areas becoming depleted through siltation. Down here in Iowa the projects to deepen them go into millions of tax dollars, I beleive well spent! But with no Length or number limits on panfish & increase in numbers of anglers, I see a losing battle. I suggest that we help enact a rule that alternates the top half of a major back water wintering spot for one year & then the other half for the next year to off limit ice fishing. I think with in three years the fishing could be fantastic again. Any Ideas {John}

    herb
    Participant
    6ft under
    Posts: 3242
    #244220

    I think it would be easier to enforce possession limits on panfish than to draw up boundaries on public waters. Besides, the fish will travel, even under the ice. So the same fish you are trying to protect in one area of a backwater, could be caught in the unprotected area at any given time during the winter. I would vote for poss. limits.

    Steve Hix
    Participant
    Dysart, Iowa
    Posts: 1123
    #244222

    I agree with Herb. We must have limits to protect the fish from the slob fisherman.

    Dave Koonce
    Moderator
    Prairie du Chien Wi.
    Posts: 6944
    #244078

    With the new Law of 25 pan fish in wisconsin….does that include Iowa license holders ?

    ec

    birdman
    Participant
    Lancaster, WI
    Posts: 483
    #243923

    Another vote for possesion limits from me also. Wisconsin already has one in place and I don’t understand why Iowa wouldn’t want to be consistant with border waters from a neighboring state. Our daily bag limit is 25 bluegills and 25 crappies. I’ve never really been a big fan of limits on panfish (not entirely convinced that anglers are at fault for the low numbers a few years back) but after ice fishing this past winter it was nice to see fisherman have to quit after catching their limit instead of trying to get that proverbial “pail full”.

    herb
    Participant
    6ft under
    Posts: 3242
    #243921

    If Ia. license holders are fishing wisc. waters, including the border waters, we have to go by wisc. laws.
    Anglers are not entirely at fault for low numbers of fish. Loss of habitat is the biggest reason I think. The backwaters have filled in terribly over the years. But I have seen times and certain areas where in the winter when the fish are schooled, the population of a certain species gets really hammered. I think the limits that the wisc dnr put on a couple years ago is just an experiment for now to see if it has an effect. And I hope it works. Maybe then Ia. will do the same.
    Personally, I’m a lazy type who doesn’t like to stand there and clean more than 15 or 20 gills or crappie. So my limits are even stricter than wisc.

    gillsandspecks
    Participant
    Hiawatha, Iowa
    Posts: 235
    #243880

    I go along with all of you, and would like to see a 20 fish limit for gills and a 20 fish limit for crappies. Also a nine inch limit on crappies would be nice. It just makes me sick some times when I see all those fish taken from those small dwindling wintering areas day after day. A few of my friends are die hard Bass fishermen & you ought to see them cringe. Man it really upsets them! I came up with the off limit areas because I thought it would be easier for the DNR to enforce. {John}

    alcoholic
    Participant
    Posts: 9
    #243816

    i totally agree that there has to b something done with the panfish arround here, arround where i fish on the dike road,,, it is a major death trap for these fish,,, i think that there needs to b a possetion limit on these fish and a minimum size lenght,,,,, 10 fish is plenty of fish for a family to eat,,, its just as fun to catch and release a 12 inch crappie then to take it home and eat one,,,,

    Brian Lyons
    Participant
    Posts: 894
    #243596

    Damn right we need limits on panfish in the river!!!!!! Anyone who knows me has heard me preach on this subject before so I’ll keep it short. First, bluegills and crappies tend to concentrate in great numbers in small areas on the river, I and several others on this board have seen them fished bucket after bucket till they are fished out of a slough, with the equipment we have today more of these wintering areas are accesible for more of the winter than ever before.Second, what could possibly be simpler for our three state enforcement agencys (IA. MN. WS.) to enforce than uniform limits that apply to all boundry waters? And while we’re at it let’s get some sauger size limits on the books……….B

    bill_cadwell
    Participant
    Rochester, Minnesota
    Posts: 12607
    #243546

    I agree with lowering the limits too. Take what you need for a meal and thats it. The days of greed have to stop or our fisheries will be ruined to the point where they can’t be brought back to being healthy again. If we don’t take care of what we have we will loose it. With backwaters silting in like they are we are losing habitat too. Something needs to be done in both areas. Asking the DNR and State to do their part to help is only half of it. We must do our part too.

    birdman
    Participant
    Lancaster, WI
    Posts: 483
    #243552

    As far as limits go I think you have to be careful to not be too restrictive. I personally think the 25 limit on each species is a good happy medium. Enough fish that people will feel its worth the trip to the river but not so much where the fish will be caught and thrown instead of cleaned. If you limit too much you alienate a good segment of our fishing population. We can’t afford to lose more voices for our sport.

    gillsandspecks
    Participant
    Hiawatha, Iowa
    Posts: 235
    #243053

    Well I Emailed the head of the Iowa fisheries bureau Martin Konrad [email protected] and expressed my opinion and your opinions about our shared problem. He emailed me two days later with the following: John, the keys to good fish populations are water quality and habitat. The Mississippi River backwaters are quickly filling in with sediment. The sediment is destroying valuable panfish habitat. This habitat loss and change has caused concern to the status of bluegill and crappie populations. Stopping habitat loss and restoring habitat loss will accomplish far more to sustaining health populations than will number limits. Martin Konrad.
    Personally I think he must be spending too much time behind the desk. { John }

    lebruce
    Participant
    C.R. Iowa
    Posts: 60
    #243057

    Is Martin Konrad wrong or not??? If the habitat is gone and wintering holes fill in,size and limits do no good on the river.I’m all for size limits and limits.But on the other hand some little lakes and county ponds could be hurt by a possesion limit.If there’s not enough fish being cought they can become stuned. This is just my 2 cents. Thanks for your time and happy hooken!!

    Gianni
    Participant
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Posts: 2063
    #243000

    This topic comes up on FTR about once every six months. I posted the letter I received from Mr. Konrad that said exactly the same thing: Any limits would be politically motivated and fishing pressure has negligible impact on panfish populations.

    A limit of 25 still seems reasonable, but I don’t know that it would have ever impacted me personally. I usually quit before then just because I don’t want to clean that many fish. I think the best thing we can do is rattle our US representatives and senators to the damage (siltation) being done to the fishery on a federally controlled waterway. They have a responsibility to make it right.

    herb
    Participant
    6ft under
    Posts: 3242
    #242930

    Martin Konrad isn’t the head of Ia. dnr fisheries. More of an information specialist I think and he’s very helpfull in most cases. But his response to limits and such was a prepared “generic” statement. I did hear thru the grapevine this last spring that a few biologists were studying limits. Gianni is headed in the right direction. We’d get more attention by talking or CRYING to our representatives who controll the money and the COE. Too bad some of the 78 BILLION dollar farm bill couldn’t include some funds for restoring and maintaining river backwater habitat. Let the farmers have some of their topsoil back and show them how to keep it there.
    But there I go again dreaming again!

    TROUTMAN
    Participant
    S.E.Minnesota
    Posts: 304
    #242932

    Keep in mind that not all anglers are as ethical as those who are posting here.There are those who will take multiple limits per day,days in a row…for as long as the bite lasts.I’m no expert but,I feel this practice does affect a fishery and a lower bag limit would help here.Mr.Konrad nailed the habitat loss thing on the river folks.I’ve lived near and fished pool 3 for 19 years and it just plain does not have a good panfish population anymore.Tradditional winter panfish spots have vanished…sedimenting in over the years.Mike

    gillsandspecks
    Participant
    Hiawatha, Iowa
    Posts: 235
    #242780

    About 8 years ago I was trying to run a few crappie tournaments on the Miss. River. While applying for a permit out of Bellevue I met up with a Marine biologist by the name of Pitlo. He did’nt see the need for limits on panfish & then predicted there would be no panfish or largemouth bass in the river with in 12 to 15 years. I think Konrad gets a lot of his info from Pitlo.

    herb
    Participant
    6ft under
    Posts: 3242
    #242752

    Troutman brings up a good point about people taking multiple limits. Laws are only as good as the enforcement backing them up. Here’s a good example; I spend quite a bit of time at Mark Twain lake in missouri and they have a 15 fish per day and 2days in possesion limit. And they enforce it BIG TIME. They’ll watch you with a spotting scope, watch you at the fish cleaning stations, and even go to your motel room to nail you if they want. When you catch a crappie and there are more than one person in the boat, you have to be able to identify YOUR fish if they check you. SEparate live wells or dividers are recommended. Or some way to mark each person’s fish. Some people think the dnr goes overboard with this, but I think in the end they will have a very good fishery down there. Also, you can’t cull. Once it’s in the well or on a stringer you count it.

    gillsandspecks
    Participant
    Hiawatha, Iowa
    Posts: 235
    #242422

    Say herb; They say were going through tough times with lots of budget cuts. What could be easier to enforce then to make the upper end or lower end of major back water wintering areas off limits to Ice fishing alternating the years. Give it three years & I predict excellent fishing on the river even in the summer. It’l really hit home with those who take fish day after day…. {John}

    herb
    Participant
    6ft under
    Posts: 3242
    #242413

    John, Given the fact that nothing is being tried on the Iowa side of the river, other than a few of us putting our own limits on ourselves, I’d SAY it’s worth a shot.
    I’d really like to see John Pitlo’s thoughts on all this, since he’s our resident fisheries biologist from Ia. We may not agree with what I think he might tell us, but we really do need discussion.

    herb
    Participant
    6ft under
    Posts: 3242
    #242414

    I think I need to correct myself on my last post. There are some dredging projects slated for areas in the upper pools. A couple that come to mind are Capoli and Conway lake. Not sure where they stand right now with the budget crunch and all.

    gillsandspecks
    Participant
    Hiawatha, Iowa
    Posts: 235
    #242292

    Hey Bill, I totally agree with everything that your saying. I’ve been doing alot of research lately into an area of our state & local Gov. Man it’s taking a lot of my fishing time but I think it will be worth it! I’ve been sending a lot of email messages with ftr concerns. One of special note is the founding president & CEO of trees forever / “buffer zones”. As you say, if we elliminate the sediment through erosion then we elliminate the problem. If any one is interested in voicing their concern, Shannon Ramsey would be a good contact. [email protected] {John}

    juggs
    Participant
    The biggest nightcrawler bed in all of Minneapolis
    Posts: 189
    #241805

    I’m going with Troutman and Konrad on this one. As one who’s spent the past 30 years fishing Mississippi backwaters, I’m convinced the problem is a loss of habitat. I’ll echo a post I put on FTL concerning Mille Lacs: When I was a kid, our family put much time in for backwater bluegills and some other game species on pool 9. We used to catch (and keep) unbelievable numbers year after year after year and we weren’t the only ones. (The game hog mentality was much more in vogue then). Remember that this is Iowa, where there still are no limits on some species. There were more fish taken out of just that one pool than you care to count, and yet the numbers never seemed to dwindle until people took notice of diminishing habitat. The moral of the story: I think Mr. Konrad is right, fishing impact is minimal. Give the critters what they need to flourish and they will. If they can reproduce, keep well fed and their numbers in balance, it’s a tall task for man to noticeably impact a fishery that big with just a rod and reel. I’m all for limits. I don’t believe that anybody needs to take that many fish home, especially day after day. But the DNR needs to be trusted, at least to the point of collecting, interpreting, and applying data and when they tell us that limits will have little effect on the fish populations, why not believe them? I have a degree in fisheries and pursued it for one reason–I wanted to promote better fishing and I know that was the mindset of the vast majority of my classmates. I don’t think the DNR is blowing smoke on this issue. They have neither the incentive nor the data to do so. To those of you who want to be pro active in this area, then get on the side of habitat preservation and restoration.

    mossboss
    Participant
    La Crescent, MN
    Posts: 2792
    #241636

    What Juggs said is very sound. I agree with him on everything, but I also think that with the habitat conditions AS THEY ARE NOW, and if they get worse in the future, then limits become more important.

    If the habitat was very good for panfish, the limits would not be an issue. I fished this past weekend on Marshmiller Lake in Chippewa County. I don’t know how big this lake is, but it is pretty small. Both days we were there, boat after boat was coming to shore with a ton of panfish. Many we talked to had 40 or 50 fish. On Saturday, I would bet there were 40 boats out there panfishing. That is ALOT of panfish being taken out of that lake. One fella we talked to said the fishing has been like that for the last few years. Obviously, the panfish habitat on that lake is good, and a 25 fish limit is not hurting the population.

    Now take a fishery the size of the Mississippi. If the habitat were excellent, the panfish would be out there in droves, and a 25 fish limit would not be a problem.

    I think the habitat is by far the biggest limiting factor. However, without imporving the habitat, limits will become more and more important.

    herb
    Participant
    6ft under
    Posts: 3242
    #241275

    I don’t think it can be put any better than to say;
    With the continuing loss of habitat, the dnr and sportsmen and sportswomen need to work together to establish limits of some sort. AND, AND, to put pressure on the government and corps of engineers to rehabilitate what was once a great backwater fishery.
    No, I don’t have a degree in fisheries. I’m just a pesky old river rat that doesn’t care for the way this river has been changing in some areas for no good reason.

    gillsandspecks
    Participant
    Hiawatha, Iowa
    Posts: 235
    #240783

    Hey herb; As an other who spends alot of TOW you could’nt have said it any better, except, could you give out some of your Gov addresses that you have been in contact with? Emails would be better! Oh herb; I also am one who does’nt have a degree in fisheries, but it does’nt stop me from questioning some of the things that our DNR keeps pulling. Grass carp, river otters, no limits, stocking private ponds at our expense, that stuff they use at so many ppm for weed control.. Were getting a whole lot of writing here, but not a whole lot is getting done. If any body has some quick & easy Emails to post, I think that will accomplish more then anything. {John}

    herb
    Participant
    6ft under
    Posts: 3242
    #240726

    John, I’ll see what I’ve got and send you a pm.

    bigdog10
    Participant
    Waterloo, Iowa
    Posts: 351
    #237503

    If you fill up a big old creek channel (the Miss) by making dams sooner or later it is going to fill in because of the moving water. The moving water will just naturally deposit silt. The same effect can be seen on your driveway after a heavy rain. The river is just doing it’s thing and it is up to our generation to deal with it. How do we deal with it? The million dollar question.

    Dredging it is the easiest, but most expensive answer. Is there not a way to develope technology to make this less expensive? There has got to be a way….. My point is, as long as we dam up the river it will continue to accumulate soil. My personal feeling is that we are not far away from developing the technology to deal with the silt build up. It will come…hopefully not to late.

    As far as limits are concerned, we can use lower limits in the meantime to at least keep us where we are at. For those of you who would want to catch, keep and clean 25 bluegills or crappies in a day, well…..I’m sorry but what in the WORLD are you thing about? Set the overall limit for both species at 10 with a size limit of 9″ on the crappies. If you want to clean a 6″ bluegill then I hope that the good Lord has blessed you with other nutrition!

    gillsandspecks
    Participant
    Hiawatha, Iowa
    Posts: 235
    #235993

    I agree with you on limits, especially nine inches on crappies and fifteen on crappies, 15 on bluegills. I’ve got an old river rat friend that puts on about 3 fish frys a year. Usually about 100 people show up. I kind of disagree with putting on large fish frys for people that usually can’t tell the difference between sheep head and crappies.

    herb
    Participant
    6ft under
    Posts: 3242
    #235979

    I suppose the best we can do for now is what we have been doing. Putting personal limits on ourselves and educating others that it MIGHT be the right thing to do. Even catch and release of more of the big males just to kept them in the gene pool may be a smart thing to do. I’ve been doing that one since reading a couple studies on it by the Ill. dnr.

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