Dennis Anderson: Winnibigoshish limits leave many anglers empty

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 21, 2014 - 8:05 AM

On Lake Winnibigoshish in 2011.

Photo: Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Anglers have questioned the Mille Lacs protected walleye slot for many years, wondering if it’s hurting the lake’s fishery — and the people who depend on it — more than helping.

Now similar questions are being raised at Lake Winnibigoshish, or “Winnie.”

Consider this opening weekend report from Bill Voedisch, Dean Sweeney, John Zollars, Dave Johnson and Herb Polzin, all from the metro.

“We caught well over 40 walleyes for the weekend,” Voedisch said. “But we were able to keep exactly zero fish.”

The protected slot on Winnie is 17 to 26 inches. The Voedisch bunch did manage one 28-inch trophy walleye on this year’s opener. But that fish was returned to the lake.

“Last year, we caught 46 walleyes on the opener, and only two were legal to be kept,” Voedisch said.

Most of this group has fished together for more than a half-century. They understand walleyes have to be protected from overharvest — particularly in an age when anglers are more knowledgeable and use better equipment.

“But we should be able to keep at least one fish a day from Winnie/Cutfoot,” Voedisch said. “One walleye of any size should be legal. That way, we could have one or two fish meals for the weekend, and maybe take home a fish.

“For us on these waters, it’s pretty much turned into catch-and-release fishing.”

Area fisheries manager Chris Kavanaugh of Grand Rapids has heard similar complaints, and says the DNR is proposing to adjust Winnie’s protected slot to 18-25 inches, beginning with the 2015 opener. That will allow more of the lake’s walleyes to be kept.

But Kavanaugh says Winnie doesn’t have a shortage of “keeper” walleyes. Recent surveys show that more than half the lake’s walleyes are 13 to 17 inches long, and the most abundant size is 14-15 inches.

“One problem has been in these late springs like we’ve had the last two years, it’s the bigger walleyes that bite first,” Kavanaugh said. “That affects the opener. But as the season goes on, the smaller fish start showing up.”

For more information about Lake Winnibigoshish and its fish, go online at


Dennis Anderson •

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57


question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters