Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

Continued: Anderson: Could fishing on Minnesota's 'Dream Lake' become the norm?

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 23, 2014 - 12:42 AM

Or could the lake — whose water quality and vegetation benefit from limited shoreline development — be returned to its more natural state, with fish across a broad spectrum of age and size structures, including older, bigger fish?

These many years later, the answer seems to be “yes.” And not just for northerns but for bluegills and crappies, too.

•••

Consider:

Of the 97 northern pike caught this winter from Hudson’s study lake, only seven hadn’t been caught previously. In fact, as a group, the 97 fish had been caught and released a total of 431 times.

And of those 97, a total of 24 measured 30 inches or longer — fish that had been caught over the course of their lives an average of 6.83 times apiece.

“Now think about how long it takes a fish to grow,’’ Hudson said. “A northern in our lake will take six years to reach 24 inches and nine years to reach 30 inches and weigh 7 or 8 pounds.

“So it becomes pretty obvious what happens if people keep not only the bigger fish, but the medium-sized fish, say 24- to 30-inch northerns. You end up with what we have in many Minnesota lakes: stunted fish.’’

Just then, another tip-up flag stood upright, and two of Hudson’s volunteer anglers for the day, Sam Hunter of Nevis, Minn., and Megan Malone of Menahga, Minn., raced in its direction.

Hunter is a DNR conservation officer and Malone an emergency medical technician. Both were enjoying some off-duty time helping Bayman and Hudson catch, measure, weigh and tag northern pike.

“Got it!’’ Malone said as she set the hook on yet another toothy fish.

This northern, once winched into the bright sunlight, proved small — and a rarity: It bore no tag; therefore, it hadn’t been caught before.

With a surgeon’s alacrity, Hudson quickly measured the fish, attached an ID tag to it and removed a scale from its side to determine its growth rate and age.

Then the fish was returned to the water, likely to be caught again. And again. And again.

•••

Kingsley, the DNR fisheries manager, believes Hudson’s and Bayman’s research, along with similar studies, shows that the often-referenced Minnesota goal of returning bigger northern pike to state lakes is unlikely to occur, given current harvest regulations that allow anglers three northerns daily, with one over 30 inches.

“Depending on an individual lake and the fishing pressure it sustains, it’s possible its northern pike population can’t even sustain a regulation allowing anglers one fish greater than 24 inches a day,’’ he said.

Conversely, smaller “hammer-handle’’ northerns likely can be harvested from most lakes in quantities greater than three a day, if anglers could be convinced to do it.

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Wishing for a 'Dream Lake'

    Saturday February 22, 2014

    Evidence from a private lake where fishing are allowed to just keep growing indicates it takes severe measures to...

  • Ugliest catch: Walker's International Eelpout Festival

    Sunday February 23, 2014

    Ice anglers and revelers celebrate an unattractive but tasty fish at Walker’s eelpout festival.

  • Anderson: Twin Cities angler is big smallmouth booster

    Friday February 21, 2014

    Tim Holschlag, 63, has made a good living out of teaching anglers all over the country about the wonders of...

  • Dallas Hudson of Akeley, Minn., caught this northern pike through the ice last week as part of a yearslong study that he and other private citizens have undertaken in part to measure northerns’ growth rates and eating habits.

  • Each fish is measured and identified by its tag. Many fish caught by Dallas Hudson, Steve Bayman and others who fish the lake have been caught and tagged repeatedly.

  • Above: Sam Hunter, right, of Nevis, Minn., prepared a tip-up while fishing a private lake as part of a study in northern Minnesota. Hunter, a DNR conservation officer, while off duty occasionally helps Dallas Hudson, left, in his northern pike study.

  • The study lake is divided into quadrants, and the location where a fish is caught is recorded.

  • Megan Malone of Menagha, Minn., left, caught a northern pike while fishing a private lake being studied by Dallas Hudson, right, and others, in conjunction with the DNR and the U.S. Geological Survey.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - LP: K. Siegrist 6 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 7
Toronto 4 Bottom 3rd Inning
NY Yankees 2
Arizona 0 Top 3rd Inning
Philadelphia 3
Washington 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Cincinnati 0
Boston 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
Tampa Bay 0
San Diego 1 Top 2nd Inning
Atlanta 0
Oakland - J. Hammel 7:05 PM
Texas - J. Williams
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo
Miami - B. Hand 7:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Correia
Cleveland - J. Tomlin 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Pittsburgh - C. Morton 7:40 PM
Colorado - B. Anderson
Detroit - D. Smyly 9:05 PM
LA Angels - T. Skaggs
Baltimore - K. Gausman 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Lincecum
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Colorado
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Tulsa 37 3rd Qtr
Washington 49
Chicago 32 2nd Qtr 7:11
Atlanta 14
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close