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Lake Nipissing Walleye, sigh.


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Just came back from the South Bay area of Lake Nipissing and we were blessed with awesome fishing weather for three days, light winds and warm days. The pickerel were definately on the bite as almost every spot we stopped at, we caught fish. For three days and 4 or 5 rods fishing, we caught over 200 walleye. Usually we catch that amount over a week, but this year we only had three days to fish, so there are definately lots of fish. Now this is where my passion for Lake Nipissing stops. Previous to this season the limit was two walleye, none between 40 and 60 centimetres. The limit used to be 6 any size, that changed to 4 any size, that changed to 4 with the slot limit, then two with slot limit, and now 2 over 18.1 inches. Of the over 200+ walleye that we caught we only caught one keeper. I had to explain to my kids that we had to throw them back to get bigger. They asked why? I don't know. Someone thinks that there are no fish in this lake. Previous years we caught lots in the slot. This year there were very few of last years slot fish. The only explanation I have is that they have been harvested. I understand lake managers were saying that older years classes were disappearing but whey they were disappearing can only be attributed to one thing and I will only mention it once. In my point of view, the commercial netting of fish on Lake Nipissing is decimating the walleye population. Sure there are lots of small ones, but once they get big enough that they get stuck in the gill nets, they are gone. Certain authorities are blaming sport fisherman for over harvest. All I can say is this; thirty years ago fishing lodges were vibrant with full occupancy and a limit of 6 walleye and this continued for decades. I remember summer days were we would see hundreds of boats out on a weekend. This Sunday and on previous years, you are lucky to count a couple dozen boats, so there is for certain less angling pressure/harvest, yet there is less walleye in the lake because of sport fisherman? MNR give your heads a shake and open your eyes! Big and wide open!

 

I so hope that something changes soon so that my kids and eventually their kids will enjoy fishing this lake like I have over the past fourty years otherwise it will be too late. Resorts are hurting and this years regulation change will be the final nail in the coffin for many of them. I cant even imagine anybody going ice fishing anymore with this regulation.

 

Rant Over…...

 

Kingsalmon

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Well said SalmonKing. I am in the same situation your in and couldn't have said it any better. There are lots of resorts that are depending on something being done. I have been going there for 20+ years and not sure how many are left??

Scott

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Ya know I was gonna let this go and vanish like the last couple of these into obscurity

 

Maybe everyone should take a step back and Consider all the factors that have affected many fisheries

 

Those 30 years ago----you mention---netting was still going on---likely 300 years ago

 

30 years ago---technology was primitive compared to today's standards---I myself today can pinpoint walleyes with very good accuracy---I could not 30 years ago

 

Has climate had a hand???---has spawning areas changed?...do commercial netters have better equipment to cover more water?.....etc..etc.

 

Veiled finger pointing does nothing to educate or make change---it is very good at picking sides though

 

Look at the population growth in Southern Ontario and compare it to 30 years ago----Nipissing is very commutable and well marketed----anglers are so much better educated at targeting

 

Are commercial netters part of the problem...very likely......all of the problem.....hardly

 

remember one really does catch more flies with honey though than you do with vinegar

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Regardless of Nips size, i dont think there should be any commercial fishing on inland lakes, and also stringent monitoring on the great lakes as well, to make sure netters are within there quotas, the numbers of small fish you caught indicates at least 2 strong year classes, so the adults at one time were there to produce those numbers of under sized slot fish, you assumption off nets harvesting the larger fish, certainly fits within the puzzle.

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Bushart, I know that there has been commercial netting on Nipissing for years. But if you step back and take a look at what is really going on, you dont have to be a scientist to see the true picture. Right now there is a few very strong year classes that are ranging from 12-17 inches. Something had to spawn those fish 2-3 years ago. To tell me that those fish simply disappeared is Bull. Its no secret that gillnets target fish over a specific size/length. So where are the larger fish? To me there is only one answer. That and the fact that there have been at least five abandoned ghost nets found this year simply confirms what I believe to be true, it is the commercial nets that are removing the larger fish, and not the sport fisherman. Lake Nipissing should no longer have nets. You state that 30 years ago there was no technology to find fish. 30 years ago you didnt need technology to find fish; they were pretty much everywhere. To tell you the truth, I think the walleye are pretty much everywhere this year. I truly believe that there is less than half of the anglers fishing Nipissing today as 30 years ago. Sturgeon Falls was a fishing mecca 30 years ago, today it resembles more of an RV park. There is less fisherman, the limits are lower, there is still lots of fish (under 18") but few fish above 18". Again, it just tells me that nets are the main reason that this is happening. I have no issue with natives taking what the need for substinence, and I never have. But to sell pickerel/walleye fillets at the HWY 17 roadside, I have issue with that. $16 a pound for pickerel is far cheaper than what it cost me to get a feed when I have to catch it. $100 or more a pound would be more like it if you account everything involved with what it takes to sportfish a walleye. This just brings me back to the MNR. Stop, buyout, whatever, the commercial harvest on Lake Nipissing. Given that this lake is within driving distance of a large population should make it even more obvious that commercial netting has no place on Lake Nipissing.

 

I am passionate about this subject because it seems that our government, our MNR, does not want to do anything about this subject other than taking it out on sport fisherman. Its about time that things change. I am afraid, the blame game will continue on both sides. The MNR has bought out quotas before,but you never hear about it happening on Nipissing. Stop Commercial fishing on Lake Nipissing!

 

Kingsalmon

 

Edited by Kingsalmon
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I'd say change how you're fishing...

 

I'm assuming here... But something tells me you all fished similar techniques on similar structure for the 3 days... Maybe?...

 

There are big fish in nip... You just have to target them... I have spots and techniques on the St Lawrence River to catch me big fish... But I also have spots/techniques to catch me small eaters....

 

200 fish in 3 days tells me you guys beat on schools of small fish and were having fun getting quick bites... And who doesn't like lots of bites right... Especially with kids in the boat... But sorting through dinks hoping for bigger fish is a mistake far too many anglers make... If youre not catching the quality of fish you want... Then move or try a different technique...

 

My fun fishing and my tournament fishing are 2 completely different approaches...

Edited by Mike Rousseau
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Bushart, I know that there has been commercial netting on Nipissing for years. But if you step back and take a look at what is really going on, you dont have to be a scientist to see the true picture. Right now there is a few very strong year classes that are ranging from 12-17 inches. Something had to spawn those fish 2-3 years ago. To tell me that those fish simply disappeared is Bull. Its no secret that gillnets target fish over a specific size/length. So where are the larger fish? To me there is only one answer. That and the fact that there have been at least five abandoned ghost nets found this year simply confirms what I believe to be true, it is the commercial nets that are removing the larger fish, and not the sport fisherman. Lake Nipissing should no longer have nets. You state that 30 years ago there was no technology to find fish. 30 years ago you didnt need technology to find fish; they were pretty much everywhere. To tell you the truth, I think the walleye are pretty much everywhere this year. I truly believe that there is less than half of the anglers fishing Nipissing today as 30 years ago. Sturgeon Falls was a fishing mecca 30 years ago, today it resembles more of an RV park. There is less fisherman, the limits are lower, there is still lots of fish (under 18") but few fish above 18". Again, it just tells me that nets are the main reason that this is happening. I have no issue with natives taking what the need for substinence, and I never have. But to sell pickerel/walleye fillets at the HWY 17 roadside, I have issue with that. $16 a pound for pickerel is far cheaper than what it cost me to get a feed when I have to catch it. $100 or more a pound would be more like it if you account everything involved with what it takes to sportfish a walleye. This just brings me back to the MNR. Stop, buyout, whatever, the commercial harvest on Lake Nipissing. Given that this lake is within driving distance of a large population should make it even more obvious that commercial netting has no place on Lake Nipissing.

 

I am passionate about this subject because it seems that our government, our MNR, does not want to do anything about this subject other than taking it out on sport fisherman. Its about time that things change. I am afraid, the blame game will continue on both sides. The MNR has bought out quotas before,but you never hear about it happening on Nipissing. Stop Commercial fishing on Lake Nipissing!

 

Kingsalmon

 

 

:thumbsup_anim:

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I'd say change how you're fishing...

 

I'm assuming here... But something tells me you all fished similar techniques on similar structure for the 3 days... Maybe?...

 

There are big fish in nip... You just have to target them... I have spots and techniques on the St Lawrence River to catch me big fish... But I also have spots/techniques to catch me small eaters....

 

200 fish in 3 days tells me you guys beat on schools of small fish and were having fun getting quick bites... And who doesn't like lots of bites right... Especially with kids in the boat... But sorting through dinks hoping for bigger fish is a mistake far too many anglers make... If youre not catching the quality of fish you want... Then move or try a different technique...

 

My fun fishing and my tournament fishing are 2 completely different approaches...

 

 

Exactly....walleyes size class as much or more than many species---I've been on spots where I could catch 13-14 inch fish all day long

 

Maybe fewer fisherman are going because of the rules and bad press like this

 

I have'nt fished Nip in 35 years----But I'm going out on a limb and say it has been affected by zebra mussels....correct??---this can change a fishery

 

as well as all the other factors I mentioned

 

Nobody is disputing how bad the ghost nets are---...

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From the late 70's until the mid 90's I spent many thousands of dollars renting cottages, boats and ice huts on the south shore. Those were the times of waiting lists to rent a nice spot. The only thing that made me stop and buy my own place was the ridiculous price they were asking for a weekly rental. The prices rose well over 100% in 12 years when the outfitters were in the drivers seat. I would love to go back for old times sake but I'm not spending a few grand to do it for a week. There are more factors at work here than commercial fisheries and slot limits for this guy.

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I'd say change how you're fishing...

 

I'm assuming here... But something tells me you all fished similar techniques on similar structure for the 3 days... Maybe?...

 

There are big fish in nip... You just have to target them... I have spots and techniques on the St Lawrence River to catch me big fish... But I also have spots/techniques to catch me small eaters....

 

200 fish in 3 days tells me you guys beat on schools of small fish and were having fun getting quick bites... And who doesn't like lots of bites right... Especially with kids in the boat... But sorting through dinks hoping for bigger fish is a mistake far too many anglers make... If youre not catching the quality of fish you want... Then move or try a different technique...

 

My fun fishing and my tournament fishing are 2 completely different approaches...

 

Very well said.

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Ask yourself how much netting goes on in Northwestern Ontario and Manitoba

 

Not as many endangered species threads on those waters apparently

 

That's not a great comparison. Those waters don't lie 3 hours from the GTA with an entite tourism industry and literal way of life depending on the health of the lake.

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That's not a great comparison. Those waters don't lie 3 hours from the GTA with an entite tourism industry and literal way of life depending on the health of the lake.

 

 

Which leads right to my point

 

Nip's woes seem to be directed at commercial nets....yet Southern On is at the doorstep---and rarely in these threads gets factored in

 

If nets were the sole cause---those northern lakes would be decimated---especially with the lack of a microscope checking in on a regular basis.

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As a fisherman, i say if you want to eat fish, catch it yourself...either that or eat something farmed...If you want to commercial fish, force them to use a rod and reel. Imagine people could sell game meat by dragging a net through the Forrest to collect all the deer and moose?

 

This all shows that sustainable commercial fisheries dont exist unless extremely heavily regulated. And even then, the populations remain nowhere near their natural level. Just look at the stories from the 1800's fishing was literally like shooting fish in a barrel.

 

I've heard horror stories of gill nets being strung across moon river before too, how can we expect to have any fish left if we allow people to completely annihilate the fisheries.

 

If people had to learn what it takes to actually catch a fish, they would have more respect for our fisheries, and even more respect for the environment that holds the fish they are eating.

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To the Op... the good news in your report is that yes, there are some recent year classes that successfully spawned and your recent trip showed that. The bad news is that those fish you caught recently probably won't have a chance to do the same as they will likely be caught by the nets when they reach the right size.

We have beaten this topic six ways from Sunday on this message board. May I suggest that you use the search function here and have a read through the many topics and posts. I have learned a ton about the challenges facing Nip in following these posts.

Happy searching!

HH

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Bushart...
When I was a kid there were flotillas of fishermen on the water all summer from all over North America.
The fishing remained good.

Now there are many days I don't see a boat at all, other than the ones that show up at night to lay them out.

 

 

Yes, electronics make it easier, but consider back then it wasn't difficult to catch your 6 fish anyway.

 

I live on the lake, I know LOTS of people from around the area. We know the score.

Oh, and no zebra mussels that I have seen. Hopefully they don't arrive.

Edited by Bernie
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Personally, I am a sport-fisherman and I really only fish for the fight, and then release afterwards. I know people who keep sunfish and rockbass, largemouth, anything they catch - I don't condemn them, but it's not my style.

But I'll keep a walleye now and again, tasty as they are.

As such, I have a big-time problem with commercial fishing on what should be lakes, rivers and streams that belong to anglers. Angling is becoming extremely popular, and on the Ottawa river on a nice day, no matter where you go on the shore, you'll see a line of people with rods out and buckets at their feet. I've watched as no one caught anything for an hour, and as soon as ONE tiny fish gets caught, they cheer the sunfish and drop it in the bucket. I know it's not outside regulations, but people come on, the fish I want to fight need to eat those pathetic little fish to get bigger.

Even worse, slot limits should be about protecting fish populations, not making sure the fish is large enough to get caught in commercial nets.

Someone posted this link, it's a petition against commercial fishing in Lake Nippissing. This seems like a good place for it:

http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/city-of-north-bay-ban-nipissing-commercial-fishing-and-net-fishing?recruiter=129968610&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

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Yes I remember the callander bay floatillas

 

But yet again there is much to factor in---this is'nt a one cause problem

 

Take Old Ironmakers comment on pricing----can I take my 1000 bucks and do better elswhere?

 

People are more mobile today than even 30 years ago----what took you in time to drive to North Bay---with improved hiways and better vehicles---where does the same time put you?

 

This is the information age------The internet is plugged with different fishing opportunities just as good as Nip was in her good days

 

These are just a few

 

And add the continuous internet talk on how bad things are on Nip----If I'm sittin in the US lookin for a trip to Canada---do a quick web search on reviews----keep reading these type stories.....Where am I going??

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One of my buddies brought over a magazine article written by an area bass pro talking about the small mouth fishing in Lake Erie. It seemed to be his opinion that 30 years ago you couldn't catch small mouth of the size you can today.

 

We were both of the opinion he must have been sitting on a white bucket on a pier trying.

 

I am sure there are a lot of factors involved?

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Now I'm not exactly sure the amount of netting that happens on nip, however, I have a, and I use this term loosely "family member" living in deseronto. This person lives on the reserve and says that his buddies net on quinte. They use a 400 foot net that entangles up to 2000 fish at a time, not all walleye mind you, but most fish rot before being harvested for their flesh AND THESE GUYS ARE SMALL TIME "FISHERMEN". I have no idea how any fishery can survive given the pressure from both sides.

Bill

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Kuha I believe last year the NFN fishery took out about 29000 kg and the anglers were around 20000kg. And both these numbers represent all fish caught, biologists take the side of caution so estimate higher numbers to ensure the highest number possible is used. This cover non compliances.

 

The average catch for 2013 per day with 10 nets (3000 feet) was 40 walleye. Numbers for Pike, perch, whitefish etc are all recorded. They have markets for the species I mentioned but herring are illegal to sell due to the amount of worms and suckers most people do not want. Some people in the community will use them when the water is colder for canning.

 

Aside from the couple bad apples there nets are set in the late evening, and lifted by 9 am and put on ice in the boat immediately. Fish aren't rotten unless left unattended.

 

As mentioned all over the media NFN is having a community meeting to discuss the fishery. A lot of people I have spoken to want to shut the commercial fishery down just based on the "ghost nets" issue, I am hopeful that once the data for the population is discussed it will get a lot more people on board. I can guarantee with 20 or so people losing their incomes there will be demands on the government to put more pressure on the recreational fishery. Just hope it all happens and that it isn't too late. If a decision is made hopefully OMNR will step up and work with NFN for enforcement and the courts also need to start to recognize the laws so charges can be laid.

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