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AKRISONER

Bass Decline - Anyone?

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Ok, perhaps I am totally out to lunch here, but I have a serious question for all of the bass anglers out there. Is it just me and my friends, or has there been a massive sharp decline in large sized bass and even species over the past 2 years.

 

Here is my hypothesis and supporting piece of evidence.

 

Hypothesis: The record cold and winters that we had 2 years ago severly impacted the population of aging bass and in some northern locals nearly eliminated populations of largemouth bass. Or a natural culling cycle is occuring.

 

-In the years 2008-2013...it went without question that in the Pointe Au Baril area, i could consistently catch largemouth bass in certain honey holes that I could frequent. No harvesting of bass was ever done in these spots, nor did I ever witness other anglers specifically targeting these fish in these locations over a 6 year period of time. That was until last summer where I became totally perplexed by the decline in the largemouth population in the Pointe Au Baril area. Last year I caught a grand total of 2 largemouth bass in an entire year.

-The MNR was conducting a study in the Pointe Au Baril area of fishing rates and catches for the entire year. I routinely ran into the MNR every weekend I angled for the entire year. The one student (I cant recall his name now) was in the boat every weekend and by the end of the summer his weekly visit to my boat always included some additional fishing talk. I sure enough inquired to him about bass catch rates and he indicated that out of the entire year, he had a grand total tally of 4 largemouths being caught in the entire PAB area by all anglers over the course of the entire year. (incredible)

 

-My main fishing homie has a spot on upper buckhorn. He consistently fishes every single weekend from bass opener until thanksgiving. Last year his largest fish was a 3.5 largemouth bass. The trailer record for the entire year was 4.5lbs and I would put their family catch numbers for the year well over 800. The pattern has held this year and he has yet to break the 4lb mark. In previous years it was without question that him along with with father and dads best friend would consistently boat 4lb bass with at least a few 5lbers all the way up to 7 lbers on an annual basis.

 

- I spent approximately 45 hours this past week targeting smallmouth bass. I would estimate that myself along with my fishing buddy boated over 60 fish over the course of the week. Out of these 60 fish, the largest was 3lbs 1oz

 

I was just reading a report and noticed that fisherpete said he fished rice this past weekend and caught 25 fish and the biggest largie he could muster was 3lbs...Ive also had some PM conversations with other members here that consistently boat big bass and they had indicated that the size of fish was way way down.

 

so I put this out to all you bass fishers out there...is something going on? Is this just a natural cycle? Did those 2 unusually cold winters do something or am i just cookoo?

 

Where the Nicklebass at Tho?! holla at me!

Edited by AKRISONER

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I think the cold season would affect the bass population. They grow slower in cold water. A lot of the large bass from a few years ago are gone. The medium sized bass from a few years ago may not have grown much (and thus, didn't become large bass) due to the cold weather. Many lakes may have also lost a couple of year classes because the young of the year may not have made it through the winter.

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I have noticed more people harvesting bass since the walleye numbers have declined on Pigeon Lake. However, with that being said, there are still 20+lbs of bass weighed in for one day at some tourneys. (I always shake my head at how they do this) Maybe the bass are getting smarter. LOL

I'm not sure how a colder winter would effect a bass if they were in the right location, with oxygen and food. The unfrozen water wouldn't be any colder than other years.

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Two largemouth in a morning didn't used to be a good morning at Pointe Au Baril, although the lure bite could shut down at times a live bait was the go to way to get them.

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Two largemouth in a morning didn't used to be a good morning at Pointe Au Baril, although the lure bite could shut down at times a live bait was the go to way to get them.

 

good luck finding one...in an entire year these days. The 2 i caught were both by fluke. Every time i tried to catch them i came up totally empty handed.

 

Dont get me wrong, the smallmouth population is healthy...its just not big.

 

JIMMER...that one guy was weighing the same 20lb bag every tournament with his laundry basket contraption lol

Edited by AKRISONER

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I have noticed more people harvesting bass since the walleye numbers have declined on Pigeon Lake. However, with that being said, there are still 20+lbs of bass weighed in for one day at some tourneys. (I always shake my head at how they do this) Maybe the bass are getting smarter. LOL

I'm not sure how a colder winter would effect a bass if they were in the right location, with oxygen and food. The unfrozen water wouldn't be any colder than other years.

 

The last couple of summers have been pretty cool too.

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I have been gone from Ontario for a few years and I have now been to a few lakes this season. The lakes I have been to are sitting up a lot differently than what I remember. Weed lines have changed, Water clarity is different, the bass have been spawning later as well. A late spawn gives that year class a shorter growing season. Different weed lines and boating pressure not just fishing pressure have an effect on fish populations.

There are still big bass in the lakes but they can be tricky to find. Some weed patches are completely gone, some are much more dense.

 

Cooler summer temperatures,, shorter growing seasons, changes in lake structure and cover, increase in boating, increase in fishing. For example the tri lakes are housing so many tournaments its unreal.

From the opener alone until now, there have been 5 tournaments that I know of.

FLW, Might Mucks, an invitational, I think there was a Bass Federation as well and CSFL has two separate ones on the 9th and one on the 10th.

When tournaments relocates hundreds of bass right after spawn on lakes it will have an effect on finding fish for certain.

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Bass in Erie are quite a bit larger than when I first started fishing in the late 50's /60's, don't know about the last few years though. Dad took 2nd in a tournament out of Port Colborne in the late 70's with a 4 lb. 1 oz. fish, today with a twoonie that fish would get you a Timmie's.

Edited by dave524

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I don't find the Smallmouth population here on Erie has declined at all, in fact in my unscientific opinion the average Bass is larger. I am told it is because of the Goby population explosion. didn't see as many spawning Bass here this spring though.

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I believe that winters may affect numbers but certainly affect growth. I saw the impact on Erie a few years ago after the consecutive warm winters we had.

 

Overall though, i think all things wildlife related go in cycles.

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I have noticed more people harvesting bass since the walleye numbers have declined on Pigeon Lake. However, with that being said, there are still 20+lbs of bass weighed in for one day at some tourneys. (I always shake my head at how they do this) Maybe the bass are getting smarter. LOL

I'm not sure how a colder winter would effect a bass if they were in the right location, with oxygen and food. The unfrozen water wouldn't be any colder than other years.

 

 

I think this is the number one thing. Harvesting in general, not only Pigeon.

 

Canada is growing. Many more take fish to eat. Im not going to get in to the white bucket thing, but when you see so many filled with everything, it,s going to take it,s toll. They have every right to take thier limit. Not only them, but any one with a stringer full.

 

I havent seen the big hawg buckets in a while as well. Smallies on the other hand, well, my reports have shown they are out there. I think the smallies are a heartier fish then the buckets. Less seems to bother them weather and temp wise. They will suspend in 100 fow and search for food. Buckets dont . Not that I have seen anyways.

 

I still think it comes down to pressure and keep and not release. Buckets are easy prey for shore anglers.

 

Again, this is JMO.

 

Edit to add,,,,

 

I was talking to a buddy at work. He and his family had a great weekend catching large mouth on thier small lake. Something like 20 were kept for a fish fry. 20 may not sound like a lot, but that 20 that wont be contributing to the future. Something to think about.

Edited by Brian B

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Where I fish in the Muskoka area I would argue the bass have been larger and in higher numbers than I have seen before. Between myself and friends we have pulled out four 20"+ fish ranging from 3.5-5.5lbs since season opener...something I haven't seen before by this point in the year but it's pretty exciting.

 

Could be luck or as others have said, an "unscientific opinion" but so far it's been a good bass season where I fish. All c&r so far but I think I'll have to do a fry soon

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Its just getting better and better up here!(smallies that is)

 

Largies are brutal this year on LOTWs

 

Im on another forum that is more based in southern ontario and im pretty shocked how many people are eating limits of smallies and largies.

 

But thats probably nothing new

Edited by manitoubass2

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I kinda feel it comes down to the waterbody. I fish bass a lot and in different types of lakes for fun and tournaments. A lot of lakes that don't have pressure the fishing has been fantastic as expected. Fishing the heavily pressured lakes like the kawarthas its the other way around. The fish are healthy and big, but you really gotta work hard and fish hard to find them. That's why you see big bags from tourney anglers, they are working their butts off pre fishing and patterning which is different than only having a weekend to fish here and there. Way to many anglers harvesting bass, and I have no prob with people taking some for a meal. But the limits need to be dropped and a slot limit implemented. Some of the lakes I fish recently had pike invade and that's hurt all species. Lake Seymour being invaded by water soldier has changed that lake. So there are lots of scenarios that affect certain waterbodys. In my humble opinion.

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I honestly cannot say i totally disagree with the smallies comment. We did ok on size last year for them...but this year we patterned them in pretty hard and still came up short on size. Last Thursday we had a day where we boated 40 fish...only 1 was over 3lbs.

 

Seems to be some consensus here though that the largies are hurtin.

 

Maybe the ministry's idea that putting a million regulations on pickerel and basically leaving bass to the dogs is biting us back now? Its a bit crazy isnt it?

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With all the new people taking up fishing.. It would be nice if the MNR would start restocking local lakes for put and take fishing.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think fishing license sales are declining over the years.

But more people are keeping fish that had usually been thrown back.

There is a slot for walleye and Muskie.

Maybe need one for bass as well.

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I'm not a really a bass guy.

I'm not fond of bass tournaments either.

Are large bass in trouble in non tournament fished

lakes as well?

Do tournament fish mortality rates play a roll?

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I'm not a really a bass guy.

I'm not fond of bass tournaments either.

Are large bass in trouble in non tournament fished

lakes as well?

Do tournament fish mortality rates play a roll?

My thoughts too, but didnt want to open that can of worms. Bass get pounded from opener til closer every weekend. I dont fish them, but i also dont catch near as many incidentals as i used to. I dont know if its lack of fish, or too much pressure.

 

S.

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Can it be that the crappie population has increased in those lakes - they feed heavily on small bass - it's been my experience in lakes that I have fished that as the crappie population goes up bass numbers go down - also the opposite - where there are commercial fishermen netting crappie in the fall eventually the bass population goes up - crappie also compete with the bass for food -

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Bass in Erie are quite a bit larger than when I first started fishing in the late 50's /60's, don't know about the last few years though. Dad took 2nd in a tournament out of Port Colborne in the late 70's with a 4 lb. 1 oz. fish, today with a twoonie that fish would get you a Timmie's.

A guy one of my former fishing partners knows is a writer for a bass fishing magazine, he brought me over the magazine article one day and asked what I thought of it, he had made the same conclusions. Where was he fishing?

 

We started seriously fishing for smallies in Lake Erie in the early 70's, outside the usual Erie island spring spawning areas nobody really seemed to target them much, or have much luck when they did.

 

I had days on Lake Erie where you would have thought the smallies were non existent or all dinks, then in 15-30 minutes catch a limit push 30 pounds, then they would disappear again.

 

Glen Lau, who used to be a guide, fishing writer for outdoors magazines wrote articles about the tremendous schools of smallies, and big ones, he saw while diving in Lake Erie in the 60's and 70's.

 

Today's electronics are also much better?

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Lake Erie is LOADED with SMB..........if you're not catching them, it's your own fault.......the fishery has changed to what they are eating just like the perch and walleyes. You can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results, that's the def of insanity.

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Lake Erie is LOADED with SMB..........if you're not catching them, it's your own fault.......the fishery has changed to what they are eating just like the perch and walleyes. You can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results, that's the def of insanity.

 

im starting to think its the largies that are taking a beating

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No issues for quality or quantity here. Need to adjust for weather and lake changes.

Other day smashed.2 real good walleyes pitchen.laydowns for bass

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