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delcecchi

Stocked vrs Natural on Lake Vermilion

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The stocked muskies on lake Vermilion have a fin clipped, with which side determined by what year. I think the DNR would be interested in any reports as to whether the fish being caught are natural reproduction or stocked.

Perhaps folks could post about which? Or send the information to

Duane Williams, Large Lake Specialist,

218-753-2580, ext. 224

duane.williams@dnr.state.mn.us

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It's not always easy to tell if a fish is clipped or not as quit often they grow back or partially grow back. If you send info to Duane make sure you say which part of the lake it came from, East vs West. The general feeling right now is that there is m ore natural reproduction on the east end and more stocked fish on the west end. Reasons are unclear at this point as to why.

Some of the really big fish may be before fin clipping started so they are not a good indicator of natural vs stocked.

I think the DNR is doing a muskie assessment next spring, can't remember which side. They usually get a good sample size and look for clipped fish.

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A few years ago the Arrowhead chapter of MI did a survey of all the fish we caught. The number of clipped fin fish was very low, something like below 20%.

Jim might have the exact number

but I know it was very low. My fish this summer, (including the fish my customers caught) also had a very low percentage of clipped fins. I can't tell you the exact number without going back in my log book, but it's something in the area of 10%.

"Ace"

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RK    29

Hiya -

Fin clipping is, from what I have been told, a pretty unreliable method of determining whether or not a fish is stocked or native with muskies. Apparently a lot of them do grow back. That's part of why the DNR skips a stocking in order to make a clear 3 year gap in stocked year classes when they do a reproduction assessment on stocked lakes.

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That's what I've heard too. It's use from what I understand is to measure recapture from spring nettings in order to calculate populations. So if they net and clip 100 fish, then it comes back that only 20% of fish have clipped fins they can guess there's about 500 fish in a lake. But this is over the short term before fins have a chance to grow back.

A more accurate measure of natural reproduction is fall shocking just before any fish are stocked. Because of the size difference between an age 0 fish and age 1 fish, you can easily determine which fish definitely occurred naturally.

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I'm just going by what the DNR guys seining on my beach in July told me. He said that if it grows back it is usually deformed.

It is interesting that the percentage of clipped fish is so low.

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Arrowhead chapter of MI kept track of clipped vs non clipped fish in 2003-2005. Of 259 fish, which is a relatively small sample size, 59 were clipped or 23%. The general concensus now is that the majority of fish on the east side are non clipped and on the west are clipped. Not much natural reproduction happening on the west side or at least they haven't seen it yet.

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