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monstermoose78

Measure them gills

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Measuring bluegills before you toss em in the live well, fish basket, or bucket. Will help you make it easy judge on what sized gills you are keeping. This time of year the big bulls are starting to make their beds and can be caught easily, because they are protecting their eggs. I know the size depends on the lake, but most lakes any gill over 8.5 inches is big one that receives a fair amount of pressure.

Yesterday I seen a older fisherman fishing while fishing with my nephew and the older fisherman told us to only keep the big ones. He said he had 18 bluegills all over 9 inches. I tried to explain to this guy that those are important fish to leave in the lake, but he was not having that.  This older fisherman was pulling the big bulls off their beds and putting them in his bucket. My nephew asked why we were not fishing like this guy. I explained to my nephew what those big bull bluegills were doing and he agreed that we should let them make babies. I let my nephew fish for gills just outside of the bedding area and showed him what female gill looked like vs a male gill. My nephew kept 10 gills from 7 to 8 inches and none came off beds. We were in 2-4 feet of water and we could see the beds fairly easy.  

The set up was simple a slip bobber with a split shot and red hook, because my nephew thought it was cool. We used earth worms chunks. The bobber stop to the hook was almost 2 feet.  I was extremely happy that my nephew was willing to leave the bedded bull bluegills alone. He was all smiles and wants to learn more about fishing. That is a good thing, because I am willing to help him learn. He also was having a fish fry for his mom and girlfriend for dinner yesterday.

Good Luck !!!

Please protect the big bull bluegills, so we can always have a chance to catch that 10 incher or better.

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I couldn't agree more, great post.

I would also like to add, in the event bigger gills are being caught, change to a jig head or at least up the size of your hook to help avoid deep hooking the gills.  it makes a huge difference.  Even if you are fishing with catch and release in mind,  deep hooking fish will assuredly kill fish.

 

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Moose, you did the best thing possible. Trying to explain things to someone who has done it "their way" for decades can be a tough situation. Teaching the next generation the right way is much more important IMHO.  Your Nephew will be around catching gills far longer than the older gentelman you encountered;)

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The only way to spread the word is to try and talk to people. I enjoy Monster Bluegills way to much to not try and talk to people about protecting them. I am lucky enough to have lakes around me that have trophy quality Bluegills yet. I know some will not follow my lead, but together we can make a difference. 

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I am all for catching big gills.  I came across this article and though why couldn't something like it be adopted in MN.  Especially the reduced limits during the spring.

Wisconsin Panfish Limits

​Our area manager and fisheries dept in Little Falls, are trying to implement regulation changes on some of our local waters.  I am sure it is difficult to garner wide support given the stock the freezer mentality many have in our Todd and Morrison county area.  However there did seem to be support for some kind of change.

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Nicely done Moose! Just a simple bit of education can help in most cases. Here's a good example of male vs female bluegill to help others...  Male upper Right, Female lower left

There's also an explanation behind all the biology etc on the Little Falls Area Fisheries HSOforum Events

 

BLG.jpg

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Nicely done Moose! Just a simple bit of education can help in most cases. Here's a good example of male vs female bluegill to help others...  Male upper Right, Female lower left

There's also an explanation behind all the biology etc on the Little Falls Area Fisheries HSOforum Events

 

BLG.jpg

​Did anything ever come from the meetings?

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​Did anything ever come from the meetings?

​They are actually scheduled for September 8th in Harding area- Club of the Pines 7-9 PM

 and 9th - Long Prairie City Hall, 6-8 PM. 

Details are up on the Area Fisheries HSOforum. Comments can be emailed, phoned, mailed...  

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Mr. Altena, I would like to say thank you, to you and your staff for your efforts to improve the state of our panfish dynamics as well as the overall fisheries in your/our area.  You have done fine job picking up where Mr. Lillenthal left off.  The Little Falls area fisheries office is one state office us sportsmen can be confident is working for and with us.  thank you!

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Were there meetings last year too?  

​Hoppe,

We had a "panfish forum" of sorts in Long Prairie in January of 2014. We wanted to see what people thought about the potential for experimental panfish regs and potential lakes to consider. All this was in an effort to get "pre-data" before even suggesting the type of regulation specifics or the lakes. We had done a random postcard survey and an online survey of anglers before having the meeting as well. If we want experimental regulations to work, we need a reasonable level of buy in, otherwise the effectiveness can be undermined by a determined few. Not to say there is that intent out there, just that there are those out there that for some reason don't believe in trying something to preserve/improve what we have vs living with the status quo. Whether the potential regulations are effective or not on the suite of lakes chosen, is to be determined over a 10 year period. 

I would encourage all interested to check out the Little Falls Area Fisheries HSOforum and submit comments accordingly. If you can make the public meetings, that would be great, regardless of your opinion for or against. Either way, we would like to hear your thoughts on this approach of a reduced bag limit of 10 sunfish on Long Higgins, Moose and Maple Lakes (Todd County), Green-Prairie Fish and Sullivan lakes (Morrison County) and Platte Lake (Morrison/Crow Wing counties). And please spread the word. Thanks!

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My thoughts about a reduced bag is that people then are more selective on harvesting the biggest Bluegills they can then. I hate seeing 9 plus inch Bluegills in buckets. I would like see a rule like 10 Bluegills under 8 inches one can be over 10 for a trophy fish. I like eating Bluegills as much as the next person, but I really think those 7 to 8 inches provide a good chunk of meat. 

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Monstermoose, your thoughts have a great amount of merit IMO.  However, those that have the mindset to be selective to larger bluegill are doing it right now, but with a 20 fish limit.  If people get on transitioning bluegills right now or find the bulls on their beds in the coming weeks, they do not have to do a lot of sorting to get a limit of the largest fish in the system.  At 10 fish limit, at least 10 more of those fish have a chance.

 I cringe to think of what would happen to the lake I fished a few weeks ago, if it had more pressure, it wouldn't last long.

good thread by the way.

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Monstermoose, your thoughts have a great amount of merit IMO.  However, those that have the mindset to be selective to larger bluegill are doing it right now, but with a 20 fish limit.  If people get on transitioning bluegills right now or find the bulls on their beds in the coming weeks, they do not have to do a lot of sorting to get a limit of the largest fish in the system.  At 10 fish limit, at least 10 more of those fish have a chance. 

 Agreed.  

That is why I think it might be helpful to have protected slot from 8-10 inches with only one over 10 inches as well.

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To you Fish Biologists I caught some males that did not show signs of making beds, so my question is does this mean they were not big enough in this body of water get a bedding spot? I did not fish the area where the beds were. I fished the out from the bedding areas. The males I caught were in the 7-8 inch range  that did not show signs of fanning out their beds. I know this body of water has a solid population of 9 plus in Bluegill. However I yet to break the 10 inch mark from this body of water.  

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To you Fish Biologists I caught some males that did not show signs of making beds, so my question is does this mean they were not big enough in this body of water get a bedding spot? I did not fish the area where the beds were. I fished the out from the bedding areas. The males I caught were in the 7-8 inch range  that did not show signs of fanning out their beds. I know this body of water has a solid population of 9 plus in Bluegill. However I yet to break the 10 inch mark from this body of water.  

​Moose,

Take a look at the presentation on the Little Falls area site... There are numerous individuals in a given population that are "cuckholders" or otherwise known as sneaker males. They grow at a slower rate and mature at a smaller size. They literally will sneak in while the big males are away chasing others off  or have been "removed" and try and fertilize eggs already deposited there...  Pretty effective strategy really...And one of the main reasons we need to let the big bulls go.

 

That and the fact the nesting season really is just starting... The length and temperature range for sunfish spawning is quite wide. Typically 68-80 ish for temps and that can drag on from May through July. Also certain portions of the population tend to spawn on the earlier side, while others will spawn on the later side of  that window. Also, not all individuals spawn every year. This is a similar theme in the sunfish family. That includes bass of course. 

 

Also appreciate the discussion on the length limit Vs bag limit... But, unfortunately, the minute you start talking length limits for sunfish.... I loose half of any crowd, regardless of venue. People don't view sunfish the same way they do Walleye, Northern Pike, Trout, Salmon or Musky. We floated the concept of maintaining a 20 fish bag with only 5 over 8" in the pre-survey we did... Not nearly as well regarded as the simple 10 fish bag... So while it would make some sense biologically, the social aspect also needs to be considered. 

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​Moose,

Take a look at the presentation on the Little Falls area site... There are numerous individuals in a given population that are "cuckholders" or otherwise known as sneaker males. They grow at a slower rate and mature at a smaller size. They literally will sneak in while the big males are away chasing others off  or have been "removed" and try and fertilize eggs already deposited there...  Pretty effective strategy really...And one of the main reasons we need to let the big bulls go.

 

That and the fact the nesting season really is just starting... The length and temperature range for sunfish spawning is quite wide. Typically 68-80 ish for temps and that can drag on from May through July. Also certain portions of the population tend to spawn on the earlier side, while others will spawn on the later side of  that window. Also, not all individuals spawn every year. This is a similar theme in the sunfish family. That includes bass of course. 

 

Also appreciate the discussion on the length limit Vs bag limit... But, unfortunately, the minute you start talking length limits for sunfish.... I loose half of any crowd, regardless of venue. People don't view sunfish the same way they do Walleye, Northern Pike, Trout, Salmon or Musky. We floated the concept of maintaining a 20 fish bag with only 5 over 8" in the pre-survey we did... Not nearly as well regarded as the simple 10 fish bag... So while it would make some sense biologically, the social aspect also needs to be considered. 

That was a good read. I knew slot sizes are not going to win a PR contest, but it sure could help save them big gills. I also think if we had more DNR CO's they could crack down on people who fill their freezers. I make many calls every year and see the same people I called on doing it again. I normally try to talk to these people and educate them as much as I can. Most of the time they tell me they do not know why they can't find the big sunnies they use to get. That is when I explain that letting a bigger gills go will make bigger Bluegills in for the future. I knew about cuckholders and those would be good ones to remove from the lake. I will continue to preach about releasing Bluegills over 8 inches while I am out fishing. 

One thing I think every person should have is some kind of measuring device. You can mark your favorite fishing pole, the box that holds your vexilar, or one of the fancy measuring boards Eyeguy and I have. I like using my board but when I am searching for Monster Bluegills in the winter. I am bouncing from hole to hole so carry something extra does not always work and that is where marking your rod or vexilar box is awesome. The side of the Vexilar box is for seeing how big a big one is the front is 8 inches so if it is just less then that it is a keeper. This is an easy to do and can be done on Fishing Pole. I used my wife's finger nail polish to mark the lengths on the fishing poles.  I normally make my first mark at 7 inches and then mark every inch out to 13 inches.

Vex Box-1.jpg

Vex Box-2.jpg

Vex Box -3.jpg

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Just a reminder - Public meetings regarding 10 sunfish bag limit proposal on six lakes in the Little Falls Management area. 

Lakes being proposed are Long (Higgins), Moose and Maple lakes in Todd County, Green-Prairie Fish and Sullivan lakes in Morrison County and Platte Lake in Morrison/Crow Wing counties. 

September 8th 7-9 PM at the Club of the Pines- 21900 370th Ave, Hillman, MN 56338

September 9th 6-8 PM at the Long Prairie City Hall - 615 Lake St S Long Prairie, MN 56347

 

Whether you are for, or against any proposal, we want to hear your opinions and take your comments. If you can't make the meeting, feel free to go to the page for more information on the biology and contact information.  http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/littlefalls/events.htm

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Love this thread! Great information sharing. I always hate to see gills over 8.5" on the table. There are plenty of gills in the 7-8" range which make good eaters, over 8" - especially close to the Metro - are more rare and should be respected!

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