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Scott M

Statewide 48" minimum

34 posts in this topic

Have heard some rumors floating about statewide 48" muskie minimum. 55 waters were changed in 2007 to 48" minimum, are the rest soon to follow?

The long range muskie and pike plan says "Muskellunge management will focus on trophy (48 inches and longer) management of existing

waters, evaluation and research, habitat protection, increasing the opportunities for muskellunge angling, and a review of tiger muskellunge management in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The support for a statewide 48 inch minimum size limit (Schroeder et al. 2007) coupled with an increasing catch and release ethic for muskellunge are consistent with maximizing opportunities into the future."

Is changing the minimum size limit the way to go? What about Shoepac lake? How will having bigger muskie affect lakes? Are you satisfied with catching less fish if they are bigger? Should a regulation be put in place that is basically being voluntarily followed now? Are we heading to an eventual no-kill regulation on musky?

Just curious what your thoughts are and which way musky management, outside of the stocking discussion, is headed...

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In a nutshell, I'm happy with the progress being made with the long range plan. Progress is not a 100 meter dash......but of course I'd like to see a little more giddy-up and go. Progress is progress however....

I'd support a statewide 48" minimum, as stated it's being loosely followed and supported by muskie advocates and anglers in general. Awareness and education is a powerful tool. If close to 50% of the statewide lakes are at 48, I'm in favor of consistency and clarity in the laws.

I'm a little biased on the tiger program, as I have a tiger water a 1/2 mile from my house and also use other tiger waters in the Metro with favorable results. However, I'll admit funding for these lakes is open to discussion in comparison to pure strain stocking across greater Minnesota.

I'd encourage all to express your views to the DNR, they are heard and appreciated!

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Pete Maina discusses minimums in latest Esox mag, and raises the interesting question of are we allowing for the taking of the biggest, most genetically strong specimens from the gene pool, even by having a high minimum of 48". If it was up to me it would be 55 or something, and on all lakes - that would ensure we're letting most of the big girls go! He poses the idea of a smaller range, something down around 40", that would be allowed to be kept, but also admits that more research needs to be done and that we as fishers cannot possibly determine the genetic potential of a given fish. Interesting stuff though.

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I like what's happening, i'm in favor of a tag limit per season like deer, but am quite sure it won't happen.

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wouldn't mind seeing some lakes go catch n release for all sizes.

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I think the vast majority of true musky anglers release the fish they catch, in most cases regardless of size.

I do however think there is a faction of people that go out of their way to kill every musky they catch, even the sub-legal ones. This is not a majority by any means, but it is evident in some of the lakes I fish.

Personally I think a tag in principle seems like a good idea, but if you think about it when compared to deer hunting, what happens on the last day of the season if you still have a tag to fill? In my opinion it should be a VERY rare occurrence that someone harvest a musky, though I do not ridicule those that do because as long as it is of legal sie it is their right to do so.

I have been an advocate for a musky stamp and voiced it in the past. I know this would be hard to manage, but it would be no different that pheasant hunting where you cannot hunt them without a stamp, but their are hungarians and grouse that do not require stamps. So I see this as a similar situation.

They have tags for sturgeon and I would interested to see how those work out.

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A tag or stamp would be great if we could ever get it instituted.

1) any big musky caught by accident by a bass or walleye fisherman could not be kept - unless he had a stamp, then we at least have their dollars for habitat improvement or stocking

2) Any muskie fisherman will have a stamp, and would therefore be able to keep one, though as the writer above, I believe it is rare in most cases thankfully.

3) those musky haters that catch them by accident and kill them purposely and throw them back in, we'll never be able to legislate them, just maybe educate them, and some I'm not so sure of.

We sat and listened to one of these guys on Vermillion who pulled up and started fishing walleyes where we were casting. He made sure to voice his opinion loudly to his partner so we could hear, about how "we" were responsible for the walleye fishing not being as good as it used to be.

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I am all in favor of making the size limit bigger on most all of the lakes, with the exception being lakes that just aren't going to be trophy producers. If a lake has the potential to grow trophy fish, I would love to see a 50 or 54 inch size limit implemented. For anyone doubting if it works, take a look at Lake Of The Woods. Ontario has implemented the 56" limit up there and I believe it has payed off in a big way. When we were up there for Operation Muskie, the number of big quality fish that were caught or saw was unbelieveable. Out of the 43 plus muskies that were caught, the majority of them were between 43-46 inches. In one day of fishing, I saw 5 fish over 50 inches, a couple pushing the 52-53 inch mark. Biggest muskies I have seen and to see that many in a day is remarkable. Note that these were 5 different fish, not the same one over and over. Without the size limit, I don't think you would be able to have something like this happen.

I don't know if a stamp type of license would ever be able to be implemented. Think it would be just to hard to enforce and the CO's are working their tales off already. I do think that Minnesota should follow Ontario and offer a conservation license, that allows you to fish but not keep any muskies period. Still be able to take you limit of pannies, pike, walleyes, but not muskies. Especially with all of the Out-of-state anglers that are coming to Mn for our great muskie fishing.

Just my .02

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I think a Statewide 48 inch Minimum would be another incredibly stupid idea!

You have Tigers; leech lake strain, Wisconsin strain, shoepac strain. You have genetics involved.

You have Lakes that are 132,000 acres in size and lakes that are 200 acres in size.

You have Lakes that have a solid forage base of tulibee and lakes that have nothing more than carp and sunfish and Bass.

And you think you can make a “simple” across the board 48 inch minimum State wide law? to do what,

protect the species Or mess up the eco system?

I cannot even believe there are people entertaining this ridiculous idea.

Some lakes might be better with a 50 inch min, some lakes might be better with a 40 inch min.

I am in favor of the stamp Idea as I believe

Everyone should have the Right to keep a Trophy of Lifetime.

Brian K

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keep one musky, per person, per lifetime...That way it better be a trophy if u want to keep it.

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The DNR came out with a new Trout Stream book/regulation a few years back now. Some streams where designated as catch and release only because of lower trout populations, others were designated with catch and release slot limits to increase the number of larger trout, and so on. Each stream has signs at entry points informing folks of the type of regulation imposed on that stream.

I personally don't see it as a far stretch to impose the same type of regulation on different musky lakes/waters - granted my view is quite limited. Maybe a lake with lower populations of musky would be catch and release only. Another body of water with higher populations, but smaller musky would have a catch and keep (if a person chooses) under 42" and above 48", but to catch an release anything inbetween.

I believe many, if not all, musky lakes already have signs informing folks of the different kinds of muskies present in the lake with the difference between them and northerns - along with the regulations surrounding them. Why not include one more sign that would inform folks if special regs were implemented for that lake.

If separate body of water regulation was implemented this way, the different strain, forage base for a given body of water, population, and other variables could be taken into account. This method would also help keep a balance between folks that want more trophy musky, and others that would like to catch and keep - even though I've only known two people that actually kept a musky.

I believe there was a bit of an uproar over the new trout stream regulations. Many folks had fishing methods, and personal catch and keep practices they could no longer, under the law, perform on their favorite stream. It's impossible to please absolutely everybody.

So to not bypass, and bring up a completely different view all together than the long term plan question originally posted - I would not be for a state wide minimum, or no kill musky law. Don't beleive a blanket state wide minimum would adaqueatly allow the catch and keep of a trophy musky based on strain and body of water.

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Would tournaments be done then cuz not many 48+ fish are caught? With other species of fish so much is made of forage base, what would pretty much not keeping any Muskie do to that or would the low # of fish not really have that much of an impact?

I do agree though a 40" fish is not really that big, have seen several 40-44" mounts and they are not really that impressive except for a waste of $500 and an almost really big fish.

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I do agree though a 40" fish is not really that big, have seen several 40-44" mounts and they are not really that impressive except for a waste of $500 and an almost really big fish.

Just because a 40-44" fish isnt a trophy to you doesnt mean that its not a trophy to anyone else. I know alot of fisherman that have never caught even a 30" musky let alone a 40". Im not trying to start anything here all im saying is that the definition of a trophy just depends on who you are and how often you fish.

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I totally agree with you FishinDan!

Some people (for what ever reason) simply do not understand that.

Brian K

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The statewide 48" rule is great rule. For those that dont agree I am going to say you are in the very small minority of musky fisherman (who seem to understand this strange species) that dont agree this is a huge step forward for the MN muskies. Getting to this level has been very difficult and we should be very happy we got what we did.

Taking to much off the top is alot harder to do then giving a little back. For example, if certain lakes seem to be topping out and is stunting growth bc of the 48" rule; I'm sure asking to have the sixe limit knocked back a few inches on certain lakes will not be as difficult. But try and go the other way and ask to have it raised some more - good luck. It took quite a bit of effort to just get this to go. Why people (for what ever reason) deem it necessary to kill a "trophy" fish when a replica can be made is so old school and close minded of the resource that it boggles my mind, and once again along with the majority of the musky fishing population.

Why the topic of wether or not the 48" rule is even being debated on a musky forum is also scary - I personally feel this rule is more for the random angler who is lucky to hook into a muskie that now, FINALLY, has to put it back. No more uneducated anglers keeping a 40"er bc "he never caught on before". I know a trophy is a trophy to whoever wants it to be. But guess what, its a delicate resource that has alotta hard work, time and money being poured into it, and to those who care enough we want to see it grow alot more.

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Trophy means trophy, you need to look at it as a trophy within the species not an individual persons idea of a trophy, if this is to be done for protection of the species. Therefore come up with guide lines as to what is considered a trophy. To some deer hunters a six or eight point may be a trophy but to others it isn't. I would like to see it bumped up to 48" state wide with a possible tag of one keeper per season, (if you have to have one). 48" would be considered a trophy by the majority of fisherman(I think).

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MuskyMan did actually say it best - "A person should have the right to keep a trophy of a lifetime"

This is the one and only circumstance that I find killing a musky to mount undebateable with the angler. But lets take a closer look at exactly that means: Trophy of a LIFETIME.

Tom Geld (for those that done know who he is - get with it) killed a muskie on November 30, 2006 when he kept a 53x28 1/2-inch, verified 51-pound 2-ounce monster on the last day of the Wisconsin musky season. This is a perfect example of a trouphy of a lifetime. He has been fishing for over a few decades with a major focus on muskies, he then decided to keep that fish. Good for him - he paid his dues and he kept what is really a trophy of a lifetime. If he was catching fish like that every year do you think he woulda just kept that one - no way. So when a guy goes out and gets a 40-48 incher early in his career or its the first one he catches - it is not a trophy of a lifetime, bc he really hasnt even begun to spend a lifetime chasing them, and for those that have or will put in the time a 48" fish is probably below the bar for what they are searching for because MN has such a great new plan to produce more and bigger muskies.

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TheDogger its quite obvious to me you do not have a clue as to what you are talking about.

Brian K

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OK, I apologize, thedogger,

I'm with ya on the Tom Geld Fish.

Funny how much [PoorWordUsage] (ridiculed) he got from the elitist group for keeping that fish...how dare he kill a Musky...??? he should have got a replica, he should have released it...etc..etc...

Yada, yada, yada.....

If I would have been there I would have shook his hand and panted him on the Back, congratulated him and then ask to see the mount after he got it back from the Taxidermist.

I bet it looks awsome on the wall and much more "real" than a graphite.

Muskies should be Managed not worshiped!

Brian K

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I think a min would be a good idea, i would love to see bigger fish out there for everyone to keep, but as it was said before most people dont keep muskie in the first place unless they are trophy size

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A Catch-n-Release only would be even better yet. But, good luck trying to pass that, right?

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Now for my $.02. I'm in favor of size limits because then the occasional fish caught by accident while fishing for gills may still stand a chance of survival. I think that some people who don't have the muskie bug or who haven't had a lot of success on any species want to keep every big fish they catch period... I'm not saying they don't have the right to keep a fish, I'm just saying that they may have been after a 16 inch walleye and now they're looking at a 42" ski (a monster to them but maybe average to others) and they may not quite think it through logically. A minimum size limit "helps" their thought process a bit and gets that fish back in the water sooner. I would guess most muskies caught are caught by folks who are chasing them - I would also guess that there while there are exceptions, most of the biggies are also caught by folks who are targeting muskies. It is still up to those of us that care about the resource to do the right thing ourselves and help educate others - I know easier said than done...

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Dogger - couldn't agree with either of your posts more and it IS worrisome that a 48" min is up for debate here on a musky forum. it's usually the people that do the work for the sport that are most concerned.

alot of anglers haven't caught a 30 inch musky, very true - let's not forget they were not fishing for them at the time. if someone thinks a 44" is a personal trophy, they could easily better that with a little effort, on any lake in MN. agree in theory an angler should be able to keep a personal trophy, but the resource just can't support it.

higher minimums is the DEFINITION of management.

Catch and Release only is already in effect for portions of the Mississippi - an extremely delicate resource - so we won't need any luck to get that through. It's probably not necessary on our other lakes.

It is good to know that most of our top notch lakes are already protected by the 48" minimum, I can live with some put and take on some of these other lakes that are stocked to the brim with smaller fish.

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Thanks for the apology, dont feel bad to delete that whole post to save any dignity u have left after making such a comment. Remember, there is a chance that I might know a thing or two more than the average joe aobut a fishery, or this fish.

I make those comments about why this plan is good from facts. This plan wasnt put together from guides and resort owners - it was put together by 100% serious musky fisherman, fishery studies and fishery biologist. Have you even read the proposed/passed plan? I would really like to know if you even called, wrote and/or emailed to support this plan? Have u donated even one dollar to MI or any other club that helps stock the fish? From your reply on this plan passing I'm going to say you had little support in it at all. Thats too bad bc you and me both are scoring big right now from the hard work of others out there - and now it will only get better. If you are a musky fisherman and you dont think this plan hasn't been the best thing since they started stocking ML with skis, then u need to do either some major research and catch up to the times, or do a little sole searching for why u even chase these fish.

I dont mean to just pick out one person, people need to be educated on why C&R is mandatory (and if ur gonna keep one - its shuold be a true lifetime achievment).

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First off, I appreciate the energy and enthusiasm around this topic. However, this is not a place for bickering and personal debate and challenges. As active readers and posters on FM, we're all essentially after the same thing, the betterment of the resource. Please keep that in mind.

I'm a little perplexed how a post like this draws over 25+ replies in a day yet a plea for action to contact the DNR asking for FMers to contact the DNR in support of the Long Range Plan from a month ago drew under 20 replies in three week's time.

The definition of a trophy is subjective, I'm still excited to catch a 38"-40" muskie, as its over 3 feet long! Really, it's a big fish, and it's fun. Simple as that.

What is a true trophy? That's all up to the angler. However, the DNR can dictate and assist in that distinction thru minimum length requirements. Many, many hours went into the Roundtable discussions, by representatives of the fisheries that are after our best interest. While the state min. was not a focal point, it's still there as a topic of debate.

Clarification: Tom Gelb, long time muskie angler and advocate of the fishery in Wisconsin. Caught a big fish on the last day of the season, row trolling no less. Fish ate the bait deep, cold air and water temps, tried to release the fish, but things happen and she didn't go.....

Above all, my personal thanks go out to all those that helped make the Long Range Plan happen and take hold.....

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