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slurpie

panfish vs other fish

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Why is it that pannies are looked at it as a lesser fish than walleye or northern? Yes i think most people rank them higher than carp but lower than eyes. This ?? comes after stopping by a couple of spring time hotspots. While i drove around earlier today stopped by a couple well known spots. I was the second person by the end there was ten. I was catching a fair amount (more than anyone else) it was fun. The fish were all small largest craps being a good 7" and no bigger for sure. I was throwing them all back all the other people were keeping them. Why keep such a small fish?? The lakes will and do produce bigger pannies, and we are in shallow water so why not throw them back? I see no reason to keep small fish. I know the mentality that they reproduce more than eyes or norts but that dont mean we as fishermen should keep them smaller cause thats all that bites. I heard twice im keeping a few for a meal but they left with there limits. To me a 10" crappie has way more meat than a 7" and have no problem throwing back a small fish or a trophy fish either when that situation arises. And when a crappie bite gets going people start calling everyone they know, but on a walleye bite they dont say a word. Pannies are my favorite fish to catch but they get no respect i only wish people that are keeping small fish would let them go. Thanks for listening guys.

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Hey Slurpie, I agree with you.

I was out fishing in Lake Rebecca on Tuesday and it was on fire for crappies. But the crappies were very small, so I released all of mine because it would just be a waist of time to clean them. But you have to realize that people have the right to do what ever they want with their catch. So don't sweat it just, let it be.

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Crappies - perch - gills/sunnies all eat way good. And if the bite is on not a bad way to spend a day on the lake or ice with the kids and grands.

We have a 10 inch rule for crappies and perch, but never keep more than a meal or two - no matter what the limit.

A couple 16 or 17 inch walleyes make a great meal for two.

musky.jpg

Muskies are my passion, but panfish rule.

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Carp are king for me but. I sure do love my Crappie or Sunny dinner nothin beats it. But action wise give me a Carp over anything just don't want to eat em.

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Not sure why they aren't considered as important. I wish the DNR would pay the same attention to pannies as they do to wallies!!!! I actually wish the panfish season was closed during spawn, just like the rest of the game fish.

Selective harvest is the way to go, but unless its mandatory, you can't expect everybody to do it. Wish they did though!!

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Panfish are more prolific breeders and need to be fished to keep them in check. I only target gills in the winter and keep enough for a few meals. I have limits 2 no gills under 8" kept 10" rule on Crappies and perch. I'll chase eyes in the spring and when I need a break from Muskies those I only keep between 14-17". I'm fortunate to live near one of the best Gill lakes in the country yet maybe only keep 100 a year. I saw to many this year keeping small perch and limit after limit of them, same with gills. I can't figure out why guys keep 7" perch or gills when theres the chance at good numbers of 10" + perch and 8-10"+ gills.

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I am all for selective harvest but while I was at the lake the other day catching small craps and sunnies a guy wanted me to keep a few sunnies for him and usually I won't due that for them but this guy wanted me to keep the 5-6 inchers for him and I had no problem with that cause there are such an abundance of this size of fish that I believe stunts the rest of the population. Who knows but I wish there would be a few more limit lakes in my area with 10" inch minimum for crappies and maybe limits of 5 crappies and 10 sunnies...

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I still don't think panfish limits are the answer. We just had a limit imposed here that started in January. Time will tell how it affects the size of what we catch, my 3700 acre lakes different than say Phalen or Como in the Cities. Panfish need to be delt with differently, but no matter what rules you put on them they will still be fished for harder than most other species.

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selective harvest is a good thing! If the dnr would monitor some of the lakes more like a creel survey for size structure of the panfish in lakes I would think that would help them on size restrictions or slots for sunfish and crappies.. but when you look at some people keeping big sunfish, and others keeping smaller ones on the same lake.. thats gonna be a challenge for them I would think..

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The DNR is experimenting with restricted limits on some Minnesota lakes. Illinois has been doing that for some years, too. IIRC the bluegill is the state fish of Illinois and they have done some interesting studies on it in the past couple of decades. Current studies have proven that human harvest is the main reason for what appear to be stunted bluegill populations on all but the very smallest waters like farm ponds, which is where nearly all the stunting studies have been done.

In nearly all other waters bluegill males which are the big ones will grow until they can reach approximate size to compete for nests in the center of the spawning beds, which are always dominated by the biggest males in that population. That is called delayed maturation, resulting in as long as 7 or 8 years for a bluegill to grow before sexing out when large bluegills are present in northern waters. In most waters of any size they do not overpopulate; when they don't have the bigger yardsticks to measure themselves against they sex out earlier and smaller. The size structure, including the larger fish, naturally recovers, too, when human harvest declines.

One of the reasons for the competition for center of spawning beds with bluegills is that the fry from the center of beds have orders of magnitude better survival than those from the edges. The females look to spawn in those center nests, too.

I would also like to see fishing prohibited on and around bluegill and crappie spawning sites. The biggest fish are by far and away the most vulnerable then, but it takes the biggest fish to remain around so that the juveniles do not sex out smaller, since bluegills, at least, make nearly all their growth before maturation. There really is only limited spawning space. I would like to see that dominated by the biggest and oldest possible males.

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yeah I would agree with certain spawning areas to be at least shut down most of the time.. or when the fish are most likely to spawn in those areas..

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Bass and Pike were my fish of preference when I was younger, but I think the big change came when I started taking my eldest fishing. Panfish was the obvious choice to get him started. I really got into it and found it a lot of fun, so did my son. Now I fish for panfish more than any other species.

As far as the topic of fish limits and size, I'd actually prefer the people that want to keep limits of panfish to keep those 7" to 8" fish. There are a number of lakes especially in and around the metro area that have an over abundance of small panfish. I think the over population really stunts the growth of all the fish. I also believe that is why you see the DNR spending more time/money stocking Pike and Eyes. I'm sure they are hoping the larger predator fish will keep the panfish levels in check allowing us to see and catch bigger fish all around.

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From studies I have read, gills aren't high on the predators food list. Most prefer more perch style profiles. I know when gills are 1-3" they are preyed upon, after they they become lower on the food list. When I started muskie fishing I thought bluegill shaped/color baits would be the bomb sine the lakes full of gills. Other than 1 bait in that color the shape hasn't caught a fish yet. Put on a long narrow perch type bait and it gets eaten.

Every lake is different on what it produces, some will never pump out 8-10" gills other lakes thats the norm. I'm sure our numbers here on kept gills is well into the 6 figure range a year but theres no problem seeing bulls ( catching thems another story) and cathing a dozen 8-10" fish isn't that hard. I hope our new daily limit helps keep the out of staters from coming down and keeping 3000-5000 fish in a week to take home to sell.

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I think its the challenge of getting on the walleye that gets me. You can't sight fish them and when you get a big one hooked it can be a challenge landing them. I enjoy taking the kids out for pan fish and fishing for them before the walleye season opens. I set an 7 or 8 inch min. for the kids and watch them go to work. The 12+ inch crappie gets some of my time and respect. I'm guessing the people that keep the small sunnies and craps do so because thats what they can catch or they could catch some eyes but prefer the constant action of panfish.

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The perceptions of panfish varies so widely around the state, which is why I think managing for the species is so challenging. I think pike too are viewed differently around the state. To some they are food fish, to others inferior fish, and to others they are trophy fish. Oddly enough, both pike and panfish are all over the board in terms of regulations, angler perceptions, and the ability in this day in age to find trophy fish.

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I keep smaller fish on occasion (don't flame me). I was taught that by keeping the 7" - 10" crappies and say 6" - 8" sunnies actually helped the population as there were so many on them, and the larger ones were the breeders and of course would have more of a trophy potential. I know there are different views on this and some people only keep larger fish. Also just to note I only keep one meal if any and my personal rule is that I never freeze fish so for me 8 - 10 panfish is all I keep at any given time. Good question though, so maybe some of the guys you saw keeping the smaller fish were actually more in line with my thoughts and were respecting the fish?!?! Just some thoughts.

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I agree with selective harvest for all species but it seems when a crappie bite gets going people go day after day. And usually the same people. And in the spring i would think this would be hard on a fish population. I also would like to see the DNR do something to protect them during spawn time. Maybe in the well known community spawn areas they could shut them down to fishing but i dont know how they would enforce it. The easiest would be to close season for a few weeks but that not gonna happen either. I only wiah people would not feel the need to keeep limits for days in a row just cause they are biting. Especially during spawn.

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Quote:
I still don't think panfish limits are the answer.

I don't think so either Esox, each lake is different. It really all depends on fishing pressure and predator species. Panfish are like rabbits and populations come back all the time, but size takes time for fish to grow bigger, few years. There are all kinds of examples all around state with imposed panfish regulations some work and some don't. It all depends on the lake. Pretty much like everyone else is saying selective harvest is the way to go, and keeping a good bite to yourself or to a few trustworthy friends is what I have found out. I too just don't understand some folks as they wont blab about a walleye bite but when the bluegills or crappies are going they tell everyone and their mom where, how, and what to use, and bring them to fill their buckets too. I'm a diehard when it comes to bluegills and crappies so maybe I favor my panfish spots more than a walleye spot.

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Here you have a better chance getting info from a muskie guy than info on a good gill bite. Bad thing is during ice, 1 shack draws 2 that draws 4 ect. Sometimes for fun we'll set up somplace that nobody ever fished and like clockwork soon theres 10 guys around us. I'm not shy either if theres a bite on eyes going I'll share if it's a main lake bite, trolling ect. I may not say how many colors or how far back I'm running or the hot bait but will steer most in the right direction. Although I have a dark side to me and I'll swap out rods and tie on odd ball baits if guys know I'm on fish and sneeking peeks in the boat when I'm coming off, most often its always the same handfull of guys. Funny how many guys run out and buy what I had tied on and I have never had a hit on any of those baits.

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I love panfish too, but for one thing you can fish them when you can't fish walleyes & also you can usually catch them when you're having a hard time catching walleyes. I keep a variety of sizes of panfish. It's not that difficult to find some sunnies or crappies of eatable size a majority of the time, so why all the fuss over what size people keep? You may not be able to catch the size you want on every lake, but the lakes are all different.

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i DO think size limits are the answer. I've seen way too many great panfish lakes get absolutely decimated from a good fishery with lots of good size structure down to just a lot of stunted fish. panfish are very susceptible to overharvest, those 10" gills don't grow on trees either

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