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Discussion Starter #1
The bass fishing was slow except for a group of kids who got to use real bait since they volunteered to do some service for the refuge.
Baitfishing KILLS this place (Lake Mary). In 2003 they held a kid's fishing day and let kids fish with large minnows cut in half. Sure the fishing was great! But 1 out of 3 fish swallowed the bait so deep in their gut, they were bleeding by the time the kids pulled them up the side of the wooden dock.
 
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true true

but since so few people target cats there and its hard to temp a cat on a lure usually, i dont think stinkbait is gonna empty the lake, especially with barbless circle hooks
 

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I have to respectfully disagree with you on that one Matt...
The baitfishing that is going on is by one of three groups:
A. disadvantaged kids (inner city, victims of abuse, et al)
B. patients and their families from Childrens Hospital (several of which are in wheelchairs)
C. Boy Scouts who on occasion help with habitat restoration and other work at the refuge.
Any time any of these groups are at the refuge there are about 10 volunteers to rig the rods, bait hooks and insure responsible handling of any fish. I've only seen two catfish caught by these guys and both were released unharmed. As for the bass, these kids almost without fail only catch the 1 to 2 pound bass that Mary is overpopulated with anyway and with the volunteersaround I would say that at least 9 out of 10 of the fish are released completely unharmed. Wemay have an obvious mortality rate of 1 or two fish per session but I (and the people at the refuge) think that that is absolutely acceptable.
And the kid fishing with the cut bait last Saturday was a volunteer, not a boy scout. We cut the bait and the scouts were a no-show.
 

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I have to respectfully disagree with you on that one Matt...The baitfishing that is going on is by one of three groups:
A. disadvantaged kids (inner city, victims of abuse, et al)
B. patients and their families from Childrens Hospital (several of which are in wheelchairs)
C.  Boy Scouts who on occasion help with habitat restoration and other work at the refuge.
I guess it really depends on what you want Lake Mary to become. A trophy bass fishery or a run of the mill public bass spot on the weekends.

You make some good points and want to thank you for stating them in a respectable manner. I was not there the day Mustang saw the kids group and should reserve any comments on that day. I find no fault with the volunteers...just the use of bait at this location.

I will also say that teaching kids and the disadvantaged to fish is very important. Not just to keep them on a positive track but to ensure fishing quality in the future. I too encourage bait fishing for younger kids and the disadvantaged...but in my opinion, the RMA is not the place for it.

This place (in it's day) was so amazing, you didn't need bait. I took my 10 year old daughter the first time I came here after it re-opened the 2nd time to the public. One of the DOW volunteers helped us rig scented plastics (wacky style), and she caught 11 fish in the short time we were there. The volunteers were fabulous! I learned a lot and had a great time.







I DID see bleeding fish then and on other kids fishing events at the RMA. Huge, beautiful fish with a hook stuck so deep in its throat that the survival possibilities were cut to almost nothing. I fully expect that those fish died that year. My memory doesn't serve me well enough to give an exact count but at least 5 or 6 bass were mortally damaged that day (so I estimate 4 or 5 events a year, 5 or 6 fish and we could be looking at 25 to 35 dead hawgs a year). My daughter released every fish (with the help of the volunteer) with nothing more than a sore lip.

The RMA is managed as a Wildlife Refuge and by its own guidlines should have as little human impact as possible. Angling here COULD maintain this philosophy but that should include as minimal damage in regards to method, take and fishing management. Ivan and company do a great job in trying to create this opportunity for us...bait fishing for bass should not be part of that philosophy.

I fished here year after year and it just gets worse. Lake Mary has never fished as well as it did in 2003. (I fish both lakes about 20 to 30 times a year since 2003)Watching this place go to pot from heavy pressure, baiting practices and less than courteous anglers mishandling fish makes me really sad. My passion for bass fishing and true trophy bass management is more eXtreme than most can stomach...I know most think I'm a raving lunatic.

But take a moment and see what we may have lost. Sure there is fish here but it just aint the same. Instead of back to back hawgin', I struggle to catch ONE good fish. Natural population turnover? In my opinion...no way.







If heavy public pressure and baiting practices continue, you can bet the fishing action will continue to drop at Lake Mary.

Thank you for the healthy debate. I encourage this type of discussion and will end by saying thanks to all the volunteers of our natural areas. It is a thankless job that goes mostly unseen or spoken...the returned beauty of the landscape is a reward to us all.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Huge apologies Stang...didn't mean to "step on" your conditions report.

Love the front picture of your whisker fish!
 
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Mattsabasser said:
Huge apologies Stang...didn't mean to "step on" your conditions report.

Love the front picture of your whisker fish!
no problem, ur debate, not mine
 

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Matt,
First off, really nice fish and kudos to you for getting your daughter into fishing.
Secondly, I absolutely respect your opinion and your passion about it and wish there were more convictive, responsible fishermen like you around...but (you had to know there was a "but" in here):

My point on the volunteer group was the these three groups that fish with bait only fish Mary maybe two to three times per month with 10 to at the most 15 kids at a shot, many in wheelchairs. Now, I can't speak as for what happened in years past as far as practices, I've only been here since late '04, but with the events that I've been a part of there, I don't think these small groups are having an appreciable affect on the LMB population. The small size of the fish the kids are catching and the quick and responsible handling by the volunteers has kept our mortality rate to almost nothing. With normal lures thereyou have to move and work varieties of cover. With the cutbait it allows us to control groups of kids by keeping them on the docks and walkways and we pretty much keep them out of the prime habitat areas.
Secondly, with a lake that size and that shallow, Lake Mary can't support a tremendous population of 5+ pound bass. A bass that large is a "big fish" in every sense, and "big fish" have territories when it comes to eating, spawning, etc. When these territories overlap, it stresses the fish and it stresses the resources of the lake. Large fish have large appetites and without adequate ambush spots for the many large bass, they don't stay long. A good sign on this is the many 1-2-3 lb bass at Mary that mean that the lake is healthily (is that a word?) reproducing fish. While there are a ton of the smaller bass, they appear healthy and not stunted. These fish are great for the kids, because they're always hungry, and if a couple are killed in the course of an event, it's not a huge detriment to the lake. However, I agree with you that if the events are taking out the 5+ pound breeders, then they should be looked at. But that just hasn't been the case this year.
With all that said, I'm pretty sure we're on the same side of the fence, we both want the lake managed well for a healthy population of fish (LMB especially) and a successful fishery. I hate to say this but I think the answer may be less public access. The RMA is not funded or staffed enough to monitor 60 fisherman a day. And we can say that fisherman need to be more responsible, but Joe Blow weekend angler with no responsible fish handling experience other than catch..fillet..fry... catches a 7 lb bass, he's going to run it around and take pics and put it down on the hot boardwalk or in the gravel and generally mangle and stress it before putting it back. I know Iceintheveins will cringe at the idea of further restricting access, but sometimes we need to save us from us.
And as far as the kids, the Aresenal has the most healthy fishery and the best access as far a wheelchairs and handicapped in conjunction with being a fairly easy place to fish for decent sized fish. It's perfect for these kids AND it gets federal funding. How could it be a better place?
Finally, if you want to catch a truly huge bass at the Arsenal, you should be fishing Ladora, there are some fish pushing the state record easy in that lake and they're very fit from running away from the pike. Great fighters.
Four more days 'til college football season.
Good
 
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does anyone in here remeber the good old days at the arsenal when there was a lottery to fish there ......you could fish during the week there was never anyone there ....and ladora used to have a healthy population of crappie and bluegills .....It was awesome to see those big northerns come in by the building and smash a bluegill........I hate to say it i even miss when there was only 30 or so people allowed to fish at a time .....charge 250bucks a year for a membership to fish the arsenal and that will weed out a lot of the boneheads ....I would gladly pay that to fish an uncrowded arsenal....sometimes I question paying the 3 dollars now due to the crowds and the poor fishing manors so many people there have ....This weekend I seen two older guys fishing the dock closest to the walkway ....a guy that looked in his mid 30's with two kids got right up on the dock shoulder to shoulder with these guys who were there first and began to fish right on top of them ......I would have been pissed if I was those older guys ....Its things like that ..that keep me away from the arsenal ..
 

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amen to that, we havent been out there for 2 months. just got tired of seeing some of the idiots handle fish. my girl wants to go back there this weekend so we'll see. at least the front office ladies are real nice and friendly. my girl thinks that she has a lucky fishing badge and when the girls see her coming they always dig around for it. kind of silly but you know anything to make her have a better day fishing, i'm all for it.
 
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matt you should have fished the arsenal when you could go anyday of the week....it was unbelievable I dont think you had to use barbless hooks either........my problem with the way the arsenal is run now is a few things ....I dont think the bait is hurting the fishery that bad reason being its a once in a while things that is supervised and is for a good cause . Here are some of my problems .....1. it seems every year the orientation is getting shorter and shorter with different people doing it every time ....I went twice this year once for me and once for my wife ....
2. To pike fish at ladora you should have to show an rma worker you have the proper tools to safely release the fish . Ive only seen one other guy have jaw spreaders there .
3. manage the lakes and the fish in them as a part of a wildlife refuge ...not a short cut so people can catch fish easily .
4. what happend to the limits on how many people can fish there at one time....I would gladly only fish it twice a month knowing it wasnt going to be a zoo........
5. If money is an issue which it must be since they are now charging to get in ....why not limit the members to 100 or so and have a yearly fee.....all members must take a class in handling fish properly and other fishing ethics as well as volunteering at least a few times a year .....

in saying all that the programs helping kids fish are great ive seen a few fish killed in them but the pro's of these far out wiegh the cons .....I think the use of bait is ok to insure that these kids have non-stop action and a great time ...all the people that help these kids out should feel very proud ..its a great program .......as far as boy scouts and volunteers getting special bait use privladges I dont think thats ok .......
 
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maybe one of the moderators can move our arsenal bait and rules talk to the colorado fishing side ....
 

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As much as I support bait fishing, I am okay with the arsenal being flies and lures only. Maybe allow only baitfishing for catfish and only with circle hooks. Now for barbless only regs, you guys know how I feel on that. Most all studies show no significant difference between barbless and barbed hook mortality rates.
 

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hey ice i cant seam to find any studies on the barb VS barbless mortality could you reference some so i can read them as i would have to disagree with your statment from my expeiriance the barbed hooks wheather on luers or bait alway do more damage to fish
 
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IceInTheVeins said:
As much as I support bait fishing, I am okay with the arsenal being flies and lures only. Maybe allow only baitfishing for catfish and only with circle hooks. Now for barbless only regs, you guys know how I feel on that. Most all studies show no significant difference between barbless and barbed hook mortality rates.
well, this is pretty much how it already is, never caught a bass or pike on stinkbait
 
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there was a guy that looked like matt that used to video tape himself fishing at the arsenal .......was that you a few years ago ?
 
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