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Discussion Starter #1
You read old magazines, talk to people who used to fish the lakes in the 80's and through to the mid 90's, and our lake trout just used to be a lot bigger. Seems in many lakes, 10+ pounders were common, and 8 pounders weren't even impressive fish, and the average was about 5 pounds. Now, there just aren't that many big lakers anymore in CO, save for blue mesa and even it is hurting compared to the glory days. I have been icefishing for lakers for 6 seasons now and have yet to ice anything above 6.5 lbs, and I've easily caught bigger rainbows than that. I have seen a 16 or 17 lber caught, can't remember the weight, by iceintheveins. That is the only laker bigger than my 6.5 lber I have ever seen caught. Oh, I know how to catch mackinaw, I always score a bunch of fish, but they all are about 14-22". That used to be considered a petite laker. Know, in most lakes, like taylor, ruedi, and granby, a 22" laker ain't a bad fish at all. Heck, it is probably gonna be nearly the fish of the day. Yeah, I hear the stories, but most of them are by people that have caught one fish in the mid teens or something in a few years, and that used to be a pretty common catch. Why is that not the case now?
Why do you guys think this is the case now, and what do you think should be done to reverse the process? I am nearly 100% sure of what the problem is, and who is to blame, but I wanna hear your guys' input on why our lakers are so small compared to how they used to be.
 

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I have have fished granby for years, 7 years ago we had one of the days 2 fish spolled us 3rd was 20 lbs. that was back when they had slot sizes now all you catch are dinks. Canada has very strick size limits i have fished up there for several years. we have had days where we have caught 2 to three fish 25lb plus. this was not a fly in lake either.
 

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Lakers take a real long time to reach trophy size-I think the fishing pressure and the fact that decent sized fish aren't getting returned to the water means your left fishing for the 14-22" ones. We need a more restrictive slot on more lakes-Rampart is a good example. I can go up there and on a good day catch 30 fish but not a single one is over 20". Ed
 

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Lakers grow real slowly-like an inch per year or somethin.So most of your 5-10 lbers are kept and very few are left to grow.Also the drought has a greater impact than people think.I talked to a dow biologist and he said when granby is low like it has been,it separates the macs from ther fave food the kokes cause of water temps.This effectively starves the lakers.
 

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Real Simple! Fish Hogs :mad: People who think just because they shell out $20.00 measly bucks for a license that that entitles them to become human gill nets! They kill every fish they catch whether it is 10" or 10 lbs. When the fishing gods smile on them and a big Laker comes their way, do you think they take a picture then return it? #### no! They slap onto the stringer with the other ten fish they just caught or worse the other trophys that bit that day. I would be willing to bet half of them never even get eaten? Our lakes are small , there is really no place to hide! Every fishery in colorado eventually gets ruined unless it has restrictive regs (Spinney) or it is physically hard to access (The Gunnison)

I am no catch and release zealot! I enjoy walleye fillets as much as anyone! I have no problem with someone catching their "legal" limit of eye's at Pueblo or chatfield and keeping them. I mean how often does that really happen? But why kill every big fish also?

I have been fishing alot out at Aurora this spring and i have seen several large (3-4 lbs) Smallies go into the bucket along with a limit of 12" Slimers. Not the most glorious end for a great fish :mad: I thought at one time the next record might come from there, but now I doubt it? Every time I see a stringer shot of trophy fish it makes me sick!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We all seem to be on a consensus it is from anglers keeping large macks. Which brings me to my next question. Why will CDOW not protect this valuable resource like other states do?
 

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We need to police ourselves!

I thought with the advent of digital camera's it would have the effect of people being able to snap a shot then post their success on the web pages, allowing them to release the trophys. But that doesn't seem to be good enough? Now we have stringer pictures! Of course we always had stringers of big fish biting the dust, now it's just easier to post the carnage :( And it not just this site, its all fishing web sites.

Then you get all the [email protected] recipes that are supposed to make these big trophy fish taste good, LOL.
 

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Neal-Why don't you tell us what you really think? ;D Hey, I agree with you 1000%. And like you say, its not just Mackinaw, its smallies too. When I see someone keeping a big smallie it turns my stomach. Sure, its legal to do but these people don't even stop to realize what they're doing. And like you, I bet alot of those fish don't even getted cooked, they get thrown out after the guy is done showing it off.

I think its time we start to take a serious look at catch and release for some species. When I moved to CO in '72 we had I think 1 1/2 million people-now we have 4 million. And we really don't have any more water to fish then we had then. Our lakes just can't sustain that kind of pressure and have quality fishing. Ed
 

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I know some politically correct people or CDOW sympathizers are sick of me bitching about the CDOW, but I have to respond to this post. If you are that type, don't read this post.
The CDOW does not like any large predator fish, particularly on the west slope. Lake trout and pike are two of the largest predator gamefish in Colorado. Anything that may eat 10" fake stockers is hated and they want to remove it. They have messed up with kokanee by allowing the snagging seasons to begin at the wrong times and the lack of fish available for stocking. So they have to find a way to cover their own butt. A scapegoat. Bingo, LAKE TROUT.
So they allow all big lakers to be kept at Blue Mesa by not having a slot limit or restrictive size limit because they are the fall guys for their poor management. They remove the slot limit at Granby so the fish stunt. Then at Turquiose they allow only 2 lakers to be kept so they overpopulate. In Ruedi they overpopulate too.
The introduction of mysis ruins things too. That hurts the kokanee and small trout because the mysis wreck the plankton base, which is important forage for kokes. Then the koke population suffers because mysis are introduced, yet lake trout get the blame. Lake trout then start switching to mysis when kokanee are scarce, so they don't grow very well and are very lethargic.
The solution is either a slot limit or mandatory release or most or all big lakers in all Colorado Lakes. We have to overwhelm the CDOW into protecting this resource, or we will have NO MORE BIG LAKERS AT ALL.
People are selfish and keep these big macks that don't taste any better than a tire. So hog people have a share of the blame too, but it all falls back on the CDOW. This is why we need to start getting anglers more power in management decisions.
We need class action lawsuits, groups of anglers to stand up with me and bring this to an end. These problems only exist because we allow them.
 

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Ice-I share your passion on this issue. If you think about it, the CDOW has it completely backwards-they tell us we can keep any bigger fish that we catch and throw back all the small ones. What you end up with is nothing but small ones.

If you want to allow both harvest and a quality fishery you need to do the exact opposite-keep some little ones for the skillet but throw back the big ones. Ed ???
 

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Ed Marcol said:
Ice-I share your passion on this issue.  If you think about it, the CDOW has it completely backwards-they tell us we can keep any bigger fish that we catch and throw back all the small ones.  What you end up with is nothing but small ones. 

If you want to allow both harvest and a quality fishery you need to do the exact opposite-keep some little ones for the skillet but throw back the big ones.   Ed ???
Exactly Ed, you couldn't have said it better. Same thing with minimum length limits such as 18" for walleye and 15" for bass. They think it makes them bigger, they actually do. :D :D. How funny is that. All that does is selectively breed out the bigger ones because people put the bigger ones in the cooler and throw back the smaller ones. They say it's so the fish have one chance to spawn before they are kept. Having it where only small fish can be kept or only a small amount of bigger fish can be kept would improve so many of our fisheries.
I am getting involved with the Colorado Bass Federation to change the minimum length limit for bass to either a slot limit or that most or all bass over 15" must be released.
They have a sign at Rio Blanco lake that bass must be 15" to be kept and that will make the fish bigger in their opinion. My lord that is funny. Rio Blanco has stunted bass compaired to other lakes. For shame.
I really think we need to remove a lot of these biologists and any politicians that support them. We honestly have to do something. You should join my website Ed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The only time the minimum slot lengths work are when fish species are trying to become established in an area. The theory is the fish will survive to spawn once. The DOW is not doing the correct thing though, by allowing this limit to keep in place. They need to review and change the limit, like they did one freakin' time in my knowledge, at purdy mesa reservoir in western colorado. It used to have small bass with the 5 over 15", now the reservoir has all 12-15" bass must be released and only 1 over 15" may be harvested. It has bigger largemouth now. That same limit, except with numbers adjusted, should be put in place for lake trout. These are just guessing numbers, but how about: All lakers between 24 and 36 inches must be released, and only 1 laker over 36 inches may be kept. Have the base limit high for some lakes and low for others, turquoise and ruedi, and any other overpopulated laker fishery, should have like 8 or 10 lakers allowed to be kept for a few years, to thin out the population. (of course conforming to the slot stated above.) The limit at blue mesa should be reduced to 4 IMO. How does that sound?
 
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There is a fishermans roundtable in Gunnison on Tuesday June 8th at 7pm, I know it is a bad time and all but if you can attend you can tell them what you think of the management of Blue Mesa.....bob
 

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Discussion Starter #14
bobco said:
There is a fishermans roundtable in Gunnison on Tuesday June 8th at 7pm, I know it is a bad time and all but if you can attend you can tell them what you think of the management of Blue Mesa.....bob
I've heard people attend those and tell them what they think about how large lake trout are being decimated and DOW just won't listen.
 

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Why will CDOW not protect this valuable resource like other states do?
Because all this states DOW cares about is trout.

Why do you think we have 2 hybrid fish here? Tiger Muskies and Wipers, Its cause they can control them from breeding or not(NOT). Thats why Quincy was once one of the best Tiger Muskie lakes in the US. Now with people keeping everything they catch and leaving fish that can't even breed we're killing a once good fisherie. If they would stock true Muskies we could once return to what we once had. The key is they need more slots for bag limits.

IMO

-Jay
 

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After back to back state record Mackinaw were caught at Blue Mesa and once again 6 months later, I thought Blue Mesa was on its way to being one of the best Mackinaw fisheries in the west if not the country.

Then the CDOW posts "Help us take out the lakers!" on their website encouraging the harvest of these fish in any size.

The good news is that true "Mack Hunters" prefer to remove the smaller fish and let the big ones go. A few guys will take ONE big fish out in their entire lifetime and have it mounted. This truly is selective harvest and that is what should be posted IMO.

Take out the perch, leave the big Macks!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Mattsabasser said:
The good news is that true "Mack Hunters" prefer to remove the smaller fish and let the big ones go. A few guys will take ONE big fish out in their entire lifetime and have it mounted. This truly is selective harvest and that is what should be posted IMO.
I understand what you're saying and it is correct. Unfortunately most fisherman aren't mack hunters, and probably a majority of the big macks are caught by pure luck or by the casual mackinaw fisherman, and thus are kept. Do these fish taste good? No. Why do people keep them? To show off. That goes back to what neal/co was saying. This is why we need a restrictive limit, like a slot, for the bigger fish. Its simply because most people are going to keep the big fish if they can. Period.
Me, in lakes' ecosystems that can handle it, like taylor and ruedi, I like to keep my limit of macks. But I'm gonna throw anything decent sized back.
 

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TroutFishingBear said:
Do these fish taste good? No.
Do any fish taste good? No. :p

You cant judge what 1 person like over another. But yes if people can keep big fish they usually will not just with macs. The same arguement here can be said about pike in this state. The CDOW promotes its mushy trout stocking program and makes alot of money off it until that kind of revenue is generated by lakers, pike, musky, and even perch your observation will continue to happen.

I'm just stating that because you dont like the meat of old fish doesnt mean joe bob down the mountain doesnt either. Or maybe the fillets from the fish can feed all his childern from 1 fish what a bargin. Who knows what people think or do or whatever.
 

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I think (just my personal opinion) that we need to start looking at fishing as a NON consumptive sport for species like lake trout, smallies, dare I say pike. Even largemouth in most lakes although a slot would be even better if you could get fishermen to adhere to it. If you want fish for the table there are crappie (maybe the best tasting fish of all) and walleye, bluegill, catfish, wipers, etc.

It takes 9-12 years to grow a smallie to 15" here in CO with our short growing season and less then abundant forage base on most lakes. These fish are simply to precious to be caught and kept IMHO.

I used to belong to a private fishing club east of Colo. Springs. These small lakes were better by three or four-fold than the fishing is on public lakes-you could go there an catch 100 bass in a day, no problem, with most of the fish around 14-15" or better. If these lakes were made public with the catch and keep mentality we have here in CO, they wouldn't be any better then any other public water after one season. Sad but true. Ed
 
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Ed Marcol said:
I think (just my personal opinion) that we need to start looking at fishing as a NON consumptive sport for species like lake trout, smallies, dare I say pike.  ...  If you want fish for the table there are crappie (maybe the best tasting fish of all) and walleye, bluegill, catfish, wipers, etc.
I absolutely agree with you, Ed. That is the only way we are going to be able to have decent fishing for quality fish in Colorado. Too many people fishing too few real quality waters to allow the catch & keep mentality for these 10, 15, or even 25 year old game fish.
 
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