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Hatin' on smallmouth

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If you've ever fished in Minnesota, you might have bumped against guys who hate smallmouth. They call them "scaly rats." Their hatred stems from their love of walleye, a mostly indigenous species in Minnesota, and the proliferation of smallmouth that compete with walleye. 

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Ran into this one time fishing up in Maine as well.  In the lake I was fishing, smallmouth was considered an invasive species that inhibited the native land locked salmon that most of the locals were after.  I heard the locals were even known to throw them on the bank if they were caught.  A shame to think since the lake is actually a great smallmouth fishery producing an abundance of 5lb+ smallies.

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Had a buddy that just got back from two weeks of walleye fishing on Vermilion (MN) say the same thing. Locals up there aren't fond of muskie stockings either 

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My step dad is a walleye guy and he hates bass green and brown. He’s been stocking their pond he dug out 8 years ago with perch, gills, and walleye. I keep threatening to throw some bass in there (I won’t actually do it, I believe it’s illegal here). I like the ruffle his feathers when it comes to bass. He goes to Canada every year walleye fishing and I always tell him to land a couple big smallies for me. 😂

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8 out of 10 people I run into that fish here in MN act like walleye are the only species on earth and catching bass doesnt count 

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Perfect.  Keep them off your fish!  Let them have their Waldos.

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Walleye are 'king' in Minnesota. in 2017, millions a year are stocked in any lake that could support them while less than 100 bass are stocked each year.

 

Interesting info in a report I saw...only 270 of the 2000+ lakes in MN that are considered 'walleye lakes' have a 'sustainable' walleye population - meaning that the natural breeding in the lake is higher than the catch rate. So to keep the state fish available for the 'locals' and visitors, the walleye stocking program is immense.

 

"What's the point?

The DNR often stocks lakes to repair ecosystems after winter kill or over fishing, but Vanderbosch said the bulk of his job involves creating walleye fisheries where they don't naturally exist. Thanks to stocking, most Minnesotans live less than half an hour from a good walleye lake. In all, there are 1,400 walleye-rich lakes in the state, only 270 of which are naturally self-sustaining. The DNR stocks the rest so people can enjoy hauling walleye into their boats."

 

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2014/05/22/what-is-fish-stocking

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I've got a buddy from Ohio that takes family trips to Canada and he said they pretty much target Wally's..Smallmouth to them are like our Drums.

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That was the big story for years on Mille Lacs (the “Original Walleye Factory”).  When the cyclical walleye population went down and the Smallmouth went up, the brownies got blamed.  There were rumors of walleye fishermen catching smallies, slitting their throats and releasing them to die.  Launch boats put a bounty on Smallmouth and would clean them for guests that wanted meat to take home.  

 

But it backfired when they opened up all the Smallmouth bellies while cleaning and didn’t find any walleye fry, it was 90% crayfish, 10% perch and other non walleye minnows.  

 

It was also also discovered later while cleaning other fish - the top 2 species that were eating walleye were crappie and you guessed it - other walleyes.  

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7 minutes ago, FryDog62 said:

That was the big story for years on Mille Lacs (the “Original Walleye Factory”).  When the cyclical walleye population went down and the Smallmouth went up, the brownies got blamed.  There were rumors of walleye fishermen catching smallies, slitting their throats and releasing them to die.  Launch boats put a bounty on Smallmouth and would clean them for guests that wanted meat to take home.  

 

But it backfired when they opened up all the Smallmouth bellies while cleaning and didn’t find any walleye fry, it was 90% crayfish, 10% perch and other non walleye minnows.  

 

It was also also discovered later while cleaning other fish - the top 2 species that were eating walleye were crappie and you guessed it - other walleyes.  

I didn't hear about this, but my response to those 'eedjits' who blamed the smallies is...

573915182_3-StoogesFace-Palm.thumb.jpg.3229493ef2995fb4e802956f3fb8c763.jpg

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"The DNR often stocks lakes to repair ecosystems after winter kill or over fishing, but Vanderbosch said the bulk of his job involves creating walleye fisheries where they don't naturally exist. Thanks to stocking, most Minnesotans live less than half an hour from a good walleye lake. In all, there are 1,400 walleye-rich lakes in the state, only 270 of which are naturally self-sustaining."

 

This begs the question: "If a fish isn't native to a lake, but to an area, does introducing that fish to that lake make it invasive?"

 

I think so. 

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It isn't invasive if they exist and are not the top game fish in the lake.

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Smallies are pretty popular in Kansas, 

The catfish is probably king here. To some locals, Bass are considered bait.

One other anomaly here, is sunfish are often called perch. 😕

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Up in here in northern ny it's like that too. I know a lot of guys who get irritated about catching bass while walleye fishing. I've never heard of anybody killing the bass unless they were taking them home to eat. But I hear walleye fisherman talking about 6lb smallies like they are rock bass or something. Pretty crazy. I can't imagine not smiling ear to ear when bringing in a big old bass, even if I was targeting something else. Hell, i catch walleye while bass fishing all the time. I dont get mad. I'm happy to fry up some walleye.

   Now northerns and muskie.....

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Head out west....bass is trash there too in favor of the "Slime Rockets".  Love it here in Tennessee...haven't heard much of the #@!$ talk....

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1 hour ago, Oregon Native said:

Head out west....bass is trash there too in favor of the "Slime Rockets".  Love it here in Tennessee...haven't heard much of the #@!$ talk....

Only from the crappie fisherman that complain in winter when those big brown bass snap their bobber leaders! Haha

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On 7/16/2019 at 10:37 AM, J Francho said:

It isn't invasive if they exist and are not the top game fish in the lake.

That doesn't make any sense to me. Asian Carp are not the top game fish in any water they swim. But the were brought to this country, got loose where they don't belong and are destroying the fisheries they are now taking over. 

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1 minute ago, Scott F said:

That doesn't make any sense to me. Asian Carp are not the top game fish in any water they swim. But the were brought to this country, got loose where they don't belong and are destroying the fisheries they are now taking over. 

Thus, Asian carp ARE invasive.  Our lakes are NOT part of their natural range.    You can't call walleye invasive to a lake that is part of their natural range, just because the DNR enhances fish stocks.  That's THE specific example I was referring to.

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On 7/16/2019 at 10:39 AM, Russ E said:

One other anomaly here, is sunfish are often called perch. 😕

 

I think this is a regional thing though I am not sure what states the region encompasses.  It is the same in Missouri.  When I was a kid using worms and a cane pole I was taught to call a sunfish a perch as well.  

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On 7/16/2019 at 10:39 AM, Todd2 said:

I've got a buddy from Ohio that takes family trips to Canada and he said they pretty much target Wally's..Smallmouth to them are like our Drums.

Baby boomers here around are walleye fisherman !

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I've got a lot of buddies that fish for flatheads and blues, bass are just another baitfish to them. Others that fish for walleye, white bass, wipers, and crappie a majority of the time call largemouth "green carp".

Crappie guys at one of the popular smallmouth reservoirs blame the smallmouth for the crash in the crappie population, despite them being a known cyclical fish. What's also funny is when the crappie were booming, everybody and their brother was on the lake, shoulder to shoulder and bow to stearn on the water, loading livewells, buckets, stringers, whatever they could get full of big, spawning crappie. Who knows how many thousands of crappie were prevented from reproducing, but now they're blaming the smallmouth for why there's suddenly far fewer crappie 🤦‍♂️

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Thank god we don’t have this problem on lake st. Clair. I’d trip out if someone slit a Smallmouths throat and threw it overboard. 

 

Michigan has blessed fishing grounds. My only complaint is our LMB do not get big enough haha 

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On 7/19/2019 at 12:31 AM, Bluebasser86 said:

I've got a lot of buddies that fish for flatheads and blues, bass are just another baitfish to them. Others that fish for walleye, white bass, wipers, and crappie a majority of the time call largemouth "green carp".

Crappie guys at one of the popular smallmouth reservoirs blame the smallmouth for the crash in the crappie population, despite them being a known cyclical fish. What's also funny is when the crappie were booming, everybody and their brother was on the lake, shoulder to shoulder and bow to stearn on the water, loading livewells, buckets, stringers, whatever they could get full of big, spawning crappie. Who knows how many thousands of crappie were prevented from reproducing, but now they're blaming the smallmouth for why there's suddenly far fewer crappie 🤦‍♂️

Word.

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I’ve also heard of walleye fishers killing muskies they catch while Walleye fishing. Terrible.

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Walleye fishermen are largely MEAT CATCHERS. So they will clean out any lake in short time. The lakes ARE in long winter areas. Shorter PEAK GROWING time.  

HEY !!  If the locals buying fishing license want ANY 1 fish ?  Have the game dept. DO IT !!  They ARE PAYING FOR THEM.

Walleyes are a slow easy to catch hatchling fish for most every other adult fish.

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