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dabluz

Re: The best bed fishing technique I know of.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

I'd be very disappointed in any angler willing to offend another angler over an issue that involves a lot of emotional beliefs as well as having plenty of science supporting a well managed targeting of bedding bass where a bass population is not threatened. I target bedding bass here and wherever I go if there is no problem with bass numbers or quality, and don't consider myself "sick in the head" about that. The fact is that on any lake in N. America, even Lake Michigan, if 20 beds are successful enough to see 5% of the eggs hatch and make 500,000 yearlings, that lake will be severely overpopulated with immature bass competing heavily with older bass. It's highly doubtful you could launch enough boats to put enough anglers on enough beds to damage even 50% of the beds before spawning is over. Most are well concealed and would require wading to get to them, or are too deep to see if the water is clear enough to pass sunlight to the eggs, as deep as 20 feet.

Jim

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Very well put Jim!!!

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Those who think that fishing on spawning beds is okay should re-think a little about this.  The wool is being pulled over your eyes.  The reason it is allowed is for economic reasons alone.

If a body of water gets lots of fishermen and the resource is adversely affected, there is suddenly money for restocking.  If a body of water does not receive much traffic, no restocking is done.  It's cheaper to let fishermen fish as much as possible and then restock.  The problem with stocked fish is the genetic pool is weakened.

The best way to manage a fishing resource is to impose slot limits....this allows for more pr édation on the scrap fish and larger scrap fish that eat the fingerlings and a larger population of sport fish of spawning age.  Along with the slot limits, something should be done to protect the spawning fish and the spawn beds.

Wouldn't it be fun to catch bass of 2 to 4 lbs all day, have so many bass that even the fishing away from the spawn beds would be great?

In the U.S., there is even an advantage for bass.....they grow faster and their growing season is longer.

Ok, some will say that the population of forage fish will be decreased.  I say no....because larger bass will be eating the larger forage fish.  6 and 7 inch perch, sunfish, etc will become part of the food base.  As it is now, these fish are getting fat on the unguarded spawning beds.  They are too big to eat for about 95% of the population of the bass living in the body of water.

If my plan doesn't work....fine with me but it is worth a try.....and costs nothing.

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dabluz, I shouldn't even entertain your oppinion but where are you getting your information from. ouachitabassangler is about to retire from a lifetime of work with fisheries management under his belt. His information holds alot of weight because it is based more on facts that he is an expert on. If you have any facts that back your oppion I am interested in hearing them.

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dabluz, I shouldn't even entertain your oppinion but where are you getting your information from. ouachitabassangler is about to retire from a lifetime of work with fisheries management under his belt. His information holds alot of weight because it is based more on facts that he is an expert on. If you have any facts that back your oppion I am interested in hearing them.

So, ouachitabassangler has been doing the same thing that I have been doing or maybe it's the other way around. I was also regional president of the Wildlife Federation, co-founder/vice president of an association to restore native landlocked salmon, vice-president of the local hunting and fishing association etc etc.

I have chatted with a bunch of people all over the U.S. and I know that not every state has the same way of protecting and/or renewing their wildlife but, I have heard complaints that only well visited bodies of water get any help from the governement and that there is a reluctance to change regulations that might indispose fishermen.

I'm not saying that things are rosy where I live either. I would like to see slot limits in order to maintain quality fishing and good reproduction.

Since a body of water can support a certain biomass, I would like limits to be changed from the number of fish to the mass (weight) of fish a person keeps. As an example....in my region, we mostly have brook trout. Knowing that in our region, on the average an area of water 100 meters X 100 meters can support approx 14 kg of brook trout, why is the limit set at 20 trout of any size? A person leaving the lake with 20 trout weighing 1 to 3 kg each does much more damage to the overall population of trout than the person leaving the lake with 20 trout of about 1/2 kilo each. Why not a limit of 5 kilos of fish (plus 1 fish...the heaviest one) while not exceeding the limit of 20 fish?  The governments only response is that it is too complicated.  However, this system of limits is in force elsewhere for over 40 years.

"Whatyoumaycall" must certainly know that the number of fish in a body of water is calculated first by the average mass of the fish. You monitor the body of water by weighing the fish caught by fishermen or by using traps or nets, you count the fish, you divide the mass by the number of fish in order to get an average size, you then calculate the capacity of the lake to support that particular species of fish and you mesure the size of the lake. With these statistiques, it is possible to estimate the number of that species of fish in a particular body of water. Then you determine how many fish are needed to sustain the population and you limit the catch so that there is always enough adult fish to spawn every year. After the initial studies have been carried out, you just keep on monitoring the catch. If you see any adverse change in the average size of the fish, you can take measures to correct the situation. It won't be necessary to stock the body of water with genetically inferior fish.

Maybe someday, we might meet on the territory of about 1200 square kilometers where I worked and I could explain in more detail how the studies are carried out.  There are about 600 brook trout lakes.  The fishing is as good or better than it was in 1978 when this system was initiated and when I started to work there.  It's called a "controlled exploitation zone".  Anybody can fish.  No reservations needed.  Costs about 100 dollars per year for the family.  It's close to town (30 minutes).  When 60% of the population of trout have been caught in a lake, it is closed for the rest of the season.  Of the 600 lakes, about 50 to 100 are closed before the end of the season.  As you can see, the territory could use 6 to 12 times more fishermen.  We do the same for moose and the number of moose killed each year has remained constant.

If the wording or terms seem a bit strange....it's due to the fact that I am french-canadian and I did all of my work in french.

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First of all thanks for your knowledge and incite. I enjoyed reading it. I am by no means an expert in the field of fisheries biology so this is just what I know to be true at the lakes where I fish.

It may be true in your part of the world that a massive amount of bed fishing can cause a significant decline in the bass population. But here in Georgia most of the lakes I fish have only been stocked once with Largemouth bass, and that was two to three years before they were opened to the public. I asked the biologist here at Clarks Hill lake (71,000 acres) what species of fish they have stocked in the last 25 years and they have only stocked Striper and Hybrid bass due to there inability to reproduce. This is a lake that gets heavy pressure from tournaments five to seven days a week. These Largemouth aren't small either. It takes a 20+lb stringer to place in a tournament any day of the year. Just watch the Bassmasters Tournament that will be held in May and you will see some great stringers.

Lake Varner here in Georgia is a prime example of excellent lake management. It was built about 15 years ago and stocked with largemouth only once. It is 900+ acres and gets heavy pressure every day. The average size bass shocked out of Varner last year was 3.45lbs. You can ask Randall who guides there and he will probably tell you that you have a better chance of catching an 8lb+ bass out of Varner on any given day than almost any lake in Georgia. A man caught five fish in one day last year on Varner that weighed a total of 48 pounds.

I fish team tournaments with one of our regions fisheries biologists and he tells me that the bass in Georgia have never been more healthy and better taken care of then they are right now. So what may be a problem in Canada is not a problem down here in Georgia. Bass are at the top of the food chain in our lakes. We are their predators. We have laws that protect our rights to fish and we have teams of biologist that protect the fish we catch. So to judge people who bed fish somewhere else, based on what is going on in your area doesn't sound fair to me. It may be all about money, but here where I live I see it as money well spent.

The great thing about all of the public lakes that I fish is although the fishing regulations are the same all over the state. Each lake is goverened by different governments. Varner is a county lake, my favorite Public Fishing Area is State run, and Clarks Hill is a federal lake. Each controling agency has the authority to change the limits and slot size of each lake according to servays. This has proven to be a great tool in growing a large and strong fish population.

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Also in your post your talking about salmon and trout which are a fragile species compared to bass. I know that in Florida for many years many bodies of water didn't have a stocking program that many states and the minimum size limit was 12" with I think a 10 fish creel limit. In later years they developed some slot limits and smaller creel limits to help promote larger fish. It wasn't developed for fish populations. Florida doesn't have a state wide stocking program like other states because many of the bodies of water are self sustaining. The main factor is the growth rate and great spawning grounds, food source, and cover that help with fry mortality rate. When a bass gets big in Florida it is the top predator. Just about every pond, creek, ditch and mud hole in Florida has bass and many have trophy fish.

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Let me add something else that you might not be factoring in. It takes about 10 years for a lake to produce a 10 lb bass in Florida. If conditions are right it will take less time. A bass in Florida might spawn in the 1st or second year of growth. A bass in Canada might take 2 to 3 years to reach a spawning age. It also might take 20 years or more to reach 10 lbs. The growth rate is not the same.

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I guess I am...cause man do I love to catch them nice bass ...!!! ;D

I do let them go...unless I am hungry and see BASS on the menu.

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Well, from the looks of things, the lakes are well managed.  From what I have read, I'm sure that if the self sustaining populations of bass do suffer any adverse effects, measures will be taken to rectify the situation.  So, if fishing on the beds hasn't been detrimental....by all means let everyone have fun.

One thing I admire about the fishermen in the U.S., it's their propensity to release the fish they catch.

I'm too far north for bass or sunfish.  Further south west there is some very good smallmouth bass fishing and in the most south western part of Quebec, there are some largemouth bass.  And yes, they do grow very slowly here in Quebec.  A 4 or 5 lb smallmouth is very old.  As you can imagine, I pounce on those who like to show pictures of limits of large dead bass.....lol.

I used to do a lot of bass fishing in Lake Ontario when I was young.  You can always count on bass to bite.  What was the most fun, they bite on anything.  They are a hardy species.  I sure miss fishing for them.  I compensate by fishing for northern pike.  It's just like fishing for largemouth bass.  The pike even jump out of the water.

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no direspect Dabulz but why didn't you comment on the fisherman in your area instead of everyone thinking you were talking to them in general could of saved some effort.

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Guest ouachitabassangler

Comparing trout to bass management has little in common. I agree trout management has some challenges not shared in bass fisheries. There's a forum for "other" species where you might express your expertise more convincingly.

The great majority of bass research doesn't support what you are saying concerning bass. Computer models are used to establish the ideal distribution of size classes compared to available forage, and frequent sampling enables lake managers to strive toward those goals. Expected harvest rates are calculated in, which rate varies according to statistics on lake visitation. Some studies weigh creels, but most are done by interviewing anglers on a random basis, and more commonly touranment anglers voluntarily assist by submitting catch reports. Another misconception is the claim so many anglers catch & release. I agree that practice is common among tournament anglers, but that isn't true among recreational anglers who often harvest at least part of their creel. Statistics show huge numbers of bass being harvested on most lakes, discrediting the notion most don't harvest. But even with those high numbers restocking is rarely employed when natural recruitment of bass is sufficient.

Another point is it's the more immature bass that consume most available forage due to their increased metabolism. It's vital to maintain a close balance in immature to mature bass, while mature bass odffset some feeding pressure by selecting larger prey than immature bass. Therefore restocking a lake is closely related to the distribution of generations of bass so as not to overpopulate it with aggressive young bass to the ultimate demise of mature bass. Having too many young bass in a lake can result in literally having to feed the whole bass polulation with millions of stocked fingerlings in the event of a cold winter or other factor causing death of forage species. That's a terrible, expensive situation to be forced into. Restocking is then simply determined on the basis of numbers of existing fish of all species including predator fish, taking into account potential of forage for fingerlings if released.

The short of this is that nature generally takes care of nature, and us humans would have a better chance of asking mountains to move than negatively affecting bass populations IN COMAPRISON to the diabolical effects of natural forces such as cold weather, low oxygen, high pH, low pH, contaminants, non aquatic predators like cranes, floods, hot water, drought, algal blooms, and many other events that can kill off huge populations of bass in all age classes. I suspect a lot of this issue is fostered by those thinking mere humans could increases global warming even 1/10 of a degree when none of them can even guess how much geothermal heating is affecting the oceans and atmosphere. You could put all the people on earth in the state of Texas without overcrowding by New York state standards, leaving all the rest of earth devoid of human activity.

Jim

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[move] I AM SICK IN THE HEAD [/move]

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On the contrary, the territory where I worked, the lakes have only brook trout in them.  No other species of fish.  Not even minnows.  The trout feed on insects with maybe a few salamanders a few frogs (very few) and small rodents.

Brook trout are also a short lived species.  Management results are quickly noticed.  Spawning sites are easy to inventory.  The lakes are all similar in structure and age (less than 10,000 years old).  Water quality is excellent throughout the territory.  The lakes are small and it's easy to meet the fishermen on a daily basis.  Statistiques are gathered when every vehicule leaves the territory and compiled every night.  We can actually calculate the catch per hour of fishing.  All this makes for an excellent learning ground for basic fish management before going to other territories where there are more species of fish and so many other factors that complicate fish management.

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i was sick in the head when i saw that 10lber on that bed.  i couldnt help it!!!!!

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COME ON GUYS - GET OFF DABLUZ' BACK HE IS RIGHT ----SORT OF!!!

I fish in Canada every year and he is right!!!!! In Canada there is a short growing season and the lakes are mostly infertle causing bed fishing to have a HUGE impact on the long term sustainability of the (smallmouth) bass species. This is why most of the Canadian Lakes are catch and release or at least have STRICT limits. IT IS NECESSARY AND I ACT ACCORDINGLY!!!

On the other hand---

I will be fishing Lake Fork TX in a couple of weeks and FULLY intend to catch as many of the LARGEST bedding mamas and pappas the lake will give up. I will pull a Jimmy Houston and kiss them goodbye as soon as a quick photo can be taken. I will DO MY BEST to have the bass off the bed as SHORT of a time as possible so he/she can resume their spawning duties. Most Southern Lakes CAN AND DO sustain this bed fishing pressure without being detrimental because of the increased fertility of the lake and length of the growing season.

Maybe---When in Rome, do as the Romans do???  

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Guest ouachitabassangler

I'm sick in da head 2, literally, from skin cancer surgery on the 8th. SOoooo..... Doc says I can go fishng tomorrow, and ya know what I'm a gonna do? I know where there's a huge area of bass just beginning to spawn and I'm going there to try catching 6 of them hogs and my family is going to EAT every one of them. I might go back Wednesday and get 6 more if I can. I'll do that for the sake of da dabluz. I might fill all me freezers with spawning bass. Sick....oh, well.

Here's the numbers for Lake Ouachita. We have a total of 700,000 bass over 11", the size they begin spawning, some at 10". Lets say all of them spawn a very conservative average of 1/2 million eggs this season in 3 batches of 166K eggs each pass (large females can do 3-10 times that), and using the nationally accepted estimate of 1% survival to age one, what will we have out there by next March? 3,500,000,000 one year old bass. Too many  :-? We can only handle about 900,000 since we have so many stripers and other species. To sustain the current population of adults we would need a maximum of 700,000, replacing one for one, but even that isn't necessary since the population is stable even with 2,300 black bass and 11,000 stripers harvested per year. Well, too much success in that spawn! So where did the other 99% of eggs/fry go? Down panfish mouths, salamanders, bass, etc. we need to cut that 1% success rate to what? Whatever number it takes to just get replacements for missing size classes. I don't have the model program here to work it up, sorry. The number is verrrry low, fellas. So now tell me how a hundred sight anglers, if that many during the spawn here, lucky to catch one bass off a bed are going to upset those numbers. And who among us can claim to go out and find all the beds? I might lead you to .01% of them and be doing miracles. Half the lake is too dingy to see any more than a foot deep abd that's going to get worse through April and peak spawning. So we're nuts to bother a bed?  WHO is nuts? Back to facts. We'll need some cold nights dropping suddenly int o the 50's to kill off some fry. Yey!!!!! How about some powerful wind making waves scattering 50% of them off beds!  ;D ;D ;D  Most of the rest hopefullly will get eaten up my mommy & daddy bass later when large enough to make it worthwhile.  See how cruel nature is? It HAS to be. MAN can't do anything close to what nature must do for survival of the biosphere.

Slot limits? They are TOOLS of lake managers to adjust age classes, not regulatory measures to limit anglers. If there's a specially poor spawn year or two in a row a few years later we find there aren't enough 13-16" bass from that year(s), so we protect those remaining by imposing prohibited sizes 13-16, and might have to go with 10-16" to beef up that range faster unless we have too many 8-12". Its rare to have to stock fingerlings to adjust populations.  That means total failure on the part of management, not noticing those poor years. It doesn't happen on high visitation lakes. So what about that news article about the release of an astounding 100,000 bass fingerlings, half of which are immediately eaten up? Now THERE's the politics. What's that compared to what nature made and had to destroy? They do that to make people feel better. It's something people can see happening and appreciate. I probably ought not be telling that, but heck, I'm on the downhill slide. Now a MILLION fingerlings would make a difference! If half survived the lake would be double overpoulated with one huge size class probably perfect to wipe out all the forage. When talking about bass slots, first understand why they exist on some lakes. Sometimes managers miss it and slots can damage a fishery. Imposing any size limit can damage unless managing for trophy bass.  

OK, I let some steam off. Thanks for letting me.

Jim

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Guest ouachitabassangler

An no, I'm not going to kick bed bass butt. Bass that size are not good to eat. I prefer 2-3# bass tops, but mosltly crappie and walleye.

Jim

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Guest ouachitabassangler

Canada.  :-/ I love most of it, especially the west. Sure they have problems. Slow growth, cold water, low forage biomass. Smallies, trout, sure, a problem there. But that problem disappears as you fish southward and disappears at the Mason Dixon line. So you can't lump it all together and insult just ANYONE who targets a bass in whatever situation. Where C&R is nesessary it is generally required by law, or by fishing seasons, in addition to scientifically determined creel limits. Where it's a generally common voluntary practice, that's a cultural issue, not having to do with science. But if you studied lakes with a perceived lack of bass where C&R has not been imposed by lake managers I suspect you will find the problem lies mostly in unavailability of easier to catch shallow bass where most weekend anglers pressure most bass. Most all of us already know that's happening everywhere. We're having to go deeper every year in many lakes filling up with amazing numbers of anglers pounding every foot of shoreline.

Jim

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I would like to thank dabluz for starting this discussion and thank ouachitabassangler and dabluz for your detailed insite. Wow, I learned alot. This is why I like this site so much. We debate like adults and everyone comes out on top. That's awsome.

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