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Author Topic: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.  (Read 5805 times)

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Dire Wolf

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2017, 03:17:58 PM »

Those are sexually mature alewife, not the juvenile fish I was expecting to see which dominate the current alewife population, such as it is.  I still wouldn't extrapolate off one or several stomach contents consisting of alewife or smelt...hundreds, yes, then I would agree with what you suggest may be going on.

You could also approach the picture from the converse perspective, just based on the depicted evidence: Assuming large numbers of alewife and smelt, whose open lake populations are under severe predation stress from salmonines, are opting to overwinter in the Bays de Noc and Green Bay, are they exposing themselves to an additional layer of predation pressure from walleye and pike under ice, potentially further diminishing their numbers prior spawning?

In concert with the decrease in productivity and production within the lower food web, there has been an increase in water clarity because of decreasing biogenic turbidity i.e. the water is getting clearer which impacts walleye activity scope and timing directly, since they have a tapedum lucidum in their eyes, that is impacted by clear water consequent high light penetration.
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2cgood

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2017, 07:06:15 PM »

I live on Little Bay and fish it regularly and as much as anybody..usually.  I tend to go out more now when it's more of prime season.  We tend to mark plenty of fish but the last year or so it's def harder for us to catch the amount we want.  I kept the same number of eyes as I usually do but  took about 20 more trips than usual.  It wasn't for lack of fish marked just how they bite.  They're picky these days and have been for a while.  I will say they def don't stick around as long in winter anymore and head south early   this ice season has been awful tho
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captainken

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2017, 08:07:15 PM »

There is no doubt in my mind that the biggest factor in the demise of the Little Bay de Noc walleye fishery has been gill nets.  Since the first large illegal netting case in 2009, where the illegal netters were taking more fish than sportfishermen, there have been illegal subsistence fishermen caught selling fish every year since.  The 2014 undercover operation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where they set up an undercover wholesale fish business, once again brought to light how prevalent illegal walleye harvest is in the bay.  Right is right, and wrong is wrong, it doesn't matter what color, race, or ethnicity you are...if you don't play by the rules and obey the laws, you deserve to be punished when caught.  As of now...I still don't think anybody has been charged in that 2014 case.  Why?  Not sure, but it sure is frustrating.  When you go from an annual sportfish harvest of 29,000 fish / year to just a little over 4,000 fish / year...there's a problem.  The D.N.R. has been sticking with the false narrative of "water too warm, and too clear" since 2009, however since 2009 the water temperature has actually gone down.  We also have E.P.A. reports from several years ago that show the water was much warmer and just as clear at times in the same locations the D.N.R. conducts their sampling.  There is absolutely NO reason why a walleye would choose to leave the bay and migrate south where the water is deeper, colder, and clearer.  The darkest water we have is from the Escanaba River north to Rapid River.  This water is definitely influenced by precipitation patterns, and when we have normal moisture patterns...the water stays fairly dark and dirty.  Large mature walleyes have always migrated south out of Little Bay de Noc proper to feed on alewives, smelt, etc..  They migrate back to the upper portion of the bay and rivers in the spring to spawn, then head back south to their summer homes.  Most of the fish that used to call LBDN home are gone.  Yes...you can still have good days out there, but there are way fewer of them now. Fish can escape anglers lines pretty easy...but they can't escape the gauntlet of nets in the "narrows" all winter long and then again in the spring when fish are migrating to rivers to spawn.  I have many tribal friends, and have had many tribal employees, good people, this issue is about Right and Wrong and breaking laws.  If you get caught selling fish, no-matter who you are...you should lose your fishing priviledges.  Rant over...truth told...politically correct?  (probably not).
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Capt. Ken Lee
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Legend

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2017, 06:07:05 AM »

Thanks for your input Ken, when you make a living on the bays this issue takes on a whole new meaning I bet!!
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michiganman

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2017, 09:28:41 AM »

Captainken, you said it perfectly. There's still nets all over the place. When spring comes it gets even worse.
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Redrover

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2017, 02:53:07 PM »

maybe some nice youtube videos showing the net and when there are a few good ones contact the media and the congressmen?
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Dire Wolf

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2017, 09:36:10 AM »

“Operation Fishing for Funds,” won
the regional teamwork award for
an investigation that exposed an
over-exploitation problem and the
valiant efforts to sustain the fisheries
resource of the Great Lakes.  To date,
approximately 6,430 commercial fishing
violations have been documented
accounting for almost 700,000 pounds
of illegal fish. During the course of
the operation, 12 Service special
agents and two Michigan Department
of Natural Resources investigators
successfully infiltrated the commercial
fishing black market in a covert
capacity leaving their normal family
lives to live in a covert residence and
operate a covert business to document
commercial fishermen illegally
harvesting and selling lake trout,
walleye, lake sturgeon, and other fish
species from the Great Lakes region. 
Additionally, wholesale fish dealers
were documented purchasing fish that
were harvested from closed waters of
the Great Lakes, over their established
quotas, and with unauthorized
commercial fishing gear.  Five search
warrants and 100 interviews were
conducted in Northeast Wisconsin,
the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,
and Northern Lower Michigan.  The
investigative team was assisted by
Service special agents from across
the country, Homeland Security
Investigations, the United States
Coast Guard, Michigan Department of
Natural Resources, the Michigan State
Police, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and
Wildlife Commission, Bureau of Indian
Affairs, and other member agencies
of the Upper Peninsula Substance
Enforcement Team.  Following this
takedown, the investigative team
has met and worked with multiple
tribal conservation agencies to obtain
records and jointly investigate unlawful
commercial fishing.  The overt portion
of this investigation continues to
research business records to establish
further evidence of falsified purchases,
and other illegal activities, by certain
wholesale fish dealers who have
supported the lucrative and illegal
market that has exploited the fisheries
resources for decades.

Source:
USFWS Law Enforcement Division investigation summary for 2015
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Dire Wolf

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2017, 10:10:07 AM »

Here is the original reporting via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
http://archive.jsonline.com/news/crime/agents-investigate-elaborate-great-lakes-fish-trafficking-operation-b99394891z1-283503981.html


Note that 94,000lbs. was the total purchase value over 19 months for the covert operation, with nearly half of this illegal harvest or illegal species take...per the 2015 USFWS LED report, this value has grown to 700,000lbs!

It would appear that all of the "rants" posted on this website through time criticizing both GLIFWC and COORA regulated tribal fisheries for lack of proper oversight and enforcement, are valid...
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Frank

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2017, 01:04:32 PM »

I moved to the BaydeNoc area in 2002, fished it regularly. I moved away in 2015, so it should start getting better soon.
  Joking aside, I also noticed the decline that just went off the cliff right after the netting fiasco under the ice. Habitat and forage changes certainly factors. Weed oriented fish and goby forage became clear. Some very predictable suspended (large) fish patterns early season all but disappeared. The explosion of fishing pressure around Oconto had to factor in, 1000's of big fish taken in no slot area had to contribute to lower fall return numbers. Throw in some bad spawn years and lower stocking added to the netting pressure and it is a perfect storm. Big Bay has exploded with smallmouth in areas that used to be easy picking for walleye. Did they fill a vacuum, or drive the walleye out? Maybe prey on them. Natural, cultural, legal, societal factors all in the mix, only some can be addressed, but not happening so far.
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Frank Schultz
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DanaM

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2017, 06:46:14 AM »

The DNR has a vote of "no confidence" from me! Want to get rid of the invasives have the DNR "manage" them, they will be gone in 5 years. Money is all the DNR understands, one big ass beuracratic cesspool that needs to flushed. I quit buying hunting licenses because there is nothing left to hunt is fishing next? As for the natives their own tribal court does nothing to enforce the rules nor do they impose any type of serious penalty on their members when they are caught violating their own rules. Most of the people with cards that are out "sustenance" netting don't need the fish as food so that concept is a big joke. They do it because they can and know that there is little to no trouble they can get into for doing so. Just simple greed folks not native pride or tradition!
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MAK

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2017, 12:44:15 PM »

An article providing an update to the sting operation was posted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Jan. 24th. http://www.jsonline.com/story/news/blogs/proof-and-hearsay/2017/01/24/charges-great-lakes-fisheries-sting/96957900/  ["But so far, just one Upper Peninsula fish house owner faces only federal misdemeanor counts in the case."]  There's a saying that goes 'the punishment doesn't fit the crime', which more often than not is used to mean someone got the shaft for something that was hardly a crime at all.  Unfortunately the opposite seems to apply here.  I would hope that two years of covert operations, that likely cost taxpayers tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, will result in more than federal misdemeanor charges against one person.

Al the Infidel

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2017, 11:24:35 PM »

Will the walleyes eat enough of the asian carp present in 3 of the great lakes to resustain themselves once the carp spread and become more numerous? Al wondered to himself.
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qbfishon

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2017, 11:37:16 PM »

we should send the tribe down there they'll net the hell out of the carp, just tell them they are walleye problem solved. The liberals would probably be against banning Asian carp too from the great lakes, saying they have a right to the lakes just like the rest  of  the fish.............that's funny  but not far off...............
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Dire Wolf

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Re: The Decline of Little Bay De Noc.
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2017, 07:57:13 AM »

The Asian carp documented to be in the Great Lakes in reproducing population numbers are grass carp, not silver or bigheads.

Mylan, thanks for posting the article. I contacted the author, as well as another free-lance journalist that wrote a piece that was published in the Green Bay Press Gazette, in mid-January, to request that they update their original reporting. I never received a response from either of them, so I assumed there would be no effort made by them to update us.
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