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Author Topic: Please keep Lake Ottawa in Iron Co. C&R for smallmouth bass  (Read 1479 times)

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Please keep Lake Ottawa in Iron Co. C&R for smallmouth bass
« on: November 02, 2015, 03:54:42 PM »

I’m a little fearful going public on this issue as I don’t know where many of you stand but I figure I’d throw this on the boards and hopefully I can garner some support.

I had a nice conversation with Mark Mylchreest (MylchreestM@michigan.gov) at the Crystal Falls DNR office a few week weeks ago and we got side tracked talking about various lakes and he mentioned that Lake Ottawa’s status as a Catch and Release (C&R) for a bass/smallies lake is up for review.  Mark mentioned that the new biologist at his office wants to gather opinions from the public regarding if it’s C&R on bass/smallies should be kept in place.

I’m not going to hide my bias but I think they should keep the C&R status for bass and smallies in place at Lake Ottawa.  Here’s some points to consider why it should be kept C&R:

•   There are plenty of rivers and lakes in Iron County and surrounding areas that you can catch and keep bass of legal size.  I’m not going to name spots but most of my posts on bass fishing are all on catch and KEEP waters within 30 miles of Iron County.   
•   Lake Ottawa has public camp grounds.  Will the quality of bass fishing decline just as quick as Groveland did after they put in boat ramps and allowed campers?  The DNR does a pretty good job but they can’t be at every lake all the time enforcing regs. 
•   Sylvania and Craig Lake SP have some great bass fishing (C&R lakes) but the best lakes are often have no motors of any type regs, no cart regs (Sylvania), quite long portages and don’t allow any type of live bait, organic bait or barbed hook.  Lake Ottawa has a boat ramp and you can use live, organic or artificial bait/barbed that’s legal.  I’m getting too old for long canoe portages along always with a few grandkids in tow, it’s just not realistic.
•   For those who can’t afford a bigger boat, rent a big boat or hire guide to fish the bigger lakes, Ottawa offers world class smallie fishing from its quiet 500+ acres without a lot ton of boat traffic as no cabins or resorts.  It’s safe to get around in a canoe or yak on this lake.  It’s nice to unload a canoe from the boat launch vs. dragging in around on your shoulders or in a cart in the woods.
•   Of all the fish you’d want to put in the frying pan I think bass and smallies might not be on the top of the list.  Ottawa also has walleye, perch, lake trout, rockies that you can catch and keep within regs.
•   It’s a popular lake for out of town bass anglers with trailer plates from IA, IN, WI and IL.   They all know it’s C&R with the bass, but for the most part again they don’t have boats big enough for the great lakes so this is the next best bet.

I’ll spare you some self-serving pics but I can tell you that Lake Ottawa is a great smallie fishery, it’s never been an easy lake for us but when you do catch a smallie there’s a good chance it’s going to be fat 17” to 20+” fish.  I’m not saying a bunch of waters the DNR should keep as C&R but it would be nice with this one so the average person can experience trophy smallie fishing that’s easy access.  Also I haven't heard anything so far in conversations with others at the DNR saying the current C&R bass regs at Ottawa are detrimental to the long term success of the bass fishery.

If you’re on the same page with me please send a polite email to Mark Mylchreest (MylchreestM@michigan.gov) asking them to consider keeping the C&R bass/smallie regs in place at Lake Ottawa.

Thank you for your time.


Yooper Padre

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Re: Please keep Lake Ottawa in Iron Co. C&R for smallmouth bass
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2015, 07:33:01 AM »

Agree with you 100%  Though we have a lot of lakes in Iron County, most are small and relatively infertile. As a result, they really don't stand up to much fishing pressure and most waters now have mediocre fishing at best. It's important that these special regulations are left in place to preserve the unique and valuable fisheries that remain.

Fr. K
Fr. Jeffrey Kurtz
Watersmeet, MI