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Walleye Express

7-05-08 Another Apology.

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I remember my first trip to Lake Erie in 1979 with my wife Debbie. We went down to see my Ma and my step dad. It was not even a year since my real dads death and Ma had some stuff she wanted me to have of dads that she had kept. While we were there me and my step dad took his old Lyman wooden boat out to the West Sister island and casted these new lures called Hot-N-tot's and limited out on walleyes.

Then again in the spring of 86 we took a trip down and we took home three 3 man limits in as many days casting Gold Nuggets and crawlers near the Coolie (spelling?) Canal, out from the cooling towers in 7 feet of water. Then came the summers of 1988 and 89 on Saginaw bay, when 3 and 4 man limits by 10:30 was the norm. But I'm here to tell you that all those great trips and those particular fisheries pale in comparison to what's happening right now on the Saginaw Bay.

The fishing is so good in fact I've had to apologize to my clients the last 3 trips for limiting out so early in the trip. Today we set lines at 8:00am and were done at 9:30am. I feel kinda weird apologizing actually, as what could be better then limiting out. I've been asked by a few clients if we could catch and release after that, but I refuse to continue to catch and possibly injure or kill any fish that may get stressed or gilled with a hook for the sake of just catching them. Give me a few honest answers about how you might feel if your trip was cut short because of good fishing. My rule is 5 hours or limit and 7 hours or limit (witch I actually thought I'd never use, at least not as fast as I have been), so refunding any portion of the charter fee is not done.

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Well this is a slippery slope. I'm sure in somewhere there is mention of price and how long you will be out on the water. 5 hours, or limit of fish. Seems pretty cut and dry. I like your view on not catching and releasing, good conservation. Here's a thought, if people feel as though they are getting the short end of the stick you could cruise around for a while, anchor and go look for perch. Or worse case change your policies to say LIMIT OF FISH with no mention of time. Nice work out there....

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GJ Dan. Gitter Done as quick as you can.:) Save the Fs. Fish & Fuel.

You are so right about this fishery. I had a few West side folks on the Priority1, that are thinking a lot more positively about our sunrise side.:) 07 was FANTASTIC and 08 is even better. The walleye seem to be fairing well as far as the diseases go. I hope the trend continues well into this Century.

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Or worse case change your policies to say LIMIT OF FISH with no mention of time. Nice work out there....

Wheeler.

The guys who offer that "Limit every time" charter won't be in business very long. :no:

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This morning I've decided on a plan. I'm taking a trip to Franks Great Outdoors this morning and buying 8 huge crankbaits. Don't know what type or brand yet, but they will be bigger then anything I've ever used before. They may even be Musky cranks, I don't know. One thing I've always done on my summer charters is reserve my own legal limit for counting mistakes we might make when moving the fish around in a cooler. One or two over the clients limit, yet under the total licensed legal limit protects me from an embarrasing ticket if it ever happened. My plan first is to ask the clients what they would like to do. If they want to stay out, I'll remove the cranks or gear that we're using when we've reached the clients legal limit and replace them with these giant lures. I've caught BIG walleyes on the Bay before that have had perch 8 inches long in their bellys. So our new mission will be to catch a trophy. I'm also going to file down the barbs on these lures in case the little guys get up the nerve to strike them. But I'm hoping nothing but the monsters or maybe a large PIKE will be interested. It may be a waste of time and be pretty boring for the remainder of the trip, but it will be more fair to my clients and less stressfull on any fish we catch on them in my view.

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Heres the BIG lures I picked up. Top one is 6 inches long and is a Drifter Tackle "Muskie Mania" Li'l Ernie.

Bottom one is 9 inches. Called a Triple D Series. Both are Muskie baits. Picked up 6 of each in some good colors.

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Also contacted my DNR buddy about what numbers of walleyes he knew of that are being taken out of the Bay this year. Below is his answer.

Dan:

Yes we have that walleye take information via our annual creel survey study. We won't have the results for 2008 until like March 2009 but I can tell you that last year (2007) that there was an average of 1,792 walleyes harvested per day in the month of July. My hunch is that that value is even greater this year. This is just the July value. June is very high too but the rest of the year is not as great. All tolled, last year's harvest was 286,607 walleyes from Saginaw Bay. By most estimates, this is about 10% of the harvestable total number, so a crude way of estimating the total number of walleyes (15" and larger) in the bay in 2007 would be 286607/0.10 or 2,866,070. Remarkably we believe this this is still shy of our recovery objectives. Put another way, this is still somewhat less than what the bay historically sustained on average. As you know, the vast majority of these walleyes now are all naturally reproduced (not many hatchery fish remaining in the population any more).

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Change your times and rates For say:

5 hour --500.00

2.5 hour--300.00

just using numbers ofcourse, I dont even know what charters cost. That way you save fuel and fish plus make a little extra and dont feel like you are rippen the clients off. Then its the clients choice. Just explain if limits have been comming pretty easy or not. You can also take more trips in a day if they do 2.5

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Wheeler.

The guys who offer that "Limit every time" charter won't be in business very long. :no:

I agree with that.

There are gonna be times, when no matter what you do the fish are NOT gonna cooperate!

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Great idea Dan! Maybe they will get a monster or at least realize that you are really working to get them a monster. Also they will see that you are a conservation minded fisherman, and respect your practices. Thank you for your frequent posts. I mainly fish L. Mich but get over you way a few times a year and have learned a lot from your posts. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

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Thanks LL.

Nice to have fans on both sides of the State. :P:D

I working on a few old river clients of mine and might get back over on the PM this early fall for a few river kings out of my Jet Sled. I do love those west side rivers. :D

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