High angling pressure, catch rates result in closing Mille Lacs walleye fishing
Walleye fishing on Mille Lacs Lake will close Friday, Sept. 6, so state anglers do not exceed a safe walleye harvest level. “We’re glad anglers had the opportunity to harvest walleye in May and fish for walleye through much of the open water season,” said Brad Parsons, fisheries chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Because angling pressure and walleye catch rates were high, the coming closure is necessary to stay within established limits.” High angling pressure and catch rates in July and August when water temperatures were at their warmest increased hooking mortality, resulting in a larger-than-expected walleye kill. Hooking mortality, which is more likely as water temperatures warm, occurs when a fish is caught and returned to the water but dies anyway. The state of Minnesota and Ojibwe tribal authorities with fishing rights on Mille Lacs agreed on a 2019 safe harvest level of 87,800 pounds for state anglers and 62,200 pounds for tribal fishing. “Mille Lacs Lake walleye regulations allowed some harvest this year but it’s still important to proceed with caution to ensure continued recovery of the lake’s walleye,” Parsons said. “The restrictive regulations we enacted in previous years protected young walleye, allowing the population to increase to a number not observed since before 2007. Continuing to manage the Mille Lacs walleye fishery for recovery will allow us to provide good angling opportunities in the future.” Starting Sept. 6 at 12:01 a.m., anglers will not be able to target walleye when fishing on Mille Lacs Lake. Anglers may fish for other species and use live bait. Walleye regulations for the winter of 2019-2020 on Mille Lacs Lake will be announced in November after data from fall walleye assessments are available. Winter regulations become effective on Sunday, Dec. 1. Find more information on Mille Lacs Lake at mndnr.gov/millelacslake.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Lake Superior permanent rule hearing scheduled Sept. 4
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Teigen wins Bassmaster Central Open in La Crosse
The Mississippi River delivered two surprises to Devin Teigen, who won the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open with a three-day total weight of 43 pounds, 3 ounces. The most significant delivery was the opportunity for the Nelson, WI, angler to hold a first-place trophy in the first B.A.S.S. event he ever fished. “It feels like a dream; can somebody pinch me?” Teigen said. “I never saw this coming.” Enroute to claiming the victory, Teigen had to reckon with changing river conditions that required a new game plan. After several weeks of high water, the Mississippi lost about 3 1/2 feet since the weekend prior to the tournament. This repositioned fish and shook up several of the patterns that had been working in the higher conditions. “A week and a half ago, I felt pretty good with smallmouth stuff until I saw the forecast for the river dropping,” he said. “The first day, I was going to run it and see what happened and I literally caught five smallmouth before 7:30. Luckily, four were good ones.” Day 2, the river proved less generous and, with no fish in his livewell at 11 o’clock, Teigen shifted gears to a largemouth pattern - throwing frogs into shallow vegetation. Quickly securing three keepers in Pool 7, he returned to Pool 8 and finished his limit. “I ran that pattern today and caught 15 keepers,” Teigen said. “They were all good quality fish. I only weighed one fish because the first four that I flipped into the boat, I thought they were all over 3 pounds.” Teigen caught his winning fish on a Spro Bronzeye frog. He threw frogs with white, yellow and darker bellies, with the lighter baits producing most of his bites. Teigen fished a 7-6 heavy rod with braided line. Teigen placed ninth on Day 1 with 13-15 and held that same spot a day later by adding 12-7. Adding 16-13 — the tournament’s heaviest bag — on Day 3 sealed the deal. Admittedly, a big loss earlier in the day had Teigen concerned he may have seen his opportunity wither. “I started the day with three frog rods on my deck and after two hours, I had one left,” he said. “I messed up the reel on one and with the second one, I threw into a little pocket in the duck weed, the fish boiled on it one time and I could see it was a good one, so I threw back in there. “He smoked the frog and when I gave it to him, my rod blew up in three places. It broke right at the reel seat, so I had no way to fight the fish. I tried pulling it in with my hand and it came off.” Fortunately, Teigen amassed enough weight to secure the victory and a $39,600 prize by an 11-ounce margin. Mike Brueggen of La Crosse finished second with 42-8. He placed 15th on Day 1 with a limit of 13-9 and rose to fourth the next day by adding 14-15. Capping his performance with 14 pounds pushed him up two more spots. After leading for two days, Wes Logan of Springville, AL, finished third with 42-4. Fernando Lobato of Sparta, WI, won the co-angler division with 20-8. His daily weights of 7-1, 6-11 and 6-12 earned him a $19,800 first prize. “I think the key was that I practiced for this tournament by watching where I saw the pros practicing,” Lobato said. “I would go fish right behind them and try to figure out how to get bites behind them. “I found a couple of baits that would get those extra bites. I fished a Zoom Speed Craw on the back of a 1/4-ounce swim jig and on a Carolina rig. I think that smaller profile was key."
First-time winners take trout, walleye stamp contests
First-time winners took top honors at two habitat stamp contests that determined the artwork for the 2020 versions of the Minnesota trout and salmon stamp, and the walleye stamp. Minneapolis artist Melissa Mickelson won the trout and salmon stamp (pictured) contest with a painting of a rainbow trout eating a minnow. Mickelson is not only a first-time winner, but becomes the first female to win the contest since 1990 and only the second in the history of the stamp. Judges on Aug. 1, selected Mickelson’s painting from among 12 submissions. Tie runners-up were Stephen Hamrick of Lakeville and John Barnard of Moose Lake. In the walleye stamp contest that happened the same day, Mapleton artist Josh Evan won for the first time with a painting of walleye about to bite on a hook baited with a minnow. Judges selected the painting from among nine submissions. The runner-up in this year’s contest was none other than Mickelson, who won this year’s trout and salmon stamp contest. Purchasing a walleye stamp is voluntary, and the DNR uses revenue from walleye stamp sales to purchase walleye for stocking in Minnesota’s lakes. Customers can buy walleye stamps any time, even if they already have a license. The trout and salmon stamp validation is sold for $10 along with fishing licenses and is required for Minnesota residents age 18 to 64 and non-residents older than age 18 and under age 65 to fish designated trout streams, trout lakes and Lake Superior and when in possession of trout or salmon. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the validation as well as the pictorial stamp in the mail. It also is sold as a collectible. Revenue from trout and salmon stamp sales is dedicated to trout and salmon management and habitat work. Visit mndnr.gov/stamps for more information about habitat stamps and contest guidelines.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Logan keeps lead in Bassmaster Central Open in La Crosse
Wes Logan of Springville, Ala., backed up his Day 1 leading weight of 16 pounds, 10 ounces with a Day 2 catch of 15-3 to maintain the top spot at the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open on the Mississippi River with a two-day total of 31-13. “I had the chance to have a really big bag today, but I had some missed opportunities,” Logan said after losing a bass he estimated at 5 pounds Friday. “I’m still not getting many bites. I only caught eight or nine fish today.” Weighing a mixed bag of smallmouth and largemouth, Logan said the key to his success has been targeting areas of strong current, where fish are staking out feeding spots near water-deflecting structures. He caught his fish from three different spots within an area about 2 to 3 miles long, but could not locate the optimal scenario elsewhere. Kyle Dorsett of Odenville, Ala., is in second place with 29-3. His daily weights of 14-9 and 14-10 were the event’s most consistent. John Engler of Vinton, Iowa, is in third place with 28-12. After weighing 12-12 on Day 1, he turned in a significantly stronger Day 2 performance with a 16-pound limit - the day’s biggest bag. La Crosse's Mike Brueggen is fourth with 28-08, while Jeff Ritter of Prairie Du Chien is sixth with 27-00. Kenta Kimura of Livingston, Texas, is in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with his 5-8. John Goebel of Lumberton, Texas, leads the co-angler division with 14-0. Adding 6-6 to his 7-10 from Day 1, he described a slow, grind that yielded only three bites. Thaddaeus Vettrus of Chippewa Falls, Wis., holds the Phoenix Boats Big Bass lead among co-anglers with a 4-4. Saturday’s takeoff is scheduled for 6 a.m. CT at Veterans Freedom Park. The Top 12 remaining anglers will weigh in back at the park at 2 p.m.
Public invited to comment on special fishing regulations
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Alabama angler leads Bassmaster Central Open in La Crosse
Wes Logan of Springville, AL, found a falling Mississippi River presenting a very different scenario than he saw in practice. But adjusting to the conditions allowed him to catch a five-bass limit of 16 pounds, 10 ounces to lead Day 1 of the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open on Thursday. “I was just blessed today. I wasn’t on anything, but I’d get a bite and it would be a 3-pounder,” he said. With the river dropping significantly since the weekend, Logan said he struggled to find consistency. Doing so required him to leverage the flow without much company. “I got here on Saturday and started practicing, and I think it’s dropped 3 1/2 feet since Saturday,” he said. “Obviously, it’s the Mississippi River, so you catch them on a frog, but most of those places are dry ground now. “This really screwed up my plan from practice, so I just went on a whim. I think I figured something out, but I think it’s more that I got into an area without a lot of boat pressure. When the water fell, there are only so many places they’re going to get on and those places are getting pounded.” Kenta Kimura of Livingston, TX, is in second place with 15-1. He said he started out fishing the same types of banks most of the field is targeting. But his day came together quickly once he figured out a key adjustment. “About 10 o’clock, I moved a little farther off the bank,” Kimura said. “I think because the water level dropped, the bigger ones moved offshore. I know what I have to do tomorrow.” Howard Lee of Brooklyn Park, MN, leads the co-angler division with 9-12. He caught all of his fish on the hand-tied swim jigs he makes. Lee used a variety of trailers and fished banks with grass. “When we got into areas of current, smallies will sit in or near that current,” he said. “Slow, lift, slow was the best retrieve.” Thaddaeus Vettrus of Chippewa Falls holds the Phoenix Boats Big Bass lead among co-anglers with a 4-4. Friday’s takeoff is scheduled for 6 a.m., at Veterans Freedom Park. The weigh-in is at the park at 2 p.m. The event is hosted by Explorelacrosse.com.