How to Hold a Musky (and other info)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Pelican Lake, WI 50 inch muskie limit proposal

Mike Roberts
Published March 23, 2006

Proposed Muskellunge Regulation Change
Pelican Lake, Oneida County
Released March 22nd, 2006; Mike Roberts and Norm Wild, Authors

During the 2005 annual summer meeting held at the Pelican Lake Town Hall in July, the Pelican Lake Property Owners Association took a proactive step to help maintain Pelican Lakes reputation as The Home of The Musky. After a proposal was presented by concerned fishermen, 70 of 89 ballots cast where in favor of protecting the existing Pelican Lake musky stock. Furthermore, a 50-inch minimum length limit (57% of positive votes) was more popular with Association members than either a 45-inch minimum (24%) or a 40 to 50-inch protected slot (19%).

Pelican Lake has proven to be a high-caliber musky fishery, with a long history of producing quality fish. For years Pelican Lake musky populations were sustained through natural reproduction, supplemented with stocking. (Over 20,000 fingerling, an average of over 1,500 per year, from 1985 through 1998.) The supplemental stocking program was suspended in 1998, forcing the lake to rely on natural recruitment to maintain the entire population. Considering stocking has been halted, spring spearing, and the extremely large number of anglers visiting the lake (twice the Oneida County Average), there is concern the musky population may be adversely affected. Natural recruitment is present, but appears to be sporadic and may be insufficient to sustain a healthy population of muskies considering current levels of harvest, furthering the concern. The WDNR will not be able to complete a musky population survey until 2011 & 2012, 14 years after the stocking program was halted. This is 14 years of potential recruitment problems, an entire generation of musky. Pelican Lake has in the past and still does have the potential to produce quality musky, and considering the waters vast forage base, will not adversely impact other desired species of fish.

A high minimum length limit is one way to allow more fish to survive long enough to reach their full growth potential. These quality fish then have more opportunity to spawn; thereby improving chances the lake will sustain a naturally reproducing population of fish. During that protected lifespan, muskie anglers will of course still exercise the opportunity to catch and release these fish as they grow.

WDNR Fisheries Personnel realize that if no action is taken, and the Pelican Lake Muskellunge population remains at the statewide 34-inch minimum length limit, it will not realize it potential for producing quality-size fish. As a result of the proposal, and the overwhelming support shown by the Pelican Lake Properties Association, John Kubisiak, Oneida County Fisheries Biologist, proposed the rule change question, asking to increase the minimum length limit to 50 inches on Pelican Lake, Oneida County.

The goal is to manage muskellunge as a low density population supported by natural reproduction. Specific objectives for muskellunge are to maintain a low-density population of 1 or fewer adult muskellunge per 4 acres. Population size structure should be high quality, with at least 25% of the adult population 40 inches or longer, and 10% 45 or longer.

This is a proactive management strategy to further enhance an outstanding multi-species fishery, while attempting to avoid potentially serious problems in the future. It is the desire of all interested parties to provide a consistent, strong opportunity for muskie angling on Pelican Lake now and well in to the future. We ask for your support and your positive vote for the conservation proposal discussed in this document for Pelican Lake while you attend the Conservation Congress meetings this April 10th!

The following Pelican Lake area business support the proposed 50 length limit:

Musky Mart, Pelican Lake Nelsons Choice Bait and Tackle
Christians Pit Stop Lake View Inn
Suick Tackle Company Wilds Musky Guide Service (Norm Wild)
Oneida Esox Guide Service (John Stellflue) C&R Guide Service (Roger Sabota)
Fitante Taxidermy (Steve Worrall)


Post a Comment

<< Home