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2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
05-14-2018, 05:21 PM
Post: #1
2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
So, the 2019 Governor's Walleye Open is coming to Albert Lea and Fountain Lake. I presume that's to ensure ice out by mid-May. I really have one question, do they have a guide in Albert Lea? I don't mean to disrespect Albert Lea or Fountain Lake, but I guess I didn't think of Albert Lea as a fishing tourist destination. I've actually been over there a couple of times in my kayak and located some dandy bluegills.

I sincerely hope they have the best Governor's Opener ever and gain lots of great press from the event. It's good to see the southern regions of the State gaining some notoriety.

I just might have to head back over there again and see how I can do.

Fish On!
Lew
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05-14-2018, 06:35 PM
Post: #2
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
I think it has to do with the money being pumped into the dredging there or is that the other lake? They've done some stocking in that area over the years to help with walleye numbers, but again I have no idea which of the lakes got the fry.

As for a guide, they'll ferret out a local who has a fishing reputation and use him. Guides are not a must but the boat and everything does have to meet all the legal requirements. That early in the year catching something shouldn't be a problem in the area.
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05-15-2018, 08:02 AM
Post: #3
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
I would have never guessed Fountain Lake in Albert Lea was a premier fishing destination, especially for walleyes. I suspect this is more of a business interest hoping to attract visitors dollars with little real fishing intentions. The following year, I recommend Silver Lake in Rochester.

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05-15-2018, 06:56 PM
Post: #4
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
Well, if Tom is right, it sounds like Lake Zumbro should be on the radar for the Governor's Opener. Recently stocked with walleye and looking to fund a major dredging project. If you see a push for another public access I'm guessing that a Governor will be opening the walleye season on Lake Zumbro in the next three to five years.

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Lew
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05-15-2018, 08:31 PM (This post was last modified: 05-15-2018 08:32 PM by Ron.)
Post: #5
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
All kidding aside. What is the news or status on walleyes in LZ? I know they stocked it and once in a blue moon you hear that someone actually caught one. Nice to see or hear a DNR report. Then again if there is a success story, I supppose it'll be kept a secret for fear of depleting the resource.

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05-15-2018, 10:08 PM
Post: #6
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
It appears that they are still giving it a chance with walleye.


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Andy Anderson
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05-16-2018, 06:08 AM (This post was last modified: 05-16-2018 06:11 AM by Ron.)
Post: #7
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
Thanks Andy. That is a considerable number of walleyes stocked over a ten year period in a reservoir only 600 acres in size.
Is this reservoir conducive to supporting that particular species plus allowing for natural reproduction?
I wonder what the mortality rate is and what the causes might be.
With that many stocked over a ten year period, it just seems we should be hearing more as to whether it is successful or a failure
I would like to see the DNR do a current creel survey so we not only see what walleye stocking has produced, but what the population numbers for the other species of game fish.
A long time ago, Tom and I had a couple of meetings in Lake City with Kevin Stauffer about adopting rules, regulations, size and limit restrictions for LZ panfish.
He made the impression that they would look into and consider some of our suggestions because he also agreed there was a need for it.
Well, that was the end of it because we never heard any followup. So I suspect walleyes are the least of their concerns.

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05-16-2018, 02:10 PM
Post: #8
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
I think our timing with meeting Stauffer on panfish changes got lost in the dredging crap. The dredging proposal is still in nightmare mode. I'm still of the opinion that some special regs need to be placed on the panfish out there, especially the crappies and sunfish. It wouldn't bother me a bit to see a winter season placed on the lake, January 15 thru March 1st. Close from October 31 until Jan. 14. Closed from March 1 thru April 1st. Absolutely no vehicle travel of any sort during the closed periods including atv and snow mobiles and foot traffic. And the special regs we mentioned Ron....a 10 fish limit for crappie, sunfish and perch with not more than five crappies with only one over 11", 5 sunfish with only one over 9" and perch to make the ten fish. We need to bring this up again. Let'm know we haven't forgot and not going away.

If one considers all the money being pumped into the Mayo projects along with this walleye/muskie stocking and dredging garbola, a governor's opener on the Zum wouldn't surprise me. Won't be Dayton though. I've heard rumors that muskies forever or muskies-r-us or some muskie related organization foots the bill for the actual muskies that get put in the Zum and the dnr just makes sure things are done according to hoyle. I think its been fairly well established that the muskies end up going over the dam during higher than normal flows....good for the river below the dam.

People catch the walleyes accidentally. I think fishing days would get pretty long targeting them.
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05-17-2018, 09:31 AM
Post: #9
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
Yes Tom while those meetings were polite and pleasant, they smiled and knew they could just wait us out and nothing would be accomplished.
I just wished if it was decided to table the issues or simply do nothing, they would have at least provided an explanation as to why instead of leaving us guessing.
I'm afraid LZ is the DNR's red headed step child.
Proof of what I say is that these issues are nothing new to them. Remember Tom, you and I approached them close to ten years ago.
Excuse me, in that amount of time, nothing got done?
I don't buy the idea the DNR put it on hold because of the dredging project.
What, you can't do two things at one time?
Unless of course the DNR is aware of some sort of circumstances adversely affecting LZ and they figure the fishery is not worth the time or effort.
Before I approach them again, I want to see or hear something, anything from the DNR as to whether or not our concerns were ever addressed.
I'm afraid if we go back now, we will have to start from square one and get that look like it's all new to them.

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05-20-2018, 09:05 AM
Post: #10
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
While the intentions are good, if you went to them with the suggestions that Tom mentioned, they most likely just round filed it. You can’t honestly expect them to basically make the Lake 100% off limits for times of the year and not others. No one would adhere to it and enforcement would be a nightmare. They would basically have to dedicate one person full time to watching the Lake.

Andy Anderson
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05-20-2018, 09:54 AM (This post was last modified: 05-20-2018 09:56 AM by Ron.)
Post: #11
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
Yes Andy, some of our ideas were a little radical.
Our primary objective was to at least get their attention and start a dialogue as to what could be done to protect and enhance that fishery.
We figured it was kind of like negotiating a contract, so we would shoot high, hoping they would compromise and settle for some practical ideas.
We made that perfectly clear to them and we all even laughed about some proposals.
However, our main goal was to establish restrictions and regulations on size and limits, similar to what has been done in many other bodies of water around the state.
If it is good enough for Chester Woods, why not LZ?
That would have been a start.

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05-20-2018, 11:55 AM
Post: #12
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
(05-20-2018 09:05 AM)Andy Anderson Wrote:  While the intentions are good, if you went to them with the suggestions that Tom mentioned, they most likely just round filed it. You can’t honestly expect them to basically make the Lake 100% off limits for times of the year and not others. No one would adhere to it and enforcement would be a nightmare. They would basically have to dedicate one person full time to watching the Lake.

Andy.....are you aware that there are lakes designated as primitive fishing only in Minnesota outside of the boundary waters that allow no gas or fuel or electric augers, the use of shelters and no use of locators? There are. I'd be fine with the Zumbro being placed under those conditions for ice fishing in lieu of a closed period.

Ron and I learned quite a bit during our meeting with the dnr guys in Lake City and actually felt as though some better regulations would get applied to the lake, but the dredging issue was hot right then and I honestly think our meeting was tabled until the dredging limitations got set in place. To be clear, Ron and I did not approach them with anything but rather listened to suggestions and then we all tossed ideas on the table and pretty much agreed on something that we all felt was doable and had a change at becoming a regulation change in a trial sense, much like Pool 5 of the Mississippi saw and is now a permanent thing. The 10 fish panfish limit I mentioned was what we all thought would be a good starting point. There are people living on the lake who would like to see it totally C/R. That's not the answer either.

Given that the lake is the most popular water inside of maybe 5 or six counties other than the big river, the dnr's test netting have shown a substantial diminishing of the large crappie population as well as the large sunfish population. Losing spawning habitat is part of the problem, however human predation is a larger element here. The lake is going to fail if regulations don't help close the door on human predation part. The one thing I hold as hopeful is the live bait being harder to get to take there. Like the "speed kills" used by the law enforcement agencies, "live bait kills" should be a motto of anglers out there. There are no sure fire answers to turning the lake around but doing nothing is an even bigger travesty.
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05-20-2018, 01:16 PM
Post: #13
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
The DNR's excuse to do nothing because of the dredging proposal is not an argument when it comes to size and limits rules, regulations and restrictions.
I can understand designated or protected portions of the lake not be applicable because yes, dredging could have an effect and change habitat.
With fewer or no bait shops in the immediate area, no live bait should be easy to adopt.
I can't help but wonder if besides Tom and I, there aren't others out there that have similar ideas that have been addressed with the DNR?
Why would the DNR ignore LZ and do nothing, unless of course they know of circumstances suggesting LZ is not worth the time and effort.
At the rate it's going and my age, (I don't buy green bananas), I will probably never see any positives being implemented on LZ.
Oh well, I got to see the hay days out there. Sad to see them gone.

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05-20-2018, 01:30 PM
Post: #14
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
"I can't help but wonder if besides Tom and I, there aren't others out there that have similar ideas"....Ron

I don't know Ron, I think we were the first to dip our toes in this. While we were talking with the dnr at their office they certainly sounded as though we had done the un-thinkable by addressing what we did.

The hay days....yup, we saw some dandy times there and I mean when the old White Bridge still stood and Fogarty's was still open.
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05-20-2018, 02:24 PM
Post: #15
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
It's been some time ago now, but I was part of an organized group that worked for and gained increased regulations on catch limits for smallmouth bass below the Lake Zumbro dam. I personally find many of the ideas being proposed by Ron and Tom to be quite worthy of examination and possible implementation on Lake Zumbro. It's my opinion that there just needs to be a larger, more organized voice bringing these ideas to the DNR. I believe that the DNR wants to have some assurances of public support before they proceed with restricting limits or access.

With the South East Minnesota Smallmouth Alliance, we had people from our organization that manned an information booth at the Olmsted County fair and obtained signatures for a petition that was later presented to the DNR requesting the proposed catch and release regs now in force below the dam.

Maybe an existing group might be interested in taking up the cause. Or is there enough interest among local anglers to form an organization willing to take up the cause of protecting Lake Zumbro or even a larger scope looking at all the fishing options in the Rochester area?

Whatever the chosen focus, it is my belief that changes will come from an organized front of many anglers rather than two or three well intended (and very well informed) individuals.

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Lew
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05-20-2018, 02:26 PM
Post: #16
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
Is anyone else surprised by the number of musky stocked in Lake Zumbro in 2017? I thought they had deemed the musky stocking program a failure several years ago.

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Lew
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05-20-2018, 02:38 PM
Post: #17
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
The muskie program is pretty much Muskies Inc, not so much the dnr. I think the muskie organization would like to try and get an active muskie population established but as I mentioned earlier. most of these fish go over the dam. It was only a few years back that the dnr went into the plunge pool below the dam and electro shocked the muskies, radio tagged them and put them back in the lake. This was done in the fall. That same winter they drove all over the lake with radio receivers and found three muskies of I believe ten or twelve that they re-planted still in the lake. The others had all gone over the top again except one which was found below the Silver Lake Dam or near it.

There's plenty of the soft rayed food they prefer in the lake yet they seem to be driven to seek the river. Who knows why. I say let them stock as its not having a negative effect on the resident fish populations at all.
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05-20-2018, 07:14 PM
Post: #18
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
I was surprised to see that they were still doing that. Back when they decided to give the walleye stocking a try, as mentioned, it was found that most of them ended up below the dam.

Yes Tom, I am aware of other lakes that are designated primitive, but they still allow access. Closing it to all access is unrealistic in my opinion. I don’t think you can expect them to be on board with that drastic of a rule. I agree with the panfish limits you mentioned though. Anything to help the pillaging of the Lake! It was only an observation, not an attack on your argument. Between you and Ron, I’m sure you have more combined time on the water than many of us can hope for!

Andy Anderson
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05-21-2018, 06:27 AM
Post: #19
RE: 2019 Governor's Fishing Opener
Andy between you, Lew, Tom and myself, plus many others, we have a passion toward protecting LZ so it can continue to flourish.
This is....was....an absolute gem right in our back yard.
Yes in order to proceed it will require an organized effort.
What's so frustrating and discouraging is the DNR's apparent lack of interest or participation.
Regardless what you or any of the rest of us might feel, doesn't it strike you as odd that those very professionals, the DNR doesn't take a more proactive position?

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