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I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works!

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I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works!
Put my red/white decoy to the test. PASSED!!
24 3/4 inches She hit my hand carved decoy couple times before I was able to get my spear into her.

and the video; https://youtu.be/DSuBpTRBlYc or hot link spear video

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging

Last edited by:

Huntindave McCann: Jan 14, 2019, 9:15 AM
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
That is really neat. Nice job Dave.

Tom
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I think you're ready for Lake Winnebago sturgeon. You might need a bigger spear!!


Kyle Jenkins, right, with the sturgeon he
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
Good deal Dave!!
Fresh pike for dinner!!


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
AWESOME!!!
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
Pretty cool Dave
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A LOT OF MEMORIES IN A MAN'S STOOL........
Duck hunting without a dog is just shooting
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
Passed with flying colors! (red& white)

Very cool, Dave!


MLBob

"Art is like an ill-trained Labrador retriever that drags you out into traffic." (Annie Dillard)

....Here's to Joe Wooster, who made me realize that the useful could and should be beautiful; and who firmly believed that decoy carvers were the last free men in America.

https://www.facebook.com/KOOIdecoy?ref=hl

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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
Pretty cool Dave, congrats.


Pete


MOLON LABE [mo 'lon la 've]

Technology has it's place, hunting isn't it.

Life's a blink, never have to say ....... "I should have"!

"That human optimism & goodness that we put our faith in, is in no more danger than the stars in the jaws of the clouds." .................Victor Hugo
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
That is great Dave, really cool. Thanks for giving us some glimpses of the process.
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
As an aside, we watched ?the frozen chosen? (sturgeon spearing documentary, available amazon prime) last night. Hard not to get interested in it given what is involved.

Last edited by:

tod osier: Jan 12, 2019, 6:48 AM
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
That's really great Dave. Curious how long you waited to get that fish and if you're going to try for a bigger one. Do you work the decoy?
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
Guys,
Thanks for all the comments.

To answer a couple questions; I was a fun experience and I'm looking forward to a next time. My two decoys worked,,, OK,,, room for improvement. I'll make the next ones with a slimmer profile. Overall tho, I was pleased with my efforts.

Much like duck hunting, sometimes the fish would show up real regular and other times it was quite a matter of time between sightings. Waiting for something to show up and only having a limited sight window, can be challenging.

After getting all set up, the decoy is lowered 2-3 feet below the ice. Pulling the string causes the decoy to "swim" in a lazy 3 foot diameter circle. I would swim it a bit for several revolutions then let it sit still. Then I'd just sit and wait for a couple minutes. You never knew if there was a Pike just out of your sight window, just sitting there eyeballing the bait. I spooked a couple of fish like that, when I jerk the string aggressively (not know a fish was there) and the decoy would shoot out in a wide circle. I soon learned to give the decoy just a gentle tug to trigger a reaction, before swimming it a bit more aggressively to "call" in any nearby Pike.

Most of the time, when a Pike would come in, he would come charging in, slam the decoy and turn away. Then come back and do one of two things; either come in close and study it or come in and clamp his jaws down on it. Hopefully when he did (either action) he would be in a position that enabled me to drop/throw the spear into his back, just behind the gill plates. I did completely miss a couple throws but the majority of the time I connected right where I was supposed to.

Due the spearing regulations most of my fish had to be under 22 inches in length with only one fish being between 22 and 26 inches and one fish could be over 26 inches in length. I managed to capture a video of spearing one of the shorter fishes that was 19 inches in length.

Spearing video or https://youtu.be/DSuBpTRBlYc (same video)

Now it's off to the work bench to carve up a couple new decoys. Just what I needed; another new hobby. Crazy


Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
Very cool. Congrats. I didn't even know that spearfishing was legal anymore. lol
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
AWESOME! But man, I be afraid of falling into into that hole!

I watched on my phone, (read, small screen), that looked like a Northern? I remember as a kid, I had an uncle who used to catch them in Canasa all the time. I also remember watching him filet them, where he stood the fish up, and started at the back somehow first. AND I also remember them as being very tasty!

Thanks for sharing! That is so cool!

Jon

"Each decoy you touch holds memories of, past, present and God Willing, future hunts. The places, birds, men, boats, dogs and days you spent doing what you so dearly love and enjoy"- Vince Pagliaorli
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
Thanks for adding the video, Dave . Really neat to see the spear in use.

...And thanks for not overdubbing any dramatic heavy metal tune as an intro w00tw00tw00t..... although the theme from Jaws might have been cool.Wink


MLBob

"Art is like an ill-trained Labrador retriever that drags you out into traffic." (Annie Dillard)

....Here's to Joe Wooster, who made me realize that the useful could and should be beautiful; and who firmly believed that decoy carvers were the last free men in America.

https://www.facebook.com/KOOIdecoy?ref=hl

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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
Thanks for the video Dave, the first I've seen. That looks like fun, I wish it was legal here. As an aside, isn't it legal to shoot them in WI? There's a new challenge-suck them into the "rig" with the decoy, then "take 'em". Wink
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Dave, the spearing is mighty fascinating. Do you think you get more interest from fish doing it that way vs more traditional ice fishing?
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Dani wrote:
Dave, the spearing is mighty fascinating. Do you think you get more interest from fish doing it that way vs more traditional ice fishing?


Probably the same amount of "interest". The big difference is even if they don't actually grab the lure/decoy, on can still decide to spear or not to spear each individual fish. When angling with a tip up or bobber (best comparison to hanging a decoy in the water) you are still hoping the fish actually bites and gets hooked.

The down side there is no spear and release, only "see" and release, by choosing not to throw the spear. Much more like hunting rather than fishing.

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
If your river bottom is soft, pour one or two bags of dried white beans in the spearing hole to provide you with some background contrast to pick fish up that sneak in. Pike are ambush predators, using that massive surface area gained by close location of their caudal, dorsal and anal fin surface area to burst toward their prey; one of a few fish that actually possess binocular vision and thus possess the ability to judge distance. Hard bottoms and far deeper (noticed that your spear handle was still out of the water on your throw in the video), you can buy yourself some added response seconds by pegging the spear tip into the ice in the wall of the spearing hole and leaning the handle across your shoulder, ready for the "throw". You will get no ice build-up on the tines as well as not have to adjust for the refraction effect when you first position the spear. White landscape gravel scattered around the hole will sink well for deeper fishing. By laying your spear shaft across your non-throwing hand's palm prior the drop, you can guide it more steadily into the fish; most of these suggestions are depicted in that 906 Outdoors video from the Michigan Dark House Association member.

As you go deeper, the ambient currents may begin to impact the spear's head surface area on your shots...common effect on lazer-cut spears because of the surface area to weight ratio.
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
That's really cool Dave. I hadn't ever heard of this form of fishing before you posted your decoys and video. Does it work as well when the water can't be walked upon? Do people spear during the summer?
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
 
RL,
Thanks for your input. This was the very first fish I speared and I'm already making some changes. I played with my seating options, spear resting position and just how the decoy was suspended.

I did in fact begin resting the shaft on my shoulder with the points stuck on the far side of the hole. I have the spear retrieval paracord hanging in loose loops stuffed between the roof support rods and the canvas. That has worked great to keep to cord out of the way yet allow it to feed out smoothly as needed. Not sure I'm entirely comfortable with the business end of the spear across the hole. I'm considering a bracket which would engage the spear at the upper end of the head where the tines all meet. Said bracket would be positioned on my side of the hole and suspend the spear head just below the waters surface. The spear would release towards the center of the hole, with just a slight movement away from the bracket. Still working this over in my head before making a prototype.

I hadn't thought about using beans or gravel. Right now I'm dropping egg shells and it is working quite well. I moved once and the bottom had medium short weed growth, which allowed the egg shells to filter down among the weeds, making the shells in effective. Any suggestions to add contrast or lighten up in this scenario or is it better to shift location?

Unless I expand to new locations, I don't expect to be spearing in anything over 8 to 10 foot of water. The lake I am on ( my friend has property there) is stained and visibility is limited even under the best conditions. Shallow water is one of the reasons I made the decisions I did when building my spear.

Right now I am in the process of modifying how I attach my decoy string to the hub shelter roof support and allow for adjustment in the horizontal plane. Got it figured out just need to build it. I was using a rattle reel with a spring clamp which hung straight down from the hub support rod. No way to adjust the position with out moving the shelter for position. Going to mount the rattle reel using something other than the spring clamp.

My only wish now, is that this is something I could do in my own home state.

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Dani wrote:
That's really cool Dave. I hadn't ever heard of this form of fishing before you posted your decoys and video. Does it work as well when the water can't be walked upon? Do people spear during the summer?



Yes and no. Sly In Minnesota the Pike spearing season runs from November to February, which means most folks do this thru the ice. Rough fish have different season dates in Minnesota.

In Iowa, only rough fish only can be speared (or shot with a bow and arrow). My experiences with this, have always been in open water during the warmer months, especially in the spring. As a youth, I would shoot carp with my bow, then trade them with the folks fishing from the banks, for adult beverages. Whistle

Some folks will spear carp here from a boat in open water during the winter. Spearing open water during the winter is good because all the sediment settles out of the water in the winter months when the ground is frozen. Smoked carp can be good and I've made several batches back in the day.

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging

Last edited by:

Huntindave McCann: Jan 15, 2019, 6:04 AM
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Cool video Dave. That looks like fun! The decoys swims excellent. I seen your comments about spearing rough fish here in IA. That was always a big part of winter fun during my youth. Congrats on all of the hand made items coming together and resulting in success.
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
Tod, let me know when you want to go, friends and neighbor take their vacation to go sit in a shanty staring down a hole for days on end. Neighbor has speared one since I have know him, one friend has been going the last 5 plus years, never thrown the spear.
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
For those of you who "lust" for whitefish-12 fish per outing is the limit. Fish are "in" to spawn usually from November into early December.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkKrZb9gqgY
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
fun video Dave. RL Ligman, do people fish for whitefish with hook and line? It is not a fish that is present to any degree out east. I have eaten them before, they are really good.
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Re: Fish decoy works! In reply to
greg setter wrote:
fun video Dave. RL Ligman, do people fish for whitefish with hook and line? It is not a fish that is present to any degree out east. I have eaten them before, they are really good.


Speciation in the whitefish complex occurred at the foot of Pleistocene ice sheet. Consequently, they are quite plastic genetically. As a direct result hybridization has occurred, primarily within the Cisco complex, as the stock densities declined due to overfishing and sea lamprey predation in the late 1800s. Lake Whitefish, Cisco complex, Kiyi, Bloater and Round Whitefish are essentially those species that remain endemic in the Great Lakes. Some folks argue that Kiyi are gone, too. from the lower Great Lakes.

Greg, the primary means of sport fisher take is hook and line fishery driven, usually via a single egg rigged hook on fluoro. line. I have caught an occasional lake whitefish while trolling inshore in both spring and fall, but they are difficult to land due to their fragile mouth parts. Tribal commercial fishers exploit lake whitefish and cisco via gillnets and trap nets in Treat of 1836 and Treaty of 1842 ceded waters, as well as lake trout caught as incidental catch. There even is a scuba/snorkel hand spear fishing effort during fall spawning season for lake whitefish off the piers.

Cisco are pretty dry as table fare and don't freeze well; best canned or pickled. . Lake whitefish and round whitefish are excellent smoked, baked, pickled, or broiled. Bloaters or "chubs" are good smoked. There is a seasonal fishery for cisco on the St. Marys River when they concentrate to follow the Ephemera and Hexagenia hatch as it slowly "walks' northward during late June and July; everything from fly rods to cane poles are employed.
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
So that's how that works...very cool Dave!
http://www.northbaycalls.com

ADK 46R #9464
5/46W
NE 115 53/115
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Thanks for that RL, I'm always interested in different fish species around the country. It's not a fish angling literature is often written about.

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When I was still working for MSU as a fish biologist, I presented a research paper at the American Fisheries Society meetings held in west Yellowstone, Montana. We rented a camper and drove out staying in a campground in west Yellowstone. Fished the west side of the park and northwest on the Gallatin and Cougar Creek drainages. We were stunned to see fly fishers tossing mountain whitefish up on the banks, treating them like trash fish. We caught some and filleted them up and served them mixed with trout fillets to a group of fly snobs one night. Interesting dinner with everyone wearing headlamps to cook and eat scattered around a couple of propane stoves. They couldn't tell the difference in taste in the dark...

Mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) are the direct relative of the Great Lakes Round Whitefish(Prosopium cylindraceum), a fish that is excellent table fare fried, broiled or smoked. I like them a litter better than Lake Whitefish smoked because they are not as greasy.
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Here are some laser cut spears modified through time, made with a weighted shaft...you can follow his progression as he tunes his design over time. Deadly and a work of art along the Dillo Hinnenkamp or a Lee Moening weighted shaft spear design line. Dave you know far more about metal working than I do, what techniques is he using while building these?

https://www.facebook.com/...ars-716811798438253/

In case you missed the eBay auction price for his last spear....over $2,300 dollars for a rust blued walnut handled model with brass accents!

Here is his first effort...





Gears turning yet, Dave?

Last edited by:

RLLigman: Jan 20, 2019, 6:09 AM
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
RLLigman wrote:
Here are some laser cut spears modified,,,,,,,,,,, Dave you know far more about metal working than I do, what techniques is he using while building these?

Gears turning yet, Dave?


RL

His first effort is very utilitarian, much like mine. Smile As far as the process involved, obviously starting with a laser cut blank. Laser cutting is fast, efficient and is equivalent to band sawing a blank for a wood decoy.

Next step is rounding the decoy or rounding the edges of the laser cut spear head. Least effort scenario is just bring the points and the barbs to a sharp working configuration. Further effort would be to continue to smooth and radius the entire length of each individual tine.

Skeletonizing the head and radiusing the cutouts obviously reduces any tendencies for the spear to plane off course. At this point it may be a toss up as to which is a better method (a) start with a flat laser cut blank and turn it into fully round tines or (B) start with round tines, add barbs, bend the tines and weld/braze into a complete spear head.

It appears he is brazing the joints where the handle meets the spear head and also where the different handle sections meet. Using a larger diameter shaft section at the bottom is where the "extra" weight is generated and controlled by diameter and length of this section.

It appears he has used several methods for an exterior finish. He mentions both powered coating and shows a photo of hot bluing another spear. I'm sure a person could use any of the various finishes available for gun barrels.

I will say he has put a lot of effort into long gentle tapers and super smooth surfaces. The majority of this work would be labor intensive using abrasive flap wheels, files and buffing wheels. I would suspect that this adds more cosmetics than it does to actual function and I compliment him on the artwork aspect of his spears.

I would be interested to know what material he is using in his blanks and the thickness of the blank. I may contact him to see if he is willing to share that information.

As it turns out I am considering building myself a 2nd spear. I'd like to shorten my over all length by about 6 to 8 inches just for ease of use inside the size shelter I am using. Shortening the shaft will reduce my weight and thus, I will also use a larger diameter shaft section between the spear head and the main shaft. I'm also consider my options in increasing the blank thickness to add both a bit more weight and strength in the head and tines.

Another option for increasing tines strength without increasing diameter would be to case harden the tines. Case hardening would act like an exoskeleton but I need to check into the cost of the hardening powder.

Not sure I actually answered you question. Is there a specific point in his process you had a question about?

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Great video and awesome to see the decoy work. Dave, if you ever want to chase pike, you should come east to Maine, where pike have been illegally introduced and are about as popular as Asian carp or zebra mussels in the Great Lakes. No size or bag limit.

The few people who target pike out here tend to catch and release only, or just leave the carcasses on the ice for the eagles, because it's just known as a food fish out here.

Spearing is not legal here, but we could probably get you a depredation permit if you promised to target only pike. The lakes around me were Ground Zero for the pike introductions, starting about 1980, and are just loaded with the toothy things. Your rig would work great at any of about a dozen lakes around me.

A quick note on lake whitefish. They were once a popular game fish here in Maine. They can be taken many ways, but a common one at one time was to target them on the surface with dry flies. They were also popular through the ice with either jigging gear or tip ups. They have become an official "species of greatest conservation need" here as populations decline. The culprit appears to be rainbow smelt, which are native in Maine, but were historically not widely distributed. Smelt have been spread far and wide, first by biologist who moved them around to support introduced populations of landlocked Atlantic salmon--also native, but also at one time very limited in distribution. Smelts have also been moved around by the bucket brigade of illegal introductions, mostly by people who wanted to make the fishing better by introducing a bait fish for brook trout or lake trout.

The smelts seem to be pretty close to slate wipers for lake whitefish, and fishable populations are rarer and rarer. One of my favorite days in fishing in Maine was taking a "Grand Slam" of lake trout, brook trout and lake whitefish while trolling a north country lake. The brook trout was about 19"; one of the lake trout was close to 10 pounds; but it was the whitefish that made my day. One of only two I've ever caught in Maine. The other came while nymphing a run in the outlet of a large lake. It was mixed in with a pile of 12" brook trout.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Jeff Reardon wrote:
Great video and awesome to see the decoy work. Dave, if you ever want to chase pike, you should come east to Maine, where pike have been illegally introduced and are about as popular as Asian carp or zebra mussels in the Great Lakes. No size or bag limit.

The few people who target pike out here tend to catch and release only, or just leave the carcasses on the ice for the eagles, because it's just known as a food fish out here.

Spearing is not legal here, but we could probably get you a depredation permit if you promised to target only pike. The lakes around me were Ground Zero for the pike introductions, starting about 1980, and are just loaded with the toothy things. Your rig would work great at any of about a dozen lakes around me.

A quick note on lake whitefish. They were once a popular game fish here in Maine. They can be taken many ways, but a common one at one time was to target them on the surface with dry flies. They were also popular through the ice with either jigging gear or tip ups. They have become an official "species of greatest conservation need" here as populations decline. The culprit appears to be rainbow smelt, which are native in Maine, but were historically not widely distributed. Smelt have been spread far and wide, first by biologist who moved them around to support introduced populations of landlocked Atlantic salmon--also native, but also at one time very limited in distribution. Smelts have also been moved around by the bucket brigade of illegal introductions, mostly by people who wanted to make the fishing better by introducing a bait fish for brook trout or lake trout.

The smelts seem to be pretty close to slate wipers for lake whitefish, and fishable populations are rarer and rarer. One of my favorite days in fishing in Maine was taking a "Grand Slam" of lake trout, brook trout and lake whitefish while trolling a north country lake. The brook trout was about 19"; one of the lake trout was close to 10 pounds; but it was the whitefish that made my day. One of only two I've ever caught in Maine. The other came while nymphing a run in the outlet of a large lake. It was mixed in with a pile of 12" brook trout.


We need a Vermont pike shooting thread to go with all this good stuff.
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Is pike shooting still legal? I'd heard it had finally been outlawed.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Jeff Reardon wrote:
Is pike shooting still legal? I'd heard it had finally been outlawed.


Well if so that was a missed opportunity:(. This time of year every year I get interested, but don?t follow through.
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
I think it was a mostly a spring thing. The pike come into the shallows to spawn right after ice out, and would be really vulnerable then.

And you are in luck, at least on Lake Champlain, you can still shoot pike, pickerel, bullheads, bowfin, gar and red horse.

Northern Pike--Shooting, hand-held spearing March 25 to May 25

http://www.eregulations.com/vermont/fishing/tables/

And here's your video--spearing and shooting both.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY6FnzroUBE

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
"Pike shooting" sounds like code for "thinning the herd". w00t I watched one of the videos.

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Jeff Reardon wrote:
I think it was a mostly a spring thing. The pike come into the shallows to spawn right after ice out, and would be really vulnerable then.

And you are in luck, at least on Lake Champlain, you can still shoot pike, pickerel, bullheads, bowfin, gar and red horse.

Northern Pike--Shooting, hand-held spearing March 25 to May 25

http://www.eregulations.com/vermont/fishing/tables/

And here's your video--spearing and shooting both.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY6FnzroUBE


'Yep, when they are in to spawn. I've always wanted to do it, but I always drop the ball on planning. I have a note to make some calls, maybe this year.
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Jeff, I think it is a sure bet to state that native species population declines like that experienced by lake whitefish in Maine lakes are not simply a function of the introduction of one 'culprit" species- rainbow smelt. I also do understand that this is the drum TU often opts to beat to raise funds, but in nearly every instance there is a constellation of co-occurring environmental changes that contribute to the broader outcome.

https://www1.maine.gov/...sh_currentstatus.pdf


The author either opts to leave out, or fails to consider two co-occurring events that wracked poorly buffered lakes in the northeast in the 70's and 80's: 1.) Acid precipitation events from increased sulfur dioxide atmospheric concentrations. 2.) EPA mandated nitrogen and phosphorus emissions reductions resulting in marked dry fallout declines, with eventual concomitant declines in point source and surface runoff decreases in these two important nutrient classes as well.

Lake whitefish are benthic feeders, with a sub-terminal mouth that enables them to be efficient consumers of aquatic oligochaetes, fingernail clams, small gastropods, benthic invertebrates, and seasonally, non-pelagic fish eggs in oligotrophic systems. These systems are, by definition, not very productive. They also generally have low carbonate-bicarbonate buffering capacity making them highly susceptible to marked pH declines from sulfur dioxide inputs during spring/summer precipitation events, as well as that bound in snow pack and released, bolus fashion, during melt events during the course of a winter, as well as when snowpack loss occurs. Marked reductions in total productivity occurred during the interval the author fails to address as an adjunct driver to declines in lake whitefish stocks in many, but not all Maine lakes where Atlantic salmon and smelt were introduced. The loss of complete year-classes, as well as the resulting truncated age-class array through time of lake whitefish is prototypic of fish populations whose calcium metabolism is adversely impacted by acid precipitation driven shifts in pH. Yet, the author makes no mention of this...how odd.

The author does note that this interval was also noteworthy due to increased angler exploitation as sport fishers "discovered" lake whitefish as a sport fish. He makes one other very telling observation, by singling out one lake system which has sustained its lake whitefish population due to its "very rocky shoreline". As you are likely aware, acid precipitation impacted lakes are noteworthy for their enhanced light penetration,a secondary indicator of "lost" biogenic turbidity. I suspect that this particular lake system's rocky shoreline contributed significantly to preservation of adequate benthos populations to sustain lake white stocks due to the expanded surface area this type of substrate, combined with the expanded photic zone from the enhanced maximum depth of those wave-bands responsible for driving primary production via photosynthesis providing forage for macro invertebrates the lake whitefish exploit.

One of the marked but unforeseen secondary impacts of passage and enactment of the Clean Water and Clean Air acts in the late 1960s that has been recently documented extensively in the Great Lakes has been a decline in productivity of aquatic systems as dry fallout and point source inflow of N and P has markedly declined, along with the noteworthy declines of input rates of these two key nutrient classes via surface runoff as well. I suspect this trend is common in oligotrophic lakes in the northeast as well. In a fishery where sport fishing exploitation increased as productivity decreased in lake systems with already inherently low production at baseline does not bode well for the future of that fishery.

Noteworthy, too, in this overview is the complete lack of any consideration of adverse impacts that might be attributed to introduction of land-locked Atlantic salmon foraging on endemic lake whitefish stocks in these systems. Apparently, in Maine, hatchery origin Atlantic salmon feed solely on co-introduced smelt...with no need for secondary documentation that this actually occurred, nor consideration that these introduced salmon have contributed to lake whitefish stock declines. You folks are aware that a lake has the endemic capacity to produce a finite amount of fish biomass, annually and seasonally...when two non-native species are added, apparently only one of these can be construed as a causative agent in endemic fish stock declines? Does everyone who works in fishery biology in Maine have to have chronic "adipose fin disease" to get hired?

Yes, I also appreciate the ironic dichotomy of your reverence for shooting and consuming goldeneyes, while maintaining a high level of disdain for northern pike as table fare-fascinating.
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
RL--Why the hostility?

Chronic adipose fin disease? Don't smelts have an adipose fin, too?

I confess I eat goldeneyes. I guess this makes me--what, exactly?

I neither fish for nor eat pike. The two peaks for pike fishing here are right after ice out--a miserable time to open water fish, and one that conflicts with my spring trolling for lake trout and landlocked salmon--and ice fishing season, when I mostly target pickerel. (I do love a good pickerel feed.) Tip ups rigged for pickerel will hook pike, but not often land them, and I mostly target small ponds where pike (and other anglers) are rare. If I pike fished, I'd kill and eat them.

I guess I do talk about smelt and their impacts on native coldwater fish in Maine. I talk about it because here in Maine, declines in populations of landlocked Arctic charr, brook trout, and lake whitefish have repeatedly followed introduction of landlocked smelts, a pattern that has been well documented by Maine fisheries biologists for decades.

On the same page where you found Jeremiah Wood's whitefish report, you can find this one on landlocked charr and smelts:
https://www.maine.gov/...20Arctic%20Charr.pdf


And here is a popular article on a similar pattern on the brook trout pond that was a favorite for my dad and me:
http://newenglandboating.com/...om-invasive-species/

As you note, there are examples where brook trout, charr, and lake whitefish persist after introduction of smelts, and a few where they originally co-existed with them. These tend to be larger and deeper lakes, but not always.

Lake whitefish declines in particular are a complicated situation. If you'd like to discuss your thoughts on Jeremiah Wood's report, you should contact him directly. You can find his contact info on the MDIFW's web page. He's in the Region G office in Ashland.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
Jeff, it's good that you recognize the fact that rainbow smelt possess an adipose fin, I opted to leave that out since it would likely be construed as snarky.

You did, and continue, to imply that rainbow smelt are the sole culprit in these population declines in lake whitefish stocks in oligotrophic lakes in Maine, which by definition are low productivity systems to begin with, with the intrinsic productivity for each of these lentic systems further impaired (reduced) by two significant co-occurring factors not mentioned or acknowledged by you or the overview status report's author as, at minimum, covariates. What I advanced is that they are not likely the sole "driver" of these declines, given that background productivity in these lakes was far more markedly effected over the interval of decline, for a fish stock that relies on invertebrates as its principal food source. You also left-out any mention of landlocked Atlantic salmon plants as a potential impacting species as well in lake whitefish stock declines. They are piscivores...and do not survive and reproduce solely on sunshine and the love of God.

You now respond by listing a laundry list of salmonines that you advance that rainbow smelt are impacting. How does this have any bearing on the initial thesis that you stated- rainbow smelt are the sole driver of lake whitefish declines in endemic populations in Maine lakes? What absolves them from your scorn?

Based on your past posts reporting proudly tossing esocids when caught, and your disdainful summary statements on pike spearing, I conclude that you are the hostile party.
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Re: I added a video,,,,,,,,,,, Fish decoy works! In reply to
I was going to add to the thread, but I think I clicked on the wrong thread. Pirate carry on

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging

Last edited by:

Huntindave McCann: Jan 21, 2019, 9:27 AM