Target Walleye/Ice email

History is bound to repeat itself…

Both in good ways and bad…. 👀

Remember the “crappie boom” on MN’s Upper Red Lake? Some info from this super detailed Brad Dokken write-up:

> Crappie populations in Red Lake exploded in the late ’90s and early-2000s in the wake of a collapse in walleye populations driven by overfishing in state and tribal waters. With few predators in the system, crappies moved in to fill the void, and anglers by the thousands flocked to Upper Red to enjoy the bounty.

> Practically overnight, the town of Waskish on the east shore of Upper Red went from ghost town to boom town. Slab crappies in the 14″ range – and occasionally larger – were common, and the boom lasted several years.

Folks were literally filling 5-gallon buckets with ’em…basically until they were gone.

Now I am not saying that’s the ONLY reason they vanished. Most of the crappie boom in the early 2000s was driven by an off-the-charts hatch in 1995. And the last strong crappie year-class (until recent years) was in 1997.

But you can’t tell me that folks keeping HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of crappies outta there over the years didn’t impact reproduction. 🤔🤷‍♂️

> The DNR didn’t start conducting annual creel surveys on Upper Red until May 2006, when walleye fishing reopened. That was right at the end of the crappie boom…and anglers kept about 37,000 crappies during the winter of 2006-07.

> Tony Kennedy, large lake specialist for the DNR in Bemidji: “We see crappie reproduction every year. We catch the little ones in the seine hauls, but they never recruit to the fishery – they never survive. In 2010, we saw a few – in ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13, that range in there – but that wasn’t even really enough to be noticed by anglers….

Well, some noticed 🤓 I can tell you that I snuck up there just over 7 yrs ago now (Mar 2016) to target crappies on purpose and we were able to put a couple dozen fish topside – never measuring a crappie under 12 inches:

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