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Old 07-20-2011, 11:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Latest smallmouth info from the IDNR

In the most recent Outdoor Illinois the official magazine of the IDNR there was a piece about the best bass fishing opportunities in the state. In light of previous discussions on this issue I thought I'd share them with you. Not fishing right now, car down for repair]

Accordingly to Gary Lutterbie an IDNR biologist, over the last 10 years they have averaged 169 smallmouth bass per hour of electrofishing. It goes on to say that currently 42% were between 11 and 14 inches, 17% between 14 and 18 inches and 3% over 18 inches. It didn't say but by my math that would mean 38% under 11 inches.

I'm interested in what the rest of our river vets think about these figures.
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Latest smallmouth info from the IDNR

Electrofishing is bogus. Most smallies in Illinois are not accessible to boats let alone electrofishing boats.

They eat them that big around here.



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Old 07-20-2011, 05:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Latest smallmouth info from the IDNR

Am I correct in saying the electrofishing only reaches fish that are 6 feet deep or less?
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Latest smallmouth info from the IDNR

ED,

I think that's about right. Most of the Kankakee is less than 6 ft though.

Blu,

Putting juice in the water is way more efficient to be sure.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Latest smallmouth info from the IDNR

I have to say the IDNR Biologists frustrate the bugeezers out of me. I donít know these guys personally, and I have no reason to believe they have any reason to lie or slant their findings but they do the same thing over and over again regardless of whether is hunting fishing or whatever. We pay their salaries and we pay for the surveys and studies. WHY DONíT THEY PUT ALL THE DATA out there along with the conditions that a could affect their surveys or census and let us compare what they are finding to what we are experiencing so we can draw conclusions based of scientific studies and real time experience. If the data is out there and available, why donít they make it easy to find.

ďAccordingly to Gary Lutterbie an IDNR biologist, over the last 10 years they have averaged 169 smallmouth bass per hour of electrofishingĒ

Exactly what the heck does that mean or tell us? 169 sm per hour. 10 years x 169sm = 1690 sm. Every year for the last ten years they have averaged 169 sm / hr OR they were catching 250 fish per hr during the hey days in the early 5 years 5 x 250 =1250 and over the last 5 years they have caught the remaining 440 sm at a 88 fish per hour rate? 440 + 1250 = 1690 smallies or a 169 fish /hr average. Huge huge difference e between 250 sm per hr and 88 sm per hr. NO Ė they caught 169 sm per hr every year you say. SO in the good years when 50 to 60 sm per day were common in the spring through summer and regular river vets had several 100 fish days per year they were only able to eletrofish 169 sm / hr and now when we struggle to have a few good days and many experienced river vets are considering a 20 to 30 fish day a good outing and they are still electrofishing 169 sm per hour? When are they doing their electrofishing? Pre spawn or extreme low water conditions when all of fish may be congregated in several small sections of the river? Or during normal water levels and post spawn when fish are spread out over the whole river. Makes a big big difference on the fish per hour depending on whether all your fish are in a small barrel or a big river. And what about river conditions. I know they have limited equipment. If river conditions areideal or less than ideal when they are scheduled to do their survey, doesnít that skew the data? Where does that show up in their press release? Thatís right, it doesnít, just this impressive 169 fish/ hr average that doesnít really tell us anything. When you live on or near the river and fish it regularly over a life time it isnít difficult to realize when fish populations are down and bogus AVERAGE surveys donít change that. Along with real time reports on internet forums and the lack of regular, good reports in the newspapers, it doesnít take a scientist to tell you the fishing / fish arenít there in the numbers they were just a few years ago. 169 smallmouths per HOUR!! Thats an impressive number. Thatís a lot of smallmouths. Itís also a lot of bunk! I just donít understand the need for such BS. Just do the surveys, include all the pertinent data, let the truth be shown and manage the fishery accordingly. Or maybe they want to wait till the smallie population gets decimated like they did with the walleyes and then have to try and maintain a quality fishery with yearly put and take stocking. Just the opinion of one 40 yr river vet. All it takes to prove me wrong and put me in my place is to publish ALL of the data where it is readily accessible. What are they afraid of?
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Latest smallmouth info from the IDNR

Electrofishing doesn't get near structure. It won't do thousands of miles of streams in Illinois. They don't shock up any smallies in bodies of water with none and average time on water I have observed is like less than 3 hours.



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Old 07-20-2011, 09:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Latest smallmouth info from the IDNR

Ive actually gone out with the IDNR before, while they conducted an electrofishing survey.

Electrofishing surveys are great for collecting numbers, but they tell you little about the quality of the fishery. As Blu stated, most surveys are brief. Usually only 2 hours or so. They have several electrode rods sticking in the water off the bow, and unless a fish crosses between two of the rods, the fish will not receive a full shock. You can see most of the fish feel the stun and take off before they even get close enough to be incopacitated. They pretty much just cruised the bank, while guys in the front of the boat netted as many fish that came up as possible. Larger fish are more resistant, and the shock does not go very deep in the water, so in water in excess of 5-6 ft, if laying on the bottom can usually get away.
The surveys I have observed have taken place late summer / early fall.

I wonder if they inluded findings from hoop nets in this statistic??
Hoop nets also collect large numbers of fish, and tend to get the larger fish as well. And you can check a lot of hoop nets in an hour!!
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Latest smallmouth info from the IDNR

I think generalizing the whole river in one survey is silly. Electrofishing the deep pools above kankakee dam is probally much different than below the wilmington. Personally I think they are pointless surveys with too many variables and an ever changing control. The money would be better spent on land rec lamation programs. And 10 years is an absurdly long period to averqge a survey of this nature. However instead of just bitching I will say that I have been getting some smallmouth on topwaters at dusk. And catfish on frozen roaches below the kankakee dam.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Latest smallmouth info from the IDNR

so what there saying is that the 80% of the smallies caught are under 14" - 17% - to 18" - and 3% over 18" i think these # are pretty close. dont matter how many fish you catch in a day, whether its 2 or 52. i can agree with this size range. math is simple keep a log.
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Latest smallmouth info from the IDNR

I can agree with the size range being fairly accurate. The rest of survey is just really broad.
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