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Don’t Stunt

The December issue of Nebraskaland has a one-page story by Jeff Kurrus, Don’t Stunt.  Yes, Jeff spent some time in my office talking about the story.  Yes, Jeff quotes me in the article.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will recognize the subject matter, again:


I have said before, will again now.  I have seen far more panfish populations that suffer from the effects of over-harvest, than I have seen in less numerous, larger, predator fish populations, including walleyes.  This is especially true for bluegills.  And, much of that over-harvest occurs during the winter, through holes in the ice.  The reproductive biology of bluegills makes them particularly vulnerable to over-harvest.  However, the same thing happens frequently with crappies and yellow perch too.  Unfortunately, there is research that shows that these populations may never recover from over-harvest, even if the harvest is reduced and controlled.

Simply put, anglers cannot go back day after day and fill buckets with the biggest panfish they can catch.  Those big panfish have to go back down the hole!  If you are not doing that, you are ruining fisheries, your fisheries, my fisheries, your kids fisheries.  Is it OK that panfish never have the opportunity to reach maximum size?  For many panfish in Nebraska waters that maximum size is trophy size, big enough to bug the eyes outta your head.  If they can live that long.

Too many times our fisheries are never given the opportunity to reach their potential.  Too many anglers are looking to fill their freezers with the most protein possible in the least amount of time, and when that bite slows, it is on down the road to wherever the interwebs say is the next hot bite.

And the new electronics technology that everyone is rushing to buy scares me even more.  Where are those big panfish going to hide?

Jeff did an outstanding job of saying in fewer words what I have rambled on about many times.  If you want to read more about it, in a lot more words, you can, Pigs on Ice, Think About It.  Better yet, prove me wrong.IceBluegillReleaseCrop

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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