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Monday, January 30, 2012

Finding Big Panfish

I spent my night doing some research on the Department of Natural Resources Lake Finder site. If your a panfish aficionado like myself this site should be on your favorites list. Not to let out all the secrets but this site opens the book on all surveys for your favorite area lakes. It makes it easy to find lakes that have a higher density of large panfish. It also shows the number of fish that were caught in the survey, and the exact amount in the different size ranges. I live in Minnesota where the DNR also offers a mobile app. I'm sure most states have this available in some capacity. The one problem that I find is some of the test netting and electro-fishing was done many years ago, so the information is not always current. It does however still give you a starting point. So to test the site, I pulled up one of my favorite big bluegill lakes here in Central Minnesota. Reading thru the survey information I found that no bluegills were caught in this body of water by the DNR. This seemed strange to me so I made a call to our local fisheries office. The technician that answered the phone knew exactly which body of water I was referring to. He informed me that I was not crazy and big bluegills do exist in this body of water. He informed me that they had caught them in a different study where the results were not published. I also asked him what variable he believed was the most important to finding lakes with big bluegills in the area. I thought maybe freshwater shrimp as a food source, or current to aide in spawning. He informed me that a smaller population was key. If too much competition exists for food all the fish stay small and stunted. We also talked about the importance of letting the bigger males go. These big males will protect their spawning nests and not allow small fish to spawn, passing on the big fish genetics. He also informed me of a few lakes in the area where test studies uncovered  huge crappies.

My personal interest in fishing relates to the chase. Sometimes for me the act of hunting down big fish is much more satisfying than actually catching those fish. This is why I have no interest in driving out onto a lake and setting up in the middle of the community hot-spot. It is much more rewarding to strike out.

The last thing I believe in doing is trying to find a good map of the lake. Even at around a 150 acres, I am not going to be able to "drill out" the entire lake. I need something to give me some starting points. I encourage you to strike out from the pack this winter, and find some big panfish. You might just be rewarded. GT4YSBK72VHB

Tags: "fishing" "bluegills" "crappies" "Minnesota fishing" "finding big bluegills" "1slabseeker""Central Minnesota Fishing Report" "big bluegill" "lakefinder" "catching big bluegills" 

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