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Spoonminnow
11-11-2018, 10:01 AM
I've had access to lakes that have little fishing pressure due to limited public access. Fish quality has been superb as well as quantity. Other public water that get more pressure during the warm water months generally have smaller fish though quantity is decent when schools are found. Seems that the more fish that are removed yearly or the more weekly fishing pressure, the poorer the fishing in general. That's not to say that decent size fish haven't been caught in those waters, but that far fewer are caught than in less fished waters.

The other observation I witnessed this year was in a lake that has little fishing pressure, but is overloaded with small sunfish and crappie. Bass are on the small size (14" or less) as are pickerel. Genetics and an overpopulation of sunnies is maybe the reason. I can catch over 40 sunfish easily but nothing to write home about regarding size.

Angler quality also seems to be a factor: the more good anglers that fish a lake from a boat that keep fish, the smaller the fish and at times the harder it is to locate any fish. I recently followed an angler working the same shoreline and did really bad - 2 fish in 4 hours. The week before, I got into a few schools of crappie and caught a couple of dozen with the average size over 10" working the same shoreline. Shoreline anglers are limited by less water covered and not a problem as well as live bait they use vs lures that cover more water with lure designs fish react to while on the move.

Enforcement of fish limits is also a factor. The less enforcement, the more fish taken illegally with size and creel limits ignored. Public access lakes suffer more than private lakes that have fewer anglers fishing them.

Lastly, the destruction of fish habitat by the introduction of too many weed-eating, hybrid carp also has a negative effect which decimated the usual fish locations shallow and deep in a lake I fished for over 35 years.

Spring will be the real test of fish quality in any lake when prespawn and spawners hit the shallows. Sadly I have a feeling the above will be confirmed.

Crestliner08
11-11-2018, 10:29 AM
There is no doubt that the quality of the fishery is directly related to fisheries management and control. Unfortunately, most of the Departments of Natural Resources (different names in different states) in our country focus mainly on trout and bass, with much less focus on the panfish population.

Obviously, this is because of the ROI for the state's coffers (it's all about money!). CPR helps, but is not necessarily the total answer. Slot limits and enforced creel limits are paramount to any successful fishery. in my opinion. I can see no real reason/excuse for a one day creel take of 30 - 40+ crappie. But that's probably just me.

Shore fishing is less of a problem obviously, due to access limitation, but large creel limits are also to blame. Most anglers would rather keep larger crappie and bluegill for table fare, releasing the "dinks". This is not a good thing, but difficult to control. No one thing can be pinpointed as the increase or decrease in quality for a single fishery. Many factors are involved. JMO! :)

SKs Crappie Catching Adventures
11-12-2018, 10:18 AM
I've found on my heavily fished lake that if you follow the crowd fishn community holes you will mostly catch dinks but those that venture out and find the structure that's not getting pounded by most will find the better fish....
I'm not one to believe fishermen can effect crappie population by a margin that will cause it to hurt but will provide more courage for the up and growing youth crappie....
Go where others don't it will improve the quality of your catches by a bunch.....

gatoloco
11-12-2018, 11:25 AM
I have seen it in several of the lakes in TX. Fork before would produce some great fish but now it is a challenge. As stated earlier I go to lakes that do not have as much pressure and have greater luck.

Ketchn
11-13-2018, 02:45 PM
I think if you fish small unfished or lightly fished waters you are in lip rip heaven ....
Large lakes with heavy pressure...not easy
Medium lakes with heavy pressure...not easy
Small lakes with heavy pressure...real tuf
And if you can find fish in a barrel....easy as it gets ...lol

Blackjeepjk
11-13-2018, 07:56 PM
I think a lot of it depends on how much you fish as well. Look at the pros. They're good but a lot of that comes from the amount of time they get to spend on the water. I've personally seen it this year for myself. I spent much more time on the water and can figure them out pretty quick now (most days).