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Author Topic: Gull lake 2017/2018  (Read 17428 times)

Offline Smeltman

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #60 on: Jan 05, 2018, 08:14 PM »
Most definitely  :'( :'( :'( :'(

Offline smeltbuster

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #61 on: Jan 05, 2018, 08:35 PM »
Smeltman pretty much summed it up for everyone on 2nd. bay tonight. Talked w/ him & several others. no bites . Not even sure we marked any smelt. Smelt jr. called me, while I was out fishing & said that there was 9 vehicles in the parking lot at the north end & it appeared that most of the shanties were in about 40' of water. This makes sense, because while I was fishing a good friend told me that he checked the north end ice yesterday & out past about 40 FOW, the ice was unsafe. It went from about 4" down to 1 1/2". I will be fishing the north end tomorrow afternoon but not for smelt. I will check the ice & see if it has improved. As for the die off in June of 2016, I believe that it really hurt the smelt population. some folks may disagree & that is fine, but with as much time that we spend fishing Gull & checking the stomachs of ALL the Lakers, Pike & Bass that we keep, it has been pretty apparent that there is definitely less smelt than there was 2 yrs. ago. Also, heard a few guys tonight ,saying that its too early for the smelt to be in 2nd. bay. I've caught them in south bay at 1st. ice in yrs. past , in December. Hope I'm wrong, but brace yourselves for some poor smelt fishing this year.
"Yes officer, my chocolate lab did shoot me,with my brothers 12 gauge"!  11-8-87,true story!          "Sorry were late mom,Chris & me just got done with a cow hunt,we each got a big black Angus with our muzzleloaders"!  (the Christmas eve cow hunt w/ my son; 2004 !

Offline GpaPerchEye

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #62 on: Jan 06, 2018, 11:47 AM »
Quite the village on the bay cam now. Anybody got a smelt report from those out last night ?
Hopefully we can find some smelt once we can get to deep water.
 It may also be prudent to start thinking about a couple group trips north. Green or Higgins ? Thoughts ?

Offline Smeltman

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #63 on: Jan 06, 2018, 01:24 PM »
Nothing changed from last report.  And they are doing well on Higgins for smelt, just got report today.

Offline stevenmang85

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #64 on: Jan 06, 2018, 07:22 PM »
Funny story. Just this past week I've seen 3 lake trout and a walley pulled. Crazy start to the season.
gilliams and smeltzillas

Offline smeltbuster

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #65 on: Jan 06, 2018, 08:19 PM »
Steve, it was a good year this past summer , for Lakers. if you get a chance, check the stomachs, you might be surprised what you find. If anyone wants to see what I found, just ask me & I will show you. Got a gallon bag of surprises in my Jet sled. BTW, there are NO Walleye in Gull ! All those pics in the past few yrs are Fake News, & the one that I hooked on the north end a few yrs. ago was something else ! Me & 4 others seen something that we thought was a Walleye. Must have been a perch on Steroids , or an immature  Sturgeon/ Striper cross  ;D ;D ;D.
"Yes officer, my chocolate lab did shoot me,with my brothers 12 gauge"!  11-8-87,true story!          "Sorry were late mom,Chris & me just got done with a cow hunt,we each got a big black Angus with our muzzleloaders"!  (the Christmas eve cow hunt w/ my son; 2004 !

Offline fishin4smelt

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #66 on: Jan 06, 2018, 10:24 PM »
Fished second bay on the South end tonight. Not a single smelt caught. In fact we didn't mark anything even resembling smelt. Plenty of plankton but no smelt around the lights. First time out for us this year. About a dozen other shanties and never heard of any smelt caught. Little concerned about the smelt population, but we're not giving up...Tim

Offline Smeltman

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #67 on: Jan 06, 2018, 11:35 PM »
We all had the same thing last night. I think it might be a big concern. You have  A LOT of predator fish in that lake, and the DNR keeps planting more. Guys that troll the lake in the summer are not marking many schools of bait fish if any, where they would year's past. and there bellies didn't have smelt in them to speak of. I realize it's a big lake. I have never had it where I didn't mark schools of them.  They might have lock jaw but they were there. I've caught them in 2nd bay from 1st to last ice. That's my opinion. Just go see what Smeltbuster found in their bellies. I'm sure they will make a comeback at some point.

Offline Iceassin

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #68 on: Jan 07, 2018, 06:38 AM »
We all had the same thing last night. I think it might be a big concern. You have  A LOT of predator fish in that lake, and the DNR keeps planting more. Guys that troll the lake in the summer are not marking many schools of bait fish if any, where they would year's past. and there bellies didn't have smelt in them to speak of. I realize it's a big lake. I have never had it where I didn't mark schools of them.  They might have lock jaw but they were there. I've caught them in 2nd bay from 1st to last ice. That's my opinion. Just go see what Smeltbuster found in their bellies. I'm sure they will make a comeback at some point.

I know...well I think...it was back in the 70's, maybe early 80's that they planted all those Atlantic salmon in there that decimated the smelt population until they made there comeback not so long ago. Have they done it again? There have been some opinions that there was a natural die off due to the recent warm seasons we have had. I question this only because I have not heard of this happening in other smelt waters in the state like Green or Higgins. Just a side note, I was around when we had the hardsides and bicycle wheels fishing for them in Gull and the numbers we got, from what I remember was amazing! Sometimes I think the DNR should leave things be, if in fact, that is what they are doing. :-\
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Online DR.SPECKLER

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #69 on: Jan 07, 2018, 07:19 AM »
I think you guys will get into some sooner or later its fishing.heck I believe theres no fish left sometimes when i go out on a few lakes I fish.then poof one day they decide to show up and bite.jmo

Offline copcar340

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #70 on: Jan 07, 2018, 07:40 AM »
Well Smeltbuster , don't keep us in suspense, what did you find in the Lakers gut?

Offline wilsonmi

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #71 on: Jan 07, 2018, 09:11 AM »
Rubber/plastic bass baits in almost all adult lake trout caught from the angler reports we receive.  My guess is that they are picking them up off bottom during times of the year that they are in shallower.  Most likely attracted to the scent of the bait.  Some fish with more than one bass bait.  Acorns have also been reported.  They look like and are similar in size to the pellets the broodstock fish were eating at the hatchery for most of their lives.  The harvest rates for these lake trout brood stock plants is extremely high.  This, combined with the extremely low stocking numbers doesn't point to these fish having any impact on the smelt fishery.  The lake trout fall fingerling plants don't seem to have worked, based on angler reports.  Their slow growth and summer oxygen and temperature requirements puts these fish in a narrow band of water July through September, usually 35 to 80 fow.   This is the same water the pike population resides in the summer and pike love to eat trout and smelt.  We have switched to planting steelhead with the hopes that there faster growth rates, diverse diet, and ability to tolerate warmer water than lake trout will lead to better survival.  The stocking numbers in Gull are extremely low compared to rainbow, brown, and atlantic plants over the last 40 years. 

There was a smelt die off on June 11th and 12th of 2016.  Thermal stress was the most likely cause due to the high air temperature coinciding with a high wind event which may have trapped smelt in areas where warm surface water was piling up.  I know it sounds weird, but is known to happen and these are a cold water schooling fish .  It's hard to say what percent of the population died.  Smelt die-offs have been reported in other bodies of water including Crystal Lake and Lake Erie to name a couple.  The lake Erie die-off was in late May and was attributed to thermal stress coinciding with the fact that they are still in a weakened state from spring spawning.  Gull Lake also had a large die off of smelt one spring in the late 1970's.  Smelt were essentially absent from the lake in 1984.  The large stocking of Atlantic's started in 1986 and ended in 1992.  Smelt re-introduction started in 1991. Rainbow plants continued along with browns for many years until the switch was made to go to a low stocking of lake trout, based on dwindling rainbow and brown trout returns.  The plan going forward is a low level stocking of steelhead strain rainbows along with occasional adult lake trout stockings like we have done over the last ten years.   No conspiracies, just trying to provide and manage a diverse fishery for all anglers all year around. 

Mike Wilson
MDNR Fisheries
Plainwell

Offline smeltbuster

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #72 on: Jan 07, 2018, 09:38 AM »
PLASTIC FISHING BAITS , cherry tomatoes, green grapes, cigarette butts, Bluegills & never more than 2 smelt. The lakers can not digest the plastics, they will eventually die. They are hatchery fish & are lazy when it comes to eating, so w/ the plastics floating ,its an easy meal. And when I say floating, I actually mean down deep below the Thermocline. As for the die-off in 2016 , it was more than a few thousand fish. It was lake-wide & the DNR said it was because of thermal distress. The thermocline did not develop quick enough & the smelt were caught in warm water & died. ( I believe this theory, as I did not mark a thermocline on my graph, at the time ). Smelt Jr. caught several more lakers than me this past summer , & all his fish had the same stomach contents. We marked very few large clouds of baitfish. In years past we have caught pike & bass as far down as 70' , they were full of smelt. This year we only caught a few, deeper than 50' down. Their stomachs mostly contained bluegills & crayfish, or were completely empty, Not 1 smelt in any of them. Hoping we can get out into the deep water on the north end  & see if we can get some smelt there. I am disappointed that the folks that have fished the north end this past week have not shared any info, but that's their choice, I guess.  I will share what I find , its a big lake & there are plenty of other fish to catch.
"Yes officer, my chocolate lab did shoot me,with my brothers 12 gauge"!  11-8-87,true story!          "Sorry were late mom,Chris & me just got done with a cow hunt,we each got a big black Angus with our muzzleloaders"!  (the Christmas eve cow hunt w/ my son; 2004 !

Offline smeltbuster

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #73 on: Jan 07, 2018, 09:42 AM »
Thanks wilsonmi. I was hoping you would post on this.
"Yes officer, my chocolate lab did shoot me,with my brothers 12 gauge"!  11-8-87,true story!          "Sorry were late mom,Chris & me just got done with a cow hunt,we each got a big black Angus with our muzzleloaders"!  (the Christmas eve cow hunt w/ my son; 2004 !

Offline copcar340

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #74 on: Jan 07, 2018, 10:41 AM »
Thanks for the detailed answer, I read on hear about the big die-off the summer of 2016, that's too bad. Do they ever stock Smelt or plan to? I wouldn't mine hook-in one of those Lakers thru the ice, second bay deep enough? I look forward to the Steelhead plant whenever that happens.

Offline smeltbuster

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #75 on: Jan 07, 2018, 10:48 AM »
Thanks for the detailed answer, I read on hear about the big die-off the summer of 2016, that's too bad. Do they ever stock Smelt or plan to? I wouldn't mine hook-in one of those Lakers thru the ice, second bay deep enough? I look forward to the Steelhead plant whenever that happens.
  My son caught one 4 yrs. ago, in 2nd. bay 30' down in 60 FOW ,on a tip-up. There have been a few caught on tip-ups already this year.
"Yes officer, my chocolate lab did shoot me,with my brothers 12 gauge"!  11-8-87,true story!          "Sorry were late mom,Chris & me just got done with a cow hunt,we each got a big black Angus with our muzzleloaders"!  (the Christmas eve cow hunt w/ my son; 2004 !

Offline smeltbuster

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #76 on: Jan 07, 2018, 04:39 PM »
Should have said this earlier. Wilsonmi. dates & info is spot on. I have talked w/ him a few times & he is a great guy & I trust what he says. As for the Atlantic salmon wiping out the smelt in Gull, IMO, that is not completely true. Yes ,the Atlantics were  voracious eaters & I'm sure they ate  a fair amount of smelt. BUT... I have bit my lip for way too long, ....back in the day, I don't know what year it was, when the boat launch at Prarieville  was being rebuilt, there was no one there to watch for the spring smelt run. Several POACHERS dipped smelt by the truckload  & helped to decimate the smelt population in just a few nights. I have heard this same story over the years from 3 different guys, that were bragging about it. Never got their names ,wished I would have.( Dipping smelt in Prarieville creek has  always been a temptation. I have family members that almost went to jail for trying to do it  back in the 70's) ! The DNR & Atlantic Salmon got blamed for it. Kinda like them getting blamed for  planting Coyotes in southern Mich., at the same time they were planting Sichuan Pheasants !  ???  The only thing I would like to see happen on Gull, is an increased limit of 5 pike a day ,4 under 25" & 1 over 30". There are way too many pike in Gull IMO. I am not advocating growing trophy pike, I think the predator base needs to be reduced. The lake trout fishery this past year was awesome ! As for the planted small lakers, we have only caught 1 ,in Aug. 2016. It was 18 1/2" long.  As for the smelt, time will tell. As soon as I can get out on the north end  & fish for a night or 2  that should confirm what I fear.
"Yes officer, my chocolate lab did shoot me,with my brothers 12 gauge"!  11-8-87,true story!          "Sorry were late mom,Chris & me just got done with a cow hunt,we each got a big black Angus with our muzzleloaders"!  (the Christmas eve cow hunt w/ my son; 2004 !

Offline steelheader32

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #77 on: Jan 07, 2018, 06:12 PM »
My buddy got one yesterday and he found 3 rubber bass plastics in its stomach no smelt, the bass plastics on common for inland lake trout, they are a scavenger fish and very opportunistic, I took a long walk lastnight in search of crappie to get away from the crowd in the South Bay, found a nIce hole with 24í of water, marked a few things from 3-5 feet off bottom bitbthey didnít seem at all interested in jigs or small minnows

Offline dgb

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #78 on: Jan 08, 2018, 07:46 PM »
Seen tracks on the south bay and north end in smelt country from the past and no one fishing them currently. 30 inch pike i caught on a tip up last weekend had a head of a 10 lb fish and probably weighed 6. I would say some food source is missing. Why plant lake trout and steelhead if there is no smelt?

Offline dgb

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #79 on: Jan 08, 2018, 07:54 PM »
Its not suppose to be a trout or salmon lake just because the water looks like it should be. It's Southern Michigan.

Offline smeltbuster

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #80 on: Jan 08, 2018, 09:23 PM »
Seen tracks on the south bay and north end in smelt country from the past and no one fishing them currently. 30 inch pike i caught on a tip up last weekend had a head of a 10 lb fish and probably weighed 6. I would say some food source is missing. Why plant lake trout and steelhead if there is no smelt?
  I'm thinking that the steelies are eating different food, other than smelt, plus, they are not big enough yet to eat the smelt. As for your pike, seen a LOT of that. The biggest pike I have boated, was about 4 yrs. ago. It was 38" long & weighed 8 1/2 lbs ???. Yet I hear stories of 40"ers going over 20 ! Some of the pike we have caught, are so skinny, they could be Runway Models in New York ,city ! The DNR relies on input from anglers about what they catch. The return & reports on the fry sized lakers has not been too successful. As for the broodstock planters, they are getting caught & somewhat reported. Maybe w/ what is being posted on here now, some things will change. No one really knows what is going on w/ the smelt right now. Guys have been fishing the north end, on ice that I am leary of going on. But no one is reporting anything.  I have had 1 very reliable report for that part of the lake, & it was pretty much the same as for what's going on in 2nd. bay. I got the report yesterday, for a trip that happened Sat. night. & yes, the ice is about 3" . We have a new DNR Fisheries Biologist in the Plainwell office, Maybe a few FRIENDLY e-mails or phone calls  might help get some attention. If they don't get input, they can only go on what they have. I don't think that the Lakers are really hurting the smelt, but the Rubber bass baits are hurting the Lakers . As for the pike, right now, they are looking for the smelt. How many of you have either hooked Or heard someone catching a pike while smelt fishing? How many of you run Tip-ups after dark , while smelt fishing & catch pike ? That's why I went from 12 hooks On 1 rod, down to 6, Got tired of releasing pike that I could not keep.                                          A lack of smelt & an over abundance of pike & Bass is part of the problem. One more thing, if the smelt are still in catchable #s  maybe we as Anglers should Limit our catch, Not Catch our Limit. This has been mentioned to me by another Shanty member ,that posts on here. Not going to call him out ,but I have to agree w/ him. BTW, planning on fishing for Lakers Tues. morning. Stopped at the store & bought some cherry tomatoes & green grapes for bait  ;D         
"Yes officer, my chocolate lab did shoot me,with my brothers 12 gauge"!  11-8-87,true story!          "Sorry were late mom,Chris & me just got done with a cow hunt,we each got a big black Angus with our muzzleloaders"!  (the Christmas eve cow hunt w/ my son; 2004 !

Offline Smeltman

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #81 on: Jan 08, 2018, 09:56 PM »
That's a good one Smeltbuster how about grape tomatoes then you only need to buy one thing  ;D. I agree with limiting what you catch as far as smelt, I hear guy's catching 500-800 smelt a trip not sure if I believe it's true.  But let's cut that down to 100-200 each instead of being greedy.

Offline TheGeneral

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #82 on: Jan 09, 2018, 06:49 AM »
I agree totally on limiting our catches of smelt.  I think 75-100 are plenty a night to take home. Unfortunately there are guys out there that will catch every last one if you let them. They really don't care about preserving our fisheries for others to enjoy, and that's messed up. Look this is just my .02 , so take it as you will.

Offline Fish Killa

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #83 on: Jan 09, 2018, 07:53 AM »
I don't think one guy could catch 500-800 smelt a night on a jigging rod. The most i have caught was around 180 and I was one busy dude. I quit fishing smelt 5 years ago as it became to much of a party for me. I don't mind having fun but defecating and leaving trash all over was not what i chose to be associated with.

I'll chime in on pike size as well. Gull has gone from a lake that you throw 3 flags in 5 hours all being over 28" to 10 flags before you land a pike that exceeds 24" and then it rarely exceeds 28". I landed a 25" Sunday that looked very thin in the belly. Years ago a 24" fish went 4.5lbs. That is not the case any longer. I keep going back because the potential for 40" fish is there.
I'm not as good as I once was but I am good once as I ever was.

Offline moose49017

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #84 on: Jan 09, 2018, 11:31 AM »
Well, I had no luck yesterday morning in the second bay. Tip up's and jigging.
Considered moving to the conference but a buddy stopped and walked out to talk to the only guy fishing.
Said there was 2" of water on top of the ice and old holes were opening up. The guy fishing was getting leery about the ice too.
So we left second bay late afternoon and went over to Sherman Lake. Same results... nothing!
A friend joined us that had electronics and was marking fish tight to the bottom. We just couldn't make them bite.
Tough day

Offline Iceassin

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #85 on: Jan 09, 2018, 11:39 AM »
I don't think one guy could catch 500-800 smelt a night on a jigging rod. The most i have caught was around 180 and I was one busy dude. I quit fishing smelt 5 years ago as it became to much of a party for me. I don't mind having fun but defecating and leaving trash all over was not what i chose to be associated with.

I'll chime in on pike size as well. Gull has gone from a lake that you throw 3 flags in 5 hours all being over 28" to 10 flags before you land a pike that exceeds 24" and then it rarely exceeds 28". I landed a 25" Sunday that looked very thin in the belly. Years ago a 24" fish went 4.5lbs. That is not the case any longer. I keep going back because the potential for 40" fish is there.

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Offline stevenmang85

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #86 on: Jan 09, 2018, 12:41 PM »
On a lighter note. Kid got his 1st tipup fish today! Yeehaw

gilliams and smeltzillas

Offline smeltbuster

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #87 on: Jan 09, 2018, 06:43 PM »
On a lighter note. Kid got his 1st tipup fish today! Yeehaw


CONGRATULATIONS :clap: Way to go Dad  :thumbsup:
"Yes officer, my chocolate lab did shoot me,with my brothers 12 gauge"!  11-8-87,true story!          "Sorry were late mom,Chris & me just got done with a cow hunt,we each got a big black Angus with our muzzleloaders"!  (the Christmas eve cow hunt w/ my son; 2004 !

Offline dgb

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #88 on: Jan 09, 2018, 07:48 PM »
On a lighter note. Kid got his 1st tipup fish today! Yeehaw

Thats so cool!

Offline fishin4smelt

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Re: Gull lake 2017/2018
« Reply #89 on: Jan 10, 2018, 08:42 AM »
Your son's face tells it all !!! Lovin' his smile ! Teaching him what Michigan's natural resources have to offer is priceless...

 



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