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Author Topic: Gull Lake  (Read 1078 times)

Offline Ice fish man

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Gull Lake
« on: Oct 31, 2021, 03:09 PM »
Does anyone have an opinion on Gull Lake's pike fishery? It seems I cannot get a big one (36" & up) anymore.  I catch 24-26 inchers, even when I use big smelt on tip-ups. I hear that it is in decline ... even the DNR has told me that big fish-wise, it's not what it was in the 90's. Maybe 10 years ago, I was fishing per perch in 56' and a big mark came in a 26'. I reeled-up my Hali & minnow and caught a beautiful 26" walleye. So yes, they are in there. I also talked to a person that lives on the lake and he mounted a 12 pounder. Forget the lake trout. Why not stock the lake with walleyes and establish a white fish population?

Offline smeltbuster

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Re: Gull Lake
« Reply #1 on: Oct 31, 2021, 09:59 PM »
1st. up, Welcome to "The Shanty" !  I will start right off by saying that there is probably no one on here that fishes Gull as much as I do . 2nd., my biggest pike out of Gull is 36" & was caught about 6 yrs. ago. I have also caught a Walleye out of Gull Trolling. 28" 3 yrs. ago, 55' down in 65' of water. About 7-8 yrs. ago,I lost a very large Walleye while Smelt fishing one night. 4 other people seen the fish & we estimated it to be over 10 lbs. .As for the pike size; my son & me were part of a survey the DNR did about 3 yrs. ago. We supplied the DNR w/ almost 100 dorsal fin samples from pike that we caught. Most of the fish were released after the samples were taken. Gull is considered to be about avg. on pike growth rates. We always catch lots of those 23"-26" fish when trolling. This past summer that avg. size on my boat went up a bit. Several 28" fish were caught. Most were released. Now, here is the interesting stuff; Most of the Pike this Summer & into late Sept. were caught at depths of at least 55' down,w/ a few at 90' down. I did extensive trolling for Lakers this year & did not catch any. Also, the pike that we did keep,all had empty stomachs. We did mark large schools of baitfish (Smelt?) all season. I usually catch several LM Bass in the deep water (55'+), this year we did not catch any. A huge problem in Gull is predator fish that ingest "Plastic baits". Bass fisherman may like to argue this, but it is a cold hard fact that we have proven. Way back in the early 90s  I had several discussions w/ the local DNR fisheries biologist about Gull. That guy was Jim Dexter, who last I knew was the Head guy of the MDNR fisheries division, currently. He told me that Gull was not the right kind of lake for Walleye. Back then we caught hardly any pike when trolling for Rainbows & Lakers. I am using the Exact same program now (2021) as I used back in 1988 & catch lots of pike. Well, I do use more Dipsy divers now . The fishery in Gull changes every few yrs. . 3 yrs. ago I wanted to see the DNR make it a 5 fish limit on Pike w/ only 1 fish over 24". Now.... the statewide limit of 2 fish over 24" seems reasonable. As for Walleye, YES , would love to see them in Gull, BUT w/ all the pressure the lake has now, it would only get worse. Heck, its Oct. 31 & there was a Bass Tournament out there today !  Why is that a problem ? Well, the pike,bass & lakers are ingesting lots of plastic baits that the Bass fishermen are discarding in the lake. The predator fish eat the plastics & since the baits do not digest & get passed, they are stuck in the stomachs of these fish, & the fish do not eat more because they are "Full". I am by no means a biologist but when you cut open a fish stomach & find a 1/2 dozen or more  plastic worms & no real food ,its pretty easy to figure out. Catch a Laker & see whats in its stomach. But before you do, take note of its likeness to a New York Runway models figure. Skinny as a green bean. Gull is also the Only lake in southern Mich that has a fishable population of Rainbow Smelt & that dictates a lot on what the DNR  will do as far as fish stocking. Ice fishing for Smelt on Gull is very popular & folks travel quite long distances to fish for them. They quit planting Lakers after the 2016 smelt die off & have not resumed any stocking of lakers since then. They did dump quite a few Rainbows in there a few yrs. ago, but w/ no reports of them being caught they stopped those plants. I may have had something to do w/ that. I spent a few hundred hrs. trying to catch Rainbows & never caught a single one. I was pretty much the only one that communicated w/  the DNR on that failed project. Wow, this has turned into a really long post, Sorry, but Gull is the only lake that I fish I get kind of protective & worry about its future. Yes, I would love to see Walleye in there, & I think it would be great, but it would also increase the # of fishermen on the lake. Just my 2 cents worth. Hope Dianam or  Wilsonmi comments on this thread, they are our DNR  fisheries guys for this area.I'm just a guy  that fishes Gull a couple  times a yr.  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;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 mud_n_fun

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Re: Gull Lake
« Reply #2 on: Nov 01, 2021, 08:04 PM »
Hoping to smelt fish it again this year.  ;D

Offline Fish Killa

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Re: Gull Lake
« Reply #3 on: Nov 02, 2021, 06:06 AM »
Hoping to smelt fish it again this year.  ;D

That would be cool. I'll never forget the "Gatherings" that I attended.
I'm not as good as I once was but I am good once as I ever was.

Offline Ice fish man

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Re: Gull Lake
« Reply #4 on: Nov 03, 2021, 12:55 PM »
I haven't been able to hunt for the perch ice-wise the past few years as I like, but I would catch some nice ones each Winter. I had to drill a lot of hole to find them. What's amazing about them is the 10 inch + perch were gorging on 3/4" bluegills. I read a Dave Genz article about this ... what a predator they are.

Offline WaRippinLips

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Re: Gull Lake
« Reply #5 on: Dec 30, 2021, 10:54 AM »
Hey smeltbuster,
Any idea how the smelt are doing since the big die off? I remember hearing that the DNR stocked some trout just before the die off and have just never heard much since…

Offline Iceassin

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Re: Gull Lake
« Reply #6 on: Dec 30, 2021, 11:05 AM »
Hey smeltbuster,
Any idea how the smelt are doing since the big die off? I remember hearing that the DNR stocked some trout just before the die off and have just never heard much since…

Actually it was the Atlantic Salmon that was planted a looooong time ago that decimated the Smelt population. Don't think anything has been planted in recent years. As for the die off, that was like 3 or 4 years ago? when we had that hot summer and the water temps were much warmer than usual. Apparently Smelt aren't smart enough to head to deeper, colder water and basically committed suicide. Last winter it seemed they started to make a come back and a few guys were getting some. 
"Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice."
 


Offline WaRippinLips

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Re: Gull Lake
« Reply #7 on: Dec 30, 2021, 01:17 PM »
Iceassassin,
Thanks for letting me know. I’ll be headed back to MI in mid January. Hopefully we’ll have ice. Can’t wait to rip some lips…. Lol
The fish I catch out here off the coast of Washington are a little harder to rip…

Tight Lines my Friends!!!
Halibut, Lingcod, Seabass, Rockfish





Bottom pic is a Red Banded Rockfish… The New “World Record” caught by one of my buddies. I make the jigs we fish with. Caught in 800ft jigging… 17lb. 4oz. IGFA Certified.

Offline WaRippinLips

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Re: Gull Lake
« Reply #8 on: Dec 30, 2021, 01:39 PM »


Sorry, my bad…
Red Banded Rockfish was 17lbs 1oz. You know how fish stories go… lol!
Tight Lines!

Offline smeltbuster

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Re: Gull Lake
« Reply #9 on: Jan 01, 2022, 09:51 AM »
Hey smeltbuster,
Any idea how the smelt are doing since the big die off? I remember hearing that the DNR stocked some trout just before the die off and have just never heard much since…
There was a die off in 2016 & the smelt fishing sucked for a couple years. We started catching them again in 2019 & we were very tight lipped about it. Last year I had quite a few 70-80 fish nights. 28 trips produced 1,817 smelt for me. Lots of small ones though. Total catch from others that fished w/ me?. The DNR has not planted any Lakers since 2016. They did dump about 11,000 Rainbows in for 2 yrs. in a row (17',18') ,but they did not take. The Smelt population seems to be getting better. Not only did I mark a bunch this year,but I also witnessed a spawning run on one of the creeks this spring. Lots of big healthy fish there. The run was way off as far as water temp. It was also in a stream on private land.
"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 !

 



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