Fishermen are coping with adverse weather

By Bill Bartusek

This past week and weekend wasn't a whole lot different than the last few. Rain and wind filled most of the days as we went along. However, it was a lot warmer. Fishermen are coping with the weather because they have to.

The fishing has been pretty good too. Anglers are finding panfish to be especially cooperative. Sunfish have been real active, especially on the inside weedline. That is the area between shore and first weeds. Usually this area has a hard bottom and is anywhere from two to six feet deep. This is also where these fish are spawning. When this activity is happening the fish are especially vulnerable to anglers. In the past, anglers used to just keep the male sunfish or bucks, when they fished the beds. Since then, we have found this to be bad for the large sunfish population. A spawning bed of sunfish usually consists of 50 to hundreds of nests. The large males control the center area while smaller males control the outer edges as they ward off predators. If we catch the dominant males from a bed, soon there are only smaller males left. These fish will fertilize the eggs and increase the chances of smaller sunfish being produced. I would recommend keeping some big females and some small males. That way the big males will fertilize eggs. They will also protect the center beds which produce the most fish from the hatch. This will increase the chances of genetically larger sunfish being produced.

Use your best judgement when fishing sunfish beds. Don't over fish them and release the big males. Years ago they protected the spawning beds. I'm talking about the D.N.R. Maybe they should have continued to do so. Have great week fishing!

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