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Thread: Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

  1. #1
    Bonelach
    Guest

    Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

    Now that we're in the middle of the worst season for those of us who love to musky fish, and memories of last summer/fall as well as visions of this up coming opener are keeping you up at night, I would like to take a moment to vent about the topic which has kept me up tossing and turning the past couple months. But first I want to clearly state that I am not attemting to cause an up-roar. And I acknowledge that Native Americans have the right to practice their cultural traditions in peace. However, I would like to bring to light the decimation of a musky population in one of Wisconsins' famed musky waters, Bone Lake. As a musky fishermen who cut his preverbial teeth about 12 years ago on Bone, I, along with my fishing buddies, have come to know Bone extremely well. We're used to seeing tons of fish and hooking into a decent amount of some of the most pressured fish you'll find. But in the Spring of 2008, we started hearing rumors of 200 to 300 muskies that were taken through the ice over the winter via spear. I initially chalked it up to an exageration, but as June turned into July, and July to August, the decrease in the number of fish seen and caught was compelling. So we started to wonder. This winter we put our suspicions to work and my fishing buddy has has personally documented, with pictures, over 140 muskies killed through the ice within the past 2 months. The ice season is only half over in this part of the country. So those numbers will undoubtably increase. Leading me to believe previous years rumors to be not that far fetched. About 4 years ago the WDNR performed a survey on Bone and concluded there were approximately 950 adult muskies (30 inches or larger) in the 1780 acre lake. In essense, Bone has taken a huge hit in the adult musky population, and will continue to do so due to the apparent high success rate of spearing. Just this past weekend a 47.5 incher and a 45 were laying on the ice as well as rumors of 3 50+ inchers in previous weeks. For those of you who don't know, Bone is a numbers lake with most of the fish in the 34 to 44 inch range, 45 inchers are very rare, let alone 50's. Aside from the fact that the adult musky population has probably been cut in half over the last 3 to 4 years, Bone will also see a negative ripple effect from decimating the population of the lakes top predator. Over population of other fish species will lead to stunted growth, disease, and an overall unhealthy balance of predator to prey relationship. Please understand that I am not calling out Native Americans. I respect their heritage and tradition and would never want to see that taken away from them. However, I would like to see regulation so that musky populations aren't over-harvested. There are safe harvest regulations for open water seasons, why can't there be a safe harvest number through the ice?

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Naoma,, Mountain State, Home of the Red/White&Blue.
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    2

    RE: Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

    Got to agree with you here. As a person from the southern end of the musky range, West Virginia, I look forward to a trip or 2 "up north", and use these bits of info to help plan the areas that we fish. That being said, I can only say that they are only making it harder fo me to fish a lake or even a area for that matter , if I know that things like this will effect my chances of hooking a few fish. Personally, I really don't care if they are 36-40" muskies or 36-40" pike ( a fish that was unknown to me until 2003). If the top of the foodchain is not there in catchable numbers, muskies and pike, then it would not be in my best interest to waste my time and money in a place that even local fishermen, who I am sure have a lot more knowledge of the lake and the fish themself, are having a tough time seeing fish and catching fewer. My largest musky is only 45" from Lake of the Woods in '03 and my largest pike was from Vermilion in Minn. last year at 40" even.I have never killed a fish on any of my trips "up north". With the amount of water in Minn. and Wisc. and the limited time and money that I have, I don't see a trip to Canada in the forseeable future and with reports like this, I don't see one to Bone.

    C.J. Cantley aka Mauser:'(

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Arena, Wi, USA.
    Posts
    5

    RE: Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

    I have been fishing this lake for about 15 years and have seen many changes. when I first started fishing it most fish 28-34. As the years progressed so did the size of the fish. I have cought over 100 and my partners are good for another 50 or so, with several over 45 with pictures. I know te lake and the fish better every year and should be doing better,but that is not the case. Only caught a few last year and nothing over 40, in fact dont know if a saw any big ones. None of the above fish were kept, all released to grow and thrill another angler. Just this year we voted to make it a 50 limit, but why should we waste our time with this situation going on. If they are going to spear through the ice it sould at least be part of the spring quota. If I have another year like last year, It may be my last on bone, so there goes a couple of grand for the busness people of the area. HOPEFULLY THEY OR SOMEONE ELSE WILL COME TO THEIR SENSES!!!:'( x( :-(

  4. #4
    Member
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    Sep 2003
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    .
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    55

    RE: Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

    I fished the lakes bone/deer in over the last 10 years and have had great action except for the last two years. The tourney I fished this last summer was a sad not because of the number of fish caught (very few) but that over 60-70% of the field were fishing jigs and dawgs and still no fish. I wont be going back to fish the tourney again this year due to the lack of fish in these lakes.

  5. #5
    MrMusky
    Guest

    RE: Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

    I have a cabin on Bone Lake and have been involved this winter with some of the other local fisherman in documenting the harvest of Muskies from the lake by Native Americans. The count after this past weekend is over 150 speared. This figure does not take into account fish speared and lost that will die under the ice from their wounds and the numerous fish speared that we may have not seen. Total number speared in open water harvest over the past ten years; 144.
    We are all in agreement that we do not wish to deprive the Native Americans of their heritage, but there has to be regulations. What we are observing has nothing to do with conservation, only harvest. It appears they will not stop until the Musky population has been eradicated. This is not the 1800's, it is 2009 and something has to be done to protect the resource.
    Close to half the estimated adult population of Muskies in Bone Lake have disappeared in only two years of winter harvest. Will the lake ever come back? Sure, but there is a big difference between some of the upper 40" to over 50" fish we have seen dead on the ice and the 30"-31" fish coming up to take their place. It will take years for the fishery to recover (if ever) and when it does, will the same cycle continue? Spear till their gone then wait for the lake to come back. Change must occur!
    This is a local effort with no affiliation. The numbers are being passed along to anyone that will listen. I will keep you posted with any new information as it comes in.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Naoma,, Mountain State, Home of the Red/White&Blue.
    Posts
    2

    RE: Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

    If they say that it is their right and heritage, then as far as I'm concerned, let them do it the way it was done in the time of their grandfathers, with a birth bark canoe and a pine pitch torch and wooden spear, not with a 2,000,000 candle power light and steel spear and ranger boat. Even a dummy like me can see that they are only killing fish to say they got a big one, not as food or a way of keeping from starving. I'm sure that the fish are eaten but really is this what is best for all? How long are the rest of the world going to be held hostage to this?? Once again , special interest wins out.

    :-( :( :'(


    Mauser

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    St. Croix Falls, WI, USA.
    Posts
    5

    RE: Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

    MrMusky - Can you please email me at grant.belisle@gmail.com

    Thanks. I'd like to ask you some questions.

    Grant Belisle


  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    IL, US.
    Posts
    341

    RE: Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

    I agree with the previous poster that heritage practice should be done with heritage equipment:

    - Only hand crafted boats
    - Only hand crafted spears
    - No polarized lenses
    - No fancy boats and motors
    - No gore-tex

    Modern equipment should require adherence to modern rules. They should paddle their way out there in a canoe and good luck to them in a storm.

    Brian


  9. #9
    Flyer170
    Guest

    RE: Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

    Hello Bone Lach and Mr Msky I finally tracked you down. You two are not the only ones that know how to post here.
    The offical count is 160....Let's stock Small mouth.
    I'm working on the economic impact figures.
    "One More Cast"


  10. #10
    MrMusky
    Guest

    RE: Bone Lake massacre 2008-2009 edition

    Hey there Flyer,

    Glad to see you aboard. I'll be up this weekend. I've also alerted a few people that there might be some extra activity on Deer this weekend.

    MrMusky

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