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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just perusing the latest issue of BassWestUSA (aka Bass West) and in the editor's column Jon Storm said he is expanding the coverage to include "true bass" (striped, white and yellow bass). Interesting.

There was also a letter to the editor from an angler named Mark Miconi voicing his concerns over the decline of big bass at Lake Pleasant. He believes the decline is due to "catchermen", too many tournaments, and in part striped bass. Too many big fish were caught and released and he says he has a taxidermist friend who personally did over 300 skin mounts of Lake Pleasant bass over 8lbs in the late 90's. He also wrote he and a friend saw 22 dead bass from 2 to 4 lbs in two coves after a Wed. night tourney. He would personally like to see a limit on the number of tourneys at Pleasant, regs to limit big fish removal, a two bass limit and a mandatory striper harvest.

Jon Storm replied "its obvious too many big bass were kept during the lake's heyday." Jon disagreed on limiting tourneys and would like to see standards set for fish handling, fizzing and release instead. Tournaments, he says, "are a very positive force for fishing" As far as stripers, Jon cited a Jan/Feb BWUSA column on Bass Biology that stated "stripers seldom influence black-bass poplations unless extreme environmental conditions exist." Jon suggested Mark Miconi attend one of the AZGFD roundtable meetings to voice his concerns. (WTG Jon Storm!!)

Hey Mark!! I hope you read AZBassPro cause here's my take on your letter. I share your pain. I too regret the loss of big bass in Lake Pleasant and also believe management of a few of our lakes as "trophy bass" lakes is needed. What happened at Lake Pleasant was all part of the 'new lake effect'. Along with the fishery dynamics involved in the new lake effect to grow the big bass, there's also the fisherman reaction to a boom in big bass. They harvest them. That's all part of the "new lake effect".

Unfortunately, its too late to save the big bass at Lake Pleasant. What happened there 5 or 10 years ago is likely to never happen again at Pleasant. AZGFD currently has a study going on at Pleasant to see what happens to the fishery when its used as a massive water storage facility. The study includes the effects of stripers. They will be looking to see if any reg changes are needed as a result of the study.

Fortunately, its not too late to save the big bass that will flourish at Roosevelt if that lake ever gets a significant amount of runoff! AZGFD is working on a plan to quickly implement regulations to protect Roosey's big bass once the water comes up. So maybe we all can enjoy a trophy fishery at Roosevelt for a long time. There are also discussions with AZGFD on preserving Saguaro's big bass because anglers are concerned about the increased pressure on the big bass at Sag.

I'm surprised the letter didn't mention Bill Luke Big Bass days as one of the causes. :eek: There's been some heated discussions over that tourney at the roundtable meetings and there has been a Bill Luke rep present at the last two. Anglers want them to move the tourney out of the spawn, or at least make some major modifications. I don't agree on limiting tourneys at Pleasant either. I would like to see improved weigh-in and release procedures at all of them.

Right now there is no limit on the number of stripers at Pleasant and I hope all anglers are harvesting them. A striper tournament or two wouldn't hurt.

Mark Miconi, if you're reading this, come on out to the next AZGFD Angler Roundtable meeting. I think its in Mesa this time and should be in October.
 

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that was me

Took me so long to write that post the darn software logged me out. That was my novel above. :D

d a
 

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I read that article also...

I sure would ike to know which taxidermist. I know a few of them and none of the ones I know did 300 8=Lbers from lake pleasant combined.
The 22 dead bass in a cove after a water dog willies tourny was kinda hard to believe as well, mainly cause the waterdog willies tournys have never had a weigh in in a cove until july of this year when they switched to the marina instead of the 10 lane.
Insinuating that the tourny is what caused these bass to die wasnt cool for tourny fishermen.
Ive seen a few dead bass at the waterdog willies tournys but it doesnt happen very often and when one or 2 die someone will take them home. Craig Goes out of his way to make sure fish are not returned to the lake dead(he keeps a bag under the weigh in sink for dead ones) and he keeps looking as well during the wiegh-in. he has had me chase down a fish that didnt look like it was going to make it.

Not to mention 22 dead bass between 2-4 lbs is also hard to believe due to the fact the last few years its been hard to weigh in fish in that range for most people. Heck last year someone got a check for a bass that weighed 1.3lbs and I know its happened this year as well....
It struck me real odd that he didnt mention Big Bass Days as well..

Not even going to go into the decline of bass, thats a whole nother story, but since this subject was brought up I had to respond.


Oh yeah Jon Storm nice plug for the roundtable meetings that was great.

Delw



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Its not inconcievable that 22 bass could end up floating after a Wed. nite tourney. Summer night tournaments are tough on fish and people don't realize it. Say the water temp 20 feet down is 75 degrees (I don't know for sure) but the surface water temp is 87 degrees (it was on Wed. nite). Livewells pull water from the surface. You need to keep the aerator running constantly to keep the O2 levels up there. Adding ice helps too as well as needling the fish's air bladder. Just because the fish swim away doesn't mean they'll make it if they were heavily stressed.

And I'd like to meet taxidermist too! I believe him.
 

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You know, I got a hold of a copy of Bass West (Thanks ...ah someone... (Shhhhh...)) and I called them up for a subscription gave them all of my info and so on... Later, I wrote the editor's an email and told them that I was impressed that they published your article and because of their concern and willingness to listen to local fishermen, I wanted a subscription. ...Well, I haven't received a single copy of bass west. Maybe I shouldn't have told them that I knew you... j/k :wink:
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think both of you are believing "fish lies". It is ludricrous to believe that NO fish die during these Wed. nighters as well as to believe that they ALL die. I fish many Canyon Wed. nighters and I have been a witness to many casualties. I have also fished the same area a few days later and I did not see ANY extravagant amount of fish floating or any mass fish kill. I think that there is a happy medium...some die and most don't. It is inevitable. It is nature. Survival of the fittest. I do not see any harm done by these tourneys. Besides, if that were the case then the tourneys I fished in as a kid would have destroyed all bass populations to date because back then there were JUST as many boats with far more inadequate live wells with far less educated fishermen. We would still be feeling the repercussions of those days if tourney fishing was such a devastating detriment to bass populations. Later...
 

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ROFLMAO!!! I got my issue in the mail today. ...Delw, can I have your autograph??? :lol: Congrads! That's a good article!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bass West Letter

Denny and others on this list,
Hello and let me introduce myself...I am Mark Miconi. I am not a pro fisherman unless 35 years of fishing in many states and two countries makes you a pro. I live in Phoenix and have been in AZ for over 20 years.

I wrote the letter in response to the article in Bass West from my own experience on Lake Pleasant. I expressed my opinions and they are by no means totally correct or the only opinions.

I am by no means an expert on Lake Biology, Lake Pleasant or all fishing in general. I wrote the letter based on my experiences on the lake and from my own personal beliefs about fishing. I fish mainly from a float tube. I have in my life worked as a guides first mate on a salmon charter on Lake Ontario. I have fished in Canada, Mexico and many north eastern states. I lived half of my adult life in upstate New York.

I am not against tournament fishing, or keeping fish for consumption. I am a strong believer in catch and release, especially for trophies. With the availability of replica mounts there is no reason to keep a large fish unless it is a possible record in my opinion.

I do know a Taxidermist in northern AZ that did claim to do over 300 skin mounts in the late 90's (1996-2000?) from Lake Pleasant. I believe him to be an honest person, he has done replicas for me and see know reason for him to be woefully inaccurate. Could he have been not truthful...perhaps. Do I think he was exageratting...No.

My partner Scott, can verify the facts I gave in my letter. The dead bass were all found in nad around the big cove at Spring Canyon, we used to launch our float tubes there alot when we fished Pleasant. It was not recent...probably back in 1998 or 1999, all were 2 pounds or better, most were dead...about a third were floating and finning on their sides.
I am not against all tourneys and did not single out or mean to single out Willies. I just know it was a Thursday that we saw the fish, we used to try to fish the weekdays to avoid the jet ski's and the people that do not understand the term "no wake". It may have been wrong to assume they died from being caughtin a tournament...I believe they did. So did other fisherman that day that fished the cove and saw the fish.

I do not know what effect tournaments have...I think too many is always bad, but I am not expert enough to say what too many is. I am opposed to tourneys when fish are on beds in the spring...but do not know how that can be avoided without banning tourneys during some of the best times to fish. This is where we need this states Fish and Game Biologists to help. I have read many articles pro and con of fishing when the fish are breeding and on beds...it is hard to say what effect it has. I know it can not be good for a bed fish to be in a livewell all day instead of on the bed.

I think alot of tourney fisherman are fooling themselves if they think the mortality rate is less than 25% after a tournament. Just because they all seem tro swim away doesn't mean they all live. Not all are going to be seen...nothing dead lasts long in Arizona before it is somethings meal. I also think that more real studies need to be done to figure out the "actual" mortality rate. I do not think B.A.S.S. or environmental groups that have done studies have done them with both eyes open. I would tend to believe that B.A.S.S. would like to see published rates come in low and environmental groups would tend to like the rates high. Both have a vested interst in the outcome. I would like to see some studies done that are not jaded by an interest for or against fishing. As with most things I think a better job can always be done to keep the fish caught healthy and able to survive...they are afterall the most important part of Bass Fishing.

Back to Pleasant....I would like to think that lake is not gone for good. I would like to think that it could recover. The new lake effect in a way still exists each year with the drawdowns and flooding...just not to the same level as when the dam was improved. I think it would take a concerted effort from AZGFD, and local fisherman to come up with some real regs to help the remaining fish. The gene pool has to be protected....not every bass has the smarts and breeding to get to a large size. Protecting the trophies that remain, allowing their genes to pass on would help.

It would help to know if it is possible to manage a "water retention area" that Lake Pleasant actually is as a real fishery.

What the effects of the Stripers that have seemed to infultrate really are.

What the mortality rate is on bass at different times of the year, at different lake levels, and what can be done to improve it.

What are the effects of non-tournament pressures from recreational fisherman. There are a lot more everyday fishermen catching alot of bass than there are tournaments.

What if any effect slot limits or trophy limits would have. It can not be a bad thing to not take the big bass out of any lake. But is there any real benefit from leaving really old fish that may not be breeding sucessfully.

Maybe what is learned on Lake Pleasant can be applied to other lakes in this state.

The key fact is that all people that fish, anyone concerned with the well being of the sport should tell their side and LISTEN to others...no one person knows all there is to know. By discussing what we do know, listening to what can be learned from others. Studying what can be done and learning from what those studies reveal everyone can contribute and reap the benefits.

For everyone of us that fish there are alot of others that think we shouldn't. There are some that want to tear down the dam at Lake Powell, Some that want to see fishing ended. By being the best caretakers of the sport and the fish we love we remove the ammo and arguements those against our sport have.

Thanks for listening and email me if you like.

Mark
 

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Mark,

Thank you for taking the time to post a reply and state your views. I hope you continue to "hang out" at this site because Lake Pleasant is a frequent topic of debate and you'll get to hear all sides of the issues.

Spring Canyon?? I looked on my Lake Pleasant map and searched the USGS topo maps and couldn't find it. Which part of Pleasant are you referring to? Maybe in reference to one of the ramps or major known landmarks (e.g. Ranger Station, Marina, Dam.....)

AZGFD has two biologists studying Lake Pleasant and they are very approachable. Scott Bryan and Eric Kohagen. You can view their latest report on Pleasant at:

http://www.azbasspro.com/BASSPRO SPEAKS.htm

And a prior article by Scott Bryan "Where Have All the Big Bass Gone?" is still on-line at:

http://www.azod.com/topstory/Archive/2002/Where Have All the Big Bass Gone.htm

I’ll be contacting you Mark to provide info on the AZGFD Angler Round Table Meetings.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Denny,
Spring Canyon is the area east of the marina...near the boat ramps that are on the hill by the maintenance and storgae barns. They recently built covered areas there and rent it out now. The area is where the road runs down the hill and out around the lake...Ususally most of the road is covered in water.

I think it might also be called Waddell Cove.

The road that goes to the marina splits on a hill....one turn takes you to the marina, one lets you drive down to a launch ramp, and the turn also takes you down a tight turn to the lake at the bottom of the hill next to the ramp....once the water is low enough that road winds around the lake shore....out to a large point to where the old dam is under water, which you can get to if the water is low enough.

I am going to email you info about Spring Canyon.

Thanks for the links....I will check them out.

Mark
 

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Now the taxidermist part makes sence 60 fish per year over a 5 year period is concievable. However what bothers me now about that statement is you said northern az. Unless he did fish mounts for the taxidermist around the phx area I am doubting its that many.(Most taxidermist specialize in certain things and send other things out ie birds and fish)

I couldnt find the canyon you talked about either, but I would love to know where it is. Waterdog willy's is out of the 10 lane and I dont know of any coves that are close enough for the dead fish to float to. And what is the likely hood that 20 bass would all swim to the same cove and die from a tourny. even if the wind was blowing I dont think the that many fish could have made it to that cove and died unless there was about 100 dead to begin with and 20 of those 100 just ended up in one cove.

those year that you specify for the dead fish 1998-1999, I am sure there is another reason they were dead not a waterdog willies tournament. Matter of fact I dont think it would be any tournament. What month of the year was it?

From 1997-2000 I was on the lake pretty much everyday at least 4-5 times a week and always on tuesday-friday sometimes sat and sunday. in 1997-1998 I mainly launched out of the 10lane (where the waterdog willy's tournaments were held) due to it was closer and back then castle was always packed. Granted the lake is a big lake and and I might have missed that cove where the dead fish were.

During those times I also fished after many different tournys and only once seen a fish kill (due to a tournament)and it wasnt that many maybe 8-10 that was after Big bass Days and it was in 2000 I believe.

I dont believe that a 25% fish kill for tourny's is even close other wise would would see fish floating everywhere after most weekends and fridays and wednesdays.
Granted all fish dont float when they die so unless someone is a diver this would be impossible to find out.
Bass are not as delicate as Trout, bass will survive through almost any condition
This is an arguement that comes up alot and people always use the excuess that " fish dont die right away after being released" in my opinion thats a piss poor excuess for anyone to use , while it sounds good when people are trying to make there point, there person making that point cant even verify it.
Take for an example of a average tourny 40 boats 5 fish limit thats a total of 200 bass(but we will say only 150 fish caught) 25% of that would be 37.5 fish dead.
Or take big bass days 200 boats per day 7 weigh-ins for 3 days Even they dont have that big of a screw up.
waterdog willy's wednesday nights 100 people 1 fish per person on a hot summer night. only 50 people weigh-in thats 12.5 fish dead every tourny.
to top it off 2-5 tournys a week at lake pleasant is alot of fish being caught and weighed in there would be dead bass everywhere.
I cant buy that arguement

your statement where you say
I do not know what effect tournaments have...I think too many is always bad, but I am not expert enough to say what too many is.
I would love to know what to many is. you see most tourny's dont have more than 40 boats. most clubs dont have more than 15 partisipants.
I guarentee you there are more fun fishermen out there fishing for bass that tourny guys. And over the last 2-3 years it has probally tripled. What I mean by fun fishermen is guys that fish for bass.
Over the years I have fished pleasant I havent seen very many meat fishermen target bass , they mainly target whitebass and cats due to the better taste. Granted there are people that catch bass and keep them but the numbers are not even close to what I always figured or what seems to be implied in most areguments about lake pleasant.

I dont think Lake pleasant is Gone at all. Over the last year and a half fishing on alot of lakes has gone down, the bite isnt there anymore. With the exception of bartlett.
Sag., canyon, alamo, Pleasant,and Rosy have been tough to fish for a while now for most people even some of the local pros that never have problems on these lakes are haveing problems catching the numbers like they used to.

As far as Bed fishing in tournaments. your right if we restrict it for tournys then it will be restricted for everyone. And bed fishing is about the most fun someone could have with the exception of a good buzz bait bite.

Like Conquestador(sp) said in another thread we dont need another trophy lake we have 2 sag, and canyon. I think more bass are on the walls from these lakes than pleasant. these lakes have been known for big fish for the last 10 years.

Over the years I have fished many tournaments and havent seen alot of fish weighed in dead, Dont get me wrong sometimes there are fish that are D.O.A. due to Mechanical problems , gut hooked, or just plain stupidiness. But 25% thats a very very big number.


Delw

Delw



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Mark,

Now that you just posted where spring canyon is You should really get your facts straight before you mention an tourny in public for the possible cause of this fish kill...

BECAUSE THE WATERDOG WILLY'S TOURNYS ARE ON THE OTHERE SIDE OF THE LAKE. ABOUT 2-3 MILES TO BE EXACT
this year was the first year that waterdogs was held on the marina side of the lake and its only been since july

You basically just slammed a tourny on a national magizine and in which you had no clue to what your talking about.


Delw



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Mark,

Like I said, you'll get to hear all sides of the debate. Delw's got a unique perspective on things as you can tell: "If he didn't see it, it didn't happen!".

Delw, FYI, in Mark's letter to BassWest he did not mention WDW by name. He did not blast them. He merely said he saw it on a Thursday morning after a Wednesday night tournament. Those fish could have been from a Sat. or Sun tournament as well.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Delw,
Never specifically said that ANY tourney was responsible for dead fish. Please read what I said....Fish were dead on a Thursday. I was only relating what I saw.

I am not attacking Tourneys or people that fish tournaments. You need not be so defensive....My partner and I and others that were fishing in the cove that day saw the fish.

Again I will say...I wrote the letter from my experience. I am not telling you that the info you have about what fish did and did not die is not correct. I am listening to you and what your experiences are and adding that to what I know.

I never slammed any tourney specifically. I guess I must take your word as rule and law....no fish ever died, the ones that do die all die exactly where they can be counted....none are ever eaten by scavengers, coyotes, and it is impossible for any fish to drift any distance.

I did not realize that someone of such expertise was on here...you can remember every tourney, every fish, every specific detail of every weather pattern after every tourney. You know that it is impossible for anything anyone saws happened because your an expert.

Once upon a time experts said the world was flat, that the earth was the center of the universe, that man would never fly....

Thanks for being so open minded...I guess due to my not owning a $40,000.00 boat, not having fished professionally and my not being as expert as you makes me unqualified to express my opinions, relate my experiences and get involved in a sport I love.

Mark
 

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DA, No he didnt mention the WDW name,but everyone in az that fishes tournys knows that the only tourny held on lake pleasant on a wedneday night is waterdog willies.. You dont have to say something to Imply it.

As far as your claim to "If he didn't see it, it didn't happen!".

You know why I am scepitcal about these kinds of posts. its because everytime someone doesnt like something they blow it way way out of proportion( I have been guilty of this also). as in the post above. they automatically think it has to do with tourny fishing when in fact is most likely doesn't.
look at all the complaints about jet skiers on lake pleasant over the last 3 years on this board most are just BS, there are more bass fisherman breaking watercraft laws on that lake then jetskiers.
Then you got guys like whats in the bartlett post that dont know the facts of what went on in a tounry and started slinging crap about that.
You get guys that say there are no fish in the lake due to the tourny's killing to many, They say people are pulling fish out of the lake etc. all because they cant or are having problems catching fish. Heck I am having problems catching fish but I am not going to blame it on a tourny or someone takeing fish home to eat them.

Delw



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