Walleyedan: What's the key for Gull Lake?
Gull Lake, Minnesota. There are other Gull Lakes in Minnesota, but the one that is right here in our neck of the woods is one of the most recognized lakes in the state. And why is that you ask? I say it's a combination of things: The three big re...
Gull Lake, Minnesota. There are other Gull Lakes in Minnesota, but the one that is right here in our neck of the woods is one of the most recognized lakes in the state. And why is that you ask? I say it's a combination of things: The three big resorts (and the others) on the lake, the proximity to the Twin Cities, the other attractions in the area (golf, BIR, Bar Harbor Supper Club, Paul Bunyan Land and of course the fishing).
Let's talk about the fishing for a minute or two. I have been asked a fair number of times within the last few years about the fishing (especially the walleye fishing) in Gull Lake. And up until now, I have had basically the same reply. It's pretty good, and it's hard to believe that it continues to produce year after year. But, am I going to start changing my tune on this? Maybe slightly. This lake was an incredible walleye lake back when I was a bit younger (late 70's and early 80's). My dad and I would always keep tabs on it when the "big ones" column was posted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune each Sunday, and our Gull Lake would be a "regular" in that column. These days, if you catch an 8-pounder out of Gull, your name should be put on the front page of the paper and if you catch a legit 10-pounder you should be top story on the news!
So, what is up? A number of things. Fishing pressure by educated anglers, possibly less natural reproduction, anglers not releasing enough 22-26-inch fish, the zebra mussel factor (clear water, slime everywhere, etc.), and the list could go on. Maybe we should complain about the cormorants, then maybe we would get about six semi-truck loads full of walleye fingerlings dumped into our system. That would fix it! And along with that, maybe put a "slot" limit on the lake (protecting a certain year class of fish, say 20-26 inches).
Opinions, opinions, everyone has their own. Are walleyes the only fish on the planet? Nope. But do many people like to fish, catch and sometimes eat walleye? You betcha!! Is it important to keep Gull Lake stocked with walleye? I thinks it's very important for everyone in our area. Do we want everyone passing up the Brainerd Lakes area and heading north and west? Heck no!
So, what do we do about this. We need to pump it full of walleye fingerlings and we probably need to protect a certain size range of the fish. Remember, this is just my opinion here!
The fisheries people in Brainerd and in the state of Minnesota are much smarter than I am and they know "the program." They can't load up every lake in the state with fish, and we are not the only ones that complain about not having enough fish in our lake, I'm guessing they get calls and letters daily!
So, what are we going to do? Maybe we need to raise money and do some stocking of our own. No, that's not easy either. Maybe we need to lock-up all the fishing guides, league and tournament fishermen and women. Bottomline, there is no quick and easy fix to managing all the lakes in our beautiful state. It's a job, and the state has their work cut out for them! In closing, please realize that there are walleyes in Gull Lake. But also realize that you can do your part by keeping only a meals worth next time you are out, and by releasing (in good shape) the bigger fish!
Save a walleye, eat a rock bass!