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Any thoughts on NC's current walleye limit of 8 with no slot limits? I understand quite a for walleye especially on Fontana are caught in 40+ feet of water at different times of year so they have limited survival rates, but most are probably caught in less. I'll put back anything 18 inches and over as they should be a spawning fish in the current season. Also, isn't 8 fish a little high? Ontario is 4 with only one 18 or over. Other states don't allow any kept 18-26 inches.

Anyone know if NC has looked at changing the limit, and adding slots? I think it'd be something for a conscious angler to do.
 

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I'm pretty sure that the populations are supported by stocking. If so, then I see no reason not to keep what you are legally allowed if you want them. If you are worried about survivability, then stop fishing for them after you get your limit and chase spots or smallies.
 

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NC doesn't have the habitat to produce really big walleye (except maybe Lake Gaston or Rhodhiss?)

I don't see slot limits working. Lake James has a 15 inch mininmum and a 4 pound walleye is a giant on that lake.

The only lake that could use regulations would be Lake Glenville to help rebuild the population.
 

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Any thoughts on NC's current walleye limit of 8 with no slot limits? I understand quite a for walleye especially on Fontana are caught in 40+ feet of water at different times of year so they have limited survival rates, but most are probably caught in less. I'll put back anything 18 inches and over as they should be a spawning fish in the current season. Also, isn't 8 fish a little high? Ontario is 4 with only one 18 or over. Other states don't allow any kept 18-26 inches.

Anyone know if NC has looked at changing the limit, and adding slots? I think it'd be something for a conscious angler to do.
I don't know anything about James or the other lakes. I think I do know something about Fontana.
When fish are caught?
Some are caught during the spawning run but not nearly as many as in the past because there are so fewer of them.
The next bulge in catching comes with those fishing crawlers on clay banks. Like now.
Then there's the night fishing while shallow water is still cool enough for them. Like now.
Summer trolling takes a big toll. Starting 30-40 deep and then deeper as the water warms.
The fall and winter (thru end of January) in water deeper than 40 ft takes more than triple than all the rest combined.
The fall and winter jigging will be as good as it gets, if there are fish to catch. But the numbers caught jigging can't match the trolling.

The limit is irrelevant. If fishing pressure was the problem, then having a smaller limit would resolve the situation in 3 years. Personally I rarely keep any walleye that I think will survive if returned to the water. But we are soon approaching the time where catch and release would do no good. There's no survival when their insides blow out their mouth. If you catch a limit, quit and go home. Don't keep killing them. There don't seem to be a way to make a regulation like that.

The problem is the spotted bass introduced by local fishermen beginning at about 2000. There are literally tens of thousands of them now. There is no solution. Fontana will never be the walleye lake it once was. It's over. For it to be an adequate walleye fishery it will have to be converted to put and take walleye fishery. Heavy stocking miles above the headwaters could allow fingerlings to survive long enough to migrate to the lake in the fall with some percentage of survival. Eliminating the limits on spotted bass would help. That could be done if you could get the cooperation of the bass tournament fishermen. However that could be difficult. Too many of them have been convinced by the TV shows that the best fisheries management technique is for ALL THE BASS caught to be returned to the water. They want to catch big fish but what they get is hoards of small fish that they keep throwing back. The more of them there are the smaller they are going to be. The ecology of Fontana will never allow it to be El Sato.

The limits of 4 fish in the northern lakes don't really bother those fishermen. They can still fish all day, catch as many as they want to and turn them back. They are not killing them. A limit in the spring on Fontana would help in theory. That is, if you could catch that limit.

Sorry for the rant. So I'll try to summarize.
1. The #1 problem is the spotted bass. Removing the limits on spotted bass might help a little.
2. The #2 problem is the catch and release of walleye caught deep once a limit is reached. If you can catch your limit, quit.
3. NCWRC needs to heavily stock way up in the rivers.

Doing all this will help some. The good ole days are gone.
 

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The NCWRC rejected a proposal to make limits on spotted bass liberal.

Unfortunately is not going to happen in this state anytime soon.
 

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Good to hear from you Leonard,....and he's right, there just ain't many eyes left, and won't be til they stock some. Even with a good spawn, which they didn't have the spots are eating all the fry. Don't think NCWRC cares period, or they would have already done something ,wait lets study it some more....LOL.
 

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They were not exactly eager to stock walleye back into Lake James or Lake Glenville but they are now doing it.

It will be a mess if blueback herring get into Fontana.
 

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Just a matter of time til they are there in numbers the way they ran water over the dam last year from Glenville. I have decided that when they are established it will make the spots even better, the walleye worse, and you will just have to fish for what's there. Have been talking to folks about the walleye stocking program on Lanier and most are disappointed, partly because they don't know how to catch them, but with their spots and bluebacks don't see how the fishery can get a very big foothold and they have stocked them for over ten years now.
 

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They would have no choice then but stock triploid brown trout or striped bass to feed on the bluebacks then.

Lanier is primarily managed as a trophy striped bass lake. I'm surprised walleye are in there.
 

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Hello I saw this thread posted after posted my fishing report from James the other day, I hope I didn't ruffle any feathers by keeping that big walleye I caught, I didn't realize a fish of that size from that lake was uncommon , oops, I normally don't walleye fish , and figured from all I've heard they are great table fare, from reading all the comments from you all which make perfect point, I'll be sure to put back the big one for breeding stock, I thought they had a good breeding run in linville to sustain the lake,I did go today and did well again , I'll post report in a sec
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hello I saw this thread posted after posted my fishing report from James the other day, I hope I didn't ruffle any feathers by keeping that big walleye I caught, I didn't realize a fish of that size from that lake was uncommon , oops, I normally don't walleye fish , and figured from all I've heard they are great table fare, from reading all the comments from you all which make perfect point, I'll be sure to put back the big one for breeding stock, I thought they had a good breeding run in linville to sustain the lake,I did go today and did well again , I'll post report in a sec

Nope, just looking to see if there had been much discussion on this. From what I've read they start spawning at 18 inches which is part of the reason for many northern lakes having a slot.

Stocking will help, but letting the fish spawn natrually will help more. There's no reason the 8 fish limit shouldn't be something like 4 with one bigger than 18 or something to that affect at times when the fish are shallower(less than 40 ft) I'm sure lake by lake this may have to be different.
 

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Many years ago, it was illegal to fish the headwaters during the walleye spawn. The biologist now agree that the walleye population is very low, probably due to fishermen catching the bigger fish and the spots eating the fry. At the hearing NCWRC held in Murphy I suggested a return to closing the headwaters during the walleye spawn. They seemed to agree with that idea. If so, the timeline on publicizing changes, hearings, etc would mean the earliest this could go into effect would be next spring. That and heavy stocking well up in the rivers could make a difference. They've mentioned to me repeatedly that they "might" start stocking next spring. Apparently their work is scheduled pretty far ahead. When I talked with them about this last year it sounded like it would take two years for them to incorporate this into their schedule. I don't know much about what all they do and how their scheduling works. I sure am hoping to see a major effort begin next spring that would involve several years of stocking with immersion marking using Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride to give them a way to measure the success or failure of the stocking. When they gill net this allows them to determine whether the fish was stocked or spawned naturally.
 
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They are stocking Chatuge,Hiwassee,Santeetlah, Glenville and James this year.

The problem with stocking Fontana is all the fry will get eaten if stocked into the lake.
 

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How is that there no Spotted Bass in Fontana until the year 2000? Spotted Bass are in every river in this region to some extent.
 

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Spotted Bass are not native to this area. Any where you find them, someone put them there and they reproduced. It's just a matter of who did it and when did they do it. For Fontana that was local bass fishermen who fished the other lakes that had spots. They would catch them at these other lakes, keep them alive, bring them back to Fontana and release them into Fontana. How do I know this. They bragged about it, year after year of what a great fishery they were going to make Fontana. Also I have the gill net studies done by NCWRC and TVA. They weren't here before 2000. Drop by Lemons Branch Boat ramp any Tuesday just before 6:00 pm. They will be assembled for the weekly tournament. Ask them how the spotted bass got into Fontana. You'll hear it straight from the horses mouths. For the most part I think they are still proud of it.
 

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Spotted Bass are in all streams downstream from the Little Tennessee River. They're surely in the downstream portion of the Little T. I know they are or were. I caught some of 'em in the lower Little T before Tellico Dam was built. I've caught them in Fort Loudon. I'm taking your word that none were present in Fontana for a long time but I'm question the assertion that they're not native. The native population could of disappeared after the impoundment of Fontana Lake due to loss of spawning habitat that shocked and confused the fish...?

I think that it stinks that fishermen choose to stock Fontana on their own accord. Fishermen did the same thing to Chilhowee. Three older guys who lived near Chilhowee Dam told me that they had Carolina permits and brought Walleyes they caught in Fontana and put them in Chilhowee. This was back in the late 80's. Today, there's a modest population of Walleyes in Chilhowee. Even though the Walleyes are natives, they'd been absent a very, long time. Their presence has surely hurt the trout stocking in the lake. They're well known predators of stocked trout. These guys were old enough to remember when Walleyes ran up to the Calderwood Powerhouse, before Chilhowee's gates closed back in 1959. Even by 1959, the Walleye run up from Watts Bar must of been fading fast...? The dams changed everything for southern Walleyes, for the worse!

I'm sorry to hear about the decline of Walleyes in Fontana. I'm thinking about going to Fontana and Natahala this summer. I have not fished Fontana since the 70's. I caught such a wide variety of fish in Fontana back then, including Walleyes. I caught just about everything imaginable but no Muskies or Spotted Bass back then.....

I can't understand why Carolina's managers wouldn't want to thin down the Spotted Bass population. Tennessee has increased the Spotted Bass limit to No Limit on Norris Lake. They say that the Spots are hybridizing with Largemouths and this move is supposed to help Largemouth and Smallmouth fishing. Maybe it will help the Walleyes in there too? I think that Walleye fishing is declining there too....
 

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I was looking to see if fisherman had illegally stocked Spotted Bass in Tennessee. Sure enough, the same thing happened at Parksville Lake on the Ocoee/Taccoa River. There's no Walleyes in there, presently, but it's supposed to be the top Yellow Perch lake in the state. The state record of around 2 pounds came from there. The Spots might do the same to the perch in Parksville?

If Spotted Bass s-L-tocking is a fad. I hope it's run it's course!
 

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Consider starting a dialogue with Powell Wheeler, the NCWRC biologist for these western lakes. [email protected]
He's a good source of information and also needs to know what you think.
 

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Spotted Bass are not native to this area. Any where you find them, someone put them there and they reproduced. It's just a matter of who did it and when did they do it. For Fontana that was local bass fishermen who fished the other lakes that had spots. They would catch them at these other lakes, keep them alive, bring them back to Fontana and release them into Fontana. How do I know this. They bragged about it, year after year of what a great fishery they were going to make Fontana. Also I have the gill net studies done by NCWRC and TVA. They weren't here before 2000. Drop by Lemons Branch Boat ramp any Tuesday just before 6:00 pm. They will be assembled for the weekly tournament. Ask them how the spotted bass got into Fontana. You'll hear it straight from the horses mouths. For the most part I think they are still proud of it.
interesting, i have property in north central maine, the same thing happened there around 2001, where the local bass guys thought it was a great idea to introduce large mouth bass into the lakes, the Maine DNR was less than pleased, they have catch and kill posters at the lakes that these rouge stockings took place, i guess that bass clubs across the country have there best interests in mind rather than the natural eco system of the body of water once had
 
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