Griffy Bluegill Hogs Threaten Good Fishing For All
Time for Bloomington to put 20-fish limit on Griffy?

By Don Jordan

posted 11/3/07

Lake Griffy has been an all star bluegill fishing lake this year, but with hundreds of good bluegill fishermen taking 60 to 100 fish or more a day out of the venerable lake on Bloomington's north side, how long can the good fishing last?

Not long if recent research and new ideas about managing bluegill are correct.

"Many fish managers are beginning to believe that overfishing -- not stunting -- is the reason some lakes do not produce the big bluegill they once did. In such cases, growth rates are normal and food is plentiful, but anglers simply catch and remove all the good-sized fish, leaving behind the smaller bluegill, which multiply without the controlling influence of the large fish," says the Minn. Dept. of Natural Resources.

"If this is true, the solution seems to be more straightforward: more big sunfish must be left in the lake if people are going to continue to enjoy catching them. Again, a diverse approach seems most promising. A few "trophy bluegill" lakes could be managed with a restricted harvest of big sunfish -- perhaps even a catch-and-release requirement. Most lakes would continue to be managed with a liberal bag limit to provide panfish for the pan."

One thing the Minn. DNR does not mention is daily bag limits on bluegill. Many northern states, including Minnesota, do have a daily bag limit on bluegill. In Wisconsin, the limit is 25 bluegill a day with a possession limit of 50.

Indiana has no limit on bluegill, and as a result, there are an unfortunately large number of anglers out there willing to take 100 nice 'gills a day out of a public lake like Griffy.

The saga of Lake Griffy goes back to a lake "restoration" done by the DNR in the late 1980s. The lake was drained, some fish saved and the rest poisoned in an attempt to rid the lake of gizzard shad. It worked and Griffy became one of the hottest panfish lakes in the state right up the the point where someone dumped Brazilian Elodea into the lake.

The weed covered the lake and made fishing all but impossible, but after the weeds were finally poisoned in 2006 and anglers hit the lake again, it was bonanaza time.

The fish had never left Griffy, but the weed cover did allow the population to recover enough to begin producing 8 and 9-inch bluegill again. Now since the fish have no place to hide, even fair fishermen can track them down and haul out 50 to 60 nice bluegill a day.

So, listen up bluegill hogs. If you are out there catching and removing 50 or more bluegill a day from Griffy, you are about to ruin it for yourself and all the rest of us.

Remember to take what you need and eat all you take. I cannot imagine a scenario where one guy needs 100 bluegill a day to feed himself and his wife and kids. Please stop feeding your entire neighborhood and limit your catch to the 10 or 15 bluegill you actually need for dinner tonight.

Otherwise, Griffy's days as a number one public bluegill fishing hole are numbered. Crappie will begin to dominate an ever-smaller size population of bluegill and we'll end up with yet another good bluegill hole that "used to be."

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©Copyright 2007. Donald Lee Jordan.