Monday, August 5, 2013

Smallmouth bass unusual fish for Red Lake

Mike Lundy holds up 15-inch smallmouth bass taken in Red Lake
Bow Narrows anglers Mike and Tate Lundy got a surprise a little while back when the fish on the end of Mike's line turned out to be a smallmouth bass! It is only the second verified smallmouth ever taken at our camp.
Smallmouth bass are actually an invasive species in Red Lake. They are abundant in lakes far to the south but are not native in this area. The species seems to be making a relentless migration northward.
I have heard that misguided individuals actually stocked the bass in small lakes on the Red Lake water system. It is probably only a matter of time before they become commonplace.
It is always a bad idea to introduce a new species to an ecosystem. For one thing, the lake can only support a certain amount of fish. When you put a new species into a lake, a native species is going to suffer.
In many lakes between Red Lake and the U.S. border, the species that suffered was walleye. Those lakes now have great smallmouth fishing and not-so-good walleye fishing.
Here on Red Lake we have excellent walleye fishing and would just as soon keep it that way.
Biologists have told me that the smallies will remain a marginal species as long as the walleye population is healthy. However, if the walleye population becomes overfished or undergoes some other stress, the bass could someday take over. That is what happened on the other lakes.
That day is probably a long way off for Red Lake. Smallmouth bass here are still an extreme rarity.
Incidentally, if you look in the photo above you will see that Mike and Tate were using a drift sock while fishing. They didn't use it while trolling, just to slow their drift while casting for northern pike.
They reported it worked beautifully.

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