The Mole Lake Fisheries Department is focused on preserving, protecting and enhancing our waters and the natural resources within our waters. This often includes partnering with neighbors in the region, including area lake associations.
In an effort to build on Roberts Lake walleye restoration efforts, the Fisheries Department teamed with the Roberts Lake Association and the Wild Rose Pub & Grill to hold the first Roberts Lake Ice Fishing Tournament on February 1st.
Mike Preul, Director of the Mole Lake Fisheries, said it was a good turnout. “Ticket sales were steady leading up the event. We had 185 participants, and 189 fish were caught, including northern pike and largemouth bass.”
The Tournament had a specific purpose – to remove the overpopulated northern pike and largemouth bass from the lake that have contributed to the decline of the walleye population – and the Fisheries Department has been working steadily to change that trend.
“All of last spring we removed 900 northern pike and 3,200 largemouth bass from Roberts Lake. The tournament helped in our efforts, removing 189 fish,” Mike continued. “We also had northern pike filleting demonstrations and free fish fry samples for people to taste. We want to encourage anglers to catch and eat these fish year around and help with the restoration efforts.”
In addition to the fun and challenge of ice fishing, Mike used this as way to share information on the Fisheries Department’s restoration
work. “We gave a presentation, sharing information on our restorative efforts. People were receptive and support of what we’re doing.”
“Partnerships are really important to us, and we accomplish much more when everyone works together with a common goal and bringing resources that can be shared,” Mike said.
The educational component and the results of removing 189 fish were both important parts of the Tournament, but the fun part was actually fishing! The Mole Lake Casino & Lodge offered a $1,000 prize to the first person to catch a tagged fish. While no one caught one of the elusive tagged fish, Hunter VanZile caught a good-sized largemouth bass. Congratulations Hunter!
The Fisheries Department had posters at the Tournament that explained the lake restoration efforts. These posters are also shared throughout the community and may be viewed at various locations including the Wild Rose Pub & Grill.
Chi Miigwech to everyone who helped at the Tournament, to the Mole Lake Casino Lodge for your support, and to all the fishermen and women who participated!