Well here I go again…
This year was a landmark year for me for age this year. I made it to 60! Have a new grand daughter “Freya” and along with “Isabel” that turned 8 years old this year, I’m a pretty happy Grampa. And after 42 years on the ice and 34 years on cement as a automotive mechanic, marine mechanic and the last 12 years of that sitting on a chair in the marine business I own in the summer I still am moving… 🙂
As most of you know that read my blog/fishing report in the winter alot has happened at Mille Lacs over the last 10 plus years with the fishery and I’m not going to explain it as most know what is going on.
I applied to get on the new Mille Lacs Advisory Committee and was picked to be on it and in the last few weeks and for the first time in along time I’m actually excited to participate. For years the Mille lacs Input Group, (formed after the disbanding of the Mille Lacs lake Advisory Assn. after the treaty court case because of lack of interest due to the US Supreme Court decision in favor of the 1837 Treaty Rights), was formed by the MNDNR for input of the fishery), turned into a “rubber stamp” with two hours meetings once a year which there was no time for anything but to except that. It was totally dysfunctional and finally our MNDNR stopped it. Now there is an opportunity for those of us in the new committee to meet regularly, talk about issues concerning the fishery we are concerned with besides the regulation changes as before. In my opinion it is a start, even though there is a long road ahead. But we do have a voice now at the least.
But sadly anglers in this State are getting so opinionated because of the “species” they want to fish for are breaking up what could be a group of all fishermen that if unified to one cause could speak together to help this lake and change something for all the lakes in the State of Minnesota.. and maybe other States also. Change always happens….but does anyone realize that working together (speaking of fishermen as a whole), could help change something much bigger and more important than just what they want to catch? I’m thinking so if they would….How about instead of “pushing” for one species and it’s regulation changes to work for them…. Focus on who manages the State of Minnesota’s fisheries first? Then worry about how any one lake is managed after that.
Treaty rights are one thing, but if it affects a fishery’s decline, we should be able to challenge the methods and timing of harvest to protect the resource. And in my opinion, that has happened here at Mille Lacs Lake and has led to it’s decline of Walleyes in Mille Lacs over the years since the court case, Despite the claims of “global warming”, “zebra mussels”, and a U of M biologist/scientist backed up the MNDNR studies, doesn’t have in my opinion any “common sense” beyond what reports he analyzes that are given to him. Mainly created because all of the “political” side of all this mess the State of Minnesota is in.
I believe we need to have a consensus as a big group of fishermen to promote change if what is most important is to happen. Not as small groups protecting their “species” they want to catch… Otherwise the group of people with the most power and influence in Minnesota because of lobbyists, etc…. and most know who they are,… are slowly taking control of how the State’s fishery’s are managed sit back and laugh because of the angler’s lack of organization… Right now that is what is happening…. Many of you fishermen don’t realize how important this is…and unfortunately most don’t care about how big that could become…
Mille Lacs Lake’s Walleyes are rebounding thanks to a 2013 spawning season where they were left undisturbed by due to the late ice that stopped the disturbance of spawning grounds before the normal state regulated angling season, ( A principle that the State of Minnesota ‘s DNR has practiced for a very long time). And the results speak for themselves despite what you read or hear differently. And the 2014 isn’t too far behind I believe and if they make it through the next year they will be represented in the fall surveys as it was a very late year for ice also. The good news for us is that there is evidence of that the Perch size is slowly increasing and there is some strong consistent year classes of Tullibee in the mix which this lake needs to support larger fish.
Regulations were “recommended” by the committee last week and the overall consensus was to be conservative for the Walleyes which I believe is good. I don’t like “caps” and “closures” like what has occurred here recently. Fortunately because of winter the “mortality rate” is very low if fishermen catch and release properly, so a “closure” will not happen if the “cap” is met. And as part of an organization, (MLLAA that in 1986 worked for proper “catch and release” methods) to prevent unnecessary loss of Walleyes which was at time unheard of). I think it is time it should be reintroduced.
And the idea of “judging” this lakes population based on a fall gill-netting survey once a year, (because of “Treaty Management” that we have lived under for too long has to go.) NOBODY can accurately assess this lake that way. The MLLAA years ago got the MNDNR to do yearly assessments. Before that they only “assessed” Mille Lacs every five years. At one of the MLLAA meetings a few years after it was done yearly, we asked them how it was working and if yearly assessments were worthwhile. They said that they helped, but could not accurately judge it on one year alone. but it helped in forming trends of what was happening. So there you go. “Treaty Management” based on and inaccurate year only “assessment” cannot be done because of too many variables.
That is enough for this this report, but there is more I will be “blogging” about. it is my hopes those of you will read this start to share it and we all need to change this for the sake of the Mille Lacs fishery. And for all the fisheries around this state and maybe start the trend around the rest country. Most of the USA fisheries a subject to variations of this form of mismanagement.
Keep a Tight Line!