Msg 1 Posted: 08:58 PM 07/09/09 (CST)
To release or not..Now that's a question?|
This editorial in not the opinion of the Voyageur Press, but mine alone and
from what I gather many others out there in the Minnesota Northland.
So I thought to dedicate a column for this taboo topic.
I will be the 1st one to admit that for decades dating back to the late 60's
catching fish and keeping everything we caught within the limit, which
included the "BIG" fish.
I can remember going from house to house along the lake showing off our big
It seemed at the time the thing to do. Everyone along our lake did it.
Sometimes we would keep the big fish in the live well for extended periods
so that phone calls could be made.."hey you have to come see this fish"!
There is also the mindset that we have to eat and I'm eating everything I
catch, which would include those big fish.
So what if I'm legal ? It's all good right? Well there is a difference
between legal and ethical.
As the decades pass we fishermen and women get better at what we are doing
out there because our gear i.e..rods, reels, gps, fish locators help us to
become more dialed in.
The bass tournaments' saw back in the late 60's that they were hurting the
lakes by taking all of those bass so the decided to go to all lengths to
keep those fish alive and release them. There by maintaining that quality
bass fishery for subsequent tournaments.
Now I am not big on big government and to suggest that we mandate a "slot"
goes against my grain, however not all fishers are releasing those bigger
breeders especially when the bite is hot.
The damage is not always seen immediately, but let me assure you the damage
is being done.
There are lakes like MilleLacs, Leech, Lake of the Woods and Upper Red that
have all prospered with a tight slot. Maybe all lakes should have slots
depending on what our DNR biologists recommend.
For the next 25 years we will have extra tax dollars that go specifically to
the lakes so maybe this extra money could fund those biologists to do what
needs to be done.
I've been told.....don't name this lake or that lake and some will not even
share their stories with me afraid I'll expose these lakes. Many are smaller
and could not handle the pressure.
Well if we would stop being so greedy and start to release more fish it
would never be an issue, but I know that will never be unless we start to
change our ways.
Sure some would say.....let's try to educate the fisher.
That's just like what we say about locks.....they only keep the honest people
I will admit that I have in my younger years been apart of the raping of
some of these lakes. It was only a few years ago that I had learned about
the damage I've been apart of.
Just the other day a guys comes out to tell me and my partner that we had to
stop fishing. We had caught over our 20 fish. He also went on to say that
what I was keeping.10 to 11 inch crappies were the small ones and that he
kept the bigger ones.
I have to say I admire his desire to protect that fishery, but to come out
and harass.He should have contacted the DRN to let them sort it out and if
there was some education that needed to done well then they were there.
Secondly....if he kept the bigger ones, well those were the breeders. And
lastly my boat had caught many slabs that day and tossed them back trying to
find those medium sized eaters. All this lakeshore owner saw was us rearing
on all of these fish and assumed we were keeping everything.
I did have the local CO out there the next day to see if this gentleman
would continue but the bite was not there and this misguided neighbor did
not make his appearance.
The point is let the DRN handle enforcement and education when it comes to
laws being broken.
Getting back to Catch, Photo, Releasing (CPR)
Everybody wants to catch big fish and the only way they get big is if they
There are not these pristine never been touched by man lakes around anymore,
so we have to change the way we fish. We have to let some big ones go. Let
them go, let them grow!
Keep the smaller fish, they taste better anyway. The meat is firmer and they
cook up a bit faster.
I know some folks are already to start throwing stones, but if we do not
take care of the lakes we use the DNR will almost be forced to do what we
could not do.
Slots have been proven to work. Education seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
So when cornered I will support a slot..too bad we have to mandate ethics.
See ya on the water
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