I don’t spend a lot of time posting stuff on this site or on my Facebook site that is solely based on my opinion. Unfortunately the recent decisions made by the DNR has left me frustrated enough to share my thoughts. The norm for me is to find a solution and fix the issue if I don’t like something. (Don’t whine, change it.) The issue typically does not deserve my time if I have no control over the final outcome.
I unfortunately do not have any control of what happens on Mille Lacs, but in this case I can’t help myself from sharing my thoughts. Mille Lacs will not thrive again until people start to face the brutal reality. I don’t for a second pretend to have the knowledge possessed by the DNR or the professionals working to solve the issue. I certainly don’t know or fully understand all the contributing factors that have caused the significant crash in the walleye population. What I do know is that some common sense needs to be brought back into the equation. People need to stop worrying about political correctness, face the brutal reality, and do his/her part to help rebuild one of the best resources in the country.
It starts with getting the nets out of the Lake. Please stop reading this if you think this issue is about race. It isn’t! We could debate all day about politics, beliefs, and opinions related to these rights. I am not interested in a debate, I am interested in common sense. The netting all but destroyed Red Lake, prior to the years and years of interventions to rebuild it. It has nothing to do with who is taking the fish, but more so it has to do with the devastation and lasting impact the netting has on the lake. Past history tells us what will ultimately happen to the system. Common sense tells us that no one should be allowed to take thousands upon thousands of fish out of the system during the spawn.
It does not stop with just removing the nets. We ALL need to do our part. I wholeheartedly support the decision made by the DNR to have a catch and release only season. Enjoy your friends and family, enjoy the resource, enjoy the sport of fishing and stop worrying about keeping the fish. There are 9,999 other lakes in this state in which you can put together a stringer of fish for a fish fry.
Each and every angler must also do his/her part in educating people. We all need to learn proper fishing etiquette to reduce the amount of hooking mortality that goes on. Please take the time to learn how to protect this valuable resource. We all need to be diligent when it comes to properly handling fish, correct hook removal, quick transitions back into the water, and appropriate releases. It is also our responsibility to stay educated as it relates to invasive species. We all need to do our part to minimize the amount in which they are spread.
As much as I agree with catch and release, I could not be more adamantly opposed to the lake being limited to artificial bait. I sincerely believe this decision will do more harm to the local economy than it will good for the lake. The average angler will pass Mille Lacs to go fish on Winnie, LOTW, or Red where they can use the fishing technique of their choice. Common sense again should tell us that the good that could come from this does not out weigh the bad. You will literally see several local businesses close their door as a result of this decision.
A little common sense could go a long ways……………..