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Nate McVey

Walleye limit going down and opener moving up?

29 posts in this topic

This just showed up in the DNT.......what do you think?

Minnesota state lawmakers will consider major fishing changes

John Myers Duluth News Tribune

Published Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Minnesota lawmakers may be about to mess with some longstanding Minnesota fishing regulations.

A key lawmaker on Wednesday unveiled plans to move the state’s walleye fishing opener a week earlier and impose a statewide limit on walleyes of four, down from six daily.

The proposed changes were relayed in a letter from State Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, to state Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Holsten.

The proposals still must pass both the state House and Senate and be signed by the governor to become law. But they signal some major changes in the state’s rich outdoor heritage.

In the letter dated Dec. 17, Chaudary wrote that “we will be considering legislation to begin [the] fishing opener one week earlier than the present schedule. The benefits of this change include bringing the fishing opener to a date consistent with border lakes and border states, benefit resort activities, and reduce conflicts with Mother’s Day. I believe climate changes have impacted the spring spawning such that much, if not all, has occurred by the existing opener date. This should leave any biological impact minimal to none.’’

If the rule were approved and ready for 2009, the fishing opener would be held on May 2 instead of May 9.

DNR officials were not immediately available to comment Wednesday afternoon.

Chaudhary also said lawmakers will consider a statewide slot limit, or length limit, for walleyes. For example, on some lakes only walleyes between 14 and 18 inches are legal to keep; smaller and larger fish must be set free.

While many of the state’s top walleye fishing lakes already have lower limits and more-restrictive size limitations, this would be the first time those limits were imposed statewide.

Biologists have said that lowering the statewide limit to four from six will do little to reduce the number of fish caught because so few anglers catch even four walleyes per trip.

Chaudhary also informed Holsten that he would support a plan, likely emerging from the DNR, for the state to pay farmers to allow hunters access to their land for free. Many Minnesota hunters have complained of having too few places to hunt, especially game like pheasants.

The letter also expresses support for a new conservation fishing license, similar to an option offered in Ontario, where anglers agree to keep fewer fish each day in exchange for a less-expensive fishing license.

Moreover, Chaudhary raised the possibility of eliminating all license fees for children under age 18 to bolster youth participation in hunting and fishing. National trends show fewer youths are going afield.

DNR officials have said that change would cost the agency $2 million annual in lost revenue.

“I believe the Legislature has the ability to compensate this short-term loss, and that the costs are outweighed by the long-term benefit of recruiting youth who will become adult fee-payers,’’ Chaudhary said. “This is an inexpensive investment in our future.”

Other issues likely to be raised during the 2008 legislative session include raising the limit for pheasants; expanding requirements for the use of steel shot and fishing tackle instead of toxic lead shot; and new rules for fish farming, especially minnows in public waters.

Also expected during the session is an agreement on a constitutional amendment that would allow Minnesota voters to dedicate part of the state sales tax for conservation, fish and wildlife.

DNR officials are expected to reveal their priorities for the coming year at their annual roundtable event in St. Cloud the first week in January.

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Pumped, no more fighting with work (Mothers Day Buffet) or the wife to get the opener off.

I was sitting in the GSL budget meeting and yelled "YES" when this came thru my email, I wasn't paying attention to someone asking "are you alright with this bottomline". Sorry shiner, you have to live with it. grin.gif

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Sounds like the price of beer at GSL is about to go up. Kidding! grin.gifgrin.gif

I like the idea of an earlier season. I don't like lowering the limit because there's no biological reason to do it. Only pro in my mind is that anything that can be done to simplify those complicated regs is a good thing.

I don't think a statewide slot makes sense. Slot limits need to be tailored to a specific fishery to work well. They just aren't effective in all situations.

Oh, and I can't really put my finger on it, but the state paying landowners to let hunters on their land leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe it's a little too much like welfare, and aside from the costs to the taxpayer in straight state payments to farmers, it sounds like a bureaucratic nightmare. Besides, it's state government thrusting itself in the middle of what should be a cared-for relationship. I can see hunters frustrated by not having as much land to hunt as they used to, but that's when you get out there and knock on farmers' doors in July and offer to help them around the farm a bit if they'll let you hunt.

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Move Opener one weekend ahead? That'll definitely upset that old saying :I guess we should'a been here last weekend"

Heres a solution. Switch Fathers Day with Mother's Day.

Problem solved.

Drop the walleye limit form 6 fish to 4. I guess that'll only effect a few. Ouch!

Statewide slot? what about those lakes that don't or hardly ever see a fisherman? Or the lakes that have sustained a healthy walleye population with natural reproduction. Oh I forgot MN DNR stocks Muskies in those natural walleye lakes.

How about reducing some exotics that compete with native eyes and open SMBass season year round! Owe! duck & roll for cover.

Eliminating "toxic shot" and replacing with crippling steel shot.

More feel good with no scientific data. We're Minnesota don'sa know.

Up the age of required fishing license to 18. Don't worry they'll make up for that with taxes and user fees later on.

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Well I guess it could be worse like part of wisc. There are some people in office that would like to think they know what they are doing. shocked.gif Sometimes betwen them and part of the dnr I am surprised any thing gets done right or wrong. tongue.gif

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What is the point of this?!?!?! Statewide slot limit?!?! Lower limit?!?!? mad.gifmad.gifmad.gifmad.gif

I'm so dang mad right now that I can't give a good rebuttal.

I'll be back

Justin

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I'll be fishing most eye openers whatever day it is so I think that would be ok, even though we know that North to South & body to body of H2O the spawn is different...

4 eyes to a daily bag is also ok however I'd like to be able to keep 6 in the freezer for family Fry's. So that would confuse some folks & I suspect the # of illegal eyes crossing the borders packed on ice would increase...

STF hit it on the head as far as I can tell regarding slots, for gosh sake, who has tape handy in a loaded canoe to make sure the fish is just under 18" while trolling up a B-dub meal?? confused.gif

LAter -CLoma

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I can see moving the date, it would really help out business up north. I don't understand the whole slot limit change I don't see that as a good idea. Most lakes that need the help have adjusted limits anyways???

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If you read a lot of DNR data you'll notice money brought up quite often. The idea of getting more kids hooked on fishing is a noble one but! Todays kids will be funding the DNR tomorrow. They have projections of how much money they will be pulling in in the future off todays kids.

Its when making money is more important then whats good for the resources that I have a problem with. What they do is put more regulations on fishing to offset their money making plans.

Is the DNR is growing within and putting out less?

Now we have legislature getting involved. Its good for businesses to move Opener ahead one week. To offset that we'll give state wide slots and reduce the daily limit. See what I'm getting at? In addition to slots and reduced limits you'll see more areas closed to fishing.

Depending on the Spring, lakes "up north" will be covered with ice in early May.

Our Fisheries Department is very inconsistent. If they can make a buck or save a buck thats how they swing.

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I don't think that moving the Walleye opener ahead another week is going to help business at all. Especially "Up North". For one thing its pretty dang cold up here in early May typically and the water temps are also very cold. Walleyes are barely getting out of there spawning areas some years when opener hit. Heck, there is ice still floating around on the lakes some years! Who is going to take a weeks vacation and stay up here when its snowing??

Seems that there is a huge volume of people out on opener, then the rush is slowed a bit anyways. It's not that busy again until Memorial day weekend and then we are into summer anyways. So, what's the point? Go out and freeze a week earlier for what? The season is long enough! My gosh, we can fish Walleyes 289 days a year. Sounds to me like bribe money involved somewhere.

I like the arguement that it will help get more kids fishing! Ha!, as if anyone is going to get them away from the XBox, Ipod, computer and cell phone. I would like to see license sales statistics over the last 20 years just to see how much it has declined!

Interesting how the DNR is so willing to move Walleye Opener and not so willing to expand the Trout season. There is no reason why that can't be moved from Dec 1- Oct 1. Their reason for not wanting to expand- historic not scientific. And historic isn't even a valid arguement because it was open earlier prior to 1970.

Statewide slot limit and reduced limit? Why not make it catch and release only??? grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif What is the point of this move??? sheesh, what a joke!

Justin

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Quote:

Interesting how the DNR is so willing to move Walleye Opener and not so willing to expand the Trout season.

Justin


I don't disagree with a lot of what you're saying, bubba, but just wanted to make sure it's clear that it's not the DNR proposing this, but a single legislator.

There's no info in the story on how the DNR stands on any of the issues raised by the legislator.

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Yeah, your right, dude. I guess elevated blood pressure and I should have read it a second time!

Justin

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Man, you weren't kidding about getting your ire up! blush.gif

They may as well continue changes and protect the spawners with a 2 fish limit on the "new" opener week, 4 fish for the next two weeks, and back to 6 after that. tongue.gif

They've put in night fishing bans on Mille Lacs for the first part of the season. Same thing.

Statewide slot? No thanks.

Switching Fathers day and Mothers day around? Perfect!

Hallmark will be all messed up though in MN. Perhaps a state sponsored reimbursement program for them for shipping product out of season? grin.gif

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To many years of fish caught opening weekend and not done with the spawn. When did the dnr figure it was good practice to give up money 1. no $ portasbles, 2. no $ kids 16 and 17. Whats next hunting to. They cant give up to much more money. confused.gif

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Yo Wanderer!!!!

Are you ready for some laker fishing

Hmmm....I tried to do a question mark and this showed up...Þ

Later,

Justin

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If they lower the limit to 4 walleyes, that would mean where I live (NE MN), the limit for walleyes would be 4 and the limit for deer would be 5!!!!?????

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I guess I am a bit confused as to why some of you see this as such a big issue. Lowering the limit to 4...why such a big deal. 4 fish per person is plenty of fish for a meal. If you want/need more for your family...bring a couple of folks along with you. As far as spurring more business for resorts... I guess I am not sure if it will or not, but I can't believe it will hurt any. We in Minnesota seem to jump at the chance to be part of an "opener" or take advantage of all the chances we get experience time outdoors. If all the tradtional people who fish the opener and stay at resorts/motels etc move up to the "proposed opener" that opens up another weekend the resorts can book. Even if it is minimal it is an impact. If by moving the opener up and creating more business has a chance at saving some resorts from turning into condos, associations and the like I am all for it.

As far as a statewide slot, that would simplify the overall regulations, but I am not sure it can be effective. If that was the best way to manage the states waters, I have to believe it would be that way already.

Bottom line, 4 fish instead of 6 no big deal. If the change creates better opportunities for the future and helps to protect our waters and fishing opportunities go for it.

Lastly, everybody keeps talking about the DNR just pushing to get more $$$, more $$$....we talk like all of this $$$ is going into someone's pocket and making some fat cat rich. Isn't it going to improve/protect/manage our natural resources.

Maybe I am an idealist. I guess I just feel lucky we have all the great opportunities we do!

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Your right on the money Coach!

Here's the deal! Whenever new laws, regs, management strategies and the like are proposed, everybody and everyone suddenly becomes an armchair biologists and think they no more then the professional biologists do. Everybody has their opinion on how to run a fishery, and that opinion is usually biased towards how things could be more convenient for them, and make it easier for how THEY want to fish.

Also Catfish brought up a great point that this is being proposed by a legislator WE THE PEOPLE elected!

For some reason, a lot of "outdoorsmen" believe that the DNR and other agencies that manage our natural resources are out to ruin them and pad their pockets. Every biologist out working, collecting the data that the higher ups use to propose these regs don't make a whole heck of a lot of money. They are doing the job because they love the work and are educated and have the knowledge to look at the grand scheme of things.

Also, I highly doubt there would be a state wide blanket slot on walleye. The DNR prides its self on its "tool box" and using special regs for different lakes. They know every lake is unique from one another. I think lakes with special regs will continue to have special regs, and those that do not will be the ones that have a "state wide slot"

IMO these changes are long over due, and I whole heartedly support them!

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First of all when theres data that says changing the 6 eye limit to 4 eye would do nothing, why change it.

Because you feel 4 eyes is enough for a meal is not scientific data. There might be someone else that feels two eyes are enough. Then theres the guy that fishes but won't eat fish, he just wants to catch fish hand over fist and will applaud the day when a everything is C&R for everyone.

It all comes down to forcing one's beliefs on others and stacking the odds in one's favor.

DNR Lake Surveys and Creel Census. WASTE of MONEY. There are way to many variables in the controls. Yet the DNR makes management decisions based on these studies.

Tell me what size eye you want and how many and I'll I bring them to you. I could go on and on how special interest groups get there way with the DNR, none of which are "professional biologists".

I didn't vote for any of these guys.

"State Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee," or "Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Holsten." Nor did I vote for the Governor that appointed him.

Which one of the above is a professional biologist?

Arm chair biologist. I've been fishing for over 40 years.

I can tell you my head hasn't been in the sand all that time. I observe, I learn and I get good. With all due respect, I'll compare your training with that of a student fresh out of Carpentry School. They know the basics. The learning begins once they are employed. They don't know the tricks of the trade, they don't have the hands yet. It will take years of experience to become skilled and even longer to become specialized. The majority won't make it.

I'll bet the Resorts in Northern MN will scream when their lakes are covered in ice on the early Opener and the rest of the State's Resorts have open water. Protecting spawning eyes will play back seat to special interests...again. The one eye over 19.5" is sound management. Increasing them to angling pressure at that time of year is not. When the reg book gets thicker because it'll have every inlet in MN closed to fishing, think that might add confusion?

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Surface Tension---First off, let me just say that what I stated was my opinion and I don't have 40 years of angling experience, but I also don't think that 40 years of angling experience will ever give me the knowledge needed to know how to manage our states fisheries and resources. I don't disagree that you have seen things and learned about how lakes/rivers have changed etc...BUT....

You say because I think 4 is enough, that is not scientific data, but do we have data that says it isn't better for our fisheries????? Just because it is one thing and we don't have data to prove it wrong doesn't mean it is the right thing.

If the way the DNR studies and collects data isn't correct or adequate, I am curious to know what is and what other options we have. Not trying to say you're wrong, just curious as to what other methods are out there that you may know of that may improve the way things are done.

Everybody likes to throw out the "special interest" groups slogan. It makes it easy to cause a stir.... what "special interest" groups would be pushing for this in your opinion.

"Armchair Biologist" I don't think Bluedrifter was trying to say that nobody knows anything, he was basically stating that many people think they know exactly how stuff should be done or managed because they often think about how new rules will effect their small piece of the pie. No offense, but you say that a person straight out of carpentry school knows the basics, but not the tricks of the trade....does angling for 40 years make you an expert or help you know the tricks of the trade as far as how each and every fishery should be managed. I don't doubt you know more about fishing than most of us ever will... 40 years of experience...living in God's country and providing as much good information to users of this site as you do, I don't doubt for a second that you are an accomplished angler, but that doesn't make you an accomplished bioligist. And 40 years of angling experience...not sure that is scientific data.

The bottome line for me is I am glad they are taking a look at it, but I do agree research has to be done. It may be that we have to change the regulations to do the research and compare results to how it all works out. I doubt that Sen. Chaudhary is the biggest voice on the issue...being represented by folks in the Fridley area, he isn't necessarily in the heart of resort country.

Just my opinions.... I will take no offense if I am ripped to shreds. I just don't like the idea of doing nothing because our system works....it doesn't mean we can't do better.

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ST nailed it.

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Quote:

Yo Wanderer!!!!

Are you ready for some laker fishing

Hmmm....I tried to do a question mark and this showed up...Þ

Later,

Justin


In a word: YES! smile.gif Steve got me thinking about an early season pull into the Bdub. cool.gif

Now back to the topic.......I have nothing further to add smirk.gif

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DNR Lake Surveys and Creel Census. WASTE of MONEY. There are way to many variables in the controls. Yet the DNR makes management decisions based on these studies.


First, Thanks Coach. I never claimed to be a biologist myself, I just would much rather base my opinions of how fisheries are managed by studies I have read and things I learned while studing the science, as well my experience fishing for, well, my whole life. It aint 40 years, but give me 10 more and I'll be there with ya!

And ST, thanks for proving my point. Seems like you should be running things. blush.gif

Have you ever taken a statistics class? Don't you think that the statistical methods used in theses surveys take these variables into account?

Biology is not an exact science. And unfortunatly, fisheries managers cannot drain a lake in an instant to get an exact count on the total population. There are only so many things that can be done to do a population estimate. I think you may actually be quite suprised just how close some estimates can be. I had a lot of labs through my days in college where we did experimental population surveys.

Anyway, this is yet another one of those topics that can be beat into the mud repeatedly. And you make a good point on forcing ones beliefs on another ST. I thinks that's kind of what we're doing to each other right now!

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One more thing... is far as I am concerned this whole idea can take a back seat until the pass a dedicated funding bill. I'm sure they will wait til the last minute, attach 40 million things to it and it will never make it to the floor for a vote smirk.gif

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Darn good discussion.

Lots of give and take, and I don't really see this as anyone forcing anyone's opinion on others.

Each has their own opinion, and no opinion carries more weight than any other opinion.

Nobody will be getting "ripped to shreds," either. grin.gifgrin.gif

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