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hanson

MN/WI Border Water Bait Battle

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hanson

Here's the scoop from the Star Tribune today.

Wisconsin may refuse to take the bait

Regulation of imported bait to stop the spread of a fish disease could hurt Minnesota minnow dealers.

By Doug Smith, Star Tribune

"An emergency rule approved by Wisconsin officials Wednesday bans the importation of live bait unless it meets strict federal requirements, a move that could have major implications for anglers and Minnesota's multimillion-dollar bait industry.

The rule, which will go into effect by Monday, could shut off a prime market for Minnesota minnows.

And if that happens, Wisconsin anglers -- and the many Minnesotans who fish there -- could find minnows more expensive and harder to find. "If they do shut her down on Monday, and enforce it, there's going to be some problems over there," said Mike Lint of West Central Bait & Fisheries in New London, Minn.

And, said Lint: "If I can't ship out of state, there's no use being in business, because I can't feed my family on the bait I sell in Minnesota."

The measure also could open a can of worms for anglers fishing the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers, which border Minnesota and Wisconsin. They may have to prove that the minnows in their boat came from Wisconsin.

The emergency action by the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board is intended to slow the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, a fatal fish disease spreading through the Great Lakes. It has been called "Ebola for fish" because it kills them by causing severe internal bleeding. Large fish die-offs have occurred in several areas.

The disease, believed to have entered the Great Lakes in the ballast of oceangoing ships from Europe, has been found in all of the Great Lakes except Michigan and Superior, and appears to be moving west. Officials believe it will soon be found in Lake Michigan.

Minnesota officials have been watching the VHS developments closely, said Ron Payer, fisheries chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Under the new Wisconsin rules, anglers also must drain all water from bilges, ballast, buckets and live wells immediately after leaving the Great Lakes or Mississippi River drainages.

Minnesota bait producers still can ship to Wisconsin if they can show that their minnows are VHS-free, but that could be difficult.

"Most of our bait comes from wild populations, so each pond will have to be tested, or each lot of minnows," said Roy Johannes of Minnesota DNR fisheries. "Currently the testing process takes 28 days. That will really put a crimp on shipping any bait into Wisconsin from our state."

And the testing, depending on how much is required, is expensive.

"That's ultimately going to have to come from somewhere," Lint said. "It's definitely a bad deal."

Wisconsin is trying to be proactive, officials there said.

"VHS is one of the most serious threats that we've seen to Wisconsin's fisheries and our $2.3 billion fishing industry," DNR Secretary Scott Hassett said in a statement this week.

In Minnesota, about 1.5 million anglers spend more than $1.9 billion yearly, including at least $50 million for bait."

How does this affect us?

Put simply, you cannot bring bait bought in MN across the border and launch in WI, this includes the Mississippi River. You would have to fish with bait bought in WI. So no launching in Prescott or no launching at Evert's Resort on P4 with your MN minnows. frown.gif

There are other major implications as well that affect the many tournaments held on P4 & Lake Pepin.

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youngie22

thanks for the article, very intresting subject. Not good news for bait dealers; but maybe for our fisheries?

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Dahitman44

I think that is totally nuts. I understand their point but trying to control it would be a mess.

My thoughts ...

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McGurk

As far as MN Bait dealers go, do most MN bait dealers sell out of state? Is WI getting most of their bait from us, and is there a shortage of bait dealers in WI that would negatively impact WI fishing? Getting one bait shops' opinion is poor reporting in my eyes.

If this is moving west, would WI also not accept bait from the states to the east? As far as WI tightening up the borders, don't they border 2 great lakes, while we only border 1? This WI bill seems to be more aimed at Michigan and other states bordering the named Great Lakes than us to control the spread effectively; maybe MN should pass similar bans.

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sparcebag

Look at all the unwanted species that came from ballast water! ya think our people who control the Great Lakes would have caught on by now.but the BIG money companys complain it will cost more! Lets get real and protect our waters!

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gunflint

And exactly which big money companies are we talking about?

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MuskieJunkie

I read that article but it didnt click that you can't fish the Mississippi with MN bought bait. That is going to hurt some local bait shops that cater to the river.

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Sproguy

Muskie Hunter, you got a great point but my question to the great state of WI is:

Did you somehow purchase our half of the Mississippi? When did that treaty get signed? See my point, it is almost impossible to enforce this law! So I buy bait in MN, launch in MN and so I can't take my bait across the line and fish on the WI side? WHAT??????

I respect that they need to try to fight the problem but not by making crazy rules that are almost impossible to follow for the fisherman and the bait shop owners and such.

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youngie22

No treaty needed, they can control their side of the river... If you launch in MN you are fine, if you cross the border and launch your boat in Wisc, you would have to leave you bait at home. Can't cross the border w/ minnows, that simple if that were the law. May make for some busy MN boat ramps along the mighty mississippi.

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swampman

My dad was in the wholesale bait buisness for 40 yrs (retired in ottertail county now and quite happy to be there)and I worked with him for 20 yrs 10 yrs full time, I have been out of it for 11 yrs now but will answer what I can. This is going to be bad for alot of minnesota dealers and worse for some of the wisconsin guys. wisconsin bait dealers dont catch enough wild minnows to meet demand at least not for the first month or so of the season anyway possibly longer. For those that don't know most of the wild bait (fathead minnows) shipped around the country come out of minnesota and south dakota. Do most minnesota dealers export? yes either directly or inderictly we sold directly to one wisconsin dealer in the spring, sold most of our bait to other minnesota wholesalers who hauled out of state to places such as florida, quad city area in iowa/illinois and to some eastern states such as ohio. most minnesota dealers dont make there whole living off of the bait shops where most people buy there minnows, some do but most don't we only sold to only one bait shop for the most part, it was a good one in a good location it made us enough money to put gas in the trucks for the year. I really don't see what this ruling does other than them trying to be proactive and do something as far as I know this has'nt jumped out of the great lakes into inland waters, in minnesota anyway. This whole invasive species thing in the great lakes has been going on for quite awhile and nothing has been done and now alot of little guys who had nothing to do with it are paying the price. Bad deal for everybody.

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croixeyes

That may be true but Everts is the only game in town as far as launching for a good part of the winter.And really,what sense does it make that you can fish the river with Mn bait if you launch in Mn but launching in Wis you cant use Mn bait.The bait is going into the same water no matter what side you launch from.This will be a major headache for both sides confused.gif

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CrappieAttitude

This kind of make me laugh...

I've got it...Here's the solution...

Buy a scoop of minnows at a WI baitshop, and Buy a scoop of minnows in a MN baitshop and when questioned by whoever is going to enforce this, make sure you show them the right receipt. grin.gifgrin.gif

I can't believe that this could be enforced in any way.

CA

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