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Nets, The death of the lower Red if things do not change!


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Nets will be the death of a true world class fishery if change is not pursued and implemented.

Here are two sample articles from the Grand Forks Harold that......well see for yourself folks. If you wish to see the whole article you will need to get them from their web site.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Article 1 of 110; 1090 words
Published on February 3, 2003, Page 01, Grand Forks Herald (ND)

NETTING ISSUES ENSNARE RED RIVER FISHING IN MANITOBA

Source: Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press
One man's decision to string fishing nets across the Red River has recreational and commercial fishers fuming.Dozens of nets - which act like a giant strainer - have been placed in the Manitoba portion of the river between Lockport and Lake Winnipeg by an American Indian man exercising his treaty right to fish for food year-round. Located among numerous ice fishing shacks, the gill nets with 1-inch mesh trap just about anything passing through the murky waters, in which walleye from.............

Article 2 of 110; 745 words
Published on February 3, 2003, Page 01, Grand Forks Herald (ND)

ICE, IRE AND NATIVE FISHERMEN

Source: Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press
In 40-below weather, the fish freeze the instant American Indian subsistence fisherman Jack Stevenson and his friends pull them from the net near the mouth of the Red River.A 25-pound walleye, some smaller walleyes, goldeyes, channel catfish, bullheads and a sturgeon are caught in the gill net. The retired trucker let the huge walleye "breeding stock" and small sturgeon go but kept most of the rest.Net fishing under the ice on the Red is part of his and fishing partner Ralph...........

SAD!

EH!

:{

[This message has been edited by Backwater Eddy (edited 02-07-2003).]

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Exercising his right to fish for food year round might be getting him in a situation where food will be the least of his problems.
Does this guy have a death wish!?

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Did any of see the picture with the article in the GF paper. The guy says he released the walleye, well if he did he put a dead walleye in the water. From the photo in the paper there is no way that fish is still alive and able to be released, just my opinion. The article was horrible to say the least from many different standpoints in my estimation. This was a really sad, sad, thing to see and read.

Jay R

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Jay can you scan it and send it to me.

I have not yet seen it BUT..I did hear that it was the case, dead as a rock.

It was a set-up shot to LOOK like they were respecting the spawners...BS for sure!

I would like the photo if anyone has it.

Please send it to. [email protected]


ed-logo.jpg

[email protected]

[This message has been edited by Backwater Eddy (edited 02-07-2003).]

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Ed,

I have the article on my kitchen table- I'll try remember to bring it next time I bump into you.
It looks like a bad deal and a whole load of bs. Given what I know about the Canadian gov't they won't do crap to any native netters. The guy in the picture says he only catches enough for his family- of course he neglects to mention that what he calls his family is 152 people (not an exaggeration- that's the number they gave in the article). The article ends with a basic "f-off statement to all of the white guys". He says something to effect of the "fish were here first, we were here second. The Whites came later and we were here before them. These fish are ours." Being the bastion of socialism/liberalism that Canada is, I'm guessing that if this one does become a battle, which I actually doubt it will (spineless gov't), the native netters will have their way completely and entirely. I hope I'm wrong.
Yes, I realize that I may ruffle some tailfeathers (no pun intended) with this statement, but keep in mind I'm not cracking on Canadians here, just a messed up bunch of priorities in the gov't.
Scoot

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There is a strong effort under way by some folks we both know to stimulate change. As we know the only way to get politician nervous is to get the press to get involved. That is being worked on with zeal.

It is a political powder keg, so them politicians run and hide when it is brought forward. I think some determined folks will be seeking out their hiding places and getting some results this time around.

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Ed- Sorry I dont have the picture to send you hope you can get it from Scoot. I was absolutly sick to my stomach looking at the picture. It convys a lack of respect for the resourse, that for me is the true underlying problem. Looks like Scoot has both barrels a blazin, as a great conservationalist once said "Givem' Hell"

Jay

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Good Lord! A 25 pound walleye! What a tragedy.... I suppose that fish wouldn't have counted in the record books if caught on hook and line coming from Canada, or would it have?

To only have had one hooked and seen one that size! It makes my knees tremble...

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Look for a HOT article by Don Lamont in the Winnipeg Free Press this weekend, it will stir some pots, big time!

If you have not heard of Don, he is the Canadian version of Al Lindner and a well respected voice in Manitoba. His views will cause some politicians to worry, and pucker some. wink.gif

The nets are not the only big issue in the pot, wait and see Eh!

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Sounds like you're a lot more optimistic about this than I am, Ed. I will admit to being a pessimist in general, but I sure wouldn't be surprised to see this end in a way that is bad for guys like you and me and bad for the fishery itself. I hope the side of optimism prevails here, because if it doens't it sure would suck for lots of us who enjoy this butt-kicking fishery!
Scoot

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I sent Rick a scanned version of the big walleye photo from the article I received.

Personally, I am not so sure it is a #25 walleye, but it is certainly in the high teens, maybe in the 20's? The Winnipeg Press reported it as a #25, they were there at the time, so we have to take then at their word on that.

No matter what, that is 1 fish, of who knowns of how many others that were and are taken from the gill nets? I have received reports he had sumo walleye stacked up like logs in his shed, JUST imagine that EH!

I could just $%%%'n Puke!

If the photo is good enough to use maybe Rick can post a link so folks can see this tragedy in action?

The Canadian Fed has to stop this travesty of exploitation!


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[email protected]

[This message has been edited by Backwater Eddy (edited 02-09-2003).]

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This part of the river contain's some of the biggest walleyes in the world. Losing this fishery would have a negative impact on the economy in that area. This should be something of interest and concern to their goverment. If these natives are that hungery the Canadian goverment should start a food drive to help out the poor souls. I mean who would turn down good canned food for a big mercery filled walleye out of a river that dirty??

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I am not sure what dam your calling "Riverside Dam"? What city and in what region of the Red are you referring to? We catch a lot of big walleye all up and down the Red, and it's tributaries.

In fact most any fish, it it so choses, can migrate from Canada to the headwaters in Wahpeton ND, or beyond. The reconstructed dams on the Red River were designed to aid the fish in migration. Plus when the water is very high, fish can swim about anywhere they please.

Netting on any part of the Red River is a concern of everyone who utilizes the system, as would be concerns of pollutants. Folks need to start thinking along these lines, then things will change for the better for all.

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Ed do you hit River Side dam in the spring? I think The Walleye run starts in Mid April but I could be off. Lot's of 10+ walleyes in a short time. Hey, from where their netting how far could those fish swim up the river. Meaning like are their dams that block them along the way? As far as the netters I think their going to hurt their cause just like the Walers did in Washington. Not many have a soft place for such dumb actions.

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I meant the dam in Grand Fork's by the golf course. Well If those fish can migrate from lake Winnipig to the head waters, than its more than a Canadian problem. I think our DNR's should have a talk with them. If they expect us to keep the river clean "in which we do" then we can expect the net's to leave. Thank's for the info Ed.

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I've fished the Riverside Dam in GF many times. Excellent spot. I've caught many nice fish there and seen many more caught.
Unfortunately, it also happens to be a place for teenagers to get drunk and high and leave their garbage all over the place. It's an excellent policy to take a net down there for any piggy's you might find and haul out a load of garbage in it when you leave. Around the dam and just downstream from it can also be a hot catfish spot once the water warms a little.
Scoot

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I fish the Red River here in Canada north of Winnipeg during the fall and winter. I would like to see the nets go as much as the next person. There is no need for one person to stagger up to 10 nets across the river. This native person has rights under the Indian Act that allows him to fish for sustenance for him and his family but he is obviously abusing those rights. When the Indian Act was created allowing these rights I don't believe the politicians considered that natives would be using gill nets in the future. The Act and rights afforded are obviously behind the times. The Canadian Gov't created this mess and now they have to fix it. Unfortunately they appear too worried to take any action.

Da Sheephead King,

I found your comment about keeping your side of the river clean very interesting. I'm not sure on all the details but is my understanding that a garison project is underway in North Dakota. This garison has the potential to introduce harmful micro organisms into the Red river and Lake Winnipeg. There is some sort of court action taking place between Manitoba and North Dakota in regards to this.

As the Red River originates in the US and ends in Canada I think it is very important that both our governments work together when it comes to the well being of this watershed/fishery.

Tight lines to all those on both sides of the imaginary line we call a border.

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Northern blue,

I agree, our governments do need to work together and make good, informed decisions. However, that imaginary line you're referring to isn't just a line in the sand. It differentiates two lands that operate in very different ways based on very different sets of principles. Based on how well negotiations between the U.S. and Canada have gone in the past on similar issues, I am pretty skeptical that a good decision will be reached as a result of the "powers that be" working together (at least in the short-term). The expression "bleeding hearts" keeps coming to mind when I think of how this won't be resolved well or quickly. I don't mean to make this a political debate, but it's hard to not expect "politics as usual".
Some call it cynicism, I refer to it as realism. I doubt this will be dealt with very effectively in the near future.
Scoot

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I agree Northern Blue.

The city of Winnipeg also has a very big issue with phosphates they dump into the Red, what happened to the funds that were to be put to updating that sewer system. A good question to ask the local folks I think?

The phosphate load being dumped into the Red from the city of Winnipeg is staggering. All of the water plants on the US side have phosphate abaiment systems in place, not so in Canada. Constant water sampling on the US Red has shown a constant drop in phosphate contamination over the past 8 years. While the loads being dumped into the Red from the city's of Winnipeg and others on the lower Red have quadrupled. Many of the locals in Canada are aware of this and are trying to push for rapid change, but it has mostly fallen on deaf ears.

We all can do more, lets start by letting folks know we know!

ed-logo.jpg

[email protected]

[This message has been edited by Backwater Eddy (edited 02-11-2003).]

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Northern blue,

Sorry if I offended you. I just went by what a DNR told me while fishing on the Red. He said the water clarity was the best he has ever seen it. If your goverment put's pressure of ND for the Garrison project great. I just thought any pressure from the states would help your cause! "getting the nets out". NOT that if the net's stay were gonna start throughing SH*% in the river. lol I truly think highly of the ppls of Manitoba, just not the Liberal Agenda of you Goverment, and that's not to say our Goverment perfect either. We as well have had problem with Native Netting. However, I think the Natives have figured it out. Their's more $$ with a 10 walleye on a hook than in the pan. Lower Red Lake might to opon to fishing and free of net's in the near future, and they will be rolling in $$ over it. Their must be some kind of deal the Natives up their would be willing to accept. Maybe your goverment could build them a resort and get them started on a guiding service. That way netting would hurt their own bussiness. Who knows?? I just hope somthing happens before it too late.

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Nothing like a good heated debate to get me all worked up! grin.gif
Lots of good comments and clear heads here. Also, good to see a hot debate that isn't resulting in name calling and stupid rude comments.
Thanks for all the input and commentary- lets see what we can do to spread the word and get something done about this crappy deal.
Scoot

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There are plenty of exceptional guides up there that could, if the gill-netter’s were so inclined, gladly tutor them into guiding. I am certain of that!

An angler brings in on average $150.00 a harvest pound to the associated community’s, per trip.

How much do you suspect a gill net brings in for the same community?

The economics is simple; the good of the one, does not out weigh the good of the many.

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The picture of the alleged released sumo walleye and sturgeon has been in circulation for a while. So I will post a shot that has been circulated.

You judge, was this fish a healthy release as the gentlemen stated?

fca6b305.jpg

Again, that is only 2 fish, of many, many more that have been gill netted.

No accountability, so nobody really knows how high the harvest really is?

Yup...VERY disturbing!

frown.gif

[This message has been edited by Backwater Eddy (edited 02-12-2003).]

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The article did mention something about how it was incredibly cold and the fish would get frosty instantly after being taken out of the water (something to that effect- I don't have the article in front of me).

However, I may be dumb, but I ain't stupid- that fish is stiff as a wedding night pecker! There's no way it swam off if it was released. Clearly there was lying about the release of this biggun, how many other fish do you think he keeps and doesn't fess up about? Ed hit the nail on the head by mentioning a complete lack of accountability.
Also, he mentions he just keeps a few fish for his family. Again, he neglects to mention the family he refers to is 152 people.
Scoot

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I personally think his grand plan is to make a BIG *** STINK, and as much commotion as he possibly can.

Why?

Because he is hoping that the Canadian FED gives him a BIG FAT CHECK to stop the all the whopla....and the netting..and keep the piece.

YUP-YUP?

Ya think?

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I agree with you Ed, he's out for benifits. Plus, right now he's in the drivers seat.

I'm almost certain he will come away good regardless of the outcome. Even if it comes to a pay out, one has to bit their lip and move on. They want to be the victom's in these kind of situations."don't let them" That's how they get their power!

Things like this just put's their reputation as "one's with nature" in doubt. It's clear to see that materials and benifits are of far more concern too them than popularity.

The polititions in Canada are the ones who will be making the final outcome on this. The best think to do is have someone expose them and print it. Theirs no sliding around it, their either for the nets are not. If their name is attached to a yes or no, they will think carefully. Unlike the netter's their popularity does matter!

PS Stu that Lock Port sounds like heaven.

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Went fishing yesterday so I missed out on all the posts. Some really great comments.

I fully agree with what you guys posted. The City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba need to get their acts together and quit polluting the Red with sewer, phosphates and lord knows what all else. Unfortunately it boils down to the almighty dollar. I live in Winnipeg and I can tell you first hand this city is cheap. We can't blame everything on the City of Winnipeg though. Other cities such as Brandon and Portage la Prairie which are located along the Assiniboine River (joins the Red River in Winnipeg) also dump their share of junk into the river as well and this is where the Province needs to jump in.

This fishery brings in a lot of Tourism dollars to both the Province and the cities/towns (Winnipeg, Selkirk, Lockport) that line its banks. The Province needs to wake up and smell the river......if this fishery dies, the Province will lose millions in tourism. This obviously isn't the only reason to work towards saving the Red river and Lake Winnipeg but when dealing with the government it seems that money is the only thing they respond to.

I also agree with the comments about commercial fisherman becoming guides. These guys know the lakes/rivers like the backs of their hands so who better to guide others to the "hotspots". My grandfather guided many duck hunters before passing away. A lot of the hunters he guided were Americans. They would tip him in American dollars and he would spend his tips in Grandforks every winter.

These nets on the Red have to go. I read that article in the Free Press and wasn't impressed. Who did he think he was kidding when he said he released those fish. Unless he pulled those nets up immediately upon those fish being caught and put them back immediately upon taking them out of the net, they didn't stand a chance. He even said in the article that he pulled a barbed jig (illegal in Manitoba) out of the walleye's mouth and blamed it on an angler. He probably pulled the jig out of his pocket just for the media.

Da Sheephead king, no offense taken.

On a good note....as I mentioned earlier, I went fishing yesterday with a couple of buddies. We have our permanent shack on the Red....only a stones throw from some of the nets.....Between the 3 of us we caught 9 fish.....1 burbot, 3 walleye and 5 sauger. One of my walleye was a 29 incher and she was as fat as a football. I wasn't sure if I was going to get her through the 8 inch hole. Took a few pictures of her then sent her on her way. I just hope she made her way thru the nets.

When we left we saw the Conservation Officers monitoring Jack and his crew checking their nets. Not sure what if anything came of it.

Sorry to get long winded there. Take care all and good luck on the water, hard or soft.

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Northern Blue:

The project you are talking about is not Garrison Diversion, which has been going on in one form or another for over 30 years.

I believe you are referring to the construction of a Devils Lake outlet. With the high water years, Devils Lake has grown larger and higher than it has been in a very long time, and many have lost their homes and farm land to the lake.

So many want an outlet built. At a certain level, the lake naturally overflows into wetlands that feed into Stump Lake downstream, and when Stump Lake naturally overflows, it puts D.L. water into the Sheyenne River, which flows into the Red near Fargo, and then on up to Lake Winnipeg.

The man-made outlet suggested, which could relieve flooding pressure from the city of Devils Lake and nearby communities, would send D.L. water downstream much sooner than the natural process (in fact, no one knows whether D.L. will keep rising enough to make it happen naturally).

Your government has raised objections about the possibility of foreign organisms from Devils Lake eventually making their way into the lower Red and Lake Winnipeg. Also, D.L. water is very high in salts, which they fear could degrade water quality. Those things are what the court fight is about. It's hard to say who is right. It appears that Devils Lake has naturally overflowed in its history, sending water and organisms into the Red. However, the Game and Fish introduced striped bass into D.L. many years ago. While they stopped that program and no one has caught a striper for some years, that's one example of an organism that could change the Red's biological makeup.

Garrison Diversion is a different project, one that has been very controversial, is not even now finished, and has for 30 years been a series of channels/waterways aimed at bringing Missouri River irrigation water from western North Dakota to the eastern part of the state.

------------------
"I've driven farther before to catch fewer fish . . ."
Steve Foss
[email protected]

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