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DEADhead

If anyone is interested in what the rules are for permitting a fishing tournament they can be found here:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing/tournaments/regulations.html

Minnesota Rules, Chapter 6212.2500, Fishing Contests, and Minnesota Rules, Chapter 6212.2600, Possession of Fish, explain the statue behind issuing permits. Unfortunately these rules cannot be found online; they can be obtained by the Revisor of Statutes.

Regarding a question from another post, live-release contests for Walleye can be denied

1) from Labor Day to Memorial Day for all inland and border waters, except L. Mille Lacs, located in counties south of Wilkin, Otter Tail, Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing, Aitkin, and Carlton counties.

2) from June 14 to Labor Day for all inland and border waters, including L. Mille Lacs, located in counties north of Travers, Grant, Douglas, Todd, Morrison, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, and Pine counties.

There are a whole bunch of other factors regarding live-release tourneys. Mandatory equipment include, boat livewell capable of holding one pound of fish per gallon of water and equipped with functional water recirculation and aeration systems. Holding tanks used at the weigh-in must be capable of maintaining dissolved oxygen at 5ppm or higher, and capable of holding no more than one pound of fish per gallon of water. Boats all leaving at the same time from a centralized area, or in an area of high traffic or navigational higher are grounds for denial. Factors such as distance from Lake the off-site weigh in occurs, location of release of fish in lake in relation to the home area where it was caught, compromising the genetic integrity of the fish in the lake, and the presence of invasive species in a lake.

As you can see there are many factors regarding issuance of a tournament permit. The above-mentioned items are just the tip of the iceberg. The main idea behind the permitting is to not jeopardize fish health and fish populations.

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threeway

It doesn't matter how we slice and dice it. The PWT is coming in and having a kill tourney. There is no changing that, this is what the DNR is allowing them to do, this is what the DNR thinks is O.K. for our resource. End of story. Let's make this PWT very enjoyable and welcome the top pro fisherman that were hand picked. These guys are the best of the best. Stop and watch the weigh-in, and see what these boys can do on unfamiliar water. grin.gif

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DEADhead

Quote:

The PWT is coming in and having a kill tourney. There is no changing that, this is what the DNR is allowing them to do, this is what the DNR thinks is O.K. for our resource.


The whole point of my post was that if the DNR didn't think that the fish could be released with a high probability of survival, then they wouldn't allow a live-release tournament, and would then make the tourney a "kill" tourney. That's all.

Should be interesting to see the fish they catch at the weigh-in. There'll probably be some nice hogs out there!

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PBullet

I don't see 50 boats doing any damage to Ottertail regardless, but I do see the PWT as setting an example. If they don't feel it's worth it to release, why should everyone else? I can see this is an unpopular opinion, but have to give it. I've seen so much support on this site for release in the past I'm a little surprised to see everyone back down when it's the PWT. I like to eat fish as much as anyone, but I support slots and releasing any fish caught over 20 inches if it has a chance to live. That's a lot of eggs over the years.

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PBullet

Before I get laid into, I do want to say that I read the DNR regs on tourneyments and they make sense and appear very comprehensive. I don't however agree that we always just have to go along with what the DNR says, look at Leech Lake. Public opinion matters and if we don't feel something is right we should let the DNR know. These lakes are each of our responsibilities and I would not apologize for being overprotective. I'm not anti-tourneyment(although I feel the schedule is heavy on OT this spring) and look forward to the business the tourney will bring into the area. It'll be interesting to see how they do. It just seems that if anyone should have the technology to keep these fish alive and set an example for us amatuers, it's the PWT pros. I'll stop now, since I've already blown this out of proportion. Thanks for listening.

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DEADhead

PBullet, your opinion does matter. Speak with the Area Fisheries Supervisor if you have concerns. Go to public meetings. Give your input.

I agree with you that professional tournaments should lead by example with live-release tournaments. You have to understand that every state has different regulations for tournaments. Minnesota appears to be one of the stricter states when it comes to permitting tourneys. I believe that is because we take Fish Management seriously put fish health in priority. Other state seem to cowtow for tourney dollars, and disregard the well being of their fish. I think as professionals, the PWT and others should conform to every states regulations, and make it such that every tournament is a live-release event. I believe one of the main factors why the PWT tourney on Otter Tail is a kill tourney is the off-site weigh-in. I know these guys love the off-site weigh-ins because they make good tv, and that pleases the sponsors. There needs to be a better way of having these weigh-ins without affecting the fish, or the sponsors...

As far as the DNR role in Leech Lake, don't forget that the Leech Lake Band as well as the USFWS help manage the lake as well. There were many factors contributing to what many locals call a "lack" of fish. I don't believe poor management by the DNR lead to a decline in walleye year classes. I think a lot of it had to do with Cormorants, poor year class development, and poor forage. Weather and and climate patterns also have an effect on the lake. Every fish population in a lake has it's highs and lows; they occur naturally. I personally don't agree with the locals and Richard Sternberg and their decree for 20+ million fry to be stocked in Leech. I think that is a ridiculous request of the DNR/Leech Lake Band/USFWS, and not sound biology. Genetic integrity of the existing walleye population may be in jeopardy. I realized the DNR will try their best to avoid such a problem, but with having to produce those kinds of number, it will be difficult. The other perspective to this issue, is that by stocking more fry into Leech, you will taking away fish that could be stocked elsewhere. The budget allows for only so many fish, most importantly man hours to be spent stocking. I think the DNR caved because they didn't want to get in a mudslinging event with the locals. They are still trying to 'blame' the DNR over the cormorants.

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DEADhead

I guess I goofed in my first post. Tournament rules CAN be found here . check out chapter 6212, sections 2400 through 2800

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Code-Man

These guys are professionals. They aren't going to be digging for a hook with a deep hooked fish. They have done this before and they get penalized for bringing in a dead fish. If the DNR didn't think it would hurt the lake that bad they wouldn't have let them have the tournament. You don't see LOW going down hill from having a tournament up there. You don't see Lake Erie goind down hill because of all the tournaments out there either. These guys are profesionals and have the top equipment that is on the market.

Code-Man

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DEADhead

Just for some perspective, albeit maybe an unpopular opinion, but these "professionals" are not gods. Yes they get into some great fish, but they are human just like the rest of us. While the DNR allowed for the permit, it does not mean that Fisheries Management likes it. The PWT and many other high profile tournaments, give a high list of demands to the DNR for hosting a tourney. Some of them unreasonable. I believe they feel they can demand them because of the reputation of their name. I won't go into specifics, but there are reasons that those in Fisheries management aren't fond of tournaments.

Just food for thought...

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RK

Hiya -

Just a couple thoughts on this. I have a cabin in the area (well, more toward Pelican Rapids, but close enough that I fish OT sometimes and have for years), plus have some pretty close connections with the PWT from both sides of the fence - anglers and tournament officials - so I've been watching the discussion with some interest.

The PWT did request a live release permit for the Ottertail event, but weren't able to do so. It sort of points out one of the issues with the way the statues and corresponding rules are currently written. Right now the DNR is asking the legislature to make some changes to those statues so they have a little more elbow room within the rules process to make decisions on permit parameters.

Live release events and offsite weigh ins are, I think, a significant factor in that. There's a lot of ongoing research on the effects of live release events in terms of delayed mortality. In fact, there's a multi-year, multi-agency study going on right now that's being coordinated by the MN DNR on walleye tournaments. There's also significant research on bass events that has led to some real innovations in how weigh-ins are handled in some events. The weigh-in itself is where a lot of the survivability issues come into play. If anyone wants to do some reading on it, go search on the Shimano Water Weigh-in System...

For the tournament anglers, it's a real issue with them as well. It's a business, sure, but these guys (at least the ones I know well) are fishermen too, and they don't like to harm the fishery any more than any good sportsman does. It's an especially serious issue with them as well from a business angle - they're under the microscope, and they know it. But every one I've ever discussed this with - it's a conversation I've had with several tourney guys - has always cited concern for the fishery before the business aspect of it. There's a real desire there to improve how fish are handled and make release more successful. They recognize the need to do so. As one of them once told me, "when I get to the weigh-in and the fish in my livewell are so wild I can't catch them, but by the time I'm done weighing my fish, they're on their sides, something has to change..." In the major events (the ones that typically have offsite weigh ins), the boats are almost always equiped with high efficiency livewell circulation systems, and often with oxygenation systems. Dead fish cost these guys $$, so they go to pretty significant lengths to keep them kicking. But whatever the livewell setups, the weigh in process is often where things fall apart. If they can show they can make their process better and improve survival rates (and the research done by Dr. Tufts from Queens Univ. in Canada that provided the basis for the Shimano system indicates that it can, with relatively low cost to the tournament organizations), the DNRs will be a lot more willing to allow them to hold live release events. Hopefully that will happen.

I'm going to be at a meeting later in the month with the DNR where tournament rules are discussed with most of the major tournament organizations in attendance. I expect a fairly lively discussion...

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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Mille Lacs Guy

I think you should go into specifics about what the fisheries managers don't like about the PWT. Don't tease us saying they don't like something and then say you won't go into specifics. There is obviously something that they don't like so why not post it?

As far as what I've heard the DNR isn't going to bend over backwards to allow these tournaments. I don't see the PWT having any power here over the DNR to make unreasonable demands. The DNR can simply say no and the PWT will have to go to another lake. I think the PWT tries to work with the DNR to the greatest extent possible on these tournaments. Maybe I'm off on that but I guess that's what I've heard in the past.

Also, in a post above there was discussion about anglers thinking if the PWT can have a kill tournament why shouldn't we (fisherman) keep all the fish we catch, or something to that affect. I understand what you are saying but I don't think the PWT is out there requesting kill tournaments. That's totally in the DNR's court.

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island guy

I believe ones opinion either pro or con regarding tournaments should be voiced. I call and write the DNR frequently with my opinions and try to attend public hearings. I cringe at the thought of government making decisions without public input. Whatever your feeling or belief, without voicing it to those who make policy, you're really not making a difference. It may not go the way you want it to but at least you were part of the process of being heard. Just my 2 cents.

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DEADhead

Quote:

As far as what I've heard the DNR isn't going to bend over backwards to allow these tournaments.


That's true, and I would expect the Fisheries managers to abide by that. No one should get special exceptions to game and fish rules. The impression the managers get from the promoters of the tournaments is one in which they feel that they can demand whatever they want because of their name. Someone mentioned that the DNR is trying to relax rules allowing for more tourneys; my imperssion of the matter is actually the opposite. I feel that they are trying to make the rules more specific, so that the guidelines for live release tournaments, for example, are more cut and dry.

I am not going to use this forum to relay comments made during a regional area supervisor's meeting. Items covered on agenda during an offical meeting are public record and can be requested by anybody. If you want to know your Area Supervisor's view on tournaments, then call and talk to them. It is not my place to make statements for anyone else without their consent. Also, some of the opinions expressed by these managers were in a confidential personal conversation, and that is not a matter of public record. So no, I will not go into specifics.

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RK

Hiya -

Deadhead... You were likely referring to my post when you mentioned 'relaxing the rules...' That isn't exactly what I meant (my fault for not being clear). It'd be more accurate to say they are making some of the statutory language from which the rules are drawn clearer, as well as making some changes in the permitting process. Currently there are some elements of the tournament rules as they're being applied today that the DNR Commissioner wasn't convinced the department had the statutory authority to be applying. The proposed statutory changes mainly address those kinds of things. The end result will be greater clarity for the Dept in what they can include in their Rules and likley some greater flexability in the permitting process.

I do think that the live release and offsite weigh in issue needs to be looked at more carefully, and I think the research that's happening right now will help define what success rates are for walleye tournaments that have release events. There's a great deal of research on bass from down south, but the data available re: walleyes is limited to a few fairly narrowly focused studies.

The problem as I see it is that right now is the offsite weigh in/live release format is sort of a one size fits all concept, but there are a wide variety of ways of doing that kind of event. The PWT Super Pro at Ottertail is a drive-thru weigh in, for example. Fish stay in areated livewells and go right form the livewell to the scale and back to the livewell. From past events, this is a format that has shown pretty high survival rates (+/- 95%). It's far different from a process standpoint than a holding tank system where if a tank goes anoxyic, everything croaks. Plus you have things like the Water Weigh-In system coming into greater use. Supposition on my part put I think the Water Weigh-In will be the standard format for future events for both bass and walleyes within 3-4 years.... I think format for weigh ins should factor into the permiting process as well. Perhaps it will as the understanding of how process affects survival continues to evolve..

Cheers,

Rob Kimm

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Code-Man

There is one way to have a tournament with not one fish killed. Are you ready for the answer? How about now? Ok I'll let ya know. Don't put your line in the water. You try your best to not have a fish die yet sometime your going to have one die. You pull a fish out of deep water too fast and boom it's dead. you give too much line and set the hook and boom it's dead. You want to have a tournament with no results put everyone's name in a bucket and draw the winners. Only way we'll have absolutely no fish killed. 95% is a good survival. Sure the PWT is going to kill all of them but what can you do. People bickering on this site about the PWT being a kill tournament wont do anything. I'm just getting sick of people bickering about the tournament being a kill tournament. Nothing we can do about it. Wait there is one thing. You and your buddies get together and Chain yourselves together and block all the accesses to the lake. You will probable get more attention and awareness to the tournament being a kill one then by bickering on here. It's going to happen prepare yourself for it and get over it. If you want to complain about fish being killed in the lake start complaining about the weekend fishermen killing too many fish.

Code-Man

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MNhuntfish

The thing is these guys are professionals not just your average fisherman, they have the technology to catch the larger fish.. And if your going to kill the larger fish that would hurt the lake as far as im concerned.. And if you dont like the bickering then dont read it..

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PRFISHER

Your still only allowed 1 over 20 inches, there won't be stringers of 5-6 pounders coming in with their new fangled equipment.

[note from admin- please re-read forum policy before posting again. Stop the hostile posts now. Thanks much. ]

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DEADhead

Great post Rob; thanks for the informative info!

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shae1986

I agree with Code-Man, nobody likes this but nothing is going to be done to change it, the PWT got the permits to have the tournement set up like it is and i guess we have to deal with it. I heard about the tourny and said well that stinks, but now i am like well it wont hurt the fishery bc if it would, it wouldn't be a kill tourny. Everyone will still be able to catch fish on ottertail, it still has great spawning habitat so the fish will be there. And if you really feel mad about, right the DNR and voice your opinion for future tournements. Thats all you can do. The tournement will be top notch and provide Otter Tail with a good source of income, not to mention being on the PWT TV Series next year. I hope that people can let this issue go. Also otter tail area is special with more than just that lake to catch eyes. This kill tourney will not deter me from fishing otter tail lake this coming year, the fish WILL be there. Be happy that there is a local lake that has the population of walleyes that otter tail does. I am sure happy and i have to drive a couple hours to get there.

A. Shae

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