Treaty management on Mille Lacs: Time for long overdue change
By Tim Ajax, Fishing guide, Isle – Outdoor News – March 21, 2014
The Lake Mille Lacs fish population has been out of balance for years. DNR knows their treaty management has played a role. Unfair fish allocations, spawning-time gillnetting, strict quotas and angling regulations, plus related bad publicity are too much.
The DNR can’t keep saying thousands of feet of gill nets over spawning grounds for days does not disrupt the maximizing of the spawning reproduction process.
The bands’ gillnetting and DNR regs target the same fish DNR now says are in short supply. if DNR worries about a giant eating machine they helped create, why keep anglers from harvesting the buildup of malewalleyes over 20 inches?
Why the hooking-mortality assessment? Where else does DNR enforce a penalty on anglers for releasing fish other than Mille Lacs?
For years before tribal gill-netting and DNR’s treaty management, anglers could keep six walleyes, with one over 20 inches. The harvest was spread over more walleye sizes. The result: more balance and a lake in farbetter shape.
DNR and tribal managers now encourage more pike harvest so the bands won’t worry about exceeding their pike quotas and stopping walleye netting.
From the start, we’ve been told the bands’ gillnetted fish are closely counted. Are they? Who’s watching? We see landings where there is no counting.
It’s time for sportsmen statewide, who care about Mille Lacs and other Minnesota fishing waters, to unite, rally, and support our precious resources. Communicate promptly and often with your state and federal government officials, and with candidates for office. No more politics. No more excuses. No more gill nets during the spawn. It is time to save the Mille Lacs fishery – the fish and the people.
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