Erik Jacobson does a great job in a few words explaining DNR Fisheries chief Don Pereira’s legacy, which he says goes hand in hand with Governor Dayton’s.
As Jacobson points out, Pereira oversaw Mille Lacs’ walleye limits reduced each year until the first closure to walleye fishing in history. Every year after was catch-and-release only with an ever-present threat of closure.
Governor (then candidate) Dayton should have stood by his claim at Game Fair saying that “all hunting and fishing in Minnesota should be done under the same rules.” Instead we got a politically-driven ultra-conservative roller coaster of slot and limits. Under Pereira’s watch the DNR relied on flawed data, discounting anglers’ actual experiences and the Mille Lacs Fishery Advisory Committee’s suggestions and input.
Pereira’s Legacy Outdoor News Letters to the Editor June 22. 2018 V51 #25
Don Pereira recently announced his retirement. He’s been the DNR Fisheries chief since November 2013. Gleaned from the story in the June 8 edition of Outdoor News, even if the people he worked with didn’t always agree with some of his decisions, they liked and respected him.
It also sounded like, overall, he did some good things for Minnesota, so I wish him well in his retirement.
But I guess no matter what he did for Minnesota fishing overall, in my opinion, Lake Mille Lacs will be his legacy. When he took the job, the limit was three walleyes on Mille Lacs, then two in 2014, then one in 2015, and then it closed for the first time in history that August.
Now we’re in the third year in a row of catch and release and hoping there is no season closure for the first time in four years. That’s unacceptable, as far as I’m concerned.
When Gov. Mark Dayton took office in 2012, the limit was four Mille Lacs walleyes. So, he’s just as much to blame – if not more. Both of their legacies could have been establishing reasonable consistent regulations on Mille Lacs, instead of the roller coaster slots/limits and current ultra-conservatism.
They could have been heroes to Minnesota fishermen and the local economy. Instead, their legacies will be forever marred for claiming Mille Lacs has a “declining walleye population” when it’s painfully obvious to anglers who fish the lake that that is simply not true – including all the non-bias out-of-state professional bass anglers who caught almost as many walleyes as they did bass.
It’s absolutely ridiculous that it’s still catch-and-release fishing for walleyes. In my opinion, Mille Lacs will always be the walleye capital of Minnesota. It’s too bad the DNR won’t admit its data are flawed and the media continues to drink their Kool-Aid.
Erik Jacobson Garrison