It’s the nets!

After all these years of reporting on Mille Lacs, its walleyes, and some of the byproducts of tribal-state “co-management” coming out of the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Dennis Anderson finally gets it right.

In his Star Tribune article yesterday, Anderson says the DNR’s most recent solution, a two-walleye limit, “doesn’t address the real problem.” He uses the term “bizarre” in describing the DNR’s walleye limit announcement. But he saves “wackiest” for the DNR’s new Mille Lacs smallmouth bass limit.

Given the new Mille Lacs walleye sport-fishing quota–cut in half this year–and accounting for “release mortality,” Anderson can see that “the lake, perhaps, would be shut down to walleye fishing.”

So what does the DNR do? It trades off the “world-class smallmouth fishery” as an alternative to the busted walleye fishery. According to Anderson it’s “Bye-bye world-class smallmouth fishery.”

He attributes DNR managers’ growing list of factors confounding walleye management to their being practiced at “public-relations management.” Factors he considers “secondary worries” in any case.

The problem he says “hides out in plain sight every spring” with ice-out.

It’s the nets.

Anderson: Two-fish walleye and bass limits obscure real issue on Mille Lacs
By Dennis Anderson – Star Tribune, March 29, 2013

State ‘leaders’ giving away state resources?

Joe Fellegy asks some tough questions

State’s ambiguous conservation authority

In his most recent column Fellegy asks about the state’s increasingly ambiguous legal jurisdiction over conservation whenever tribal governments challenge the State’s authority. Then conservation authority and landowner property rights often go out the window.

Fellegy explains with examples where Minnesota Indian tribes unilaterally declare their authority over specific conservation issues.

Currently tribes are leading these assertions with wolf-protection. This issue comes with a lot of politically correct sympathy from some quarters, almost all of which completely ignores the underlying agenda of tribal governments.

When conservation is about walleye

Fellegy connects the increasingly intolerable Mille Lacs hassle with “state leadership’s lack of resolve to defend state and citizen interests.” Fellegy reports that the DNR (and the State’s) defense, is based on ‘its hands are tied.'”

State government’s hands appear to be similarly “tied” in Wisconsin. Fellegy points out examples of the Mille Lacs situation having its counterpart in Wisconsin. There, the “horrendous playing-out of ‘treaty rights’ ” has just expanded the number of one-walleye-bag-limit lakes from 10 lakes to 197 lakes! At this rate, he wonders, “Who knows what the future could bring?”

Fellegy describes the modern Indian Industry as being deep into law and maximizing its power. Unfortunately, he notes, across the DNR there is “no comparable intensity.” It’s a passive attitude that has left “many in the outdoors community increasingly distrustful, and even scornful, towards state government.”

Are state ‘leaders’ giving away state resources and state control?

By Joe Fellegy – Outdoor News, March 29, 2013

Mille Lacs walleye limit cut to two

Mille Lacs walleye limit cut to two Perplexed by a complicated and underachieving Lake Mille Lacs fishery, the Department of Natural Resources said Tuesday that anglers can keep only two walleyes from the big lake when the state’s open water fishing season begins May 11.

And Mille Lacs walleyes that end up in a live well or on a stringer must measure between 18 and 20 inches — though one trophy larger than 28 inches can be kept. Read more.

Wis. DNR, Chippewa tribes locking horns again

MILWAUKEE – The state Department of Natural Resources and the Chippewa tribes in northern Wisconsin are locking horns again, this time over the tribes’ plan to dramatically increase the number of walleye harvested this spring.

The Chippewa bands’ announcement last week ratcheted up the conflict in what has been a sometimes contentious relationship between the tribes, the state and non-tribal neighbors. Tribes already were upset over state moves to allow a wolf hunt and to relax certain mining standards, and their latest announcement invites comparison to a situation decades ago when the resumption of spearfishing spawned protests from other residents that escalated into violent confrontations. Read more.