Ron Schara, in a candid moment, lays it on the line
The Star Tribune’s entertainment columnist “C.J.” recently interviewed Ron Schara. This month Schara celebrated 20 years of “Minnesota Bound.” C.J. took this as an occasion to do a Q&A with Schara, someone with whom she was friendly toward the end of his Star Tribune career, which spanned 1968 to 2007.

C.J.’s success interviewing celebrities comes in part from asking pertinent and provocative questions. She started right out with:

Q: What are three things you would change if you were in charge of the DNR?

Ron Schara rose to the occasion and in a straightforward reply said:

A: One, I would be more accountable to the collapse of the fisheries of Mille Lacs. Nobody’s been fired. Nobody’s been [reassigned]. Why not? Clearly DNR made a huge mistake there. Second thing I would do is be more proactive media-wise. I would have more news conferences, etc. And the third thing I might propose changing is having a citizens commission instead of a single commissioner, to take some politics out of it. I like our commissioner today, but he’s still appointed by the governor [serves at the pleasure of the governor and carries out his policies]

Read more C.J.: Every dog has its (bad) day, even Ron Schara’s By: C.J. Star Tribune June 21, 2014

DNR still not finding a walleye predator to blame

More than a year into its “diet composition” study, the DNR, is not finding any confirmation that predator fish are responsible for the population crash of small walleyes.

Could it be predator gillnets that are “eating” the walleye?

The Pioneer Press’ Dave Orrick reports on the DNR diet study.

The basic problem with Mille Lacs walleyes: Young aren’t surviving. They’re reproducing, and no diseases are killing them off, so the DNR is looking at whether they’re being eaten, they’re starving, or both.

Answers are critical.

Mille Lacs is a top destination for Twin Cities anglers, who support a robust tourism industry. The industry is trying to market other aspects, but the main show has always been the walleye.

Now there aren’t enough walleye to go around — a problem compounded by Indian tribal members who don’t have to follow Minnesota laws and can legally net a portion of the lake’s walleye.

The scarcity of young walleye — and fear that without them the population could crash — has prompted the DNR to set strict regulations this year, including a bag limit of two, and a complete ban on night fishing.

So even while Mille Lacs offers some of the best fishing in the state, longtime business owners say anglers are scarce this year.

“It’s too early to draw many conclusions,” according to the DNR study project manager. And there are study limitations that may never be overcome.

Walleye as predator

Under 13 inches: In summer and fall, mostly yellow perch. In winter, too few caught to have a good sense.

13 to 18 inch: In August and September, cannibalism picked up, with 10 percent to 15 percent of the diet. In winter couldn’t tell.

18 to 23 inch: Similar diet patterns as 13- to 18-inch, except fewer walleyes. In the winter, they ate mostly perch.

23+ inch: Cannibalism noted in September and October, with 10 to 15 percent of their diet walleyes.

Northern Pike
Less than 25 inch: From fall into winter, walleye became a notable part of their diet, with young walleye making up 20 percent to 25 percent of their food intake.

Over 25 inch: Walleye never made up more than 10 percent of their diet.

Smallmouth Bass
Mostly crayfish. When they do eat fish, the proportion of walleye is very small.

Read More On Mille Lacs, who’s eating who? By Dave Orrick Pioneer Press 06/14/2014

DNR Lawsuit Update June 12
Our attorney Erick Kaardal is working on document review and the appellate brief. A draft brief should be ready for review next week. The due date is June 28th.

It appears that the DNR did not make findings of fact regarding Mille Lacs Lake walleye fishing heritage prior to making their rules and determinations. Kaardal noted that the DNR produced thousands of pages of documents that he is plowing through to confirm this. But then he added, “So, everything is working out…it’s just a lot of work to do.”

Stop the Bud-bashing and target the real culprits!

Joe Fellegy explains how leadership when it counted spared Minnesota from a reckless expansion of tribal jurisdiction and management authority
Outdoor News May 23, 2014

At angling websites and newspaper comment sections, when the topic touches what Ron Schara aptly dubs “the Mille Lacs mess,” one often sees ignorant, misinformed, and politically jaded remarks blaming Bud Grant. That’s Bud Grant, legendary former Minnesota Vikings coach, passionate outdoorsman, and equal-rights proponent.

If it hadn’t been for that darn Bud Grant, they say, everything could have been “settled” … for a mere “few million dollars and a few acres of land.”

Sounds like a bargain for a real fix. Except there was way more to it— like tons of legal baggage that would have impacted Minnesota’s resource-management authority and citizen harvest rights for years to come, not just at Mille Lacs but across 3,061,500 acres of 1837 Treaty ceded territory across 12 counties.

Read more

From the Chairman’s Boat …

First off, THANK YOU to all of you who are buying raffle tickets and sending in donations. PERM needs the funds to represent the sportsmen and women in this long-overdue lawsuit.

What is important to know is that this lawsuit doesn’t represent only anglers, even though the lawsuit’s focus is on Mille Lacs. The lawsuit, based on the right to hunt and fish in Minnesota’s constitution, includes all! (“Hunting and fishing and the taking of game and fish are a valued part of our heritage that shall be forever preserved for the people and shall be managed by law and regulation for the public good” —1998 amendment) Also, the 1837 Treaty decision does not only affect fish. All natural resources are included in the DNR agreement with the tribal governments.

Unfortunately, the DNR made a very feeble agreement, one that allows for the taking of most wild game without any regard for state rules. In many areas the tribal firearms deer season begins Labor Day weekend and carries on past the New Year and allows two deer per day per tribal member. Pheasants, grouse, and similar game harvest have little or no rules. Migratory waterfowl are the exception, since they are regulated by the Feds.

PERM is calling on all hunting and angling clubs that support specific species. This is a time for all sports-minded folks to stand up for equal hunting and fishing rights for everyone Members of these clubs joined because they wanted to carry on the tradition and heritage of the outdoor sports and all they have to offer. This is the basis of the DNR lawsuit!

You can help make this happen by donating money, items for fundraisers, your time, or your talents.

A golf tournament fundraiser is being planned for Sunday, August 3rd. So watch your emails for all the details. Since it will be near Mille Lacs, it just may be a great weekend for some fishing and golfing.

Please forward this to all your sporting friends and ask them to go to to sign up for email updates and to donate.

Thanks for your support!

Doug Douglas Meyenburg,
President Proper Economic Resource Management