Letter: Slot limits have hurt fishing in the Bemidji area
I feel a need to respond to the Northland Outdoors article on Aug. 22, "New plan to enhance muskie, pike fishing," which should make us all think of where the DNR is going in our part of Minnesota concerning fishing for fun or for a dinner.
According to Ron Payer, DNR Fisheries Section chief, "Anglers have a growing interest in catching larger fish."
Once again, the anglers of the North Country are being asked to not keep fish in certain lakes, so that a select few from here and far away can come and maybe catch the big fish they so desperately want to. Slot limits, and minimum length limits, not only kill a lot of our fish because they have to be released, but also keep locals and tourists alike from even coming here in the first place. Didn't we learn anything from the predator-to-prey ratio trials of the past, and see that other species will diminish because of these practices? When a family goes fishing, practicing catch and release, and keeping a meal to take home, that's management. If our tourists come long distances, saving their money up all year, only to find that our lakes have so many slot, size and other management rules that they can't even take a meal to their cabin, does that make sense?
Most locals and tourists alike fish to have fun and a great meal. They don't have the equipment, boat, time or experience to catch a trophy and the family tourist to our area is the same. In addition, it's great when you hear the kid on the end of a dock caught the fish of a lifetime, as in the Pioneer's Friday Fishing Page.
The pike slot limits have hurt winter and summer fishing in our area, and 40-inch minimum size for pike, and catch and release only muskie regulations seem only to satisfy a small number of people who come to our area to fish.
I've met Payer in Minneapolis before, at public fisheries hearings, and he is a gentleman, but he also is motivated by special interest groups in the Cities who only want trophies and catch-and-release species in our part of the state.
Let the DNR know your position, it's your fishery.