Anderson: Resources such as Mille Lacs can't last if politicians won't step in

  • Updated: August 13, 2013 - 9:27 PM
hide

The population of walleye is declining on Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota’s most popular walleye lake, and the DNR, local businesses and anglers find themselves with few options.

Photo: Dennis Anderson, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

If management of Mille Lacs walleyes this year can be considered an experiment — and in many ways it can — the results are in.

Not results about whether the relatively few small (mostly male) walleyes are recovering in the big lake. Nor results shedding light on whether Mille Lacs’ overall walleye population is becoming more balanced, with fewer large fish compared to those under 17 inches, or even compared to walleyes 18-20 inches, the legal slot this year, with a limit of two.

No, this has been a different kind of experiment, more of a sociological exercise that determined — however unintentionally — whether Minnesota walleye anglers really are so enamored with Mille Lacs that they will fish the lake even if they (a) have little chance of catching a walleye they can take home, especially if (b) they have options to fish other lakes or rivers where they can catch walleyes to eat.

Put another way, the experiment asked this question: Just how dumb are Mille Lacs walleye anglers?

Turns out the answer is, “Not very.”

The evidence has been apparent nearly every day this summer on the lake and around it — in area bait shops, gas stations and especially resorts.

“My business is down 100 percent during the weekdays … not 80, not 90, 100 percent,” Greg Thomas of Gregory’s Resort recently told the Mille Lacs Messenger.

Also from that newspaper:

“Launch service business is definitely down,” said Tina Chapman, executive director of Mille Lacs Area Tourism. “People using public accesses and private launch sites are down, too. You can see that by the lack of traffic on the lake.”

While it’s true the last straw for Mille Lacs this year was what is commonly referred to around the lake as the “2 and 2” deal — meaning the lakes two-walleye limit and 2-inch (18-20) slot — the bigger issue by far has been the lack of political leadership among state and tribal leaders over the past dozen years or so, since the Chippewa prevailed 5-4 in the U.S. Supreme Court over off-reservation hunting and fishing rights.

Each should have known, or should have learned in the intervening years, that even the states’ premier walleye lake can’t satisfy indefinitely the many competing interests now looking to benefit from it.

Meaning area businesses, sport anglers, the Chippewa — in any order a person wants to arrange them.

Blame the DNR? Go ahead. But the agency was dealt an impossible hand and can’t win. Throw in high gas prices. The late ice-out. Whatever. They’re all minor issues.

Here’s the problem:

Absent state and national leaders with equal parts backbone, knowledge and passion, resources such as Mille Lacs — and the boundary waters and the state’s grasslands and wetlands, among many others — will over time become increasingly fought over and, ultimately, depleted.

Mille Lacs and those who depend on it will be only the first in a long line of people to lose out.

 

Dennis Anderson • danderson@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Phoenix 59 3rd Qtr 3:13
New York 60
Portland 6:00 PM
New Orleans
Utah 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Atlanta 7:00 PM
Houston
San Antonio 7:30 PM
Dallas
Indiana 8:00 PM
Denver
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Arizona 3:00 PM
Los Angeles
Colorado 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Philadelphia 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Montreal
Washington 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Florida 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Carolina
Chicago 6:00 PM
Columbus
Nashville 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Calgary 9:00 PM
Vancouver
St. Louis 9:30 PM
San Jose
VA Commonwealth 68 FINAL
Cincinnati 47
Charlotte 78 FINAL
Georgetown 81
SMU 62 FINAL
Michigan 51
Louisville 76 FINAL
Western Ky 67
Mount St Marys 45 2nd Half 1:45
American Univ 44
Abilene Christian 33 FINAL
Boise State 77
UMass Lowell 46 2nd Half 5:46
Duquesne 74
South Alabama 40 2nd Half 7:52
IUPUI 52
Ohio State 56 2nd Half 6:32
North Carolina 70
Massachusetts 38 2nd Half 10:34
Providence 64
Syracuse 47 2nd Half 14:12
Villanova 43
Citadel 49 2nd Half 6:51
Virginia Tech 48
Belmont 39 2nd Half 16:27
Fairfield 30
St Bonaventure 23 1st Half 2:38
Binghamton 16
Montreat 16 1st Half 5:35
Campbell 33
Delaware 31 1st Half 4:12
Fair-Dickinson 28
South Florida 12 1st Half 7:31
Florida State 23
Vanderbilt 28 1st Half 4:05
Georgia Tech 20
SC State 25 1st Half 4:36
Houston 21
Missouri 21 1st Half 5:47
Illinois 20
Truett-McConnell 14 1st Half 7:42
Jacksonville 17
Toledo 44 1st Half 0:47
McNeese State 30
Elon 21 1st Half 7:29
UNC Greensboro 20
Drexel 24 1st Half 3:57
Penn State 30
St Francis-PA 23 1st Half 4:28
Rutgers 37
Albany 27 1st Half 0:54
Yale 25
PSU-Beaver 14 1st Half 7:34
Longwood 25
Eastern Ill 18 1st Half 4:07
Indiana State 15
Indiana 10 1st Half 15:41
Butler 8
Marshall 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
Lafayette 2:00 PM
Kansas
Oral Roberts 2:00 PM
Memphis
Western Mich 2:00 PM
Northwestern
Delaware State 2:00 PM
Oregon
Fla Atlantic 2:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Arkansas Tech 2:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Howard Payne 2:00 PM
Texas-Arlington
UMBC 2:00 PM
Kennesaw St
St Josephs (IN) 2:05 PM
Chicago State
Eastern Mich 2:05 PM
Missouri State
UCLA 2:30 PM
Kentucky
UC Davis 3:00 PM
Air Force
Houston Baptist 3:00 PM
UC Riverside
Davidson 3:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
USC Upstate 3:00 PM
Miss State
NC Central 3:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Illinois State 3:00 PM
Murray State
Louisiana 3:00 PM
Northwestern St
Oakland 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Detroit 3:00 PM
Rhode Island
Presbyterian 3:00 PM
UT Martin
Monmouth 3:00 PM
Wagner
Southern U 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Iowa State 4:00 PM
Drake
Wake Forest 4:00 PM
Florida
High Point 4:00 PM
James Madison
Texas Southern 4:00 PM
Michigan State
New Hampshire 4:00 PM
Sacred Heart
Northeastern 4:00 PM
Santa Clara
Huston-Tillotson 4:00 PM
Texas State
Purdue 4:15 PM
Notre Dame
Prairie View 4:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Xavier 5:00 PM
Auburn
Bluffton 6:00 PM
Akron
NJIT 6:00 PM
Central Conn St
Hofstra 6:00 PM
Columbia
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Dayton
Iona 6:00 PM
George Mason
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Texas A&M 6:00 PM
Kansas State
Morgan State 6:00 PM
Manhattan
Saint Josephs 6:00 PM
Marist
East Carolina 6:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Richmond 6:00 PM
Pepperdine
La Salle 6:00 PM
Towson
Incarnate Word 6:05 PM
UMKC
CS-Bakersfield 6:30 PM
Idaho State
Iowa 6:30 PM
Northern Iowa
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Long Beach State 7:00 PM
Texas
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
TCU
SE Missouri St 7:30 PM
Arkansas
Lehigh 8:00 PM
Arizona State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Oklahoma 8:00 PM
Washington
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Weber State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
St Edwards 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
NC State 8:30 PM
West Virginia
TX A&M-CC 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Fresno State 9:00 PM
Pacific
Montana State 9:00 PM
Portland
Ball State 9:00 PM
San Diego St
South Dakota St 9:05 PM
Utah State
Stanford 10:00 PM
BYU
Utah 10:30 PM
UNLV
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 0 1st Qtr 7:00
Texas-El Paso 0
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Livingstone 77 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Dartmouth 70
Georgia Tech 65 FINAL
St Francis-NY 59
Auburn 49 FINAL
St Johns 56
East Tenn St 56 FINAL
Jacksonville St 57
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Detroit 57
Cal-Irvine 42 FINAL
Wright State 80
Gardner-Webb 47 FINAL
Kennesaw St 50
FIU 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 83
(7) Stanford 30 2nd Half 7:15
(11) Tennessee 51
Alabama A&M 43 2nd Half 7:25
Ole Miss 59
Central Michigan 42 2nd Half 3:39
(1) South Carolina 76
Nebraska Omaha 38 2nd Half 5:25
Creighton 62
Houston 62 2nd Half 2:40
Nicholls 42
St Thomas Aquinas 38 2nd Half 0:40
Army 70
St Bonaventure 51 2nd Half 7:30
Niagara 46
Texas State 53 2nd Half 2:40
Stetson 70
George Mason 47 2nd Half 8:00
ULM 47
Grambling 1:00 PM
Kansas State
Jacksonville 1:00 PM
Murray State
Missouri 25 1st Half 6:36
Wake Forest 23
Robert Morris 20 1st Half 1:42
Cornell 35
Air Force 9 1st Half 6:54
Abilene Christian 24
Hampton 15 1st Half 3:46
James Madison 36
American Univ 27 1st Half 4:05
MD-Eastern Shore 23
Texas Southern 26 1st Half 6:38
TX A&M-CC 12
Tenn Tech 14 1st Half 4:33
NC A&T 19
Presbyterian 18 1st Half 2:06
NC Central 13
Penn 28 1st Half 0:28
Drexel 23
Lipscomb 21 1st Half 2:39
Xavier 28
Vermont 12 1st Half 6:04
Green Bay 21
Charleston Southern 7 1st Half 16:54
UNC-Wilmington 3
Ohio Christian 18 2nd Half
Akron 44
(17) Rutgers 22 1st Half 6:46
Iona 12
Indiana 40 1st Half 3:05
Oakland 27
Indiana State 1:30 PM
SMU
Denver 4 1st Half 15:53
Purdue 4
TX-San Antonio 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
UCF 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Campbell 2:00 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Florida A&M 2:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Northwestern St 2:00 PM
Jackson State
Lehigh 2:00 PM
Arizona State
Valparaiso 2:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Toledo 2:00 PM
Southern Ill
Liberty 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Wofford 2:30 PM
North Florida
Montana State 3:00 PM
Washington St
Marshall 3:00 PM
(22) West Virginia
Morgan State 3:00 PM
Chattanooga
Northeastern 3:00 PM
Harvard
Furman 3:00 PM
(15) Georgia
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(9) Baylor
Ohio U 3:00 PM
Massachusetts
Prairie View 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
High Point 3:00 PM
(12) Nebraska
Winthrop 3:05 PM
Wichita State
William Jewell 3:30 PM
UMKC
Louisiana Tech 4:00 PM
Utah
Southern Utah 4:00 PM
Gonzaga
Hawaii 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
San Jose St 4:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Northridge 4:00 PM
San Diego State
Norfolk State 4:00 PM
East Carolina
Saint Peters 4:00 PM
Loyola-Maryland
Arizona 4:30 PM
Stephen F Austin
Northwestern 4:30 PM
Eastern Illinois
Oral Roberts 5:00 PM
Wisconsin
Florida Atlantic 5:00 PM
New Mexico St
La Salle 5:00 PM
Georgia State
(16) Oregon State 5:30 PM
Nevada
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Villanova
Delaware 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Utah Valley U
Washington 7:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Pacific 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Old Dominion 7:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Austin Peay 9:00 PM
Montana
Lewis-Clark State 9:00 PM
Idaho
(21) Miss State 9:30 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close