“More liberal northern pike and smallmouth bass regulations speak to the fact these species can withstand additional pressure because their populations are at or near record highs,” DNR fisheries chief Don Pereira said at the time.
But it’s not the state’s place “to impose a government-designed fishing heritage on the people,” Kaardahl said. “My clients have been told they should market smallmouth bass and northern pike fishing. But Mille Lacs’ fishing heritage centers on walleyes.”
A 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirmed the Chippewa bands reserved off-reservation hunting and fishing rights in an 1837 treaty in a 12-county region of east-central Minnesota, including Lake Mille Lacs.
Subsequent federal court orders require the state and the bands to effectively co-manage the region’s resources.
The petition for judgment filed with the state appeals court, whatever its fate, will have no effect on the federal rulings or orders.
Kaardal argues, however, that the DNR is obligated to consider not only the federal court rulings in its management of Mille Lacs but to consider also the 1998 state constitution amendment affirming that “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.”
The DNR is expected to file a response to the appeals court.
Dennis Anderson • firstname.lastname@example.org