We need rules simplified for anglers' sake

  • Article by: RON SCHARA , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 27, 2009 - 7:53 AM

Fishing is getting complicated in this era of "Let's make a law for everything to make sure nobody gets by with anything."

If you don't like all these fishing laws, well, you can blame ... err, me and a whole bunch of other state anglers. We gathered years ago at a DNR meeting and argued that no two lakes are alike, yet the DNR managed every lake with the same set of rules. The DNR agreed and the result has been a policy of Individual Waters Management and sometimes special regulations.

While nobody wants a more complicated life, managing lakes individually still makes sense to me. That said, it seems we might be overcomplicating the complicated. Last weekend, a walleye fishing trip to Lake Winnibigoshish offered plenty of action and a rule to remember: All walleyes 17 to 26 inches must be immediately released.

The next day -- a few miles away as a crow flies -- I went to the state's hottest walleye spot, Leech Lake, and had a new rule to remember: All walleyes 18 to 26 inches must be released. What's with the one-inch difference? And would it make any difference in DNR's fish management goals if Leech and Winni had the same size restrictions ... in the name of simplicity?

Could we simplify our fishing lives and still have effective walleye regs? I think so.

Ron Schara • ron@mnbound.com

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