By Adam M. Glickman
On April 10th I voted at the Wisconsin Spring Hearing on many fishing related questions. In regard to my interests, the most important question of the vote was number 39, which concerned implementing an annual musky tag which would require a tag to harvest a musky and limit the harvest to one musky per angler per year.
The question passed the vote by a narrow margin, 1912 in favor and 1865 opposed. The musky tag was an advisory question put on the questionnaire by one of the Natural Resources Board members, so the DNR will wait to see if there is any further direction given by the Board on how they’d like the DNR to proceed based on the vote. In other words, it is far from a done deal, but it is a step in the right direction.
At the hearing, in regard to this question and other musky related questions, there was a lot of opposition concerning why regulations are making it so difficult to keep muskies, and in regard to the notion of it not being worthwhile to protect WI muskies, as they really don’t get big anyway. It is true that in some WI waters, muskies don’t get all that big. However, in most of our inland waters, muskies can attain maximum sizes of 48-56”. The reason many of these waters fail to produce large muskies (or at least more large muskies) is because they are not properly managed. In response to the idea of it being too difficult to keep a musky, I agree. My proposed musky regulation from last month’s newsletter (published prior to the hearing), addresses this specifically. As stated in my proposed regulations, I think muskies from 34-56” should be protected, which would make it much easier to keep a musky as the smaller ones (below 34″) are more plentiful and easier to catch. Smaller younger muskies are also much lower in mercury, making them safer to feed to the families of those who choose to keep them. My proposed regulation would also better allow all muskies in the protected slot to reach their maximum size.
There were also concerns at the hearing as to whether or not the musky tag would cost money or be free of charge. The question on the hearing ballot did not address this, but I urge anybody involved with the law-making process to make the “tag” free. This will make it more accepted by the public and easier to pass into law. I also put “tag” in quotations because I think there should be no physical tag, creating excess expense. A simple photo of the fish next to a measuring device accompanied by the fishing license ID # of the angler in possession (or the full name, birth date, and address of an angler under 16) emailed or texted to the appropriate source within 24 hours of the catch, would also make the process more friendly and economically viable.
Another important aspect of the musky tag is it will create an accurate and specific number of sport angler harvested and registered muskies, which will help greatly when discussing with various Ojibwa tribes our harvest quotas, both tribal and sport angler. If we start a friendly dialogue with the WI tribes, and prove to them we are taking less, I am confident that they will start to take less muskies as well. I think both tribal and non-tribal fishermen have both engaged in unethical harvest practices out of spite for who they view as their opposition. As long as we view each other as opponents, this will always be the case. We need to be friends and work together, because fundamentally we all want the same things, most people of all types do. It is our little differences that cause conflict. It is our little differences that we need to look past and get over.
In the spirit of making things better, I will be introducing a resolution at the WI Conservation Congress in 2018 regarding my proposed musky regulation to at least see what the public thinks about it. To me it seems like the best possible scenario for the largest number of individuals and interest groups, but we will see how it gets received.
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Adam Glickman is an independent agent who shops across 9 different A rated insurance companies to best meet your MN and WI home, renters, auto, life, boat, and commercial insurance needs. For more information, contact Glickman at 612-750-0546 or at email@example.com