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Author Topic: Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Bass Season Proposal  (Read 9033 times)

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djkimmel

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Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Bass Season Proposal
« on: June 23, 2013, 01:09:27 AM »

Well, since we had our real bass season proposal introductory meeting now this past Monday (June 17, 2013) with the MDNR Warmwater Resources Steering Committee, and Lydia Lohrer-Bevier is already doing a write up in the Detroit Free Press later this morning about our proposals, I figured I better upload a copy of what we turned in and discussed Monday for the Michigan bass season.

It's a PDF. A little longer than I was going to make it at about 8 pages but the MDNR wants study citation and similar support. I could have made it a lot longer but no one likes anything that takes much time nowadays.

Download a copy and check it out. This attached bass season proposal is the official supported position of the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation and I am their conservation rep. I officially sit on this, and a few other committees, for them. I will speak for other persons, groups, businesses, etc. when I can but I have said before, I want to accomplish something and this is a compromise position that can garner enough support. I am also the conservation director for The Bass Federation of Michigan though they have not had time to make an official decision on the proposal. TBF of Michigan president Dave Reault did attend the June 17 MDNR WRSC meeting though to listen in. He had a position similar to MUCC - they support anything that may get more people out fishing because that is a critical issue in Michigan.

The MDNR has said they will review our bass season proposal. The MDNR Fisheries Division is saying for the moment that a change could not occur before the 2015 fishing season. It did take 2 full years last time. Some things have changed this time, particularly with the enactment of Public Act 21 (signed by Governor Snyder on 5/8/2013) which gives the Natural Resources Commission authority equal to the legislature to manage Michigan fisheries. (The Governor also signed into law the right for Michiganders to hunt and fish.)

This NRC fisheries authority is a very new situation. I did attend and speak at the June 13 NRC meeting where they first discussed how and what will change at a high level only. There may be some opportunity there. I felt well received though I only had 3 minutes to speak and it was a busy, tense, long meeting thanks to the wolf and deer regulations being discussed. (They sent the HSUS lady packing back to wherever she flew in from.)

The June 17 WRSC was no slam dunk but I did hear more positive comments from some groups and even some MDNR persons than we have ever had at the beginning of an attempt to provide more bass fishing opportunity in Michigan than we have started off with before. Not everyone was a fan but I'm still building support and will be working with various media and other outlets to help the process along. I'm still getting lots of good treatment from people within the MDNR, particularly above the Fisheries Division in the management level. I've gotten good comment and offers of assistance from MUCC already. Been well received by some in the NRC, at the Capital by some state senators and representatives, and even got to briefly talk to the Governor about more opportunity (and attracting more big bass tournament events) - both of which he said sounded good to him.

There will be meetings, interviews, more meetings, lots of talking, and lots of writing to go. Maybe an online petition? I expect some confusion and misquotes. Starting with this morning's paper probably. Always happens.

I expect some of this will seem to be about me, or seem to be made about me, or of course 'just something these few ____ bass tournament anglers want,' but have no doubt that all of this effort by a number of persons is about turning Michigan into a better natural resource economy state, selling more fishing licenses by getting more people out fishing more often because they can fish for the fish they prefer when they want to go and when they can go. Regardless of what anyone claims or writes.

Our MDNR is at record low employee levels and they get over 90% of their operating money from user fees like fishing and hunting licenses. Less hunters and anglers means less MDNR. Less MDNR can actually mean more bad things happen to our natural resources that we value so much. At the same time we are trying to save them, we are also trying to help them understand what anglers and hunters want now, and how they can work WITH us to accomplish this! Which will be good for us AND good for them!

I just want to fish. I want to fish when I can for what I want to fish for. I think more people now than ever feel the same way. I will share some more information as things progress about what you can do to help. You can always ask me too but be prepared to actually do something to help if you're going to ask. Let's get this fixed.
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

djkimmel

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Re: Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Bass Season Proposal
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2013, 01:30:24 AM »

PS: Check out this very interesting attached PDF study published by Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologist Jed Pearson in 2008. I expect many of you will like it very much. I also hope some of you who are more nervous than I am about more bass fishing in Michigan will ask yourself, 'how much difference really is there between a Northern Indiana natural lake like Wawasee and many Southern Michigan natural lakes?' The study focused on the ever-popular fishing for bass on beds topic that is really a social issue, not a biological/scientific issue as so many studies in so many states and provinces have shown for decades despite claims otherwise by either demonstrating what does and doesn't affect bass populations, or by failing to find a link between bass populations and fishing during the bass spawn (over and over).

Indiana recently affirmed (also Jed Pearson) that their bass fishing in their Northern Indiana natural lakes is as good or better now than 10 years ago DESPITE a year-round open bass season! They publicly stated they feel their bass tournament anglers are doing a good job of taking care of their bass.

Remember too, Indiana has the biggest bass federation in the country, and plenty of bass tournaments along with some bass harvest with a year-round open bass season ALONG with less than 1/10th of the inland lakes we have and only a small amount of Great Lakes water in the Southern end of Lake Michigan!! Yet... they still have good bass populations according to their state fisheries biologists (and some of the many members on GreatLakesBass.com who live and/or fish there). Every time I think about that, I feel swindled.

Here's the news release Indiana DNR recently put out about their bass in Northern Indiana inland lakes (for some of you, while you read this, fantasize that you saw this put out by the MDNR!! :)):

Tournaments Don't Harm Indiana Bass Fishing
by Indiana Department of Natural Resources on May 2, 2013

Tournament anglers who fish for largemouth bass in northern Indiana natural lakes have had no long-term negative effects on bass populations, according to a study by DNR fisheries biologists.

Biologists examined the numbers and sizes of bass caught at 22 organized events in 2011 and 2012, and compared the results to 23 events in 2001 through 2003.

Over the 10-year period, average catch rates of bass tournament anglers increased from one bass per 6.7 hours of fishing to one bass per 4.3 hours. The average number of bass brought to tournament weigh-ins increased from 1.2 per angler to 1.7.

“Bass fishing is as good as ever,” said Jed Pearson, a DNR biologist who compiled the results of the tournament study. “We don't see any evidence to indicate bass tournaments hurt bass fishing.”

Since the 1970s, bass tournaments have played an important role in generating interest and excitement in bass fishing. Bass are now sought by more anglers nationwide than any other species and are among the top three favorite fish in Indiana.

Bass tournaments, however, are not without controversy.

Some non-tournament anglers claim tournaments reduce bass abundance. They say tournaments increase bass mortality, despite the standard practice of tournament anglers to release their catch.

Compared to other states, Indiana imposes few restrictions on organized bass tournaments. In response to complaints, however, the DNR monitors tournament activity and catches.

The size of bass brought to tournament weigh-ins also has stayed the same since 2001, Pearson said.

About half of all bass caught by tournament anglers are 14 to 15 inches long. Those 18 inches or larger typically make up 5 percent of the catch.

Fewer than 5 percent of bass brought to weigh-ins show any sign of stress.

“Tournament anglers have done a good job of making sure they don't hurt bass fishing,” Pearson said.

Contact Information:
Name: Jed Pearson
Phone: (260) 244-6805
Email: dnrnews@dnr.in.gov
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

motocross269

Re: Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Bass Season Proposal
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2013, 08:42:53 AM »

Dan,
I know it is one step at a time....but....has there been any thought put into some type of Tournament day permit that would allow competitors to keep fish in the livewell during the Catch and Release season???  I know some states that have no-cull rules have a permit process for Tournaments only....

I know this could and would cause animosity from recreational anglers towards tournament competitors but just something to think about...


Also, What do you think about the Delayed Mortality rate in Wisconsin that is cited in the PDF?? I have seen that study come up lately.. That test showed a Delayed Mortality rate of over 40 percent in Bass Kept in a pen...Was it the handling by the Anglers and the stresses of tournament conditions that caused the mortality or could it have been the continued stresses of being kept in a pen and the handling by Wisconsin DNR???.

I would like to see Mike Thompson do that study on LSC....
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 08:55:42 AM by motocross269 »
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djkimmel

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Re: Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Bass Season Proposal
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2013, 12:09:58 PM »

Here is the link to today's Detroit Free Press article about the bass season proposal: http://www.freep.com/article/20130623/SPORTS10/306230080/bass-lake-st-clair

Some of the things that were in the original write up were edited out but it appears that she is keying in on Lake St. Clair mainly, so a few things that talked more about fishing opportunity overall throughout Michigan's 11,000 inland lakes, 30,000+ miles of rivers and ALL the vast Great Lakes in general were removed by Lydia Lohrer or editors. Some of the quotes were fixed too thank goodness.

I did tell her I don't fish tournaments anymore but people keep wanting to make this about a few tournament anglers despite the previous survey results from over 10,000 anglers in 2005 the last time we changed the bass season showed the majority of Michigan anglers in general wanted more bass fishing.

I find it interesting that people (such as the writer of this article) want Pure Michigan to promote fishing directly in these ad campaigns targeted at bringing more in AND out-of-state anglers into Michigan while at the same time showing fear about too much fishing on Lake St. Clair?!?

According to actual data from Mike Thomas - the Fisheries Research Biologist at Lake St. Clair - bass on Lake St. Clair are not overfished. The bass population on Lake St. Clair represents an opportunity to support more fishing and more fishing opportunity, which could boost our natural resources economy and possibly sell more fishing licenses. Something the MDNR needs very, very much considering over 90% of their budget comes from user fees. Less anglers, less MDNR. No anglers, no MDNR.

This issue is exactly about changing Michigan to provide the greatest amount of fishing opportunity our resources can provide UNLESS scientific data shows we need to make changes. Just like smart, angler-friendly states such as Indiana and Ohio do. Their philosophy is to NOT withhold fishing opportunity UNLESS there is positive proof they need to. Michigan's philosophy has been to withhold lots of fishing opportunity in case there may be something to be scared of and/or managing ALL waters to the lowest quality waters. One thing that definitely does is WITHHOLD fishing opportunity - that costs everyone! You, me, the MDNR and the business and tens of thousands of related jobs that rely on Michigan's valuable natural resource economy for their very existence!
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

djkimmel

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Re: Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Bass Season Proposal
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2013, 01:21:40 PM »

Dan,
I know it is one step at a time....but....has there been any thought put into some type of Tournament day permit that would allow competitors to keep fish in the livewell during the Catch and Release season???  I know some states that have no-cull rules have a permit process for Tournaments only....

I know this could and would cause animosity from recreational anglers towards tournament competitors but just something to think about...


Also, What do you think about the Delayed Mortality rate in Wisconsin that is cited in the PDF?? I have seen that study come up lately.. That test showed a Delayed Mortality rate of over 40 percent in Bass Kept in a pen...Was it the handling by the Anglers and the stresses of tournament conditions that caused the mortality or could it have been the continued stresses of being kept in a pen and the handling by Wisconsin DNR???.

I would like to see Mike Thompson do that study on LSC....

Considering bass tournaments (mostly just bass tournaments - other types of tournaments seem to be okay with a lot more people) are still not loved by some, it is not time to broach such a subject. One group rep at the MDNR WRSC meeting even made the point to say this is all being driven just 'by a few bass tournament anglers,' and several people talked about efforts to have more tournaments. Apparently, some have already forgot the last time we got the additional 1 month in legal bass fishing because the majority of all types of anglers polled (over 10,000 responses) said they support more bass fishing.

I think changes for more bass tournaments will come on their own as more government and business-types come to the realization that bass tournaments are a big boost to our natural resource economy, and as long as many anglers want to fish them. It is one of the few growth areas in fishing in Michigan.

The MDNR does not like to support processes that allow one 'type' of angler to have more privileges than others. TBF of Michigan tried to get permission a couple years to hold a regular weigh in for just our youth event so we could get more boaters and get the kids out on Anchor Bay in Michigan. We couldn't get anywhere with that, and that was for kids.

Right now, the more bass tournaments come up, the harder it will be to fix this great loss of fishing opportunity that affects all 400,000 Michigan bass anglers. I think the opportunity to have more bass tournaments will happen on its own as more people realize we haven't been getting the amount of fishing opportunity we could have for a long, long time.

There are a number of states that regulate bass tournaments in one way or another, not just the no-cull states - which right now, enforcement-wise, means mainly Minnesota - the state that passed 3 more anti-bass tournament laws recently. Minnesota has a history of 'managing' their fisheries based on social and perceived social demands, not the existing science out there including contradicting their own information they provide about fisheries science on their MN DNR website.

I consider Minnesota the most radical state right now, the most bass tournament unfriendly and the most successful at withholding fishing opportunity for social or biased reasons, not scientific. I feel sorry for bass anglers there, but it also appears their bass anglers don't put up much of a fight in general? I would!

Minnesota has recently at least twice changed entire statewide regulations towards less fishing opportunity based on single studies on single bodies of water. Minnesota is also the state that tried to outlaw fishfinders when they first came out, and then tried to outlaw underwater video cameras. Even though they have their own studies that show, in general, their fisheries are not overharvested.

As far as the Wisconsin DNR caged bass delayed mortality 'study' other fisheries biologists in other states stated that the way Wisconsin did that study actually caused a higher mortality rate. Similar studies have been done in other states, especially where they have a more real issue of long stretches of real warm water to deal with than us Great Lakes states (such as Texas) that did not show these types of high delayed mortality rates. These studies have been accepted by more expert bass biologists as realistically representative of delayed bass tournament mortality.

The simple fact of the matter is we all need to use a little peer pressure to get the main persons involved - the anglers - the consistently do their best job to take good care of their catch from the catch to the release. There are resources out there such as the very simple, recently updated Keeping Bass Alive maintained by B.A.S.S. Conservation. There's a great booklet available, and a pocket guide you can print and keep with you! Both Gene Gilliland and Hal Schramm are involved in keeping this information up-to-date with the best available information for anglers and tournament directors.

After the anglers do a better job of taking care of their bass through the entire process, we need to make sure the tournament directors of the tournaments we fish also do the best job possible for the bass the anglers have taken good care of all day! An immediate impact we can all have is to push for release practices that change releasing bass into any stagnant, still, hot water areas - for us here in Michigan - mostly during June - early September particularly.

A great example would be no one should be releasing bass at the docks at the Lake St. Clair Clinton River Cutoff BAS. That is a shallow, dark silt-bottomed bay with limited water movement at times. Terrible location. All it takes is for a few of the volunteers / participants to take a few loads of bass out into the lake past the farthest sea walls before putting them back into Lake St. Clair. The water quality and depth would be much better for the bass! It would look a TON better to non-tournament anglers and a few more bass would probably survive. It might not be statistically significant BUT if we are saying we are releasing the bass to be caught again - then let's DO IT RIGHT!! :) I think that is a common sense way every bass tournament angler can improve a number of things for bass, bass fishing and bass tournaments.

I will be working with various groups this year to try to come up with a release boat program of some type to help with events larger than small clubs.
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.

Basschief

Re: Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Bass Season Proposal
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 10:37:33 AM »

Dan,
Finally took the time to read this, its very well done.  Has there been any movement from MDNR yet?  Any comment?
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djkimmel

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Re: Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Bass Season Proposal
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2013, 01:54:25 PM »

MDNR Fisheries has agreed to review this proposal internally now. They are saying the earliest a change can occur is for the 2015 fishing season. If moved forward (which I will work with others to do my best to make sure it happens) we could probably expect public meetings in 2014.

Lots to do yet with the press, other outdoors groups, MUCC (who is being supportive) and making sure people interested in more fishing opportunity keep things moving in the right direction. There will be some alternate suggestions I'm sure but I hope to use various means to keep them from gaining hold with any significant number of people.
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.
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