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Author Topic: MDNR Fisheries Division Discussion of Black Bass Regulation Proposal  (Read 2942 times)

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djkimmel

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Sorry I have not shared this with you sooner. I've been rethinking everything every other day. Not just on my own, of course. Been consulting with both bass federations, MUCC, B.A.S.S. National Conservation Director Gene Gilliland and other helpful or informative people.

I'm linking to a PDF version of the MDNR Fisheries Division 'Discussion of Black Bass Regulation Proposal' PowerPoint they presented at the December Warmwater Resources Steering Committee to the various user group representatives. You can look it over and share your own opinions, ask questions. I already know mine. I'd like to hear yours.

After that December WRSC meeting, I did talk to Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter by phone - who was not at that meeting - and after our discussion, they made minor changes to the slide show when it was presented again in mid-January to the Lake Huron Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee, where I also spoke after their presentation.

I don't have a copy of the edited slide show but the differences were not significant.

PS: glwimg.com is my dedicated image and document serving domain in case anyone happens to wonder what that is because the link looks different. It just saves a little overhead.
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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.

dartag

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Re: MDNR Fisheries Division Discussion of Black Bass Regulation Proposal
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2014, 06:18:46 AM »

It seems like most of the Solutions say collect more data or allow more time.

 Any idea why the photo of the Jobbie Nooner is there.  That event is held at the end of June when the season is open on the US side of the lake.
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djkimmel

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Re: MDNR Fisheries Division Discussion of Black Bass Regulation Proposal
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2014, 03:55:14 PM »

It seems like most of the Solutions say collect more data or allow more time.

MDNR Fisheries ALWAYS says they want more time. At least when it involves bass regulations anyway... They've been saying they want more time for my entire adult life. I talked to two persons - one supposed to be representing another angler user group, and one a retired MDNR Fisheries person - who both asked me about expecting too much change too fast.

Test catch-and-release season started in 1988 - 26 YEARS AGO! Those lakes still have bass.

Michigan bass season changed by the MDNR Fisheries Division to Memorial weekend creating legal catch-and-keep bass season through the entire bass spawn in the Upper Peninsula and a big percentage of the Northern Lower Peninsula (known by some as 'the sensitive bass areas') in 1970 - 43 YEARS AGO! Still have bass up there. Including some of the best big smallmouth bass fishing anywhere!

Personally, and my advice to the groups I'm working with, we shouldn't have to wait multiple human lifetimes and/or generations to decide it is safe to provide more bass fishing. That was my basic reply back to the two persons above, and anyone who starts talking about 'moving too fast.'

Shoot! We changed the Michigan bass season to cover almost the entire bass spawn in the 99.8% of the entire state in 2006 - 8 YEARS AGO! Do we still have plenty of bass to fish for? My personal opinion is yes. Does it appear this additional bass fishing opportunity has hurt some, most or all of the bass? My personal opinion is no.

People saying we can't expect to change things too fast are people who aren't apparently aware that the way we've been doing things can't stay the same. I don't know how they aren't aware? At all the higher-up meetings I attend, the need to change is about the main topic being discussed. No one in decision-making positions is saying, 'we need to keep doing things the same.' Everyone is saying we can't continue to do things the way they've been done in the past. We were at the point were there wasn't going to be an MDNR Fisheries Division in a few years! We agreed to support their new license fee package on the promise that they would change! I don't have a problem reminding anyone who needs reminding. Anyone who still hasn't got that message: they aren't part of the solution, they're part of the problem.

MDNR Fisheries Chief Jim Dexter told me in our after-meeting phone conversation (he wasn't at the meeting I believe I mentioned before) that there was no study being done concerning the bass season during 2013. I was given the impression by other MDNR Fisheries staff at the meeting that there was some type of ongoing study still following up the test catch-and-release season and/or the new statewide catch-and-release season, but what Jim Dexter told me seemed to say there was no ongoing study or plans to do so for bass. Most of what was mentioned by the MDNR Fisheries staff at the meeting seemed to revolve around fishing effects on the bass spawn though our bass season proposal is generally only adding prespawn and winter bass fishing other than 3-4 weeks of catch-and-keep choice on Lake St. Clair to that anglers have the same choice on our best bass lake that they have in the rest of the state.

Since, in their own words, it's been legal to catch-and-keep bass during the entire bass spawn in the Upper Peninsula since 1970 (and though they didn't include Northern Lower Michigan, if you're familiar with it, then you know most of that bass spawn happens on or after Memorial weekend too), and it's been legal to bass fish during the entire bass spawn on the 6 original test lakes since 1988, and it's been legal to bass fish during the entire bass spawn statewide since 2006 - both a combination of catch-and-release and catch-and-keep, I'm not sure why the MDNR keeps going over spawn fishing for bass?

They could have studied that to death a long time ago? And, then there are the large number of studies that already exist from Florida to Ontario (including some in Michigan) you can look at if you want to look at them. Most of their references refer only to a few parts of a few Michigan studies, and 2 biologists in the rest of the world - Mark Ridgway in Ontario and David Phillipp in Illinois. There are quite a few more studies done by quite a few more biologists all over the Northern Hemisphere.

Any idea why the photo of the Jobbie Nooner is there.  That event is held at the end of June when the season is open on the US side of the lake.

Interesting question? I questioned a number of things in this slideshow at the December meeting, and in my conversation by phone afterwards with MDNR Fisheries Chief Jim Dexter. I didn't question that particular one about the choice of picture. Maybe it's the only picture they have of Lake St. Clair? Maybe they were trying to give the impression that there's already too many boats on Lake St. Clair to cause some additional concern and worry between user groups? I would hope that wasn't why they chose that picture, though there was a mention about how busy Lake St. Clair boat ramps are on that weekend, and there were comments made that they have a problem with boat ramps filled with bass boat trailers.

That was the only 'type' of trailer singled out that I recall hearing being a problem if they fill the boat ramps. From additional comments made, it sounded like they were mostly only talking about Lake St. Clair. After all, the MDNR unilaterally shortened the list of boat ramps that require a bass tournament from all of their ramps down to less than 40 statewide a number of years ago so it must not be much of a problem elsewhere. I don't know if that means it's not a problem if other boat 'types' trailers fill the boat ramps, but I only heard mention of bass boat trailers and mostly Lake St. Clair?

Part of this time they were trying to get me to choose for the bass federations from our proposal either statewide catch-and-release OR an early Lake St. Clair catch-and-keep opener because they felt we can't get everything  we want or even most of it. But maybe, if we dropped half our request to one or the other, we might be able to get just that. I took that as just their opinion, not as realistic knowledge of how this process will go (since they haven't talked to the public at all yet). I also didn't have permission to make that type of decision for either bass federation. Both federations indicated to me that they both want the proposal as written. I just said there was no choice to make because we have explained most of our rationale for the entire proposal in the proposal.

Personally, I can rarely recall seeing any of the MDNR-managed boat ramps filled only with bass boat trailers... (of course, I can't always tell the similar walleye boat trailers from bass boat trailers either)? On Lake St. Clair at least, some of the fancy trailers are probably walleye boats too.

There's a 60% limit on the number of spots bass tournament participants can fill. Other than that, all MDNR-managed boat ramp are first-come, first-serve, so the popularity of the types of fishing, and other boating activities are going to drive who fills up the ramps most often. The MDNR stated that walleye are the most sought fish on Lake St. Clair, perch are 2nd, followed by bass in 3rd. Of course, if they were referring to other lakes besides St. Clair, then it should come as no surprise that bass anglers are a common sight at many lakes. Bass are the most widely available sport fish in Michigan, and the second most sought after fish in Michigan after only panfish.

It appears to me personally that first-come, first-serve is still the fairest way to provide access to public resources in the number of available access spots provided. Anglers and boaters who are most interested in the resource will be the ones most likely to get access. Just like anywhere else. I do know there aren't enough 'bass boat trailers' in Michigan to fill every MDNR boat trailer spot available statewide on every day.

Maybe a good solution is to actually look at providing enough boat trailer parking to meet the overall demand to all anglers and boaters on the extra popular waters like Lake St. Clair? I understand we may be hearing about additional boat trailer parking on Lake St. Clair this spring. Not enough to meet the overall demand on the most popular days or times of year for all anglers and boaters, but more will be better than what we have now that isn't enough sometimes right now.

I know one thing I could never personally support, and I hope most people feel the same way - closing one species that can scientifically handle additional fishing opportunity to all fishing just so people who prefer fishing for that species won't be 'competing' for boat trailer parking spots 'against' other users who prefer to fish for another popular species. That is not first-come, first-served. That is playing favorites. Deciding who is more desirable. Bias. Prejudice. As long as some anglers can fish for something, closing other species on the same water, especially species that can, and will, be caught using similar tactics in some or many of the same places, just asks for social problems.

I think those social problems do more harm to the sport of fishing, and the natural resource economy, then letting things like first come, first-served work out resource use. You disenfranchise less people when you use more commonly accepted methods to handle resource use. I believe you also lead to more positive change such as more people seeking more access where it's needed when you stop trying to manage resources by playing favorites. More reasons why I support scientific fish and game management over social fish and game management.

Besides, who wants to be treated like they are less desirable, or undesirable? No one I know.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2014, 04:00:21 PM by djkimmel »
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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.

SethV

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Re: MDNR Fisheries Division Discussion of Black Bass Regulation Proposal
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2014, 08:53:30 PM »

Proposal 2 looks good to me.  Get rid of the season and catch up the the rest of the country.  As for the ramp crowding concerns, when was the last time you saw a crowded boat ramp in April in Michigan.  Isn't the objective to get more people out on the water?
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Kal-Kevin

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Re: MDNR Fisheries Division Discussion of Black Bass Regulation Proposal
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2014, 10:00:35 PM »

You know SethV has a good point most people do not use the launches in the early spring and late fall so I think crowding will not be a issue. 
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djkimmel

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Re: MDNR Fisheries Division Discussion of Black Bass Regulation Proposal
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2014, 11:39:54 PM »

Proposal 2 looks good to me.  Get rid of the season and catch up the the rest of the country.  As for the ramp crowding concerns, when was the last time you saw a crowded boat ramp in April in Michigan.  Isn't the objective to get more people out on the water?

Unfortunately, our Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation proposal 2 was not accepted. The MDNR said it would be too hard and take 5 years to accomplish. They said if we could get a majority of outdoor groups to accept it they might change their mind. I have not given up on it, and it will come up again later with more rationale on why it is necessary. Particularly why closed seasons generally don't work, and cause more problems than they 'fix.' Which is why closed seasons are not the most common regulations used.

Most states rarely use closed seasons. The other states aren't dumb, and it's not because they care less about their fish. They are just more progressive, less stuck in the distant past. They know why closed seasons are not the best choice for fish management usually.

I imagine we can go at the closed season issue a number of ways, including piecemeal as more anglers find out why closed seasons are a poor choice in most cases. I already have at least one MDNR fisheries biologist who tells me, and his fellow biologists, that are closed seasons are no longer needed. I wish he wasn't retiring in a couple years. It's hard for some people to accept change. As usual.

Both of you are right about the ramp crowding 'issue' too. It's more smoke than issue. I think they're mainly talking about Lake St. Clair. And YES, WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING MORE PEOPLE ON THE WATER!

You probably can't imagine how crazy it drives me to hear anyone in a position of leadership, whether it's an MDNR person or someone representing another user group, to say things counter to getting more people into fishing! Makes no sense to me whatsoever?!? I will just keep plugging away.

Really, more people get it now than ever. Many of the people in the MDNR above the Fisheries Division, including other Divisions. People like those at MUCC get it. More of the other user groups than I've seen in the past get it. We don't have time to continue to fight and bicker among each other, particularly about dumb things that can be worked out easily in other ways. Not with the people who want to take away ALL our abilities to hunt and fish pouring millions of dollars into Michigan continuing with the vote in November to take away scientific management of fish and game!
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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.

Slipkey

Re: MDNR Fisheries Division Discussion of Black Bass Regulation Proposal
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2014, 12:17:14 AM »

I really appreciate all you do, Dan and the amount of time you put in to this.  With regards to some of the concerns by the DNR, I get questioning the necessity and timing of C&R seasons.  I don't get why, in this day and age, we feel the need to completely close the season for bass. Closing the season for walleye is a necessity, because of the way they spawn (though we basically have a fish-in-a-barrel season for salmon as it stands...)

The "too many bass boat trailers" thing just torques me off...  Bass fishermen (and women):

1) Launch faster
2) Load faster
3) Generally protect the natural resource better and contribute less litter to public areas
4) Are generally more courteous and respectful at the ramp to other users
5) Spend enormous amounts of money in license, recreation passport, and other angling related expenses - more per angler, I would say, than any other specialty-species angler.

The DNR's in MI, MN, and WI have a very similar approach which prioritizes anglers of the fish that agency stocks.  Because tremendous state resources are dedicated to recruitment and stocking of the catch-and-take species, voices of anglers and advocates for those species seem to be more readily heard, year-after-year - which comments like "too many bass boat trailers" only serve to highlight.  Ghaaah!  ???
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