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I know this has been a really big issue on this board and I hate to bring it up again but I have a few questions. I will admit that before I discovered this site last summer I fished for bass on all lakes regardless of the season. Upon reading the many intelligent articles about this topic I became convinced that I should not compromise a law just because I don't agree with it. This year I have obeyed the laws and I must say I feel better as a person, but "THIS STINKS". Nothing against the early season lakes but once you get a taste of the big water spring bonanza it is hard to forget. Being like most people that post on this board I don't believe we need a closed season but just a catch & release law until the current season opens. I know that several frequent posters on this site are in close communication with the DNR regarding this topic. My questions to you guys are these. Is there significant progress being made for a catch & release rule during the closed season? What do you think the chances that this will actually happen is and when? What can I do to help the cause?
I have had no motivation to contribute to the law changing until I stopped fishing illegally. I think that if every bass fisherman decided to obey the law next year, the list of people trying to change the law the following year would be overwhelming. Maybe it would be enough to make a change.
A few more questions to whomever may know; what is the proof that the DNR needs to change the law? Do they need their own experiments to show that the spawn will still be successful or are they using information from other fisheries that allow early season fishing? If they just can't prove it either way scientifically, what is the next thing they will use to determine whether this law is necessary? I can't imagine what five years of obeying this law will be like. I just feel so limited and it's only been part of one spring.

Marcus
 

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I agree with you 100%.

The very first time I went fishing on my boat I did jump the gun a bit. MAN What a great day on the water. To this day I still see tons of fishermen bouncing tubes off the sea wall. I would love to here about a catch and imediate release season. Maybe even a lottery or a special license or fee. But right around when the season opens the weeds thicken a long the wall. By then Im usually out in the lake in search of dinner. I never keep Bass always release them.
 

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QUOTE(CBJ @ May 21 2003, 10:34 AM)I agree with you 100%.

The very first time I went fishing on my boat I did jump the gun a bit. MAN What a great day on the water. To this day I still see tons of fishermen bouncing tubes off the sea wall. I would love to here about a catch and imediate release season. Maybe even a lottery or a special license or fee. But right around when the season opens the weeds thicken a long the wall. By then Im usually out in the lake in search of dinner. I never keep Bass always release them.
Im not afraid to try out in the lake, but my 7 year old and my wife really dig it.
 

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Just my two Canadian cents worth. I spoke with a senior Conservation officer for the Michigan DNR this past April, and he said as far as the season changing, don't count on it. I know what some claim on this site, but he has talked with senior DNR biologists and they have no plans to change anything.
 

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As it stands now the law isnt going anywhere. Mike Thomas released a very well written report about smallmouth on Lake St Clair (and posted a link to it, do a search). I believe more reports like this along with other "ammunition" could get the wording changed.

I am not confident that it will change immediately. I assume, and I am for, additional studies to try and guess what the impact may be. I was told once something gets changed, it will be hard to get it back to the "old way".

IMHO the ecomomic boom to the area (if the change happens) would be tremendous. That alone could make any reversal next to impossible once the local business community sees their hotels full, the tackle being bought and all the out of state plates at the launches....

Marcus, thank you for helping the cause by leaving the smallies alone. I too have done that and it just may make a difference in the fishery, then again, it may not. There are plenty of other fish you can catch until opening day, and I would be willing to bet no matter what species you target you will catch a few bass.

CBJ, you dont have to get very far off of your seawall to get back on those fish. I dont know where you usually launch (I assume SCS), and I dont know what wall you are talking about, but the smallies are numerous and fairly easy to catch near SCS. Just follow the gobies...


DRP, how much is two Canadian cents worth? lol...

Mini
 

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The exchange for 2 Canadian cents.....you guys don't have a coin that small.
 

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Can we flatten a split shot and use that??...hahahah
 

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As long as it's a small splitshot Mac!

I don't know if anyone has actually read the compilation Mike Thomas posted on St. Clair, but I thought it clearly showed an excellent bass fishery that is very healthy and that is seeing very minimal creeling of bass already.

I didn't see any concerns in there and do see some good evidence that the St. Clair spawn in very dependent on weather conditions. There was no evidence that could be pointed to and say 'fishing did that.' The bass recruitment looked to be better or worse depending on other factors since the change in recruitment does not correlate to the change in fishing pressure during those seasons based on my own observations and comments from what the MDNR thinks is happening out there both.

I'm trying to change the season statewide, not just St. Clair. Personally, I look at St. Clair as the poster child for the type of excellent, huge, healthy bass fishery with low existing harvest that a biologist would want to consider for a test period verses smaller, or northern more easily influenced waters.

As far as talking to MDNR, you talk to one or two, you think one or two things. I could talk to one or two and come away believing there won't be bass tournaments anymore. I don't take what one or two think should happen as meaning anything more than what it means - everyone has their opinion. I've talked to MDNR too, and more than one or two. A season change is being talked about and may happen. It depends on how badly enough anglers want to see it change and how badly some other anglers AND lake associations don't want it changed. Pretty much the same it's always depended on.

The real questions are: How much of a change can the various 'sides' meet in the middle on (where is the middle?)? And how involved will interested parties actually get when crunch time comes? The answer to those two questions will determine the outcome more than anything else.
 
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