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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've finished my review of the 49 states that have bass and Michigan probably has the most restrictive bass season of all. It's a close call with Minnesota, although Minnesota did go a little overboard this year by restricting smallmouths statewide to catch and release only in early September despite the pressure and supporting evidence for the change dealt with stream smallies. They do have an earlier May opener in NE Minnesota (because bass are a "non-native' and unpopular species there"). Minnesota is farther North than us and has more infertile waters than we do.

Wisconsin was right there, but they've relaxed their seasons to May 1st openers (catch and release North zone; open in the South).

New York has some good waters open earlier for catch and release or other exceptions including Lake Erie and the Finger Lakes, although their general season doesn't open until the 3rd Saturday in June.

Maine, another colder northern state with a closed season has an early artificial lure opening (April 1) and fall catch-and-release seasons in many counties, so they are more bass angler-friendly.

There are only 7 states with a statewide closed bass season and 3 are short with early spring seasons starting in March and April. The other 42 states have no closed season. A few may have a catch-and-release season or reduced creel in the spring, or by water types, but you can legally fish for bass year-round.

I will be including this and much more information in my paper on our season change. After I've sent it out to various parties, I will post it on my site and note it here for those who might want to read it.
 

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That is interesting that Michigan and Minnesota are close together in how restrictive they are. I have fish in Minnesota quit a bit, and they also have some incredible bass fishing, especially largemouths in the western part of the state.

The bass don't get the attention of the species, but for numbers and predictability of fish I don't think I have been anywhere better. Maybe there is something to these restricted seasons or maybe I have just hit the right lakes. Either way, both states have some great fishing opportunities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Come on boatnfish, you're sounding like a neophyte. The old "hey the light bulb comes on every time I throw the switch" rationale, so it must be the switch that makes the bulb glow. I hope your just messing with me (and if you are, paybacks are...well, you know the rest).

Of course without the electric company down the electrical line, you could throw that switch all you want and you wouldn't get light.

Could it possibly be that other factors need to be considered for why Michigan and Minnesota, like more quality, clean water than practically anyplace on Earth?

Only one notable change has occurred in our bass regulations in decades - going to the 14" limit. Yet the bass fishing HAS dramatically changed in many places in Michigan before and after that change. Doesn't that make anyone wonder if our bass fishing has gotten so much better during that time with no season changes that maybe something else is behind the change? You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce this.

Mix clean water, good habitat and plentiful forage and you'll have great bass fishing as long as harvest (killing, not just catching) is kept from being outrageous. In Michigan, catch-and-release is so popular now, that very few waters see enough harvest to cause any long-term problems for bass that can spawn like they do. The harvest on St. Clair is incredibly low when compared to the estimated number of bass available. Just compare the numbers to the walleye available and their harvest. HUGE difference. Just a handful of successful beds could replace all the bass harvested in a year on St. Clair according to the harvest numbers recently provided by the MDNR themselves.

I had one guy tell me on another site when I mentioned that there was a huge year class in 1998 despite one of the heaviest spring fishing pressure seasons that I was an idiot because of course 1998 was an awesome recruitment year BECAUSE WE HAD A LONG PERIOD OF STABLE, WARM WEATHER. Best in years, he says, so of course more bass survived. I'm thinking to myself, this guy has been telling me I'm wrong for months, yet he just proved one of my main points - it isn't the fishing pressure that dictates the success of a spawn, it's bigger factors like MOTHER NATURE!

I wasn't saying bass recruitment was better BECAUSE of the spring bass fishing. I was saying it was better DESPITE spring bass fishing because fishing will rarely outweigh the real factors like weather and water conditions. I was saying the fishing DOESN'T matter in most cases if you have good weather and water conditions, along with habitat and food. Numerous biologists from across the country have told me this repeatedly. Conversely, if conditions are poor for the spawn AND throughout summer into fall, or even if they are really poor later summer and fall, again, whether your fishing them or not, odds are pretty good you will have poor recruitment.

I get told about twice a month from someone that this makes no sense to them. I can't help that. I think I've explained it as best I can. You (meaning the rhetorical you - the guys who tell me they KNOW I'm wrong and they're RIGHT anyway) need to either read the studies and THEN talk to an assortment of experts, or decide that there just might be a chance, since I have read the studies and talked to a LOT of experts and you haven't, that I might actually know what I'm talking about. And you might be wrong. Otherwise, no one can help and you already know all the answers to everything anyway.

Am I saying I know everything? Of course not. But we already have all the data we need to have a good idea what will most likely happen if we change our bass season...and I'm not the only one who knows that. No one knows that there isn't some catastrophic change that might occur later that could change everything, but catastrophic events are often out of our control anyway and incredibly long in the odds. People think that we will be letting Pandora out of the box and can never put her back in by making this change, but that is nonsense. The odds are no drastic changes will occur later to make this a mistake, but if they do, Americans have shown they can make hard choices when they are obviously necessary.

I think anyone who says we can't take this back if things go 'horribly' wrong isn't paying attention to what has been going on around the bass world for about 20 years now and has a really poor outlook on his/her fellow humans. I could be personally offended every time someone tells me how selfish and short-sighted I am being, except this isn't the first time I've been through something like this. It will pass and we'll all be enjoying more good bass fishing. That's my prediction. Now, I have to get back to work and make sure it happens.
 

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Oh man, going to take some time to digest this one.
 

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Dan,

A lot of us may not say it but we do appreciate your didication to this sport and this topic in particular. Your logic and stating of facts, not platitudes, is refreshing and compelling. Please keep up the good fight.

Jim
 
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