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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The DNR is set to change the walleye fishing regulations on Lake Erie for the 2004 fishing season. Studies throughout the lake have shown a steady decline in Lake Erie's walleye population for more than 10 years. These studies include years of creel surveys taken by the Michigan DNR at many local Lake Erie access sites.
The 40% reduction in the walleye harvest planned for 2004 was agreed upon by all the states that border Erie plus the province of Ontario. The Michigan changes will include a closed season for the months of April and May, a reduction in the daily bag limit from 6 walleye to 5, and an increase in the minimum size limit from 13" to 15".
I have no problem with these changes since the biology shows that these efforts should help shore up the spawning base of Lake Erie's walleye. What I'm questioning is the DNR's decision to extend the increase in size limit to include the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River.
The DNR has not come forward with the facts and figures showing a biological need for the size change on these waters.
Creel surveys have only been taken on the Detroit River for the past two years. Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River have had the surveys for just one year.
The only reason being given for the size increase is to standardize the regulations on all Michigan waters making it easier for Law Enforcement.
Is that what we're supposed to do? Give up fishing opportunities to make it easier on Law Enforcement?
The DNR should keep a close watch on these waters and their fishery, but only change the regulations when the need arises.
 

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I agree that uniform size limits for all of the Great Lakes are not necessary. Also, why not simply reduce the walleye limit to 2 for April and May instead of closing down entirely for that period? Or impose size restrictions similar to what they did in Florida for the Redfish; both minimum and maximum sizes to keep the breeders in the water. Most of us will back measures which promote the fisheries here, but I am not sure that these proposed changes make sense for our local waters.
 

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Here's what is dumb.....The DNR claims that the lower walleye population is mainly due to the big wind and waves that have swept the offshore reefs, and ruined the spawn. Well what the heck does that have to do with the Detroit River population??? The Detroit River is a distinct fishery with a genetically distinct (according to the DNR) walleye popuation. The river spawns are virtually untouched by bad weather, so why screw with the river regs? The biggest problem for those river fish is when they head out to Erie to get netted later in the summer. The Ontario side reduced the limit in the river to 4 fish for 2001,2002,2003 because they said there would be lower walleye numbers.....huh????? Those were some great years! I'm afraid what they are about to do this year, under pressure from the commercial netters.
 

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Dah!!!!! I wonder if they took in consideration how many walleye eggs are eaten by the GOBI.........Closing the season In April and May is going to hurt the industry. But those pencil necks, probably don't fish. Lowering the limit is the way. DAH!!!!

h2o bumming!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A few interesting developments on this topic have arisen in the last month or so. The following letter to K. L. Kool, Director of the Department of Natural Resources, from the Lake Erie/Lake St. Clair Fishery Advisory Committee might help explain most of whats been going on.

September 4, 2003

K. L. Kool, Director
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Director Kool,

In May, the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair Fishery Advisory Committee (LE/LSCFAC) met with MDNR managers and scientists to develop biologically based and socially acceptable changes to the Lake Erie walleye fishing regulations for 2004. The ultimate goal of that meeting was to develop recommendations on how to reduce the walleye harvest from the Michigan waters of Lake Erie by 40 percent. These reductions are necessary to help shore up the declining walleye spawning stock and ensure the long-term viability of the valuable fishery in these waters.

The final proposal unanimously supported by the committee was to establish a closed season on walleye fishing in April and May, to raise the minimum size limit from 13 inches to 15 inches, and to reduce the daily bag limit from six fish to five on Lake Erie. This was actually a compromise position from what the MDNR biologists were originally proposing. Making minor changes to three types of regulations met the required quota reduction without making the impact of any individual regulation change too severe.

Since that time, several individuals have come forward opposing these recommendations. The main concerns appear to be that the May closure might negatively impact the support businesses dependent upon the fishery, and that the proposed regulation changes do nothing to protect the fishery on the Detroit River.

MDNR biologists met again with the LE/LSCFAC on August 27 to review alternatives to the original proposal that would be biologically equivalent in their ability to reduce Michigan's harvest by 40%, but that addressed some of the new socially driven concerns that have been raised. The committee's alternative proposal is a closure on walleye fishing from April 1 through the first Saturday in May, to raise the minimum size limit from 13 inches to 15 inches, and to reduce the daily bag limit from six fish to four fish on Lake Erie. In addition, the committee proposes raising the minimum size limit from 13 inches to 15 inches and reducing the daily bag limit from six fish to five fish on the Detroit River.

The LE/LSCFAC continues to overwhelmingly support their original proposal. It is the consensus of the committee that the four-fish daily bag limit for the entire fishing season on the Michigan waters of Lake Erie, while the limit on the Detroit River is five fish and Ohio enjoys a six-walleye-per-day limit, is more detrimental to local businesses than the two-month spring closure. The LE/LSCFAC does support the increase to a 15-inch minimum size limit and the reduced bag limit to five walleye per day on the Detroit River proper, but does not recommend or support any changes to the walleye regulations on Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River.

Sincerely,

Terry D. Picard, Chair
Lake Erie/Lake St. Clair Fisheries Advisory Committee

After the original proposal was developed, DNR biologist took it to the June meeting of the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The proposal was unanimously supported by the committee.

The Dnr Director will make his decision by November and make the change to the regulations through a Directors Order.

If you feel strongly about this issue and would like to have your voice heard, you need to contact DNR Director Kool as well as the people listed below.

Natural Resources Commission
Commissioner Names and Addresses

Jim Campbell
37904 Palma Road
New Boston, MI 48164
734-654-2905 (Office)
734-654-2905 (Home)
Appointed: 8/31/01
Term Expires: 12/31/03
Democrat

Keith J. Charters (Chair)
126 Spring Hill Road.
Traverse City, MI 49686
231-947-7566 (Office)
Appointed: 12/29/94
Re-Appointed: 12/20/01
Term Expires: 12/31/05
Republican

Paul Eisele
21001 Van Born
Taylor, MI 48180
313-792-6031 (Office)
734-944-3616 (Home)
Appointed: 7/18/91
Term Expires: 12/31/03
Independent

Bob Garner
7020 E. 48 Road
Cadillac, MI 49601-0984
231-779-9866 (Office)
Appointed: 8/5/99
Re-Appointed: 1/1/03
Term Expires: 12/31/06
Democrat

John Madigan
831 W. Munising Avenue
Munising, MI 49862
906-387-4468 (Office)
Appointed: 1/1/03
Term Expires: 12/31/06
Republican

William Parfet
MPI Research
54943 N. Main Street
Mattawan, MI 49071
616-668-3336 (Office)
Appointed: 1/8/96
Re-Appointed: 9/4/01
Term Expires: 12/31/04
Republican

Frank C. Wheatlake
Reed City Power Line Supply,
420 N. Roth Street,
P.O. Box 147
Reed City, MI 49677
231-832-2258 (Office)
Appointed: 2/6/01
Term Expires: 12/31/04
Independent

Department of Natural Resources
Executive Division
Attention: Teresa Gloden
P.O. BOX 30028
Lansing, MI 48909
517-373-2352
 

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I've seen similar to this on the east coast with the decline in Striped Bass.

IMHO the only way to truely keep your spawners in the water is to "slot" the size. (I'm not an avid walleye angler so please don't jump on my case if my sizes don't make sense, I'm only trying to prove a point.)

I have to believe that your best spawners are medium to large size fish. Raising the minimum size from 13" to 15" is not going to stop people from keeping your 20" to 30" fish. A good slot size will allow everyone to take home some good eaters, take home Big trophies and leave the adolescent fish with their raging hormones to do their buisness which is to take care of the survival of the species.

This type of management did WONDERS for the Stiper population. I ALWAYS agree with reducing bag limits.

Marke
 

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Like many other people who consider themselves "bass anglers", the only time I target walleye is in April & May in the Detroit River. If the DNR is going to close that part of the season, then I guess I won't go walleye fishing. Maybe it would be better to reduce the limit during that time to three fish. If it were lower than that, I wouldn't bother going.

Okay, now let's talk DNR. If they are so interested in quality fishing, then why do they allow the decimation of weeds in so many bodies of water in this state? How does the killing of all weeds in a body of water fit into the natural scheme of things? Why does the DNR seem more interested in more restrictions and not more opportunities?

To close the season on the Detroit River in April and May would be STUPID!!! Has anybody from the DNR ever gone out there and seen the hundreds and hundreds of boats out there at that time? Why would they want to take this opportunity away from so many people? People who look forward with great anticipation to finally getting to fish from their boats after a long winter are now going to be denied that opportunity?!! YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!! Who is working for whom, for cryin' out loud?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cameraguy, I think you may have read the post wrong. There is no closed season being proposed on the Detroit River, just the Michigan waters of Lake Erie. The only changes the DNR is looking at for the Detroit River is an increase in the size limit from 13" to 15" and a reduction in the daily bag limit from 6 walleye to 5. I hope this clears that up.
 

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Pwood,

Can you tell me the logic in leaving the Ohio limits on Lake Erie higher than the limits proposed for Michigan waters? If this is so, won't this push some anglers that want to fish the higher limits to launch their boats, buy gas, buy baits, buy tackle and rent motel rooms in Ohio? From what I can tell more fish are pulled out of Ohio waters by far now without any changes. Or, did I miss read the proposal too?

Jim
 

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The Lake Erie Walleye harvest is set up on a quota basis. Each state that borders Lake Erie and the Province of Ontario have a harvest quota based on how much survace water is under their control. While Michigan was slightly over their harvest level for 2002, Ohio's harvest fell about 40% under quota. The proposed reduction for the 2004 Lake Erie walleye harvest is 40%. Because of the under quota harvest, technically, Ohio did not have to make changes to their regulations. In an effort to further protect the walleye spawning base on Lake Erie, Ohio has enacted a 3 walleye daily bag limit for the months of March and April. Ohio has also established a 15" minimum size limit when in the past they had no size limit at all. These new regulations also cover many of Ohio's Lake Erie tributaries such as the Sandusky and Maumee Rivers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
To view the DNR's white paper on the Lake Erie walleye harvest reduction go to
www.lakestclairwalleyeassociation.com
and click on the link for New Walleye Regulations for 2004
 

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Thanks for the clarification PWood. It sounds like Ohio has stepped up and is taking actions to aleviate the fishing pressure durring the spawn. I am not totally convinced that sport fishermen are the root cause of the walleye reductions though.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This propsal is going back before the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) next Thursday (10/9). If you would like to comment on the proposed regulation changes, check the 5th post in this thread for the names, addresses and phone numbers of the NRC members.
 

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I put a post out on this months ago and tried to warn you all about these changes. This is only step 1 you will see as the next step is they will be closing down the Detroit River in April and part of May.
If you believe what the DNR is saying, take it with agrain of salt. Stay informed on this issue and watch for any info dealing with this in the future.
The decline in walleye is being blamed on bad spawning the last couple of years but it is more than that; it is Gobi's, Commercial netting/ Indian netting and pollution. The DNR just wants to target the recreational fisherman as this is the easiest for them all the way around.

Again, stay informed, this issue is not over.
 

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While you may have your reasons, like I do on certain matters, but is there any proof that the introduction of Gobies to our system has hampered the walleye population? I know I am generally more concerned with bass, but I was at the meetings that Terry was when this was discussed. The DNR, in my opinion, does not "want to target the recreational fisherman" that will be affected by this regulation change.

The walleye in Lake Erie are managed on a quota basis. We (Michigan anglers) get X amount of walleye that we can catch and still maintain a healthy population. Canada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York are included. This quota system is a percentage of the total quota that each state is allowed to take based on the amount of water in the jurisdiction. While Michigan has very little water (comparitively speaking) than the other parties involved, it still was tasked to reduce our harvest by 40% (along with the surrounding states and province.

Now the last couple years spawn has been dramatically reduced, by what who knows. Most of the belief is that the weather (winds) had the majority of the impact. Could be gobies, heck it could be the massive harvest in the Detroit River during the spawn.

Since Michigan has VERY little IF ANY (Pwood can correct me here I am sure) commercial fisheries on Lake Erie, the reduction has to come from somewhere.......that leaves the recreational fishing. I will tell you it was proposed to close the Detroit River too, but that didnt fly to well at the meetings.

If the DNR was to target the recreational fisherman (alot of bass tournament fisherman say they are being targeted, a little different, but common thoughts nonetheless) that would only lead to a decline in anglers and therefore monies from permits and licenses. Basically they would be cutting their own throat. They need us, and we need them. The sooner more people realize this the better off we will all be as fisherman. Should they be questioned on some things? Of course....that is why they have Public Advisory Councils, to discuss things like this and get some feedback from the anglers, recreational and guides alike.

The best thing I can say is that if everyone (and I am sounding a little like djkimmel here) got involved, asked the tough questions and gave their input the relationship with the DNR would be better.....

How many people here have actually given a Creel Census report to the guys hanging out at the launch with they clipboards in their hands? Did you know that this is one method that the DNR uses to calculate how many fish are harvested and caught in any given year? Location is very important in this too....lets say you launch at Erie Metro and run into Ohio to catch your fish, you need to tell the Census Clerk that is what you did so it doesnt count against our quota. BUT since most guys are into bragging about the fish they caught and quiet about where they caught them, these numbers can be easily skewed.

So I guess the moral of the story is to help the DNR, question them, allow yourself to be questioned. You will if you really care about the resource, or you may just get what you dont want.

Nothing personal Gitzit, but after a few meetings I can see djkimmel's point about uninformed "opinions" both in fisherman and the DNR, you just struck the chord....lol

Off the soap box for now. I get to bass fishing for the next 4 days straight!!!!!

Mini
 

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I knew that this would be a hot topic but maybe I was not clear.
When I am trying to say is that we fisherman need to not just trust the DNR on this one. I am not talking about the officers in the field but the" politician" DNR official that has the final say in this and all outdoor regulations.
The DNR in general does not care about the fisherman, they care about the money that they can get from the outdoorsman. One example is some of these dnr guys at the boatramps on a busy weekend; some of them have no clue what goes on around a ramp.
I do not know who djkimmel is that you metioned but I agree with him, stay involved and give your input on this. I am just trying to make a difference and trying to get more FISHERMAN involved with the DNR and not let them know that we will not just accept what they tell us to do if it is not right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The Lake Erie walleye population has been declining for more than 10 years. This is not a fabrication of the Michigan DNR. The decline in walleye numbers has been documented by biologist from around the entire lake. 10 years ago there was an estimated 76 million walleye in Lake Erie. Today that number is closer to 19 million. A loss of 3/4 of the population in just 10 years.
Presently, the Lake Erie walleye fishery is supported mainly by two major year classes. This is evident in the catches coming off of the lake. The majority of the fish are either 14" - 16" or 19" - 21". These are the 1998 and 2000 year classes, the only two strong spawning years in recent history. Because of the drastic decline in population and the weak spawning success in most years, the members of the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (again not just the MDNR) have agreed to a 40% reduction in the walleye harvest to help support the spawning base of Lake Erie's walleye.
I hear your concern about the regulation changes being proposed. They may seem somewhat drastic. What I don't hear is an alternative plan to reach the 40% reduction.
 

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I may be switching subjects here but I just have to point out what was in todays newspaper about the DNR.
Today the DNR has announced to cancel access to its fishing hotline as well cancel is contract with Bass Pro Shops who was helping support the hotline.
It just further supports my statement that the DNR does not care about the fisherman and is only interested in our money.
You wait and see, there next propsal will be to raise our liscense fees. I am sure that there will be someone that will be a post saying that the DNR must do it as they have not raised them in years.
Maybe we should create a forum called DNR watch to help keep as many fisherman updated quickly and let the DNR know how we feel via the web or phone calls.
 
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