This is copied with the permission of the writer
This was posted on “the lake St. Clair network”
MDNR Fisheries make Michigan bass season recommendations for 2006
At the August 23rd coolwater external committee meeting, the MDNR fisheries staff unveiled their recommendations for the 2006 Michigan bass season. After going through their recent evaluation of the situation combining public meeting comments, studies and survey comments, the MDNR announced they will take the following recommendations to the Director and the Natural Resources Commission (NRC):
1) Keep the existing bass season opener on the Saturday before Memorial Day, and the existing 3rd Saturday in June opener on the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River system;
2) Catch-and-Immediate-Release (CIR) of bass will be allowed statewide on all waters of the Lower Peninsula from the last Saturday in April until the regular bass season openers, and from May 15 until the existing regular bass season opener in the Upper Peninsula. All waters statewide include all inland lakes, rivers and streams, and the Great Lakes and connecting waters. Exceptions would be existing special regulation lakes and areas to be spelled out in the regulations.
3) Eliminate the special April 1 opening on the 6 test bass lakes so they will now open at the same time other lakes open since these lakes are no longer being studied.
- A monitoring and assessment protocol will be implemented to evaluate the new regulations structure.
- A fisheries order will implement the new regulations with a 5-year sunset clause although any serious concerns could be addressed before the 5 years are up.
- Special regulations areas such as the Beaver Island Archipeligo and the Sylvania Tract are still under review.
The MDNR will review the CIR season for the lower Great Lakes since the main concern for the initial start date is to match existing pike, trout and walleye season openers, and these Great Lakes waters are open all year. MDNR fisheries leadership will announce their recommendations on this suggestion later this fall. This is looking positive so far.
Now that the MDNR fisheries has announced their initial recommendations, the next steps in this process are:
- Input from this coolwater external committee are considered;
- Post card data received back from anglers who did not respond to the mail survey are analyzed;
- A final report is written which will be presented to the Director and NRC;
- Fisheries leadership provides their recommendations for information to the NRC at the September 8, 2005 meeting in Houghton, MI;
- The recommendations are presented for public input and review at the October NRC meeting in Lansing;
- Action is taken on the recommendations at the November NRC meeting;
- The final outcome goes to the MDNR Director as Fisheries Order 215 for signature to enact;
- The new fisheries order would go into effect April 1, 2006.
The MDNR also announced they are going to a 2-year fishing guide effective 2006 as a cost-saving move, so there would be no further changes to fishing regulations until 2008. This was a factor in the final decision fish division made regarding the bass season issue, and why it was importance the change could go directly to the Director as a fisheries order instead of requiring legislation that would probably delay any change until 2008.
Dave Borgeson announced he was confident the MUCC would support these recommendations. The coolwater external committee was unanimously supportive of the recommendations. Ron Spitler and I are acquiring the support of the various bass angler groups in Michigan, and informing BASS and other organizations also.
First of all, now that you see the outcome of this long and challenging process, I want to make a few comments. Ron Spitler was extremely instrumental, with his over 30 years of fisheries experience, knowledge of the MDNR and irrefutable expertise on the subject making a huge difference in the final outcome of the MDNR fisheries recommendation. Ron was able to work with BASS biologist and Conservation Manager Chris Horton, and on his own collecting data and studies that had a measurable impact on the MDNR decision. Ron's impact was significant. Thank you Ron.
Anthony Adams also was very instrumental in many ways, especially in single-handedly pulling off the important set of successful bass meetings we anglers had last year to develop our plan and spearhead our movement. Anthony's persistence was felt throughout the process. Thanks Anthony.
Bob Gwizdz was heavily involved from the start getting information quickly out to large number of anglers, and seeing clearly through the confusion and challenges to where this could end up if followed wisely. Bob's articles were great. Thanks Bob. Keep up your great work in reporting the outdoors to the public.
Other media persons also had significant impact at important times. People such as Louie Stout, Bill Parker and Kevin Elliott to name a few. I’m very sorry if I left any names off here. I thank them all and especially want to point out the supportive forum Bob Bauer gave us a number of times on his 97.1 FM radio show.
Thanks also to the participation and counsel of all the folks at BASS HQ. They helped all of us quite a bit and are continuing to help now and into the future with compiling tournament results and providing additional data and counsel. Thanks Chris, Noreen and Bruce.
The support of MUCC is almost always necessary to get something like this accomplished. It was enjoyable to have the MUCC in support of more bass fishing opportunity. Other major tournament group leaders also have done quite a bit, especially Russ Hirdes at BBT, Jim Sprague at NBAA and of course Anthony Adams for ABA. Several fishing/outdoor companies also had significant impact, particularly Randy VanDam and D & R Sports along with Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's.
Additionally, there are way too many other people to thank everyone individually without writing another longer 'book.' All of you who attended meetings, who spoke at meetings, who posted your opinions and debated on the forums, submitted written comments, obtained petition signatures and just kept the faith, thank you so much. No single person or small group of persons could accomplish something like this without the support and desires of the many. Thank you all so much and I hope you all get special enjoyment next spring out of your fishing.
But we aren't done quite yet. We still have to positively support this position and smoothly advance these recommendations through the rest of the process as detailed above. We can all help smooth the way for approval and implementation of a new CIR bass season in Michigan by our actions and support. I know I want to start by commending the MDNR fisheries division for reaching the conclusions that they did by looking at all the input and not making a final recommendation until they had considered all the input from all the anglers who cared enough to be involved. I believe that doors have been thrown open that will help all of us, and more importantly, the bass fishery in Michigan, long into the future. I commend the MDNR fisheries division for showing they will put a new and increased emphasis on the importance of the bass fishery in Michigan to so many anglers.
the rest of this story is in the next posting