Brett’s blog — It all sounds very familiar

With all the media coverage of the historically low population estimate for Mille Lacs walleyes and historically low harvest allocations, I’m curious about the DNR’s meeting with the Mille Lacs Fishery Input Group tomorrow night.

Dennis Anderson publicized the meeting in the Strib over the weekend, and PERM (Proper Economic Resource Management – which sprang up to fight treaty rights during the 1837 Treaty case in the 1990s) sent a letter to members, so I’m wondering if there will be a crowd of uninvited guests.

That’s never occurred when I’ve been there, but it wouldn’t bother me since it’s a government agency meeting with citizens in a public place. There have been one or two uninvited guests before, so my guess is that the DNR would try to accommodate them as long as there’s room.

Here’s what PERM had to say (in italics):

It was reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this morning that the MN DNR will present its slot limit for Mille Lacs on Wednesday, February 27th at 6:00 pm to the Mille Lacs advisory group at the Hazelton Township Hall. The hall is located at 24248 U.S. 169 in Aitkin, MN 56431 (218-678-3627)

It is rumored that the DNR could impose a two-walleye limit and a two-inch harvest slot, possibly 18 to 20 inches, 20 to 22 inches, or 22 to 24 inches. Use of barbless hooks for walleyes is possible. Rumors floated to me last night also included the DNR setting a catch and release season only.

The Chippewa Bands will take 80,000 lbs of walleyes by gillnets—mainly all during the spring spawn. That’s about equal to their take last year. Tribal gillnet take also includes all the other incidental fish caught in their nets—like last years State record size Muskie.

Remember the US Supreme Court did not order gill netting during the spawn!

One study has shown about 5% of the eggs laid survive the first year, which equates to about 1,300 fry per lb of walleye. So an18 to 20-inch female equals 2,600 new walleyes in the lake. What percentage of netted fish is female?

It’s time to contact your legislators, Governor, and the DNR to end this madness. Contact info can be found at

And please forward this to at least 5 of your fishing friends

Lets all do our part.

Thanks Doug

If I were a band member (and believe me, they wouldn’t have me), I would think it all sounds familiar: White people telling the Indians to give up something, while the white folks offer nothing in exchange, or something worthless (the beads and trinkets in exchange for the island of Manhattan being one historical example).

The current “deal” is even worse than the 1837 Treaty. At least there, the Indians got to retain their hunting and fishing rights in exchange for several million acres of land.

The “deal” state anglers are proposing is this: Give up your spawning-season gill netting, in exchange for jack.

Common sense would suggest that anglers should offer something in return, yet I’ve never heard of any proposed deal — other than an Isle business owner who suggested that the DNR offer commercially harvested walleyes to the bands in exchange for their treaty rights.

Of course, that’s not the DNR’s job description, and I’m guessing the bands’ rights mean more to them than a few thousand fillets (analogous to beads and trinkets). But if businesses want to give it a try, I’d suggest they bypass the DNR and state bureaucracy and make an offer directly to the tribes.

And I want to be there when they open the letter.

Anyway, check back on Thursday when we’ll have a story on the web, and possibly some unsolicited opinions.

Oh, and if you’re looking for my proposal (for Mille Lacs regs — not for a deal with the Bands), it’s here: One fish per angler per day, any species, any size, and when we hit the quota, targeting of walleyes stops.

Clean and simple, and a model for the future of angling conservation. Mille Lacs led the way on catch-and-release and slot limits. Now it’s time to lead on bag limits.

Times have changed. The world as a whole and the state of Minnesota have changed too much for 100-year-old conservation models. Time to start over.

Nobody needs more than one fish per day. If the family wants to eat, let them go fishing. If they want fish tomorrow, they should go fishing tomorrow. Nobody needs wild-caught fish in their freezer. That’s what grocery stores are for.


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