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Vilas, Oneida ignored

in motor trolling debate

The Natural Resources Board voted last week to endorse statewide motor trolling starting with the 2014 fishing season, a decision that ignores the will of tourism officials and lakefront organizations in Vilas, Oneida and 14 other counties that rejected the idea at spring fish and game hearings in April.

Not acting without some form of compromise in mind, the citizen-run board decided to allow motor trolling at three lines per angler in 56 counties and just one line per angler in the 16 counties that didn’t want trolling.

The board’s final decision didn’t follow the goal of rule simplification, which Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Bureau of Fisheries Director Mike Staggs called the major reason for the change. So why go against the wishes of local anglers?

It would be just as easy to maintain a no-trolling policy in Vilas and Oneida counties as it will be to educate anglers about which counties are one line and which are three lines. Add to that the confusion of keeping any water that was previously open to three-line trolling a three-line lake. There are five such waters in Oneida County, including Thunder Lake in Three Lakes and the Rainbow Flowage near St. Germain. Vilas has no three-line waters.

As we’ve done for more than 25 years, we oppose motor trolling because it will escalate user conflicts, increase pollution, add congestion to our lakes and help anglers target more trophy-sized muskies, walleyes and trout. We agree with muskie experts that there is already enough stress on the fishery without giving anglers another effective tool.

It is crazy for the DNR?to talk rule simplification after the enormously complex walleye and trout regulations the department has enacted over the years. We’ve got 15-inch minimum lakes, slot limit lakes and one-fish-over-14 lakes.

Trolling is a simple topic compared to all of that. Besides, all the regs are listed in a statewide rule book. And every landing is marked.

No-boundaries fishing

shows community heart

What a milestone the Fishing Has No Boundaries organization reached last weekend, staging its 20th annual event so that people with disabilities have a chance to enjoy the camaraderie, excitement and outdoor splendor that goes with the sport of fishing.

The greater Eagle River community showed its heart once again, attracting 69 participants from across Wisconsin and as far away as Illinois. The turnout is a testament to the more than 120 volunteers who plan and run this educational and compassionate event, sharing their time, their friendship and their love of fishing.

This is truly a community effort, evidenced by widespread donations that included 20 pontoon boats along with radios, porta-potties and live bait. Volunteers make it happen,  serving food, helping anglers, tending piers, cleaning boats, filleting fish or driving a boat.

We tip our caps to this nonprofit organization and all of it sponsors and volunteers.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013 4:20 PM
 

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