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Hearing attendance, vote

crucial on trolling issue

Though a compromise statewide motor trolling plan has already won approval from the Natural Resources Board, the public will get one more chance for input at the spring fish and game hearings in every county next Monday, April 14.


Gov. Walker delayed implementation of the compromise plan, asking for another public review before the state forces single-line trolling on lakes in Vilas, Oneida and 15 other counties that voted down trolling with three lines per angler at last year’s hearings.


Motor trolling is currently allowed on only 105 lakes in Wisconsin. That includes no lakes in Vilas and just five lakes in Oneida. This plan opens up every lake to single-line trolling, regardless of size. And any lake previously open to trolling will continue to be open at three lines per angler.


The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) claims motor trolling won’t have adverse biological impacts on any fisheries. We disagree. The method is especially effective on trophy muskies, walleyes and lake trout — the largest fish that often suspend in deep water and are difficult to catch by other methods.


We have heard from fishing guides, avid muskie anglers, muskie organizations and lake associations — and it appears the vast majority oppose motor trolling on what is undisputably the largest concentration of small inland lakes in Wisconsin. Arguments against motor trolling range from added stress on muskie, walleye and lake trout resources to added lake congestion, user conflicts and increased pollution.


Motor trolling allows anglers to run baits deeper over longer stretches, keeping the bait in the strike zone. For muskies, it invites the use of a method called power trolling, a high-speed form of trolling that triggers larger fish to strike. It was highly effective power trolling for huge muskies on Kentuck Lake that prompted early attempts in Vilas County to ban motor trolling.


The DNR says the change would simplify regulations and help those who have difficulty fishing by conventional methods. It’s hard to believe the agency in charge of protecting our natural resources would mention simplification, not when it has developed and continues to support some of the most complex walleye and trout regulations in the nation.


The future of motor trolling and everything it might bring to Vilas and Oneida counties rests in the hands of common folk. They can choose to show up at a fish and game hearing in their county and cast a vote next Monday, or they can let fate take its course.


Chamber and lake association officials have expressed deep concern over the added congestion that might occur when motor trollers pulling multiple planer boards have to share waters that are already extremely busy.


Without an overwhelming show of opposition, it will be difficult to convince Gov. Walker or the Natural Resources Board to continue the exemption that all Vilas County lakes and most Oneida County lakes enjoy today.


Every vote from every person who makes it to a hearing will carry weight on this one. Hearings in this area are scheduled in St. Germain, Rhinelander and Crandon.

Behind the editorial ‘we’


Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 9:46 AM

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