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Trolling plan was political maneuver PDF Print E-mail

Letter to Editor:

The Department of Natural Resources Spring Fish and Wildlife public hearing and Wisconsin Conservation Congress meeting took place last week.

The big issue on the agenda at the Vilas County hearing in St. Germain was motor trolling. I would guess at an attendance of nearly 200. I have been to many of these in the southern part of the state and they are often an exercise in patience as some strange positions are articulated by people who like to hear their own voice.

I was impressed with our group last Monday night.  There were many fishermen and guides. They were thoughtful and articulate.  They were all against trolling. There was only one short comment in favor, from a guy who compared trolling on Lake Michigan to our Vilas lakes. Enough said about him.

The motor trolling issue was first and I had come prepared to register the unanimous opposition of Plum Lake Association . . . until I saw the written question we were going to vote on. The room was quiet — unusual for these hearings — as all absorbed what had happened to us.

Suffice to say, we had been outmaneuvered. I found my­self ruefully admiring the manipulative political expertise of our Administration in Madison.

So here is what these clever politicians set forth for a vote. We were left with two options and neither was a “no” vote on motor trolling.  We would be voting in favor or in opposition to allowing one line per angler motor trolling. If we opposed it (which we virtually all did) the alternative was now what we so stridently objected to last year, voted down overwhelmingly and on which we ultimately got steam rolled over by the governor — motor trolling with three lines allowed per angler. My only choice apparently was to vote in favor of motor trolling.

If the vote in St. Germain last Monday night was in favor of the least objectionable option, history would record that the people of Vilas County favor motor trolling, possibly by a wide margin.  Who knew?

Well, it turned out that we defeated it, but many people present did not want to gamble with three-line trolling and voted in favor.

Perhaps it will be said that the governor’s leadership on this issue allowed us to finally see the light. I am sure there are a bunch of clever people in Madison who take perverse pleasure in this coup.

Sadly, the fish and wildlife hearings have become a bit of a sham. Our input is accepted only if it is in line with the political agenda of a very aggressive governor who is determined to open the deregulation floodgates and allow the stripping of our resources in favor of his short-term political gain.

For the record, I voted no.  The fish populations can’t take the pressure and conflict with other lake users on our small lakes is a certainty. I could not bring myself to vote for trolling. I am in hopes that all of us will join together to fight another day — soon. For me, the next battle will be fought in the polling booth in November.

John Richter


Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:34 AM

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