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Mississippi fish limits?
02-08-2018, 05:14 PM
Post: #1
Mississippi fish limits?
The following was in tonight's Post Bulletin newspaper, written by John Weiss.

LAKE CITY — It's been about 27 years since any major modifications were made to fishing regulations for the Mississippi River in this region.

That might be more than enough time of maintaining the status quo. The Department of Natural Resources is soon going to be asking anglers' opinions about what they think should change.

At least three meetings are expected to be in April or May.

Unlike the last time the rules were tweaked, the DNR will try to coordinate any changes with Wisconsin and Iowa, with the goal of having as many common rules as possible from Hastings down to the southern border of Wisconsin, a distance of about 220 river miles.

"The biggest thing is we have not reviewed our regulations in a long time," said Kevin Stauffer, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Lake City. "We really don't know where it's going to go … but we definitely think it's time to do this. We hope to open up this process."

Right now, differences among the three states aren't big, but the states are also trying to better coordinate their river rules with those of inland waters, he said. The states have different ways of making rule changes. It will be a few years before any changes are made, he said.

The last big change for Minnesota's Mississippi waters with Wisconsin was in 1991, when minimum size limits were put on walleye (15 inches) and largemouth and smallmouth bass (14 inches), he said. An experimental size limit was put on panfish in a few pools in 2001 (the river is divided into pools by locks and dams) but those limits were dropped in 2014 because they weren't needed.

At the upcoming meetings, the DNR won't come in with any proposals, he said. "The biggest thing we want to do is hear what people think," he said. If the DNR presented ideas, people might think the changes are already set, he said. DNR officials will share the benefits and detriments of some of the more common regulations, such as slot limits.

One thing the DNR has been hearing is that many anglers think limits are too liberal, especially on panfish and perch, Stauffer said. "That's one we hear the most from all anglers," he said. Iowa has a minimum size limit for walleye at 15 inches, but in some pools further down from the Iowa-Wisconsin state line, there is also a rule that prohibits keeping walleye from 20 to 27 inches and only one walleye can be longer than 27 inches.

Multiple factors at play

Biology, river habitat and technology are coming into play on the river, he said.

"We want to make changes that make biological sense," he said. One of the big keys to any changes are that they are socially acceptable, he said.

"Our fish populations by and large are in pretty good shape," he said. But backwater habitat has shrunk, and remaining habitat is getting as much or more pressure than it did a few decades ago, so fish populations could change. "Ideally you want to do something before you see a decline," he said.

Outside factors could affect aquatic plants and animals in this region, he said. Asian carp, for example, which are farther down the river, might infest the waters. One of the best ways to control them is with a healthy predator populations that eat the fish, he said. "You want a healthy predator population," he said.

Bluegills can even help because they are predators of eggs of the common carp that are already here in great numbers, said Nick Schlesser, DNR big lake manager for Lake Pepin.

Another factor to consider is more catch-and-release, Stauffer said. A few decades ago, regulations were geared more toward higher harvest and bag limits "because that is what anglers wanted." Now, that ethos is not as strong.

The two think there might be a lot of anglers seeking lower panfish/perch limits or a combined limit such as 25 sunfish, crappies and perch daily.

The river has a liberal regulation (five daily) for northerns, but biologically, a smaller daily limit might not be needed. "We grow them fast and we grow them big" down here, Schlesser said.

When the meetings are done, the DNR will have to sit down and see what people want, he said. It's possible there will be no changes. "We are just going to see how things play out," he said.

The hardest thing in life is knowing which bridge to cross and which one to burn.
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03-14-2018, 12:06 AM
Post: #2
RE: Mississippi fish limits?
yes it does make sense we just have to support this kind of movement just to protect our needs also it is certainly for us. let us all support this regulations and exercises like this is a must we need possible changes and it all starts on us.

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