03-07-2003, 01:28 PM
In the past, Wisconsin had some of the best trophy potential in the world when it came to musky fishing. But today, Wisconsin has one of the least restrictive size limits in existence and the best trophy potential has shifted to other waters, such as in Ontario and northern Minnesota. While I'm certain that there are trophy muskies present in Wisconsin waters, it could certainly be much better. A 34 inch size limit is ridiculous in this era of catch and release. Luckily, most musky fisherman will release most if not all of their boated fish. This is improving the fishery. But the problem with low size limits is that non-musky anglers, such as bass and walleye fishermen, often catch muskies unintentially. These fisherman don't have nearly the same catch and release ethic of musky fisherman. In fact, the majority of non-musky anglers I know who have caught a musky have indeed killed the fish- for most of them it is by far the largest fish they have ever caught and they can't imagine releasing it. What a shame to kill such a beautiful fish for such unnecessary reasons! This is why I propose raising size limits across the board in Wisconsin. There is a proposal to raise size limits to 50 inches on several more lakes in Wisconsin, which pleases me. But I am disappointed that only a handful of lakes are included in this proposal! It is time to raise the size the size limit to maybe 45 or 50 inches on all lakes in Wisconsin (of course some lakes with high density populations and low growth rates should be able to keep low size limits). In addition, I propose that the bag limit should also be changed. Currently, anglers are allowed to kill one musky per day. I believe that this should be drastically lowered. Maybe to one fish per season or a similarily low figure. Anglers killing muskies should be required to tag it in some manner and report the kill to the DNR. This way, at least some positive aspects could come from killing the fish. The DNR would then be able to determine how many fish and of what size were being killed in a given lake or river. Also this information could help biologists study issues such as growth rates. Most importantly, this idea of reporting all kills would simply allow the DNR to keep a close eye on all kept muskies. I believe that the punishments for keeping fish under the size limit, over the bag limit, and without being reported to the DNR should be severe. With strict law enforcement, the walleye and bass fishermen who would otherwise keep muskies would definitely be deterred. Also, I would insist that "ignorance is no excuse." Many fisherman, after catching a 20 pound or larger muskellunge, would keep it to mount in excitement of their largest ever catch, and would never dream that this was in fact an undersized fish. But this is no excuse, the law is the law and it is a fisherman's responsibility to know the law in all circumstances. Another major issue in Wisconsin is the Chippewa tribal spearing of muskies!! I am not opposed to the fact that the Chippewa tribes were given their fishing rights and that we shouldn't necessarily remove all of these rights promised to them (which was an unfortunate mistake). However, their rights should be supervised and something as harmful to a fishery as spearing muskies should definitely not be allowed. I wish that the tribal members themselves would realize the drastic effects of spearing muskies and would voluntarily stop this, since most native Americans claim to be supporters of wildlife (I find this hard to believe when they continue to kill numerous muskies, not to mention the walleyes) when they are highly vulnerable. There is no catch and release with a spear!!! Wisconsin sportsmen, please help to address these issues! Thank you.