From The President
Rick Guertin Jr
I must start this article out by stressing ice safety for everyone this season. Though it is no longer considered ‘early ice’ as you read this in January, We must all remain cautious and be sure of what we are driving one with vehicles of any size. Recently a local Grand Rapids-area woman was drowned after going down inside a larger side-by-side UTV. These vehicles are much heavier than standard ATVs so be more cautious with them. At the time of this writing, Folks are driving out onto our area’s lakes with trucks and cars. There is 12-16 inches on most of our smaller lakes at this time. Nonetheless, know exactly how thick the ice is and check in multiple places to be certain.
I called a special meeting on December 9th and it was very well attended. We discussed a few important pending items such as the budget. The group of board members (representatives from your chapters) deliberated and were able to work through to some very good solutions. Your local chapter meetings this winter will hopefully reflect some further ideas that were brought forth. Please attend your meetings and offer input and suggestions. There are many differing opinions on how to solve budget issues with the right solutions. This is a good thing.
The opinions differ also with the retention of our lobbyist, Tim Spreck. Those that were in favor of retaining his valuable services succeeded in the end. But this is a significant expense many of us thought was well worth it. It needs to be paid for and we were able to come up with working solutions for the near-term. Over many years our presence at the legislature has saved our sport from being diminished. There have been many benefits gained over this same time. Most recently, the DNR came out with proposals in the pike-zone plan that did not work well for harvest-minded spear fishermen & women. This was the 22-26 protected slot in the N. Central zone and the terrible idea of no harvest over 30 inches in the N. east zone. We were able to secure better, harvest-friendly regulations for the spear fishing community. If our influence had not been formidable, in the minds of DNR management, they would have forced those restrictive regulations down our throats. Our sport would have suffered severely in the N. East zone. As things are now, our lobbyist is able to effectively work for any advantage, while at the same time, protect our interests.
There are other organizations, such as Minnesotans For For Family Fishing And Healthy Lakes (MFFHL), who are tackling issues of interest to us. There is an update with information in this paper from their advisory board. This issue of musky proliferation around the state may be important to some and not important to others. We are intrigued by their approach because they have brought a wide range of local organizations, city councils, and lake associations on board. To all of our members, please be aware of this movement and attend any local meetings where musky stocking proposals occur. It is better to be informed than uninformed.
Take care and have a great spearing season. Take a kid spearing!