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From MN-FISH…. to you and yours….. Happy Holidays!!

As we begin a new year and a new cycle of fishing seasons, it’s a good time to reflect on what’s been accomplished in the year past to keep Minnesota’s fishing strong or even better. It’s also important to review what needs to be done or changed to shorten the time between bites.

98.1 Million Investment in Minnesota Fishing/Boating

Yes, we celebrated our role in helping DNR obtain a legislative appropriation of $98 million — an historic amount by the way — to fix state fish hatcheries, public boat accesses and improve shoreline fishing facilities.

And yes, we followed up with a DNR meeting to understand the department’s priorities for repairing those facilities.

But that was 2023. We’re not done. MN-FISH ain’t going away. This upcoming legislative session, starting in February, is what’s known as a “bonding” year, meaning lawmakers approve borrowing money to fix stuff. MN-FISH will ask legislators to pass a bonding request for $12 million to keep up on repairing our lake accesses plus $16.8 million to continue modernizing our state fish hatcheries.

The St. Paul hatchery needs special attention. It’s old and may not be repairable. We’ll request $2 million for engineering and land acquisition for a “new” metro hatchery to serve metro lakes and kid’s fishing ponds. Some may ask: “who needs a metro fish hatchery.” my answer is: a metro hatchery — besides raising fish — can be an education center as well for schools and others to learn about fish and fish culture and DNR role in managing our precious fishing resources.

In the meantime, MN-FISH is concerned about the lack of action to halt invasive carp heading up the Mississippi River. Urgency seems to be missing with our legislators and DNR seems content to keep planning and planning.

We say the carp don’t wait for plans. There are methods to slow the carp invasion. Minnesota and Wisconsin haven’t invested. Instead, both states keep reporting increases in the number of carp heading upstream. What’s wrong with this picture??

Since MN-FISH came into being, fish or fishing related issues never seem to end. For example, we think DNR could boost walleye stamp sales (and add dollars to walleye stocking) if DNR’s stamp marketing efforts included a $1 commission to retail outlets who sell the stamps. With an incentive, license sellers might remember to remind license buyers about the $5 stamp and what it does for walleye anglers. With that… Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

Ron Schara,
MN-FISH President

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