Make sure you know the rules before wetting a line

Published 6:44 pm Saturday, June 9, 2012

Minnesota has fishing rules and regulations for the whole state but there are also separate rules and slot limits on certain lakes. Be sure that you know ahead of time if there are special regulations for any lake that you are about to fish. There are regulations, there are people who just aren’t aware and then there are the folks who flagrantly break the rules just to put more meat in the freezer. These are the people who take the word “sport” out of sport fishing.

I have stated more than once that sometimes a fine just doesn’t seem to be enough for some of these perpetrators.

A recent call to the Turn-In-Poachers hotline led a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer to three anglers committing alleged over-limit fishing violations on the Rainy River along the Minnesota/Canada border. They face fines and restitution of $3,000.

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State conservation officer Robert Gorecki of Baudette recently received an anonymous TIP call about a group of anglers possessing an over-limit and double tripping during the May 12 fishing opener on the Rainy River in Lake of the Woods County. The caller also said one of the anglers didn’t have a fishing license.

According to Gorecki, the call led to several charges. James A. Fleck, 50, of Hillman was charged with 40 sunfish and 11 walleye over the legal limit. The current daily possession limit for walleye/sauger on the Rainy River is six. (Only one walleye can be more than 28 inches; not more than four can be walleye; walleye 19 1/2 to 28-inches must be immediately released). The daily possession limit for sunfish is 20. Fleck faces fines and restitution totaling $1,780.

Gerald L. Hatch, 67, of Milaca was charged with 12 walleye more than the legal limit. He faces fines and restitution of $715.

Daniel E. Hastings, 50, of Baudette was charged with six northern pike over the limit. He faces fines and restitution of $370. The current daily possession limit for northern pike on the Rainy River is three (only one more than 36 inches). All northern pike from 24 to 36 inches must be immediately released. Hastings was also charged with angling without a license, a $135 fine.

A consent to check a refrigerator/freezer found three bags of northern pike and two bags of walleye. Six more bags of walleye and three bags of sunfish were discovered in a freezer chest.

Gorecki said eyewitness reports are among the strongest tools a CO has in combating code violations. Anyone witnessing a fishing or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the nearest conservation officer, law enforcement agency or the toll-free TIP hotline at 800-652-9093. Also, #TIP is available to most cell phone users in Minnesota.

People should contact the Minnesota State Patrol or a DNR regional or area office for the name and phone number of a conservation officer in their area.


Musky talk

The June meeting of Crossroads Chapter 54, Muskies Inc. will be on Wednesday. Our summer meetings will be on the water at French Lake. You can come as early as you are able. We will meet at Hoy’s Resort at 8:30 p.m. for a short meeting. Our meetings are second Wednesday of every month. Except during summer, our regular meetings include an informative speaker, updates, door prizes and raffle, musky talk and tips. Anyone interested in musky fishing is always welcome. Bring a friend and check us out. Help improve musky fishing in southern Minnesota.

Spending a week up north can give a person a greater appreciation of the natural beauty of our fair state. This past week after spending a few days at our cabin doing some work on the inside I headed south to the Longville area to spend some time fishing with my brother-in-law Ron Johnson at his cabin. I haven’t spent much time fishing with Ron the past few years so I was really looking forward to it. It turned out to be a great time, and it gave us a chance to catch up on things.

We fished on Wabedo where his cabin is located mostly in the late evening and into the night. We also hit neighboring Little Boy before venturing up to Winnie on the last day. There was a mayfly hatch going on in the lakes by Ron’s so fishing was extremely slow but Winnie was a different story. I managed to boat three walleye; two 20-inchers and a 22 but they were in the protected slot limit and had to be released. Ron did catch a 16-incher which should make a nice meal for him.

The fishing was fun and having someone else skipper the boat was a welcome treat. The time spent fishing was great and even though the catching wasn’t the best it was those few days that I’ll always remember.

Even though he said it was no big deal I still feel that I owe Ron a minnow bucket and some leeches to replace the ones I left sitting on the dock of the bay at Little Boy. I guess you could call that a “senior moment” or maybe some other phrase would be better suited for the situation. Although there were a few hiccups it was still a great week to be up north.

Until next time, grab your tackle and do a little fishing because it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors.

Please remember to keep our troops in your thoughts and prayers because they are the reason we are able to enjoy all the freedoms that we have today.

Dick Herfindahl’s column appears each Sunday in the Tribune.