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Joe Fellegy regarding 2004 Proposed Regs

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Mille Lacs Fishery Input Group Resolutions, 2-4-04
from Joe Fellegy

Let's look at the bigger picture - beyond the pulling and tugging over slots!

And let's be honest! We're dealing with an extremist program here, a too-costly monster. We're looking at an ongoing public relations disaster for Mille Lacs, thousands of ticked-off anglers, major economic impacts, fisheries managers in a pickle, uncertain effects on the fish population, high costs to taxpayers, and harm to the physical and mental healths of our people. Themes of controversy and problems surround us all the time, no matter how good or bad the fishing.

This is no atmosphere for doing business, for managing resources, for fishing, or for just plain living!

(And remember that "conservation," "responsible management," and "wise use" can go on without the specific treaty fisheries management program now in place!)

RESOLUTION ONE - State leadership must convince the court that change is necessary. The present system is too costly and must go!

(DNR reviews the past seven years of treaty fisheries management, evaluates the impacts, and in consultation with constituents recommends a plan that's more workable?)

Article V of the 1837 Treaty (mainly a land cession treaty) allows the Chippewa the privilege of fishing, hunting, and gathering on the lands they sold to the United States - "at the pleasure of the president." In its 1999 opinion, the U S. Supreme Court suggested that a new presidential order could end the temporary tribal harvest privilege.

RESOLUTION TWO - In line with the 1837 treaty, and taking a cue from the U. S. Supreme Court, and recognizing the unacceptable costs of state adjustment to "treaty rights" as things now exist, we urge the Minnesota governor and the state legislature to seek a new presidential order to extinguish the 1837 tribal harvest privilege.

Taxpayers finance both sides of Mille Lacs treaty fisheries management - DNR's efforts plus tribal fishing and tribal management. Surely, we have a right to know what goes on at the Technical Committee meetings that set Mille Lacs quotas, and at major state-tribal meetings that discuss Mille Lacs management.

RESOLUTION THREE - There can be no more secret state/tribal Technical Committee meetings. At least two representatives (with two alternates in place), approved by the Input Group, must be allowed to attend Technical Committee meetings and major state-tribal management meetings relative to Mille Lacs.

RESOLUTION FOUR - There must be a full accounting of the costs (in dollars and time) incurred by state agencies, especially the DNR, in their years of accommodating treaty fishing and state-tribal co-management at Mille Lacs. (Last spring, in Wahkon, DNR Commissioner Merriam agreed to pursue such an accounting for his agency.)

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From John at Rocky Reef Resort:

It is time once again to make a decision on the new slot for this season of open water fishing on Mille Lacs.

There was a DNR meeting with the lake Mille Lacs advisory committee. The DNR meeting was on Wed. of last week and they did not have enough time to get the new reg. choices out to us before the meeting.

So they gave us a week to talk it over between ourselves and for me, you people should also be involved so I have posted the options on the post below.

I myself want to get back the 6 fish limit and also I would like to see that Plan B. With the 17 to 21 in slot and then open it in june or july to a protected slot of 22 to 26 with one over 26. That would mean to make it simple. You can keep everything from 0 to 21 and 15/16ths and one over 26 inches you can keep.

If we are going to get something back I think that it should be that slot and the 2 fish that where given away 2 years ago, I want them back also. They have stated that there are not many fish in the 14 to 17 inch range because of the mess up that was started 5 years ago.

So now here we are changing the slot well before the 5 year plan that they wanted to stick with before because of last years very low harvest of 66,000 lbs. Out of 400,000 that we could of taken last season. I need you guys to email me back ASAP with your thoughts of what you would like to see happen with the slot.

I will bring them with me to the meeting on Wed. of this week to give the DNR a sense of what the fisherman want to see happen with the slot. After all without you guys we would not be doing what we do, so your thoughts are important to me. I will be voting for like I said Option B. 17 to 21 inches can be harvested. Then opening the slot in june or july to 22 to 26 protected and 1 over 26 with a 6 fish limit.

Now, I am not sure what all of the other resorts are going to vote for. After all 2 years ago they voted to give away those 2 fish and stuck us with a 4 fish limit. I want them back and I want the DNR to know that it is all about economics, not just fish at this point and if they can't see that by driving up the west side and seeing how many resorts are no longer here, then they are truly blind to the facts!!.

I just finished up with an article in the Mille Lacs messenger. The heading is "Survival, Eking Out a Living on Lake Mille Lacs".

So pick up a copy this week to see what it is like to have a business in the area. The trickle down effect is proof enough for me. Please email me with your comments.

Now for the report on the fishing...
The shallow water is still the best bet for catching some very big walleyes and northerns. The northerns a cruising the shallow rocks now and they are big. There were 5 taken this weekend again. From 12 to 17 lbs. The walleye count was 12. All out of the slot 22 to 27 inches. Still on fatheads and the northerns are taking big shiners. With only 1 weekend left we are running out of time to catch some jumbo perch. They are really elusive this year. I hope to do some after season perch fishing in march. Maybe they will show themselves then. I do have all of my houses open for this weekend, the last weekend of the season so reserve one soon.

Be safe we will see you when we see you.
The Rockman

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