Musky America Magazine December 2023 Edition

Muskie guide George Langley and others who believe the DNR's stealing of forage food is hurting the fisheries in many lakes. Common sense says that taking 13,400 pounds of minnows from 30 lakes in one year is going to have an effect on the forage base and fishery growth rates. Ditto for stripping eggs from hundreds of suckers and returning no hatched fry to the lake. And when the agency steals that forage year after year, they are hurting our fisheries for the sake of saving some money to feed hatchery Muskies. It's got to stop. As several Muskie groups and individual anglers have suggested, it's time for a Muskie stamp that generates funds that are used specifically for improving management of Muskie brood stock. That is where the money should come from to purchase the fry and minnows needed to feed hatchery Muskies. There are people who criticize the DNR as an agency that won't adopt an idea that isn't their own. They say it took the department 10 years to implement slot size limits that had already been proven successful in other states. It sure seems they are reluctant to give any credit for the genetics enhancement made by Minnesota's DNR some 23 years ago. By calling the issue “more complicated,” it appears the Wisconsin DNR would prefer that they at least make it look like they reinvent the wheel. The DNR may never own up to it, but they've damaged Muskie genetics by things they've done, and by things they haven't done. I for one support the concept of improved Muskie genetics and also a push toward fewer, larger Muskies. Keeping the DNR away from natural forage bases is a no-brainer that will help more than just Muskies.