From Minnesocold, Bass Fishing Blog Capitol of the World!

Friday, May 16, 2014

What The MN DNR Has To Say About An Early Catch And Release Season

Right now the MN DNR is taking comments statewide fishing regulation changes for next year.  Among the changes are a long awaited early catch and release season for bass that would coincide with the walleye/pike opener.  Here is what the DNR had to say about it in their Statement of Need and Reasonableness.

Item A (2) This part of the rule proposes a catch and release season for bass statewide for 
inland waters prior to the harvest season. Bass populations are generally expanding across 
Minnesota. A statewide bass angler survey in 2012 (Schroeder 2012) indicated a moderate level 
of support for some form of catch and release season for bass. The Minnesota Bass Advisory 
Committee, comprised of representatives of the State’s primary bass organizations, has long 
advocated for an early catch and release season. Other northern latitude states (New York and 
Michigan) have recently made similar changes to their season structure in response to expanding 
bass populations, and to provide bass anglers with additional angling opportunity with low risk 
to bass fisheries (Jackson et. al. 2013; Jackson et. al. 2008; Einhouse et. al 2002; and, Bremigan 
et. al. 2008). Recent work by Philipp (2012) suggests through a conceptual model there may be 
some potential for genetic shift in bass populations exposed to catch and release angling during 
spawning. Research and management staffs have documented sufficient recruitment in most of 
Minnesota bass lakes and rivers. In addition, harvest rates from creel surveys are routinely low 
(less than 10% of overall catch). Jackson et al (2013) and Einhouse et al (2002) suggested in 
New York’s Lake Erie, that the smallmouth bass population actually increased in abundance 
since the opening of an early catch and release bass season (since 1994). Similarly, Gwinn and 
Allen (2010) suggested that seasonal closures would have little benefit on most largemouth bass 
fisheries, provided overall harvest rates are low. Therefore, it is reasonable and necessary to 
offer increased recreational opportunities without significant harm to bass populations in 
Minnesota. 

The question I have with this stuff being the case is why not open bass, or at the very least largemouth bass, up to catch and release fishing in March, instead of only to coincide with the walleye/pike opener?

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