Dan Kimmell, Michigan B.A.S.S Nation Conservation Director
Michigan Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus Bass Fishing Outing a Success
Monday morning, August 31st, members of The Bass Federation (TBF) of Michigan, Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation (MBN) and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) employees hosted Legislators for a bass fishing outing on Lake St. Clair. The purpose of the event was showing the Legislators the great fishing available out on the gem we call Lake St. Clair, giving them a chance to experience and better understand the Lake St. Clair ecosystem.
In addition, MDNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter and Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Biologist Todd Wills gave a short presentation to the participants on the research station, research boats and letting them see firsthand some of the important research tools they use to effectively manage our fishery resources. MDNR Legislative and Legal Affairs Director Trevor VanDyke was also present to address any legislative-related questions.
After the presentation, the weather could not have been finer as most participants caught bass or other fish, and the boating was exceptional. Everyone agreed our first bass fishing outing was a big success, and plans for a future event are being discussed!
The Legislators were members of the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus (MLSC), the largest bipartisan caucus in Michigan state government. Participating were Rep. Anthony Forlini (District 24), Rep. Ben Glardon (District 85), Rep. Ken Goike (District 33), Rep. Bradford Jacobsen (District 46), Rep. Andrea LaFontaine (District 32 and MLSC co-chair), Rep. Bill LaVoy (District 17) and Rep. Jim Runestad (District 44). We were also joined by Nick Buggia (Sen. Green's office) and Mary Kay Sogge (Rep. Forlini's office).
MLSC co-chair Sen. Mike Green (District 31) joined us for a luncheon provided by The Bass Federation of Michigan and Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation back at the MDNR Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station immediately following the morning's fishing. Duran Martinez, host of Wild Michigan Outdoors Radio, also participated in activities and fishing.
Of the fishing, TBF of Michigan and MBN Conservation Director Dan Kimmel reported, "Some of the Legislators and participants landed their first ever Great Lakes smallmouth bass while a number of other species were caught including one muskellunge and a rather large channel catfish caught on the new spybaiting technique by Rep. LaFontaine while fishing with boater Scott Dobson and myself! The presentations were also informative and helpful. Many great questions were asked by the Legislators and answered by MDNR personnel making the event very educational while still involving a little fun fishing on our best bass lake!"
We'd like to thank all the participants and boaters for coming out to Lake St. Clair on a Monday. Boater volunteers from both bass fishing groups included Matt Belletini, Ralph Blasey, Scott Dobson, Mark Goetsch, Mark Hill, Tom Kiefer, Larry Leonardi, Chaz Poindexter, Dave Reault (President of TBF of Michigan), Tommy Robinson, Steve Smith, Jim Sprague, and Paul Wagner (Youth Director of MBN). Paul Wagner also brought along one of our youth anglers - Nathan Stec - to fish with us. All boaters' expenses and the luncheon were donated by the volunteers and the two bass fishing groups involving no tax payer cost.
About the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus
The Michigan Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus is dedicated to promoting the traditional and historical rights of Michigan citizens to hunt, fish, and engage in other outdoor activities.
About the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (www.michigan.gov/dnr)
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.
About Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation (www.michiganbass.net)
The primary goal of the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation shall be to preserve the sport of bass fishing. The vision of true pioneers in our history — Ray Scott, Don Butler and many others — established conservation and a focus on building youth programs in addition to fishing competitions as areas critical to the viability of the sport and our lifestyle. The Michigan B.A.S.S. NATION is committed to the same ideals and programs.
About The Bass Federation of Michigan (www.michigantbf.com)
The primary purpose of the TBF of MI, Inc., shall be to promote conservation of our natural resources, be involved with youth incentives, and preserve and promote the sport of recreational and competitive bass fishing.
Catch and Delayed Release trial in the works
Several public meetings are scheduled for the near future to discuss the new experimental "Catch nd Delayed Release" season.
Here are the dates for the rest of the public meetings on the catch-and-delayed-release bass season including the next one in Waterford.
Lake Erie Management Unit
> Tuesday, July 21, 7 to 8:30 p.m. (EST) at the Waterford Fisheries Office, 7806 Gale Road in Waterford.
Central Lake Michigan Management Unit
> Monday, July 27, 6 to 7:30 p.m. (EST) at John Graves Lodge, 4684 Evergreen Drive (M-37) in Newaygo.
> Tuesday, July 28, 6 to 7:30 p.m. (EST) at Onekama Consolidated Schools’ media center, 5016 Main St. in Onekama.
Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit
> Wednesday, July 29, 7 to 8 p.m. (EST) at D&R Sports Center, 8178 W. Main St. in Kalamazoo.
Northern Lake Huron Management Unit
> Wednesday, July 29, 6:30 to 8 p.m. (EST) at the Tuscarora Township Hall, 3546 S. Straits Highway in Indian River.
Northern Lake Michigan/Eastern Lake Superior/Western Lake Superior management units
> Thursday, July 30, 6:30 to 8 p.m. (EST) at the DNR Pocket Park in the U.P. State Fairgrounds, 2401 12th Ave. North in Escanaba.
Please note, two additional proposed regulation changes will be discussed at this particular meeting (covering three management units). These include proposals to 1) modify the one-over-23-inches walleye slot limit boundary line for Little Bay de Noc, and 2) change the fishing regulations for lake sturgeon on the Menominee River between the Park Mill dam and the Grand Rapids dam.
The 16 lakes covered in the proposed study season are:
Hardy Dam Pond
White Lake (Muskegon County)
Portage Chain (Livingston/Washtenaw County)
Half Moon Chain (Washtenaw County)
Pontiac Lake (Oakland County)
Wixom Lake (Gladwin County)
For more information contact Dan Kimmel
Public opinion sought on proposed bass fishing regulations
Public Meetings, Online Bass Season Survey 7/14 - 7/24/2014
In order to get public input on proposed regulations to expand Michigan's bass fishing seasons, the Department of Natural Resources has announced an online survey and public meetings throughout the state in July. For the past year the DNR's Fisheries Division has been working with the Warmwater Resources Steering Committee (a public advisory group) to discuss possible expansion of bass seasons.
The regulation expansion options being discussed would
increase fishing and harvest seasons. Under all options, bass populations would
still be protected and include a winter no-harvest season, 14-inch minimum size
limit and daily possession limit.
To gauge public opinion, both anglers and non-anglers (particularly lake property owners) are encouraged to complete the DNR's bass regulations survey, available here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BassRegs. The goal of this survey is to determine the level of support for increasing angling opportunities for largemouth and smallmouth bass through changes to existing fishing seasons.
Additional public input will be gathered via a series of public meetings. Dates, times and locations include:
Monday, July 14, 6-7:30 p.m. (CDT), Dickinson County Library, 401 Iron Mountain St., Iron Mountain
Tuesday, July 15, 6-8 p.m. (EDT), Carl T. Johnson Hunt & Fish Center, 6093 M-115, Cadillac
Tuesday, July 15, 6:30-8 p.m. (EDT), Oshtemo Branch Library, 7265 W. Main St., Kalamazoo
Tuesday, July 15, 6-8 p.m. (EDT), Saginaw Bay Visitor Center (in Bay City State Recreation Area), 3582 State Park Drive, Bay City
Tuesday, July 15, 6-7 p.m. (EDT), Tahquamenon Area Public Library, 700 Newberry Ave., Newberry
Wednesday, July 16, 7-8:30 p.m. (EDT), DNR Customer Service Center, 1801 Atwater St., Detroit
Wednesday, July 23, from 7-9 p.m. (EDT), Ishpeming Town Hall, 1575 U.S. 41 West, Ishpeming.
Wednesday, July 23, 6-7:30 p.m. (EDT), DNR Field Office, 1732 W. M-32, Gaylord
Thursday, July 24, 7-9 p.m. (EDT), Portage Lake District Library, 58 Huron St., Houghton
A random selection of licensed anglers also will receive a survey in the mail.
For more information on these meetings, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing or contact: Patrick Hanchin, 231-547-2914, ext. 227; Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839 or Ed Golder, 517-284-5815 from the MDNR.
Introductory Information from the MDNR Online Survey
Largemouth and smallmouth bass populations are widely distributed across Michigan and populations are maintained by natural reproduction. Over the past year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Fisheries Division has been working with the Warmwater Resources Steering Committee (WRSC), a public advisory group, to discuss possible expansion of bass seasons. Several regulation options related to expanding bass seasons have been developed.
Expanding either the catch-and-immediate-release or traditional harvest seasons (by setting earlier start dates or year-round fishing) would pose a slight risk to bass populations in that it would likely increase fishing effort during the spawning period. Current bass seasons allow fishing (catch-and-immediate-release and then harvest) over spawning bass. The regulation expansion options being discussed would, to varying degrees, increase the extent to which possession and harvest are allowed during the spawn. However, bass populations would still be protected by a winter no-harvest season, the 14-inch minimum size limit, and the daily possession limit of five fish. Fisheries Division biologists are not in full agreement with the proposed changes, and conservation officers have some concerns related to law enforcement; however, the regulation options meet the biological requirements determined by fisheries managers and they likely only present a slight risk to bass populations. The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) and DNR, Fisheries Division have the authority and responsibility to protect and manage the fisheries resources of the state of Michigan.
Opinion surveys are a management tool used by Fisheries Division to gauge public opinion so we can best accomplish our statutory responsibility. The objective of this survey is to determine whether the public supports increased angling opportunities for largemouth and smallmouth bass through the use of changes to seasons. We encourage you to take the time to complete this review and answer the questions with respect to your angling desires.
The 4 Bass Season Options from the MDNR Online Survey
* Catch-and-immediate-release fishing from the last Saturday in April (Lower Peninsula) or May 15 (Upper Peninsula) to the Friday before Memorial Day. Harvest season from the Saturday before Memorial Day to December 31. Harvest season for Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers from the third Saturday in June to December 31 (current regulations). (NO CHANGE)
* Maintain current harvest seasons for Lower Peninsula, Upper Peninsula, Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers, but allow catch-and-immediate-release fishing for bass at all other times of the year. (ADD Catch-and-Immediate-Release (CIR) REST OF YEAR ONLY, Lake St. Clair (LSC) STAYS THE SAME)
* Maintain current harvest seasons for Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula, but change the harvest opening date for Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers to the Saturday before Memorial Day. Allow catch-and-immediate-release fishing for bass at all other times of the year. (ORIGINAL MICHIGAN B.A.S.S.S NATION PROPOSAL, ADD CIR REST OF YEAR, MOVE LSC REGULAR OPENER TO MEMORIAL WEEKEND WITH REST OF STATE)
* Change the harvest opening dates to match the respective opening dates for walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge in the Lower Peninsula (last Saturday in April) and Upper Peninsula (May 15). Bass seasons would still close December 31. Allow catch-and-immediate-release fishing for bass at all other times of the year. (NEW OPTION - WOULD ALLOW ALL BASS ANGLERS EQUAL CHOICE TO FISH THE WAY THEY PREFER INCLUDING TOURNAMENTS)
Michigan United Conservation Club delegates vote Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation bass season resolution as organization policy
Sunday, June 22, 2014 the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) state convention delegates voted greater than the needed two-thirds majority to adopt the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation (MBN) bass season proposal resolution as official policy. The only change from the original resolution submitted through District 20 in March was a minor friendly amendment suggested by Past-President Paul Rose to the adaptive management section.
This means MUCC staff can now fully support and assist MBN with adoption of their Michigan bass season proposal they turned in to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Warmwater Resources Steering Committee (WRSC) last June. The MUCC policy now also includes the addition of asking the MDNR and the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to consider using Adaptive Management methods for bass management considering the wide diversity of water types we are fortunate to have in our great state.
MUCC staff will now poll the NRC Commissioners individually on their positions and feelings on the MBN bass season proposal that will soon be among four (4) options going to the public in July at meetings around the state and in online surveys before the final chosen bass season option goes before the NRC for a possible new Fisheries Order this fall.
During the MUCC Convention Leadership Training held June 19 - 22 at the MDNR RAM Center near Higgins Lake, State Representative Bruce R. Rendon (R-District 103), Senator John Moolenaar (R-District 36) and NRC Vice Chairman John Matonich all spoke favorably of the work to provide more bass fishing opportunity, and how important bass fishing is to Michigan's Natural Resource economy.
The goal of the MBN and MUCC is to have a new bass season in place for the 2015 season so it can be printed in the 2015-2016 Michigan Fishing Guide. A new guide will not be printed until 2017, which is why we are working with a shorter timeline this time to make it into the 2015 guide.
MBN Conservation Director Dan Kimmel spoke for a few minutes in support of the bass season resolution before the MUCC delegates. A delegate from the Lake St. Clair Walleye Association also spoke saying his group fully supported our entire bass season resolution. An amendment was made by a delegate representing the MUCC Fisheries Committee to remove the second resolve statement from the original resolution having to do with asking the MDNR and NRC to use Adaptive Management methods for bass.
The amendment appeared to have wide support but Kimmel was allowed two additional minutes to address why MBN did not support the amendment, and why we feel the extra language is important to the future of bass management in Michigan. Thanks to the strong support and input from MDNR Fisheries Chief Jim Dexter, who attended Friday night and Saturday but was not able to stay Sunday, Kimmel was able to share that Dexter did not have any issues with feeling MUCC was telling the MDNR Fisheries Division how to do their job and that Adaptive Management is a possibly valuable management tool to consider for management of a species as widely distributed as Michigan largemouth and smallmouth bass are.
After this additional discussion and a minor friendly language amendment suggestion made by Past-President Paul Rose that Kimmel said MBN would accept, the amendment to remove the Adaptive Management section of the bass season resolution was defeated soundly. The minor friendly amendment was approved by the majority followed by a successful vote on the amended resolution. The Michigan Bass Season Change resolution (PDF copy) was ruled passed by voice vote with a greater than 2/3 margin.
MUCC support is a major step in any outdoors action in Michigan. With over 250 affiliated fishing, hunting, outdoors clubs and conservation associations, and more than 42,000 members MUCC is the largest state-specific conservation organization in the country. The Michigan United Conservation Clubs has been the watchdog for Michigan's natural resources and our outdoor heritage since 1937 defending the right to hunt, fish and trap.
In conjunction with the Conservation Coalition and Citizen's for Professional Wildlife Management (CPWM), MUCC is the most effective and necessary channel to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan's natural resources and outdoor heritage. If you are not already a member please join MUCC. If you are a member of a club, please consider affiliating with MUCC. Our voice is magnified exponentially as part of a larger coalition of outdoors persons and conservationists!