Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Minnesota bill would allow anglers to use two fishing lines

St. Paul, Minn. (AP) _ Minnesota anglers could have one line
rigged with bait and a bobber while casting with a spinner on a
second line under a bill in the House.

“It makes the sport more enjoyable when the fish aren’t biting,”
said Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, the bill’s author.

He told fellow lawmakers the bill allowing anglers to always
fish with two lines fits better with what surrounding states allow
and could give Minnesota a new source of revenue. Currently,
anglers in Minnesota can use two lines only in border waters or
while ice fishing.

The bill was heard Monday in the House Game, Fish and Forestry
Division. Similar legislation has passed the House before but has
met opposition in the Senate.

Juhnke testified that he’s received calls and letters from
anglers and resort owners from across Minnesota urging the two-line
limit. But four people testified against the bill on Monday, saying
it could put the state’s fishery at risk.

“It’s not a fishery population issue, it’s a quality issue,”
said Ed Boggess, deputy director of the Division of Fish and
Wildlife for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Boggess said putting more lines in the water would result in
more fish being caught, potentially causing more stress on the
fish, sometimes leading to death. The DNR might have to respond
with more restrictions on certain lakes if that became an issue,
Boggess said.

Shawn Kellett, president of the Twin Cities chapter of Muskies
Inc., said allowing anglers to use two lines for muskie could be
especially harmful. Anglers distracted by having two lines might
not reel in a muskie right away, leading the fish to swallow the
hook and eventually die, he said.

“The bill is more about angler greed than creating a better
fishery,” Kellett said. “If the fishery isn’t what it is now,
people won’t come to our resorts from out of state anyway.”

But Juhnke said states like Wisconsin haven’t had problems with
the quality of their fisheries in allowing multiple lines.

He also said the bill could bring in potential revenue if the
DNR were to make anglers buy an extra stamp to fish with two lines.
For example, if the stamp cost $10, the state could bring in an
additional $1 million a year, Juhnke said.

Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, said he still opposes the
bill. Chaudhary, chairman of the Senate Environment and Natural
Resources Committee, has said the change could hurt Minnesota’s
conservation efforts.

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