Humphries OKs new fishing regs

Ontonagon, Mich. – DNR_Director Becky Humphries approved several
changes to fishing regulations at the October Natural Resources
Commission meeting in Ontonagon.

Walleyes

Humphries removed a regulation limiting anglers on portions of
the St. Joe River and Little Bay de Noc to one walleye over 23
inches.

“The regulation was put in place a long time ago with the
thought of protecting large, spawning females during the spawning
run,” Todd Grischke, DNR fisheries manager, told Michigan Outdoor
News. “Over the years, we determined that those spawning females
made up such a small percentage of the catch that it was an
unnecessary regulation.”

Bass

Humphries also changed bass-fishing regulations on two lakes in
the Upper Peninsula and four in the northern Lower.

Bass anglers on Fire Lake and Indian Lake in Iron County will be
restricted to a possession limit of one bass, and the legal size
limit has been raised to 18 inches on those two lakes.

“Both of those lakes had strong bass populations in the past,”
said Bill Ziegler, a fisheries management biologist at the DNR’s
Crystal Falls office. “Yoopers rarely catch and keep bass, but as
fishing pressure rose from nonresidents, it looked like the size of
the fish was being cropped down to about the 14-inch minimum. We
wanted to try this new regulation for five years to help improve
the size structure on the lakes.”

On Cub Lake in Kalkaska County, Big Bass Lake in Lake County,
and Arbutus and Spider lakes in Grand Traverse County, the DNR says
the bass populations are strong, but the growth rates are well
below the state average and many fish never reach the 14-inch legal
minimum. In an effort to encourage angles to harvest some of the
smaller fish and reduce competition for food, Humphries approved a
regulation reducing the minimum legal size limit for bass on those
lakes to 10 inches.

Spearing

Years ago, tiger muskies were stocked in the Cornwall
Impoundment in Cheboygan County, West Twin Lake in Montmorency
County, and Otsego Lake in Otsego County. Because of this stocking
effort, spearing of muskies and pike was banned on these lakes in
an effort to allow the tigers to thrive.

The tiger muskie program has long been scrapped, and there is no
longer a need to restrict spearing. Humphries signed an order
rescinding the spearing ban.

“Cornwall Impoundment no longer has muskellunge or northern pike
in it, thus, the spearing ban for this lake is not needed,”_the DNR
wrote in a memo to the NRC. “West Twin lake has a self-sustaining
northern pike population and additional spearing effort and angler
hours would not hurt this population since the lake is relatively
large (1,000-plus acres). Otsego Lake has a self-sustaining
northern pike population, which is enhanced by a local spawning
marsh and DNR/sportsmen’s club efforts. The lake is large (2,000
acres) and can support additional harvest from spearing. Pure-bred
muskellunge stocking efforts have also been initiated at Otsego
Lake and will be attractive to some darkhouse anglers in the
future.”

Other changes

Humphries also removed the spawning closure on the Leland River
in Leelanau County (Oct. 1-Nov. 30) and the Boardman River in Grand
Traverse County (Sept. 1-Oct. 31); changed the date for removal of
ice shanties on Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters from March 31 to
March 15, to align the date with Wisconsin rules; and removed
Nawakwa Lake in Alger County and Hoffman Lake in Charlevoix County
from the list of lakes where pike may be taken of any size. The
minimum size limit on these lakes will again be 24 inches.

Proposals to extend the lake trout-fishing season and increase
the possession limit on Lake Huron between Harrisville and Port
Huron; to revamp the sturgeon-spearing season on Black Lake; and to
reclassify Types 5, 6, and 7 trout streams to one “gear restricted”
category, are still up for discussion and likely will be voted on
in December.

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