Anti-muskie-stocking push dead for now, but will be back
When Minnesota lawmakers failed to pass a Game and Fish Bill before the close of this year’s legislative session, the plans of anti-muskie Minnesotans and their political pawns were temporarily derailed.
Some in the Senate wanted a four-year moratorium on muskie stocking. Some House members wanted to preclude the DNR from stocking any of the six lakes it had identified as possibilities for this year. The fact that efforts to pass a Game and Fish Bill continued even as a drama Shakespeare couldn’t have dreamed up unfolded in the session’s final minutes tells you all you need to know.
Some people hate muskies. But that hatred alone didn’t make muskies the centerpiece of what pretty much was a failed session when it comes to fish and wildlife. No, muskies were simply a useful tool for what amounts to an anti-public-waters agenda. That such interests nearly won the day – and, no doubt, will be back next year – is scary indeed.
Muskies are the alpha predator wherever they live, and that mystique is among the reasons people fish for them. But science tells us they don’t run roughshod over the bodies of water in which they live, decimating sunfish and walleye populations. But if you allow your imagination to go to fairytale land, perhaps you can see muskies attacking swimmers or killing walleyes just for the hell of it.
It’s not the truth, but something about muskies makes you stop and think: What if? Individual lakeshore owners and some lakeshore associations in Minnesota have preyed upon people’s imaginations in a cynical attempt to keep muskies out of “their” lakes. After all, it wouldn’t work too well to just come out and say what they’re thinking – “If you don’t own property on ‘our’ lake, you’re really not welcome” – would it? That’s not a Minnesota value. It’s so much easier to keep pushing the same tired and wholly unproven refrain about how muskies lay waste to anything in their paths.
It’s sad, but probably not surprising, how easy it’s been for the anti-public-waters folks to find lawmakers who are all too willing to help advance their wholly un-Minnesotan agenda.