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LETTER: Growing fisheries takes restraint

(metro creative)

To the Editor:

I felt compelled to respond to the Roger Wiltz column from Feb. 20. He urged the South Dakota Department of Game Fish and Parks to protect the walleye spawn. He isn't the fisheries biologist and I urge them to abstain. I assume he means shutting down the walleye fishing from March 1 through May 1. I would remind him that GF&P biologists have done many studies and have proven that this closure is unnecessary. The fishing in the Dakotas is better than in Minnesota, so what they are doing in Minnesota is not working.

I assure you that it is easier to catch four walleye in South Dakota than it is in Minnesota. Most Minnesota fishermen are ecstatic after fishing in the Dakotas and catching numbers of fish. I trust the personnel in charge of the resource and so should you.

The March/April time frame is the only time bank fishermen have a good chance to catch a walleye. The bank and boat fishermen need to practice restraint. If you have eight fish in the freezer; if you are throwing freezer burnt fish away, turn loose some fish. Fish are a precious resource and it should be a personal crime to waste or throw away fish in the freezer. Our attitudes must change to improve the resource and enjoyment for all. If you don't like eating fish, or if you fish a lot, then it is especially necessary to turn fish loose.

The fun is in the catching, not gloating over fish in the freezer. Try releasing a few nice fish and see how rewarding it is to see them swim away after a careful release. The first one is the hardest and then you can find it enjoyable.

The fishery can be sustained if we just use restraint and only keep enough fish for a meal or two. It takes restraint the whole year, not just during the spawn. A big fish kept in June will not spawn next year. Practice catch and release or in the grease, not the freezer. Tight lines!

Dan Kaup