LETTER: Building fish population takes effort
To the Editor:
There are many great fisheries in South Dakota and year-long fishing opportunities. States that close their seasons do not have the quality of fisheries that we enjoy. The reason that so many Iowa and Nebraska anglers come here is the lack of lakes in those states.
In the 80s we all had small boats and started using depth finders. It was difficult to access the big waters and fish were plentiful. Then we had bigger boats and added graphs. We learned how to fish more effectively and were able to keep more fish.
Then, limits were adjusted lower and some size restrictions implemented to allow the fish resource to be distributed among more anglers.
Resident anglers are just as greedy as nonresident anglers. We need to start releasing more fish to maintain a healthy fishery.
The walleye spawn is a fickle thing. The females can deposit millions of eggs, but they may not hatch depending on water levels fluctuating, wind conditions and Mother Nature. If conditions are good, then a few walleye can come off with a tremendous spawn. The most effective way to sustain fisheries is with stocking programs to supplement fish in years when the spawn was not successful. The larger the stocked fish, the better the recruitment or success of the fishery.
To help sustain a quality fishery, anglers need to do our part. Releasing bigger fish and not keeping too many limits will help keep the fishery healthy. If the fishery declines, the blame goes to the locals who fish every week and keep too many limits rather than nonresident anglers who fish one or two weekends a year.
Anglers should try going fishing during the week instead of weekends to avoid the crowds. Fishing the Missouri River is better during the week when they are generating power than on the weekends with inconsistent flows due to cutbacks in power demand. Remember to catch and release, or put them in the grease. Not the freezer.