From one muskie angler to the next, I believe it is our greatest asset to stick together. It is this very reason that I bring this topic to the surface. By working together Minnesota has created a monster in the world of muskie fishing. Big fish and lots of 'em have turned muskie angling from a small community of fisherman, to a large percentage of MN anglers. Very seldom do we get a chance to voice our opinion on making a change for the better. Now is our chance.
The MN DNR is giving anglers an opportunity to voice their opinion on stocking 5 new bodies of water. If approved, the proposed stocking will take place in; Roosevelt Lake in Cass and Crow Wing counties, Upper South Long Lake and Lower South Long Lake in Crow Wing County, Tetonka Lake in LeSueur County, and the Sauk River Chain of Lakes in Stearns County.
Meetings are at the following location on September 2nd: Mankato - Gander Mountain, 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
• Owatonna - Cabela's, 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
• Waterville - DNR fisheries office, 50317 Fish Hatchery Road, 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
• Brainerd - DNR office, 1601 Minnesota Drive, noon - 8 p.m.
• St. Paul - DNR office, 500 Lafayette Road, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
• Montrose - DNR fisheries Office, 7372 State Highway 25 SW, 12:30 - 4:30 p.m
• Cold Spring - City offices, 27 Red River Ave. S., Cold Spring, 5 - 8 p.m.
If you cannot stop by one of the meetings near you, public comments will also be accepted from September 1 through September 30 online at firstname.lastname@example.org, and by mail to Muskie Stocking Proposals, Minnesota DNR, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744.
This is a huge resource addition that should not be taken lightly. We have a chance to state our case for adding these new bodies of water. Believe me when I say that the stocking effort isn't a gaurantee or a slam dunk. It will not go down without a fight. Just as we love our fish, there are others that oppose it just as highly. They will be out there, and they will be voicing their opinions as well. The DNR has stated that they want to hear all sides of the story. They have set up 7 public meetings across the state on Thursday, September 2. These meetings are open to the public and will give the DNR a better insight into what the public and fishing communities are looking for. Ultimately, this will lead to their final decision on whether to stock the new lakes or not. All the information will be gathered from anyone willing to share their interest. It's as simple as stating your preference.
Every side to this stocking proposal has a right to voice their opinion. However, the loudest spoken will likely win. As muskie fisherman I believe we are now in the neighborhood of 250,000 anglers across our state. I find it hard to believe that we will be the minority in the voice to approve this effort, but I still feel it is possible. Many of us think that someone will do it for us. Like voting, many will say "my vote doesn't matter anyway." Well, this is your chance to let your voice be heard. The DNR doesn't often make decisions on public input, but they really want mine, yours and your fishing pals too. It would be a sad day if new lakes got turned down because not enough muskie dudes said yes.
Here's how you can help. Go to the meeting and give educated information on why you would like more muskies in the state. Voice why you encourage it and give solid, sound reasons. Fighting, ranting, negativity and loud mouthing will not help in this discussion. If you cannot make it to a meeting for any reason, then you can simply email or call the DNR to let them know that you approve and encourage stocking in these bodies of water. It's a win for muskie anglers and the state of Minnesota. Proper education can also reveal to other anglers that muskie stocking can actually have positive effects on lakes too. Voice your opinion and help others learn why this sport belongs in our state. More water equals more fish and a great future!