Monday, April 29, 2013

Bait from Lake Winnibigoshish banned in Minnesota

Bait from Lake Winnibigoshish banned in Minnesota, Sam Cook reported in the Sunday, April 28th sports section of the newspaper that fishermen would have to do without the popular spotted shiner minnow. Because velagers, the immature spawn of zebra mussels, have been found in the lake it's waters is contaminated and will spread the invader species. Since many area residents, both First Nation and white, make spring seed money from netting the minnows, and bait shops stock mainly from this source in the spring, it is going to be felt in the local industry.

Lake Winnie sits right between Cass and Leech Lake and carries the flow of the Mississippi River south to Grand Rapid and the Twin Cities. This is the center of walleye country and fishing is the second major religion in the north of the state. It is important to both those who live there and the countless anglers who travel yearly to this area for a tradition of ice out fishing. The tribes are searching for ways to cleanse the bait and make it suitable for market. All realize the devastation these aquatic strangers may cause and the Duluth harbor has been fighting them from the beginning.

The temporary problems of the bait industry can be overcome. The greater threat, that these may contaminate other waters in the region, is the fear of fishery workers in the region. Due to the nature of the creature, all water downstream is open habitat for explosive reproduction. What if anglers from the region, unfamiliar with invader species drill, decide to try a few other spots in a day? Sportsmen, sportswomen, and especially teach the little fry how we must become knowledgable, active stewards of our environment.

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