Save our walleyes
The reason for this letter is the disturbing methods of live bait usage during the recent Shaw Dryden Masters Walleye Tournament—namely spinner rigs tipped with nightcrawlers (nightcrawler harness), which generally has three small single hooks spread out the length of the nightcrawler.
Having participated in many bass tournaments across Northwestern Ontario, I’ve had my boat literally torn apart looking for live bait prior to launching. Yet walleye, our number one-eating fish, does not have this restriction, which only shows there is more concern for bass survival than that of the walleye.
Ever since catch-and-release became a known factor on the survival of fish, I did not participate in any walleye tournament as they are more vulnerable to being handled, temperature, and depth in comparison to the hardy bass for tournament usage.
Kenora’s first fishing tournament was to be for walleyes, but the manager of the MNR recommended bass instead as the survival rate would be much higher.
Rainy Lake had only one walleye tournament because of the high mortality rate from catching the fish in deep water. You will not see another walleye tournament there.
Al Lindner’s “In Fisherman” walleye tournament held in Baudette, Mn., fishing both the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods, took its toll, as well. I saw 11 places between the Town of Rainy River and Lake of the Woods where seagulls were eating walleyes that did not make it—and how many more might I have missed?
All the concrete information I have gathered could put an end to at least the use of live bait, preferably nightcrawlers.
At one time, eight walleyes per person was allowed, then dropping to six and now four (with two per day for the Americans, which is hurting the tourist trade).
So how much more evidence do we need to stop walleye tournaments permanently?
Michael J. Baranowski
Nestor Falls, Ont.