May 25 06:39 PM
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I applaud the effort for a pike management plan

Dear Woods-N-Water News:

This letter is in response to the letter printed in the April issue where an angler from Cadillac opposes the DNR changing pike regulations. First off, that letter stated that the minimum size for pike would be replaced with a slot limit. The 24-34 inch slot limit is just one of a number of options listed in the DNR Draft Pike Management Plan, for which public comment is being accepted. The letter implies that the decision has already been made, which is not the case.

The implication that a slot limit would cause anglers to stay home and/or have a negative economic impact on smaller towns in northern Michigan has no basis in fact and is just a theory. Another theory is that the establishment of a population of larger and trophy pike may result in an increase in the number of anglers who pursue pike and the distance that they may be willing to drive to catch them.

There is no evidence to show, nor is it reasonable to assume that pike between the lengths of 24-34 inches die due to being deeply hooked while fishing with tip-ups more than pike outside of that size range.

In addition, there are ways that the mortality of fish caught during the ice fishing season can be reduced, including: The use of slammer tip-ups, that set the hook as soon as the bait is taken and allow the angler to fight the fish on a rod and reel; when using regular tip-ups, quick-strike rigs can be used so that the hooks can be set as soon as the angler gets to the tip-up; circle hooks can be used as they greatly increase the chance that the fish will be hooked in the side of the mouth; or fisherman can jig for pike in the manner that many people fish for walleye or other species. There is also the option of using barbless hooks.

There are numerous waters throughout the state that have an overabundance of small pike, which for many anglers are a nuisance. In most cases, the only predator for these smaller pike is larger pike. If anglers only remove the larger pike, the problem may become worse. Selective harvest where the larger fish are reduced and some smaller fish are kept for consumption is generally a good idea for any species. In the case of pike, I agree with the philosophy of Doug Stange of the In-Fisherman "Keep the hammer handles and release the axe handles."

The DNR should be applauded in their effort to establish a plan for managing pike populations and hopefully the result will be the availability of more larger and trophy pike while maintaining a stable harvestable population and I urge you to support them in their efforts. The state needs a pike management plan that takes into consideration the wishes of all anglers.


Robert Reisner

Robert Reisner
April 28, 2009

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