March 10, 2017 04:46 PM
A bill to stop muskie stocking in new waters was introduced in the Minnesota House Monday, continuing the long-running debate between anglers and lakefront homeowners.
Fergus Falls Republican Rep. Bud Nornes' bill comes on the heels of a failed effort to stop stocking in 2016. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is currently in the midst of its plan to stock eight new lakes with muskie by 2020.
Shawn Kellet, president of Twin Cities Muskies, Inc., said lakefront property owners and their associations are using muskies as an excuse to keep anglers off their lakes.
"I don't think its as much an anti-Muskie bill as it is a get-off-my-lake bill," Kellett said. "This really boils down to lakeshore associations wanting further and further control of their lakes."
Gull Lake homeowner Don Gylling said it's not that simple. Gylling and his neighbors fought the DNR's plan, but failed to stop 2,000 muskie fingerlings from being stocked this past fall.
"I don't know of anybody that was in favor of having muskies that I'm aware of," Gylling said.
Gylling said more anglers generally means more invasive species. He also fears the species native to the lake could eventually be threatened by the muskie.
"It's like throwing in alligators, you know?" Gylling said. "Do we need those here to eat up everything around here?"
Kellett said the DNR's science simply doesn't support those fears. He said if the Legislature gives into them, it can definitely prepare for a muskie-like fight.
"There's over 100,000 muskie anglers in this state," Kellett said. "I think if it does pass this year, they're going to be hearing from us next year, the year after that and the year after that."
So far, the DNR has stocked five lakes with muskie. The three remaining lakes to be stocked before 2020 haven't yet been chosen.
Updated: March 10, 2017 04:46 PM
Created: March 08, 2017 05:42 PM
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