From the Helm:
Spring is just around the corner. I know our captains are gearing up for the 2018 season, which is only a month or less away for many of us. As President, I want to convey from all officers and board of directors a great and prosperous fishing season.
At the January 28th board meeting, MDNR fisheries presented proposed changes to our current catch reporting. Also discussed was the possible change from “paper” one-day licenses captains can buy in advance to sell to their customers versus a switch to “online” licenses. Both issues received considerable discussion and will be pursued again at April’s meeting. Once we know where the DNR stands on these issues, we will report to the membership via E-blast with a simple Survey Monkey questionnaire for membership input on the proposed changes.
The U. S. Coast Guard will be at our April 15th meeting in Clare to discuss plans they will undertake regarding unlicensed charter operations in the Great Lakes. The Coast Guard is looking to become very aggressive with unlicensed charter operations starting this spring.
MDNR’s Donna Wesander from Charter Boat Catch Reporting will also attend the April 15th meeting to present an update on the progress with their new catch reporting web site. The emphasis is on being user friendly for both cell phones and small on-line devices like I-Pads, ect. The DNR wants to end the paper reporting and switch completely to electronic catch reporting in 2019. In a perfect world, captains would report their catches at the end of every trip instead of waiting to submit paper reports at the end of each month.
We are planning to have the highly suc- cessful 2020 Consent Decree fundraiser raffle again this year. Vice president Bill Winowiecki will be in charge. More information will follow in a future issue of the Cannonball.
Our Past President, Capt. Terry Walsh, is actively working with a Michigan United Con- servation Clubs committee comprised of ma- jor conservation and sport fishing organiza- tions in drafting a new commercial netting statue. As most of the membership knows, the DNR’s willingness to allow the commercial fishers a “by catch” of walleye and lake trout is a serious issue for not only us but also all the state’s anglers. It’s my understanding things are happening fast in Lansing, and a bill is likely to be introduced by Senator Green in the coming weeks. As soon as we know when hearings will start, we will inform the membership by E-blast.
In its January meeting the Lake Huron Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee recom- mended the DNR reduce the daily lake trout catch in MH-1 from three to two per angler in 2018. Past President Capt. Walsh addresses that decision in detail on page nine.
Earlier this month, one of the real giants in Michigan’s stellar big lake fishery program, former MDNR Fisheries Director John Robert- son passed away. We at MCBA wish to relay our condolences and heart-felt thanks to his family and close friends. MCBA is forever grateful for his friendship and his stewardship of our fisheries and natural resources.
Have a great 2018 season…
Captain Eric Andersen