Column: DNR seeks input on 10 brookie rule

I thought it would be safe to take a week off in early May to mix a little early season trout fishing in with some spring cleanup projects around home and at camp.

Well that’s going to go by the wayside as it was decided that my wife and will simply drive south until we hit warm weather, which hopefully will occur before we run into the Gulf of Mexico.

With this in mind, I decided to clear the clutter off my desk before heading out and see what of interest has popped up recently.

Included are:

  • The 10 brook trout per day experimental regulation is now in its second year on select Upper Peninsula streams, and anglers are being asked to complete a survey on the rule.

Included under the special brookie regulation are portions of the Dead, East Branch of the Ontonagon, East Branch of the Huron, Driggs and East Branch of the Tahquamenon rivers.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources put out a press release on the 10 brookies per day survey, which not only solicits input from fishermen and women who fish the research streams, but those who fish any streams in the U.P.

There are three ways to provide input, including talking to creel clerks who will be stationed on some streams, completing and mailing postcards that are be left on vehicle windshields at fishing locations or submitting an online survey.

Seeing I did fish for a little while on opening day of the season last Saturday, I decided to fill out the online survey. It is pretty straightforward, seeking information on what stream and what day you fished, on long you were on the river, how many fish did you keep and how many did you catch and release.

There are also a few questions aimed at learning an angler’s opinion on the brookie creel limit, including: “How does/would having a 10 brook trout bag limit on a river influence how often you would fish there?” “in your opinion, how does/would a 10 brook trout limit affect a river’s brook trout population?” and “which brook trout bag limit do you personally prefer for all Upper Peninsula rivers?”

According to the DNR, the survey includes information and opinions from anglers on any U.P. streams rather than just the ones with the 10 brook trout limit to allow comparisons to be made among streams with the special rule and those with the regular five brookie limit.

Sounds logical, although just as early surveys on increasing the brookie limit in the U.P. drew heavy response from organized groups that opposed the change, so will this survey – particularly the online version.

The only question on the survey that gives the DNR an indication of where the angler lives is one regarding the zip code of your residence, which is the third question on the survey and required to get into the more meaty questions.

  • The DNR took action recently to adjust the new fishing and hunting license system to correct what appears to have been an inadvertent oversight.

What occurred was their was no provision for senior license buyers- those 65 years old and older – to receive a discount on the new hunt/fish combo license.

I bought mine last week and seeing I’m still a handful or so years shy of that golden age, I paid the $76 without being surprised. What you get for that price is the fishing license good for all species, the base hunting license and two deer tags.

As of April 14, though, the DNR reduced the senior hunt/fish combo price to $43, a savings of $33. The problem is many older sportsmen and women had already bought their combo license, which went on sale March 1, for the full price.

However, the DNR is offering those who paid the $76 a refund of $33. Seniors who qualify for the refund should be getting a letter in the mail explaining their option for getting a refund, which will be mailed to them if requested.

The department stresses that seniors should return to the dealer where they bought the combo license, which they should keep because they are valid and don’t need to be replaced.

If you have any questions on the refund call the DNR licensing and reservations customer service office at 517-373-1204 or send an email to MDNR-elicense @michigan.gov.

  • When buying your hunt/fish combo or base hunting license, remember to add the free woodcock stamp to the license if you area a woodcock hunter.

The woodcock stamp automatically registers woodcock hunters with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program, which maintains records vital for the management of American woodcock and are used to estimate harvest and days spent afield, according to the DNR.

Michigan hunters are an important group when it comes to woodcock hunting, seeing we are the top woodcock harvesting state in the country. The DNR estimates that in 2012, Michigan woodcock hunters spent 213,000 days afield and harvested about 100,000 birds.

Editor’s note: City Editor Dave Schneider can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 270. His email address is dschneider@miningjournal.net.