OUTDOORS: While fishing, sometimes two lines are better than oneWORTHINGTON — Today is a great example of the old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
By: Scott Rall, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Today is a great example of the old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
I am referring to a very, very squeaky wheel.
There has been a movement in Minnesota ever since I can remember to allow fisherman to fish with two lines in the open-water season. It really got legs over the past 10 years. Minnesota anglers have been able to fish with two lines through the ice, but not in open water.
The argument that was used to justify the change to two lines was always a bad one. It was “All of the other states let you do it, so Minnesota should, too.”
South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota boarder waters have been two lines for years. I cannot think of a poorer reason. Other states that have had the two line rule for years have been able to do so because these other states have less than half the population of Minnesota and a corresponding half of the fishing pressures on their waters.
Two lines, where fishing pressure allows it, is just fine with me, but I have always been of the thinking that in Minnesota, it would just result in twice as much harvest and poorer fishing over the long term.
I have countless examples where a boat with two anglers with one line each will out-fish a solo angler with one line by 100 percent. In many cases it might be 200 percent or more effective.
It makes sense that twice as many lines will result in twice as many catches. Two anglers in one boat can be trying more colors and more actions to see what the fish want far faster and far more efficiently than a single angler with one line. This is why they can out fish a single by a margin of more than 100 percent.
Remember that when the single angler is changing baits he does not have a lure in the water. The two-line angler can keep one of the lures fishing while he prepares the second one.
I supported the two line issue if they would lower the limit from six walleyes per day to two walleyes per day. This would keep harvest in line with current numbers and go a long way to keeping everybody happy. Until they were ready to do this, I opposed the change vehemently.
What happened in the end was very close to what would have happened if I had been in charge. The law will now allow an angler to fish two lines if they pay an extra $10 at the time of license purchase. It also reduces the limit by 50 percent of whatever the limit is for that species. With a two-line endorsement, the angler can keep three walleyes instead of the normal six. Fishing crappies the two line angler can keep five instead of 10 and so on. Even if the angler with the two-line endorsement fishes with one line, they can still only keep half of the normal limit.
Other conditions also apply. In a lake that has special regulations like a walleye limit of four, the two-line endorsement angler can then only keep two. This makes buying a license a little more difficult decision than in the past. If you are a tournament angler and the team can weigh 12 walleyes, the two-line angler team could only weigh six.
For the meat angler, I can imagine that the two line option is not an option but the angler who keeps few fish but really enjoys the catch this is going to be a no-brainer. I will buy the two-line endorsement. I keep very few fish per year. This option allows me to have an occasional fish fry, but at the same time, most likely catch more fish when I have the opportunity to get on the water.
It will be interesting to see what percentage of anglers opt for this new choice. It will also add a few more burdens to an already over burdened Conservation Officer workforce who now have to decipher what license that you have and how many fish can be kept. Different folks in the same group will no doubt have different licenses.
One interesting question that I have is what will happen to kids in Minnesota that do not need to purchase a license? Will they automatically get a two-line license or the one-line license and the corresponding limit that goes with it? I am sure that these details will be coming down the pike shortly.
Fishing has been on the slow side so far this year. There were a few good reports, but the majority of anglers are waiting for the bite to improve. Opener was the best weather day in years but it was the first nice day after about 14 bad ones. It is this change in weather patterns that puts fish in a negative mood.
Steady weather is the best, regardless of what that weather pattern is. Steady is the key and it looks like patterns are getting a little more consistent.
I am confident that anglers will be rewarded for their patience.
WRITER’S NOTE: This column was written about a week before my normal submission deadline as I was out of the office for a few days. The events that have transpired since that time included the fact that the governor exercised his option and vetoed the entire bill.
As I understand it, the reason for the veto was not the two-line issue but other aspects of the bill that included legislators setting hunting season dates and other protocols that are normally left to the Department of Natural Resources. Without the DNR’s support on many of the provisions in the bill, it was killed and will have to be brought up next session.
I will keep you up to date on the future progress of this issue.