If you have a minute, I’d like to get your thoughts on the article on the www.busterwantstofish.com site. I was just forwarded this today.

Thanks again for your time and I look forward to the next one.

Keep ’em tight!

I was sent this email recently by Eric, to view a post on a fly fishing website that I had not cruised before. The site is called Buster Wants To Fish and this is the link to the post. Take a look and then read on.

Turns out the Dis-information has run rampant.  The site might need to be called Buster needs to get his info Correct.

Len Harris sent me this email;

I do NOT support the One Size Fits ALL Conservation Congress amendment in question.Who ever gave you that information is false.  I was asked to co-sponsor the amendment and declined.

Len Harris

I removed the references to the parties because I think the information is bad, Eric watch out for bad info!

Here is a bit of background on the Wisconsin Conservation Congress along with the link first, so you can be informed. The text comes off of their website.

Our Purpose

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) is the only “advisory body” in the state where citizens of Wisconsin elect delegates to represent their interests in natural resources, both local and statewide, by working with the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources to effectively manage Wisconsin’s greatest asset, our abundant natural resources, for present and future generations to enjoy.

Here is what I think.

The concept of the Conservation Congress is a great one. There is a spring meeting, once a year in every county of the state of Wisconsin, on the same night, to discuss rules and regulations changes, pertaining to natural resources, propose by the DNR, and to consider citizen submitted resolutions on matters pertaining to management of natural resources. These hearings are a political process and it is helpful to attend, just to see how the process works and interact if you wish. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE IN WISCONSIN TO VOICE A PUBLIC OPINION OR TO VOTE ON THESE MATTERS, YOU JUST HAVE TO BE INTERESTED IN THESE MATTERS. There are always many issues on the docket, and the meetings can be a bit long at times because of the broad scope of hunting, fishing, wildlife and other natural resource issues to be discussed. Notice on the Congress web page the phrases “advisory board”, “to consider” and “to request”. This wording is there because this is a public gathering where it does not matter if you are an elected official of the Conservation Congress or a Donut Hole, the DNR is there to listen to proposals and people. Let It Be Clear, the Wisconsin DNR has the final decision on any rule or regulation change, no matter what the discussion or the vote totals are for any issue discussed at the spring meetings. That being said, the wording on the post referring to voting may be misleading. The DNR decides what it thinks is proper for the resources. The process is complicated and is not always transparent but it is not solely based on public vote alone.

A final note on WCC:

Remember the issues up for voting effect counties and zones all over the state. You are allowed to vote on all issues. If a person attending a meeting in Milwaukee County wants to vote against an issue involving trout in Pierce County, even though he/she has never fished for trout or ever intends to fish for trout in Pierce county, or even cares about the issue, they can cast that vote. This is part of the process, and also why the vote is ultimately a recommendation to the DNR and not a binding vote they have to follow. I have seen this tactic used before by the Congress to “Send a Message to The State” that they don’t like what they’re doing. More on that in the next section.

A Bit of History on the Wisconsin Early Catch and Release Trout Season

If you didn’t know the Wisconsin DNR implemented the “Early Catch and Release Trout Season” in 1997 on a 2 year trial basis because they felt it would not hurt the resource and they wanted to provide additional trout fishing opportunity to anglers. On April 12 1999 the DNR proposed to reauthorise this trial season and make it permanent. This was a ginormous issue in Pierce County. The folks of Pierce County wanted nothing to do with this early trout season and its barbless, artificial only regs, and was voted down 69 against 10 for. I was at the meeting. It was my first DNR/Conservation Congress spring meeting. I was stunned. I did not understand why so many people were against this extra trout fishing opportunity and why so many were so angry. The vote on this topic for the entire state as I remember was  49% for and 51% against and the DNR made the decision to implement the season. On April 10th 2000 at the spring hearings, a proposal to modified the “Early Catch and Release Trout Season” to include a week closure at the end of April was voted on and became rule for the following year.

At age 49, I truly think the guard is changing in regard to the conservation thought process as it relates to trout fishing. The web is helping people become more informed, yet there is enough dis-information(this case is a perfect one) out there to confuse the issues. I just looked at the 2010 spring hearing booklet on the WCC website. I could not find the new proposal on it. It may be newly submitted. Looks like it may not even be on the agenda. The meetings this year are on Monday, April, 12 at 7PM.

To end, I would like to say that this is how I understand the DNR/WCC system to work. If I have made mistakes please correct me. Any decisions on Rule and Regulation changes made by the DNR can be complicated. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin have taken great care to manage their resources to give us incredible opportunities to enjoy and preserve our resources. Does our input help? Yes! Do we always agree? No! Can we do something about it? Yes.