The James Harriett books about his veterinarian practice before, during and after WWII have fascinated millions of people both by being read and by being watched on PBS. British fishing is different than in southern Wisconsin, although we too have trout streams. In both writing cases, Harriett’s and the Milwaukee Fishing Examiner’s, we believe that “…The Lord God Created Them All.”
Mother Nature is just a generic term for a Higher Power that specializes in Nature. It would be interesting to know what are the Muslim, Buddhist, Chinese, American Indian, East African, etc. Beliefs. By gathering all knowledge possible and filtering out the fantasies and fish stories, a superb collection of fishing information can lead us to greater fish catching abilities, catch and release when necessary, conservation practices, practical tournament regulations, which fish to raise as food, and more become realities.
As an example, many Catholic churches, known for fabulous fish fries, are going through one of their Renew Sessions by looking into a Threshold Bible Study Guide called “Stewardship of the Earth” by Stephen J. Binz, Twenty-Third Publications, 130-pages, $12.95.
This is not an anti-fishing book, nor does it promote PETA. Including fishing, the book bolsters our stewardship of the fish, animals, trees, as we tend them and use them as necessary, In southern Wisconsin, as in elsewhere, we can catch and eat fish without ruining their populations, and this includes not becoming the Dr.Frankenstein’s of fish raising in hatcheries and natural waters.
By making absurd minimum size limits going above what male pike and muskies reach is not an example of stewardship. As with every bit of tampering by humans be it developing land around lakes and ruining spawning habitat, building cement barriers along inland lake shorelines and eliminating habitat for damsel flies, water striders, mosquito eating dragonflies, frogs, lily pads, small fish, etc and that nasty word “DEVELOPPMENT” which is better termed “RUINATION OF NATURAL HABITAT,” stewardship becomes a joke. These people are not stewards. They blame anglers for hurting fishing populations while in turn they have eliminated future populations from ever occurring.
Remove the aquatic plants, and aquatic insects and small fish and insects that feed on them are gone, Consequently, species such as crappies can not exist, just like Lake Michigan yellow perch can’t live if zebra mussels eat all of their food. Starvation has never lead to great fish populations.
Anglers can help prevent fish populations from being ruined in their favorite waters is to join the lake associations for these waters. Otherwise, anglers have NO voices in protecting the fisheries and their habitats. Newspapers rarely publish the meeting notices for more than a lake or two. Some biologists, such as Doug Welch on southeast Wisconsin only notify the most local of papers. I have no idea why he didn’t want you to know what was going on in Racine County’s Eagle Lake. Well, that’s not true. I do know why. I won’t go into it, but I do deem it strange to have a 40 inch minimum pike size limit where male pike only grow to about 34 inches, per him and two other esteemed fisheries biologists including the state boss, Mike Staggs, plus Randy Schumacher, and dropping the panfish limit to only 10 with a minimum of 8 inches on a lake were the fish had already stunted twice due to a lack of harvest. One clue is that lake topography has a lot to do with how fish grow after a few years in a lake.
The first few years see big panfish, then they begin becoming smaller adults. Fox Lake, in Dodge County, and Eagle Lake, in Racine County are good examples of this.
We must be stewards, especially when we have to step in and prevent bad management from and by whatever well-meaning agency or self-appointed strawboss takes over. It’s time for anglers of all beliefs to practice stewardship. America, this is your assignment.