Culling of Walleye on the way!
If the tournament guys can do it, why can't joe schmo angler do it too? Like fishy said, now you've got guys throwing fish back off of stringers or in the winter throwing 'em back after they half freeze on the ice. Not something I would be promoting but hey, call me crazy I have ethics.
As far as the ice packs go, now you've got fish going from warm water to cool water then back to warm water. Shock much? Know what happens when my minnows go from warm water to cold water in the winter? Belly up.
Again ditto, if you've got the facts to show that livewell held fish have less mortality than released fish post it and I will admit you win. The burden of proof is on you.
Fish are a renewable resource and the lakes the tournaments are on are known for healthy populations so I consider the couple more fish that might die to be a good trade off for the huge amount of money they bring into the community. Remember these aren't little club tournaments that get the culling exception, they're the big ones.
I realize the covered live well in my boat will shade the tank a little-and fill it with fresh oxygen which will cool the water somewhat, but its still warm water coming in. In July and August I put a plug in my live well and turn off the water-filling it with ice and throw my catch in it, on top of the ice. The ice melts, but the water is cold and the fish stay firm and don't loose color. These are fish that will be harvested. Otherwise if I just fill the tank and pump oxygen in-the fish die fairly quick from the warm surface water.
I have guided professionally for 37 years and have made a living at it in the Hayward area mostly on walleye/crappie and SM bass with a few Musky trips . I still don't agree with culling. If it isn't big enough throw it back, if its to big-throw it back. I realize in the commercialized product driven and money driven tourney business that's old school- but that's my rule in my boat. I wont win any tourneys and really don't care. I don't have to use that route to proof my self as an expert and would rather take a party out on the water and make $350.00 enjoying my trade for the day.
But what I'm concerned with is this: if its allowed then the average fisherman will think-if the Pros do it must be ok- Its not. What if they don't have a live well- lets take that one off the stinger or out of the basket and trade it in for the one that's 2 inches longer and a little fatter. Oh its good-look it swam away on its own. That's a bad signal to send to people that are not educated in fish survival. I'm all for tourneys-don't get me wrong. Economic growth and an interest in fishing is a good thing.
My thought is that its more entertainment for the spectators to watch when the strategy of the teams is observed. That's more interesting to me than culling fish. In fact culling cheapens that aspect a lot. Some teams may opt to keep the first legal limit they get, other competitors keep it interesting by gambling a little on a hunch and confidence in themselves by letting a smaller keeper go immediately and trying catch a bigger one attitude. It your a safe player (fisherman), then you take a risk by just getting the limit, but maybe not a great weight-a gambler looses or maybe wins big. That should be part of the game. That's fun to watch. But at the end of the day everyone should be concerned with the big picture-protecting the resource, like just keeping enough to eat, letting go the bigger fish and practicing catch and release with selective and legal harvest.
Culling is only allowed in a couple tournaments each year - it's not going to hurt the resources.
Look at Pewaukee lake, 3 bass tournaments a Saturday and the bass fishing is only getting better.
The exepmtion from the regulation is being requested only for the two tournaments and not everyone else. The state representative who is also making the push was told it will bring in huge extra money from the tournaments. These are warm water tournaments and mortality will be high!
Plain and simple, our resources and being used to generate revenue and that seems to be the top goal. Look at the "Walleye Initiave" where a pile of money is spent just to make a couple resort owners happy and does nothing long term.