So, there has been much discussion of all the tournaments on the winnebago chain. Particularly, the walleye mortality rate. My question posed to the Wi DNR is why would there be any other format than the catch measure and release AIM format. After all, tournament fishermen dont keep the fish to eat while they are pursuing a paycheck. More fish surviving these tournaments mean better fishing more tournament opportunities and better recreation overall.
Tournament format for the Winnebago chain
Quester - I am assuming you are kidding, right? You want to regulate when tournament fishermen/women can fish?
I am lucky enough to live on the lake and can tell you when it is busy and when it is not. Sunday nights - very quiet. The day before the tourney, in the afternoon, quiet(er) due to the pre-meeting. Some tourneys do not allow "pre-fishing" from either noon or two PM the day prior. Another time it is not busy, very early in the morning. Be on the water at 4:45 AM right now and very few boats. I am often off before 7 am and seldom see other people.
It is a big lake, but you can always find a corner or two that is not being fished. If you are one who only hits community spots like Garlic, Long or the rivers, you will always have company. Explore your own areas and you can often have the spot to yourself.
Good luck when you get out. Big lake with lot of fish.
I'm not against tournaments, a couple big ones a year is good for the community!
What I am against is how many they have!! They should ban practice fishing before the tournaments,a guy takes off work during the week to fish the big lake and it's crowded at the boat launch and the best spots because of practice fishing!
I am a tournament fisherman and like the AIM format. I wish all of the tourneys would go that route, but with the exception of the actual AIM tournament, there are means to cheat. AIM developed a software that fingerprints each individual fish eliminating cheating with using a fish twice in a tournament. If you want to use the AIM software, you need to hire the AIM guys. They charge $5000 to bring their trailer, gear and team to run your tourney. That significantly cuts into the purse of the payout.
In one of my tournaments using the AIM format, we are very suspect of one individual who is a little shady on his card. There is not much we can do to call him out. This is a low purse tourney. When you start talking 1000 of dollar tourney's people will cheat to get on top. Just human nature, and it sucks. Having a bag weight, it makes it much harder to cheat.
You have a very valid question but unfortunately you are applying logic! Under the current administration the DNR employee's that I know are mainly trying to not rock the boat, not what is best from a management standpoint in order to keep their jobs. Commerce is more important than sustainability, that's why so many DNR staff have been let go.
In-Fisherman just had a great article on tournament mortality and many states that were involved in the study changed their regulations based on the findings.Wisconsin has not! There is a ton of information that can be gathered at tournaments but few are required to provide information and it is a joke. The DNR does have a record of actual mortality on some of the bigger tournaments, not what claimed by promoters.
Most people have no idea how important a strong Walleye population is to the economy of the state.
As far as tournament anglers not keeping fish, you're dreaming, especially when they were on big spawners over the winter.