On your initial topic, Every state has some issues with management. I am not saying what you are referring to is right or wrong but no matter where you go there are debacles. Just look at the walleye disaster that is Mil Lacs in MN. I think one of the big reasons my Red River catfish are so good is because there is very little management that takes place. Nature sort of runs it course for the most part.
The reports put up by guides and resorts etc are part of the promotion plan and why would a professional guide want to say fishing is not good? I'll tell you why. Because if you as a professional are struggling and say it is great that makes you look stupid. I am one of the few that I know that will send out a weekly report that FISHING SUCKS. I hate to do it but the honesty is the best policy. I try to give the best tips to make it work I can. I hope I am hitting the nail on the head as far as what is helping catch fish during the tough time. I have figured out over the years that crappy fishing for me is sometimes good fishing for average angler. Point is just say it how it is.
The guiding issue that popped up in this is really intriguing to me as guiding is my living. Most of what the guides have said it is true. Most guides do their best to put fish in the boat and show the guests a great time. Some days don't always work out as planned but we are in the entertainment business and the entertainment is to catch a creature of nature that doesn't always see things the way we see them. With that said not all guides are created equally. I like fishing with guides from other parts of the country to see what they have to offer and see if I can improve on anything. I have been with some excellent guides and some guides that really should have found another profession. Nature and the market usually takes care of that over time.
Lastly one of the comments said this: I'm consistently amazed at the number of fishermen that balk at things that would improve their skills, and almost always for ridiculous reasons, like, this is the way I do it, or have done it (and I'm used to it) for years. (I am sorry I didn't repeat the name for credit here.) This is a topic that just blows me away. I knew it existed but until I released my book about advanced channel catfish patterns I had no idea. People went out of their way to tell me that that know everything they need or a catfish is just a stupid fish how hard can it be. That is pretty defeating when you just got done with three years of experience and writing of a book to hear. In the end I know that my efforts to make people better at fishing have worked because other people tell me the methods do work and because as the research goes on my catches are continuing to improve as I keep researching and expanding on the knowledge base of fishing.
I am sorry for the super long post that is 4 subjects long but it is a great thread. Please please just enjoy fishing and take it for the memory good or bad. That is the name of the game here.
On other sites pertaining to other hobbies, the goal for the majority is never-ending improvement....with fishing you get that in about 10% of the people, hence the old (and true) adage that 10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish.
I'm consistently amazed at the number of fishermen that balk at things that would improve their skills, and almost always for ridiculous reasons, like, this is the way I do it, or have done it (and I'm used to it) for years. Baffling, but at least it keeps the guide businesses busy.
Up north theres so many things that come into play. Like lakeshiner said deer numbers don't help the businesses. Spearing doesn't help the fishing or the businesses. Small gas stations are closing all over, even in minnesota because people are choosing to go to big stations like Kwik trips.
Now I catch a lot of fish on our chain, but I go up a lot and know where to go. Like a guide who fishes a body of water a lot would know where to go. But the guys who come up for just a weekend a year and don't learn a lake, there probably is not a fish behind every rock like in years past. If they come up and don't do well, they probably will go somewhere else next year.
I would never say fish numbers and size are as good as 20 years ago overall. Sure some lakes hold their own. After the internet and advanced electronics though, people find them easier and quicker.
I really have no problem with guides other than when they keep their own limit of fish to give to their clients on a daily basis. That one boat really takes a lot of fish from a lake. You hear about people grumbling about breaking possession limits, but in terms of the number of fish removed from a system, its really the same thing. They just don't keep them so they are doing it legally, whereas others put them all in the freezer. Same end result.