The Opener: What's In Your Bag?

Northern Pike Picture: Dundeesportsmansclub.com Northern Pike
Picture: Dundeesportsmansclub.com
At the most recent conference call of the DNR and fishing groups interested in warm water fisheries resources, there was a discussion of the pros and cons of eliminating the combined possession limit (CPL) of bass, walleye, northern pike, and flathead catfish in favor of creating possession limits for each species. While there are no proposals on the table and MUCC has no official position on this issue, it provides for some interesting discussion.
The total CPL of 5 for black bass, northern pike, and walleye (pike-perch) started in 1942, and an additional 5 fish per day for the Great Lakes and connecting waters, but no more than 5 bass or 5 pike were allowed. The 5 fish "bonus" in the Great Lakes ended in 1969.
Currently, you are allowed to keep 5 in total in any combination, but no more than 2 northern pike.
MUCC and its members have often called for higher pike limits in Lake St. Clair, for example, due to the statewide combined possession limit. At least anecdotally, people believe this CPL leads many anglers targeting walleye to release any northern pike. The DNR has a few examples of creel survey results that indicate very few anglers catch a multi-species bag limit.
  • Would eliminating the combined possession limit offer some additional harvest and simplified regulations?
  • Would anglers be more apt to target or keep pike?
  • What do you think about the 5 fish "bonus" for these species on the Great Lakes?
MUCC's Fisheries Committee and its members will be discussing this issue in preparation for our Annual Convention in June. Let us know your thoughts!

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