Ciscoe, smelt bait rules won’t changeWith Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of the controversial Game and Fish Bill on Tuesday, it’s back to existing regulations for use of Lake Superior ciscoes and smelt as bait.
By: Forum Newspapers, Lake County News Chronicle
With Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of the controversial Game and Fish Bill on Tuesday, it’s back to existing regulations for use of Lake Superior ciscoes and smelt as bait.
A provision in the Game and Fish Bill would have allowed use of ciscoes and smelt taken from Lake Superior to be used as bait on Lake Superior but that provision will not take effect.
Not using smelt or ciscoes as bait would be a hardship, especially to charter fishing captains on Lake Superior, said Adam Bohlmann, a Duluth charter captain.
“It’s just going to kill our industry,” Bohlmann said, “because we depend on them. All of August and most of September, it’s our number-one fish-catching tool.”
Concerns over using smelt and ciscoes taken from Lake Superior were heightened when the fish-killing virus VHS (viral hemorrhagic septicemia) was found in Lake Superior in January. Fisheries biologists and enforcement officials are trying to make sure the virus does not spread to inland lakes in Minnesota.
The use of ciscoes and smelt as bait will now be governed by the existing law, as spelled out in the Minnesota Fishing Regulations synopsis.
The current law states: “It is unlawful to harvest bait (minnows, frogs, crayfish or other wild animals) from infested waters.”
Lake Superior and the St. Louis River are listed as “infested” waters because they harbor several non-native species and VHS.
That means smelt and ciscoes taken from Lake Superior may not be used for bait anywhere in the state, including Lake Superior. Anglers must not transport infested water, including water in live wells and bait containers, from Lake Superior or the St. Louis River to any other waters.