There are never a lack of issues facing the Minnesota Legislature regarding the outdoors, and this year should prove to be another interesting one with many topics up for discussion. Just because there is legislation proposed doesn’t mean that it will pass, but here are some areas that may or may not be addressed in this year’s legislative session.
Fishing with two rods
This is a topic that pops up from time to time, and there are rumblings that legislation may be introduced to allow anglers to fish with two rods at once. This has been discussed in the legislature in the past but has not received enough support to become law, so if it is introduced again this year, it will be interesting to see if there is widespread support for the idea.
Reducing the walleye limit from six to four
This is a debate that seems to be picking up steam from guides and anglers. The walleye limit statewide has been a daily possession of six fish except on lakes with special regulations.
DNR research has demonstrated that, except in rare cases, the average angler does not catch a daily limit of walleyes. The times when skilled anglers catch limits is early spring, late fall and early ice fishing on big lakes when the bite is really hot.
It seems to me that the DNR is neutral on this issue, and the push to lower the limits is coming from different angling groups. It will be interesting to see if this concept goes anywhere during this session.
Lowering salt limits on Minnesota roads
I believe that there will be a push in this year’s legislative session to try to limit the amount of salt that is being dumped on Minnesota roads. There are not many alternatives to using rock salt on our roads, but recent research by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency suggests that we have a large number of lakes that are impaired because of the presence of high salt concentrations. This year could see the first real effort to address the problem and find some long-term solutions.
Chronic Wasting Disease
Chronic Wasting Disease is a condition that kills deer and elk. It has emerged as a problem in different parts of Minnesota. There are different groups and individuals that have expressed an interest in introducing legislation to address the problem. It is too early to determine what that bill might look like, but the problem has the attention of the DNR and other state agencies.
This is an area where hunters may be going head-to-head with deer and elk farms. It is a complex issue that will take some serious work to come up with legislation that will satisfy all parties.
Stay tuned – should be a very interesting legislative session!
RAY GILDOW is a northern Minnesota fishing guide and outdoor writer.