Bad Bass Regulations

Bad Bass Regulations

Bass season, in Minnesota, opens this weekend. It's a complete sham. People in other states  often wonder, out loud, in my direction, "What's wrong with Minnesota?" Plenty, when it comes to fishing regulations.

First, let's be clear: When it comes to states and the question: "What's wrong with...?" the subject is most often "Texas," according to Google. You can make out your own reasons for that.

But Minnesota does have some restrictive fishing regulations. For instance, walleye and pike seasons opened about 11 days ago. The difference between pike, walleye, and bass lures and tackle can be as minimal as you want to make them. In other words, those "in the know" have been bass fishing for almost two weeks. The other day, while fishing for bluegills, I watched no less than 5 anglers in other boats pitching spinnerbaits into wood cover in areas that haven't held a walleye in the 20 years I've been fishing there. The occasional big pike will haunt those laydowns, but none of these guys had steel leaders on. And the likelihood of catching a big, pre-spawn bass in that woody cover is probably 90% better than the odds of catching a worthwhile toothy critter.


My qualms aren't with the bass fishermen. More power to them. The problem stems from making people pretend and look over their shoulders for conservation officers who are powerless to stop them, anyway. Any legal challenge would get the case thrown out of court because nobody can prove that spinnerbait wasn't meant for a pike, or that the suspending bait that catches a smallmouth before the season opens wasn't meant for the walleyes hanging out nearby. So it's a goofy reg in a state full of goofy bass regulations that make us put spinner blades on wire leaders, fish with only one rod at a time, and I wouldn't be surprised to get a ticket for standing on one foot while setting a hook.


Studies over time in Michigan and elsewhere show that catch-and-release fishing during pre-spawn and even during the spawn has no apparent effect on bass populations. Early catch-and-release seasons open much earlier in neighboring Wisconsin, and to our West, North and South Dakota have no closed seasons at all for bass. (I might suggest that they mimic Wisconsin, however, and institute catch-and-release seasons during the spawn, but they have far less pressure on bass than we do in Minnesota, and the pressure here is far less than in Southern states.)

I tend to be opposed to anything that limits habitat for fish (like pollution, mountain-top-removal mining, altering shorelines, removing weeds, etc.). But I'm also opposed to anything that limits participation. Within reason. If participation hurts fish populations, I'm against it — but the proof should be solid. We have no real proof at all that opening the bass season on Memorial Day weekend every year is protecting the fish any better than opening it to catch-and-release from the close of the season to Memorial Day.

Limiting participation in this way costs the fishing industry thousands if not millions in sales of lures, bait, and line every year without improving the resource a bit. But that's not the worst threat regulations create. Average, everyday families that just want to enjoy the outdoors are about to be hit with another threat to their recreational endeavors. Minnesota is set to double fines against anglers caught with a weed on their trailer, a plug left in their boat, or any water left in their livewell while the boat is being trailered on July 1, 2012. This is a regressive tax and unjust penalty against common folks — a claim I'll prove it in the next post.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance's Lucas Steward shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead what all of the fuss is about in the brand new Ghost trolling motor being brought to market by the Tulsa, Okla.-based fishing equipment manufacturer.

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

New Spinning Reel for Finesse Fishermen

As Pure Fishing's Andrew Upshaw explains, reel making giant Abu Garcia has done it again at ICAST 2019 with a new spinning reel geared towards finesse fishermen.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles


Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at catching Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right in front of them. Catfish

8 Best Catfish Rigs - When, Where and How to Use Them

In-Fisherman

Catfish are simple creatures that can be caught using the best catfish rigs. Catching them is...

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as girth measurements. Biology

Walleye Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 03, 2017

Several methods are available to estimate the weight of a fish. Some use length as well as...

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you can Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

See More Trending Articles

More Bass

Understand the importance of sinkers in this episode of Beyond the Bait Powered by Streamlight.

Choose the Right Weight for Bass Fishing

Game & Fish Digital Staff

Understand the importance of sinkers in this episode of Beyond the Bait Powered by Streamlight.

Dr. Todd A. Kuhn discusses spinnerbaits from top to bottom in this episode of Beyond the Bait Powered by Streamlight.

Master the Spinnerbait to Catch More Bass

Game & Fish Digital Staff

Dr. Todd A. Kuhn discusses spinnerbaits from top to bottom in this episode of Beyond the Bait...

Learn how selecting the right line is critical to catching bass in this episode of Beyond the Bait Powered by Streamlight.

Mono, Fluoro, Braid: Which Fishing Line is Best & When?

Game & Fish Digital Staff

Learn how selecting the right line is critical to catching bass in this episode of Beyond the...

They're easy to rig and they flat-out catch bass, says host Todd A. Kuhn in this episode of Beyond the Bait Powered by Streamlight.

Stay in the Bass Strike Zone with Texas & Carolina Rigs

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 25, 2020

They're easy to rig and they flat-out catch bass, says host Todd A. Kuhn in this episode of...

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now