Look before you leap when it comes to fishing and hunting regulations. Not all changes are bad these days and wildlife agencies in our state seem to be leading the pack!
If you havenít looked at the 2015-2016 fishing guide, you may want to. This goes mostly for ice fishermen, but will show how important it is to read these guides cover to cover yearly. There may be changes in them that will make you smile, or could shrink your wallet. The good thing is, as long as you know what is legal, you can enjoy yourself care free.
In the case of hunting and fishing regulations, ignorance is definitely not an excuse. We are given or have access to a guide at the counter when purchasing your license or online for lifetime members. There is a trend of change in our state and itís almost all good! We have seen youth seasons created, lengthened seasons, increased and decreased bag limits based on sound research and species, new weapon implementation, along with added rod numbers and ice fishing options. This is all made possible by an agency that is listening to the people involved. We so commonly jump on law makers in big cities but thatís just where all the legislation takes place. In our case, I believe we really have a voice as sportsmen. Itís common for hunting or fishing based groups to use information from other statesí successful programs, to show beneficial or economical gains that could be achieved in ours. Youth hunting, for instance, was common in many other states and was only recently adopted by ours. This was partly because of rallying by hunting groups that wanted younger hunting ages for the purpose of creating lifelong hunters and the state itself by recognizing the educational and economic benefits of such a season. We are working together to reach common goals and itís exciting to see the changes in the right direction.
With changes come questions, so Iím going to do the best I can to report the changes, but still have a question myself. What I do know is that you are allowed seven ice fishing lines in the water. The book defines an ice fishing line as ďany device used for fishing through the ice, including but not limited to hand line, tip-up or tip down, etc.Ē You are still only allowed up to five lures per line, with no more than 15 hook points, but his means you can use any combination of manned or unmanned fishing setups. As in the past, you must be present while lines are in the water. One question I was unable to answer was whether you still needed to include your name and address on all of them, the unmanned ones or none at all. For now, just to be safe, I recommend all unmanned devices be marked with your name and address as was the law in the past. I will get this info out as soon as I have a definitive answer.
Now to the good part! How does this play in the ice fishermanís favor? This past weekend would have been one of those times that you would want to leave the shelter as little as possible. In this case, a couple jigging rods and a few tip-ups or downs in your shelter would be your best bet. Increasing the amount of lines in the water on a cold day is your best bet, as moving will not be an option. On warmer days, when you want to test fish an area, spreading out tip-ups can put you on the school fast and being able to use seven of them will speed things up even more. When the bite is slow and itís warm out, a combination of rods and unmanned devices tends to work great. On super slow days, the fish want the lure to be jigged as little as possible. This is when all unmanned setups or a dead stick and unmanned combo works best. Whatever method you choose, our state has made it easier for ice anglers to enjoy themselves doing it. Hereís a big thumbs up to our state from ice fishermen all across it!
Good wishes and get out on the ice and mix it up a bit.