Published June 08, 2011, 12:00 AM

Problems with bass fishing on lakes

Several letters and articles about Senator Ingebrigtsen’s aquatic invasive species legislation have appeared recently in the Echo Press. The writers appear to be offended by the legislation and want to protect the image of bass fishing tournaments and participants.

By: Bud Nielsen, Alexandria, MN, Alexandria Echo Press

Several letters and articles about Senator Ingebrigtsen’s aquatic invasive species legislation have appeared recently in the Echo Press. The writers appear to be offended by the legislation and want to protect the image of bass fishing tournaments and participants. Peter Perovich of the Bass Federation claims there could be tremendous economic benefit to the area by allowing tournaments. Wow, maybe we should schedule tournaments on every lake every weekend. Maybe all our economic woes would disappear. I think these are false claims far outweighed by the cost to deal with problems to which bass chasers contribute. They roar around in shallow bays with their big boats and huge motors for several days of pre-tournament fishing, as well as the day(s) of the tournament. This stirs up sediment from the bottom the lake, which allows phosphorous and other contaminants that had been settled down, to re-enter the waters of the lake. These pollutants promote noxious weed growth and cause other problems throughout the lake.

After fishing, they use their huge motors to “power load” the heavy boats onto their trailers. The prop wash from this practice causes large holes at the lake end of the concrete of the landing and a build-up of sand, etc. on the lake side of this hole. This creates at least two problems. Someone putting a boat in to the lake could back up too far whereby the trailer could fall into this hole. Anyone backing their boat off the trailer without the motor very trimmed up could suffer lower motor damage by backing into this build-up.

Trevor Trousil’s letter [“Don’t single out tourney anglers,” May 25] claims to care about the resource, but the only thing he mentions is releasing caught fish. He mentions nothing about protecting the most valuable resource – the lake itself. Clarence Rasmussen’s letter [June 1] seems to denigrate lake associations. These are the very institutions that are doing the most to protect the lakes and have to deal with the problems caused by vagabond bass chasers who leave the problems behind.

As past president of our lake association and past vice-president of the Douglas County Lakes Association, I can say with certainty that no representative of a bass federation or tournament ever came forth to discuss potential problems and their prevention related to tournaments.

I think two things should be done before any more tournaments are held: There should be rules about traveling at a slow or trolling speed when moving about in the shallow bays. These rules should be monitored and enforced by disqualification for violators. Secondly, bass federations should work with the DNR to extend the concrete ramps into deeper water to mitigate problems caused by power-loading boats.

These are just two issues and I am sure there are more. Without addressing these and other issues, I am all for a lifetime boycott of our lakes by bass tournaments.

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