At the Salmon Unlimited meeting on Tuesday, lakefront walleye were discussed. Kevin Massard sent the extended letter pasted below, of which the key sentence is ``If the IDNR wants to put more Walleye in the Chicago area I think our members would be fine with it and support it.''
The discussion was ignited by a question in Sunday's Mailbag in the Feb. 9, 2009 Sun-Times outdoors.
SU would be a powerful force to get behind walleye stocking. It's an idea I think would ignite fishing interest on the Chicago lakefront.
Like the buzz caused by the 7-5.5 walleye Mike Osuch caught off Northerly Island in September, 2008.
First is the Mailbag question and my response, then the long and interesting letter from Massard.
Q: ``Just want to get your idea about stocking walleyes on the Chicago lakefront? I've heard that Salmon Unlimited is the #1 opponent. Is it because of forage issues or possibly SU is concerned about losing some grant money?'' Active fisherman
A: In my ideal world, we simply wait until walleye reestablished by themselves. But that may take a decade or two. Practically, I would like to see a focused stocking of somewhere like Navy Pier/Chicago River/Northerly Island area for a few years as a test. SU members are certainly a player in the discussion, especially in the sense of backing the IDNR biologists who suggest that stocking walleye would be too much for an already stressed and shrinking forage base. But my sense is more individual SU members are becoming more open to trying walleye stocking.
That caused the discussion at the SU meeting. Here's Massard's letter.
``Dale, during the February Salmon Unlimited meeting one of our members talked about your Mailbag. See February 8 2009.
``Some of the members expressed concern on how the club was perceived by Active fisherman. I am not sure how someone came up with the ideal that Salmon Unlimited is the Number one opponent for stocking Walleyes on the Chicago lakefront. I also do not understand why someone would suggest we would lose grant money if we oppose stocking walleyes. We do not always agree with IDNR.
``To make things clear i asked at the meeting if anyone is in opposition to stocking walleyes in the lake. Of all the members at the meeting not one raised a hand. I think your response was a good one.
``Years ago the IDNR spoke at one of our meetings and told our members that the fishery could not sustain walleye. Our members supported the IDNR suggestions. As a club Salmon Unlimited is dedicated to protect, promote and teach others about the fishery on Lake Michigan.
``We bought with our membership money raised with our membership money and released with our membership money the first Salmons planted in Illinois waters of Lake Michigan. We helped get the hatchery to raise salmon for the state. That same hatchery is used for the Muskies down state. Our members fin clip Chinook and trout that are planted in the lake. We also pushed for the salmon stamp to help pay for the salmon planted in the lake and that stamp money pays for salmon planted in Illinois. The fishery is sustained by those that use it.
``We are also working on fish pens for the salmon planted in the lake. The pens should reduce predation by protecting the young salmon planted by the DNR in the middle of the day.
``I just received word that the DNR put some fish in Diversey today. One of the charter captains called and said there was a lot of birds flying around and went down to the harbor to see the DNR planting fish and thought it was horrible to see all those fish taken by the birds. For the most part SU has and will continue to work to support the salmon fishery.
``The members are sportsmen and women who enjoy fishing on the big pond. Our members also enjoy muskie fishing ,small mouth, large mouth, blue gill ,walleye, crappie, pike and perch fishing on Lake Michigan and beyond.
``If the IDNR wants to put more Walleye in the Chicago area i think our members would be fine with it and support it. Salmon Unlimited does not decide what fish are put in the lake or where they are put into the lake. The IDNR does that.
``You know there is going to be a meeting on the Lake Michigan fishery February 25Th. I know a lot of SU members will be there to listen to what the DNR has to say about the fishery. I hope Active fisherman will show up and address his concerns about Walleye in Chicago some of our members would most likely support him.
``While i have you i wanted to mention that our meetings are the second Tuesday of each month. They start around 7pm and are held at 400 E. Devon in Elk Groove Village. Could you add that to your fish meetings section.
(question on a separate subject cut by me for future use)
``I will be at that Meeting on February 25Th. if anyone else is concerned i hope they will be there alsoKevin Massard''