What bothers me about the use or misue of LaSalle Lake is that it indicates far greater problems, an utter misunderstanding of what role LaSalle should have in the outdoors of northern Illinois. And it reflects very poorly on current IDNR director Marc Miller, as a friend outlined well below:
One reason is that Chicago-area fishermen can go themselves and even take kids like Austin Green, a Berwyn kid who caught his biggest fish on opening day last year, fishing in March when there aren't many other viable options.
Here's the extended note from a LaSalle fisherman. He did not want his name used, but was willing to talk with Miller:
Was disappointed to hear the DNR was thinking about taking away LaSalle [until April 1]. Glad to hear that they're at least going to open on [March] 17th. Still that's 2 days less than it used to be. Add to that lasts year's dumb decision to close at 4 and you still have a situation that is worse than before Miller got in office. Since he came in as someone who was suppose to "get it" about the outdoors, its becoming more and more clear that he clearly doesn't get it as it pertains to one of the best, most used fishing destinations in northeast Illinois. And what could it be saving? No Mondays and Tuesdays in March. Now 2 days more out. A few hours at the end of each fishing day. This can't add up to more than a couple thousand dollars in salary. How many millions is the DNR budget? For the quality of fishing that place provides early in the season that makes absolutely no sense. I would bet he's listening more to the workers who probably don't like the fact that at that time that job of getting guys in and out is a pretty tough job with no real breaks all day long. Compare that to what that job is in July when all the worker has to do is open the gate, drop the launch chain, and go do other less intense things. Miller probably made some friends of those workers who can now shag guys out at 4 in March.
If Miller really did "get it" he'd find the money to open LaSalle every day in March from sun up till sunset and know that was money well spent. Then he could consider trying to recoup that money by having some days closed in July and August when it would probably would be better for the fish to be left alone a little more because of the water temperature. But then that would amke sense. Not something the DNR and their new leader are known for.
The goal with LaSalle absolutely should be not only being open in all of March, but for shore fishing throughout the winter. It is doable. And there needs to be a concessionaire.
The decision to close early at 4 p.m. in March last year was just a brain-dead misunderstanding of when LaSalle is vitally important.
While I am glad the decision was made to open on schedule on March 17, to even consider the possibility of not opening until April 1 this year was just as brain dead in not understanding the place of LaSalle.