This year, at the recommendation of the law-enforcement personnel at the Department of Wildlife Resources, Northern Regional office, the channel adjacent to the Willard Bay south marina has opened to fishing. This is a total departure from the 30-plus years-old past practice of closing the channel to protect the walleye fishery during the spawn from unscrupulous people who illegally snag walleyes bunched up at the east end of the channel. I suspect that many of the people supporting the opening were not around to seen the horrendous excesses of snagging, which prompted the closure in the first place.
The opening of the channel was predicated on the claim by the DWR's law enforcement people that they could control illegal snagging. Nonsense! The walleye are bunched up 24/7, which is way beyond the capabilities of the law-enforcement folks to provide a meaningful deterrent. When the law-enforcement folks are there, people will behave themselves. As soon as they depart, the snagging will resume.
The decision of the biologist on this matter is troubling. What scientific data was used to support this action? What scientific data will be used to access the damage to the fishery? How much damage is acceptable before the closure is reinstated? Those questions and probably more, need to be answered.
As Governor Herbert is reputed to have said, regarding the gun-carrying measure considered by the Legislature, "If it aint' broke, don't fix it." This seems to be the case here. We're changing something that has worked well in the past.
I have written to the DWR folks at the Northern Regional office and have yet to receive the courtesy of an answer. I would hope that other concerned fishermen would join me in opposing this ill-conceived idea.
Roland H. Roe