Commercial, sport anglers spar over Lake Michigan trap net fishing
Written by Green Bay Press Gazette   
Wednesday, 22 September 2010 14:15

Representatives of a coalition of sport fishing and wildlife federation groups Monday night said they want to see commercial trap net fishing in part of Lake Michigan closed in the summer.

Don't stifle the business because sport fishermen aren't willing to educate themselves about where the traps are located and take appropriate precautions, Two Rivers' Mike Le Clair and Steve Kulpa responded.

State officials are holding information sessions in response to petitions seeking a change in when and where commercial trap net fishing will be allowed next year.

No compromise was reached at the three-hour-plus Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum at Lakeshore Technical College.

But with deep divisions between many of the commercial and sports fishers, none was expected in the wake of the June 25 death of Cleveland fisherman Charles Koenig. He died of a heart attack after his boat's downrigger cable became tangled in a commercial whitefish trap net buoy rope about three miles east of the Sheboygan Harbor.

"I think the DNR owes the inexperienced fishermen who buy these licenses all the safety they can," said Mike Rusch, legislative co-chairman for the Northeastern Wisconsin Great Lakes Sport Fishermen.

But Dennis Radloff, a charter captain and forum member from Green Bay, said fishermen have to take responsibility and be aware of lake conditions. "The accident was tragic, but I don't want to see a knee-jerk punitive action that would impede the commercial fishermen's ability to make a living," Radloff said.

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