Groups Vying for Share of Catch as Numbers of Lake Superior Trout Go Down

Rainbow_trout_fishThe Lake Superior Trout numbers are on the decline which is now being felt by all the groups that catch fish from this lake. There are as many as three different groups trying to get a share of the catch. The state and two tribes take 50% each of the harvest of the trout from Lake Superior as per the 10-year Lake Superior fishing agreement. The state half is further subdivided into commercial fishermen and sport anglers who want to catch trout for sport. The two tribes that are harvesting trout from Lake Superior are Red Cliff and Bad River.

With the numbers of Lake Superior Trout going down, the sport anglers are the ones that are suffering the most. Dave Sorenson, the president of the North Wisconsin Road and Gun Club says that the commercial fishermen are taking all the trout and the sport anglers are left with almost none. According to him, they were taking 14,000 fish on average and even that number has gone down recently. The commercial fishermen on the other hand say that they have to bear the losses when the numbers of trout go down in the lake.

Craig Hoopman, a commercial fisherman from Bayfield says that the state has tied trout fishing along with whitefish fishing which hampers commercial fishermen in catching whitefish. The reason for this is that the state limits the amount of gill nets used for catching whitefish when it reduces the number of tag for trout fishing. Even the tribal biologist for the Red Cliff tribe, Chad Abel expressed concerns about this policy of the government saying that discussion have been made on the issue of managing fishery without linking whitefish to lake trout harvest but they have not yet yielded any results.    


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