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Field reports: Muskies Inc. supports DNR on St. Louis River

A story in last week’s Outdoors pages included some anglers’ concerns about tougher muskie fishing on the St. Louis River. Some muskie anglers, including members of the Lake Superior chapter of Muskies Inc., are frustrated that the Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources have discontinued stocking muskies in the river for several years in an effort to gauge the success of natural reproduction.

But Keith Okeson, president of the Lake Superior Chapter of Muskies Inc., wrote to say that those anglers don’t accurately reflect the group’s official position.

“… the Lake Superior Chapter of Muskies Inc. board is in support of the DNR plan,” Okeson wrote in an email to the News Tribune. “Some of our members are dissatisfied with the fishing the past two years, but we had a 500-year flood (in 2012) that rearranged the river and habitat along with taking out most of the weeds.

“When the DNR does an assessment or population estimate, they physically handle the fish, sex them (determine gender) and get a length on them. The fish are in the river, maybe not in the numbers that they were in the past, but they are still present. (Read) a little history on stocking the river and it soon becomes apparent that more fish were put into the St. Louis River than any other body of water in the state of Minnesota. The goal of stocking is to create a self-

sustaining population of fish, and that is the research that the DNR is now conducting. Muskies Inc. supports research. Muskies Inc.’s policy is to work with the DNR, not to second-guess them.”