I attended my first DOW roundtable meeting and so I thought I'd share my impressions. I went to learn about the process of how regulations are changed and I spent most of the time listening, so what I write below is just what I heard and I am not saying I agree or disagree -- so please no flames! afishman and I were the only coloradofisherman.com people that showed up. I hope afishman will add his own impressions as well.
- There was food (appetizers) there! I did not know this, or I would have not eaten beforehand and snarfed up a free dinner.
- There were some very well known fisherman in the room, including Joe Butler who has held world records in fishing as well as several representatives from the Colorado Walleye Association, three other DOW representatives and others. It appeared that many of the attendees were regulars at these meetings since the DOW folks new them by name.
- The changes proposed and discussed at this meeting have been ongoing for about a year. Robin Knox, a DOW Program Manager (and the guy who signs Master Angler awards, btw ) reported that there have been 20-25 roundtable discussions across the state during the past year. The recommendations were presented in March and a draft of the new regulations was written in July. Overall changes to the fishing regulations brochure are only discussed every five years while discussions of specific changes to particular bodies of water happen during the winter. He reported that anyone who has issues with these new proposed regulations should send email to [email protected] by the morning of September 6th since they will be discussed on September 8th in Lamar.
- Each of the major changes in the announcement of the roundtable were introduced and then everyone was given an opportunity to comment. I thought the open discussion sometimes got a little too far off topic (folks wanted to bring up their pet peeves instead), but two of the other DOW representatives were very articulate in their description of the rationale behind the decisions and it was useful to hear their explanation.
- A fair amount of time was spent on the topic of scented baits (Gulp, Exude, Food Source, etc.), the discussion centered around how difficult enforcement might be, the fact that people who don't still fish these baits have fewer swallows and that longer versions such as 4" scented tube jigs rarely have created mortality problems.
- On the topic of the increased Lake Trout limits at Granby, the DOW stated that a crash in Kokanee and Lake Trout population at Granby was predicted 15 years ago and is happening today. By increasing the Kokanee population, ultimately the Lake Trout population will increase as well and it was necessary to adjust this delicate balance by increasing the take on Lake Trout. They said their data indicates that Lake Trout in Granby are only growing at the rate of 1"/year, while at other lakes such as Blue Mesa the growth rate is around 3"/year. They debunked Charlie Meyers' article as sensational journalism, said it was inaccurate and mentioned that he wrote a previous article on Kokanee population that opposed much of what he recently wrote (anyone have a link for this one?).
- Other issues were discussed, but I don't have very good notes on them. Maybe afishman can list some of those.
- The last item mentioned had to do with an increase in the DOW's budget on the order of $2 Million due to fee increases and monies from the Sport Fish Restoration Fund. They said the time is now for anglers to voice their opinion on where these new funds should be spent. Attendees mentioned more should be spent on education, recruitment and enforcement.