July 13, 2008

Not Satisfied With DNR’s Response About Trout

By Cumberland Times News, Md.

Jul. 13--Hi Mike,

This is in reference to the March 23 article "Wants trout answers."

That was another appeal to Gov. O'Malley and or DNR Fisheries Division to address ongoing concerns. We questioned whether or not the 2006 Brook Trout Management Plan was made into a regulation using the proper regulatory processes. We the bait fisherman feel our rights and heritage have been infringed upon by this regulation taking away over 100 miles of bait fishing in the Savage River watershed.

I did finally receive a written response, requested by Gov. O'Malley on his behalf, from Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin. I thank the Governor for finally authorizing an answer to all my letters, e-mails and personal inquiries and data submitted to him.

In three short paragraphs Mr. Griffin was able to completely dance around the issue here, "Was the proper regulatory process used in implementing this 2006 Brook Trout Management Plan?"

We had questioned the May 15, 2006 minutes from the Sport Fish Advisory Commission meeting that said they had not been part of the decision making process concerning the BTMP proposal, which is part of the regulatory process. Don Cosden, chief of operations for Inland Fisheries said that he would take this criticism seriously and will try not to overlook the Sport Fish Advisory Commission on future projects. We questioned and asked for documented data, which supposedly showed that bait fisherman contributed more to the mortality rate of the native brookie than a fly fisherman (as quoted by Fishery Biologist Alan Heft at a public meeting}

Mr. Griffin's answer was very short and simple. "In the case of the 2006 BTMP Proposal and the regulatory process, our biologists have taken a careful look at the best available data and determined that indications of a declining trend are strong enough to warrant action."

It's going to take more than fancy letterhead and sugar-coated fast talk to satisfy us. We would like some straight direct answers to some very important issues that were part of decision to changes and restrictions on over 100 miles of Savage River and tributaries. The changes are again...1. zero harvest for brook trout, 2. fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures, 3. no stocking in any brook trout management waters.

Maude LeMaster



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