Walleye and old wounds (5×8 – 1/29/13)


It’s impossible to separate walleye in Mille Lacs Lake from the long-simmering controversy on Ojibwe treaty rights.

State and tribal officials have agreed to slash the walleye quotas on the state’s largest lake. Sport anglers will be allocated 178,750 pounds while Ojibwe bands with treaty rights will get 72,250 pounds.

It’s worth pointing out that nobody has said the problem is people have taken too many fish out of the water. In fact, it specifically notes that both sport anglers and the tribal fisherpeople have taken less than their quota. It may well be, the officials said, that the larger fish have taken to eating the fry in greater numbers.

“That’s good news; if you’re a tribe member. Not such good news if you’re a business owner in the area,” said one commenter on the Pioneer Press site, reflecting the unwillingness to read the facts in the story before confirming a previously-held belief. “The casino will still flourish, and the band will have that many more fish to sell to the Red Lake tribe.”

The Star Tribune suggests the situation may have more to do with the restrictions on the size of walleye that could be taken from the lake. And it may have allowed the bass and pike population to become too large. The state is trying to manage nature and nature is proving more of a challenge.

“Complex?” a Strib commenter says. “They have been netting spawning fish for years. It isn’t rocket science. Change the netting season.”

But the Mille Lacs Messenger says one of the problems may be that the fish are biting in the winter more than they have been.

It’s not just the numbers that cast a pall over the prospects for the upcoming open water season. The winter bite has been pretty good, Jones said, which is often an indication of how the fishing will be in the summer.

If the bite is good, anglers may find that much of the “harvest” is actually hooking mortality.

If anglers catch and release a lot of fish, and 5 to 10 percent are estimated to die by hooking mortality, it could turn out that anglers keep far fewer than the allotted 178,000 pounds.

Jones said they are hoping to minimize that possibility.

The reasons for the good bite are unclear. It appears that tullibee numbers are down, but the data give mixed signals on the abundance of perch — growing walleyes’ favorite food.

All of this, of course, has opened a deep wound: The 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said previous treaties gave Native Americans the right to spear-fish and gill-net the lake. No matter the science involved, the discussion always seems to come back to that wound.


We have documented in these pages of late the tendency of public radio to allow humor to seep into various elements of our lives. Apparently, not everyone has gotten the religion yet.

For Carolyn Bucior, a Huffington Post blogger, has created the dastardly NPR game.

I sometimes wonder why we don’t listen to something more uplifting, say a reading of Sophie’s Choice.

When I cleaned out my car recently, I found a notebook with phrases dating back to 2011, when we started our NPR game.

“This time, though, someone showed up with a gun.” (June 22, 2011)

“Ideas about democracy never fully took hold.” (Aug. 21, 2011)

“And he threw it down the staircase.” (Sept. 31, 2011)

“Assault rifles which had their serial numbers removed to make them more difficult to locate.” (Oct. 25, 2011)

“Have you totally given up on that dream?” (Dec. 23, 2011)

“Homemade humus, apples and pretzels…”

Homemade humus, apples and pretzels? Hey, how did that get on the air?

So National Public Radio affiliates, I’m asking you — in this era of endless reports on ways people are hurting the planet and each other — to occasionally broadcast some temporary relief. Perhaps you could sneak in homemade humus, apples and pretzels.

If only there were a place in the Public Radio universe — say, oh I don’t know, a blog, for example — that regularly featured something more inspiring by the people who walk among us.

And if only people in the audience stepped forward to make sure those stories got told.


“How as a nine-year-old colored boy, wearing glasses, how was he going to become an astronaut?” Carl McNair recalls, looking back on the life of his brother, Ronald. His brother was one of the astronauts killed when the space shuttle Challenger exploded 27 years ago this week and Story Corps has just released Carl’s story.

The story is the underpinning of one of life’s great scientific mysteries. What is it — exactly — that leads some to rise above everything that’s against them and excel, when most others are carried by the current?

More space: The space station captures beautiful images of disaster. The flooding in Australia.


This ESPN feature on a former Minnesota Viking running back leads to an often-unasked question: Can you legitimately be concerned about what football is doing to the brains of its players while still regularly watching NFL football?


Super Bowl? Bah! Lake City and Lake Pepin were selected as the site of the World Ice Boating Championships. Competitors only had a few days’ notice. But, the Rochester Post Bulletin reported, people came as far away as Germany to participate.

Somebody offer me a ride, please.

Bonus I: Three ways to improve walkability without touching the street. (Streets.mn)

Bonus II: A Dinkytown lifer closes shop (Minnesota Daily)

Bonus III: Women’s advocates say pregnant women are increasingly the target for criminal charges and forced medical interventions, the BBC Magazine reports.

It focuses on laws in 38 states to protect foetal rights.


Estimates suggest that Minnesota misses out on $400 million each year by failing to collect sales taxes on purchases made online, through catalogues or by other means. State officials are considering whether and how to collect some of that money. Today’s Question: Would having to pay sales tax for online purchases change your shopping habits?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Last week Gov. Dayton unveiled his budget proposal. The Minnesota Senate leaders joined the Daily Circuit last week to respond. Today the House leaders will share their response to the budget proposal and update us on other matters pending in the Legislature.

Second hour: Television: the thinking person’s entertainment.

Third hour: Musician Peter Asher.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, speaking recently at the National Press Club about immigration and guns.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The violence in Egypt. Plus: Paul Krugman of the New York Times.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The Minnesota DNR has launched what agency officials say is the largest moose study ever conducted in the state. The DNR will put tracking collars on 100 moose to try and solve a mystery. They want to figure out why adult moose are dying prematurely. MPR’s Tom Robertson will have the story.

Haiti is plagued by poverty and natural disasters. But it was once known for Club Med and vacations. The Caribbean country wants to stoke its recovery by reclaiming its status as a magnet for international tourism. NPR reports.

  • The Trinidad and Tobago Guardian has high hopes for Haiti’s tourism sector


    Is that what’s called taking a long view?

  • BJ



    PS where is yesterdays talk with Mary? I missed it live.

  • Bob Collins

    I had to blow off The Current because I was too busy working on the Amy Koch timetable post.

  • David

    There a solution for Mille Lacs, but people would not like the prospect of not fishing for a few years. Red Lake was in much worse shape though, so maybe they wouldn’t have to totally stop fishing Mille Lacs.

    I recommend watching Return of the Red Lake Walleye, it is fascinating and the process was a triumph of conservation.

  • davidz

    Very early one morning (probably 4am, the first Morning Edition newscast of the day), as I’m barely awake, I heard Carl Kassel’s voice belt out: “Mr Rogers… is dead.”

    An hour later, the line was changed to something a little more sedate: “Beloved children’s TV host Fred Rogers has died” or something along those lines.

  • Bob Collins

    One of my newsriting heroes — Merv Block — used to have a great piece of advice: “Dead ’em in the lede.”

    He noted — correctly — that dead is a terrific word, especially when it ends a sentence. So “Mr. Rogers is dead,” is actually a pretty fair piece of writing.

    And also watering it down so as to minimize its effect is just so…so…. public radio.

  • Drae

    Re: #4. I am very concerned with what I see going on in all levels of sports these days, from doping to bad behavior to criminal activity. And I most certainly don’t think the NFL in particular is doing enough to protect their most valuable asset – their players. Without players, the NFL doesn’t have much of a product and yet I can’t count how many times this last season I watched players take nasty hits and all that happened was a 15 yard penalty. I think the NFL needs to start ejecting players for these hits as penalty yards and off-the-field fines are not stopping them. Perhaps sitting out the remainder of the game will get the message across – in addition to penalty yards and fines. And if a player continues to make rough tackles, then suspend him.

    Sports in general need to clean up their collective acts, but the NFL needs to show they are serious about the problem of head injuries – and now.

  • JB

    Re: #5. My Dad has a two-person Nite similar to this that I’d take you out on. Unfortunately it’s located 2.5 hours away. I hope someone can fulfill your request though, they are an absolute blast. Especially in stiff wind.

  • kennedy

    Re#4: “Can you legitimately be concerned about what football is doing to the brains of its players while still regularly watching NFL football?”

    Yes. I am concerned, and I do watch. I am also concerned about the environment, yet I still have a much larger carbon footprint than is sustainable. I rationalize that supporting/making efforts to improve is a justification.

  • vjacobsen

    Re: Bonus #3:

    Not shocked. As a maternity health care rights advocate, I get more and more depressed about the state of maternity care as each week passes, yet very few people will talk about it. This article is just a drop in the bucket, sadly.

  • davidz

    I don’t disagree that “Mr Rogers is dead” is a fabulous lead. Especially delivered in Carl’s voice, which to me is just as much THE voice of authority as Walter Cronkite’s.

    Especially notable was it being my first radio line of the day, waking up from sleep to hear. I could hardly believe it was delivered in that tone. Especially when an hour later it was changed. But others at work had heard the same 4am cast, so they could back me up that it was not a dream hallucination.