LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let’s have bass anglers leave Bemidji with good memories
A few questions were brought up in an Aug. 9 letter to this paper. Let me answer them the best I can.
1. Lake Bemidji, and its connecting waters, typically only host a few local bass club chapter outings. They don't regularly host any large scale bass tournaments.
2.The DNR issues permits for these tournaments upon approval; including all of the local walleye derbies held on Lakes Bemidji and Irving.
3. The water quality effect of 90 bass boats for six days will be minimal. A vast majority of these boats are set up with new motors with higher pollution/efficiency regulations than most of the motors you see go past your dock. The boats are designed for shallow water, and will be forced to respect the no-wake zones.
4. I was made aware that the boats fishing went through a DNR decontamination station and a thorough inspection on Sunday.
5. Bass mortality in tournaments is pretty low. They survive very well in livewells, much better than the walleyes. A study I found with the highest delayed mortality rate was 27 percent. This isn't good, and I'll admit that. There wasn't a study available that I could find for Minnesota tournaments, though. I was happy to hear that Bassmaster is providing release boats that will be releasing the fish back near the waters they were caught from.
6. I don't know much at all about the Bassmaster larger message, aside from they are promoting angling, getting kids outdoors and providing an awesome competition for college anglers. Aside from maybe making a few bucks and employing a handful of people, I am unaware of any hidden agendas.
Mr. Weaver, I respectfully disagree with your letter. I believe events like this are great for the community, bring extra income in for local businesses, and the exposure the area will get is far worth it. I've heard that the television airing could be viewed by as many as 5 million people on ESPNU. These are young people who love fishing, who are promoting the sport of angling, and I think Bemidji is blessed to have them here for a week. Let's have them leave here having felt welcome and with good memories, so that someday they might return with their families to vacation and enjoy all that Bemidji has to offer. I'm going to make my own sign, "Bassmaster College Anglers Welcome to Bemidji."