MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL — A conservation project of the Minnesota Junior Bassmasters program is helping promote awareness of new smallmouth regulations on the Mississippi River.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources instituted an experimental smallmouth regulation on the river from the cities of Clearwater to Elk River in 1990 to protect brood stock in this section of the river. In 2009, the regulation was expanded from the mouths of all streams and rivers flowing into the Mississippi to the first barrier along those same waters. Because it saw significant improvement in the fishery created by the experimental regulation, the DNR changed the regulation to a permanent law.
Last May, members of the Junior Granite City Bassmasters and Bassinators junior club spent a couple of days assisting the DNR in promoting public awareness of the new regulation by posting 56 signs at boat ramps, fishing piers, parks and walking paths along the 50-mile stretch of river affected by the new rule. The DNR provided the signs, which were placed on DNR kiosks or attached to sign posts furnished by the Minnesota BASS Federation Nation.
"The kids had to pound in sign posts and there was a lot of ratchet and cordless drill work," said Paul Perovich, youth director for the Minnesota BASS Federation Nation.
Jake Gilmer, 12, took pride in his involvement in the project. "I like participating in these projects," said the Bassinators club member. "They are good for the future and for all of us. It felt good to help out our river like that."
Perovich said the signage is creating some positive results lately. "As I have gone across the state, I have had comments from people who have seen the signs," he said. "Minnesota Junior Bassmasters will continue to support the DNR's effort to promote awareness of the special regulation."
The junior anglers plan on posting additional signs for the DNR, if needed, and will maintain the current signs that they posted last year.