Make the change

Michael J. Baranowski

Dear editor:
The winners of the 2011 Rainy River Walleye Tournament, for the fourth time, were Jason and Oliver Gibbins, who said afterwards that the bite was really tough on both days of fishing.
In fact, the fishing was so bad the pair said, “We got bored walleye fishing and decided to do some bass fishing.”
They added they love bass fishing, which is very good on the river, and said “this river could support bass tournaments easily.”
This same subject was brought up last year that if it was a bass tournament, we would have won it hands down.
And during the International Falls bass tournament back in August, more bass were caught on the river than on Rainy Lake.
Gord Pyzer, the now retired head of the MNR in Kenora, changed the minds of the organizers who wanted a walleye tournament to that of bass because of the mortality involved.
Getting back to the RRWT, one team came in 40 minutes sooner because a fish was showing signs of stress. On the river, stress is not a factor in comparison to lake water, which only shows that walleye are vulnerable to the pounding they get in the livewell.
Fort Frances had only one walleye tournament because of the mortality rate. The same mortality rate was seen at the Baudette, Mn. tournament—and it could very well be their last. After the tournament was over, my friend and I left Rainy River en route to Lake of the Woods and on the way counted 11 places where sea gulls were feeding on dead walleye.
To put this into perspective, walleye are more vulnerable than bass. And in comparison to the fight of these two species, a two-pound bass will out-perform a five-pound walleye.
How long is it going to take tournament organizers of both Emo and Rainy River to make the change from walleye to bass?
With the commercial fishing for walleyes and not bass, is it not more practical to keep the tournaments to bass instead of walleye?
Michael J. Baranowski
Nestor Falls, Ont.