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Relationship with the Fisheries Department of the Department of Natural Resources

DNR The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the legal steward of the public fishery in the state. It is a department of the government organized as part of the executive branch. The director is a political appointment and is responsible for the agency's performance. There is a strong desire for the department to please the public.

Fisheries Division The DNR has a Fisheries Divison, and it determines the fisheries plan for the state including which lakes get stocked with what fish species. Once these fundamental decisions have been made, they then allocate the resources to accomplish an annual stocking plan. Input from the public is considered when making this plan but the plan itself is still made by planners in the DNR Fisheries Department. They are the ones who have knowledge of resources that can be applied along with their limitations and constraints. The fish we raise for them is a part of their plan. They determine where they go. They can put the fish we raise anywhere they choose.

Fish Stocking Theoretically the DNR could choose to neglect the very local fishery that we would like to have developed. This would fly-in-the-face of our financial supporters who were led to believe that the reason we raised these fish to begin with was to plant them in Mason County lakes. While not receiving any Walleye is a possibility, it has never happened. In fact, there have been years when we had a failure in our rearing pond and the DNR brought in Walleye from one of their rearing ponds to meet the plan for Hamlin Lake.

  The relationship we have with the DNR is a very good one. It would not be in the interest of the DNR to do something that would anger a group of volunteers whose efforts help them succeed in meeting their plan. It is also in the interest of the Mason County Walleye Association to maintain our very good relationship with the DNR -- and we do.

  Our rearing pond produces roughly three times the walleye-stocking-needs for Mason County. After the DNR collect all the walleye, they decide where they are to be planted. They always have a need for more fish than are raised. The fact that we raise them from fry to fingerlings, at no cost to them, is very well appreciated by the DNR. Remember, Hamlin Lake is on their stocking plan, but it is not a requirement of ours that they plant any walleye there.

“Making Mason County A Fisherman’s Paradise”