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Took a buddy and my son out of Muskegon on Saturday AM. Started West in 80fow - water was 68 50-60 down and no fish, few marks...pushed out to 100+ on a N/NW troll out to 130fow. Didn't hit good water (48-55degrees 65 down) until we got in 110 and we were NW of the mouth. Started marking a few fish but it was already 9am... went 1 for 1 on a rigger 70 down, 11# king... crabface spoon. Had to call it quits around 930. 

Now to the beef... 

Took a 150 heading back to the mouth of the fingers and ran across at least 8 and perhaps 10 sets of nets within a few hundred feed of the route bearing (320 bearing if you are heading from the mouth towards the nets). Red flags, black flags, orange flags and even a set of balloons on one set. The deepest net we saw was around 103fow.

Here were a few coordinates I popped on my way back... didn't mark them all but a 320 NW heading would run you into almost all of the ones we saw Saturday. 

N43 15.908' W086 24.871' - 76fow
N43 15.111' W086 23.728' - 66fow

Sorry for the late post, just didn't have time to share and good wi-fi.

Hope this saves someone some gear! Last year I came within 10yards of running into a net .... popped the boat out of gear...slammed into reverse and reeled like hell to get all the gear up and out of the way. I was fortunate! 

I can handle a set of nets or two, but seriously, 8+ sets out in this area!?! Then to mark one set with frickin' balloons! o_O:mad:

Good luck out there!

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I'm on your side Pushing limits.

The amount of nets between Muskegon and White Hall, and even North of there, is crazy.

I've been trying to get the DNR to respond with no response back.

I've talked to charter captians on 

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White Lake and they said that it's almost impossible to keep track of them.

Not sure what to this matter and I know that many fisherman who fish the big lake would agree that something needs to be done.

They need to get the GPS coordinates on line, at least some kind of a approximate area, maybe we should get a poll going, or a meeting.

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I'd agree on this,... if Commercial guys are using the netted public fish for profit, then they should have to publish GPS coordinates of their nets.  They are netting a resource that everyone else has to catch with hook and line.  I'm generally not one to add regulations and I in general, the goverment tends to do it with regs, but I don't see the problem with requiring them to publish coordinates.  I'd even be okay if they get an area to net so at least the recreational fisherman know where they are.  Just driving out, dropping a net and throwing a couple of balloons on the ends that sit at water level isn't winning anyone over!

I drove over from the Lansing area and unless I am out there everyday, I wouldn't know where the nets are.  Luckily, living in Muskegon for many years, I've come to expect the nets in this area.  Plus a little shared public knowledge on here and on Michigan Sportsman, helped me avoid the area.  

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Took a buddy and my son out of Muskegon on Saturday AM. Started West in 80fow - water was 68 50-60 down and no fish, few marks...pushed out to 100+ on a N/NW troll out to 130fow. Didn't hit good water (48-55degrees 65 down) until we got in 110 and we were NW of the mouth. Started marking a few fish but it was already 9am... went 1 for 1 on a rigger 70 down, 11# king... crabface spoon. Had to call it quits around 930. 

Now to the beef... 

Took a 150 heading back to the mouth of the fingers and ran across at least 8 and perhaps 10 sets of nets within a few hundred feed of the route bearing (320 bearing if you are heading from the mouth towards the nets). Red flags, black flags, orange flags and even a set of balloons on one set. The deepest net we saw was around 103fow.

Here were a few coordinates I popped on my way back... didn't mark them all but a 320 NW heading would run you into almost all of the ones we saw Saturday. 

N43 15.908' W086 24.871' - 76fow
N43 15.111' W086 23.728' - 66fow

Sorry for the late post, just didn't have time to share and good wi-fi.

Hope this saves someone some gear! Last year I came within 10yards of running into a net .... popped the boat out of gear...slammed into reverse and reeled like hell to get all the gear up and out of the way. I was fortunate! 

I can handle a set of nets or two, but seriously, 8+ sets out in this area!?! Then to mark one set with frickin' balloons! clear.png&key=b1bdaae34297a729344919f16cf9073477d281cb754a3f40266319aaac242b86clear.png&key=b1bdaae34297a729344919f16cf9073477d281cb754a3f40266319aaac242b86

Good luck out there!

Thanks for the report. I lost some stuff a couple weeks ago. The nets are getting almost impossible to keep track of. You navigate around one just to spot another. And the markers are not nearly big enough. You spend more time with the binoculars looking for the markers than fishing. And as was in my case by the time we saw them it was too late. Something has to change. Either mark them better or move them to a less popular area. Thanks again for the report.


Sent from my iPhone using Great Lakes Fisherman Mobile App
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I brought GPS/markers/lights up with the DNR a year or two ago.  Here is the response: 

Mr. Bays,

Thanks for your email.  The department receives one or two requests to post the locations of commercial trap nets on our website each year due to safety concerns. 

Most Great Lake jurisdictions employ some form of commercial netting on the lakes and I am not aware of any (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Ontario, etc.) that is currently requiring the mandatory posting of their commercial fisheries net coordinates online.  I am sure that each jurisdiction has their reasons for not requiring or posting this data, but the common rationale most likely includes a combination that such a requirement would be unpopular with the commercial industry and liability concerns with posting inaccurate or outdated coordinates. 

Many commercial fishers strongly believe that broadcasting their net locations to the general public over the internet will lead to increased vandalism on their nets and buoys.  Vandalism is a real concern for the industry and when acts of vandalism do occur, the fishers are not compensated for those losses.  As a result fishery representatives are against increasing public access to their nets.  Additionally, the state is resistant to unnecessary regulatory action that could be implicated in loses due to vandalism. 

Another reason often cited by the state-licensed commercial fishers in their opposition is parity with Michigan’s Tribal Commercial Fishery.  The tribal fishery in Michigan is 3-4 times larger than the state-licensed fishery and net locations/online postings are not required of their fishery.  Current tribal commercial fishing regulations will remain in place until 2020 but will be negotiated in the coming years.  I have no doubt that requiring and posting net locations will be a topic discussed between the parties.  In the meantime, the state-licensed fishery believes very strongly that regulation above and beyond that of the tribes, places them at a competitive disadvantage with their direct competition.  This position has been successfully argued politically in the last decade against the DNR requiring and posting their net coordinates online

One last issue is that trap nets are moved throughout the season and there are some liability concerns with the state posting an area free of nets and that in turn not being the case.  The error might occur due to delay in updating locations or simply from having the wrong coordinates.  I think that all jurisdictions regulating commercial fishing have grappled with this issue of liability.

While the DNR recognizes the concerns expressed in your email and agrees that technology is easing the obstacles to posting net locations online it is a more complicated issue than simply unilaterally implementing a regulatory requirement on the state-licensed commercial fishery.  There is no avoiding that such a requirement would be unpopular with the commercial fishery for reasons states above.  Currently, the DNR is successfully working with several fishers around the state to voluntarily receive and post net coordinates but so far has been unable to secure universal buy in throughout the fishery or at Muskegon specifically.

None of this precludes, charter boat associations or fishing clubs from gathering net location data on their own and posting those net locations to localized websites.  This type of collaboration by recreational fishers/boaters is encouraged and is currently employed at certain Lake Michigan ports.

Commercial net markings have been reviewed several times over the years and last updated in 2005.  At the time, additional buoys, staffs, and flags were added to the marking requirements for deep water trap nets.  The number of buoys/floats was increased to three and the number of 5-1/2 foot tall staff buoys increased to two (Figure 1).   Additional markings beyond these are required for any trap net set with less than 15ft of clearance above the top of the net.  Surface lines are required to be weighted in a manner that causes extra line to be submerged vertically below the buoys.  In 2005, a requirement was also added for radar reflectors on all trap nets capable of detection from any direction.  If you suspect that any commercial fishing net is improperly marked, please contact the Report All Poaching hotline (800-292-7800) and our officers will investigate.   

 

trapnets.jpg.f43780e918a081296db22ada5e81d50c.jpg

Figure 1. State-Licensed Deep Trap Net Markings (NOTE: Tribal nets are marked a little differently).

I know much of what I have provided in this email is not what you were looking to hear, but I hope that it did provide some additional information concerning the mandatory posting net locations online as well as markings on state-licensed trap nets.  Thanks again for your email.

 

Tom Goniea, Biologist

DNR, Fisheries Division

517-284-5825

[email protected]

 

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That's BS.  If you want to exploit a shared resource, then be a good neighbor.  How much of the vandalism is really people getting pissed after they run into the nets and have to hack their way out of them.  Sooner or later someone's going to swamp and die from a poorly marked net, and I hope the lawsuit sets a precedent.

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