UP Sport Fisherman discuss fish plants, habitat in meeting

Walleye plants and brook trout habitat were discussed at the bi-monthly meeting of the Upper Peninsula Sport Fisherman’s Association.

The meeting at the Ontonagon VFW went over the UPSFA’s efforts in getting a walleye fingerling plant on the Ontonagon River and at Victoria Dam. The group hopes to get support for the fingerling fish plant from the Michigan DNR.

They also talked about working with the Fishing Division in the Ottawa National Forest and with Upper Peninsula Power Company in ongoing improvements of brook trout habitat in the Trout Creek area.

“One of the main objectives of our members, all of which are volunteers, is improving the sport and fish habitat,” said UPSFA president Dale Rantala. “Since our beginning as the UPSFA, we have had a working relationship with both government and private people.”

Recently, the UPSFA coordinated a special meeting with 110th State Representative Greg Markkanen and other fishing groups. That meeting dealt with proposed commercial fishing legislation that is working its way through the Michigan State House.

“It was really good to see so many people from the Copper Country Walleye Association at that commercial fishing meeting in Mass (City),” said Don Rowley.

While the discussion at the UPSFA meeting talked about Native American treaties dating back to the 1800’s, Tom Strong and others stated how the group has had a good working relationship with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

One of the other objectives of the UPSFA is to get more people into fishing. This past summer the UPSFA was a major sponsor of the Lake Trout Classic. A fishing tournament that raised over $5,000 for the Ontonagon Cancer Association. The OCA helps people and families that are fighting cancer.

The group also held their annual Kids Fishing Day at the Rockland Pond. The pond that has been designated a kids’ fishing pond, under the management of the Michigan DNR, and Rockland Township. The UPSFA works closely with veterans groups, such as the Ontonagon VFW and the Rockland American Legion. The Rockland Kids Fishing Tourney receives the support of the Rockland American Legion.

The group also held their first Powder Puff Fishing Tournament.

“That tournament was to get more women into fishing,” said Larry Grieg, UPSFA events coordinator.

Grieg asked and received a $150 donation from the UPSFA for this winter’s ice fishing tournament. That tournament takes place on inland lakes around Ontonagon, Houghton and Baraga counties.

“To work on fish plants, fish habitat improvements, and to support fishing events for everyone in the family…we need to increase our membership,” Rantala said. “In November we are going to start our membership drive.”

Membership in the UPSFA is $10 for an Individual, $15 for a family. To join the UPSFA contact secretary Pam Karttunen at 884-4016.

The dates for the UPSFA meetings in 2020 are Feb. 5, April 1, June 3, Aug. 5 and Oct. 7.