Dear Outdoor Editor,

I would like to give an update to all the people who signed our latest petition to eliminate the 2007 brook trout regulations that took away the rights of the bait fishermen in the Savage River watershed. First I would like this opportunity to thank them all for their support.

I got an e-mail from Don Cosden, assistant fisheries director giving a summary from the May 9 Brook Trout Open House. He said the petition we submitted has been entered into record of official public comments, and will be discussed and taken into consideration.

Cosden did randomly send letters to some of the petitioners, stating that the loss of brook trout in certain areas and declines in abundance and average size of the trout became evident after looking at DNR's data and surveys from the Appalachian Lab, spanning from 30 years. He said they believe this was reasonable evidence that fishing was having an impact on the brook trout. Nothing was said about bait fishing hook mortality.

There were quotes from the Fisheries/Maryland Biological Stream Survey showing sizes of brook trout, and nothing on hooking mortality. What they have yet to show are the surveys, supposedly done on Savage River, showing the bait fisherman was more detrimental to brook trout than the fly fisherman.

If the Appalachian Lab and Fisheries/MBSS were so convinced that fishing was causing the declines in abundance and average size of the brook trout, why not stop all fishing instead of singling out a group, the bait fisherman? Why not adhere to the DNR Guide Lines for Conservation and Management which are, 1. fair and equitable to all, 2. reasonably calculated to promote conservation, 3. prevent overfishing, 4. based on best available info., 5. may not discriminate unfairly among groups, 6. carried out so that no one group acquires an excessive share of privileges.

I ask, "Where was DNR's MBSS and the Appalachian Lab's standing on the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture's scientifically based listing the major threats to native brook trout, 1.acid deposition, 2. excessive erosion, 3. flood response, 4. instream flows altered by man, 5. stream fragmentation, 6. non-native species, 7. urbanization and storm runoff, 8. poor land management/agriculture which ranks the highest impact to brook trout in the Eastern Range?"

If this is not clearly discrimination against the bait fisherman well, the Pope isn't Catholic either.

We have been discriminated against and, we will continue to fight for our right to baitfish in the Savage River watershed!

Maude LeMaster

Savage River

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