Deer Hunting and Fishing Tips

 
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More info on VHS Rules

VHS focus primarily on live bait fish used in the waters between the U.S. and Canada. Bait deemed free of VHS is sold as certified, and bait whose status is questionable gets labeled uncertified.


Officials with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources could not be reached for comment.

But Dennis Shaw, who runs the Bass Haven fishing store in Wallaceburg, Ontario, said he belives the furor over Canadian enforcement is based less on reality than perception.

“I’ve only been able to find one person who was ticketed in the last year,” he said, “I think the situation has been blown out of proportion on the Internet message and forum boards.”

Either way, the situation is hurting Shaw’s friend, Dan Chimelak, co-owner of Lakeside Fishing Shop in St. Clair Shores.

“During this perch season, our sales for bait have been down 70 percent because guys are going over to Canada to purchase minnows,” Chimelak said.

At least on person feels the rules themselves are pointless for areas like St. Clair since the fish don’t stay in one place.

“The fish move all over Lake St. Clair,” said Doug Martz, the St. Clair Channelkeeper. “So to me, it’s a moot point.”

For all of the frustration they may be causing, rules regulating the use of bait fish have helped slow the spread of VHS more effectively than Michigan DNR officials expected, “We have gone back to places like Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River – places where the virus was found before – and resampled fish there and not found it,” said Gary Whelan, a fish production manager with DNR.

In Lake Michigan, the western side is considered a VHS-positive zone, while the eastern side is not.