December 18, 2014

Gov. Snyder signs sucker season bill into law Dec. 27

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LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill into law Dec. 27 that will change the start date of sucker season from April 1 to a floating one set annually by the Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR’s Natural Resources Commission will set the date each January based on weather and ice conditions so as the maximize the chance of it coinciding with the annual sucker run.

For eight years in the past decade, the run in the Rifle River has taken place in March, before enthusiasts are allowed to dip nets into the water to catch the fish. Officials and anglers in Omer have been pushing for a change, which finally gained traction this year when Rep. Joel Johnson, R-Clare, introduced a bill that would give the DNR authority to set the date.

The bill passed both houses of the state legislature unanimously during the lame duck session, and was part of a final group of bills passed Dec. 13, before the legislature was dismissed for the year.

Johnson, DNR Southern Lake Huron Management Unit Supervisor Jim Baker, and Omer’s Mayor Alice Sproule, Councilman Larry Daly, and residents Mike McLavy and Greg Schell will be meeting in Bay City Jan. 8 at the DNR Center to help decide on a start date for the season this year.

Walleye season ends March 15, and Johnson’s legislative aide, Ben Frederick, told the Independent in November they did not want to overlap the two if possible.

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