Today is a day many people wait all year for - the opening day of walleye season.
If you were out at any of the area's boat launches in the early morning hours today, you would have witnessed a rush of activity not unlike the opening day of firearm deer season or Christmas Day.
For many, the opening of walleye season is like Christmas - an event that is waited for with anticipation the whole year. Rods and reels are examined. Favorite lures are checked. The boat gets taken out of storage. It's time to fish.
Today also marks the beginning of the season for northern pike and muskellunge. Next Saturday, the bass season starts. In the Bays de Noc, though, walleye is king.
We often don't realize just how important our local fishery is to our area and the people who live here. It contributes to our quality of life. In fact, there are precious few places in the world someone can live and still enjoy the angling opportunities that exist on the Bays de Noc. We are fortunate to live here.
Our fishery - particularly walleye - benefit more than just individual anglers, though. The entire Delta County community reaps benefits from our fishery.
Ask anyone who makes a living in the local tourism industry - the fishing opportunities in Delta County are a major tourism draw for the area. Tourists come here, spend money, and make a vital contribution to the local economy. The reputation of the Bays de Noc draws pro fishing tournaments here year after year. Tourism-related businesses make money. They spend that money locally and hire local residents... Tourism dollars flow through our community, and that benefits everyone.
Unfortunately, the Bays are facing continuous threats ranging from illegal fishing to invasive species. Considering how vital the Bays de Noc are to our way of life, these are threats we cannot and should not tolerated by our community. Too much is at stake.
Walleye are more than just fish - they are part of our livelihood.