MDNR Unveils Master Plan to Thwart Snagging
Snaggers looking to pluck fish off beds this spring may find the task more challenging than ever as MDNR plans to deploy their fleet of metallic monofilament-chomping fake fish known as Gravel Guards. Placed strategically in and around spawning areas, Gravel Guards deter those planning to “fish” actively spawning steelhead with their scissor like mandibles and realistic profiles. Results of the Gravel Guard test phase were considered a fantastic success during the spring of 2015 as many anglers looking for an easy meal left disappointed and separated from most of their terminal tackle. Crowds gathered at times to watch world class lifters and snaggers attempt, unbeknownst to them, the impossible task of hooking a 40 inch, 75 pound, fake fish.
“When we realized our poaching hotline had been dialing a closed soul food restaurant in Detroit for the past 5 years we decided to refine our approach” commented MDNR spokesperson Phil McCracken. Following the hotline debacle, efforts to remove snaggers primarily involved posting bogus used car ads at trailheads, mostly for late model Chevy Astro Vans, a wildly popular vehicle among the snagging community. After a couple years of distracting snaggers with excellent results, the Astro program was exposed and snagging resumed in force.
With fewer returning steelhead anticipated this year, MDNR’s approach to protect the limited resource is considered pure genius. While a shroud of secrecy surrounds the program and specifics as to where Gravel Guards will be deployed, it’s no secret where snaggers tend to operate. River stretches with monofilament tangled tree limbs and the occasional rusty lawn chair are considered prime locations but beware as the agency plans to deploy some in secondary gravel areas to keep the honest fisherman honest.
Let it be known that MDNR has given fair warning to fishermen that choosing to snag may lead to nothing but frustration and failure. Time will tell as to whether the Michigan crickets and other lead-laced treble hook creations have finally met their match.