Have fished walleye openers with the boat absolutely so covered in fish jizz it was gross on inland waters. Get the protect argument, but don’t think it’s as based in science or data more than a feel good protectionism mindset. Yes, pressure affects fish. But so do swamped busy opening weeks.
Look at the walleye population on the Mississippi River. A lot of good intentions on trying to be cautious and protect the system, but the science is there that the system can handle the pressure. And yeah there’s a ton of pressure up by the dams, there’s a lot of real estate that goes untouched for walleyes to spawn in unmolested, incredible food sources and growth rates.
Fish populations are more affected by spawning conditions and good spawning habitat than fishing pressure in most cases. And just because fishing isn’t good, doesn’t always indicate a poor fishery. It could just be fish have ample food and cover, that mutes anglers abilities or tactics to effectively catch them.
All for good science based conservation where feelings are left out of regulatory decisions. But we all know all to well that feelings, socially acceptable practices and the general public perceptions are more of a driving force of regulations and creating them than science.
If we are really so worried about spawning fish, why don’t we close down fishing for crappies and bluegills in their spawn? Panfish populations are hammered year after year in the heart of their spawn. Yes, it greatly affects them. But there’s zero outcry, other than a few heavily pressured areas typically around high urban areas. And still enough filter through the angler pressure to spawn and keep their populations rolling along. Yes, the pressure does decimate some populations. But eventually the bite dies off and the cycle of finding the hot bite moves the pressure to another body of water. Wash, rinse, repeat.
And yeah, logging in is dumb.