By now, I am sure many fishermen are aware of the new fish attractant product on the market called BaitCloud. This ball-style attractant comes in a pack of 3 and is geared towards a few different species; particularly walleye, bass, and panfish. Basically, you toss the golf-ball sized pod in the water and the attractant diffuses in the water for up to one hour, leaving the water “chummed” for up to 4 hours, some reports say, depending on weather conditions. The concept is that fish will congregate in the vicinity around the diffusing ball and fishermen take advantage of the dense, local population of fish.
However, a recent statement from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has made it clear that BaitCloud and similar products are strictly prohibited in Minnesota waters:
A product called BaitCloud and similar products marketed under different brand names cannot be used in Minnesota waters.
These products use a combination of scent, sound and visual attractants to draw the attention of fish. Methods of taking fish are defined in Minnesota laws governing angling gear and the use of artificial baits.
Using BaitCloud or similar products would result in anglers potentially taking fish using one or more of these illegal methods:
- Throwing chum (fish parts, corn, etc.) and other physical attractants into the water. This is considered littering.
- Using chemicals, drugs, poisons, medicated bait, fish berries or other similar substances.
- Using attractants such as artificial light, unless the light is expressly part of a lure.
- Placing any substance in state waters that may injure, impact reproduction or taint the flesh of wild animals. While products claim to be innocuous to fish and the environment, little is known if concentrated or repeated use of various substances placed in the water could be harmful to fish, wild animals or aquatic plants.
Chemical attractants are not an authorized method of taking fish unless used as part of angling lure, such as spraying scent on a lure or using scented baits. Dropping an attractant ball into the water – even if the materials that comprise it seemingly disintegrate, dissolve and cause no obvious harm – is considered a form of chumming or littering.
–Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Much to the dismay of BaitCloud, this makes complete sense. The same concept is applied for deer hunting in most states. You can not legally bait deer in an effort to harvest them. It is simply unsportsmanlike to do so. The concept is exactly the same with BaitCloud. Fish are not the smartest creatures. They are intrigued by most anything out of the ordinary that falls into their watery realm. BaitCloud balls are no different.
The problem the MN DNR is going to encounter is the enforcement of such a law. Similar to deer baiting products, it is still legal to purchase and own BaitCloud and similar attractants in the state of Minnesota, they just can not be used. In fact, according to BaitCloud’s website, the product is available in 5 store locations in the state of Minnesota. Will this stop anglers from using such products? Absolutely not. It will be nearly impossible for the Department of Natural Resources to police this issue.
I also foresee BaitCloud becoming an issue in tournament fishing. Unless thorough, full boat checks are done, no tournament director will be the wiser as to anglers using such an attractant during tournaments. Depending upon the actual effectiveness of the product, this could potentially shift the playing field substantially. For only around $10 per tube of BaitCloud balls, check-hungry tournament anglers across the state and the country may see this as a possible competitive advantage and exploit it.
In conclusion, BaitCloud will continue to be a topic of ethical debate in the fishing world. Is this an ethical means to harvest fish? Should the restrictions be limited to tournament anglers competing for big money? Have you bought and tried BaitCloud? Please comment and share your thoughts on this controversial product.