Week of January 7, 2008

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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes


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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

South Dakota on Ice…

Cold Weather Welcomed by Fisherman

PIERRE, S.D. – All over the upper Midwest, fishermen are gearing up for a long awaited ice fishing season.  With temperatures dipping into  the teens, and below zero in many South Dakota counties, their wait has come to an end. 


“Fishing has taken off up here in the northeast,” said Les Rowland, a fishing guide in the Glacial Lakes Region.  “Right now we have some of  the best jig fishing that I have seen in years.” 


While northeast South Dakota has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, the west should not be forgotten among fisherman looking for  something different.  Both ice fisherman and fly fisherman will be amazed by the abundance of fishing opportunities in the Black Hills and the  serenity that surrounds this sacred place.


“You find yourself sitting out in the middle of a Black Hills reservoir with only the trout and a few begging bald eagles to keep you company,”  said Buddy Seiner, outdoor media 

representative, South Dakota Office of Tourism.  “You can definitely get lost in the beauty of it all.  That is,  of course, if the fish stop biting long enough for you to do so.”


With all that South Dakota has to offer fishermen this winter, it should be easy to find a productive lake or stream.  Use caution, however,  anytime you venture out onto the ice.  “Until we see some good cold weather for a long period of time, people have to be very careful when going out onto the lakes,” cautioned  Rowland.  “Right now there is a lot of snow on the ice, so it may be hard to tell where the thin spots are,” he said.


Fishing is a year-round activity in South Dakota and wintertime fishing can be some of the best in the Midwest.  Stay safe, watch the weather  and come prepared.  You will be sure to have a great time out on the ice this winter. 


Ice fishing in South Dakota is an integral part of Goal 1 of the 2010 initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota.  The Office of  Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.

Club News

Salmon Unlimited Swap Meet March 1

The Salmon Unlimited, IL Club Swap meet will be held on Saturday, March 1st. The SU Board of Directors are looking forward to another good turnout in 2008. Su’s Annual Swap Meet has historically been one of their most successful outings over the years.


There are lots of good buys and a great opportunity to sell things you no longer need to finance new equipment. Swap meet features a variety of new and used equipment. Salmon Unlimited also has spots for boats if anyone would like to have their boat viewed by a large audience.  Prices will be the

same as last year. Buyers will pay $2 for S/U members (includes WI and IN), and $5 for non-members. Sellers will pay $25 for a table for S/U members and $40 for non-members.


They also need volunteers to help work the event. They need people to work the concessions stand, the door and the membership table. Anyone interested please call me at 773-619-6463. Look for the swap meet folders in the Hook’ n Line and at the shows. Hope to see you all there. John Ohl, SU Board member



USFWS Reopens Comment Period on National Wildlife

Refuge Draft Mosquito Control Policy

Responding to numerous requests from the public for more time to comment, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened an additional 60-day public comment period on a draft mosquito management policy. The document outlines consistent guidance for determining the conditions under which national wildlife refuges will control mosquitoes.  Notification of the public comment period was published in the Federal Register December 19, 2007.


The Service received 35 comments during the original 45-day comment period, which closed on November 29, 2007.  Mosquito Control Districts in several states as well as members of the public asked for more time to respond.


The Service currently allows some form of mosquito control by state or local vector control agencies under Special Use Permits on approximately 40 national wildlife refuges, most of them in coastal areas.  An interim Director’s Order, issued in May 2005, provided guidance and consistency for mosquito management on refuges while a permanent policy was being



The draft policy states that the Refuge System will allow populations of native mosquito species to exist unimpeded unless they pose a specific wildlife or human health threat.  The draft policy also establishes guidelines for determining when mosquito populations occurring on national wildlife refuges pose a significant enough health threat or health emergency to either humans or wildlife that pesticides may be used on Refuge System lands to control them.  When practical, the Service may also reduce mosquito populations on refuges using management actions that do not involve pesticides.  All mosquito management regimes on Refuge System lands must use effective means of control that pose the lowest risk to wildlife and habitat, according to the draft policy.


Comments can be submitted by mail to:  Michael J.Higgins, Biologist, National Wildlife Refuge System, USFWS, 4401 N. Fairfax Dr, Rm 670, Arlington, Va  22203; by fax to 703-358-2248; or e-mail:  [email protected].  A copy of the draft policy can be found at www.fws.gov/refuges/policyMakers/NWRpolicies.html

Angling/Hunting big business, survey

More than 87 million U.S. citizens age 16 or older fished, hunted or watched wildlife in 2006, a 6% increase from 2001, spending more than $120  billion, according to the federal survey of wildlife-associated recreation conducted every five years. While these figures represent a still robust  hunting industry making a profound impact on the economy, the total number of hunters nationwide has slid from a peak of 19.1 million in 1975  to 12.5 million.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife on November 6, released the complete 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. The report serves as the baseline for examining how Americans are spending their time and money outdoors.


The National Survey has been conducted every five years 

since 1955 and the nation's most important wildlife-related recreation databases. It is considered to be the definitive source of information concerning participation and expenditures associated with hunting, fishing and other forms of wildlife-related recreation nationwide.


The number of hunters and anglers fell from 37.8 million in 2001 to 33.9 million in 2006. The most recent survey also showed an 8% increase in the number of wildlife-watchers since 2001 but little change in total expenditures for that activity. This report provides a broader and more in-depth look at the data than the Preliminary Findings report issued in May 2007.


For the full Survey - and additional reports and earlier Surveys: http://federalasst.fws.gov/surveys/surveys.html

Remington to Acquire Marlin Firearms

MADISON, N.C.,  -- Remington Arms Company, Inc. the only manufacturer of both firearms and ammunition for Hunting, Law Enforcement/Security, Government & Military applications in the United States, announced last week it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Marlin Firearms Company, Inc. The transaction is expected to close by the end of January 2008.


Marlin, headquartered in North Haven, Connecticut, also owns Harrington and Richardson (H&R), New England Firearms (NEF) and LC Smith brands of rifles and shotguns.


Tommy Millner Remington's CEO, said, "I am pleased to announce that Marlin's well known brands with a long heritage of providing quality rifles and shotguns to hunters and shooters around the world will join the Remington family. The opportunity to combine two historic U.S. based companies with such storied and proud histories, is both challenging and

exhilarating." "We look forward to working with Bob Behn, a

well respected member of our industry. He will remain as president of Marlin, charting a course of further growth and operational improvement," Mr. Millner continued.


Frank Kenna III, Marlin's Chairman, said, "Marlin has been a family run business since 1924 and through a number of important steps, we have grown it into the company it is today. We knew it was time to find the right partner for Marlin to ensure our brands maintain their leadership positions and move into the next century."


Marlin manufactures a wide range of long guns, from the historic Model 39 and 336 rifles, which are the oldest shoulder arm designs in the world still being produced, to the XLR Series, which are the most accurate lever action rifles in the world. Its lever action 22 repeater, now the Model 39, became the favorite of many exhibition shooters, including the great Annie Oakley.


Coast Guard saves two teenagers from drifting Ice Floe

STURGEON BAY, WI - The U.S. Coast Guard rescued two male teenagers from a drifting ice floe on December 20, in Green Bay.


The two boys were ice fishing when the ice they were on  separated from land. They did not realize they were stranded

in the Bay until they tried to return home on their snowmobile. A Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay 20-foot rescue airboat and a Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City HH-65 Dolphin helicopter were deployed, along with a helicopter from the Brown County Sheriff's Department. The Station Sturgeon Bay airboat crew pulled the two boys off and took them back to Vocks Landing in Green Bay.

Beyond the Great Lakes

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission donates elk hunting permits

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission approved the donation of two elk hunting permits for the 2008 elk season to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. One permit will be auctioned to the highest bidder at the state Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation banquet, and the other will be auctioned at the national banquet.

The AGFC has donated two permits annually to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation since 1998, when the AGFC established elk hunting in Arkansas. Since then, the sale of these two permits annually has raised $ 437, 338, of which 85 percent goes back to the AGFC for improving elk habitat. As it has for the past four years, the AGFC will grant a nonresident five-day hunting license for a successful nonresident bidder. The AGFC will purchase the license from its elk donation fund.

Study of bear hair will reveal genetic diversity of Yellowstone's grizzlies

Locks of hair from more than 400 grizzly bears are stored at Montana State University, waiting to tell the tale of genetic

diversity in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. Ranging from pale blond to almost black, the hair is filed in a chest freezer where the temperature is minus-77.8°. Some of the tufts are almost 25 years old.

Lake Erie

Unger named 2007 Captain of the Year

Captain Rick Unger 54, of Newburgh Hts., OH becomes the 4th annual “Charter Captain of the Year.”


Rick was selected by committee from a field of 7 deserving nominees for this prestigious award. He will be recognized at the Port Clinton “New Year’s Walleye Drop” by Mayor Tom Brown.


The wining charter captain will be also be recognized by the Division of Wildlife’s Chief, Dave Graham at the Sea Grant / LECBA charter captains meeting held this coming spring. Also the “Charter Captain of the Year Award” will be presented the #1 Guide Sticker for the current year (2008) at that time.


Unger has been a Lake Erie Charter Boat Association member for 6 years, as well as recently being elected president for a 3-year term beginning 1-1-08. He’s held a USCG captain’s license and Ohio Guides license for 8 years.

Unger became very involved in Lake Erie issues as a youngster. He holds the LECBA motto,  “Dedicated to the Future of Lake Erie” as a personal goal.  Rick is an avid hunter and can often be found in the woods and waters of Ohio duck or deer hunting. Unger is also the Ohio State Director to the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council.


Past president and 2006 Captain of the Year, Bob Collins said ” I can’t think of anyone finer to continue to promote and help protect Lake Erie.” Much of his organizational ability comes from the fact that he was a policeman for Cuyahoga Hts., OH and retired in 2003 as the Chief of Police. He also served on many law enforcement organization boards.


Rick recently served on Governor Strickland’s “Lake Erie Fishing Task Force” as an advisor looking into quota sharing laws.   He spent untold hours traveling to Columbus to testify before Natural Resource Committees.


Illinois announces new conservation and wildlife laws for 2008

New laws look to long-term future of protecting and maintaining wildlife and natural resources

SPRINGFIELD– Governor Rod R. Blagojevich last week reminded outdoor enthusiasts about two new conservation and wildlife laws going into effect on January 1, 2008.  Senate Bill 201 provides additional deer hunting days for youths who have completed the Hunter’s Education Course.  It also allows the Illinois Department of Natural Resources the ability to suspend the hunting rights of individuals found transferring or using another person’s tag. HB 1780 creates the Partners for Conservation by extending the sunset date of the

Conservation 2000 Fund from 2009 to 2021, and reestablishes the funds. The Partners for Conservation Program is a comprehensive, $196 million, multi-agency program created to provide a locally driven, long-term approach to managing and caring for Illinois’ natural resources.


“Once our natural resources are gone, they are gone forever,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “It is important that we teach future generations the importance of respecting wildlife.  These laws I signed will ensure that people are educated and responsible when they spend time outdoors.

Illinois & Kentucky amend Ohio River fishing reciprocal agreement

Sport and commercial fishermen advised to review regulations

SPRINGFIELD, IL - An amended agreement has been adopted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources outlining regulations which allow licensed sport and commercial anglers from either state to fish in the Illinois-Kentucky boundary waters of the Ohio River.


Fishery administrators, biologists, and law enforcement officers from the two agencies developed the amended agreement to make it easier for sport and commercial fishermen to obey fishing regulations of both states.


“This new agreement updates those fishing regulations that are uniform to both states and those that vary somewhat between Illinois and Kentucky,” said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood.  “We want anglers from both states and visitors to our region to enjoy their time fishing the Illinois-Kentucky boundary waters of the Ohio River, while at the same time help to protect and manage this great fishery properly.”


“This amendment clarifies and creates regulatory parity for the anglers utilizing this valuable resource,” said Dr. Jon Gassett, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Anglers are advised to review existing state fishing regulations for the Ohio River for both Illinois and Kentucky.  Most existing state sport fishing regulations remain unchanged. 


Highlights include:

• Each state recognizes the sport and commercial fishing licenses and permits of the other state on the main stem and from the banks of the Ohio River, excluding bays and tributaries where the Ohio River forms the state boundary.


• Provisions of the new amendment apply to sport and commercial fishing and do not include musseling.

• All anglers may continue to fish bank to bank on the main stem of the Ohio with a license issued by either Illinois or Kentucky.  All fishermen must conform to the regulations of the state in which they are fishing unless regulations of their licensing state are more restrictive.  In that case, anglers must conform to the more restrictive regulations.

• Anglers fishing from the Ohio River bank in either Illinois or Kentucky must obey the regulations of the state where the

sport fishing is occurring.

• Snagging was not and still is not allowed from the Illinois bank of the Ohio River.

• Kentucky bow fishermen may not harvest paddlefish or catfish from Illinois waters.

• Illinois commercial fishermen (like Kentucky commercial fishermen) cannot fish within 50 yards of an outlet or inlet of an overflow lake or mouth of a river or stream on the Kentucky bank of the Ohio River.

• Illinois commercial fishermen (like Kentucky commercial fishermen) cannot fish above a line perpendicular to the end of  the outer lock wall at Smithland Dam - or above a line perpendicular from the circular cell portion of the end of the longest lock wall at Dam 52 and Dam 53.  In Kentucky waters, when wickets forming the dams at 52 and 53 are partially or totally removed, the restricted fishing area is enforced until the circular cell at the lock wall is totally submerged.

• Illinois licensed commercial fishermen fishing in Illinois waters of the Ohio River may fish the Illinois sturgeon season which is open from Oct. 1 through May 30.  Illinois commercial anglers fishing in Kentucky waters must comply with Kentucky’s sturgeon season. The season in Kentucky is open from Oct. 15 through May 15.

• Kentucky commercial fishermen (like Illinois commercial fishermen) cannot fish trotlines under 24 inch spacing in Illinois waters.

• Kentucky commercial roe fishermen (like Illinois roe fishermen) fishing trammel and gill nets in Illinois waters must attend those nets from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Standard Time and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daylight Saving Time from Oct. 15 through April 30.  Other Kentucky commercial fishermen not roe fishing in Illinois waters must attend their gill and trammel nets during the period of  Oct. 1 through April 30 from sunrise to sunset.

• Illinois commercial fishermen in Kentucky waters cannot remove the roe from sturgeon, bowfin and paddlefish. The roe must be left in the body cavity whole and intact while on the water or on the adjacent bank.

• Wildlife law enforcement officials from either state may inspect the licenses, harvest limits, creel limits and equipment of any person on the Ohio River subject to laws of either state.


Each state’s fishing regulations for the Ohio River and other waters are available from the respective agencies and on their web sites at http://dnr.state.il.us and http://fw.ky.gov . For more info: IDNR, 217/782-6424, or Ky Division of Fish and Wildlife 800-858-1549.

Illinois Hunters/Anglers have significant impact on economy, spending $1.2 Billion a year

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Illinois's 1.1 million hunters and anglers are among the most prominent and influential of all demographic groups, spending more than $1.2 billion a year on hunting and fishing, according to a new report.


The new report, "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors," spotlights the immense impact hunters and anglers have on the economy at the national and state level.


In Illinois, spending by hunters and anglers directly supports 22,000 jobs, which puts $709 million worth of paychecks into pockets of working residents around the state. Of course, government coffers also benefit -- spending by sportsmen in pursuit of these outdoor activities generates $138 million in state and local taxes. These latest figures demonstrate that season after season hunters and anglers are driving the economy from big businesses to rural towns, through booms and recessions.


"Because sportsmen enjoy hunting or fishing alone or in small groups, they are overlooked as a constituency and as a substantial economic force," stated Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "When you compare spending by hunters and anglers to other sectors, their impact on the state's economy becomes more tangible."


Sportsmen support more jobs in Illinois than Abbot Laboratories, one of the state's largest employers (22,000 jobs vs. 18,000).

Annual spending by Illinois sportsmen is more than one and a half times the combined revenues of the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox ($1.2 billion vs. 728 million).


Annual spending by Illinois sportsmen is more than the combined receipts from hogs and greenhouse/nursery products, two of the state's most valuable commodities ($1.2 billion vs. $1.1 billion).

Illinois sportsmen annually spend $128 million on outboard boats and engines to get out on the water and around the marshes for fishing and hunting.


More people hunt and fish in Illinois than attend Chicago Bears and Blackhawks games (1.1 million vs. 1.04 million).  Illinois sportsmen outnumber the populations of Aurora, Joliet, Naperville, Peoria, Rockford and Springfield (1.1 million vs. 827,000).


The economic stimulus of hunting and fishing equates to an astounding $3.3 million a day being pumped into the state's

economy. "Spending by sportsmen benefits not only the manufacturers of hunting and fishing related products, but everything from local mom and pop businesses to wildlife conservation," noted Doug Painter, president of National Shooting Sports Foundation. "And because most hunting and fishing takes place in rural areas, much of the spending benefits less affluent parts of the state."


On the national level, 34 million sportsmen age 16 and older spent more than $76 billion in 2006, supporting 1.6 million jobs.  If a single corporation grossed as much as hunters and anglers spend, it would be among America's 20 largest, ahead of Target, Costco and AT&T. And if all hunters and anglers had voted during the last presidential election, they would have equaled 31 percent of all votes cast.  If all hunters and anglers living in Illinois voted, they would have equaled 23 percent of all votes cast in the state.


These statistics are impressive and, if anything, they underestimate the impact of sportsmen since they do not take into account the millions of hunters and anglers under 16 years of age or people who were not able to get out and hunt or fish in 2006. When sportsmen's spending is thought of in business terms and compared to other sectors of the economy, it is quite remarkable. From small rural towns scattered across our country's landscape to the bottom-line of Fortune 500 companies located in major cities, if you take away hunting and fishing you take away the equivalent of a multi-billion dollar corporation.


"It is a fairly simple equation – hunters and anglers mean jobs in states and local communities that have made the effort to maintain their hunting and fishing opportunities," said Crane. "The economic impacts that sportsmen have on state economies should be a wake-up call to state governments to welcome and encourage hunting and fishing in their state."


The report, "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors," was produced by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation with support from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and SCI - First For Hunters. The report uses the results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and statistics provided by the American Sportfishing Association and Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.


The report: "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors" along with STATE FACTS are available on the Web at  www.sportsmenslink.org and www.nssf.org


Black Lake Sturgeon Spearing Season Application Period Begins Jan. 7

The Michigan DNR last week reminded anglers the application period for the 2008 Black Lake sturgeon spearing lottery is Jan. 7-11. Interested anglers may register for the spearing lottery by calling the DNR Gaylord Operations Service Center at (989) 732-3541 or applying in person at the center between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the application period. All applicants 17 years and older must hold a valid Michigan fishing license. Those under 17 years old also may register for the season. Those applying for the drawing should have proper identification on hand during the application process. This may include a valid Michigan driver license, a Michigan ID card, a DNR sportcard or a valid Michigan fishing license.


The limited sturgeon spearing season on Black Lake, located in Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties, opens Feb. 2, 2008, 

and runs through Feb. 10 or until the maximum harvest of five fish has been reached. A total of 225 anglers, or 25 per day, will be selected to participate. The drawing to determine those participants will be held Saturday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Chateau North located at 10621 Twin Lakes Rd. in Cheboygan. Successful applicants will be notified of their date to fish by mail in advance of the season.


Last year, 590 individuals registered for the spearing lottery. Only four fish were harvested during the 2007 season, which lasted the full nine days. The sturgeon ranged in size from 51 to 70 inches and weighed between 38 and 71 pounds. Nearly 700 individuals registered for the sturgeon lottery in 2006 when ice conditions were known to be better.


For more info: Gaylord Operations Service Center at (989) 732-3541


Winter trout fishing changes and seasons

Anglers will have added opportunities for trout fishing this winter in Aitkin and Hubbard counties, according to the Minnesota DNR. The lakes that will be open to trout fishing during the winter ice fishing season, Jan. 12- March 16, 2008, include Taylor Lake (near Hill City),  Loon Lake (in Savanna Portage State Park) and Blue Lake (just west of Aitkin) in Aitkin County and Blue Lake (six miles north of Park Rapids)  in Hubbard County.


Anglers are reminded that Taylor and Loon lakes are designated trout lakes, and the use and possession of live minnows is prohibited. In  addition, anglers are required to have a trout stamp validation on their fishing or sports license when fishing on designated trout lakes.  Anglers fishing on other bodies of water must also have a trout stamp validation on their fishing or sports license when in possession of a  trout or salmon.


"This is the first time since the 1960s that these lakes have been open to winter fishing for trout," said Aitkin Area DNR Fisheries Supervisor  Rick Bruesewitz. "This is a great opportunity for quality winter angling."


All of the Aitkin County waters have "carry-in" type public accesses. No motorized vehicles are permitted on these trails or adjacent public  lands. Martin Torgerson, the Savanna Portage State Park manager, reminds anglers that the road to 

Loon Lake will not be open in the winter  and will require a scenic 0.7 mile hike into the rustic lake. The nonmotorized designation for the Taylor Lake area is a change from past  management, but is necessary to protect the resource and its scenic qualities. 


The hike from the parking area to Taylor Lake is less than 300 yards, and is even less at Blue Lake.


In Hubbard County, only Blue Lake is open to winter trout fishing. Other designated trout lakes in Hubbard County are still closed to winter  trout fishing. The public access to Blue Lake is on Half Moon Road, just off CSAH 40. "Besides trout, Blue Lake can offer good fishing for  walleye or northern pike," said Doug Kingsley, Park Rapids area fisheries supervisor.


For lakes entirely within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), except for Ram Lake, the open season for lake and stream  trout will be from Dec. 29, 2007 through March 31, 2008. For lakes outside or partially outside the BWCAW, the season is from Jan. 12 through  March 16, 2008.


The DNR reminds anglers that only one line is allowed when fishing on designated stream trout lakes and designated trout streams, winter or  summer.  The list of designated trout lakes and streams can be found on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us, click on fishing, then on trout and  either trout lakes or trout streams from the right hand menu.

Stream trout fishing a cure for winter blues

While Minnesota and other winter anglers are gearing up for ice fishing, those looking for a cure for the winter blues might want to cast a glance toward  southeastern Minnesota where the stream trout season will soon be open, said Steve Klotz, Minnesota DNR area fisheries supervisor at Lanesboro.


The winter trout fishing season in the southeast, which is strictly catch and release, runs from Jan. 1 through March 31. The winter season is the result of the increasing popularity of trout fishing and requests from anglers to expand the number of streams open to winter fishing. Currently, 38 streams and about 135 miles are open to catch-and-release winter trout angling.


"Winter stream trout fishing provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in the midst of winter and also sharpens your angling  skills," Klotz said. "It's highly challenging and great fun."


The DNR implemented the winter trout fishing season in 1988 following improved water quality in the 1980s that created good natural trout  reproduction in southeast coldwater streams. Klotz said the goal has been to provide additional recreational opportunities without harm to the  trout resource, which is particularly vulnerable during fall spawning and the stress of winter.


In 1988 and 1989, DNR staff conducted a creel survey and monitored the trout populations to determine if negative impacts were occurring.  The findings of that study and subsequent data have shown that the winter catch-and-release season does not cause any negative impacts to  trout populations.


"The season has not had a detrimental effect on fish populations and has proven very popular," Klotz said. "In fact, 60 percent of the first-time  anglers are coming here from 75 to 150 miles away. And it's not just for the fishing. When snow conditions cooperate, cross-country skiing  and snowmobiling

also are very popular."


Winter trout fishing sometimes requires anglers to use unconventional tactics to see what works best, Klotz said. As water temperatures drop,  so does fish activity. Every 10-degree temperature increase doubles the biological activity of the fish so afternoon fishing often is the most  productive.


Tips that may increase an angler's success include:

- carry a thermometer; fish are most active at water temperatures of 38 degrees and warmer                                

- fish slow and use nymph imitators like small jigs that are easier to fish at slow speeds; just wiggling a Rapala in the water also can work

- for spinning and spincasting equipment, keep reels cranking by using a Teflon lubricant that's not affected by cold

- use unconventional methods by creating unique lures or a cane pole.


Klotz also said only barbless hooks are allowed. Crimped hooks are permitted, and fish handling should be kept to a minimum. If the  temperature is below freezing, trout should not be removed from the water.


"A lot of our streams were hit hard by flooding this summer," Klotz said. "That, combined with the already-stressful conditions trout are  experiencing in winter and after spawning, requires a careful approach to angling. Take care to avoid walking in riffles, where trout eggs may be  incubating, and also to fight and release fish as quickly and gently as possible."


Only select streams are open to winter fishing. Those streams are listed in the 2007 Fishing Regulation booklet, in the brochure 2007 Trout  Angling Opportunities in Southeastern Minnesota, and on the DNR Web site www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing. "There's a lot of winter ahead of us yet," Klotz said. "And winter trout fishing can really help cure those winter blahs."


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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