January 20, 2003

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Ice conditions remain unsafe

   In the wake of several ice-related accidents throughout Michigan in mid-January, state officials reminded everybody that safety should be a top priority for everyone enjoying outdoor recreation on frozen lakes and rivers.


   Several snowmobilers and ice anglers fell through ice on various bodies of water throughout the state. Michigan State Police confirmed the following fatalities:  Two snowmobilers on Long Lake in Traverse County, Jan. 9, one ice angler on Long Lake, Jan. 11, and two snowmobilers on Houghton Lake in Roscommon Cty, Jan. 12.


   Those planning outings on frozen waterways during the coming weeks are urged to exercise extreme caution. Recent weather trends have created unpredictable ice on most Michigan and Midwest waters.


   The following guidelines can help keep outdoor enthusiasts safe and dry:


► 4" of ice will generally hold an average-sized person on foot. Snowmobiles and ORVs need at least 8" of solid, consistent ice.

► Ice does not form with uniform thickness on any body of water. Underwater springs or currents can wear thin spots on any body of water.

► Clear ice is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, is very porous and very weak. Ice covered by snow should always be presumed unsafe.


   Those traveling on ice are encouraged to check with local law enforcement or DNR officials regarding ice conditions before heading onto unfamiliar water. Snowmobilers should avoid riding single-file across frozen water. Ice anglers should use their augers to check ice thickness periodically as they venture out. Everyone traversing on ice should wear a life jacket.


   We urge everyone to make safety a top priority.

Live Asian carp sold in Chicago's Chinatown - DNR to prohibit live possession

DNR asked to update rules to prohibit live possession

   At the request of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, IL DNR Fish Chief Mike Conlin has submitted a proposal to modify Adm. Rule 870 to include Asian Carp, adding provisions prohibiting the transportation, sale or possession of live bighead carp by fish dealers and the public. 


   In a discussion with Barrier Committee Chair Phil Moy and Conlin, the GLSFC suggested existing Illinois administrative rules be modified to include the Asian Carp, to aid in preventing the unintentional expansion of this critter.  Recommending the IL DNR and other Great Lakes DNR agencies place similar restrictions on the transportation and/or possession of live Asian Carp; the same rules that now apply prohibiting the possession or

transportation of other live invasive species such as zebra mussels, gobies and ruffe should also apply to Asian Carp.


   The retail purchase of live Asian carp at a Chicago Chinatown market was recently confirmed by two graduate research students who had been sent to verify the availability of these critters to the general public.


   Adm. Rule 870 is out for public review right now and the GLSFC has contacted the legal dept of the IL DNR to request those provisions be added to 870, since by law it takes public comment to change the rule (the DNR can't just change it, but we can based on public input). 


   The procedure has been placed on the agenda of the next Dispersal Barrier Advisory panel meeting which will be held January 22nd at 30 N. LaSalle St. Chicago, IL.

Indiana DNR posts new fish survey info online

   Fishing addicts craving in-depth fishing information can get an online fix by reading the newest Indiana DNR fish research reports.


   DNR fisheries scientists have surveyed nine more popular lakes and rivers, crunched the numbers, evaluated fishing regulations, and posted results, charts and conclusions to help calculating anglers plan outings. Some of the stuff you'll learn while perusing the new reports include:


► Southern Indiana's Blue River smallmouth and rock bass populations are at record high levels. Last fall, biologists calculated the Blue River held an average of 299 smallmouth and 589 rock bass per mile. The last record high smallmouth estimate was 96 bass per mile in 1998. Check the charts and see which section of the river held the most smallies and goggle eyes.


► Mighty Monroe Lake continues to grow a lot of fish. Walleye growth rates have increased. Largemouth bass growth is above average. Wiper fishing continues to increase in popularity. Big catfish were also found in the survey, but the crappies continue to be over abundant and stunted. Keep an eye on increasing lake vegetation, and pull out Monroe Lake fishing notes from the early nineties, when underwater greenery was last abundant.

► The verdict is in on Brookville Lake's 14"minimum-size walleye limit imposed in 1996. Biologists found about the same number of large walleye in the lake before and after the stricter keeper limit. Instead, walleye fry survival seems to be the limiting factor.


► Walleye fishing should continue to get better at Eagle Creek Reservoir near Indianapolis. The DNR has stocked the lake with walleye every year since 1997, and biologists have rated every

stocking a success. Nearly all of the fish over one-year old are already 14 inches long or longer.


► Walleye stocking success continues to be poor at Summit Lake near New Castle, despite an over supply of their favorite forage -- yellow perch.


► Between April and October 2001, 44,500 bluegill weighing 18,300 pounds were harvested from Dogwood Lake near Montgomery. When fried, these summer fish would require about 6,000 boxes of cracker crumb breading. Dogwood Lake anglers also caught and released a phenomenal number of bass. Fishing pressure has increased 22 percent since 1996. And a whopping 89 percent of fishing parties rated their fishing trip as "excellent."


► Other reports show more than half the fish harvested from Cagles Mill Lake were crappie, and the lake's white bass population is exploding in size. The experimental no-harvest bass regulations at Dove Hollow Lake in Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area has resulted in improved panfishing and a large bass population, but bass growth rates are extremely low. And a survey of White Lick Creek flowing through Boone, Hendricks and Morgan Counties shows an abundant and healthy fish community, but watershed quality is potentially threatened by increasing residential construction in the three counties.


The new lake surveys can be found at:



Past survey reports are also available for: Bixler Lake, Bluegrass FWA, Deam Lake, Diamond Lake, Eagle Lake, Fall Creek, Hovey Lake, Huntingburg Lake, Lake James, Lynville Park Lake, Martindale Pond, Middlefork Reservoir, Oak Lake, Pike Lake, Reservoir 26, Saddle Lake, Skinner Lake, Spy Run, West Fork of White River.

Sportsmenís Advocacy Group Demands Michigan State Drop Animal Rights Law Center

   The U.S. Sportsmenís Alliance, the nationís premier advocacy organization on behalf of hunters, anglers and trappers, is demanding that Michigan State University (MSU) cease the operation of the newly announced Animal Legal and Historical Web Center.  Michigan State University is a state-funded university.  


   The website contains information on animal rights law, is sponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an animal rights group, and is operated by Professor David Favre, an avid anti-hunter.


   Sportsmen and alumni have been voicing their displeasure with MSUís sponsorship of the Center.  Thus far, their concerns remain unanswered.


   "Animal rights groups, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, file lawsuits to stop hunting," said Bud Pidgeon, president of the U.S. Sportsmenís Alliance.  "The man running the Center is on record making outrageous statements against hunting.  Therefore, a state university is providing the resources to ban hunting and other animal uses.  I donít think Michigan taxpayers should stand for it, and I know that sportsmen wonít."


   Professor Favre has been very direct about his disdain for hunting.


   In the Spring, 2000, State Bar of Michigan Newsletter, Favre said "Most hunters would rather be left alone, claiming it is a personal decision to hunt or not, and that nobody has a right to dissuade their decision.  "The same argument was undoubtedly made by the owners of slaves." 

   Besides the tasteless comparison, he obviously doesnít understand that hunting plays a huge role in Michiganís economy and culture," said Pidgeon.


   A recent study funded by the federal government indicates that Michiganís approximately 800,000 hunters provided nearly $1.3 billion to the stateís economy in 2001.  Michigan ranks seventh in the nation in hunting-related retail sales.  In addition, hunters and anglers paid more than $67 million in fees and taxes, which is 76 percent of the total expenditures for fish and wildlife conservation programs in the state. 


   Michigan taxpayers funded $654 million of MSUís budget during the last fiscal year, about 45.1%. This is not the first time that such a program was launched at a state-supported university.  In 2000, legislators in New Jersey successfully persuaded Rutgers University to close down its Animal Rights Law Center operated by well-known activist Professor Gary Francione after a sea of protest by sportsmen. 


   "The bottom line is that state tax dollars should not be used to subsidize the animal rights lobby,Ē remarked Pidgeon.  ďI believe the citizens of Michigan will agree.Ē 


   Sportsmen can contact Peter McPherson, president of Michigan State University at 517-355-6560 to voice their displeasure over the universityís decision to support the Animal Legal and Historical Web Center.  Letters should be addressed to: Office of the President, Michigan State University, 450 Administration Building, East Lansing, MI  48824-1046.

Minnesota BOW offers women large calendar of events

   Thirty programs are being offered by the Minnesota Becoming An Outdoors Woman program in 2003. The BOW calendar of events can be accessed on the Department of Natural Resources Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us  or call the DNR Info Center: 651-296-6157 or toll free 1-888-646-6367.


   Jean Bergerson, coordinator of Minnesota's BOW program, said offerings fill quickly. "Many of the BOW programs fill well before their scheduled date, so my advice is register early," Bergerson said. "Our winter workshop was filled two months early."


   Several of the Beyond Becoming An Outdoors Woman specialty weekends only have space for 12 or fewer

people, so they fill quickly. This small class size ensures that instructors have adequate time to spend with each participant so that participants have a good experience and a chance for hands-on learning.


   "New for 2003 is a white-water rafting trip," Bergerson said. "This is another way for the women who have enjoyed our canoe trips to participate in water sports. We also have a wide range of options for those who want to canoe."


   More firearm safety programs for women have been organized in order to meet the growing demand. Another new BOW offering this year is an expanded survival course. Offerings begin in January and continue through October. The printed calendar also includes a registration form.

MN DNR proposes snowmobile rule changes

   The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comments on planned rule amendments and repeal of obsolete existing rules on snowmobile registration and operation.


   The proposed rules reflect current statutes, practices and cultures. Most of the proposed changes are technical in nature and don't represent significant changes to existing practices. The proposed rules might be of interest to snowmobilers, law enforcement agencies, dealers, manufacturers, and those who paint customized registration numbers on snowmobiles.


The proposed changes:

► clarify and standardize snowmobile speed limits

► update requirements for sleds, trailers, towed devices, and

operational equipment and lights

► provide for a point-of-sale electronic registration or reporting by

changing rule language to allow for a paperless system

► update snowmobile registration display specifications

► update registration of all snowmobiles currently in use

► update accident reporting requirements

► remove specific dollar amount for participation in the DNR's Snowmobile Safety Training Program in favor of fee language in statutes

► eliminate diagrams and specifications for traffic or regulatory signs in the rules in favor of a reference to the same information contained in a DNR reference manual

► update rule language to improve understanding of what is regulated and the impact on users.


   Questions, comments or requests for a draft of the proposed rules may be submitted to Michael Letourneau, Minnesota DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4047; e-mail [email protected] ; phone (651) 296-4677; or fax to (651) 296-3727.


Comments on the proposed rules must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7.


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