Week of January 22, 2007

Regional

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

General

Lake Michigan

Lake Ontario

Illinois

Michigan

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Ontario

 

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Regional

Movements of Adult Radio-Tagged Bighead Carp in the Illinois River

Populations of invasive bighead carp in the Mississippi River basin are rapidly increasing in size and range. However, the rate of expansion is not well understood. The Study Group used radiotelemetry to document movements of bighead carp within the LaGrange Reach of the Illinois River, Illinois, where populations have been documented since 1993.

 

They surgically implanted radio transmitters into 42 adults in June 2003 and May–July 2004. Successful relocation of individuals decreased over time and ended in August of both years. They analyzed 132 observations from 23 adults. The

highest movement rate was 14.33 km/d. The maximum distance traveled by an individual was 163 km upstream in 35 d, and the top 10% of movements as observed by boat were between 26.5 and 56.5 km within 3–10 d. Forty-three percent of fish died or dropped transmitters for unknown reasons, but handling, environmental conditions, or both may have contributed to the loss.

 

The study is the first to document the movement rates and patterns of bighead carp within the United States and shows that adults are capable of moving considerable distances in a short time. Immediate actions to prevent or control their spread are critical.


Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Something to share with your friends and club members

 
 

General

Australian common carp trap shows promise

The common carp is probably the world’s most invasive fish species, found on every continent except Antarctica.

 

Common carp compete with native fish and often come to dominate freshwater fish communities. In a recent article in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, a group of Australian researchers introduce a new trap that exploits an unusual attribute of the species—its tendency to jump out of the water to escape. The “Williams cage” can be installed in fishways in weirs or other constricted stream areas to capture common carp as they migrate upstream during warmer months.

 

The cage includes two compartments, divided by jumping baffle. The jumping common carp are captured in the upper

compartment, while non-jumping native Australian fish are periodically crowded into a lower compartment and

automatically released. Results indicate that the trap successfully captured 88% of the common carp that came through a weir fishway, while allowing the passage of 99.9% of native fish.

 

The authors speculate the trap could be used to capture other jumping carp species or even used in reverse to separate non-jumping invasive sea lampreys from jumping trout and salmon species in the Great Lakes area.

 

(Managing a Migratory Pest Species: A Selective Trap for Common Carp By Ivor G. Stuart, Alan Williams, John McKenzie, and Terry Holt. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 26:888-893.


Fish and Angler Use at a Freshwater Artificial Reef

If you build it, will they come?

In November 1999, an artificial reef composed of granite rubble was built in southwestern Lake Michigan to attract smallmouth bass. Adult fish communities were sampled at the artificial reef site and a nearby reference site before (1999) and after reef construction (2000–2003) to determine whether the artificial reef attracted sport fishes.

 

The total number of fish observed along scuba transects was higher at the artificial reef than at the reference site during 2000–2003. Smallmouth bass, rock bass, round goby and yellow perch were most commonly observed by divers at the artificial reef site, whereas the round goby was the most prevalent species observed at the reference site. Mean annual total gill-net catch per unit effort (CPUE) did not differ at the two sites after reef construction.

Freshwater drum, gizzard shad, yellow perch, and salmon were commonly caught at both locations. The presence of several of these fish was related to water temperature but not location. Smallmouth bass presence was related to location; CPUE was greater at the artificial reef than at the reference site during 2000–2002.

 

Rock bass CPUE also was greater at the artificial reef than at the reference site during 2002. Smallmouth bass association with the reef was seasonal and correlated with temperature. Although anglers were aware of the artificial reef, fishing effort and success were low, in part because few anglers targeted black bass. Because water temperature strongly influences the use of structure by centrarchids in deep, cold lakes like Lake Michigan, care must be taken to site artificial reefs in zones of the most suitable water temperature for these species.


Constructed habitat provides good Coho production

The loss of off-channel or floodplain habitat is thought to be one of the major factors that limit Coho salmon production in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Sloughs, side channels, and off-channel ponds provide both spawning and rearing areas for Coho smolts, as well as refuge from high river flows. Millions of dollars have been spent on floodplain restoration, either in reconnecting existing natural habitats or creating entirely new side channels and ponds. But how well are these constructed habitats working? In a recent article in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, scientists studied years of Coho smolt trapping data from 30 constructed, restored, and natural floodplain habitat

sites.

 

They found the constructed habitats provided the same level of smolt production as natural habitats. The most important factor was the size of the wetted area, with smaller habitats similar to beaver ponds providing the most smolts. More shoreline irregularity and cover also seemed to increase the length of the smolts.

 

(Coho Salmon Smolt Production from Constructed and Natural Floodplain Habitats By Phil Roni, Sarah A. Morley, Patsy Garcia, Chris Detrick, Dave King, and Eric Beamer. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135:1398-1408.)


Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia at a glance

WHAT IS IT?

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) is a fish disease that may cause bulging eyes, bloated abdomens, inactive or overactive behavior and hemorrhaging in the eyes, skin, gills, and at the base of the fins. It also attacks the internal organs of fish, leaving them bloody looking. Fish mortality is highest in low water temperatures between 37-54 degrees Fahrenheit. The virus poses no threat to humans.

 

WHAT SPECIES ARE AFFECTED?

VHS has been found in 37 species, including muskellunge, smallmouth bass, northern pike, freshwater drum (sheephead), gizzard shad, yellow perch, black crappie, bluegill, rock bass, white bass, redhorse sucker, bluntnose sucker, round goby and walleye. It has not been confirmed in salmonids in the Great Lakes, but has been known to infect those species.

 

WHERE IS VHS FOUND?

VHS was observed as early as 2005 in freshwater drum in Lake Ontario and in muskellunge in Lake St. Clair. In 2006,

VHS was blamed for fish die-offs in muskellunge in Lake St. Clair, freshwater drum and yellow perch in Lake Erie, and round gobies in Lake Ontario.

 

HOW IS VHS SPREAD?

Fisheries managers don’t know for sure how VHS has spread. They’re guessing the virus moved to the Great Lakes from the Maritime Provinces via ballast water from ocean-going ships in 2002. Biologists believe the virus can move between fish populations, making them worry all of the Great Lakes could eventually have a VHS presence.

 

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO STOP VHS?

In the short term, boaters and anglers can disinfect their equipment with a bleach cleaning solution. Managers are urging anglers not to move fish from known infected waters to uninfected waters. They also ask anglers to leave all bait and livewell water in the lake from which it was taken.


 

Lake Michigan

Brown trout fishing Good on Lake Michigan tributaries and harbors

MILWAUKEE -- The warm winter thus far may have Wisconsin ice anglers singing the blues, but it is heaven sent for anglers enjoying the fantastic brown trout fishery in the open waters of the tributaries to, and harbors on, Lake Michigan, particularly in Milwaukee County.

 

Winter brown trout fishing in the Milwaukee area has been nothing short of sensational for the past several years, and the winter of 2006-2007 is no exception, says Matt Coffaro, a DNR fisheries biologist for southeastern Wisconsin.

 

In fact, the warm temperatures of recent weeks have meant the fish have stayed longer at the mouths of the Milwaukee and Menomonee rivers, where many anglers prefer to fish, instead of moving to the harbor. “The fishing is great,” Coffaro says. “If you’re looking for an alternative to sitting on a bucket on a frozen lake this winter, you might want to consider open water brown trout fishing in Milwaukee.”

 

The reason for the hot action is pretty basic: when the weather gets cold, the fishing gets hot! Concentrations of warm water, either in the river mouth or one of several warm water discharges, attract bait fish such as gizzard shad and round gobies. These baitfish attract the hungry browns that feed actively all winter long, Coffaro says.

 

“The browns have been displaying this type of behavior for many years,” Coffaro says. “It seems as though in the last three or four years the word has spread among anglers, and this great winter pastime has become more and more popular.”

 

DNR fisheries crews stock a couple of different varieties, or strains, of brown trout in Lake Michigan harbors. Regular domestic browns have been stocked since the program began in the late 1960s. The Seeforellen strain has been stocked since 1991.

 

Seeforellens are known for their fast growth rates and exceptional fighting ability. Since their introduction the state record has been broken and rebroken several times. It 

currently stands at an incredible 36 pounds 8.9 ounces. The average size brown trout in the winter fishery can run from 2 to 8 pounds. Fish over 10 pounds are fairly common, and every year a few fish over 20 lbs are taken, Coffaro says.

 

Unlike steelhead that prefer to run upstream, browns tend to stay in the river mouth, the harbor, or near shore areas that have warmer water in the winter months. There are many popular shore fishing spots near downtown Milwaukee. In the harbor the list includes Cupertino Pier, Jones Island, Lakeshore State Park, Veterans Park and McKinley Marina/pier. There are also fishing opportunities at the mouth of the Milwaukee River in the area under the Hoan Bridge.

 

On the Menomonee River, anglers target the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District office and access points along the Hank Aaron State Trail. Most of these spots will remain ice free well into the winter, and if it’s especially mild they might remain open all winter long. If you fish from a boat, the warm water discharges of power plants at Oak Creek and the Menomonee River or the discharge at the Jones Island treatment plant can provide fantastic fishing at times. Warm water that flows into an environment where all of the rest of the water is cold, acts like a magnet to attract fish.

 

When the fish are active it doesn’t seem to matter what bait you use. Crank baits, jigs or spoons that look anything like the silvery gizzard shad or bottom dwelling gobies will work, Coffaro says. If the fish are a little more finicky, live bait might be a better choice. Spawn sacs or medium sized minnows will do the job.

 

“Combine this with a medium action rod and reel spooled with eight-pound test and you should be in business,” Coffaro says.

 

Although there is good shore fishing available, some of the best action requires a boat. One word of caution: Lake Michigan can turn on you in a heartbeat, Coffaro says. “Always, always watch the weather,” he says. “You do not want to get caught on the lake in bad weather. Don’t go out there for the first time without someone that is properly rigged and experienced, especially in the winter.


 

Lake Ontario

Invasive mysid shrimp found in Lake Ontario

The Ponto-Caspian native mysid shrimp, Hemimysis anomala, which has recently been observed in the Muskegon, Michigan area of Lake Michigan has also been observed in southeastern Lake Ontario approximately 7 miles northeast of Oswego, New York. 

 

Normandeau Associates Inc. of Bedford, New Hampshire and West Haverstraw, New York is conducting an ichthyoplankton survey of the nearshore waters adjacent to Nine Mile Point in 2006 and 2007.  Night samples in May, 2006 revealed large concentrations of mysid shrimp in 10-25 ft of water.  Although the objective of the sampling program was to quantify fish eggs and larvae, Normandeau scientists were surprised by the large densities of mysid shrimp because the native species, Mysis relicta, is reported to primarily occur in deep waters below the thermocline. 

Examination in the laboratory revealed taxonomic characters inconsistent with Mysis relicta, and the species was identified as Hemismysis anomala.  Voucher specimens were sent to an international authority on Ponto-Caspian mysid systematics at the Finnish Museum of Natural History, who confirmed the identification of the mysid in our Lake Ontario samples as Hemimysis anomala. 

 

Although samples are still being processed in the laboratory, both immature and mature specimens were observed suggesting the species is reproducing in Lake Ontario.  The rocky, ledge bottom in the nearshore areas of Nine Mile Point is likely ideal habitat for this species based on observations in the Azov and Black Seas.  Ichthyoplankton sampling will resume in the Nine Mile Point area of Lake Ontario in April 2007 and should provide additional information on the abundance and life history of this invasive species.


New invading mussel In Duluth harbor

The quagga mussel, discovered in Duluth-Superior Harbor, resembles another well-known invader, the zebra mussel, which has spread rapidly in North America over the past two decades and cost billions of dollars.  "These mussels are quite abundant in the lower Great Lakes and it just means that

they've made the hop to Lake Superior," said Carl Richards, Director of the Duluth EPA Lab on January 11. "We don't know exactly how they got here, but there are many opportunities," including on ships that move regularly between ports, Richards said.


 

Illinois

Illinois receives federal grant to complete Lake Michigan coastal habitat enhancement

Grant will help fund removal of invasive plant species at two high quality natural areas in Northeastern Illinois

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources received a grant from the USFWS to further protect two high quality natural areas in Northeastern Illinois – the Illinois Beach State Park, IDNR property, and Spring Bluff Nature Preserve, owned by the LCFPD.

The Illinois Beach - Spring Bluff complex is Illinois’ largest protected, undeveloped coastal natural area. The approximately 3,300 acre site contributes significantly to the national and regional biodiversity of the Great Lakes coastal wetland ecosystems.  The complex provides

habitat for four federally threatened or endangered species and has the highest concentration of state threatened and endangered species, rare community types, and coastal wetlands in the state.


Michigan

Michigan Recreational Boating Information System

There are over 1,300 public boating access sites and over 80 harbors and marinas throughout the State of Michigan administered by State, county, and local units of government.

This website gives you the ability to locate and map boating access sites, harbors, and marinas for your next boating adventure!  Go to: www.mcgi.state.mi.us/MRBIS/


New regulations shouldn't affect anglers

If you are involved in tournament fishing on Michigan's Great Lakes or inland waters, there are probably some rule changes affecting this sport in the immediate future.

 

Still wondering how the emergency regulations would affect

tournaments? Tom Hamilton, our Michigan Director asked Dr. Kurt Newman of the Michigan DNR Fisheries Division.  "The bottom line in Michigan for the tourney anglers is that they will not be allowed to transport fish from infected waters into those not known to be infected already."


Ohio

State to keep Bass Island undeveloped 

Park will offer natural setting, low-impact recreation

Ohio's North Bass Island will remain undeveloped as a state park open only to camping, fishing, swimming, picnicking, biking, and other low-impact activities under a plan unveiled January 5 by the Ohio DNR.

 

A state park envisioned for 593 acres of public lands on North Bass Island in Lake Erie will preserve the area’s special natural setting, while providing low-impact recreational opportunities, under a plan developed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The plan for the park follows the state’s $17.4-million purchase in 2004 of 87 % of the island.

 

More than 140 acres of state wildlife areas, including

significant coastal marshes and wetlands, will be managed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife to protect native species and create opportunities for visitors to enjoy local plant and animal life.

 

The plan includes day-trip activities at the new island park, which will include hiking, biking, swimming and nature study. ODNR’s plan envisions that a bike rental concession could one day become a feature of the park and a system of trails will augment existing roadways, allowing visitors to move about the island easily and visit key public areas. These key points of interest include the island’s historic chapel and cemetery, as well as landmarks such as the Simon Fox and Gottesman houses.

 


Pennsylvania

State hails court deer mgmt ruling

Sportsmen challenged agency deer management program

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today hailed a Commonwealth Court ruling that dismissed, with prejudice, the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania's challenge to the agency's deer management program.  The decision to throw out the case was made "with prejudice," meaning that the lawsuit may not be re-filed.

 

"The court ruling is a strong statement that the Game Commission's deer management program is being conducted in a sound, methodical and scientific manner," Roe said.  "We believe that most hunters and the general public recognize that the need to reduce and stabilize our state's deer herd is a short-term pain that we must endure in order to achieve long-term gains.

 

"Our hope is that this ruling will cease the unnecessary expenditure of sportsmen's dollars and tax dollars fighting frivolous and ill-conceived lawsuits."

Roe noted that, since 2000, the Game Commission has worked to implement a deer management program that takes into account the concerns of all Pennsylvanians, and the agency has been consistent and open in its approach.

 

"The deer management plan, which is available on our website, was developed with public input to improve the health of the state's deer herd; to encourage healthy habitat, which deer and all other wildlife depend on; and to reduce deer-human conflicts," Roe said.  "We believe this deer management program will improve the health of our deer herd and the habitat that supports it and other wildlife. 

 

"Yes, hunting has become more challenging in many areas.  However, the benefits from our program changes are unmistakable, as hunters have reported seeing and harvesting larger deer; land managers and foresters are seeing some regeneration recovery in our forests; and farmers are telling us that they have seen less damage to their crops.


Ontario

$6,900 fine for Commercial Fishing violations

CHATHAM — A Wheatley commercial fishing company and a boat captain have been fined $6,900 for fishing where they weren’t allowed and for trying to hide it.

 

Saco Fisheries Limited and Melchiorre Pace, 48, of Leamington, captain of the commercial fishing vessel “ADCO II”, pleaded guilty to commercial fishing in an area where they didn’t have a licence to fish and failing to submit an accurate daily catch report to the Ministry of Natural Resources.  Pace was fined $5,750 and Saco Fisheries Limited was fined $1,150.

 

On August 25, 2005, conservation officers were patrolling

Lake Erie and saw the ADCO II trawling for smelt off Chatham-Kent, but in his daily catch report the captain said the boat was fishing off Elgin County. The boat was actually 8.5 kilometres west of where they were licensed to fish.

 

Justice of the Peace Deborah Austin heard the case on January 8, 2007, in the Ontario Court of Justice in Chatham.

 

Lake Erie conservation officers routinely monitor the commercial fishing industry to protect Ontario’s fishery resources.  To report a natural resource violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours.  You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


Big Canadian Pike

We don’t know if this will help with any seasonal fevers you may be suffering, but it will make for good viewing.

This was caught two weeks ago on Rainy Lake in Canada.

 

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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