Week of January 26, 2009

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

2nd Amendment issues
Lake Michigan
Lake Ontario

Thought for the day


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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

LCI and Lake Champlain F/W Mgmt Coop Announce Lamprey Control Successes

Essex Junction, VT— On Saturday, January 17, 2009, Lake Champlain International, Inc. (LCI) hosted representatives from the Lake Champlain. Management Cooperative and elected officials to discuss recent successes in the control of sea lamprey in Lake Champlain and future program objectives. 


The Cooperative, a partnership formed over three decades ago by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the states of New York and Vermont, provides direction for coordinated fish and wildlife programs in the Lake Champlain basin.


Sea Lamprey Control in Lake Champlain Background: Sea lampreys are a nuisance predator in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain. They cause incredible economic and ecological damage in those ecosystems, inhibit restoration of native species, and undermine agency efforts to support sport and commercial fisheries. In both regions, sea lampreys are a big enemy to the sport angler. Agencies from the Lake Champlain region are working to improve the operations of the sea lamprey control program there and attain a secure stream of funding; the American Sportfishing Association has written in support of secure funding for the Lake Champlain sea lamprey control program.


In the Great Lakes region, a successful program to control sea lampreys has been in place since 1955. The program was created by a treaty between the United States and Canada called the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries. The convention established the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which is responsible for implementing the control program. The Great Lakes Fisheries Act of 1956 is the U.S. enabling legislation for the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries. Sea lampreys are controlled by a combination of pesticides, physical barriers, traps, and an innovative program to sterilize male sea lampreys


The Success of Sea Lamprey Control:

There is a strong desire in the Lake Champlain region to model the Cooperative after the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, particularly in an effort to streamline permitting and other operations and to achieve a steady flow of funding. Sea lamprey control on the Great Lakes has been partially 

responsible for the recovery of native species, for ecosystem

health, and for the spectacular emergence of a $7 billion recreational fishery. In many areas of the Great Lakes, sea lamprey populations have been reduced by up to 90%. This allows fishery agencies to stock fish with confidence knowing that the fish will live long enough to reproduce or be caught by an angler.


However, sea lampreys will not be eradicated from the lakes, and ongoing control is needed to keep the populations in check. Even temporary breaks in the control effort allow for a resurgence of the species.


Sea lamprey control is a critical component to the Lake Champlain fishery restoration program. The Cooperative released an EIS in 1990, which laid the groundwork for the first round of sea lamprey control on Lake Champlain, from 1990 to 1997. This program was highly successful. Sea lamprey wounding rates fell from 77 to 27 wounds per 100 lake trout. Angler catch of lake trout increased by 74% and Atlantic salmon catch tripled. The resulting improvements in the fishery created a 3.5:1 economic benefit-cost ratio for the Lake Champlain region.


Sea lamprey control was stopped in 1997, however, to assess effectiveness in reducing parasitic sea lamprey abundance, fishery response and environmental and economic impacts as explained above. This information was incorporated into a Supplemental EIS, released in 2001, which enabled continued use of federal funds and resources for sea lamprey control. In ten years, sea lamprey wounds on lake trout rose to as high as 99 wounds per 100 fish through FY 2007, a wounding rate not seen since the days before sea lamprey control occurred on Lake Champlain and a wounding rate certainly far too high for the achievement of any meaningful fishery management objectives. Lampricide treatments and sea lamprey trapping operations began again in earnest in FY 2002.


The result has been stark: wounding rates fell to 31 wounds per 100 lake trout for FY 2008, which is lowest wounding rate since 1998. While this wounding rate is still too high, it is a fraction of what it was before sea lamprey control and certainly critical to the achievement of fishery objectives for Lake Champlain.


USCG hearing on Dry Cargo Residues issue Jan 28

Public comments can be submitted online, too

On December 29, 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on our  proposal to issue a final rule that may modify the Dry Cargo Residues on the Great Lakes interim rule and add new conditions for discharges.  The EIS is being prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  As part of the scoping process under NEPA, the  USCG invites you to participate in the following public meeting:


January 28, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Hotel Blake

500 South Dearborn Street

Chicago, IL 60605


Further details on the EIS, the public meeting, and instructions on how to comment if you cannot attend the meeting can be found at Volume  73, page 79496 of the Federal Register published on December 29, 2008.  We will consider all comments and related materials received by March  30, 2009.  For more info about dry cargo residues, including a copy of the NOI: www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg522/cg5224/dry_cargo.asp


Saltwater angler spending: $31 Billion

Washington, DC – Saltwater anglers spent more than $31 billion in 2006, with spending in one state, Florida, accounting for more than half of the total. A report from the National 

Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) puts 2006 spending in Florida at $16.7 billion followed by Texas ($3.2 billion), California ($3.0 billion), Louisiana ($2.9 billion) and North Carolina ($2.0 billion).

Boat Owners May Have Federal Tax Benefits Available

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Recreational boat owners who paid state sales taxes on a boat purchase, or those who secured a bank  loan to finance a boat, may have some tax deductions available when filing their 2008 federal income tax return.


The Sales Tax Deduction

For boat owners who paid substantial state sales taxes on a new or used boat purchase last year, the Tax Extenders Act of 2008 signed by  President Bush on October 3 continues to offer a federal tax benefit with a deduction for state sales taxes.  Boaters must choose either the state  sales tax deduction or state income tax deduction on their federal tax return — you cannot take both.


In addition, to take the state sales tax deduction, the sales tax on a boat purchase must be applied at the same tax rate as the state’s general  sales tax.  In order to claim the sales tax deduction, tax returns must be itemized.  State sales taxes are entered on IRS form Schedule A, line 5b.


The Boat Loan Deduction

For those owners with a secured boat loan, mortgage interest paid on the loan may be deductible from your federal income taxes.  Taxpayers  may use the “second home” mortgage

interest deduction for one primary home and one second

home and must itemize deductions on their  returns.  A boat is considered a second home for federal tax purposes if it has a galley, a head, and sleeping berth.


Some boaters may be unaware of this potential tax benefit because not all lending institutions send borrowers an Internal Revenue Service form  1098 which reports the interest paid.  Not receiving the form does not preclude taking the deduction.  If a 1098 is not available, boaters should  contact their lender for the amount of interest paid and should enter it on line 11 on Schedule A along with the lender’s tax ID number.  If a form  1098 is sent, boaters should simply enter the amount on line 10 of Schedule A.


Sorry, AMT

For those who fall under the Alternative Minimum Tax, most deductions are unavailable as taxes are calculated differently.  Boaters are urged  to contact a tax preparer or financial advisor for more information.


For more details on the mortgage deduction, go to www.IRS.gov and download Publication 936 or the Fact Sheets.  For state tax  deduction information download Publication 600 which also includes state-by-state tax tables.

Luke Bryan to Chair National Hunting and Fishing Day

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.—One of country music’s new stars to watch in 2009, Luke Bryan has a hot debut album, a second album coming later this  year, Top 10 hits in “All My Friends Say” and “Country Man,” and a new role as honorary chairman of National Hunting and Fishing Day.


The annual celebration is set for Sept. 26, 2009.


Congress established National Hunting and Fishing Day to recognize hunters and anglers for their leadership in fish and wildlife conservation.  Since launching in 1972, the day has been formally proclaimed by every U.S. President and countless governors and mayors.


Bryan joins an elite fraternity of country stars who helped build National Hunting and Fishing Day, including Hank Williams Jr., Travis Tritt, Tracy Byrd and Jeff Foxworthy. Other honorary chairs have included actors, entertainers and sports stars like Wade Boggs, Jay Novacek, Robert Urich, Ward Burton, Tom Seaver, George Brett, John Havlicek, Arnold Palmer, Terry Bradshaw and many others.


A native of Leesburg, Ga., Bryan grew up farming, hunting and fishing with his family.  He said, “I don’t remember learning how to hunt and fish—just like I don’t remember learning how to talk. It was just a natural thing in our family. Part of our lifestyle. I had a dad who wanted to take me hunting and

fishing, and we went two or three times a week.”


Today, the Capitol Records Nashville artist and his father remain part of America’s 34 million hunters and anglers. Together, their licenses, permits and special taxes generate $100,000 every 30 minutes—totaling more than $1.75 billion per year—for fish, wildlife and habitat programs.  No one contributes more for conservation.


“We’re thrilled that Luke will be the face and voice of the sporting community this year. With his help, National Hunting and Fishing Day will again serve as a great reminder to all Americans that conservation succeeds only because of hunters, anglers and shooters,” said Denise Wagner of Wonders of Wildlife museum.


Wonders of Wildlife, in Springfield, Mo., is the official home of National Hunting and Fishing Day. The museum coordinates public education and awareness campaigns to promote traditional outdoor sports.


The growing list of sponsors for National Hunting and Fishing Day 2009 includes Wonders of Wildlife, National Shooting Sports Foundation,  Bass Pro Shops, The Sportsman Channel, Realtree, GunBroker.com, Hunting Heritage Trust, Cabela’s, Boone and Crockett Club, Smith &  Wesson, Field & Stream/Outdoor Life, Woolrich and Yamaha.

For more information, visit www.nhfday.org.

America’s Decline In Driving Begins Second Year

Consecutive 13-Month Drop Tops 112 Billion Miles

WASHINGTON – With new data released just last week, America’s trend of declining driving started its second year with a loss of 12.9 billion  vehicle-miles traveled (VMT), or 5.3 % less, in November 2008 compared to the same month a year earlier. It is the largest such decline of  any November since monthly data estimates began in 1971.


The consecutive 13-month trend of declining driving – between November 2007 and November 2008 – now tops 112 billion VMT, compared to  the same 13-month period a year earlier. It dwarfs the 49.9 billion VMT decline of the 1970s, a decade characterized by high gas prices, fuel  shortages and a recession.


At 6.4 % fewer VMT compared to November 2007, the data show the South Atlantic region – a bloc of eight states and

Washington, D.C.  – and the West experienced the biggest declines. This is the third month in a row that the South Atlantic led the nation in declining driving.


At 11.6 % fewer VMT, Rhode Island led the nation with the largest single-state decline that month. Utah and Vermont followed with  declines of 9.1 % and 8.8 %, respectively. As it has since the trend began, the decline in rural driving in November 2008 outpaced  urban driving.


For more info:  “Traffic Volume rends” www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/tvtw/tvtpage.htm


Federal Highway Administration

Office of Public Affairs

Washington, D.C.


2nd Amendment issues

Gun sales up dramatically

Newtown, Connecticut—FBI gun-buyer background checks increased 24 % in December and 42 % in November suggesting equally  impressive actual sales of guns in the U.S., reports the National Shooting Sports Foundation.  For the year background checks were up 14 % in 2008 over the

previous year.


NSSF believes the increase in gun sales is due to consumer fear it will become more difficult to purchase  firearms during President Barack Obama's administration.  It’s no wonder President Obama was named "Gun Salesman of the Year".


Tanner Inducted Into AFS Hall Of Excellence

The Executive Committee of the parent AFS Fisheries Management Section recently honored Dr. Howard A. Tanner as a 2008 inductee into their Hall of Excellence.


Dr. Tanner is known not only for his long and distinguished career in fisheries and natural resources management, but also as the “Father of the Great Lakes Salmon Program”. His early contributions shaped the Great Lakes stocking program as one of the most significant bio-manipulation programs in the history of fisheries management.


After returning from WW II service, Dr. Tanner received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. (1952) degrees from Michigan State University. He taught and conducted research at Colorado State University for nine years and led the Colorado Department of Game, Fish and Parks Research program for three years before coming to Michigan as Chief of Fisheries Division. There he teamed with Dr. Wayne Tody.  Commercial overfishing and invasion of sea lamprey and alewife had disrupted the Great Lakes fishery. With the objective of converting some of the huge alewife biomass into economic value, they explored pelagic predator species. Their decision to introduce Coho (1966) and Chinook (1967) salmon combined with sea lamprey control, restocking of lake trout and steelhead, and conversion of commercial fisheries from gill nets to selective trap nets, led to the emergence of the Great Lakes as a leading recreational fishing center of North America generating more than $9.6 billion annually.


After two years as Chief of the Fisheries Division (1964 -66), Dr. Tanner served eight years as Professor and Director of

Natural Resources at  Michigan State University (1966-75). During that time, he became the first Chair of the Michigan Environmental Review Board. Under Governor William Milliken’s administration, he returned to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources as its Director (1975-83). Following retirement from MDNR, he served another 10 years as Professor at Michigan State University and continues at MSU as an adjunct faculty member  lecturing often to a variety of classes.


In retirement, he also has served on the Lake Huron Citizen Fisheries Advisory Committee, and co-chaired the Michigan United Conservation  Club’s (MUCC) Sea lamprey Control Funding Task Force. In 2003, he was selected by Governor Jennifer Granholm to head up a Task Force to  protect Michigan’s deer population from Chronic Wasting Disease. He is an active member of the Michigan Resource Stewards group that  advises state government on environmental issues.


In addition to the AFS Hall of Excellence, Dr. Tanner has also been enshrined in the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame (1981) and  MUCC’s Hall of Conservation (2006). Other honors include selection as National Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year (1968), Trout  Unlimited’s Trout Conservationist of the Year (1974), Michigan Conservationist of the Year (1968), and the Outstanding Alumni Award in the  MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (1978). Dr. Tanner is nearing completion of a book to be published in 2009 that relates many  stories of his notable professional career.

(Jim Johnson and John Hesse)

Boaters sue for damage from gasoline blend

Judge allows ethanol suit move forward      

A District Court judge in southern Florida recently denied a request to dismiss a lawsuit regarding the damage that gasoline blended with ethanol does to boat engines and fuel tanks.


The suit was filed last August by The Kopelowitz Ostrow law firm on behalf of clients Erick Kelesceny, John Egizi and Todd Jessup, all Florida  residents. Defendants in the case are Exxon, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, BP and Shell.


The suit alleges that the oil companies failed to warn boat owners that ethanol-blended gasoline may destroy fiberglass tanks and tends to  absorb water and phase separate, which could cause damage to any boat, regardless of its fuel tank 



The next step following this week’s ruling is pursuing certification to become a class-action lawsuit, according to a report in the Naples News.  If successful, the oil companies will be forced to place a warning label on pumps at all Florida gas stations. The plaintiffs also seek  compensation for Florida boat owners whose boats have been damaged by the fuel.


"Denial of the motion is a significant step toward redressing the wrong perpetrated on Florida's boating population," said TKO managing  partner Jeffrey Ostrow, in a statement. "Florida is the boating capital of the world, and it is reprehensible for oil companies to enjoy significant  profits while knowingly paralyzing Florida's boaters."

Lake Michigan

Alewife numbers are encouraging

By Kevin Naze

It's a well-known fact that Green Bay and Lake Michigan offer some of the most incredible multi-species freshwater fisheries found anywhere  on the planet.


But when you move past the hundreds of miles of shoreline and go into the fish-filled waters, there are changes to the ecosystem that have  many anglers concerned: populations of exotic invaders like quagga mussels and round gobies have exploded while many prey fish species —  as well as the shrimp-like Diporeia that provided a lot of food for young fish — have plummeted.


While plenty of guides and charter captains are wondering what the future holds for an industry that attracts thousands of clients from across  the country each year, biologists and scientists familiar with the ever-changing lake urge caution before jumping to conclusions that the  fishery will crash.


Even though quagga mussel mass is thought to far exceed the entire fish forage base, there are some encouraging signs.  Fisheries biologists around the lake saw a slight improvement in body sizes for chinook salmon last fall, which suggests the stocking cutbacks  in recent years may have helped.


Additionally, while the fall lakewide bottom trawling transects by the U.S. Geological Survey's Great Lakes Science Center showed a decline in  alewife — the baitfish of choice for most salmon and trout — the acoustic survey showed a better than 220 percent increase in alewife  numbers.


Dave Warner, a research fishery biologist with the USGS Science Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., said the acoustic survey does a better job at  finding fish still up in the water column, like young alewife, bloater (chubs) and smelt. The bottom trawl is best for larger and older alewife,  bloater, gobies, sculpin, smelt and sticklebacks.


Warner has also been researching the abundance of mysis, another important invertebrate that lives mostly in deep water and has a high fat  content that helps fish grow.  "Some of them can get to be an inch long, and you get a lot more bang for the buck if you're a fish," Warner said. 


While mysis have declined in some areas, Warner said he's been doing mysis surveys since 2005 and has found no change in lakewide abundance.  "It's tough to say exactly how long it might take for something to make a drastic change in their abundance," Warner said.


Twenty years ago, just before exotic mussels were discovered

here, the prey fish population in Lake Michigan was estimated at more than 880  million pounds. Last year's estimate was 46 million pounds.


By weight, round gobies accounted for more than 20 percent of all prey fish in the lake last year. Some species of fish — smallmouth bass,  yellow perch, brown trout and whitefish, among others — are targeting and eating young gobies.


Whitefish have been found with mussels in their stomachs as well, but they aren't putting a dent in the population. Researchers estimate there  are more than 300 trillion quagga mussels on the lake bottom. Mussels have been linked to increased algae blooms that have fouled beaches  and to disease outbreaks that have killed thousands of fish-eating birds and countless fish species.


Randy Claramunt, a Michigan DNR fisheries biologist at Charlevoix, said early indications are that natural reproduction of chinook salmon on  the Michigan side of the lake have decreased about 20 percent from earlier this decade. He believes it may be because female Chinooks in  recent years were smaller and more stressed.


Still, Claramunt said a lakewide study estimated that about 53 percent of the young Chinooks in 2007 was naturally reproduced.  Data is not available yet for 2008.


"With the 25 percent lakewide salmon stocking cut and natural reproduction down, you're going to see a decent decline in (salmon)  abundance, which is what managers wanted," Claramunt said. "We might expect that the fish will get bigger, but catch rates (in 2008) went  down."


Warner said the 2005 alewife year class was fairly strong, and has some larger individuals that could have spawned last year. The 2007 year  class was the one that led to the big increase in the acoustic biomass estimate. How they survive could have a big impact on the future of the  fishery.


"We don't have as many of the old and big alewife as we used to," Warner said.


Water levels up

This year's heavy snowfall should help improve Lake Michigan water levels, which are on their way back up after a decade-long decline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said as of Jan. 15, the Lake Michigan water level was 11 inches higher than it was a year ago, but still a foot  below long-term monthly average level for January.  It was 46 inches below the record monthly high from January, 1987, and 16 inches above the record low recorded in January, 1965.

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario Spring Action Kicks Off With LOC Derby

The grand daddy of all spring fishing derbies will help kick off the Lake Ontario fishing season May 1st through the 10th when the Lake Ontario Counties Spring Trout and Salmon Derby explodes with some ferocious angling action in this popular great lake.


The derby, run by  Empire State Lake Ontario Promotions, will be offering over $30,000 in cash prizes, including a $10,000 check for the largest fish caught overall  in the 10-day event.  There are four divisions' salmon, lake trout, brown trout and 

rainbow/steelhead trout. In addition, a $100 cash  prize is awarded to the big fish each day in each specie category for the first nine days of the derby. Of course, all the fish must be caught from Lake Ontario.


Registration options

You can register online at www.loc.org.  If you want a mail in application go to the web site, click on register now on the left hand side of the main page. On the page that appears on  the right hand side there is a button to download an application in the PDF format.


Kurt Granberg named DNR director

SPRINGFIELD - Former state Rep. Kurt Granberg was appointed January 16 to oversee the budget-ravaged Illinois DNR. The Carlyle Democrat's appointment by impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich came just a week after Granberg resigned the House seat  he's held since 1987.


Granberg takes over for Sam Flood, who has served as acting DNR director since Joel Brunsvold stepped down from the position in December  of 2005. At that time, Flood said he was not interested in serving as anything more than acting director. And he did not expect to hold even  that job for very long. Now Flood is expected to remain as assistant director.


Granberg, a 55-year-old Carlyle  Democrat was named to the $133,000-a-year post for a term ending January 2011. The position requires Senate approval.  He plans to increase tourism at the state's parks and sites with ideas that include a

golf trail in Southern Illinois.


Granberg was born June 16, 1953 in Breese and attended the University of Illinois, where he studied political science and criminal justice. He  also attended The Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law.  Granberg served in the House of Representatives since 1987 and was assistant majority leader under Speaker Michael Madigan. He resigned  his seat before the House voted Jan. 9 to impeach Blagojevich.


Granberg may not last long in his new position, since there is the very real possibility that Blagojevich will be removed from office. That might not be good news for Granberg. When  the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked Granberg if he had talked to Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn about working for him, Granberg  laughed and said, “Pat and I don’t get along.”


Input sought on fish and wildlife rules

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission is seeking public suggestions as part of an ongoing comprehensive review and enhancement of  fish and wildlife rules for the DNR.


Substantive rule change suggestions can be made through a Web-based interactive form by going to www.IN.gov/nrc/  and clicking on the "Submit  a Suggestion" link. The introduction of the online suggestion form marks the beginning of the third stage of a four-stage process  recommended last year by a steering committee composed of Natural Resources Commission chairman Bryan Poynter; DNR deputy director  John Davis; Col. Mike Crider, head of the DNR Division of Law Enforcement; Sandra Jensen, NRC administrative law judge; Patrick Early, chair  of the DNR Advisory Council; and John Goss, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation.


The suggestion form will be available until April 1. An advisory group will review the suggestions and conduct public hearings to determine  the merit of suggestions received. The advisory group will report its findings and recommendations to the NRC in late 2009. Actual proposal of  substantive rule amendments are not expected to be presented to the NRC until early 2010.


The first stage of the project was to readopt all Fish and 

Wildlife Rules (312 IAC 9) without change to ensure the rules did not expire while the  remainder of the project is in progress. The readopted rules became effective on Dec. 24, 2008.


The Stage 2 goal is to provide clarity and consistency of interpretation and to improve enforceability with only minor amendments to the rules  in three segments. The NRC granted preliminary adoption Jan. 13 to the first segment of amendments on deer hunting and hunter education  rules. Additional segments will address rules associated with wild animals (except deer), mammals and game birds (March 2009), and rules  associated with reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, commercial licenses and permits (May 2009). It is hoped Stage 2 will be completed and  approved by October or November.


"Our intent is to take what we have and organize it, update it, and develop a more user-friendly product that encourages people to hunt and  fish rather than discourage them because they don't understand the rules," Poynter said. "We want to unravel any language barriers by  employing public input to help point us in that direction."


The fourth stage provides an option to work with the state legislature to enact necessary amendments to existing statutes.

Indiana hunters killed 610 wild turkeys in fall season

Wild turkeys were killed in 57 of the 74 counties open to turkey hunting during the season.  The 2008 season was Indiana's fourth modern-day fall turkey hunting season. Hunters experienced a 4 % increase in success when compared to the 585 turkeys taken during the 2007 fall turkey season. The record is 716 turkeys in 2005.


During the 14-day archery-only season, Oct. 1 to 14, hunters killed 132 turkeys, accounting for 22 % of the total. The majority of the fall harvest occurred during the combined shotgun and archery season, Oct. 15 to 19, when hunters

killed 478 turkeys, accounting for 78 % of the total fall harvest.


Adult male turkeys accounted for 74.5 % of the harvest, with the remaining 25.5 % consisting of juvenile birds. The juvenile-to-adult ratio was 1 to 3. According to DNR biologist Steve Backs, the high adult proportion was probably related to a combination of hunter selectivity and below-average brood production in 2008. 


Harrison County topped the hunter success list with 40 turkeys, followed by  Switzerland (36), and Pike (31).


Fly fisherman’s Chippewa River catches world record

HAYWARD – An avid fly fisherman and fishing guide is the latest Wisconsin world record holder for the monster musky he landed on the Chippewa River with a fly rod.


The National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum notified Brad Bohen of Hayward last week that the 51.25-inch musky he caught Oct. 16, 2008, was indeed a world fly rod record for a released fish on a 36-pound tippet, according to Emmett Brown, the Hall’s executive director.


Get a look at Bohen’s catch and read his story of how he landed this fantastic fish in Record Musky on the Fly.


“I’ve never been a record chaser by nature, but I must admit that I am tickled to be in this position,” Bohen says. “I give all the credit to Tom Greenup for his wonderful guiding and oarsmanship that day as well as good fishing buddy Derek Kuehl, who had invited me along on the trip after having a fellow angler cancel out.”


Bohen, who would say only that he caught his musky below the Winter dam but above Lake Holcombe, says that the real story of that day was that not only did he catch a magnificent

fish, but within moments, “Derek also hung into a record class beast of his own (fish measured 45 inches) and we proceeded to execute an almost unheard of musky double on a fly!”


Bohen, who guides and currently caretakes at the Winneboujou Club on the Brule River, joins a sizeable and storied group of Wisconsin anglers who have hauled in record fish. Four world records were set in the Hayward area in the late 1940s, including the 69-pound 11-ounce monster Louis Spray pulled from the Chippewa Flowage in 1949.


In more recent years, Wisconsin fly fishermen have also added to the record haul, including three new fly fishing catch and release musky records set in 2008 in addition to Bohen’s. Bill Flader set a new record for 14-pound tippet with the 40-inch musky he pulled from the Chippewa River in Sawyer County; Tom Peterson set two new records, for the 43-inch musky he pulled from North Twin Lake in Vilas County on 50-pound tippet and the 41-inch musky he landed on Kentuck Lake in Forest/Vilas counties to set a record in the “unlimited tippet” category.


Wisconsin also owns a corner of a fifth fly fishing musky record set in 2008: Tom Peterson pulled a 46-inch musky from Smokey Lake, which is mostly in Michigan’s Iron County but also touches Vilas County.

Chippewa system giving up world class fish

HAYWARD – The Chippewa River and its namesake flowage are regaining their reputation for record-setting musky.


Two fish pulled from the storied system in 2008 set new fly fishing catch and release musky world records: the 51.25-inch musky Brad Bohen caught and released on a 36-pound tippet on Oct. 16, 2008; the 40-inch musky Bill Flader caught on 14-pound tippet from the river, according to Emmett Brown, executive director of the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Hayward.


Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Supervisor Dave Neuswanger reported that a genetics study done in 2006 netted 52 fish greater than 40 inches in length, including very hefty females over 50 inches long. “Those fish have only grown larger in the intervening years,” Neuswanger says. “Musky fishing is improving steadily throughout the Upper Chippewa Basin as our native strain is allowed to reach its inherent potential.”


More than half a century ago, Louis Spray’s capture of a 69-pound, 11-ounce musky from the Chippewa Flowage,

followed by three other world record fish from the Hayward area, set off a fishing frenzy that led to the near collapse of the area fishery by the 1970s.


Since then, higher minimum length limits and a strong catch-and-release ethic, particularly among the most skilled musky anglers, have brought the big ones back. An article on these efforts can be found in the December 2002 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.


Neuswanger says that the DNR has no way of knowing the origin of Bohen's fish. It could have grown up in the Chippewa Flowage before migrating through the Winter Dam and into the Chippewa River downstream.


“Some muskellunge live their entire lives in the rivers, while others become large in forage-rich flowages before escaping into the rivers,” he says. “River fishing is often overlooked by musky anglers, and so that's where many of the biggest fish live. It is quite a thrill (and even a little scary) to see a 50-inch muskellunge following your lure in clear water only a foot deep!”

Thought for the day

Thought for the day:

A married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in

two people remembering the same thing!


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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