Week of January 31, 2005
Product Review Gerber Knives
Location: SERB HALL 5101 W. Oklahoma Ave. Milwaukee, WI
Doors open at 9:00 AM - Auction begins at 10:00
New Tackle, rods, reels, Downriggers, Trips, Weekend get-a
ways, Framed Artwork, Raffles, Bake Sale, And Much more...
For info call Al: 414-476-6970 or Steve Franke, 414-342-2019
Immediate action sought
to protect Great Lakes from invaders
"The Coast Guard recognizes that that's an important issue to the Great Lakes and we're committed to addressing this issue," he said.
Coastal waters worldwide are increasingly becoming infested with foreign
species that proliferate because they lack predators that kept them in check
at home. Often the newcomers are discharged in the ballast water used to
balance large oceangoing ships.
Gun-rights advocates are hoping freshman senators will make the road smoother this year for gun makers and dealers pushing a bill that would relieve them of lawsuits brought by families of gun-violence victims.
But one of those pro-Second Amendment senators said that is unlikely, says the Washington Times.” As an outsider, and at this point, I am still new enough to call myself that, it appears to me that part of the Senate's difficulty with passing anything is that all the bills become Christmas trees to be decorated," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, Georgia Republican. "I would suspect those same amendments would cause the same problems as before."
The Senate rejected the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act last year because gun-rights senators could not stomach amendments to extend the assault-weapons ban, to make mandatory the sale of trigger locks with all handguns and to require FBI criminal background checks on people who purchase weapons at gun shows.
The legislation would have protected gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits charging them with negligence when the weapons are used by a third party to commit a crime. Such lawsuits have placed the industry in a fiscal jam.
Lawyers' fees and court costs can be devastating to gun manufacturers' profit margins. One of the top companies, 147-year-old Smith & Wesson, was sold in 2002 for $15 million, owing in part to its settlement agreement to limit marketing of its weapons after being sued by the Clinton administration.
The amendment for trigger locks, which passed the Senate 70-27 last year, likely would pass again. But the other two
amendments — the assault-weapons ban and closing the gun-show loophole — barely made it on the bill and passed the Senate on votes of 52-47 and 53-46, respectively.
"There were a number of obstacles in 2004, not only the political climate and the 'poison pill' amendments, and we worked in good faith with [Senate Minority Leader] Tom Daschle, who didn't work in good faith with us," said Chris Cox, for the National Rifle Association.
Daschle, the South Dakota Democrat who voted for all three amendments, has been replaced by Sen. John R. Thune, South Dakota Republican and an avid supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Also gone are Democratic Sens. Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina, Bob Graham of Florida and John B. Breaux of Louisiana. All voted for the "poison pills."
Coming in as replacements are all Republicans: Mr. Isakson, Mr. Thune, Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, David Vitter of Louisiana and Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, all of whom supported similar legislation when they were in the House.
The NRA also is counting as allies freshman Republican Sens. Mel Martinez of Florida and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
It is clear that extending the assault-weapons ban is the backbreaker, Cox said. But when asked if the NRA and gun-rights advocates could accept any of the other amendments, he said: "Last year, President Bush called for a clean bill without amendments that would prevent it from reaching his desk. We don't see a need to water the bill down for unnecessary reasons, and we hope the efforts of the gun-control groups and their allies to kill this legislation with 'poison pill' amendments will fail."
$ 1 – 10 Alewife
$ 11 – 20 Yellow Perch
$ 21 – 50 Black Bass
Berg, Jeffrey W.
Fuka, John J.
Gold Coast Charter Service
$ 51 – 100 Coho Salmon
Yahara Fishing Club
$ 101 – 200 Walleye
Chagrin River Salmon Association
$ 201 – 500 Brown Trout
Northeast Wis. GL Sport Fishermen
Detroit Area Steelheaders
$ 501 – 1000 Steelhead
$ 1001 – 5000 Chinook Salmon
$ 5001 – UP Lake Trout
Current Total= $1,315.00
TORONTO, ONT— Shoreline alteration, historical aggregate riverbed mining and navigation dredging are resulting in ongoing erosion at the bottom of the St. Clair River and have resulted in the permanent and continuing lowering of water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron, according to a new report issued today.
“In 1962, a shipping channel was dredged out of the St. Clair River that effectively opened a bigger drain hole in the Great Lakes,” said John Pepperell, president of Georgian Bay Association, a Canadian non-profit organization which coordinated the six-month study by W.F. Baird & Associates Coastal Engineers for GBA Foundation, a registered Canadian research charity. “Everyone knew about the one-time loss of water that was caused when that channel was first opened. However, we have now discovered that ongoing erosion is making the outlet from Lake Huron larger, allowing water to leave faster than had been recognized.”
According to the report, the channel is eroding and is now over 60 feet deep at critical sections near the outflow. It only needs to be 30 feet deep for shipping. Pepperell said that “without implementation of corrective measures, this drop represents an irreversible and ongoing decline in the long-term average levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron.”
W.F. Baird & Associates found that declines in actual water level since the mid 1800s in Lakes Michigan and Huron are double the latest International Joint Commission (IJC) estimates. According to Baird, the amount of water permanently withdrawn from the entire surface of Lakes Michigan/Huron is close to 80cm or 32 in. That is the equivalent of 28 times the volume of water in Lake St. Clair or ¼ the volume of water in Lake Erie.
“The recent riverbed erosion is unprecedented, even on a geologic time scale,” said Rob Nairn, author of the report. “It has led to a significant lowering of Lakes Michigan and Huron with corresponding implications for the economy and environment.”
Lower lake levels impact the amount of cargo that ships can
transport through the lakes, the access and value of property along the shores, and the quantity and quality of habitat for wildlife. The report’s findings also have legal implications under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty.
For two generations the continuing decline resulting in permanent withdrawals has gone undetected by the U.S. and Canadian governments and the agencies charged with monitoring Great Lakes water levels (the IJC, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environment Canada). In part, the problem was masked by the cyclical high water levels that dominated from the mid 1970s, through the 1980s and into the 1990s and may be related to government cutbacks in funding for the important monitoring of the finite resource we have in Lakes Michigan/Huron.
The report comes at a time when the IJC is undertaking a study of the Lower Great Lakes and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Transport Canada are studying the future prospects for Great Lakes commercial navigation. The government agencies will now have to re-calculate the math for outflows and net basin supply numbers (precipitation, runoff minus evaporation, diversions and outflow).
The study takes into account other factors which influence lake levels, including fluctuations in precipitation and the effects of glacial rebound—the rise of large masses of land that were depressed by the huge weight of ice sheets during the last ice age. The study shows that levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron have declined more than can be attributed to any factor other than erosion of the St. Clair riverbed.
Lakes Superior and Ontario have control structures to manage lake levels under a variety of climate conditions. There are no such control structures for Lakes Michigan and Huron. Once the water is gone, it is gone.
GBA Foundation, a Canadian research and education charity, commissioned the report in response to concerns expressed by Georgian Bay Association’s over 4,000 member families. W.F. Baird & Associates Coastal Engineers Ltd. is an internationally respected coastal-engineering consulting firm.
Tribe expected to reach $100M settlement with Pataki on old claim
ALBANY (Capitol Busreau) -- The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Gov. George Pataki will sign a formal land claim settlement as early as February 1, making the tribe $100 million wealthier and moving it closer to creating a casino in the Catskills, tribal members and others close to the deal said.
The settlement of a long-standing lawsuit frees land claimed by the Mohawks where the Power Authority of the State of New York operates the Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, one of the state's key hydroelectric plants. It will allow the Mohawks to buy more land for their Akwesasne Reservation along the St. Lawrence River at the Canadian border centered at Hogansburg in Franklin County.
The terms call for the tribe to receive $100 million -- $30 million from the state, which hopes to get half from the federal government, and $70 million from the Power Authority. Pataki has proposed borrowing the state's share of the funds, which will likely be paid over a period of years.
The settlement follows a series of agreements that Pataki arranged in recent months with various tribes, including a new pact proposed to end concerns about the Mohawks' refusal to collect state sales taxes. But unlike the other land-claim deals, the one expected to be signed this week is not linked to a casino compact being obtained for a Sullivan County casino, where the Mohawks and other tribes hope to build a Las Vegas-style gambling emporium. However, Pataki has said he would not grant casino compacts without land-claim settlements. Under federal law, compacts, which are contracts between a state and a tribe, are required for American Indians to open major gambling operations.
Agreements with the Wisconsin Oneida, the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans in Wisconsin,
the Cayuga Nation of New York and the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma are all tied to the tribes gaining a compact from the state.
The Mohawks, who already operate a casino on their reservation, hope to sign a separate agreement with the state for a compact and have been working for several years to build a casino with partners Caesar's Entertainment at Kutsher's Resort in Monticello. "The tribe is optimistic that it will be able to come to Albany this week and sign the settlement agreement with the governor," said Mohawk Chief James Ransom on Saturday. "It was in our best interest and the state's best interest to settle regardless of what happens in Sullivan County."
The bill, to be sent to the Legislature and Congress, would extinguish almost all Indian land claim suits against the state. It also would deal with granting gaming compacts for the Catskills and with collection of state taxes from Indian businesses. Five tribes, including the Mohawks, would be named in the bill.
The agreement calls for the state to give St. Lawrence and Franklin counties a total of $10 million to help pay for lost taxes and other costs associated with the Mohawks adding up to 14,778 acres to their reservation. The deal applies to the St. Regis Tribal Council, which is the federally recognized government; the Mohawk Council Nation of Chiefs, a traditional group; and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, based in Canada. The land-claim suit was lodged almost 23 years ago, alleging the state wrongly took 11,000 acres of reservation land plus islands in illegal transactions more than 200 years ago.
Besides letting the Mohawks purchase land from willing sellers, the state and authority will grant the tribe two islands, Croil and Long Sault, and 215 acres at Massena Point on the St. Lawrence River.
If you're looking for a way to take your walleye fishing to the next level, here's your chance. Plan to attend The Next Bite Walleye School to be held at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Gurnee Mills, IL, Saturday February 26th, 2005. This all day event, hosted by Hall of Fame Legendary Anglers Gary Parsons and Keith Kavajecz, will include seminars, workshops and panel discussions guaranteed to help you in your pursuit to catch more and bigger walleyes.
The tuition for this event is $100.00 and each attendee will receive a tackle pack worth $100.00, as well as a full day of walleye fishing education from two of the country's top walleye pros.
The preliminary schedule for the day's event looks like this:
8:00 am - Welcome & Introduction
8:30 am - Seminar: Spinners for Walleyes
9:30 am - Workshop: Spinner Tying & Components
10:30 am - Panel Discussion
Noon - Break for Lunch (meal not included)
1:00 pm - Seminar: Crankbaits & Lead Core Trolling
2:00 pm - Workshop: Trolling Skills (line & weight set-ups, tuning crankbaits, etc.)
2:30 pm - Seminar: Jigging
3:30 pm - Workshop: Jigging Gear
4:00 pm - Panel Discussion
5:00 pm - Conclusion
This is an event you won't want to miss, so make plans now to attend! Attendance is limited to the first 75 anglers to register, so get signed up today! For more information or to make your reservation, contact Mike Ryglewicz, Promotions Manager for Bass Pro, Gurnee Mills by email: MSRyglewicz@basspro.com"MSRyglewicz@basspro.com
Call and reserve / pay for your spot with a credit card. Call the store at 847-856-1229. Ask for the customer relations desk.
Tell them you want to reserve / pay for The Next Bite Walleye School.
Current Lake Levels:
All of the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario are 8 to 14 inches above last year’s levels. Lake Ontario is 1 inch below its level of a year ago. Lake Superior is 2 inches below its long-term average and Michigan-Huron remains 10 inches below its long-term average. Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are above their long-term averages by 2, 11 and 10 inches, respectively.
The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be near average during the month of January. Flow in the St. Clair and Niagara Rivers are expected to be near average and the Detroit River flow is expected to be above average in January. The St. Lawrence River flow is expected to be near average for the month of January.
Near to slightly above average temperatures are forecasted for
the Great Lakes basin this weekend. A chance of snow exists late in the weekend and through early next week.
Forecasted Water Levels:
Lake Superior is forecasted to continue its seasonal decline and decrease 2 inches by the end of February. Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are nearing the end of their seasonal decline and should remain steady for the next month. Note that ice conditions on Lake St. Clair may create rapid fluctuations in the levels over short periods. The water levels on Lakes Erie and Ontario are expected to remain fairly constant during the next 30 days, as the period of normal decline nears its end.
Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels. Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.
COLUMBUS, OH -- Lake Erie anglers should experience some of the finest and most diverse fishing opportunities on the Great Lakes in 2005, say fisheries experts with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
"Whether ice fishing, wading rivers, casting or trolling on the lake, or shore fishing from piers or beaches, there should be a variety of seasonal opportunities for anglers in the Lake Erie region,” said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries program manager at ODNR. "Good numbers of walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass and steelhead trout will again be available to Ohio anglers."
Knight noted that access to good fishing in the Western and Central basins can be found through the large number of charter boats available, as well as by numerous public boat ramps, private marinas, and shoreline areas that continue to make Ohio's Lake Erie waters a popular fishing destination.
Anglers can expect this year’s Lake Erie walleye fishery to be dominated by hatches from the 1999, 2001 and 2003 hatches. Fish from the 1999-year class will range from 20 to 24 inches, fish from 2001 will range from 17 to 20 inches, and those from 2003 will be 12 to 16 inches over the course of the fishing season. Some large walleye from the strong hatches of the 1980s and mid 1990s still persist in the population, providing “Fish Ohio” trophy (over 28 inches) opportunities.
The daily bag limit remains at three fish during March and April and increases to six fish May through February. The 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season. Many fish from the exceptionally abundant 2003 hatch will not be of legal size until late summer. Anglers should release these smaller fish as quickly and gently as possible to reduce mortality rates. The ban on the use of treble-hooked lures in Sandusky and Maumee bays during March and April also remains in effect in 2005.
Perch fishing in Ohio waters of Lake Erie should be excellent in 2005. Fish from a good 2001 hatch will range from 8-11 inches, with Central Basin fish running larger than those in the Western Basin. Anglers should expect to catch large numbers of 6 to 7-inch perch from an exceptionally strong hatch in 2003. Peak fishing will occur from August through October, but early summer fishing should be good, especially in the Central Basin. Some “Fish Ohio” perch (over 13 inches) will be available. Schools of these “jumbos” are not abundant but can often be in found in relatively shallow rocky areas feeding on gobies and other forage. Ohio's daily bag limit for yellow perch remains at 30 fish per angler for the 2005 season.
Lake Erie anglers should anticipate good to excellent smallmouth bass fishing this year. Traditional "hot spots" such as the Lake Erie islands, the Western Basin reef complex, Sandusky Bay, Ruggles Reef, and harbor breakwalls from Lorain to Conneaut, all produce good numbers of smallmouth bass and also the potential to catch a trophy (over 5 pounds). Fishing pressure tends to be highest around the islands and nearshore areas of the western half of Ohio waters. Smallmouth bass anglers can expect to land "smallies" from 1993, 1994, 1998 and 1999-year classes, now ranging in size from 14 to 19 inches and weighing 1.5 to
Smallmouth bass regulations enacted last year remain in effect for 2005. A closed season exists from May 1 through June 24, during which all black bass (smallmouth and largemouth) must be immediately released. The daily bag limit beginning June 25 will remain at five fish with a 14-inch minimum length limit.
Peak steelhead action on Lake Erie can be found offshore from Vermilion to Conneaut from June through August, with catches measuring 17 to 29 inches. Most anglers trolling for steelhead in deep waters use spoons or dipsy divers with downriggers. Many charter guides now offer steelhead charters as an alternative to traditional walleye charters. Lake Erie steelhead move into Central Basin streams during fall and provide excellent fishing opportunities for wading anglers throughout the fall, winter, and spring months. The ODNR Division of Wildlife maintains this popular fishery by releasing approximately 400,000 steelhead trout each spring in the Vermilion, Rocky, Chagrin, and Grand rivers, as well as Conneaut Creek.
Because of the changing conditions of Lake Erie, such as increases in water clarity and aquatic vegetation, there are additional options for anglers. Many of the nearshore areas and harbors offer excellent fishing for panfish, including crappie and bluegill, as well as largemouth bass. In early spring, anglers may also catch an occasional northern pike or muskellunge in these vegetated harbors.
Anglers are reminded that fishing conditions on Lake Erie can change hourly and adjustments are often necessary to improve their success. Anglers should take into account such factors as water temperature, cloud cover, water clarity, boat traffic, wave action, structure, and the amount of bait fish in the area. Anglers are also reminded to carefully monitor Lake Erie weather while fishing and to seek safe harbor before storms approach.
During the season, ODNR provides an updated, recorded Lake Erie fishing report at 1-888 HOOKFISH and online at ohiodnr.com . ODNR Division of Wildlife staff members are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at Fairport Harbor (440-352-4199) for Central Basin information and at Sandusky (419-625-8062) for Western Basin information. For additional information on lodging, charter boat services, and local launch ramps, contact one of the following lakeshore visitor’s bureaus:
Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau 800-337-6746
Lake County Visitors Bureau 800-368-5253
Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland 800-321-1001
Lorain County Visitors Bureau 800-334-1673
Sandusky/Erie County Visitors Bureau 800-255-8070
Ottawa County Visitors Bureau 800-441-1271
Greater Toledo Convention & Visitors Bureau 800-243-4667
Ohio Division of Travel & Tourism 800-BUCKEYE
The ODNR Division of Wildlife maintains a series of web pages describing its Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, open lake and steelhead fishing reports, as well as maps and links to other Lake Erie web resources. This information is available on the Internet at ohiodnr.com/wildlife/fishing/fairport/index.htm
By Howard Meyerson, Grand Rapids Press Outdoors Editor
Chinook salmon proved the top charter fishing catch on Lake Michigan in 2004, according to state officials. Anglers netted 68,000 of the big kings last year -- up 19 % from the 57,136 they took during 2003.
"The population has been edging its way up and is doing fairly well," said Sarah Thayer, fisheries researcher with the DNR's Great Lakes Research Station at Charlevoix. "Studies show that some fish in Lake Michigan have definitely come over from Lake Huron."
Thayer was addressing a roomful of charter fishing captains last weekend at a regional fisheries conference in Ludington by Michigan Sea Grant. She said the numbers are only preliminary. Final figures will be released in March.
The big salmon migrate from Lake Huron in search of food, according to Thayer, because the forage base is stronger on Lake Michigan. There are more alewives to consume. Researchers discovered the migration by examining coded wire tags that were retrieved from chinook salmon that were either caught or netted. The tiny tags are inserted into young fingerlings while in the state hatchery before they are released to the wild. The tags tell fish biologists when and where the fish were planted, among other things.
"There's a huge difference between the two lakes," said Thayer. "Lake Michigan has about 10 times more. There were only about 5,000 chinooks caught on Lake Huron," she said.
Area charter captains reveled in the abundant chinook fishery this past season. Many spoke of a good early season, followed by a lull in June and a gangbusters fishery starting after July 4. "It was one of the best years, I've seen in fishing," said Captain Robert Andrews, a 22-year veteran on Lake Michigan and the owner of It-Il-Do Charters out of Grand Haven. Andrews said he had limits of salmon for 22 trips straight in May and booked 130 trips for the season.
"It was the most we've ever done," said 75-year-old Andrews,
who opted finally to retire as a charter captain after the season. "Chinook is a big part of our catch. We don't catch coho until after mid-July." Coho salmon was a distant second for the charter fishing fleet on Lake Michigan. The total reported catch of 9,198 coho was down from 10,500 during 2003.
The top ports for the smaller salmon varied as the season progressed. In June, the fish are found in the southern portion of the lake. They are caught off ports like Benton Harbor and St. Joseph. As the waters get warmer, the fish migrate north. Then ports like Ludington and Frankfort turn on.
Steelhead (big rainbow trout) also was down by 30 %. Anglers took only 6,539 last year while on big-lake charters compared with 9,598 in 2003, Thayer said. Lake trout catches also declined from 8,120 in 2003 to 5,621 last year. "That is probably due to a drop in population and a drop in effort too," said Thayer.
Andrews, who readily fishes for lake trout if he sees them on the boat's electronic graph, particularly during the slow portion of the salmon season, believes lake trout numbers are down. "Year's ago that's all we'd catch," said Andrews. "Back when the salmon population crashed. For all our trips out this year, we didn't catch a dozen of them."
That wasn't the case on Lake Huron, according to Thayer. The big salmon may have come to swim along the Gold Coast waters off Michigan's western shore, but lake-trout fishing was good in Lake Huron.
"Those guys say they are glad they have them. The success rates for lake trout is tons better there than on Lake Michigan. It's about equivalent to the harvest rate of Chinook here. "Some people will look at coho success on Lake Michigan at .37 fish per five-hour trip out of Michigan City and say that's, rotten. But, they are comparing it to Chinook, where people are catching roughly two fish apiece per trip, which is phenomenal. I don't think people realize how good these catch rates are compared to other parts of the country," Thayer said. © 2005 Grand Rapids Press
North Point Marina in Lake County was presented recently with the "Best Overall Event" award for its National Marina Day event held on August 14, 2004. The award was presented at the International Marina Conference in San Diego earlier this month. The conference is sponsored by the International Marine Institute, Marine Manufacturers Association, Marina Operators Association of America, and the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association. More than 500 delegates from 24 countries attended.
2004. It featured children’s activities, education programs, an arts and
crafts area, a display on the state’s natural heritage, a car show, musical
entertainment and presentations on boat safety by the U.S. Coast Guard. The
event also included boat rides, a lighted parade of boats and a fireworks
show in the evening. Event admission was free and more than 16,000 people
attended. The event organizing committee included representatives from the
marina, the Village of Winthrop Harbor, Winthrop Harbor Chamber of Commerce,
Winthrop Harbor Yacht Club and local vendors.
North Point Marina will host the 2005 National Marina Day event on Aug. 13. North Point Marina, located in Winthrop Harbor, is operated by the Illinois DNR.. It is the largest self-
contained marina in the United States with nearly 1,500 slips. For more information on North Point Marina and on the National Marina Day event, contact Michael Kudesh, General Manager, North Point Marina, 701 North Point Drive, Winthrop Harbor, IL 60096, phone 847/746-2845.
By Brian Mulherin – Ludington Daily News
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Natural Resource Commission last week announced its determination in the case of a tribally-licensed commercial fisherman charged with fishing during a whitefish season closure.
Tommy Battice was found to be in violation of Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority regulations that set a closure on the commercial whitefish season from noon Nov. 6-Nov. 30, 2004. Michigan Department of Natural Resources officers seized 3,857 pounds of whitefish from Battice’s boat after noon on Nov. 6.
The citation issued by the MDNR conservation officers was referred to the NRC for hearing. Battice, who defended his case in front of the NRC on January 12, was fined $250, received a 30-day suspension of his trap net fishing permit and forfeiture of the proceeds from the catch — a total of $1,141.90.
According to a press release from the tribe, the finding was mitigated by inconsistencies in reporting on the part of all parties that were brought out during the hearing. The NRC emphasized in its finding that it was difficult to reach the conclusion it did because a number of statements attributed to the MDNR officers in the media were inconsistent with the facts as testified to by the MDNR officers, something the MDNR officers could not explain.
“In spite of the inconsistencies in reporting, the NRC believes that the proofs submitted by the MDNR officers were substantial and that Mr. Battice was on the water beyond the mandated deadline.” the press release states. “The commission noted that Mr. Battice did not produce more ‘direct testimony’ rebutting the proofs of the MDNR officers and that if he had, ‘… this case may have reached a different outcome.’”
Battice maintained during his hearing that he was repairing nets while observed on the water during the closure.
Mayor Bloomberg stretching credibility
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed the ordinance passed by his city council attempting to regulate the way guns are sold outside the city and New York state, clearly an act violating the
grant to Congress of regulation of interstate commerce. That's just one
of the reasons NSSF senior vice president and general counsel Lawrence Keane
says it's not only bad law, but will be ineffective.
Noting that state fish hatcheries, dams an launches support more than $2 billion in economic impact for Pennsylvania annually, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today told the Green Ribbon Commission that a state reinvestment in these Commonwealth facilities is vital to ensure the quality of life in Pennsylvania.
Testifying before the Green Ribbon Commission, a bi-partisan panel established by the Legislature to examine and develop recommendations to fortify the Commonwealth’s environmental investment programs, PFBC Executive Director Douglas Austen detailed the $150+ million backlog of major capital needs on state-owned facilities managed by the Commission. The PFBC has documented $85 million in state fish hatchery upgrades and $58 million in dam upgrades alone. Austen noted that these facilities were initially acquired or developed through a variety of state funds such as the great conservation bond funds of the 1960s and 70s. Unfortunately, those marked the last major infusion of capital investment in fishing and boating infrastructure in the Commonwealth.
“We all recognize that these are tough fiscal times, but by delaying work on these critical needs, the cost will only increase. It is also important to note that each year the Commonwealth collects more than $50 million in state sales and income taxes generated by recreational fishing activity in Pennsylvania and none of this gets reinvested in fish and boat infrastructure,” Austen told the panel. “Simply put: ensuring the long-term viability of hatcheries, dams and public access is key to keep Pennsylvania fishing and boating and that’s important for the state’s economy.”
Austen cited the example of Reynoldsdale Fish Culture
Station, in Bedford County. Originally constructed in 1928, the facility still rears fish in earthen ditches and needs more than $5 million to be constructed to modern standards. A revitalized hatchery at Reynoldsdale could produce some 300,000 trout each year, generating some $15 million annually in recreational fishing activity.
Hatchery needs, which include critical water supply and effluent improvement needs, are the agency’s top priority. The cost to address these needs is estimated to be about $85 million system-wide. Included in this figure are numerous critical hatchery upgrade needs, some of which are mandated in settlement agreements with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
PFBC managed lakes and access areas are critical components of the Commonwealth’s backbone of local recreation resources. These facilities serve as fish and wildlife habitat, open-space, and they accommodate a wide diversity of recreational, aesthetic and educational pursuits. Currently, 18 of the 44 dams on DEP’s unsafe dam list are Commonwealth dams manage by the PFBC. Five of these dams have been identified as top priorities with an estimated repair cost of approximately $25 million. To address dam safety concerns the PFBC has drawn down five dams, including Ingham (Bucks County), Leaser (Lehigh County), Colyer (Center County), Upper Hereford (Beaver County.) and, in the wake of Hurricane Ivan, Dutch Fork Lake (Washington County.)
“These are valuable community resources that are gone until funding becomes available,” said Austen. “Unless significant money is dedicated to address similar needs across the Commonwealth, the problem will unfortunately continue to grow.”
Using Tout/Salmon Stamp $$$ to compromise Salmon plants will not be tolerated
In a letter forwarded by their legal counsel to Wisconsin's fish chief Mike Staggs, the Milwaukee Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Club and the Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs are disturbed over the continued planting of walleye in the Milwaukee area of Lake Michigan to the detriment of salmon plants.
The clubs which together represent more than 150,000 Great Lakes anglers have put Wisconsin's Fish Chief Mike Staggs and the WI DNR on notice that using Tout/Salmon Stamp dollars to compromise Salmon plants in Lake Michigan will not be tolerated. An obvious next step is to put the agency on notice of their intent to sue regarding the allegations.
The letter here is reproduced – unedited - in its entirety.
The Milwaukee Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Club, the Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs and their affiliated groups oppose implementation of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (“WDNR”) Draft Milwaukee River Estuary Walleye Management Plan (the “Plan”) dated November 20, 2004 and will oppose any similar plan to introduce walleye to any portion of Lake Michigan and its tributaries. These groups believe that stocking walleye in the Milwaukee River Estuary is a major action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, yet it has not undergone appropriate environmental impact review and the comments of opponents have been disregarded and their questions unanswered.
It is well documented that walleye are voracious predators of young trout, salmon and other small fish, such as yellow perch. It is also well established that the stocked walleye eat
the young trout and salmon that were paid for by trout and salmon stamp fees. Contrary to statute, therefore, the WDNR intentionally is feeding the walleye with fish grown using funds designated for the trout and salmon program, without replenishing those fish. This action results in a direct, adverse effect to the trout and salmon fishery, as well as to Wisconsin’s multi-million dollar Great Lakes fishing industry.
The goal of establishing a naturally reproducing walleye population is incompatible with the pre-existing trout and salmon program upon which so many fee payers rely and around which a substantial trout and salmon fishing industry has grown to materially benefit Wisconsin’s economy. The undersigned believe that any further introduction of walleye will substantially and materially harm the successful trout and salmon fishery, which was developed by monies collected for that purpose through sales of trout and salmon stamps. The destruction of a successful trout and salmon fishery for the purposes specified in the Plan is wasteful of trout and salmon stamp fees and contrary to the statutory purposes of the trout and salmon program.
On behalf of the Milwaukee Great Lakes Sportfishermen Club, the Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs and their affiliated groups, we submit the enclosed comments in opposition to the continued stocking of walleye in the Milwaukee River Estuary and the implementation of the WDNR’s Plan.
William P. Scott
Attorney at Law
DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C.
Milwaukee Great Lakes Sportfishermen Club, Ltd.
and Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs, Inc.
Position Paper Opposing Continued Stocking of Walleye in the Milwaukee River Estuary
The positions set forth in this document are supported by 12 separate fishing groups, including the Milwaukee Great Lakes Sportfishermen Club, Ltd. and the Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishing Clubs, Inc. (collectively the “Groups”), that collectively represent approximately 150,000 Great Lakes fishermen and women, who annually pay more than $1.7 million in Great Lakes Trout & Salmon Stamp fees and whose sport is credited with infusing $4.5 billion into the Great Lakes States’ economy each year. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (“WDNR”) decision to continue stocking walleye in the Milwaukee River and the Milwaukee River Estuary threatens the trout and salmon fisheries and the fishing industry that they sustain.
The Groups steadfastly oppose all stocking of walleye in Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee River Estuary and the lower Milwaukee River, ask that no further walleye stocking be performed in those waters, and ask that any current and future proposals for any additional stocking of walleye anywhere in the those waters be disapproved and all funding denied.
The WDNR has haphazardly stocked almost 12 million walleye of questionable genetics into the waters of Lake Michigan, the Milwaukee River and the Milwaukee River Estuary over the past 17 years without first performing appropriate environmental impact review as required by law and without following its own proposals. The WDNR promotes the stocking of walleye for its own purposes, which vary from maintaining the status quo, to securing money for habitat advancement projects, to preserving the budgets for hatcheries that would otherwise be underutilized. To that end, WDNR has failed to perform work it proposed in past proposals and has manipulated the work actually performed to avoid collecting data that would impugn its conclusions regarding the actual effects of stocking walleye.
Stocking walleye in the Milwaukee River Estuary significantly affects the quality of the aquatic and human environment. It is well documented in Wisconsin and across the nation that walleye are voracious predators of young trout, salmon and other small fish, including yellow perch. It also is well established that the stocked walleye eat the young trout and salmon that were paid for by trout and salmon stamp fees. It is a misuse of segregated fees to feed the walleye with fish grown using funds designated for the trout and salmon program.
The goal of establishing a naturally producing walleye population is wholly incompatible with the pre-existing trout and salmon program upon which so many fee payers rely and around which a substantial trout and salmon fishing industry has grown to materially benefit Wisconsin’s economy.
It is time to take legislative and legal action to stop the WDNR’s waste of trout and salmon stamp fees and hold the WDNR accountable for violating the law.
A. Stocking walleye in the Milwaukee River Estuary significantly affects the quality of the aquatic and human environment, as young trout and salmon stocks are materially depredated by walleye to the extent that the presence of walleye threatens the viability of the pre-existing trout and salmon fishery, and this adverse environmental impact has never been reviewed in conformance with the law.
B. It is well documented in Wisconsin and other states that walleye are voracious predators of young trout, salmon and other small fish, such as yellow perch. It is also well established that the stocked walleye eat the young trout and salmon that were paid for by trout and salmon stamp fees. It is a misuse of segregated fees to feed the walleye with fish grown using funds designated for the trout and salmon program.
C. The goal of establishing a naturally reproducing walleye population is incompatible with the pre-existing trout and salmon program upon which so many fee payers rely and around which a substantial trout and salmon fishing industry has grown to materially benefit Wisconsin’s economy. In fact, WDNR staff previously have expressed no support for walleye stocking in Lake Michigan tributaries.
D. The WDNR promotes the stocking of walleye for its own purposes, which vary from maintaining the status quo, to securing money for habitat advancement projects, to preserving budgets for hatcheries that would otherwise be underutilized. To that end, the WDNR has failed to perform work it proposed in past proposals and has manipulated the work actually performed to avoid collecting data that would impugn its conclusions about the actual effects of stocking walleye.
IV. LEGAL GROUNDS
A. The WDNR has acted arbitrarily and capriciously in failing to follow the terms and conditions of the research studies it proposes, approves and funds with segregated fees from sales of trout and salmon stamps, and there are no controls in place to eliminate such arbitrary and capricious acts in the future.
1. The WDNR has stated it would discontinue walleye stocking after the first stocking event if it were shown that serious depredation of trout and salmon by the walleye occurred in the first year of walleye stocking. However, even though WDNR estimated that stocked walleye consumed 1,123 salmon during the first three weeks, walleye stocking continued. The following year, WDNR estimated that 30,162 salmon were eaten by walleye during the first three weeks.
2. The WDNR has stated it would discontinue walleye stocking if natural reproduction were not evident. Natural reproduction is not evident in the Milwaukee River Estuary, even after 17 years of stocking almost 12 million walleye, yet the stocking proposals persist. Failure to reproduce naturally is one indicator that the genetic strain is not native to the water, but an exotic nuisance.
3. WDNR has stated it would perform stomach surveys of walleye, smallmouth bass and northern pike in spring and fall to determine the rate of walleye predation upon trout and salmon. However, only Chinook surveys (post smolt) were performed in the spring, and these were limited to smallmouth bass, walleye and other predators. Additionally, WDNR did not continue the fall stomach surveys after only two events, because it did not want to obtain data unfavorable to continued walleye stocking.
4. The WDNR has stated it would discontinue walleye stocking if depredation upon trout and salmon were serious or surpassed 5%. Yet when 32,000 trout and salmon were eaten by walleye in 1997 and the depredation levels reached an astonishing 16%, the DNR continued to stock another 47,000 walleye over the next seven years.
B. The WDNR has failed to follow its own internal environmental impact procedures in performing past walleye stocking and in proposing the continued walleye stocking of the Milwaukee River Estuary, in violation of Wisconsin Statutes section 1.11.
1. The WDNR has failed to properly categorize its past and proposed research projects as stocking or introducing a fish species or strain that is not native or established in Wisconsin’s portion of Lake Michigan, in violation of Wisconsin Administrative Code section NR 150.03(5)(a)14.
2. The WDNR has failed to properly categorize its past and proposed research projects as involving substantial habitat manipulation and therefore, a Type II action in need of specific environmental impact review procedures, in violation of Wisconsin Administrative Code section NR 150.03(5)(a)13.
3. The WDNR has failed to properly categorize its past and proposed research projects as long range plans for the Milwaukee River Estuary that will predetermine future, individual departmental actions, in violation of Wisconsin Administrative Code section NR 150.03(6)(a)5.
C. The WDNR’s conduct and pursuit of walleye stocking in the Milwaukee River Estuary has, from its inception, been arbitrary and capricious, and there is no reason to believe the current proposal would be implemented any differently.
1. The Department of Natural Resources implemented trial stockings of Walleye in 1995 and 1996 and then implemented a long range-stocking program from 1998 to 2004. Those stocking programs were based upon proposals, which were not followed by the WDNR during the course of its activities.
2. Although recognizing that “walleyes are a top predator” and expressing concern for their compatibility with stocked trout and salmon, the WDNR has introduced walleye into “outlying trout and salmon waters” in locations where it is foreseeable they will eat the fall stocked trout and salmon, as is abundantly clear from scientific literature from other states.
D. The WDNR’s conduct in intentionally taking steps to destroy the trout and salmon fishing industry constitutes an unconstitutional regulatory taking, without just compensation, of reasonable investment-backed expectations that the trout and salmon program would be administered as required by law, that expenditures of trout and salmon fees would comply with statutory requirements and that WDNR would not willfully act contrary to the requirements of Wisconsin Statutes section 29.191(5).
E. The WDNR has committed and intends to commit waste by its actions in stocking top predators that are known to eat trout and salmon that were paid for by fee payers, by stocking trout and salmon already paid for by fee payers in a manner in which their survival is assuredly minimized and by its actions to artificially create a self-sustaining, breeding population of known predators of the statutorily funded trout and salmon that are already paid for by fee payers.
F. In sacrificing the fall stocked trout and salmon to the waiting predatory walleye, the WDNR has breached its legal duty as Trustee for the people to protect and preserve the fish resources of the state from destruction or undue reduction in numbers.
G. In sacrificing the fall stocked trout and salmon to the waiting predatory walleye, the WDNR has breached it’s fiduciary duty under Wisconsin Statutes section 29.191(5) to spend trout and salmon stamp fees to supplement and enhance the existing trout and salmon rearing and stocking program for “outlying waters,” which includes the entire length of the Milwaukee River from its mouth all the way upstream to the first dam.
H. In sacrificing the fall stocked trout and salmon to the waiting predatory walleye, the WDNR has unlawfully used trout and salmon funds contrary to Wisconsin Statute section 29.191(5) to feed the walleye for the purpose of artificially creating a self-sustaining, breeding population of these known predators of the trout and salmon that were paid for by fee payers.
V. GROUPS SUPPORTING THE POSTIONS STATED ABOVE.
Great Lakes Sport Fishermen of Milwaukee
Louis Kowieski, Delegate
Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Clubs
May be last year for course that focuses on fishing walleye, musky
MADISON -- For the 25th -- and perhaps final -- year, a summer weekend course on walleye and musky fishing will be offered on Lake Tomahawk, a premier fishing lake in Oneida County. Participants stay in a historic log cabin lodge overlooking the lake.
Scientific Fishing Tactics & Techniques offers anglers plenty of fishing time as well as classroom instruction, food and lodging in a four-day course that runs Thursday, noon through Sunday morning, June 9-12 or June 16-19.
Anglers will get practical knowledge about choosing rods and reels, selecting fishing locations, interpreting lake maps, selecting fishing waters, using fish locators and practicing fishing techniques aimed to improve their skills pursuing walleyes and musky. The program also includes talks from a professional fishing guide, demonstrations from Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists and workshops in making jigs and sucker harnesses.
The course price of $350 includes hearty meals served in a picturesque dining hall overlooking the lake, lodging, all classroom instruction and classroom materials as well as plenty of time to fish this quality, clear water chain of lakes.
“Whether you are an experienced angler looking to hone your fishing skills, a casual weekend angler or a recent retiree who
wants a good start on a new hobby, you’ll enjoy this long course on fishing information, good food and camaraderie in a beautiful setting,” says Jack Sullivan, one of the course instructors and a DNR biologist.
Due to past and impending retirements of staff who have developed and conducted the course, organizers say they are not certain at this time whether the course will be offered again in the future. “If you’ve been wanting to take this course but putting it off until ‘next year,’ this could be your last opportunity to take it,” Sullivan says.
The course is held at Kemp Natural Resources Center on Lake Tomahawk and is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Participants should sign up in pairs – fishing buddies, couples and families are all welcome. Each pair should bring a full set of equipment including boat, motor, depth finder, trolling motor and fishing gear.
Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and only 20 anglers in 10 boats can be accommodated in each of the two sessions. To register or request registration packets, contact CALS Outreach Services, 620 Babcock Drive, Madison, WI 53706, call (608) 263-1672 or fax (608) 262-5088.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jack Sullivan - (608) 267-9753.
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