Week of February 2 , 2004

National

Regional

General

2nd Amendment issues

Illinois

Michigan

Minnesota

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Ontario

       Weekly News Archives

                         or

       New Product  Archives

 

National

Archery Hall of Fame and Museum Moves to New Home
Springfield, MO
--The Archery Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. (AHF) has moved from Angola, Indiana to its new home in Springfield, Missouri. The AHF will be located at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in an area designated by Bass Pro Shops for use by the nonprofit Wonders of Wildlife Zooquarium. The Bass Pro Shops store is the number one tourist attraction in the state of Missouri.

 

"The AHF was founded in 1971 as a way to recognize outstanding members of the archery community," stated Executive Director Donald L. Clark. "Through a nominating and voting process, the electorate inducts members from the following categories: Bow hunter, Coach, Competitor to the Sport, Educator and Influence on the Sport."

The AHF’s first induction was held at the Fred Bear Museum at the Bear Archery Company in Grayling, Michigan in 1972. All future AHF inductions will take place in Springfield, Missouri.

The new site for the AHF at Bass Pro Shops will also include displays of Hall members' memorabilia, trophy mounts, archery archives, and a research library devoted to the sport, people and industry of archery. Visitors will be able to touch, see, hear, and experience archery history and walk away with a better understanding of modern man’s timeless romance with the bow and arrow. They will also discover how these ancient implements of primitive sustenance and warfare gradually evolved into the 21st century archery tackle that so successfully blends tradition with technological progress.


Farmed salmon industry to face lawsuit over contaminants in fish
SAN FRANCISCO — The farmed salmon industry faces legal action in California for failing to warn consumers that the fish contain what environmental groups say are potentially dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

The Environmental Working Group and the Center for Environmental Health filed notice last week of their intent to sue 50 salmon farms, fish processors, and grocery chains under a California antitoxics law. "Our goal is to challenge them to change their practices so their fish is safe to eat," said Michael Green, executive director for the Oakland-based Center for Environmental Health.

The potential lawsuit comes after a major study published earlier this month in the journal Science found that farm-raised salmon contains significantly more contaminants than salmon caught in the wild because of PCBs in feed. It recommended that farmers change fish feed and urged consumers to buy wild salmon.

The farmed salmon industry disputes the conclusions, citing

experts who say the benefits outweigh the risks of eating farmed salmon.

 

"(Consumers) will be doing themselves and their families a great disservice if they stop eating farmed salmon," said Alex Trent, executive director of the trade group Salmon of the Americas. He noted that farmed salmon, a source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, is much cheaper than wild salmon and can be purchased year-round.

Under Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, companies are required to notify consumers if their products contain hazardous levels of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm.  State law requires private groups to first file notice of their intent to sue to give the state attorney general and other prosecutors 60 days to decide whether to join or take over the lawsuit.

Defendants named include major U.S. grocery chains such as Safeway Inc., Kroger Co., Albertson's Inc., and Costco Wholesale Corp. and farmed salmon producers in Canada and Europe.
Source: Associated Press


Regional

Asian Carp Market selling live fish

Big heads, Blacks a good market for Consumers says Lt. Gov
January 14-- As concerns grow in and around the Midwest, the Great Lakes and other parts of the country about the threats presented by Asian Carp, a new development shows the depth of the complexity of this aquatic invasive species issue. Select food markets are advertising in Chicago papers offering Big Head carp over the counter – live.

 

Getting rid of the Asian carp in the wild will be a problem, USFWS biologist Jerry Rasmussen says. "Asians eat them, but they want the fish kept alive until just before they are thrown in the fryer," he said. "There's a group in Illinois that's trying to develop a market for them."  That market already exists.

 

All of the work being done to keep out the carp could be for naught if hungry humans end up helping them get into the rivers. Gourmands who enjoy the fish want it fresh. And for that reason a number of Ottawa markets keep them live in tanks. Ben Quach, manager of 168 Market in Ottawa, said he sells 200 to 300 kilograms of big head, a variety of the Asian carp, every week. He said it's his top seller.

 

Biologists in various parts of the country have clearly expressed their concerns about the natural resource impacts and the need to take sweeping actions to address these concerns. However, with the discovery of an advertisement showing the availability of live Big Head Carp, the Asian Carp issue takes on a much different dynamic.

 

Another market, a big one and much closer to Chicago is the Food Harbor (xxx add photo xxx) located in Addison, a near west Chicago suburb. Located just a ¼ mile from an Interstate, it is easily accessible to the millions who live in the greater Chicago metropolitan area.  I visited Food Harbor on

January 16; it is not a small deli. It easily ranks with one of the largest independent food markets in the Midwest, and it caters to the oriental community.  Our visit showed the oriental community comprised 100% of the employees and about 97% of the customers.

 

Food Harbor boasts: "Chicagoland's largest selection of Live Seafood." A credible boast, the fish dept has its back walls lined with large tanks of live Big Head, Blacks and Grass Carp; Tilapia, mussels and other exotic offerings and they’re selling Big Heads whole at $1.29/lb.  They even had whole iced walleye at $6.99/lb. 

 

In December 2002, the GLSFC had proposed to the ILL DNR they modify their administrative rules "…that provisions be added to Rule 870 prohibiting the transportation, sale and possession of live bighead carp by fish dealers and the public."  The DNR found because of legal complexities they had to go through the state legislature to get the ruling modified.  We're still waiting.

 

To make matters worse, while addressing a group of outdoor writers at a press luncheon kicking off the opening of the Chicagoland Outdoors Show on January 13, Illinois' Lt. Gov Pat Quinn alluded to the new market Asian carp offered. He touted the possibilities this critter offered for the economics of commercials and the community. One pundit even commented on the pleasant taste of smoked Asian carp.

 

In addition to acknowledging the obvious resource concerns about the spread of this species, these advertisements unveil the human dynamic that surrounds the Asian Carp. For resource management professionals and conservationists to effectively address this issue, we need to commit resources toward understanding the various values for such an invader and developing strategies to address the human dynamic surrounding the attraction to sell such a species.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for January 30, 2004 

Current Lake Levels: 

Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 10, 20, 8 and 3 inches, respectively, below their long-term average.  Lake Ontario is 11 inches above its long-term average.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are above last year’s levels.  Lake Superior is at the same level as a year ago.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 2, 1, 6, and 21 inches above last year’s level, respectively.


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be below average during the month of January.  Flows in the St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara Rivers are also expected to be below average, while flow in the St. Lawrence River is expected to be near average in January.  

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

Another strong winter storm is possible in the Great Lakes region early next week.  The still developing system shows similar characteristics to this past week’s storm.  Temperatures will remain cold, leading to more ice formation

on all of the lakes.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lakes Superior and Ontario are expected to continue their pattern of seasonal decline over the next four weeks.   Due to ice conditions in the Detroit and St. Clair River system in the past several weeks, Lake St. Clair has been experiencing short-term water level fluctuations.  The level of Lake St. Clair was low last week due to ice conditions on the St Clair River, then rebounded in the past week.  Lake St. Clair will continue a normal seasonal decline over the next several weeks.  However, short-term fluctuations could persist as long as the cold weather and ice conditions in the rivers continues.  The level of Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie are expected to remain fairly stable over the next month. 


Alerts:

 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.


General

Senators lead Bi-partisan effort to Recover Fishing & Boating Investments

Senators John Breaux of Louisiana and Trent Lott of Mississippi introduced this week S. 2019, a measure to safeguard anglers and boaters' investments in fishing and boating access and quality by recovering the full amount of excise taxes they contribute under the Sport Fish Restoration Act.  The Senate bill mirrors the Sportfishing and Boating Equity Act of 2003, legislation introduced in the House of Representatives in July 2003 by Congressman Clay Shaw of Florida and now co-sponsored by 22 other Members of Congress.

 

"The legislation Senator Breaux and Senator Lott introduced would add $110 million annually under the Sport Fish Restoration Act, which will mean at least an additional $1.1 million for each state's fishing and boating programs every year," said Mike Nussman, President and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association. 

 

"We should be dedicating 100 % of this Aquatic Resources Trust Fund to all valuable boating and fishing programs that benefit from the Wallop-Breaux legislation, ranging from boat safety programs to coastal wetlands restoration," said Senator John Breaux. "Wallop-Breaux was specifically designed so users pay for these programs through the fuel taxes they pay, and this legislation will rightfully return those funds to help everyone who enjoys fishing and boating in Louisiana and nationwide."

 

"I'm a strong advocate of reserving all the motorboat fuel tax revenue in the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund to support infrastructure improvements and promote a clean, safe environment for the tax paying boating and fishing public," said Senator Trent Lott.  "This practice of directing all fuel tax revenues into trust funds has been a boon for supporting federal highway and aviation needs, and I advocate its adoption for aquatic transportation as well."

 

For more than 10 years, only 75 % of anglers and boaters' federal motor boat fuel taxes has been directed to the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, a user-pay fund that provides revenues for fishing and boating programs across the nation.  Congress required the U.S. Treasury to redirect 25 percent of the excise taxes on motor boat and small engine fuels each year to the General Treasury Fund instead of channeling these revenues to the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund.

 

The Sport Fish Restoration Act set up the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund as the collection point for motor boat fuel taxes and other excise taxes on fishing gear.  Altogether the fund amounts to about $450 million per year, which is ultimately parceled to state fish and wildlife agencies as a primary source of their overall funding.  Motor boat fuel taxes make up $284 million of that amount.  The current tax is 18.3 cents per gallon, yet only 13.5 cents out of that 18.3 are currently being channeled to the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund.

 

Actual 2003 apportionment and potential for the additional

monies of $110,000,000 that would be available to the states

is shown below.

 

STATE FY 2003 Final Apportionment (Actual) Potential New Funds to State w/4.8 c tax

ALABAMA

$3,935,974

$1,632,315

ALASKA

$13,262,060

$5,500,000

ARIZONA

$5,588,641

$2,317,704

ARKANSAS

$4,976,294

$2,063,753

CALIFORNIA

$13,262,060

$5,500,000

COLORADO

$6,768,365

$2,806,955

CONNECTICUT

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

DELAWARE

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

DIST OF COLUMBIA

$884,137

$366,667

FLORIDA

$7,422,277

$3,078,143

GEORGIA

$4,974,514

$2,063,015

HAWAII

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

IDAHO

$4,579,437

$1,899,170

ILLINOIS

$5,336,662

$2,213,204

INDIANA

$4,085,311

$1,694,247

IOWA

$3,602,952

$1,494,205

KANSAS

$3,919,441

$1,625,458

KENTUCKY

$4,186,668

$1,736,282

LOUISIANA

$4,726,339

$1,960,092

MAINE

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

MARYLAND

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

MASSACHUSETTS

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

MICHIGAN

$8,946,956

$3,710,453

MINNESOTA

$10,065,088

$4,174,162

MISSISSIPPI

$3,445,468

$1,428,894

MISSOURI

$6,366,300

$2,640,212

MONTANA

$6,198,060

$2,570,440

NEBRASKA

$3,343,038

$1,386,414

NEVADA

$4,092,296

$1,697,144

NEW HAMPSHIRE

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

NEW JERSEY

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

NEW MEXICO

$4,762,323

$1,975,016

NEW YORK

$6,582,873

$2,730,028

NORTH CAROLINA

$4,672,046

$1,937,576

NORTH DAKOTA

$2,885,004

$1,196,460

OHIO

$5,898,692

$2,446,287

OKLAHOMA

$5,185,748

$2,150,617

OREGON

$6,064,454

$2,515,031

PENNSYLVANIA

$6,586,588

$2,731,569

RHODE ISLAND

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

SOUTH CAROLINA

$3,247,558

$1,346,817

SOUTH DAKOTA

$3,309,311

$1,372,427

TENNESSEE

$5,991,907

$2,484,945

TEXAS

$13,262,060

$5,500,000

UTAH

$4,685,429

$1,943,126

VERMONT

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

VIRGINIA

$4,317,041

$1,790,350

WASHINGTON

$5,485,151

$2,274,785

WEST VIRGINIA

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

WISCONSIN

$8,607,773

$3,569,788

WYOMING

$4,363,414

$1,809,581

PUERTO RICO

$2,652,413

$1,100,000

AMERICAN SAMOA

$884,137

$366,667

GUAM

$884,137

$366,667

N. MARIANA ISLANDS

$884,137

$366,667

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

$884,137

$366,667

TOTAL

$265,241,214

$110,000,000


Fishing Program Grants Available

 The Future Fisherman Foundation is making a total of $200,000 available to physical education teachers who incorporate fishing and boating education into their curricula, offering up to $5,000 grants to help foster active leisure lifestyles and ethical attitudes about the outdoors .

 

 Grant monies can be used for fishing and boating equipment, field trips, curriculum materials, and other resources to assist instructors in carrying out fishing and boating education.  Launched last year, the National Physical Education Grants Initiative supported 34 schools in 20 states with $150,000 in grants.  The program was developed through a partnership among the Future Fisherman Foundation, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, American Association for Leisure and Recreation, and National Association for Sport and Physical Education. 

 

 "We had an overwhelmingly positive response from teachers last year," said Anne Glick, Executive Director of the Future Fisherman Foundation.  "Some teachers said they hadn't seen their students so enthusiastic about a new program in years.  We're fortunate to have this partnership to keep spreading fishing and boating through schools."  

 

 "Using fishing and boating to meet PE lifetime skills mandates is a real natural," said Bruce Matthews, President of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.  "Fishing and boating are great American traditions that connect families for a lifetime." 

 

 In addition to grants, sponsoring organizations bring access to a nationwide network of outdoor educators, conservation groups, and youth organizations that offer a variety of versatile fishing and boating education programs that can be tailored for teachers' specific interests and needs.  

 

 The partnership also provides training, access to discounted fishing gear and equipment, and ongoing guidance from experts.  A training workshop for those awarded grants offers instruction on angling and boating skills, safety, and ethics; basic equipment set-up and maintenance; fish and their

habitat needs; taking part in community conservation efforts; developing partnerships for access to fishing and boating sites, and recruiting long-term mentors for children.

 

Grant application forms are available from any of the partner organizations as well as on-line at www.futurefisherman.org, or contact Grants Administrator Jeff Bloem on 703-519-9691 x247.  Applications must be postmarked by April 21, 2004.  All applicants will be notified in early June on the status of their grant proposals, and a training workshop for those awarded grants will be held in July to help prepare teachers for the upcoming school year.  Partners also can link teachers up with state outdoor education professionals and community groups with tried-and-true fishing and boating education programs to help ensure their success.   

 

 Information about all kinds of fishing programs and resources, including discount and tackle loaner programs, is available from the Future Fisherman Foundation on www.futurefisherman.org.  The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation provides information on where to fish and boat, how to get started, how to obtain a fishing license, and local fishing and boating regulations on its website, www.WaterWorksWonders.org.   

 

 The Future Fisherman Foundation is the fishing recruitment and education arm of the American Sportfishing Association, the sportfishing industry's trade association.  The Future Fisherman Foundation unites the sportfishing industry with a nationwide network of state outdoor educators, national conservation groups, and youth organizations, offering a variety of fishing and boating programs, equipment, and services to community groups and schools across the country.  These efforts help people of all ages have safe and enjoyable fishing experiences that foster conservation ethics.

 

For More Info contact:  Janet Tennyson jtennyson@asafishing.org

American Sportfishing Association               703-519-9691

 

Jennifer Levin     703-519-0013

Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation


Military Bases Join Kids Fishing Efforts

KETCHUM, Okla. - U.S. Air Force bases  in Alaska, Kansas, North Dakota and Texas will host Wal-Mart Kids All-American Derby events in 2004.

 

Hooked On Fishing International, the organization that manages the popular program for kids 5 to 16, announced that adult volunteers have been approved to put on events for young anglers whose parents are stationed at Eielson Air Force Base, Eielson, AK, McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, KS, Minot Air Force Base, Minot, ND, and Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, TX.

 

Local civic-minded adult organizations set up and supervise the fishing derbies, usually half-day events consisting of actual on-the-water fishing, special contests and a hot dog cookout. If approved, the local groups receive a free kit that includes a how-to handbook, promotion materials, fishing items for the young anglers and even prizes for the winners.

 

HOFI said website http://www.kids-fishing.com  inquiries suggest even more military bases as well as civilian groups

will be applying to host local events before the Feb. 15 registration deadline. Last year over 1,800 local organizations put on events for almost 300,000 young anglers in the U.S. and at U.S. military bases in Mildenhall and Lakenheath, England; in Yokota and Okinawa, Japan; in Osan, Korea; and in Gembach, Germany.

 

In addition to title sponsor Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the Kids All-American Fishing Derby program benefits from its 2004 partnerships with Bar-S Foods, Berkley PowerBait, Berkley Trilene, DMF Bait Company, Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum, Eagle Claw, Edy's Grand Ice Cream, EverStart Batteries, FishingWorld.com, Fujifilm U.S.A., Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids, Kool-Aid, Kraft Foods, Laker Fishing Tackle, Nestle Waters North America, Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer, Repel Insect Repellent, and Zebco.

 

A Fishing tip for kids from SEBASTIAN T. BOBBER

Want more fish bites? Use worms and minnows for bait. If you're a beginner, get a grown-up to help you put them on the hook. Fish hooks are very sharp.


NOAA Satellites aid in 224 Rescues in 2003

Personal Locator Beacons, Online Registration Get National Debut

Last year, NOAA satellites, with their sophisticated search and rescue technologies, brought 224 people to safety from dangerous and potentially life-threatening ordeals - from Alaska to New York State.  The figure is a jump from the 171 rescues in 2002. 

 

Also 2003 saw the debut of the Personal Locator Beacon (PLBs) in the continental United States.  In July, the 406-mhz digitally encoded, hand-held PLBs were authorized for nationwide use, after a successful test period in Alaska where more than 200 lives were saved with the personal devices since 1994.  NOAA officials said PLBs have opened the door to faster, more accurate search and rescue missions, particularly for people who recreate in rugged, remote areas, where typical means of communication do not exist.

 

NOAA's satellites, along with Russia's Cospas satellites, are part of an elaborate, international Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking System, called COSPAS-SARSAT.  The system uses a cluster of satellites in geostationary and polar orbits to detect and locate distress signals from emergency beacons onboard aircraft and boats, and from PLBs.

 

"NOAA and its SARSAT partner agencies are committed to combining advanced technologies to make worldwide search and rescue the best it can be," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., undersecretary of

commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.  "The COSPAS-SARSAT system is designed to save lives, and it did that hundreds of times last year."

 

Since the system became operational in 1982, almost 17,000 lives have been saved worldwide with the assistance of COSPAS-SARSAT, including more than 4,600 lives in the United States.

 

All emergency beacon owners in the United States are required to register their units with NOAA.  Last year, NOAA's SARSAT Program Office unveiled a Web-based system that allows for faster and more up-to-date registrations to be handled over the Internet.  The National Beacon Registration Database provides a convenient and secure way for beacon owners to provide their name, phone numbers and other critical information without having to mail or fax it.  The system also allows the beacon owner to revise their registration information as it changes over time.

 

"Registration is not only required by law, but it is perhaps one of the most important responsibilities to owning an emergency distress beacon," said Ajay Mehta, NOAA's SARSAT Program Manager.  "Without this critical information, the search and rescue centers cannot respond to a potential distress as quickly.  That delay may be the difference between life and death."

 

The National Beacon Registration Database online: http://www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov


Hasta La Vista to No-Fishing Zones?

Earlier this month, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger put the Golden State's plan for a vast network of coastal no-fishing zones on indefinite hold. According to the

fish and game department, budget constraints were what led to his decision to hold off on implementing the controversial decision to close access to popular fishing areas.

2nd Amendment

Law to override gun ban weighed

Associated Press January 29, 2004
ILLINOIS -- Arguing that a Wilmette man had a right to shoot an intruder in his home regardless of the village's ban on handguns, a state representative is proposing legislation that would override such bans when a gun is used in self-defense.

"It's important to afford people of the state of Illinois to defend their person and their property," said Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), who filed the legislation this week. Bradley said authorities are wrong for prosecuting Hale DeMar for violating the ban and for failing to renew a Firearm Owner's

Identification card.

 

DeMar shot a burglar who returned to his home less than 24 hours after he had broken into the residence. The Cook County state's attorney's office declined to charge DeMar after determining he acted in self-defense. But he was charged with the other violations. Bradley said law-abiding citizens should not be prosecuted if they use a gun in self defense.

Chris Boyster of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence disputed Bradley's view of DeMar. "He was not a law-abiding citizen," Boyster said.


Illinois

Attendance up 7% at Chicago Show

Attendance at the Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show, which ended a five-day run Sunday, was up 7 % over 2003 figures, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association,

which produces the show.  NMMA says the increase came despite icy road conditions and 5 inches of snow on Friday and Saturday. The organization says reports from dealers indicated sales were strong.

Bill would cancel ban on gun used in self-defense

January 29, 2004

Arguing that a Wilmette man had a right to shoot an intruder in his home -- regardless of a local ban on handguns -- a state representative is proposing legislation that would override such bans when guns are used in self-defense.

 

People in Illinois should be able to defend their person and their property, said Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), who filed the legislation this week. "This affirmative defense would allow them to do that," he said.

 

Bradley said authorities are wrong in prosecuting Hale DeMar for violating Wilmette's handgun ban and for failing to renew

an Illinois firearm owner's identification card. The U.S.

Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, Bradley said.

DeMar made headlines when he shot a burglar. The Cook County state's attorney's office declined to charge DeMar for the shooting after determining he acted in self-defense. But he was charged with the other violations.

 

In a letter published in Chicago newspapers, an unrepentant DeMar said he served his ''civic duty'' when he shot the burglar. ''What is one to do when a criminal proceeds, undeterred by a 90-pound German shepherd, a security alarm system and a property lit up like an outdoor stadium?'' he wrote. Bradley agreed, saying ''law-abiding'' citizens should not be prosecuted if they use a gun in self-defense.


Michigan

State ready to move on Dove Vote

Anti-hunters spreading propaganda to stop bill

On February 5, the Senate Appropriations Committee will be holding a hearing concerning establishing the first dove hunting season in Michigan history. The bill passed the House of Representatives last November. Please contact your State Senators and respectfully urge them to support the passage of a Michigan Dove Season. Please let them know that Michigan citizens deserve the opportunity to hunt doves, just as hunters in 39 other states currently have. Be sure to tell them that state wildlife biologists, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, support dove hunting.

 

The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear House Bill 5029, the dove hunting bill, on February 5 in Lansing beginning at 2:00 PM in room 324. Sportsmen are urged to don their hunter orange hats and fill the halls of the State Capitol. A significant sportsmen turnout is vital to demonstrate strong support for HB 5029 and the advancement of sportsmen’s rights.

 

Anti-hunters have distributed a statement among state senators from an unknown source saying sportsmen have referred to Michigan legislators as "puppets" who are under their control.  Anti-hunting groups are also asking their supporters to hide anti-hunting views from their legislators.

 

In a communiqué to anti-hunting supporters, Michigan Humane Society's Eileen Liska stated "If you are totally anti-hunting, keep that view to yourself."

 

The anti's want legislators to believe that the sportsman' community is divided over dove hunting. They expect to use this trickery to fool Michigan senators.

 

“The Michigan Hunting Rights Campaign is a coalition of

sportsmen who enjoy all types of hunting,” said Rob Sexton, vice president of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, a founding member of the Michigan Hunting Rights Campaign. “From bear hunters to turkey hunters, bowhunters to trappers, Michigan sportsmen have united to back this bill. It is the anti-hunters, whose goal it is to end all hunting in the state, that want to see it fail.”

 

Members of the Michigan Hunting Rights Campaign include the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, A L S Enterprises, Inc., Commemorative Bucks of Michigan, Huron Pointe Sportsmen’s Association, Michigan Bear Hunters Association, Michigan Bow Hunters Association, Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, Michigan State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Michigan State United Coonhunters Association, Michigan Trappers Association, National Rifle Association and the Professional Kennel Club, Inc. Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Safari Club International are also supporting the effort.

 

Take Action! Michigan sportsmen are urged to attend the Senate hearing on February 5 at the State Capitol. Be at the State Capitol by 11:00 AM wearing a hunter orange hat in support of HB 5029. Sportsmen who are unable to attend the meeting are urged to call their state senators today and ask for a “yes” vote on HB 5029. Explain to them that doves are America’s most popular gamebird.

 

Wildlife professionals in Michigan say that the state can support a hunting season. To find your senator and for contact information, use the Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org  or go to www.michiganlegislature.org  and click on the "Related Sites" link.

 


DNR/Sea Grant to hold perch workshop - Feb 28

Michigan Sea Grant and the MI DNR, are planning to hold a yellow perch workshop Feb 28, in South Haven.  A draft agenda, with speakers is posted below, and it will cover recent perch assessment work as well as presentations on current research. Sea Grant Agent Chuck Pistis says "We are also planning a session that will involve discussion on successful angling techniques."

 

The workshop will be held at Lake Michigan College, South Haven Campus"We feel it is important that stakeholders be updated on the status of the yellow perch fishery and current research underway to understand the factors impacting the fishery" says Pistis.  

 

Registration fee is $10.00 to cover lunch, refreshments and materials. ($15.00 at the door)

 

Draft Agenda

9:15 – 9:30

Welcome and Introductory Remarks

 

9:30 – 10:15

Historical Overview of the Southern Lake Michigan Yellow Perch

 

Paul Allen, (Invited) Aquatic Biology & Fisheries Center, Ball State U. and Yellow Perch Task Group Chairperson

 

10:15 – 11:00

Recent Assessment of the Status of Yellow Perch Populations in the Michigan Waters of Lake Michigan

 

Dave Clapp, Michigan DNR, Charlevoix Fishery Research Station

 

11:00 – 12:00

Wind, Currents and Recruitment Success of Yellow Perch in Lake Michigan

 

John Janssen, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Ed

Rutherford, University of Michigan

 

12:00 – 1:00

Lunch

 

1:00 – 1:45

Early Life History of Yellow Perch in East-Central Lake Michigan

 

Scott McNaught, Central Michigan University

 

1:45 – 2:30

The Impact of Exotic Species on Yellow Perch Populations

 

Dave Jude, University of Michigan Center for Great Lakes

 

2:30 – 3:00

Adjusting to Changing Perch Populations and Behavior - Some Sport Fishing Techniques to Enhance Success

 

Don Nichols, Captain Nichols Perch Charters and Ed Subler, Perch Fisherman “Extraordinaire”

 

3:00 – 3:30

General Discussion – to include management strategies, future regulation changes, lake-wide models, other topics

 

3:30

Adjourn

 

For a brochure and registration form call or e-mail Pistis at:  pistis@msue.msu.edu

 

Ottawa County Extension Director/
Michigan State University Extension
333 Clinton Ave.
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Phone: 616-846-8250
Fax: 616-846-8250
http://35.8.128.5/msuewc/ottawa/


Court Tosses Back Dam Fish Case Rules safety factor over reeling in fish

The big fish on the end of Frank Gatski's line made a break for a gap in the grating beneath Webber Dam on the Grand River in eastern Ionia County. Ignoring "no trespassing" signs posted by Consumers Energy Co., Gatski waded the river and climbed onto steel grating near the base of the dam south of Lyons to retrieve his catch.

 

But, The Grand Rapids Press reports, this was a fish that should have gotten away, a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in an opinion issued last week.. The judges decided Gatski's claims -- that state laws protect recreational access to Michigan's waterways -- were trumped by federal laws that require protection of the public's safety near dams.

 

Gatski, a 55-year-old retired computer programmer, claims the ruling sets a dangerous precedent that erodes the state's riparian rights that guarantee access to lakes and streams. "There is a long history of people, especially fishermen, being allowed free access to open water," said Gatski, who lives in Portland, 35 miles east of Grand Rapids. "Consumers built the obstruction in our river. It's a matter of property-owner rights versus recreation rights, and it looks like Consumers is being told they have more rights."

 

Ionia County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Ronald Schafer said the judges made the right call. "If the court had ruled against us it would be a free-for-all where anybody could trespass on those dams," said Schafer, who handled the misdemeanor trespassing complaint against Gatski that launched the deeper argument.

 

"If the court had accepted defense's position, you could have literally walked anyplace on these dams, on the aprons, on the gratings, on the tops, anywhere between the river banks."

 

Gatski says his fight has cost him far more than the price of a $100 to $500 misdemeanor trespassing ticket. Still, he and his lawyer, Patrick Duff of Portland, are considering whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court.  "I'm a steelheader," Gatski said. "Sometimes, it's about the principle."

It was in November two years ago that Gatski said a state conservation officer ordered him to the river bank from atop Webber Dam's gratings. Gatski cut his line, releasing what he believed was a 12 to 14 pound steelhead, a rainbow trout that

grows large in Lake Michigan before returning to its natal stream to spawn.

 

Gatski then waded to the officer to receive his ticket.

 

"I wasn't so angry at the conservation officer. I happen to know the guy. He was doing what his bosses told him to do," Gatski said. "The county makes a lot of money ticketing fishermen for something that isn't illegal."  Rather than pay a fine in Ionia District Court, Gatski appealed and won. Ionia Circuit Judge Charles Miel threw out the charge, agreeing with Gatski's argument that Consumers Energy had no right to regulate his fishing or block his access to the river.

Under state recreation laws, a fisherman can walk on a privately owned riverbank to get around an obstruction, and a hunter can retrieve his dog from a neighbor's property. But there is no right to track a wounded deer onto the neighbor's property without permission. The court ruled Gatski had no right to stand on a portion of the dam to retrieve his catch.  The state's riparian rights also declare waterways are open from bank-to-bank to everyone, but dams are placed with federal permission, which include safety mandates, the appeals judges noted in Wednesday's ruling.

The lower court's ruling was in error, according to Appeals Judges Jane Markey, William Murphy and Michael Talbot.  Unless Gatski can prove it was necessary to climb on the gratings to avoid a natural hazard or obstruction, he likely trespassed, the judges said.

 

The judges also ruled that unfettered access to public waterways around a dam are limited by the utility company's responsibility for public safety.  The dam's water-release gates "pose a significant risk to safety and life if the gates were opened while a person was within that area," the court wrote.

 

The Webber Dam, at 32 feet high and 1,200 feet long, is the tallest on the Grand River. Behind it is a 7-mile-long, 660 acre reservoir. The facility produces hydroelectricity with water that pours through two generators. The only way around for fish is the tallest fish ladder east of the Mississippi, according to Gatski.

 

Unless Gatski appeals -- and the state's highest court agrees to hear it – the January 21st  decision sends his charge back to Ionia District Court for trial or payment of a fine. "I'm not dismissing the ticket," vowed Schafer, the prosecutor. "This wasn't an issue of picking on the fisherman. It was an issue of safety and not using dams for recreational purposes."


Little River Band spearing river salmon
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians licensed band members to spear salmon on two tributaries of the Manistee River in the fall of 2003.  Archie Martell, a Great Lakes fisheries biologist with the

band’s conservation department, revealed the activity took place while speaking at the Michigan Sea Grant meeting on Saturday, January 24 at the Ramada Inn in Ludington.

Black Lake Sturgeon Rules Announced

 State Fisheries officials  announced this year's guidelines for the annual winter sturgeon fishing season on Presque Isle County's Black Lake. The winter sturgeon season on Black Lake was designed to provide a winter lake sturgeon fishery while addressing the need to rehabilitate seriously depleted sturgeon stocks by reducing the harvest.

 

This year's harvest limit is five fish, and a 36" size minimum applies. Anglers are selected randomly from a daily lottery. Selected anglers may fish between 8 - 5 p.m. of the day their name is drawn. Registration begins Feb. 12 at noon for the first day of fishing on Feb. 15. Unsuccessful applicants may apply for the next day's drawing. The season runs until the end of February, or until the harvest goal is met.

 

Anglers interested in registering for the drawing should call the Department of Natural Resources' Report All Poaching hotline 800-292-7800, or apply in person at The Bluffs Resort, 10905 High Bluffs Dr., Cheboygan. All applicants must be at least 17-

years of age and have a valid Michigan fishing license.

 

Following each daily drawing at 7 pm, the list of successful applicants is posted at the Bluffs and available by calling the RAP hotline. All tags, flags, and other items required by anglers to fish this special season are available at the Bluff's Resort beginning at 7 a.m. on the morning for which they are valid. Participating anglers must pick up their tags or notify participating DNR personnel by 10 a.m. or forfeit their opportunity for that day. Any unclaimed tags will be available to anglers at the resort through a secondary lottery drawing. Tags are not transferable, and anglers must present proof of identification when pickup up their tags.

 

Those taking sturgeon illegally face jail time, fines up to $3,000 and loss of one's fishing license. These measures were implemented as part of the state's commitment to rehabilitate Michigan's sturgeon numbers.  For more details on sturgeon fishing regulations, see page 22 of the 2003 Michigan Fishing Guide, or visit the DNR web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr .


Group pushes salmon planting

South Shore Fishing Association wants their coho back

MARQUETTE — The Marquette-based South Shore Fishing Association is stepping up pressure on the DNR to reinstate coho salmon planting in Lake Superior.  The SSFA is starting a petition to show support for their call to plant 100,000 coho annually for five years in the Chocolay River. The association will present the petition to high-level DNR officials at a September meeting in Sault St. Marie.


"We want those coho put back," association president Dan Cook said.
 

The call for more coho comes from what the 150 association members say is a decline in the catch of the popular sport fish from what they describe as phenomenal seasons in the late 1970s through the 1980s.
 

Coho were planted by the hundreds of thousands in the Dead, Chocolay and Carp Rivers from 1967 through 1993 and once in 1996. As the fish mature they enter Lake Superior, grow, then reenter the river where they were hatched or planted, and spawn.

 

According to the association, 1.6 million coho are planted annually in Michigan. Of those only 25,000 are earmarked for Lake Superior.


Research done in the early 1990s showed coho populations naturally producing in the area and the DNR decided to curtail planting. Association members say DNR officials working at that time promised the department would be back to plant if the coho population declined. 

 

"Our research showed the hatchery fish were not contributing to the fishery," Marquette Fisheries Research Station Manager Phil Schneeberger said. "Our perspective was, why spend the money and effort if it’s not contributing?

"Schneeberger said the department uses creel surveys and test netting to determine estimates of fish populations in Lake Superior. Schneeberger admitted that recent coho numbers can't be described as spectacular, but said the department feels the increase in the number of lake trout in Lake Superior would cause a coho plant to fail.

 

Schneeberger said coho planted today would enter a different Lake Superior than the original plant because lake trout have regained their natural place as the top predator and would consume and out-compete the young salmon.  "Being the native fish, they're the dominant species and in truth that's what we'd like to see,” Schneeberger said.

 

"Certain years saw a boom, but there were years during stocking that creel surveys showed less than 1,000 cohos," Schneeberger said. "You have to accept the fact that when planting a non-native fish you can't guarantee the results."

 

However, the association takes issue with the department's methods and science. Cook said members feel lake trout numbers aren't as high as the DNR claims and that even if they are, the members aren't willing to have a one-species fishery.  "We never would have formed if lake trout numbers were high," Cook said. "Their creel estimates and their models are flawed."
 

Schneeberger said the department has met with the group and would like to see things ironed out but discussion seems to be at an impasse. "They flat out don’t believe our numbers and I don’t really know how to answer that -we've got the numbers," Schneeberger said. "Creel surveys have been done since 1987 and our test nets have been used since the late 1970s."
Cook said the association's concerns go beyond themselves to the community at large.  "This is about economics as well," Cook said.  "Marquette is starting to develop itself around Lake Superior ... and who's going to want to buy those new townhouses in Marquette’s lower harbor, overlooking a dead sea?”


NRC welcomes new members, honors CO of the year

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission recently honored Michigan's Conservation Officer of the Year and welcomed two new members to the Department of Natural Resources' policy body.

 

Conservation Officer Bruce Borkovich was selected by Safari International as Michigan's CO of the Year. Borkovich, a 17-year veteran of the DNR Law Enforcement Division, has accrued a long list of accomplishments during more than 13 years as an officer in Isabella County. He was promoted in 2000 to Detective, and uses his skills as an investigator to crack cases involving Michigan's fish & game resources as a member of the DNR's Wildlife Resource Protection Unit. He has taught firearms tactics, snowmobile enforcement, and waterfowl enforcement to fellow conservation officers and maintains a leading role as an instructor at the division's recruit academies. 

 

Bruce Borkovich is one of three brothers who serve as Michigan Conservation Officers. Michael and John Borkovich also have

been selected as CO of the Year in previous years.

 

The NRC welcomed new Commissioners Mary Brown, of Kalamazoo and Gerald Hall, of Gaines, appointed by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm this week. They replace Jim Campbell and Paul Eisele, whose terms expired.

 

The Commission continued its discussion to refine its priorities for 2004, and announced the following NRC Policy Subcommittee assignments:

●  Finance and Administration: William Parfet (chair), Frank Wheatlake, Gerald Hall.

 Upper Peninsula Habitat: John Madigan (chair), Wheatlake, Bob Garner.

●  Wildlife: Garner (chair), Hall, Parfet

 Land Management: Keith Charters (chair), Mary Brown, Madigan.

●  Technology, Information, Marketing & Education: Brown (chair), Garner, Charters.


Minnesota

DNR Fisheries Round Table highlights

By Capt John Raisanen

 This year’s Round Table, held January 9 – 10, 2004,  was far different from last year.  This year the DNR and Oversight Committees gave updates on status, proposals and future visions.  The Fisheries Round Table did not have any big controversies like the lead sinker issue from last year. 

 

Commissioner Merriam:

  • Strong connection with hunting and fishing.  Both activities share resources and need to be worked together to prevent one department from implementing decisions which conflict with the other.

  • Fiscal Integrity – funding received from the various stamps is to be used to support the activity related.  (JR: It appears the Trout Stamp funding will be used to a large extent in SE MN trout streams.)

  • Funding for the DNR comes from user fees (60%) and the General Fund (40%)

  • The DNR Enforcement budget will be increased. 

 

Deputy Halston:

  • The have been organizational issues in the DNR of the past.  The various departments have related concerns and need to work together to solve the issues.  Divisional boundaries need to be removed and will be done using a Balanced Matrix Organization structure. (JR:  This is a current buzzword in industry and can help however, an employee still owes allegiance to the person who “signs his time card and gives his raise.)

 

John Guenther – Grand Rapids

  • MN resources are in good condition

  • The DNR hires only the best people

  • Conservation is not only for public lands but is a private land issue.  The DNR intends to work with private land owners to promote conservation.  The DNR seems unhappy with companies like Potlatch who are taking large tracts of their land and leasing them to private individuals.  These lands are then posted for no trespassing where before they were open to public use.

 

Don Schreiner – Lake Superior Fisheries

  • For a copy of his presentation look at: www.finntasticcharters.com/DNR/roundtable.htm

  • The DNR has been following the Lake Superior Management Plan published in 1995.  It is an Operational Plan telling the DNR what to do and when.  The plan is due to be revised for 2005.  (JR: The NSCCA needs to be a part of the revised LSMP.)

  • Natural Lake Trout catch rates are up and Stocked Lake Trout catch rates are down.  There is no more stocking of Lake Trout in MN3 and a renewed interest in commercial netting has been expressed by users.
  • 75% to 80% of the Lake Trout are Natural.

  • Predator consumption controls the forage base.

  • Commercial smelt fishing is at a low.  Last spring 2000 lbs of smelt were commercially netted. 

  • Wild numbers of salmon are up.

  • Salmon catch rate in the summer is up.

  • Lake Superior is considered a successful sport fishery where native fish dominate.

  • The catch rate on Lake Superior is similar to other Great Lakes.

  • The number of Charter Captains has declined from 100 to 40 or 50.

  • Charter fishing has a success rate double the private rate.

  • In the future stocking of Lake Trout and Salmon will be reduced.

 

Jack Wingate – DNR Exotic Species

  • Asian Carp are the newest concern. 

  • MN has not seen the flying carp however, they are in Iowa.

  • MN has hired consultants to evaluate technology to deal with the Asian Carp.  A risk assessment will be performed to determine impact to recreation and other interests.

  • Zebra mussels have been found in Brainerd.  They are difficult to chemically control.  The DNR is reviewing several options for implementation in the Brainerd area this spring.

 

Lead Sinker

  • The DNR views the lead sinker issue not as a Loon/Eagle issue but more as a toxin in the environment.

  • The DNR will promote the availability of non-lead tackle and will recommend a phased approach to a lead ban.

  • Senator Solon has introduced a Lead Sinker Education bill.

  • Tackle manufacturers claim the New England studies do not apply to MN.  The cost of alternative tackle is 1/3 to 2 times the current manufacturing cost.

  • The Office of Environmental Assistance is offering funding for education and technical development of alternatives.  In a Risk Assessment, lead ranks in the top 25 pollutants.

 

Clean Water

  • The Governor’s Clean Water Initiative will get attention this year from the DNR.

  • Experimental projects include: St Paul/Mpls water quality and quantity, Red River flood control and wetlands restoration, SE MN Trout Stream improvements, Brainerd (5 county) water quality improvement.

 

Tax funding for increased DNR budget

  • The 3/16 of 1% allocation of the sales tax to the DNR has not passed.  Senator Solon cast the deciding vote.

  • A discussion was held to generate support for an additional 3/8 of 1% sales tax  and not pursue the 3/16 bill.  The 3/8 discussion was to provide half the new funding for current DNR efforts and the other half for Clean Water projects.


Fishing Report, January 29, 2004

ALEXANDRIA -

Lake Geneva crappie bite going in about 12 feet of water. Carlos, Ida and Reno producing a few walleyes. Try Darling for some big northern pike action.

 

ANNANDALE -

 For walleye action, try Clearwater or Francis in 15-22 feet of water. Clearwater and Francis are also producing a few crappies, along with the walleyes. Try Pleasant for a good crappie bite.

 

BEMIDJI -

Still some good walleye reports coming from Bemidji Lake, evening bite is best.

 

BIG STONE -

Artichoke Lake narrows has been producing some crappies and walleyes, best reports coming from anglers fishing in the evening hours. Big Stone's south end has been kicking out some walleyes in 12 feet of water.

 

BLACKDUCK -

Winni perch anglers still catching fish in the shallows near the flowage

 

Brainerd Lakes Area -

I wish I could say that the walleye and northern fishing had improved as well, but with the exception of a few isolated reports of larger fish being taken, fishing for these species was slower this week. The bright spot was the panfish action. The sunfish have been biting on North Long, Pillager and Gladstone lakes. Key depths have been in 6-10 feet of water. Eurolarvae on small jigs have been producing most of the fish. The crappie action has been respectable on Upper Gull, Hubert and Round lakes. Most of the crappies have been coming out of 24-30 feet of water. Light lines and small baits have been out producing most other techniques.

 

CROSSLAKE -

 Walleye action continues to be steady with lots of smaller fish being taken during the evening hours. Try rattle spoons tipped with rainbows or fatheads in about 18-26 feet of water. Pelican, Crosslake and Whitefish lakes are good choices. Northern action continues along the outer edge of the weedline, use large pike minnows on tip-ups. Lake trout action is good on Trout Lake. Anglers are finding fish in 45-60 feet of water using jigging spoons with shiner minnows. Crappies are being picky, small jigs with waxworms or eurolarvae in 16-20 feet of water should provide the best action.

 

DETROIT LAKES -

Panfish action remains good on Cotton, Wolf, Little Detroit, Little Pelican and Lizzie. White Earth Lake is kicking out a few walleyes in 20-24 feet of water, late afternoon bite. Also try Strawberry, Pelican or Cotton. Rattle Spoons tipped with a minnow working best. Good northern pike reports have been coming from Big Sugarbush Lake.

 

DULUTH -

Fish Lake is producing some northern pike. Island Lake is producing a few walleye. And Lake Saganaga is producing lake trout suspended in about 30-40 feet of water. Jigging spoons working best.

 

GRAND RAPIDS -

 Bowstring Lake walleye reports have been good, try 20-22 feet of water. Pokegama and Little Splithand also kicking out some walleye in around the same depths. The Tioga Pit has been producing some big rainbow trout.

 

HACKENSACK -

 Good panfish reports are coming from Pleasant and Birch. Try around 20-25 feet of water, early

evening bite your best bet. Northern pike action has been excellent on Webb Lake in the same depths.

 

KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN -

Snow and cold continue to impede fishing on Kabetogama and Namakan. A snowmobile is nearly a must to get around. Spearing is slowing up and walleye and sauger continues to provide some action. Best access is the Ash River visitor center. Jig and minnow combinations are the most dependable presentations at the time. Some anglers are snowmobiling to the inland lakes for trout fishing with some success.

 

LAKE OF THE WOODS -

The Northwest Angle and Islands report excellent walleye, bass, sauger and jumbo perch fishing. Some guides are fishing near Garden Island in 16-20 feet of water. Resorters around Oak Island report good fishing, with lots of walleye and perch being caught on 1/4-ounce gold jigs. Report of a 30-inch walleye caught three miles from Oak Island. Rainy River anglers having good luck landing eating-sized walleyes and saugers. The current in Rainy is the strongest in the middle, and anglers are having their best luck at the current break on the shelf. Gold and glow jigs seem to be the favored presentation. Areas around the South Shore report great walleye, jumbo perch and northern pike fishing. Anglers are out about eight miles off of Pine Island in 26-32 feet of water. Most common presentation continues to be anything light or bright, and 1/4-ounce glow jigs.

 

LEECH LAKE -

Walker Bay walleye action has been average, try jigging in 20-24 feet of water. Crappie action has been best during the evening hours.

 

MANKATO -

Lura producing walleyes. This is still a shallow bite at night. Glow jigs working best

 

MILLE LACS -

Fishing has been slow for many Mille Lacs anglers the past

few weeks, lots of little perch, a few big perch and a few small walleye. Although, each week we see pockets of consistent big perch popping up. They don't often last long, and the odds of stringing together a limit are slim, but they do exist. These fish won't likely track you down in your cozy 8x16. No, you'll have to go in search of them. Put the big spoons away for now and stick to a smaller presentation with a waxie, eurolarvae or a crappie minnow. Some of the better spots include Agate Reef, Wahkon Bay and Shaw's Reef.

 

NISSWA -

Fishing in the area has slowed a bit. Walleye anglers are now catching a single big fish once in a while. Stealth has been the key. Stay quiet and use a nice medium to big golden shiner on light line, 4- to 6-pound test and a plain hook. Gull Lake has received the most attention lately. Good depths to try are 35-45 feet along the drop off near larger bars with structure. The crappie action has been consistent with the best bite occurring between 4 and 7 at night. Eurolarvae or crappie minnows are producing the majority of the bites. North Long and Cullen have been good choices for the panfish. Playing keep away with the crappies is a good tactic right now. When they come in on the Vexilar, jig your bait above them. They will come for your bait slowly, and when they do - slowly raise your bait about a foot. They usually hit. Works great with small glow jigs and Eurolarvae. Good luck this week and enjoy the snow!

 

RAINY LAKE -

Mixed reports coming from the Sand Bay and Rainy Lake City areas. Some have reported the fishing has been a little more challenging and somewhat on the slow side. Others have reported success in those same areas catching big northern pike fishing deep and using larger bait. We highly recommend

experimenting with a variety of bait and tackle, and locations. You may increase your angling chances if you head out on snowmobile to some of your favorite summer reef locations. Rainy Lake walleyes tend to be a little deeper this time of year, so try down to 55 feet.

 

SAINT CLOUD -

For some sunfish and crappie action, try Pearl or Cedar Island in 15 feet of water. Grand Lake northern pike bite has been okay in 10-15 feet of water.

 

SAINT CROIX -

The bite on the St. Croix River's Bayport area is fair for crappies. In addition to crappies, big white bass (stripers, silvers) are turning up in the mix, also saugers are biting better and a few are good sized. The crappies continue to be big, with of course smaller ones as well. Crappie locations remain over the deep basin in 36-40 feet, and bobbers with crappie minnows are the best approach for all species. Trucks have been driving on the ice and crossing the Andersen "Bridge" for nearly three weeks.

 

STARBUCK

Crappie action has been excellent on the Glenwood end of Lake Minnewaska. A few walleye also reported in the mix. Perch action has been good on Minnewaska in 10-20 feet of water.

 

UPPER RED LAKE -

The fishing the past week has been very decent with many limits being caught. The weather held things up for a little while with the blowing snow and cold temps. We are now pretty stable with the weather and the fish have been biting again. As long as the weather stays stable, the fishing seems to stay stable. If you have an extension, bring it with you, as the cold temps have created some more ice. The northerns also have been hitting as of late with many reports of 15- to 20-pounders.

 

LAKE VERMILION AREA -

 Thanks to portable and permanent fish houses, anglers were able to fish in comfort this past week even when the temperature dropped well below zero. The fish must have went south because most anglers went home with empty fish bags. Walleye and crappie anglers on Lake Vermilion had their worst week of fishing this winter and for those few anglers who managed a couple of fish for supper they were grateful for their catch. Both walleye and crappie anglers had to move around and drill many holes to find anything that resembled fish. But for those few who were willing to brave the elements and work at fishing, were rewarded with enough for supper.

 

Small area lakes fared better as small crappies seemed to be biting throughout this past week. Northern pike anglers also found plenty of action but no trophies. Lake trout fishing on Burntside and Snowbank lakes near Ely were producing about a fish per trip per angling party. The deep snow and slush on the lake is preventing many anglers from getting to their favorite hot spots. Burntside Lake last week (even with four wheel drive) was difficult to get too far off plowed roads. Trout Lake in the BWCA off of Lake Vermilion has its share of slush and deep snow, which has made it very difficult for anglers to get to their favorite fishing holes. Snowshoeing is your best transportation if you're planing a trip to Trout Lake or anywhere in the BWCA if you don't have the luxury of a dog sled team.

 

WABASHA -

 Some good walleye reports still coming from Lake Pepin, afternoon bite, minnows your best bait.

 

WACONIA -

 Pillsbury Reef on Lake Waconia is producing crappie action in 20 feet of water. Late afternoon bite has been best.

 

WILLMAR -

 Green, Foot, Long and Eagle are your best bets for some good walleye action. Evening bite is

best here. Crappies also biting on Eagle, try 30-40 feet of water. For some perch, try Big Kandi or Long in 14 feet of water.   

Courtesy: Minnesota Office of Tourism


Great Lake Aquarium gets out from under $6.5 million of debt

Duluth city officials are wiping $6.5 million off the books of the Great Lakes Aquarium, a move they say will make the tourist attraction a better candidate for private donations.

 

A great freshwater exhibit located in the heart of Duluth, on the shores of Lake Superior, there's always something new and exciting going on at Great Lakes Aquarium & Freshwater

Discovery Center. New exhibits, new programs and new animals! A new exhibit is now open, and features Nile crocodiles, African rock pythons, hedgehogs, weaver birds, hairy baboon tarantulas, lungfish, colorful cichlid fish, Nile perch and more.

 

For more info:  218) 740-FISH (3474) http://www.glaquarium.org


Ohio

Stocking Steelhead Benefits Anglers and Economy, Research Shows
The economic benefits of steelhead trout fishing in Lake Erie’s tributaries may outweigh the costs of stocking the fish—which has been done since 1975—according to a new Ohio Sea Grant study. From October 2002 to April 2003, extension specialists Dave Kelch and Frank Lichtkoppler surveyed steelhead anglers at popular streamside locations and invited participation in a mail survey, which brought 375 respondents.

The survey found that anglers not only took an average of 44 steelhead fishing trips per year (with 72 percent of the trips taken at the site contacted), but that most (94 percent) took

single-day trips. They caught an average of 1.33 fish per day and 58.4 per season, with approximately 88 percent of the fish released.  Those surveyed spend approximately $26 per trip, with more than 60 percent of these expenditures within 10 miles of the sites where they are fishing.

 

"The study revealed anglers value their Ohio stream steelhead experience between $36 to $50 per trip, and value each steelhead caught between $27 and $38,” stated Kelch. “Considering the average cost to stock steelhead is approximately $1.44 per fish, the benefits certainly outweigh the costs."


Pennsylvania

New State Record Sucker

A Titusville man jigging for walleye on the Allegheny River got an unexpected early Christmas present when he instead landed a new state record sucker.

 

Raymond Szalewicz was fishing a familiar spot in the river near West Hickory, Forest County, on December 13 at a location where he had previously landed a number of nice walleye, including a 30-incher.  Casting a black jig in the direction of some woody debris, he was letting the lure settle toward the bottom when he felt a telltale bump and his line began to move upstream.

 

"I immediately assumed it was a walleye and I knew it was heavier than the big one I caught there before at the same spot, but even by walleye standards it did not fight much.  It just held fast in the current heading upstream," Szalewicz said.  He soon turned the fish and "when it rolled, I saw its belly the first time. I still thought it was a walleye.  It came in easily, but its weight and the current made it very difficult to maneuver it to the collapsible net I carry."

Soon he realized the fish was a sucker, but not just any sucker.  After he measured it in the net, he began to suspect that he might have a special catch.  A weighing on a certified scale confirmed it: at 12 lbs, 14.4 oz, it was the largest fish of its kind on record in Pennsylvania. The previous record sucker was caught in 1995 by Troy A. Bemis of Endeavor. It weighed 12 lb. 9 oz., and was also from the Allegheny River in Forest County.

Pennsylvania certifies state records based on total body weight. Potential record fish must exceed the established mark by at least one ounce, as weighed on a certified scale.

 

To be considered for state record certification, a fish must be caught using legal means, in season, from Pennsylvania waters open to the public without charge or fee. Fish taken from farm ponds, fee-fishing lakes, ponds or streams or in waters restricted to use by club members or their guests do not qualify. A biologist or Waterways Conservation Officer from the PFBC must examine the fish. The PFBC is the only entity that can certify an official state record fish in the Commonwealth.

 


Austen Sworn In As Ninth PFBC Executive Director

Dr. Douglas J. Austen has been officially sworn in as the new Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.  Austen took the oath of office as part of the agency’s winter quarterly meeting January 27 in Harrisburg.

 

Dr. Austen brings to the PFBC more than 25 years of fisheries and natural resource management experience in a variety of top-level positions.  Prior to his hiring, he served as head of the Technical Support Section of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and as an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois.

 

He earned a Doctorate from the Department of Animal Ecology at Iowa State University in 1992.  In addition, he holds a Master of Science Degree with an emphasis in Fisheries Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from South Dakota State University.  He is a Certified Fisheries Professional by the American Fisheries Society.  Dr. Austen’s work has been published in a variety of professional

publications.

 

In his remarks at the Commission meeting, Dr. Austen cited both his experiences and his personal passion for natural resources as motivations for seeking the challenges and opportunities that come with his new position.  "I want to see positive impacts on the resource.  That is why I got into this profession, that is why I am here, and that is what we will do. Good boating and fishing is dependent upon good water quality and proper habitat.  Water quality and habitat are part of a larger landscape system.  Looking at aquatic systems from a broader perspective will position us to be key players in creating solutions that will result in quality fishing and boating experiences," he said.

 

Austen is an avid outdoorsman.  He grew up with a love for fishing and started an angling club at his high school. He is an experienced paddler who loves to canoe. His other hobbies include Nordic and downhill skiing, woodworking, running and scuba diving. He and his wife, Lezli, have four-year-old twins who love to fish.


Organizations Encouraged to Nominate Water Trails for Grant Funding

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is encouraging applicable organizations to nominate their developing water trails now to be eligible for grants that will be available later this spring through the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.

 

Some $2 million in funding will be offered this spring through the Gateways Network, including monies for the development of water trail-related projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  To be eligible to apply for and receive grant funding under this program, new or developing water trails must first be nominated and designated into the Gateways Network.  The Gateways Network includes over 125 designated Gateways, including 17 water trails.  The nomination process requires a project description, letters of support and basic organization information.  The deadline for the nomination process is February 20, 2004. Information on the Gateways Network and the nomination process are

available at www.baygateways.net/aboutthenetwork.cfm

 

Water trails are boat routes suitable for canoes, kayaks and small motorized watercraft.  Like conventional trails, water trails are recreational corridors between specific locations.  Water trails are comprised of access points, boat launches, day use sites, and -- in some cases -- overnight camping areas.  The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is the sole agency to designate Official Pennsylvania Water Trails.  However, individual trails and trail corridors are conceived and maintained by a network of volunteers, property owners, civic groups and associations.  Each Pennsylvania Water Trail is unique, a reflection of Pennsylvania's diverse geology, ecology and communities.

 

Pennsylvania’s water trails initiative relies heavily on the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Water Trails Program to fund quality projects in the Commonwealth’s portion of the bay watershed.  For more information on Official Pennsylvania Water Trails, visit the PFBC website at www.fish.state.pa.us


Game Commission releases official 2003 Bear Harvest Figures

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Game Commission's final harvest report for the statewide three-day bear season and extended season in several northeastern counties shows hunters took exactly 3,000 bears. It marks the third time in four years that hunters have taken 3,000 or more bears.

 

Hunters took 2,851 bears during the three-day season, and 149 during the extended season held in all or parts of eight counties that comprise Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 3D. The core area of the Poconos hunt remains in Pike and Monroe counties, but it also includes portions of Wayne, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties.

 

Although the size of the 2003 harvest wasn't surprising, the way the harvest came in was somewhat unusual. Proportionately, the season's first-day harvest was one of the lowest the state has seen in years. Hunters normally take about 63 percent of the harvest on the first day. This year, it was 55 percent (1,575), despite fair hunting weather. However, after snow fell late in the day on the opener, hunters responded by taking 877 bears on the second day of the statewide season, or 31 percent of the three-day statewide harvest. Normally, hunters take about 24 percent on the second day of season.

 

Lycoming County led the state in bear harvest with 202. Eleven other counties posted bear harvests that exceeded 100. They were: Clinton with 193; Tioga, 156; Pike, 147; Wayne, 130; McKean, 129; Potter, 124; Centre, 122; Monroe, 112; Luzerne, 103; Cameron, 102; and Clearfield, 101.

 

Most hunters used rifles to take their bears, however, 18 used shotguns; 11 used handguns; nine used a muzzleloader; five used compound bows; and one used a crossbow. In addition, 53 women participated in the bear season.

 

An age breakdown of hunters who took bears in the season is: 12-16 years old, 113; 17-21, 149; 22-26, 218; 27-31, 258; 32-36, 374; 37-41, 382; 42-46, 409; 47-51, 338; 52-56, 235; 57-61, 135; 62-66, 115; 67-71, 68; 72-76, 33; 77-81, 13; and 82-86, 1. 

 

Hunters took three bears that had estimated live weights more than 800 pounds. Unfortunately, one of those three was eventually determined to have been taken illegally. The largest bear was an unbelievable 864-pound male bear taken in Dingman Township, Pike County,. by Douglas Kristiansen of

Milford. Another, taken by Ray R. Reper of Branchville, New Jersey, was an 837-pound male killed in Dingman Township, Pike County.

 

Other top bears - all listed with estimated live weights - are:

♦ 739 lb male taken in Weatherly Township, Carbon County, by Brian J. Coxe of Weatherly

♦ 725 lb male taken in Sweden Township, Potter County, by Benjamin A. Long of Coudersport

♦ 664 lb male taken in Greene Township, Pike County, by Thomas J. Young of Jacksonville, Florida

♦ 661 lb male taken in Tell Township, Huntingdon County, by Gregg E. Walls of Dry Run

♦ 648 lb male taken in Cherry Ridge Township, Wayne County, by Andrew G. Box of Honesdale

♦ 644 lb male taken in Knox Township, Clarion County, by Brandon S. Carson of Monongahela

♦ 642 lb male taken in Beech Creek Township, Clinton County, by James S. Hoover of Lititz, and

♦ 642 lb male taken in Stroud Township, Monroe County, by Donald W. Labar of Saylorsburg.

 

Following is a breakdown of county harvests by region with 2002's harvest figures in parenthesis:

Northwest - Warren, 71 (47) ; Jefferson, 54 (40); Forest, 43 (33); Clarion, 40 (21); Venango, 40 (37); Butler, 6 (7); Crawford, 6 (2); and Mercer, 1 (1).

 

Southwest - Somerset, 75 (88); Indiana, 69 (51); Fayette, 61 (56); Armstrong, 57 (28); Westmoreland, 29 (38); and Cambria, 27 (27).

 

Northcentral - Lycoming, 202 (224); Clinton, 193 (179); Tioga, 156 (109); McKean, 129 (108); Potter, 124 (97); Centre, 122 (114); Cameron, 102 (84); Clearfield, 101 (91); Elk, 87 (88); and Union, 46 (22).

 

Southcentral - Huntingdon, 94 (78); Bedford, 40 (60); Blair, 38 (30); Mifflin, 28 (25); Snyder, 18 (17); Juniata, 11 (8); Cumberland, 2 (0); Fulton, 2 (6); and Perry, 2 (0).

 

Northeast - Pike, 147 (225); Wayne, 130 (75); Monroe, 112 (116); Luzerne, 103 (67); Sullivan, 86 (28); Bradford, 59 (70); Carbon, 44 (102); Columbia, 42 (41); Wyoming, 42 (18); Lackawanna, 37 (27); Susquehanna, 37 (22); Northumberland, 11 (5); and Montour, 1 (0).

 

Southeast - Schuylkill, 39 (49); Dauphin, 14 (9); Lehigh, 7 (5); Northampton, 6 (2); Lebanon, 4 (7); and Berks, 3 (0).


Ontario

Lake Erie Commercials fined $10,000 for using Illegal Gill Nets

WINDSOR — Two Leamington commercial fishermen have been fined $10,000 for using illegal nets to catch yellow perch.  Claudio Adragna and Gaspare Adragna were convicted on two charges of possessing illegal gill nets. They were fined $5,000 each.

 

These convictions represent the end in a series of successful prosecutions by conservation officers dating back to 1998 and 1999.  During those two years, officers targeted the use of illegal gill nets to catch yellow perch. Their investigation has resulted in 17 convictions and $224,000 in fines. The undersized nets used by the Adragnas were found by Lake Erie Management Unit conservation officers when they inspected the fishing vessel 'Coranet' on September 14, 1998, in Kingsville harbour and 15 days later in Wheatley harbour.

 

Commercial fishing licence conditions state that gill nets used

to catch yellow perch can’t have a mesh size less than 57 mm. Conservation officers seized 89 nets, of which 84 had a mesh size less than 57 mm and some 52.4 mm. The nets were forfeited to the Crown.

 

Yellow perch stocks and harvests declined dramatically in the early 1990s.  Smaller mesh nets catch small yellow perch that are too young to spawn, which can seriously set back efforts to rehabilitate stocks. Most perch caught in a legal gill net are about 20 cm in length and have spawned at least once.

 

Justice of the Peace R. Gay heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor on August  19-20, 2003. The penalty was handed down January 21, 2004. The public is encouraged to protect its natural resources by reporting violations to their local MNR office or to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

 


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