Week of February 11, 2008

World
National

Regional

General
Lake Erie
Lake Ontaio

Michigan
Minnesota
New York
Ohio
Wisconsin

 

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World

Global Warming not cause of Polar Ice Cap Retreat

Global warming is not causing any significant retreat of polar ice caps, despite claims to the contrary in some media reports, says James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute.

 

Although Arctic sea ice last summer reached its minimum extent since satellites began measuring the ice in 1979, NASA scientists have discovered the sea ice retreated due to variable local wind patterns rather than global warming. Moreover, the ice re-formed at a record pace last fall.  In the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctic sea ice is at its greatest extent in recorded history. The majority of Antarctica is in a prolonged cold spell and has been accumulating snow and ice for decades.

For more information on polar ice caps:

Latest Antarctic Sea Ice Extent

http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/latest_antarctic_sea_ice_extent2/

 

Escalating Ice Loss Found in Antarctica

Sheets Melting in an Area Once Thought to Be Unaffected by Global Warming

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/artic_ice_loss.html

 

Arctic Sea Ice Unaffected by Global Warming

http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22375

 

Antarctic Sea Ice Sets Records in Oct.

http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22362


National

Congress moves to seize control of all U.S. Waters

Congressional leaders are attempting to pass the Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007 (HR2421 and S1870) that would amend the 1972 Clean Water Act and replace the words "navigable waters" with "waters of the United States." 

 

The Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007 defines "waters of the United States" with such scope that federal agencies would be required to regulate use of every square inch of the U.S., both public and private.  The proposed definition states: "The term 'waters of the United States' means all waters subject to ebb and flow of the tides, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes [a flat dried up area, esp. a desert basin.] natural ponds and all impoundment of the foregoing, to the fullest extent that these waters are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution."

 

This is a result of U. S. Supreme Court's recent decision that the words "navigable waters" in the Clean Water Act limited federal agencies to regulation of navigable waters only.  

Wetlands (HR 2421) Bill also gives Corps control over your property.

 

Congress is considering expanding the power of the Clean Water Act of 1972 to include all waters of the United States and not limit it to navigable waters as is currently the law under two Supreme Court Decisions.  Under the name "clean water", HR 2421 would give the Corps of Engineers and the Federal Government massive additional regulatory powers that supersede local and state government.

 

The bill would overturn two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that favored landowners and local government.  It would give federal agencies and the Corps of Engineers in particular almost unlimited control over land, water and people. 

 

Reed Hopper, lead attorney in the latest Supreme Court victory for landowners said "...this bill pushes the limit of federal power to an extreme not matched by any other law, probably in the history of this country.  Jim Burling, senior attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, said "If our constitutional system of limited federal powers means anything, we have to win on this issue."


Youth Hunting Bill Moving in Four States

Families Afield Remains Successful

Elected officials in four states are moving closer to enacting legislation lowering barriers that prevent the recruitment of new hunters

The Nebraska Senate passed Legislative Bill 690 on February first by a vote of 46-1 for the third and final time.  LB 690 creates an apprentice hunter education exemption certificate, which allows an experienced hunter to take a newcomer hunting before completing a hunter education course.  The measure also lowers the deer hunting age for mentored youth from 12 to 10, allowing parents and mentors to share outdoor traditions with tomorrow’s hunters. 

 

In Virginia, companion legislation continues to move forward. SB 617 passed the Senate by a vote of 39-0 while HB 1175 passed the House by a vote of 98-0. The companion bills would create a 2 year apprentice license to allow newcomers to take to the field with a licensed adult hunter prior to the completion of hunter education. 

 

“These measures go a long way to ensure the future of our nation’s outdoor heritage and conservation efforts,” said Bud Pidgeon, USSA president.  “Through the apprentice hunting experience newcomers can learn the necessary tools to safely experience and enjoy the outdoors for years to come.”

In Indiana, House Bill 1046 creates an apprentice hunting license allowing resident or nonresident newcomers, who are accompanied by a license adult hunter, to hunt for 3 years prior to the completion of a hunter education course. HB 1046 passed the House on Jan. 24 by a vote of 89-1 and awaits additional hearings in the Senate.

 

Finally in Wisconsin, Assembly Bill 672 had its first hearing before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.  The bill would establish an apprentice hunting license for those ten years old and higher, while also removing an archaic ban on allowing youth under 12 to target shoot.  The measure passed out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on January 30th, with overwhelming support. 

 

The effort is part of the national Families Afield campaign, established by the USSA, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and National Wild Turkey Federation to urge states to review and eliminate unnecessary hunting age restrictions.  Together, with the support of the National Rifle Association and state and local sportsmen’s organization, the partnership has worked to ensure support for these measures. To date, 21 states have already enacted Families Afield style bills since the program was launched in 2004. 

 


Boat registrations down 1.5 %

Boat registrations nationally declined 1.5 % in 2006 compared to 2005, according to a new report from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

 

A total of 12.7 million vessels were registered in 2006, compared with 13 million in 2005, according to the 2006 U.S. Recreational Boat Registrations Statistics report. The report also ranks all 50 states by the number of boats registered.  Florida again received the top ranking among the states in terms of registered boats, with a total of 988,652. That figure reflects a 1.5 percent increase over 2005, led by a 4.4 percent increase in personal watercraft registrations. 

 

California ranked second overall, with 893,828 registrations, and Minnesota edged out the 2005 third-place holder, Michigan, with 862,937 registered vessels. The remaining top 10 states for powerboat registrations in 2006 include Michigan (828,529); Wisconsin (635,751); Texas (596,934); New York (497,974); South Carolina (436,075); Ohio (412,256); and Illinois (383,615).

 

“The boat registrations report provides an excellent tool for understanding what’s happening within the recreational marine industry on a state-by-state basis,” Jim Petru, NMMA

director of industry research and statistics, said in a statement. “The study provides valuable, in-depth information about the number of boats registered in each individual state, as well as meaningful data comparisons with previous years and specific information about state registration requirements.”

 

On a regional basis, the Great Lakes states earned the top spot in the regional registration rankings, accounting for nearly 3.3 million of the total 12.7 million registered vessels in 2006. The inland and south Atlantic regions, ranked number two and three, respectively. The inland region accounted for 2.4 million of total boat registrations in 2006, while the south Atlantic made up a little more than 2.1 million.

 

The 2006 U.S. Boat Registrations study is based on data collected from the Coast Guard in 2007, as reported by the individual 50 United States. Other sources used in compiling the report include the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Info-Link Technologies, and Statistical Surveys.

 

Boat registration statistics are the basis for allocating Aquatic Resources Trust Fund dollars among the states each year.


Herons in Chicago Wetlands Survive Exposure to Banned Toxics

CHICAGO (ENS) - Black-crowned night-herons nesting in the wetlands of southeast Chicago are still being exposed to chemicals banned in the United States in the 1970s, but the chemicals do not appear to be affecting the birds' reproductive success. U. of Illinois veterinary biosciences scientist Jeff Levengood, who led a newly published study of the herons, said chemicals banned 30 years ago for harmful effects on wildlife are still showing up in the herons' offspring.

 

The researchers found PCBs and DDE in the eggs of the night-herons nesting in wetlands adjacent to Lake Calumet. These wetlands are surrounded by industrial developments along Lake Michigan near the Illinois-Indiana border.

 

Levengood, a wildlife toxicologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, put together a research team with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Illinois Waste Management and Research Center, and Purdue and Duke universities. They found that the Lake Calumet herons appear to be picking up the contamination primarily from Lake Michigan by means of the alewife. Alewives harbor comparable levels of PCBs and DDE in their tissues, Levengood said. The spawning season of the alewife in Lake Michigan coincides with the nesting season of the night-herons.

 

"The alewives come to shore to spawn when the first warm waters of spring run into the lake and the temperature starts to rise," he said. "There are untold millions of these things along the shore in April."

 

On several occasions the researchers saw large numbers of night-herons, "in some cases a hundred birds or more," along the sea walls on the southwest shore of Lake Michigan, Levengood said. "They'd be standing there peering into the water, and then they'd kind of do a belly flop into the water and grab a fish."

The researchers collected data over two years and conducted several genetic, biochemical and reproductive analyses to determine whether the chemical exposures were adversely affecting the birds. They looked at DNA strand length, a measure of genetic damage, and oxidative stress, a contributor to aging and disease. They compared the number of eggs and the viability of the eggs and young chicks to those in other, less polluted reference colonies of black-crowned night-herons in Minnesota and Virginia.

 

"These were all normal compared to the reference colonies," Levengood said. The team found no evidence of eggshell-thinning, which is sometimes associated with exposure to DDE. "So that's the good news: Even though they're getting an exposure, it's not enough to cause problems - at least in those parameters we measured," Levengood said.

 

Populations of black-crowned night-herons in the Lake Calumet wetlands have fluctuated in the last 20 years, peaking at more than 1,500 birds in the early to mid-1990s. Birders counted 447 black-crowns in Lake Calumet wetlands in 2005, the last year for which data are available. Many of the remaining heron colonies are found in or near industrial areas, Levengood said. "Wetlands have persisted in these areas because they were out on the back 40 of some company and people generally didn't have access," he said. These urban industrialized sites provide needed habitat, Levengood said, but are also "contaminated and degraded."

 

City residents are beginning to discover these areas, and want to clean them up for wildlife and humans to use. Chicago's Department of Environment is leading a drive to reclaim parts of the Lake Calumet wetlands, an effort that prompted the current study.

 

The study appears in the current issue of the "Journal of Great Lakes Research."


Regional

New methods developed to estimate Sea Lamprey Damage

Unique “signatures” in lamprey blood indicate specific fish which lampreys have preyed

ANN ARBOR, MI—A research team has developed new methods for estimating the diets of the lamprey, one of the most devastating species to have invaded the Great Lakes. Measuring the diets of lamprey will give scientists and managers a better picture of how much ecological and economic damage each sea lamprey causes over its life cycle.

 

While the findings support the long-held belief lamprey prefer to feed on large fish like lake trout, they also indicate that sea lamprey affect many other species, and that those effects differ from time to time and place to place.

 

In a study funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, a group of federal, tribal and university researchers teamed with agencies, commercial fisheries and anglers to capture sea lamprey throughout Lake Superior, mainly from 2002 to 2004. The researchers examined the chemistry of lamprey tissues because certain types of carbon and nitrogen atoms, known as isotopes, yield clues about which fish species the sea lamprey feed upon.

 

“A fish like a lake trout from Lake Superior has a fairly predictable ‘signature’ of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in its blood,” said Dr. Chris Harvey, a biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and one of the study’s lead researchers. “When a sea lamprey feeds on lake trout, we start to see the lake trout’s isotopic signature appear in the lamprey tissues. If it feeds on other species as well, the lamprey’s tissue chemistry looks more like a blend of signatures.”

 

Sea lamprey invaded the upper Great Lakes after moving

through the Welland Canal, probably in the early 20th Century. Reviled for their impacts on lake trout, salmon, and other fish populations, lamprey feed by rasping through the sides of fish and consuming blood and fluids. Although their numbers were reduced dramatically starting in the 1960s, lamprey continue to kill large numbers of lake trout and other valuable species.

 

The researchers found that lamprey throughout most of Lake Superior fed mainly on large, predatory fish during the study period. Between 60% and 90% of their diet was blood from predators like lake trout and possibly burbot. They also found that lamprey in western waters of the lake had more diverse diets than in eastern waters, with substantial feeding on whitefish and suckers. In Black Bay, a large bay in northwestern Lake Superior, over 50% of the lamprey diet was whitefish blood.

 

Preliminary results suggest lamprey impacts are felt by many species throughout the fish community besides lake trout. Some economically valuable species like herring and whitefish experience significant mortality, while some species that are less valuable, such as the deepwater siscowet, act as “buffer” species, absorbing sea lamprey impacts that might have otherwise affected fish with more commercial or recreational importance.

 

The research confirmed that  lampreys prefer to feed on large fish like lake trout, though it also indicated lampreys affect many other species, and that those effects differ from time to time and place to place. “This refined view of who lamprey feed on at different times and in different areas is a big step,” Harvey said. “Many of the pioneering impact models were forced to guess which species lamprey were killing. Our study removes some of that guesswork, and we hope it will lead to better accounting of the actual damage that sea lamprey do.”


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Feb. 8, 2008

Weather Conditions

Active weather continued in the Great Lakes basin this week, with the arrival of still another major winter storm.  This system brought rain, snow, sleet and freezing rain, sometimes all at once.  Some locations in central and western Michigan recorded 12-16 inches of new snow.  Heavy rain combined with already saturated soils across northern Indiana lead to numerous instances of flooding.  Much colder air expected to arrive for the upcoming weekend.  The active storm pattern is forecasted to continue, with snow showers possible through Wednesday.

Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lake Superior is 4 inches higher than it was at this time last year. The remaining Great Lakes are 2 to 10 inches below their levels of one year ago.  Lake Superior is predicted to continue its seasonal decline and fall 1 inch over the next month.  Lake St. Clair is predicted to drop 4 inches over the next 30 days.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and Ontario are predicted to rise 1 inch over the next month, while Lake Erie is projected to remain steady.  Lake Superior is predicted to stay above last year's water levels through July, but the remaining lakes are forecasted to remain below their levels of a year ago over the next several months. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflow from the St. Mary's, St. Clair, Detroit, and St. Lawrence Rivers were below average for January.  Outflow from Niagara

was above average for last month. Ice buildup in the connecting channels can cause large short-term water level fluctuations.

Alerts

Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are below chart datum and forecasted to remain below datum through June.  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.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center's webpage.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Feb 8

600.5

576.6

573.7

570.9

245.1

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-7

-11

+16

+21

+22

Diff last month

-2

+3

+10

+4

+9

Diff from last yr

+4

-10

-2

-7

-6


General

BRP launches www.shopevinrude.com 

Their outboard parts & accessories online store

Sturtevant, WI, February 6, 2008 – BRP has launched its Evinrude and Johnson Genuine Parts and Accessories online shopping tool. The new resource simplifies buying outboard engine parts, accessories, and clothing by broadening our ability to find the products they need at anytime in just minutes. Simply log on to www.shopevinrude.com and the genuine parts you need for an Evinrude or Johnson outboard, Evinrude-branded apparel, or boating and engine accessories, can be conveniently ordered and delivered to your doorstep.

 

"Buying Evinrude & Johnson Genuine Parts,  Accessories, and Clothing has never been easier" says Roch Lambert, vice president and general manager, Outboard Marine Engines,

BRP.  "Our new e-commerce solution allows consumers the convenience of shopping from home around their busy schedules," he concluded.

 

Authorized BRP/Evinrude full line dealers can participate in order fulfillment by visiting http://www.shopatron.com/retailers/evinrudesignup and enrolling today. The turnkey sales tool enables dealers to rapidly acquire new customers and turn inventory quickly with minimal transaction time. BRP provides participating dealers with real-time sales data to see what is selling locally and nationally, enabling them to make smart purchasing decisions for product stocking. The new web store is currently available to U.S. consumers and dealers and will be made available in Canada later this spring.


Lake Erie

2008 Lake Erie Fishing Outlook great

2003 hatches of walleye and yellow perch should provide excellent angling opportunities

COLUMBUS, OH - Lake Erie anglers should enjoy another year of exceptional fishing in 2008, according to biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

 

"Lake Erie remains one of the greatest natural resources in our country," said Roger Knight, Lake Erie fisheries program manager at ODNR. "Where else but Lake Erie can an angler find such diversity of fish species and sizes?  We anticipate excellent fishing opportunities once again this year for walleye and yellow perch, as well as strong fisheries for other species like smallmouth bass, white bass and steelhead." 

 

Knight noted that anglers should have access to good fishing in the western and central basins due to the numerous public boat ramps, private marinas and shoreline areas. The large number of charter boats on the Ohio shore is also an asset.

 

Walleye

Ohio walleye anglers can expect to catch fish mostly from the 2003 hatch, with continued contributions from 1999 and 2001 hatches, as well as some fish from the 2005 hatch.  Walleye from the 2003 hatch will be 20 to 24 inches long, while fish from the earlier hatches will range from 21 to 27 inches over the course of the fishing season.  Fish from the 2005 hatch should be in the 15 to 18-inch range.  Large walleye from strong hatches in the 1980s and mid-1990s still persist in the population, providing "Fish Ohio" trophy (more than 28 inches) opportunities.

 

"The walleye fishery in 2007 was better than the phenomenal fishery that we saw in 2006," said Knight.  "Weather permitting, we expect to have another year of excellent walleye fishing, with an unbelievable average size of more than 20 inches in the catch."

 

The daily bag limit remains four fish per person during March and April, and six fish from May through February 2009. The 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season. 

 

Yellow Perch

Perch anglers should encounter excellent numbers of 9 to 12-inch fish from the 2003 hatch this year, although perch numbers will be down slightly over 2007.  Moderate hatches from 2005 and 2006 should contribute some smaller fish to the harvest as well, with a few jumbos from the 2001 hatch present.  Anglers will continue to see larger fish in the central basin of Lake Erie, as compared to the western basin. There is no minimum size limit for yellow perch.

 

The Division of Wildlife is proposing changes to the daily bag limit for yellow perch in western Lake Erie, pending public input and approval by the Ohio Wildlife Council. Details about the proposal will be forthcoming through public announcements.

 

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass fishing is expected to be good in 2008, with contributions from hatches in the 1990s and 2003.  Fish should range in size from 14 to 21 inches and weigh 1.5 to 5 pounds.  Bass fishing is best around areas with bottom structure, which is available across much of the entire Ohio near-shore area.  ODNR biologists have seen several good hatches in recent years, potentially contributing to good smallmouth bass fishing in the future.

A closed season remains in effect from May 1 through June 27, during which all black bass (smallmouth and largemouth) must be immediately released.  Beginning June 28, the daily bag limit will remain at five fish, with a 14-inch minimum length limit.

 

Steelhead

Steelhead anglers should enjoy great fishing in Ohio's Lake Erie tributaries throughout the fall, winter and spring months. Good fishing opportunities will also exist on the open lake, when schools of fish can be located.   Peak steelhead action on Lake Erie can be found offshore from June through August between Vermilion and Conneaut, with catches measuring 17 to 29 inches.

 

Most Lake Erie anglers trolling for steelhead in deep waters use spoons with dipsy divers or downriggers.  The daily bag limit remains at five fish per person from May 16 to August 31 and two fish between September 1 and May 15, with a 12-inch minimum size limit throughout the year. 

 

White Bass

White bass will continue to offer seasonal fishing opportunities in both tributaries and the open lake.  The catch will include many 10 to 14-inch fish from the 2005 and 2003 hatches.  The 2006 hatch was moderate, and should contribute some 8 to 9-inch fish to the fishery. Anglers should focus on major western basin tributaries during May and June and near-shore areas of the open lake during summer months. There is no daily bag or size limit on white bass.

 

Anglers are also advised of numerous fishing opportunities in the bays and harbors on the Ohio shoreline.  These inlets 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 vegetated areas.

 

Anglers are reminded that fishing conditions on Lake Erie can change hourly and adjustments are often necessary to improve success.  Anglers should take into account such factors as water temperature, cloud cover, water clarity, boat traffic, wave action, structure and the amount of baitfish in the area.  Anglers are also reminded to carefully monitor Lake Erie weather and to seek safe harbor before storms approach.

 

During the season, ODNR provides an updated Lake Erie fishing report online at wildohio.com and at 1-888-HOOKFISH.

 

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 CVB                   800-337-6746

Lake County Visitors Bureau           800-368-5253

Greater Cleveland CVB                   800-321-1001

Lorain County Visitors Bureau        800-334-1673

Sandusky/Erie Cty Visitors Bureau  800-255-8070

Ottawa County Visitors Bureau       800-441-1271

Greater Toledo CVB                        800-243-4667

Ohio Div Travel & Tourism              800-BUCKEYE

 

For more info on fisheries resources, research, maps, etc: www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife/fishing/fairport/index.htm

 


Yellow Perch bag limit could be reduced in Lake Erie

Proposal would take effect July 1 if approved by Ohio Wildlife Council

COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio Wildlife Council is considering a proposal to reduce the Lake Erie yellow perch daily bag limit in Ohio waters west of Huron, according to the Ohio DNR.

 

Under a rule change proposed February 6, the daily bag limit for yellow perch would drop from 30 to 25 fish per angler, but only in waters west of Huron.  The daily bag limit will remain at 30 from Huron eastward. The council also heard a proposal to reduce the statewide daily bag limit for muskie from two fish to one.

 

In addition, four lakes owned by the Division of Wildlife would allow access to motorboats greater than 10 hp as long as they operate at idle speed. These lakes include, Knox Lake in Knox

County, Lake La Su An in Williams County, Oxbow Lake in Defiance County, and Rupert Lake in Vinton County. Additionally, 10 hp motors would now be allowed on Greenfield Lake and Rockmill Lake in Fairfield County.

 

Open houses will be held on Sunday, March 2 in each of the state's five wildlife district offices to provide the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed hunting and trapping regulations with state wildlife officials. Directions to the open houses can be obtained by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE or visiting www.wildohio.com on the Internet.

 

A statewide hearing on all the proposed wildlife rules will be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 6 at the division's District One Office, located at 1500 Dublin Road in Columbus. After considering public input, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposed rules during its April 2 meeting.


Great Lakes Fisheries Day at Buffalo State College, March 1

Pre-registration required by February 25, 2008

The Friends of the Lower Great Lakes Fishery Resources Office (Friends), a support organization for the mission of the USFWS Lower Great Lakes Fishery Resources Office in Western New York, is again sponsoring a one-day program that will deliver both practical fishing skills and an appreciation for the hard science that affects the local fishery.

 

On Saturday, March 1, 2008 the second annual Great Lakes Fishery Day will be held at Buffalo State College.  The event is scheduled from 9 – 3 PM (registration begins at 8 AM) in Butler Library, Room 210.  Free parking is available in Lots W (closest to Library), Y, U, and T.  These lots are easily accessed by entering the campus at the Iroquois Drive entrance off Elmwood Avenue.  For more info, including directions and a campus map: www.buffalostate.edu  (click on About Buffalo State; then Parking Map listed under Essentials). 

 

Featured speakers include:

Rick Kustich, an expert fly fisherman who has fished our waters his entire life, and has written numerous books and magazine articles on flyfishing, will discuss fly fishing for bass, carp, and other species.

Dave Tosetto, of the Niagara Diving Club, will share information about the adventures of diving and collecting sturgeon in the Niagara River with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service.

Captain Terry Jones, of First Class Bass Charters and a full-time bass guide in Western NY, will present an overview of smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing opportunities in Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and Lake Ontario.

Raymond Li, Fishery Biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, will update attendees on dam removal and other habitat changes affecting the fishery.

John Casselman, Ph.D., from Queen’s University, will present information on the effects of water level and climate changes on the fishery.

 

The day will cost $20 for adults and $10 for kids under 13 years of age.  This includes attendance at all five speaker presentations, lunch, refreshments throughout the day, and one-year free membership to the Friends.

 

Last year’s program was a huge success.  Do not miss this once a year opportunity to learn the secrets to becoming a better fisherman, to learn new fishing methods, and to learn about how global warming and other climate issues affect fishing in your part of the World.

 

You MUST pre-register for this event by February 25, 2008.  Please contact Dave Whitt at 754-2133 or send a check (payable to “Friends of the Lower Great Lakes FRO”) to Dave at 702 Ridge Road, Lewiston, NY 14092.  Be sure to include the names of those attending.  If you have any questions, please contact Dave.


Lake Ontario

Great Lakes Fisheries Day at Buffalo State College, March 1

Pre-registration required by February 25, 2008

The Friends of the Lower Great Lakes Fishery Resources Office (Friends), a support organization for the mission of the USFWS Lower Great Lakes Fishery Resources Office in Western New York, is again sponsoring a one-day program that will deliver both practical fishing skills and an appreciation for the hard science that affects the local fishery.

 

On Saturday, March 1, 2008 the second annual Great Lakes Fishery Day will be held at Buffalo State College.  The event is scheduled from 9 – 3 PM (registration begins at 8 AM) in Butler Library, Room 210.  Free parking is available in Lots W (closest to Library), Y, U, and T.  These lots are easily accessed by entering the campus at the Iroquois Drive entrance off Elmwood Avenue.  For more info, including directions and a campus map: www.buffalostate.edu  (click on About Buffalo State; then Parking Map listed under Essentials). 

 

Featured speakers include:

Rick Kustich, an expert fly fisherman who has fished our waters his entire life, and has written numerous books and magazine articles on flyfishing, will discuss fly fishing for bass, carp, and other species.

Dave Tosetto, of the Niagara Diving Club, will share information about the adventures of diving and collecting sturgeon in the Niagara River with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service.

Captain Terry Jones, of First Class Bass Charters and a full-time bass guide in Western NY, will present an overview of smallmouth and largemouth bass fishing opportunities in Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and Lake Ontario.

Raymond Li, Fishery Biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, will update attendees on dam removal and other habitat changes affecting the fishery.

John Casselman, Ph.D., from Queen’s University, will present information on the effects of water level and climate changes on the fishery.

 

The day will cost $20 for adults and $10 for kids under 13 years of age.  This includes attendance at all five speaker presentations, lunch, refreshments throughout the day, and one-year free membership to the Friends.

 

Last year’s program was a huge success.  Do not miss this once a year opportunity to learn the secrets to becoming a better fisherman, to learn new fishing methods, and to learn about how global warming and other climate issues affect fishing in your part of the World.

 

You MUST pre-register for this event by February 25, 2008.  Please contact Dave Whitt at 754-2133 or send a check (payable to “Friends of the Lower Great Lakes FRO”) to Dave at 702 Ridge Road, Lewiston, NY 14092.  Be sure to include the names of those attending.  If you have any questions, please contact Dave.


Michigan

Michigan’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend Feb. 16-17

Michigan’s annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend set for Feb. 16-17 across the state provides an opportunity for families to get outdoors and enjoy the time-honored tradition of ice fishing in the Great Lakes state, and is the perfect time to introduce children to the sport, said Department of Natural Resources officials. A list of Free Fishing Weekend events is attached.

 

The DNR has permanently established the Saturday and Sunday of Presidents Day weekend each year as the Winter Free Fishing Weekend. For those two days, all fishing license fees will be waived for both residents and visitors who wish to fish on Michigan waters. All fishing regulations will still apply. Those anglers 17 and older who plan to fish on Monday, Feb. 18, will need a valid Michigan fishing license.

 

The Winter Free Fishing Weekend is designed to encourage people to get outdoors and discover the sport of ice fishing. Anglers who participate in ice fishing should, however, follow safety precautions when it comes to venturing out on ice.

“When ice fishing, you should always presume that no ice is safe,” said Tom Courchaine, acting assistant chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “Environmental influences such as current, springs, and weather patterns all have an effect on ice conditions.  We want families to have a safe and enjoyable experience while ice fishing, and that is why we recommend that everyone dress warmly, wear a life jacket while venturing out on the ice, take a cell phone with you, and always use the buddy system - tell your family and friends that you are going out and where you plan on fishing.”

 

In addition to Free Fishing Weekend, several Michigan’s state parks and recreation areas are planning outdoor activities the weekend of Feb. 16-17. A list of those activities can be found on the DNR’s Web site under the Camping, Recreation & Boating menu, and then by clicking on GO-Get Outdoors. The Free Fishing Weekend events also are listed on the DNR’s Web site by clicking on the Free Fishing link on the front page.  www.michigan.gov/dnr .

 


Seven Lakes State Park Hosts an Ice Fishing Clinic on Feb. 16

Seven Lakes State Park in Oakland County will host an ice fishing clinic on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 2 to 5 p.m. Participants will receive “hands-on” instruction at this “GO-Get Outdoors” event.  Staff will be on hand to teach ice fishing basics, pass on tips and help participants practice their newfound skills on Big Seven Lake if the ice is deemed safe. 

 

Marine deputies from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department will also be on hand to give a presentation on ice safety and to answer questions about walking out onto frozen lakes.  Participants should dress warmly and meet outside at the Fisherman’s Cove shelter. Plenty of hot chocolate and snacks will be on hand for everyone.  “We also have ice

fishing rods and bait for those in need, and we will be having a raffle drawing for prizes. It’s time to ‘GO-Get Outdoors’ and learn some of the fun things to do in winter in Michigan,” said James Case, supervisor of Seven Lakes State Park.

 

Fishing licenses are not needed for this event, as this is part of Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan.

 

Seven Lakes State Park is located at 14390 Fish Lake Rd. in Holly. If you have questions on the event, call the park at 248-634-7271.  All motor vehicles entering a state park or recreation area must display a Motor Vehicle Permit, available for purchase at the entrance. Cost is $24 for resident annual and $6 for resident daily. A non-resident annual is $29 and a non-resident daily is $8.


Open House Feb. 20 to Review Plans for the New Mackinaw State Harbor

The Department of Natural Resources will hold a public open house on Wednesday, Feb. 20, to review design plans for the new Mackinaw State Harbor, which is the redevelopment of the old state car ferry dock in Mackinaw City.

 

The open house will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. at the village of Mackinaw City office located at 102 South Huron in Mackinaw City. Individuals can visit the office anytime during the open house to ask questions and discuss the project with DNR Parks and Recreation staff.  The new Mackinaw State Harbor will add up to 129 transient slips and include harbor buildings, floating piers, roads, parking, pedestrian walkways and many environmentally friendly, sustainable design elements.

The DNR also is inviting the public to provide input and ideas for the redevelopment of the east end of the dock, referred to as "the triangle" and formerly the ferry loading and unloading area. Redevelopment of the triangle will occur after the Mackinaw State Harbor is complete.

 

This project is supported through the Michigan State Waterways Fund, which is comprised of revenues received from boat registrations and marine fuel taxes. These revenues are dedicated by state law to be used for the benefit of boating.

 

For more information about this meeting or this project, contact Paul Petersen at (517) 335-3033.

 


Minnesota

Experimental regs for northern pike and bass remain in place on Pelican Lake

The size limit for northern pike on Pelican Lake near Orr will be modified to a 24- to 36-inch protected slot limit on March 1, according to the Minnesota DNR. In a possession limit of three, anglers will be allowed to harvest one northern pike more than 36 inches.

 

Pelican Lake has had experimental regulations for northern pike and bass since 1998. The current northern pike regulation requires the immediate release of all pike from 24 to 32 inches.

 

All largemouth and smallmouth bass from 14- to 20-inches must be released, with one bass more than 20 inches allowed in a possession limit of six. The bass regulation will remain unchanged.

 

The northern pike size limit was modified as part of a statewide effort to simplify angling regulations by applying a consistent slot limit in Minnesota lakes where it is warranted. Having many lakes across the state with the same regulation will also help fisheries biologists evaluate the effectiveness of length-based regulations.

 

As an added bonus, anglers will have fewer size limits to

remember. The new size limit on Pelican Lake will be identical to ones already in place on nearby Vermilion and Ash lakes.  

 

Size regulations on northern pike were implemented to improve the size structure of the population, improve angler catch rates of larger fish, and maintain historical population size and growth rates. Preliminary results of the regulation review conducted in 2007 indicate the size regulation has made progress toward these objectives. The size structure of the northern pike population has improved, and anglers are catching more big fish, according to the DNR.

 

Pelican Lake has an early bass opener (two weeks before Memorial day), which exposes bass to harvest when they are spawning or preparing to spawn. Creel surveys from the 1990s showed that anglers were harvesting large bass during this time period, which could reduce the quality of the bass fishery.

 

The new northern pike and bass regulations will be in place for a 10-year trial period. People with questions or comments should contact Kevin Peterson at the DNR area fisheries office in International Falls, 392 Highway 11 East; by phone (218) 286-5220; or by e-mail kevin.peterson@dnr.state.mn.us 

 


Lower Mille Lacs Lake harvest caps in 2008

Members of the 1837 Treaty Fisheries Technical Committee have established Mille Lacs Lake 2008 harvest caps of 430,000 lbs for walleye, 270,000 lbs for yellow perch and 25,000 lbs for northern pike.

 

The committee, comprised of Minnesota DNR and Chippewa band interests, sets safe harvest levels every winter to help ensure that Mille Lacs Lake remains a productive fishery. Now that harvest levels have been identified the DNR will develop fishing regulation options for the 2008 season. The options will be presented to the citizen-comprised Mille Lacs Lake

Fisheries Input Group later this month.

 

This year's safe harvest level means anglers will be able to harvest 307,500 lbs of walleye, 135,000 lbs of yellow perch and 12,500 lbs of northern pike from Mille Lacs Lake. The remaining allocations are divided among the eight Chippewa bands that have treaty rights to fish Mille Lacs Lake.

 

This year, the bands declared a harvest level of 122,500 lbs, up from 100,000 lbs in previous years. Mille Lacs, which is subject to allocations and quotas, is managed differently than any other lake in the state.


2008 spring light goose hunting begins March 1

Minnesota hunters will be allowed to harvest snow geese, including blue-phased and the smaller Ross' geese, this spring under the provisions of a federal conservation order.

 

Since 2000, when Minnesota began participating in the conservation order, the state spring harvest of light geese has varied dramatically from a few hundred to 6,000, depending on weather conditions. Hunting during 2008 will be open from March 1 to April 30. 

 

A spring light goose permit is required and may be obtained after Feb. 20 at any of the 1,800 Electronic License System agents statewide. Spring light goose permits also will be available by telephone at 1-888-665-4236 or online after March 1 at www.mndnr.gov . No other license, stamp or permit is required to participate. Although the permits are free, there is a $3.50 application fee to cover permit issuing costs.

Non-toxic shot requirements and federal baiting regulations

as well as most regulations that apply to fall goose-hunting seasons also will apply during the spring light goose conservation action. The use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns is allowed.

 

Refuges closed to either duck or goose hunting during fall seasons also are closed during the spring conservation action. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset each day. No daily or possession limits apply.

 

The conservation order is part of an international effort to reduce populations of lesser snow geese, which breed in high Arctic coastal areas and the Hudson Bay area. High populations of the birds cause habitat damage on breeding grounds and negatively impact other bird and waterfowl species that breed in the high Arctic.


 

New York

Hurst new NY Fish Chief

Steve Hurst, on January 31 was promoted to Chief of the Bureau of Fisheries in the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, succeeding  Doug Stang who was recently promoted to Assistant Division Director.

 

Hurst has his Bachelor of Science degree in Aquatic Science from Cornell University.  In 2004, while working full-time for DEC, he completed his Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Albany with a focus on Policy & Decision Science and Systems Dynamics.

 

Steve started out in the Bureau of Fisheries as a Seasonal Fish and Wildlife Technician in the Region 7 office in 1987.  He then took a permanent position as a Fish and Wildlife

Technician raising walleye at out South Otselic Fish Culture Station before returning to Cortland as a Senior Technician in

1992.  In 1998 Steve traded in his boat for a desk and moved to Albany to assume a biologist position in the Inland Fisheries Section.  In central office he took on managing the Bureau’s federal aid grants process, and redeveloping and managing the Statewide Fisheries Database.  His success in that role led to his promotion in 2004 to lead Bureau’s  Biological Survey Unit.

 

In addition to being an avid angler, Steve enjoys hunting and working with wood.  Much of his discretionary time at the moment, is consumed by building a log home in western Albany County with his fiancée Lori and their four children.


Ohio

Yellow Perch bag limit could be reduced in Lake Erie

Proposal would take effect July 1 if approved by Ohio Wildlife Council

COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio Wildlife Council is considering a proposal to reduce the Lake Erie yellow perch daily bag limit in Ohio waters west of Huron, according to the Ohio DNR.

 

Under a rule change proposed February 6, the daily bag limit for yellow perch would drop from 30 to 25 fish per angler, but only in waters west of Huron.  The daily bag limit will remain at 30 from Huron eastward. The council also heard a proposal to reduce the statewide daily bag limit for muskie from two fish to one.

 

In addition, four lakes owned by the Division of Wildlife would allow access to motorboats greater than 10 hp as long as they operate at idle speed. These lakes include, Knox Lake in Knox

County, Lake La Su An in Williams County, Oxbow Lake in Defiance County, and Rupert Lake in Vinton County. Additionally, 10 hp motors would now be allowed on Greenfield Lake and Rockmill Lake in Fairfield County.

 

Open houses will be held on Sunday, March 2 in each of the state's five wildlife district offices to provide the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed hunting and trapping regulations with state wildlife officials. Directions to the open houses can be obtained by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE or visiting www.wildohio.com on the Internet.

 

A statewide hearing on all the proposed wildlife rules will be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 6 at the division's District One Office, located at 1500 Dublin Road in Columbus. After considering public input, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposed rules during its April 2 meeting.


Ohio Watercraft Registrations top 415,000 for 2007

Total is fifth highest in Ohio history; hand-powered watercraft grow in popularity

COLUMBUS, OH - The total number of registered watercraft hit 415,562 in Ohio last year, proving that boating remains one of the state's most popular recreational activities. The number is the fifth-highest registration total in the state's history,

according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft. The 2007 figure represent an increase of 2,984 boats from the 412,578 registered in 2006. It is the fifth time Ohio's boat registrations topped the 415,000 mark. The state registered an all-time high of 418,701 watercraft in 2000.


Wisconsin

Aeration systems preventing fish kills on dozens of lakes

PARK FALLS – Many lakes in Wisconsin suffer from a problem known as winterkill of fish. Commonly called 'freeze-out,' a winterkill occurs when fish die as a result of low oxygen levels during the ice-covered period. But there is a fix.

 

This winter, DNR fishery biologists are using mechanical aerating systems on dozens of lakes that have historically suffered winterkill to prevent problems and increase the number of fishable waters. Winterkill starts when ice cover cuts off the supply of oxygen entering lakes from the atmosphere and oxygen production within the lake, itself, decreases as deep snow blocks out light needed by algae and other plants to produce oxygen, according to Skip Sommerfeldt, DNR fish biologist in Park Falls.

 

Aeration creates an open-water area during ice cover, allowing oxygen uptake by the lake. It has been an effective tool to deal with low-oxygen problems on more than 30 lakes across northern Wisconsin and more throughout the state. Within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest alone, winter aeration has helped alleviate winterkill on 11 waters that total more than 4,200 acres, Sommerfeldt says.

 

The DNR works with other agencies, local units of government and lake associations in maintaining aeration systems. The systems run on different kinds of power, including wind, solar, diesel and electric power.

 

One recently installed system -- on Little Clam Lake in Ashland County – illustrates the benefits of these partnerships. Historically, the 144-acre seepage lake supported good populations of largemouth bass and panfish, but severe winterkills in 1996 and again in 2001 decimated the fishery.

The DNR and U.S. Forest Service teamed up in 2004 to install a diffused-air aeration system on the lake that uses an electric air blower housed in a shore-based shelter. The blower forces air through galvanized pipe to a series of plastic diffuser lines laid onto the lake bottom. Air is bubbled through the lines to circulate the water and create a large open-water area during ice cover, providing oxygen to the lake.  The lake was stocked with largemouth bass in 2004 and as of summer 2007, the bass had re-established a moderate population and anglers are catching bass 14 inches and larger.

 

Self-sufficient systems that use solar and wind power have also been used on a few remote lakes far from the power grid. Solar-powered systems use an array of photovoltaic panels that supply power to a large storage battery. This battery then powers one or two small air pumps that deliver air into diffuser lines on the lake bottom.

 

Wind aerators use a turbine to turn a propeller positioned just under the surface of the water. The spinning propeller pulls the lake water up from the bottom and melts the ice cover around the floating unit. The major drawback to these “green” systems is their dependency on sunshine or wind, which are often limited during winter months. Such ‘green’ systems are used mainly on small lakes where they provide a small refuge area for fish.

 

All open-water areas are clearly marked with rope and reflective streamers held a few feet above the surface of the ice with wooden or plastic poles planted in the ice. Anglers, snow mobilers, hikers and other recreationalists should be cautious though as heavy winds, blowing snow and warm thaws may hinder the ability to see the barricades. When you see the barricades, remember they’re there to make fishing better this coming season.


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