Week of February 22, 2010

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
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General
Lake Superior

Illinois
Indiana
Pennsylvania
Wisconsin
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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Ban on felt-soled shoes intended to prevent spread of fish diseases

Starting next season, felt-soled boots will be banned from Juneau waters

A new ban on felt-soled wading shoes is set to take place next year as Juneau fishermen take to freshwater streams with fly rods in hand. The ban is meant to keep nasty fish diseases from creeping into waters on the waders of traveling fishermen.

 

A proposal to expand the ban from the Southeast region statewide will be considered by the state Board of Fisheries at its March meeting in Anchorage.

 

Whirling disease is just one communicable fish disease of concern. Didymo, an algae also called rock snot, mud snails and zebra mussels are others that can kill all the fish in a stream. The waters where fly fishermen tend to fish and wade have become a map of the spread of these problems.  They spread by hitchhiking on the bottom of shoes as fishermen

tote them between fishing grounds. Felt-bottomed shoes are

of particular concern because they tend to stay wet, providing a living habitat for the host to survive away from the infected stream.

 

Felt-soled waders provide good traction for standing on wet river stones.

 

The fly fishing industry has been moving away from felt soles on wading boots for several years, because felt is known to facilitate the transport of aquatic invasive species like didymo (rock snot), mud snails, and other nasty things that negatively impact trout fisheries. Simms, for example, has said it will stop manufacturing felt-soled boots after this year, and Trout Unlimited has also asked for tighter anti-felt regulations. Many manufacturers are suggesting that anglers steer clear of felt. 

 

A bill introduced in the Vermont State legislature would actually prohibit the manufacture and sale of felt-soled wading boots. 


National

Lawsuit challenges EPA Global Warming Regulations

After Lead Global Warming Scientist Admits Data Sloppiness, No Warming

Washington, D.C., Feb. 16, 2009 – In two separate filings on February 16, the Competitive Enterprise Institute challenged massive energy regulations forthcoming from the Environmental Protection Agency.  The actions come in the wake of damaging disclosures this week by Phil Jones, head of the disgraced British Climate Research Unit, who reversed himself on several basic issues in a BBC interview.

 

CEI, along with nonprofit ally FreedomWorks and the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), filed a lawsuit in federal appeals court challenging EPA plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.  The lawsuit asks the court to review the EPA’s regulation.

 

In addition, CEI joined with SEPP and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change in updating its petition demanding that EPA reconsider its decision.

 

Even though the petition was only filed this past Friday, events over the weekend warranted a new supplement.  In a weekend interview with the BBC, Phil Jones admitted that there’s been no statistically significant warming over the past 15 years and that, in fact, there’s been some cooling over the last eight years.  He also acknowledged that a big chunk of original historical climate data has been lost.  And a new study

released Tuesday found no increase in storms over the last

60 years.

 

The new filing with EPA on Tuesday, hours before the deadline for such petitions, formally brought these late-breaking events into the legal debate.  CEI and its allies are urging the EPA reconsider its economy-crushing regulations.

 

“EPA states that ‘the greatest warming occurred over the last 30 years,’” the petitioners state.  “But according to Dr. [Phil] Jones, for the periods 1860-1880, 1910-1940, 1975-1998, and 1975-2009, the warming rates did not show any accelerating trends.  In his words, ‘the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.’”

 

“If there has been no change in warming rates, this contradicts one of EPA’s basic contentions,” the petitioners point out.

 

Last Friday CEI, together with the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change and the Science and Environmental Policy Project, petitioned EPA to reconsider its Endangerment Finding. ClimateGate has severely undermined EPA’s alleged justification for regulating  carbon dioxide, but events since then have done still more damage to EPA’s case.  Apparently, those events show no signs of letting up.


USFWS announces new Firearms Possession rules Wildlife Refuges

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says effective February 22, 2010, the rules governing possession of firearms on National Wildlife  Refuges will change as a result of  legislation enacted by Congress. After this date, the law allows an individual to lawfully possess a firearm within the boundaries of a National Wildlife Refuge in accordance with federal and state firearms laws.

 

As directed by this new law, the Service will look to the laws of the state in which the refuge or refuge unit is located to govern possession of firearms on the refuge. Visitors will be allowed to possess firearms on National Wildlife Refuges provided they comply with applicable provisions of both federal and state law. Persons with firearm “carry” permits will be able to possess firearms on a refuge in accordance with the provisions of the state issued permit. The new law applies to all 551 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, as well as the National Monuments and the 392 units of the National Park System.

 

While the law will change the application of rules regarding possession of firearms, it has no impact on the authorized uses of firearms on National Wildlife Refuges. The law does not allow visitors to fire or discharge the firearms in any way, brandish the weapon in the view of others, or any other use of the firearm. Enforcement of regulations concerning firearms use remains under the purview of the Department of the Interior.

 

While possession on a refuge may generally be allowed under state law, possession of firearms will remain prohibited in Federal facilities.  Examples include: visitor centers, refuge

administrative office buildings, refuge maintenance offices and workshops, field and backcountry offices, ranger stations and fee collection stations.

 

Hunting, trapping and fishing are considered to be a legitimate, traditional recreational and wildlife management use of renewable natural resources on refuges. However, this new law does not change or expand hunting opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges or exempt hunters from state or federal hunting regulations.

 

Each person who hunts on a National Wildlife Refuge must have the required state license(s) required by the refuge, as well as any permits and/or user fees. The National Wildlife Refuge System Act of 1966, other laws and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s policy permit hunting on a refuge when it is compatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established and acquired. For additional information, go to:  www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/.

 

The law does not differentiate between concealed handguns under state permit and long guns (rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders) and it applies to all firearms, which are defined as a weapon designed to fire a projectile by the use of an explosive charge. All Federal firearms statutes remain unchanged.

 

Nearly 40 million people visit National Wildlife Refuges each year, generating almost $1.7 billion in sales for regional economies. In additional to wildlife observation, many refuges provide rich opportunities for hiking, canoeing, hunting and fishing. To learn more about visiting a National Wildlife Refuge go to: www.fws.gov/refuges/visitors/.


Regional

Sampling Efforts to net Asian Carp ongoing

IDNR, USFWS searching Chicago Area Waterway System near warm water discharges

CHICAGO – Fisheries biologists from the Illinois DNR and the USFWS have begun intensive sampling operations in multiple locations within the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS).  The sampling efforts, initiated on February 17 will include using commercial fishing nets and electro fishing gear in an attempt to locate either silver or bighead Asian carp above the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Electric Fish Barrier System.  The sampling operation will also include the use of commercial fishermen and is scheduled to take place in the

 

CAWS over the next 2-3 weeks. 

 

Sampling crews will concentrate their efforts near warm water discharges created by various industrial operations along the waterway system.   These areas of warm water serve as a place of congregation for fish during the winter when water temperatures drop significantly.

 

To view the entire control framework or for more information about the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee log on to www.asiancarp.org/rapidresponse


Wisconsin renews efforts to stop Asian carp

Joins Michigan and other Great Lakes States

MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen last week joined New York and Minnesota in renewed efforts to stop Asian Carp from entering Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. A brief filed in the United States Supreme Court supports the State of Michigan’s motion to reopen and renew a previous motion seeking a preliminary injunction from the United States Supreme Court to close the locks on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

 

Wisconsin’s renewed motion seeks a preliminary injunction in

United States Supreme Court to close the locks on the Chicago Canal system. 

 

“New evidence since the previous ruling renews hope an injunction will be ordered. Every State and Province that borders on the Great Lakes, with one exception, seeks immediate action to avoid the disaster an invasion of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes would bring,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. “Closing the locks on the Chicago Canal is the best insurance against entry until the certain viability of another solution can be determined,” he said.


General

2010 Bass Pro Spring Fishing Classic - begins Feb 26

Free Event features fishing university, pro anglers, seminars, more

Springfield, Missouri—(February 8, 2010)  While the economy has many people scratching their heads trying to figure out how they can pay their bills and still afford to do things they enjoy, one company is making sure they can.

 

Bass Pro Shops is dedicated to ensuring families continue to have fun outdoors through their exciting, educational events such as the Spring Fishing Classic.  Last year, more than 5 million people attended this event at Bass Pro Shops stores across America and Canada and this year promises to be even bigger.  And, it is at a price everyone can afford—free.   So you can’t go fishing for peacock bass on the Amazon this year but there are still local lakes and rivers full of fish.  Maybe you can afford that new reel by trading in one of your old ones for a discount.  And, just maybe you can win The Ultimate Family Vacation at Big Cedar® Lodge—America’s premier wilderness resort (retail value $9,300.00--US $9,673.00--Canada) or one of 52 Spring Fishing Packages valued at $580.00 (U.S. $630.00 (Canada)!

 

The 17-day event begins February 26th and goes until March 14th at 50 of the Bass Pro Shops retail stores in the United States and March 12th through 28th at the Calgary and Toronto stores.  There’s new fishing products to browse through, live demonstrations to see, new tips and techniques to learn, music and entertainment, boat shows, kids events, and, it’s all FREE!  Don’t forget to register for The Ultimate Family Vacation at Big Cedar® Lodge or one of the 52

packages being given away that include a baitcasting combo, Bill Dance bag, portable fillet station, a rod and tackle trolley, utility boxes and Berkley® baits.

 

Anglers will be able to learn the secret techniques and strategies used by the best anglers in the world by attending the Free Fishing University seminars and tank demonstrations going on February 26th through the 28th at the U.S. stores, March 13th-14th in Rocky View (Calgary, Alberta), and March 19th-21st in Vaughan (Toronto, Ontario).  See and hear experts like 9-time BASS Angler of the Year Roland Martin, 4-time BassMaster Classic Champion Rick Clunn, legendary angler and TV host Bill Dance, America’s favorite fisherman and TV host Jimmy Houston, 2-time BassMaster Classic Champion Kevin VanDam and many more. Canadian customers will enjoy “Facts of Fishing” TV host Dave Mercer.  (Pros, seminar topics, and times vary by store.  Please check individual store schedules by visiting www.basspro.com/classic and clicking on the store from drop down box.)

 

Other special events include:

Reel Trade-In: If attendees have any old reels that don’t see a lot of action any more, bring them in during “Reel Trade-In” days February 26th through March 3rd at the U.S. stores and March 12th through 17th for Canada stores. They can be traded in for a coupon worth from $5 to $100 off the purchase price of a new reel. The donated reels will be given to local not-for-profit groups whose mission is to teach children about fishing and the outdoors.


 

Lake Superior

Ashland asking for $6 Million for USGS research facility

There’s a joint city, county and federal effort in Ashland to build a $6 million research facility to study fish populations in Lake Superior. An older, smaller facility exists but Superior Days delegates are asking the state for help to move out.

 

Since 1957 the U.S. Geological Survey has had a presence in Ashland, tracking fish populations and water quality for the U.S. and Canada. Ashland Area Development Corporation Director Dale Kupczyk says the partnership between city, county and fed brought in a research boat in 1997 and a new dock site in 2009. Now, Kupcsyk says it’s time for a new

home.

 

“The facility they’re in now they share with fish and wildlife and a couple other federal entities and it would be more efficient to have a research center next to the dock. Plus, where they’re at now, there’s not enough room for expansion.” “If we wouldn’t have got the funding to put the dock in Ashland those jobs would have left, they would have gone to Duluth, Kupczyk says the facility would be operated jointly by the USGS, City of Ashland and Northland College and would provide education and outreach to raise awareness of Lake Superior and its resources.


Illinois

Officials search for carp in Chicago water ways

CHICAGO. (AP) — Armed with sprawling fishing nets and boats equipped with electric prods, state and federal fisheries biologists began a "search-and-destroy" mission in Chicago-area waterways Wednesday aimed at rooting out the dreaded Asian carp.

 

The operation got under way as twenty commercial fishermen and biologists from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service braved frigid temperatures to search for silver or bighead Asian carp that may have breached electric fish barriers on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

 

While the search yielded plenty of fish, including a substantial-looking regular carp, no Asian carp were found. The search will continue for two to three weeks, part of a battle to prevent the invasive fish from reaching the lakes and threatening their fishing and boating industries.

 

"It's dangerous, and we appreciate all of their efforts and their professionalism in order to combat Asian carp and to do the search-and-destroy effort we're doing today," said Marc Miller, Illinois' natural resources director.

Crews were focusing on warm water discharges entering the waterways from industrial operations, including power plants and wastewater treatment plants. Fish tend to congregate near the warmer water in the winter.  During one search

operation at the suburban Chicago canal, steam rose as crews set out a large mesh net, then circled its perimeter, sending electric charges into the water to herd fish toward the net.   

 

Officials have environmental DNA evidence from several locations suggesting the destructive species has gone past the electric barriers, but no Asian carp have been found beyond them.  "We presume they would be present anywhere within this waterway system," said John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois natural resources department.

 

In December, wildlife officials discovered a single Asian carp in the ship canal leading to Lake Michigan. Environmentalists fear if the carp reach the lakes they could starve out native fish species and devastate a $7 billion-a-year fishing industry. Carp can grow to 4 feet in length and 100 pounds.

 

Michigan has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to order Chicago-area shipping locks closed to keep carp out, a request supported by Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Illinois and Indiana opposes the closure. An Obama administration proposal on controlling carp also rejects closing the locks but will consider opening them less often.

 

Asian carp management: www.asiancarp.org/regionalcoordination


Indiana

Hunters push deer harvest to record number

Indiana deer hunters had unprecedented success during the 2009 seasons, shattering the previous state record by taking more than 130,000 deer for the first time in the 59-year history of the modern era. Reports submitted from 453 check stations across Indiana placed the 2009 total at 132,752 deer – more than 3,000, or 2 percent, above the 2008 harvest of 129,748, which was the previous record.

 

“It’s kind of predictable any more,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer management biologist. “We’re going to have a record or near-record harvest every year unless things change. “For a couple of years now we’ve had increased license sales. We’ve also had high unemployment. Maybe people have more time to be out. I wish I could say.”

One thing Stewart is sure of is there were no reports of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in 2009 after outbreaks the previous three years. EHD is an insect-borne virus that affects white-tailed deer. It is transmitted by biting insects called midges. EHD is not transmitted to humans and is not normally found in domestic animals.

 

“That means going into the season there were more deer on the ground available to hunters rather than disease getting them first,” Stewart said.   The full season report can be viewed at www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/fw-2009_Deer_Season_Summary.pdf.    The 2009 total was bolstered by a record 79,771 antlerless deer, 60 % of the harvest.


Pennsylvania

Game Commission Offers Seedlings for Landowners

HARRISBURG – Landowners seeking to plant trees beneficial to wildlife are encouraged to order seedlings being offered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Howard Nursery, which is accepting orders until April 27. 

 

Order forms and information are available on the agency’s website www.pgc.state.pa.us by clicking on the “General Store” in the menu bar under the homepage banner, then choosing “Howard Nursery,” and clicking on “2010 Seedling Order Form.”  (NOTE: If you have problems downloading the order form, you likely need to install the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be found doing an internet search and downloaded for free.)

The order form can be completed and submitted on line, or printed out and faxed or mailed. Payments are not due until the order is confirmed by Howard Nursery.  For those without internet access, order forms can be obtained ay Game Commission offices or various displays or booths at shows in which the agency participates through the spring or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Howard Nursery, 197 Nursery Road, Howard, PA 16841.

 

“Landowners may purchase seedlings for wildlife food and cover, watershed protection, soil erosion control, and for reclamation of disturbed areas, such as surface mine site and utility right-of-ways,” said Cliff Guindon, Howard Nursery superintendent. 


Game Commission offers ‘Landscaping For Wildlife’ Book

Landowners interested in developing “backyard habitats” beneficial to wildlife are encouraged to check out the “Landscaping for Wildlife in Pennsylvania,” available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

 

Written by Marcus Schneck, a noted outdoor and nature writer from Hamburg, Berks County, the 160-page book comes complete with descriptions, drawings and photos of ideal habitat for a variety of species, from hummingbirds to bats, as well as construction plans for a number of wildlife nesting boxes.  The book also contains a chapter on nuisance wildlife

and steps to address certain situations, as well as the importance of planting native species and a listing of recommended plants.

 

To order the book, which costs $10 (plus shipping and handling), visit the Game Commission’s website www.pgc.state.pa.us, click on “The Outdoor Shop” in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage, click on “Pennsylvania Game Commission Outdoor Shop” in the lower left-hand corner, choose “Merchandise” from the banner listing” and then click on “Books” in the categories in the left-hand column.  Orders also are being accepted at 888-888-3459


Wisconsin

Early trout season opens March 6

MADISON – Trout anglers will find new maps, loosened tackle regulations, and dozens of new trout waters when the early trout season opens March 6.  The 2010 catch-and-release season begins at 5 a.m. with several changes over recent seasons:

 

Anglers are not required to use barbless hooks. Artificial lures and flies are still required.

Wisconsin's official list of classified trout streams has been updated and contains 58 more streams that have been classified as trout waters since 2002. Most of those 260 miles are found in west central and southern Wisconsin counties and will be open for the early season.

 

New online maps and interactive maps will make all of the trout waters easier to find and provide other information to increase anglers’ success.

 

“It should be a good season,” says Larry Claggett, DNR trout specialist. “Trout populations have recovered from the floods of 2007 and 2008, we’ve identified new trout waters for

anglers to try, and our new maps should make it easier to get to trout waters once the snow melts.”

 

If the snow covering much of Wisconsin as of mid-February hangs around, access to some streams will be more difficult for the opener. But the cold, snowy winter is good for the trout, replenishing the groundwater that feeds the streams with the cold, clean water the trout need.

 

An estimated 230,000 anglers fish for trout, based on sales of inland license stamps, with a smaller proportion fishing the early season, Claggett says. Across both the early season and the regular inland season, trout anglers caught an estimated 1.6 million trout in 2006-07, according to results from a mail survey of anglers during that calendar year.

 

The season opens 5 a.m. on March 6 and runs until midnight April 25, when there is a week “rest” before the regular season opens. The early season is catch-and-release. Only artificial lures and flies are allowed, but new this year, barbless hooks are not required.


Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)

County Legislature calls upon NYS to protect Waterways from impacts of Asian Carp

Indiana AG to file brief supporting Asian Carp suit

Biologists intensify hunt for Asian carp near lake

U.S. commits millions to halt Asian carp

End nears of 94-year-old ban on loaded guns in national parks

Ashland to ask for $6 million for USGS research facility

700 wind turbines proposed for Lakes Erie, St. Clair
Hunting for invasives dates back a few decades
In carp debate, anglers, boaters bicker with tour, barge operators
Closing the Carp Highway
Fish Could Threaten Shipping in Northwest Indiana

St. Clair ice jam partially cleared
A new phase in the Asian carp hunt
Asian-Carp Threat Stirs Rethink of Century-Old Feat

Federal carp control strategy is widely criticized

‘Better to be safe than sorry’

212-pound monster sturgeon is Wisconsin state record

Great Lakes faces tough choices in carp battle
Federal carp control strategy is widely criticized
Hoekstra backs plan to keep invasive species like the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes
Lake Erie walleye spawning woes the key to dwindling schools of fish

VHS may change rules for using smelt as bait
Charter captains consider how to counter carp
Lake Erie frozen over for the first time in 14 years
State fisheries officials hope brown trout plan improves population over five-year period

 

 

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