Week of February 23 , 2004
The GLSFC is posting club news online to give additional publicity to clubs and community oriented projects in the Great Lakes Region, to enhance club activities and the angling/boating community at large.
View a sample at: http://www.great-lakes.org/wklyfish_nz.html
Sample functions/projects we are looking for include:
Use the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where and Why, and give us a brief overview of the activity. If there is a special speaker give us his name. Again, send it all by e-mail. We will post it on our weekly news segment so the world can see what we are all doing.
View a sample at: www.great-lakes.org/wklyfish_nz.html
For more info: [email protected] 630-941-1351
Critical Senate Bill
headed for vote
highly regulated industry making and selling non-defective products.
"The Fund for Animals and its allies eventually will lose their lawsuit against the federal government's new cormorant-control policies, but it might be able to stall the implementation of those measures until 2005" says Gerry Barnhart, the chief of the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources.
"I don't think they (the plaintiffs) have a very good argument," Barnhart said. "The worst scenario I can envision is that they could delay what we want to do for a year." Barnhart commented on papers filed in U.S. District Court in New York City on Feb. 5 by the Fund for Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.
Attorneys for the four organizations and several individuals who joined in the suit asked the court to invalidate a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "depredation order" that gives New York and 23 other states the authority to use lethal measures to reduce populations of double-crested cormorants, which are having significant adverse impacts on sport fishing.
The new policy, which took effect in November following two years' worth of studies and a series of public meetings in affected states, marks the first time the feds have given state agencies the green light to kill cormorants that are damaging recreational fisheries. Previous authorizations for lethal measures applied only to birds that were chowing down at commercial fish farms.
Although there has been no official announcement, the DEC
was widely expected to step up its cormorant control efforts this spring, once the voracious diving birds return from their wintering areas in the South.
Double-crested cormorants are protected by international migratory bird treaties, and may not be killed or harmed in the United States without the permission of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
However, since the mid-1970s, the population of cormorants in the Atlantic Coast region has increased at an average rate of 7.5% a year. An 85,000 pairs nest on islands in the Great Lakes, alone. In recent summers, the colony on Little Galloo Island, near Henderson Harbor in eastern Lake Ontario, has consisted of between 5,000 and 8,400 nesting pairs.
Anglers have long complained about cormorants taking a big bite out of their catch, and DEC research in the 1990s confirmed that the Henderson-area birds consumed up to 1.3 million smallmouth bass in a single year. Under terms of the new federal depredation order, state fish and wildlife personnel may not use lethal means against cormorants that are impacting sport fisheries until they have first tried non-deadly measures. States are also required to give the Fish and Wildlife Service at least 30 days' notice of their intent to kill cormorants.
Until the lawsuit brought things to a halt, Barnhart said, the DEC had expected to give advance notice of its 2004 cormorant-control strategy "within the next few weeks." He said the pending suit prevents him from divulging exactly what that strategy entails.
February 11, 2004 -- The International Joint Commission and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) urged adoption of a tough international convention to regulate ballast water. This week, more than 160 member countries of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) are meeting in London, England, for final negotiations on a treaty to prevent the spread of invasive species in ballast water.
The Great Lakes are especially vulnerable to invasion, making the need for a biologically protective convention especially urgent," said the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray, Chair of the Canadian Section of the IJC. "With the help of a strong convention, the IJC stands ready to help both Canada and the United States develop a cooperative, binational strategy to safeguard the biological diversity and ecosystem health of the Great Lakes."
"Preventing the next invasion is absolutely critical to protecting a healthy Great Lakes fishery," said Dennis Schornack, Chair of the U.S. Section of the IJC. "Of particular concern to the IJC is the risk that each new invader can have a devastating impact on both the ecology and economy of the Great Lakes."
The IJC and GLFC noted in separate correspondence to IMO delegates that the convention must include the ability for signatory nations to adopt stricter regulations that could be implemented as soon as possible.
"The IMO meeting that takes place this week is a momentous
opportunity for Canada, the United States, and the world to take strong action to stop the spread of invasive species through ballast water discharge," said Dr. Roy Stein, Vice-Chair of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. "Our fishery resources are threatened in the Great Lakes with each passing foreign ship. Unless the IMO treaty allows nations to impose ballast regulations uniquely designed to protect their waters, I’m afraid weak regulations in other countries will keep our Great Lakes vulnerable to future invasions."
Since 1988, both the IJC and the GLFC have raised the alarm regarding the threat posed by invasive species, especially the zebra mussel, and have repeatedly called for the implementation of mandatory regulations for the management of ballast water by vessels traveling to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Both agencies have also worked on preventing the spread of invasive species via other vectors, particularly the spread of Asian carp via the Illinois Waterway system. The IJC and GLFC have worked closely to block the carp from reaching Lake Michigan through the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal.
Estimates of the economic cost of controlling alien invasive species vary but range from the hundreds of millions to billions of dollars. The ecological threat posed by invaders make them a top threat to biodiversity because of their ability to disrupt the food web, possibly causing devastating negative impacts on fish populations in the Great Lakes.
Interior Secretary Gale Norton last week announced an $859,000 grant to help the State of California improve boating access on the San Francisco waterfront. The grant, awarded by the USFWS under its Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program, will be matched by $1.7 million in funds and in-kind services from partners including the California Department of Boating and Waterways, the Port of San Francisco, and Pier 39 Ltd.
The project will result in better and safer facilities for recreational boaters and increased tourism in the area. Specifically, the grant funds will help fund a one-time dredging of the West Marina to allow access for large, deep drafting transient boats. In addition, the project will reconstruct
transient docks that are in disrepair.
The renovated docks will provide 17 boat slips for transient boats up to 60 feet in length, resulting in an additional 9,300 transient boaters to the area. These recreational boaters are expected to pump an estimated $1.5 million into the local economy.
"We understand the importance of having safe and accessible tie-up facilities and the economic impact that boating can bring to local economies," Norton said. "The BIG program works with partners to improve recreational boating and fishing opportunities. It strengthens community ties to the water's edge by enhancing access to recreational, historic, cultural, natural and scenic resources for millions of boat owners."
Outdoor Life Magazine selection for Public Service
Outdoor Life magazine selected USFWS Director Steve Williams for its prestigious Conservation Award for Public Service for his leadership in strengthening conservation partnerships between America's sportsmen and women and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The award was presented February 13th at the 2004 Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas. Rollin Sparrowe, president of the Wildlife Management Institute and former chief of the Service's Office of Migratory Bird Management was also recognized.
"Hunters and anglers are among our nation's best conservationists," Williams said. "As someone who enjoys the outdoors and grew up hunting and fishing with my father, I consider myself pretty fortunate to have had the opportunities
during my career to make a difference. To be able to make a positive contribution to conservation, working with hunters, anglers, and others who enjoy the outdoors, is something upon which I place great value. I am honored to join the distinguished past recipients of Outdoor Life's prestigious conservation award."
First presented in 1923, the Conservation Award is presented annually to two individuals, one in public service and the other in the individual achievement. Williams and Sparrowe were chosen from a list of worthy candidates nominated to the Outdoor Life Conservation Fund Advisory Board. Past recipients of the award include such notables as Aldo Leopold, U.S. Reps. John Tanner of Tennessee and Don Young of Alaska, and James D. Range of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
LOS ANGELES — A judicial panel has rejected an attempt by the fishing industry to reopen waters around California's Channel Islands that were designated last year as one of the largest no-fishing zones in the country.
A three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision last week, saying studies have found that marine reserves quickly increase fish populations and eventually prove an economic boon to commercial fishing. The fishing groups claimed an "absolute right to fish" in public waters under the state constitution.
The judges responded that the groups "have no constitutional right to deplete or destroy a fish preserve, in this instance, a marine sanctuary." Nick Migliaccio, an attorney for the industry, complained that the ban "prohibited fishing for an indefinite duration in one of the best parts of California."
Though the area will remain indefinitely off-limits for fishing, the growing fish population within it will eventually spread to other regions where fishing is allowed, said Drew Caputo, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The California Fish and Game Commission voted in 2002 to create the 175-square-mile network of marine reserves near the island off the coast of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties west of Los Angeles. The restrictions, which took effect in April 2003, are meant to give endangered white abalone, rockfish, giant kelp forests, and an array of other species a chance to recover from years of excessive fishing. Violations within the aquatic preserve will carry fines of up to $1,000 and a year in jail.
The nation's largest marine reserves are in the waters off the Florida Keys and the northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Source: Associated Press
Washington, DC - Seven environmental litigation groups have filed suit in a U.S. District Court to stop the federal government from accessing oil in the National Petroleum Reserve, set aside by President Harding in 1923. House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) issued the following statement:
"Most Americans know that environmental organizations operate outside the realm of common sense and accountability, but this time Americans will see just how radical they have become. Suing to stop petroleum production in a petroleum reserve is like suing farmers to stop producing milk from cows. If we can't get petroleum from the National Petroleum Reserve, where can we get it?
These groups say they are pro-environment, but it is clear that they are just anti-energy, anti-American jobs, and anti-economic growth. The more they halt production at home, the more we send American jobs and money overseas to make up the difference. Last year alone, the United States sent over $100 billion worth of American jobs to foreign nations for
energy that could have been produced here at home. As demand grows and so-called environmentalists continue to file lawsuits, Americans will lose more jobs and pay more for their energy. Given the choice, what taxpayer wouldn't want to spend $100 billion here on jobs, safe energy development, and a stronger economy?
There is a big difference between active environmentalism and environmental activism. Most Americans today fall into the first category, taking part in community conservation efforts and recognizing that balance must exist between man and the environment. The very shrill, vocal minority that fall into the latter category, such as those who filed this absurd lawsuit, do not believe in balance, nor can they claim to work on behalf of the environment. Their focus is on fundraising, politics, and obstruction.
The United States has the most advanced technology, the toughest safeguards, and the best workforce in the world. More domestic energy production, not less, will strengthen our economy and thus our environment. These groups have it backwards."
Army Corps Civil Works Program Slashed big time
Washington, DC — In a stunning development the Bush administration has quietly proposed ending all federal expenditures for the controversial Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway lock expansion in its fiscal year 2005 federal budget, according to a review released late last week by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
The Bush administration budget completely drops the line item for the estimated $2.3 billion navigation project, omitting any funding requests for further study, design, or construction.
Terminating the scandal-ridden Upper Mississippi project comes as part of the fourth consecutive major reduction in expenditures for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed by the Bush administration. This year’s budget contains a 13.1% cut in Corps civil works expenditures — the second largest percentage cut proposed for any federal government agency by President Bush.
“Not with a bang but with a whimper, this budget should pull the plug on the seemingly never-ending campaign by the Corps to build this multi-billion dollar white elephant,” said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, whose organization represents Corps employees who have disclosed previous attempts by Corps management to manipulate study data in an effort to justify this project.
The Upper Mississippi project has been criticized by the President’s Office of Management & Budget (OMB), as well as by two National Academy of Sciences review panels for using faulty economic models, unrealistic traffic forecasts, and exhibiting a Corps-wide bias towards large-scale, expensive structural solutions ignoring inexpensive non-structural alternatives such as scheduling of barge traffic. At the same time, barge traffic on these rivers has been mired in a decade-long slump, further dampening the need to build bigger locks.
“OMB is taking their management role over the Corps of Engineers very seriously and is beginning to rein in this notoriously wasteful, rogue agency,” stated Ruch.
Ironically, the Corps just recently revealed its latest draft recommendation for replacing many of the existing, recently rehabilitated, and fully functional river locks on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway with larger new locks at a price tag of an estimated $2.3 billion. In an attempt to build support for the project, the Corps was seeking to couple this construction scheme with an even larger amount of vaguely defined “environmental restoration” spending estimated at $5.3 billion, an amount that would have made this overall $7.6 billion package the second most expensive Corps public works project ever-undertaken, exceeded only by the restoration of the Florida Everglades.
Department of Interior Investigators on February 5 arrested an Arkansas Fish Dealer/Fish Farmer in Chinatown in Downtown Chicago. The Arkansas dealer had illegally transported live bighead carp into Illinois and was retailing and wholesaling the fish, along with other fish species, out of their semi-truck. Additionally, they did not have a Non-Resident Fish Dealer's License either.
They were cited for no Non-resident Fish Dealers license, transporting live bighead carp without a required restricted Species Transportation Permit, and failure to have required labeling on aquatic life being shipped.
Contact was made with the fish markets where the live bigheads were delivered to and they were told to ensure that none of the bigheads could be transported or marketed alive to consumers. The fish dealers were reportedly very cooperative.
Additionally, Investigators said they have not heard of the reported tradition of persons in the Asian community buying 2 fish and releasing one. They mentioned their observations have been that the consumer purchases the live fish and the fish is dressed and gutted in the buyer's presence and then delivered to the consumer.
Wisconsin and Ohio state legislators are pushing for new laws aimed at limiting mercury pollution. The effort targets coal-fired power plants. The states are looking to enact stricter pollution controls on power plants than what's being proposed in Washington. Other states, including Michigan, are calling for a phase-out of products that contain mercury. They also want mercury parts and switches to be removed from cars and
appliances before they're scrapped.
Former Maryland lawmaker Leon Billings is with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators: "You've got to go at it from all perspectives. Power plants represent 30 to 40% of the ambient mercury. But these other sources are significant, especially if they're not controlled properly."
Dr. Leslie Dierauf, a wildlife veterinarian and conservation biologist, has been selected as Director of the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) in Madison, WI.
"Leslie brings a wealth of experience both with wildlife health issues and with the use of science in decision making," said USGS Eastern Regional Director Bonnie McGregor. "Research at the NWHC addresses a number of important wildlife and related human health concerns including West Nile Virus, Chronic Wasting Disease and Asian Avian Influenza. Leslie's commitment to leadership and public service will be a valuable asset to the USGS and the NWHC."
Prior to joining the USGS in Madison, Dierauf spent almost a
decade at the USFWS, where she worked on the Endangered Species Program for the Southwest. She also conducted habitat conservation planning for threatened and endangered species, with a strong focus on partner and stewardship efforts with the private sector. Before joining the Fish and Wildlife Service, Dierauf was a Congressional Science Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a staff scientific advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries.
Dierauf received her B.S. in Microbiology and English from the University of Massachusetts in 1970 and her V.M.D. in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974.
Frankfort, KY – The meanderings of the lower Ohio River through the centuries carved sloughs and oxbows all over far western Ballard County in what is now the Boatwright and Ballard Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). These wetlands provide winter habitat for thousands of ducks and geese. These lakes also held sport fish until a weaponless conqueror from Asia showed up.
"Ten to 15 years ago, these lakes had good bluegill, bass and crappie fisheries," said Paul Rister, western fisheries district biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR). "We sampled Fish Lake a while back and we literally did not see any sport fish. What we saw there were all bighead and silver carp. All of those lakes in the Boatwright, Peal, Swan Lake and Ballard wildlife areas are all over run with silver and bighead carp. They’ve taken over these lakes and replaced important game species. The native fish just don’t have a chance with those bigheads and silvers in there."
The silver and bighead carp swim into these lakes each time the Ohio River floods. Arkansas fish farmers imported these fish from Asia to control algae in their fish rearing ponds. These fish farms are on the floodplain of the Mississippi, Arkansas and White Rivers. The Asian carp escaped those fish farms during floods in 1993, 1995 and 2002 and began their conquest up the Mississippi River.
These Asian invaders fought their way up the Ohio River in Kentucky and threaten its tributaries. Biologists found many large dead bighead carp after the Wild Turkey distillery fire killed out a portion of the Kentucky River in 2000. In some pools of the Mississippi River, Asian carp make up 90 percent or more of the fish life.
"They will spawn and then take over," said Ted Crowell, assistant director of fisheries for the KDFWR. "They adapt to any environment and any weather. They can survive our winters and our summers."
The scariest aspect of the Asian carp invasion of the Mississippi River drainage is these fish are filter feeders. Like the native paddlefish, these fish filter plankton and microorganisms from the water for their food. All fish, regardless of species, compete for the same plankton and microorganisms in the first year of their lives.
"Because of this competition, they have the potential to replace native species," Crowell said. "If you dump 100,000 pounds of
fish that weren’t there before, it’s going to have an adverse impact. All of the fish are going to be competing for food and space and our native fish will suffer."
The bighead and silver carp seem poised to expand into other Kentucky waters. Rister said bighead and silver carp are now in Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. They could potentially threaten their world class crappie, bluegill and black bass fisheries. "It is a serious threat and there is practically no commercial market for them," Rister said. "They are loading down the nets of commercial fisherman and causing damage."
Biologists are concerned about other ways these fish may expand their range. "I am concerned about water intake impoundments on the Ohio River," said Benjy Kinman, director of fisheries of the KDFWR. "They pump water into a water supply lake out of the Ohio River. You can get the young of these carp in there and they go through the dam of the water supply lake and downstream. Where do they go after that? I am very worried about their impact on the food chain."
Anglers must do their share to help control the spread of these aquatic nuisance species. Those who collect their own live shad with cast nets out of the Ohio River or any major tributary could spread these menacing carp into waters where they currently do not exist. Young silver carp closely resemble native shad. "All it takes is one bait bucket released in Green River Lake and they are there," Kinman said. "And this could be the way of introduction into lakes that are now free of them."
Another danger of the silver carp besides out-competing native fish is their curious habit of jumping high out of the water when a boat approaches. Motor noise from boats spurs the silver carp to jump. "A lot of boat operators have been hit by these fish with some sustaining injuries,” Kinman said. “Commercial fisherman on the Illinois River are using garbage can lids as shields when they drive their boats now. What is going to happen to jet skiers?"
The bighead and silver carp are not the last of these Asian invaders. Black carp, imported from Asia to control snails in the rearing ponds of fish farms, escaped from a fish farm in Arkansas. "They brought them in to break the life cycle of a grub parasite in fish by eating the snails in their ponds," Crowell said. "They could hurt threatened and endangered native mussels in the wild by eating the young mussels. It is like bringing in saber-tooth tigers to control the coyotes."
Current Lake Levels:
Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 9, 20, 9 and 5 inches, respectively, below their long-term average. Lake Ontario is 6 inches above its long-term average. Lakes Michigan-Huron, Erie, and Ontario are all above last year’s levels, while Lake Superior is at the same level as a year ago and Lake St. Clair is 7 inches below last year’s level. Lakes Michigan-Huron, Erie and Ontario are 3, 5, and 19 inches above last year’s levels, 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 February. Flows in the St. Clair, Detroit, Niagara, and St. Lawrence Rivers are expected to be near average in February.
A major winter storm will bring a variety of precipitation to the
Great Lakes basin this weekend. Rain is expected in the southern third of the basin, while sleet, freezing rain and snow will affect areas to the north. Snowfall amounts may reach 1 foot in parts of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Forecasted Water Levels:
Lake Superior is expected to continue its pattern of seasonal decline over the next four weeks. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie should start their normal seasonal rise over the next several weeks. However, short-term fluctuations on Lake St. Clair could persist as long as the cold weather and ice conditions in the rivers continue. Lake Ontario’s level is expected to stay fairly stable over the next month.
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.
Clough replaces Shupp in BASS Conservation Post
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Noreen Clough, former southeast regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been named BASS Conservation Director, announced Dean Kessel, Vice President and General Manager of BASS. Clough replaces Bruce Shupp, who retired in January after nine years in that role. She will oversee conservation efforts at BASS while consulting on a wide array of advocacy issues in other areas of ESPN Outdoors.
"Noreen has both the experience and direction that we need to continue our conservation group's very important work," Kessel said. "BASS has a 35-year history of leadership in conservation and we anticipate a seamless transition in our key projects, including work on the Largemouth Bass Virus and wetlands restoration."
With Conservation Manager Chris Horton, Clough will also
work with state BASS Federations and their conservation directors to enhance fisheries programs and protect public access to fisheries at the local and state levels.
Clough retired from the FWS in 1997 after 30 years in the federal government. She previously served as Deputy Director, External Affairs, in the U.S. Department of the Interior, where she was liaison to National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. She also administered the $500 million FWS Federal Aid program, and the FWS legislative and public affairs programs. She also worked as Deputy Assistant Director/Fisheries, responsible for development of FWS "Action Plan for Fisheries," and as Chief of Resource Management, National Wildlife Refuge System.
Shupp, before taking the job with BASS worked at NYSDEC where he retired at their fish chief. We wish Bruce tight lines and safe boating. Ed.
The Wall Street Journal reports most commercially produced water comes stamped with expiration dates - typically within two years of when it was bottled.
On most Poland Spring bottles there are tiny, white letters advising consumers to drink up within two years. Most Aquafina bottles sport two-year expiration warnings on their caps. Coca-Cola Inc. puts a one-year expiration date on its Dasani brand water. So does Nestle Waters North America Inc., a division of Nestle SA that bottles brands including Poland Spring and Ice Mountain
The message that water has a shelf life has been further amplified in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security urges people to stockpile water in their disaster-preparedness kits. On its Web site (www.ready.gov), it instructs people to change their stored water every six months.
But does water really spoil? Despite the labels reminding consumers to drink up, there is virtually no evidence that drinking water beyond the expiration date has any health impact at all. The Food and Drug Administration considers
bottled water to have an "indefinite shelf life." Even the bottled-water industry is hard-pressed to justify the labels.
"There's no real rationale," says Jane Lazgin, a spokeswoman for Nestle Waters North America Inc., a division of Nestle SA that bottles brands including Poland Spring and Ice Mountain, and imports European waters such as Perrier and Vittel. The practice "is not health-based," she adds.
Expiration dates are just one example of how shifting tastes and successful marketing have complicated what was once one of life's simpler acts - drinking water. This year, for the first time, Americans are expected to buy more bottled water than beer or coffee. Sales of bottled water reached $7.7 billion in 2002, up 12 % from 2001, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., a New York-based consulting company.
Store shelves are filled with an array of options, from "spring water" and "artesian water" to "purified water" and "drinking water." (The latter is often industry code for filtered tap water.) And, for all the popularity of bottled water, there is little evidence that it's any better for you than what flows from the faucet.
In a study released February 16, Lake County officials used DNA to identify seagull droppings as the top source of E. coli bacteria in water samples collected last summer. Human waste, most likely from sewage spills, came in second.
The study is the latest attempt to grapple with a high number of swimming bans every summer. There were 178 beach closings in Lake County last year. Chicago had 130.
Seagulls, lured by abundant food and attractive nesting grounds, are increasingly common at beaches along the Great Lakes. Many have become so addicted to human handouts that they no longer are afraid of people. Some birds are so aggressive that throwing them a fry or a piece of bread is the only way to get rid of them--for a moment.
Reducing litter, in particular food and food packaging, is considered one of the best ways to keep beaches clean. But it's not the only solution. A panel of federal, state and local officials that reviewed the study said more also needs to be done to eliminate sewage spills into Lake Michigan. "It's obviously more than the birds," said state Sen. Susan Garrett
(D-Lake Forest), who secured the funding for the $30,000 study.
In July, power failures at pumping stations in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest allowed more than 350,000 gallons of raw sewage to spill into the lake. Human waste also occasionally escapes treatment when heavy rains overwhelm the region's aging sewers, or when sewage seeps out from leaking pipes.
Officials from the North Shore Sanitary District welcomed the new study because it confirmed their long-standing belief that sewage isn't the only cause of beach closures. "We know more needs to be done," said Brian Jensen, the district's general manager. "But this study suggests we need a more comprehensive effort to get these bacteria counts down."
In an attempt to predict when bacteria levels will be high, officials plan to install equipment this summer that will monitor wind, sunlight, rainfall and temperature at Lake Forest Beach and the South Beach at Illinois Beach State Park. A similar system tested at Chicago's 63rd Street Beach four years ago predicted unacceptable E. coli levels 86% of the time.
Bacteria contaminating Aurora's water supply might have come from goose feces, authorities said Monday, February 16 after shutting down a 4 million gallon underground reservoir they believe may be the source of the bacteria.
A boil order remained in effect, and Aurora residents likely will have to continue boiling water before drinking it until at least Wednesday. Aurora, a western suburb of Chicago is but one of many DuPage County suburbs over-run with thousands of
resident Canadian Geese.
The boil order for Aurora's 157,000 residents was issued on February 13 after city workers discovered total coliform bacteria in the water supply. That type of bacteria occurs naturally in the environment, but is used in water systems as an indicator that other, potentially harmful types of bacteria may be present. Two samples analyzed since then have tested positive for E. coli bacteria, a type of fecal coliform that can be hazardous if ingested by humans.
Whether you frequently visit our state forests or only occasionally, the operation, funding and staffing of our state forests is important to you. Again this year the DNR Division of Forestry has an opportunity for you to learn more or share your ideas for the future of Indiana's state forests.
A series of open houses at the state forests will begin Tuesday, Feb. 24 and continue through Thursday, June 3. The events will include displays about recreation activities, budget issues, staffing, major projects, the Heritage Trust program, and resource management.
"The beautiful state forests we see today are a significant transformation from the widely abused landscape on many of these sites more than 100 years ago," said John Goss, DNR
director. "Today our forests provide an important mixture of diverse wildlife habitat, forest products and recreational activities including camping, hiking, fishing and hunting."
Persons who attend the open houses will have an opportunity to talk with DNR personnel or, if they prefer, submit written comments concerning forest and recreation management policies and programs. "The open houses at our state forests provide Hoosiers with a chance to become a part of our process," Goss said. "I encourage everyone who has an interest in the state forests to participate in one of these open houses." Light refreshments will be served.
For more info: Russ Grunden, public information officer, DNR, 317-234-0924, [email protected]
"Wade with a
Friend" - A workshop about wetlands March 25
be received by the education center staff no later than March 15, 2004. To register call 317-562-1338 or contact the center by email at [email protected] Space for the workshop is limited to the first 35 registrants. Pre-registration is required. The workshop fee is non-refundable after March 15.
The workshop is open to all
educators. Anyone else who has been completed any of the other education
center courses - Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, Project WET or Go
FishIN - are also eligible and may bring a guest or two who has not been
trained in any of the other programs. Registrants and their guest(s) will
receive a prized. Also, a correlation of the workshop activities to the
state science standards will be available.
State Department of Natural Resources officials announced that, due to Leap Year adding one more day to the month of February in 2004, the walleye, northern pike and muskellunge season in the Upper Peninsula and U.P. waters of the Great Lakes extends through midnight on Feb. 29.
The 2003 Michigan Fishing Guide, effective through the end of March 2004, states on p. 20 that the season for those three species in Upper Peninsula waters concludes on Feb. 28.
The date is meant to convey the last day of February. In light of the Leap Year, state fishery officials clarified that the season extends through the weekend.
"This allows anglers in the U.P. a full weekend of fishing opportunity before the season concludes," said Lt. Thomas Courchaine, DNR Law Enforcement Division. The seasons for walleye, northern pike and muskie, resumes May 15, 2004.
New hope for a better stream fishery
"A new strain of trout may give anglers more bang for their buck," says Amy Harrington, a Michigan DNR fish habitat biologist for the Grand River watershed.
The Grand Rapids Press reports Harrington plans to stop stocking the Rogue River with domestic Wild Rose and Seeforellen brown trout, hatchery strains that have been used forever. Instead, she'll switch to a wild northern Michigan trout called Gilchrist Creek which has done well in area streams during a four year experiment to see how they would fare.
"People like the idea of a wild strain of brown trout and that's what will go into the river for the next six years," Harrington said. "Time will tell, but I'm optimistic and even kind of excited, based on the study results. State researchers said the Gilchrist Creek trout did better than the other two domestic strains in six of the seven rivers they studied. The Gilchrist trout, named after its home waters in Montmorency County, was planted in equal numbers with the other strains.
They were stocked annually between 1997 and 2000 on the Rogue, Coldwater and Manistee Rivers, along with Indian River in the Upper Peninsula. Paired plantings also went into Fish Creek in Montcalm County and Paint Creek in Oakland County. The fish were also planted in the Muskegon River, but researchers said the results there are inconclusive.
Over-winter survival is a key issue for Harrington. Hatchery trout are generally used to stock rivers where there is little to no natural reproduction. Domestic hatchery strains are notorious for not surviving the winter. That means biologists
must replenish the supply of fish each spring if there is to be a trout fishery. It is a standard, but expensive practice on many southern Michigan streams, waters which are classified as only "marginal" trout habitat, where temperatures are too high or the quality is too poor to sustain a thriving, naturally reproducing population.
Gilchrist trout thrive in their natural northern Michigan environment. Studies also show the fish to wary, aggressive, able to survive the winter and reproduce abundantly. The data collected from the six streams other than the Muskegon showed that of the hatchery fish introduced to the stream, more Gilchrist Creek fish turned up than other strains in late summer electro-shocking surveys. Also 20% of the Gilchrist strain survived to year two while only 5% of the Wild Rose and 2 % of the Seeforellen.
Some Gilchrist Creek trout made it to 3 and 4 years old while there were no 3-year-old Seeforellen and no 4-year-old Wild Rose. Gilchrist also grow faster. They grew over 2" between being stocked in spring and shocked in the fall while Seeforellen grew 1.3" and Wild Rose grew 1.5".
Harrington said she may eventually switch strains on other area waters, also. Coldwater is already getting stocked with Gilchrist Creek trout. The Rogue River will get now get 16,400 of the trout every spring along with its usual compliment (16,400) of Eagle Lake rainbow trout. Surveys of the Rogue show the river has a modest number of naturally reproducing trout. Harrington said the amount varies from year-to-year and is not high enough to cut back on hatchery plants.
appeal of their original
hearing on November 25,
2003 has been denied by Judge Lawrence
C. Root Chief Circuit Judge, Michigan's Mecosta County Circuit court.
Judge Root rejected Nestle Waters (Ice Mountain)
Nestlé had motioned for a new trial, not in the sense that the court should start the trial process over. Rather, Nestle asked that "The Opinion be set aside, additional evidence be received to supplement the existing trial record and that I
make new findings of fact and enter a new judgment" said Root.
Nestle argued that it was denied a fair trial as the result of a claimed abuse of discretion committed by Root when he denied their request to supplement the trial record with new and additional evidence, and that the decision to order the termination of water withdrawals from the Sanctuary Springs well field was grossly excessive. Nestle also attempted to re-hash the entire wetland issue, but Root denied their petition on all counts.
February 11, 2004 -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is distributing $1.2 million in federal funding to communities within Michigan’s 13 quarantined counties.
The money will be used to plant trees of varying kinds on
public land. The goal, state officials said, is to help replace the more than 6 million trees that have succumbed to the devastating beetle.
State recreation officials last week announced an opportunity for volunteers to serve as campground hosts in state park and state forest campgrounds.
The Campground Host Program allows individuals to camp in state parks and state forest campgrounds at no charge for one month, in return for providing assistance to other campers. "Campground hosts play vital roles in helping other campers understand the features of state parks and state forests," said Jerry Bukoski, who heads the Parks and Recreation Bureau's visitor service unit. "They share their expertise and knowledge and help build camaraderie in the campground."
Campground hosts answer questions, help organize campground activities and conduct tours of the campground. The specific duties of each host are tailored to their skills and interests. Retired couples, teachers, college students and families have all served as hosts. Hosts must be at least 18
years old and provide service for five days/30 hours each week, including holidays and weekends. The hosts provide their own camping equipment and personal items.
Campground hosts are chosen by park and forest managers who may require an interview or request additional information. Selection is based on the individual's familiarity with the state park or state forest system, camping experience, special skills, availability, knowledge of the area and the specific needs of the campground.
Additional information and applications can be obtained from the DNR web site. Please note that state park applications should be directed to the park where placement is sought. Volunteers wishing to serve in state parks must attend a mandatory training session in May at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon. State forest campground hosts do not need to attend this program. Applications should be sent to Ada Takacs at the address on the form.
Fisheries Division spokesman Todd Grischke reported that an Emergency Order of the Director, FO 242.04, Lake St. Clair-Detroit River Boundary, was signed by Director Cool on Friday, January 9, 2004. This order states that, "for a period of five years for the purposes of establishing statewide coolwater sport fishing regulations upon the waters of Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, the boundary line between Lake St. Clair and
the Detroit River shall be a line extending due south of the Windmill Point Light, Wayne County."
This will be effective through March 31, 2009. Grischke explained that this boundary designation is needed because currently there is no boundary designation. He said that no opposition has been received on this Order.
Agenda items include yellow perch
Michigan's Natural Resources Commission next meeting is scheduled for March 4, with an agenda that includes the Status of Yellow Perch in Lake Michigan deer disease surveillance and bobcat trapping. The NRC has also placed a
Double-Crested Cormorant Pilot Study on its April agenda.
The meeting will be held at the Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan, Lansing, MI
According to Mike Lint, president of the Minnesota Fish and Bait Farmers, the growing number of cormorants feeding on the baitfish he cultivates consume (with help from some white pelicans) more than $100,000 worth of marketable fish from his ponds a year.
Although environmental contaminants and persecution purged most cormorants from the state by the 1950s, environmental legislation and changes in societal norms since the 1970s allowed cormorant and pelican populations to rebound so that today Minnesota has an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs of each species. Minnesota Sea Grant-funded researchers Linda Wires and Francie Cuthbert, with the U. of Minnesota Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation, surveyed Lint and 53 other Minnesota fish farmers to correlate information on bird-related fish losses with the distribution and abundance of cormorants, pelicans, and herons in the state.
As noted in their report, Minnesota Fish Producers Report on Losses to Birds, 87% of fish producers experienced losses to fish-eating birds, with losses to double-crested cormorants
considered more severe than losses to American white pelicans and great blue herons. Losses were defined as severe by 41% of fish producers. Concentrations of fish-eating birds were greatest at facilities during the bird's migratory periods.
Highlights of their survey include:
● Fish losses to cormorants were considered more severe than losses to white pelicans and great blue herons.
● Fish losses to great blue herons occurred most frequently but were generally not considered severe.
● 87% of fish producers experienced losses to fish-eating birds.
● 41% of fish producers defined their losses as severe.
● Concentrations of fish-eating birds were greatest at facilities during the birds' migratory periods.
Populations of cormorants and pelicans have rebounded over the past 30 years in response to policy and improved environmental conditions. In Minnesota, there are an estimated 8,000-10,000 breeding pairs of each species. Wires and Cuthbert are poised to conduct a statewide census of Minnesota's breeding cormorants and pelicans during the 2004 nesting season.
Conservation officers ask anglers to police up litter
Minnesota's ice fishing shelter removal dates are fast approaching. Dark houses, fish houses and shelters must be off the ice of inland waters no later than midnight on Feb. 29 in the southern two-thirds of the state and March 15 in the northern third.
The Feb. 29 deadline applies to waters south of a line starting at the Minnesota-North Dakota border near Moorhead along U.S. Highway 10, then east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border near Duluth. The March 15 deadline applies to waters north of that line.
For border waters, the ice shelter removal deadlines are:
► Minnesota - Iowa, Feb. 20
► Minnesota - Wisconsin, March 1
► Minnesota - North Dakota and South Dakota, March 5
► Minnesota - Canada, March 31.
If houses or shelters are not removed, owners will be prosecuted and the structure may be confiscated, and removed or destroyed by a conservation officer. Contents of the structure may be seized and held for 60 days; if not claimed by the owner within that time, the items become property of the State of Minnesota.
After the date when ice or fish houses or shelters must be removed, portable shelters may be placed on the ice and used from one hour before sunrise to midnight, but only if there is an open fishing season on the lake. Storing or leaving fish houses or dark houses on a public access is prohibited.
Anglers are encouraged to monitor ice conditions on lakes and make arrangements to remove their houses before travel on the ice is dangerous. The Department of Natural Resources recommends a minimum of 4 inches of good solid ice for ice fishing; at least 5 inches for snowmobiles or ATVs; 8 to 12 inches for a car or small pickup; and 12-15 inches for a medium truck.
Ice conditions can vary greatly, so anglers should know about the different types and characteristics of ice. Slush shows weakening of ice and should be considered a danger sign. If ice at the shoreline is cracked or soft, people should stay off. People should not go on the ice during thaws and should avoid honeycombed ice and dark ice. Ice is generally weaker where there is moving water, such as near inlets and outlets, bridge abutments, islands and objects that protrude through the ice.
Conservation officers remind anglers to keep waterways clean. Litter on lakes tarnishes nature's beauty, destroys wildlife habitats and ruins many opportunities for recreation. Litter is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000.
ALEXANDRIA - Christopherson's Bait & Tackle, Dana Freese, 2 blocks east of Big Ole (320-763-3255) Sunfish and crappies have been hitting on the Le Homme Dieu Chain in 15-25 feet of water. This is a morning/day bite.
ANNANDALE - Little Jim's Sports Shop, Hwy 55 (320-274-5297) Clearwater Lake is producing crappies and sunfish. The panfish are biting throughout the day. Other lakes to try for some panfish are Maria and Cedar in around 10-15' of water.
BAUDETTE - Riverview Resort on Lake of the Woods, MN, Kris, www.riverviewresort.net (1-800-343-6909) What's happened is just as we expected - they've moved into the shallow waters again. Not much of a surprise to us with the temps escalating from below zero and back into the teens during the day. Last week, anglers headed towards the Pines and were successful. A few lines suspended and a couple houses using just the plain hooks did well. Averaging about 20 fish per house with a few released.
BIG STONE - Bud's Bait & Tackle, Greg or Jim Rasset (320-839-2480) For panfish action, try Artichoke Lake in about 10 feet of water. This is an afternoon/evening bite. Brainerd Lakes Area - Brainerd Guide Service, John Blong, www.brainerdguide.com (218-825-8965) The panfish action continued to improve this week in the Brainerd Lakes area. The warmer weather has allowed anglers to become more mobile. So don't just sit in one spot. Drill a few holes and go looking. Good crappie action can be found on Whipple, Nisswa, Upper Gull and Lower Sylvan. Key locations have been fast breaklines next to cabbage. Small minnows on glow demons have been a good bait the last few weeks. Just make sure you bring a light source to "charge" the demons for after the sun sets. The sunfish action remained good this week. North Long, South Long, Cullen and Nisswa Lake are producing good numbers of fish in 6-10 feet of water. Take some time and locate areas that have good green cabbage. These locations have been producing better than the areas where the weeds have started to whither. Eurolarvae combined with an ant jig has been a good producer for most locations.
CHISAGO CITY - Frankie's Live Bait and Marine, Brad, Corner of Hwy 8 and CR 77, www.frankies.net (651-257-6334) Panfish bite has been good on Sunrise and North Center in around 12 feet of water. Best time has been late afternoon. Kroon Lake has been producing some crappies in around 20-22' of water.
CROSSLAKE - Holiday of Cross Lake, Lee (218-692-2708) The end of the 2003 gamefish season ended with cooler temps. For many anglers the walleye season provided plenty of action, but few big fish. On the other hand, northern pike finished off the season with a bang. Many large fish were caught and released in the Crosslake area. Once was a 42", 25-pounder, another was a 42-inch, 31-pounder. Most were caught on smaller lakes in the last two weeks of the season. Trout action has been slow due to the weather. Fish are being caught in 50-60 feet of water on shiners. Crappie action continues to be spotty. Try small jigs tipped with minnows or waxworms in 16-24' of water.
DETROIT LAKES - Dick Beardsley's Guide Service, Dick Beardsley (218-846-9230) With the walleye and pikes season now over with until May, we can really concentrate on the panfish! Bluegills and crappies are going pretty good on area lakes right now, although getting around on the lakes can be a problem because of all the snow. Four-wheel drive or snowmobile is a must. One thing with all the snow is that even on bright days you can still get a pretty good crappie bite going right in the middle of the afternoon, the snow keeping the sun from penetrating too much. Lindy Pounders tipped with a waxworm is working best for crappies and gills. The 10- to 12-foot weed flats are where we are catching most of our fish now. Prairie, Crystal, Lizzie, Little Pelican, Cotton, Toad, Town, Little Detroit, Floyd, Sallie, Little Bemidji, Bass and Stump are all worth your while to get out on and give it a try.
DULUTH - Marine General, 1501 London Road, on the edge of Lake Superior (218-724-8833) Lake trout are suspended out in 25 feet of water on Gunflint Lake. Crappies have been reported on Caribou Lake in 15' of water.
GRAND RAPIDS - Rapids Tackle, Don Wendt, 2 blocks west of Jerry's Liquor Warehouse (218-326-9838) We now have to concentrate on the panfish. The crappie bite is still on at Big Rice Lake and also on Big Splithand Lake, the evening is best and try about 18-20 feet deep, using small minnows and glow jigs. Little Joe Frosties and Demons are good. Bowstring is decent on the north end for both perch and crappie. Have heard of some nice perch out of the south end of Big Ball Club. The best area seems to be just off the big center sand bar.
HACKENSACK – Swanson's Bait & Tackle, Jim Tuller, Hwy 371 on the north end of Hackensack, www.swansonsbait.com (218-675-6176) Birch and Ten Mile are your best options for some crappie action. This is a late afternoon/evening bite in 20' of water.
KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN - Gateway Store, Phil Hart, www.gatewaystorellc.com (218-875-2121) Anglers report increased activity when fishing for walleyes, including sauger and perch. The Ash River area on Kabetogama/Namakan attracts the most anglers for its easy access, various depths and reliability. Namakan remains open for fishing, as it is a Canadian border lake.
LAKE OF THE WOODS - Area Tourism Bureau, Jane, near Junction of Hwy 11 and Hwy 172 in Baudette, www.lakeofthewoodsmn.com (1-800-382-FISH) Fishing has been good, but spotty, on the Lake of the Woods. The houses in shallower depths have been doing better than those in deeper water. Fishing has been good up at the Northwest Angle and Islands. Guides are taking people out to the south side of Garden Island and around Little Oak. Anglers are having the best luck in 16-25 feet of water and are using minnows for bait. The South Shore reports some nice jumbo
perch caught. Houses on the south shore are out 2-6 miles in 24-30 feet of water. The trick for success is to switch back from the shallower depths to deeper waters and it seems to be working.
LEECH LAKE - Leech Lake Guide Coalition, Chip Leer (218-547-3212) *Pouters were out in full force last weekend for the 25th Annual International Eelpout Festival on Walker Bay. A total number of 1,378 eelpout were caught, weighing 3,461 lbs. The winning eelpout weighed 11.44 lbs. For full results, see www.poutfest.com
MANKATO - The Bobber Shop, North Riverfront Drive (507-625-8228) German Lake crappie bite is good in 25 feet of water. Glow jigs and small rattle baits have worked best. Lake Washington is still producing sunfish action.
MILLE LACS - Lundeen's Tackle Castle, Bill Lundeen, Onamia, www.lundeens.com 320-532-3416 For the perch, you'll have to sort. Along with countless first and second year perch, there have been some scattered jumbos (not "Winnie" jumbos, Mille Lacs jumbos!). Chances are slim that you can put together a limit of keepers, but a meal should be do-able. Teardrops (blue or firetiger) tipped with a small minnow or waxie have worked best. The last weekend of walleye fishing was good at daylight and dark, then throughout the night. Most of the walleye were shallow in 8-12 feet over big rocks caught on blue frostees or demons tipped with a shiner. Northern fishing was decent in Cove last weekend. Fish houses may remain on the lake until the last day of February.
NISSWA - Dave's Sportland Bait & Tackle, Jason, 2 miles south of Nisswa at the Intersection of Hwy 371 and Cty Rd 77, next to Schaefer's Foods (218-963-2401) The walleye and northern season finished up strong with some very nice northerns being weighed in. We had one hefty pike that tipped the scales at 16 pounds from Lake Edwards. Now it's time to hit the ice for crappies and bluegills. The good news is they are biting. Some lakes that are going strong are Nisswa, Margaret and North Long. Bluegills have been very active in 8-14 feet, while crappies have been a bit deeper. We have seen good action during the day as well as the evening. Glow Demons have produced the crappies while Nuclear Ants have been icing the gills. Tip your jigs with eurolarvae, waxworms, or crappie minnows. Everyday it warms up the fish should be active as they are feeding up for spring. On warm sunny days don't be afraid to check the shallows, like 5-8 feet. The bottom will warm up and the bugs will come out. That's where the aggressive fish will be.
RAINY LAKE - Rainy Lake Tourism, www.rainylake.org (1-800-FALLS-MN) Reports vary. Some anglers are reporting slow but steady action at (and near) the rental icehouses on Sand Bay. Action has been hit or miss around Sand Bay. Last week, a group that converged upon the American Narrows area caught a few keeper size walleye, most were more excited about enjoying an authentic Rainy Lake walleye shorelunch. Avid anglers predict the latter part of the ice-fishing season is going to be phenomenal. Once the snow melts a little, drains back into the lake via fish holes - look out! With the amount of snow we have received, we are virtually guaranteed some incredible action.
SAINT CLOUD - Corky's Gas & Bait, Main Street in Rockville (320-251-1567) Horseshoe Lake is a good option for some crappies. Also, try Pearl Lake for crappies in 16 feet of water. Sunfish action has been reported on Cedar Island and Becker. I
SAINT CROIX - Croixsippi Fishing Guide Service, Turk Gierke, St. Croix River Area, www.croixsippi.com (1-800-929-1801) Bayport area crappies are biting below average currently. Recently the morning bite seems to have fizzled. Late February usually marks a good crappie bite so expect things to heat up some time soon. Top presentations are still crappie minnows held by bobbers, and jigged tiny plastics; look for crappies in 36-40 feet of water. Walleyes and especially sauger are biting on jigging raps, Nils Masters, and minnow head-tipped rattle spoons. These gamefish are being caught over deep sand breaklines in 24-34 feet of water. Angler numbers continue to dwindle making the ice far quieter.
UPPER RED LAKE - West Wind, www.westwindwaskish.com (218-647-8998) Many limits being caught just about everywhere on the lake. The crappie bite is mainly a night bite but also many reports of good day and morning bites.
Come on up and enjoy some great crappie fishing.
LAKE VERMILION AREA - Doug Ellis, Virginia Surplus, 105 N 3rd Ave W, www.virginiasurplus.com (218-741-0331) Slush and snow, that's the word from anglers on area lakes this past week. Anglers have been confined to fishing
hard packed areas and plowed roads if they want to fish at all. ATVs are out of the question this year for travel and if you have a snowmobile you can get to the hard to fish spots but the slush becomes a factor and deterrent. For the most part the walleye and northern pike fishing came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. Some die-hard anglers haven't given up on the crappies on Lake Vermilion and have dealt with the harsh reality of having a normal winter, braved the conditions to find a few worth keeping.
Not a great year fishing crappies for anglers on the big lake. Trout anglers didn't fair well this past week because of the lake conditions and very few lake trout were reported. Lake trout anglers hunting for fish have been plagued with slush from the start of the season and snowshoeing is your best bet to get to those hard to get spots that might produce a couple of trout.
WACONIA - Mase's In Towne Marine, Cindy, corner of Lake and Elm (952-442-2096) Waconia Bay and Pillsbury Reef are your best bets for some panfish action.
WILLMAR - 71 Bait & Sports, Brad Foshaug (320-235-4097) Andrew and Foot report good panfish action. Big Kandi crappie bite has been average. Evening bite best.
Courtesy: Minnesota Office of Tourism
COLUMBUS, OH -- More than 110,000 rainbow trout, measuring 10 to 13", will be released in 47 Ohio lakes and ponds from March through May to enhance public fishing opportunities, according to the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout per angler. Some of the trout locations will feature special, youth-only angler events the day of the scheduled release.
Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license in order to fish the state's public waters. The 2004-2005 fishing license can be purchased now and is required on Mar 1. An annual resident fishing license costs $19 and is valid through February 28, 2005. A one-day fishing license is available and may be purchased for $7 by residents or non-residents. The one-day license may also be redeemed for credit toward
purchase of an annual fishing license.
Resident anglers born on or before December 31, 1937 may obtain a free fishing license where licenses are sold. Persons age 66 and older who were born on or after January 1, 1938 and having resided in Ohio for the past six months are eligible to purchase the reduced cost Resident Senior License for $10.
Additional info, and locations of, spring trout releases is available by calling an ODNR district office in Akron, Athens, Columbus, Findlay, and Xenia, or by calling toll free 1-800-WILDLIFE. www.dnr.state.oh.us/news/feb04/0219troutstocking.htm
With sportsmen increasingly wary of animal-rights groups, the House has passed a bill to amend the state constitution.
The Pennsylvania House on Monday sent its constitutional amendment to the Senate by a vote of 189-11, a reminder of the power wielded by sportsmen.
What would it accomplish? The two-sentence amendment - ridiculed as political grandstanding by animal-welfare groups - does not expand hunting and fishing opportunities. And although restrictions have been introduced in some statehouses - a five-year ban on bear hunting is in committee in New Jersey - they face certain defeat in Harrisburg.
Sportsmen are flexing their political muscle around the country, changing laws in state after state to protect against what they see as threats to their heritage. In Pennsylvania - where the number of licensed hunters is second only to Texas and sportsmen already carry clout in the legislature - the constitution could soon carry a new guarantee: "Right of the people to hunt and fish."
And the trend is clear: Eleven states recognize citizens' right to hunt, fish or trap, mostly through laws or constitutional changes approved in the last few years. Six, including Pennsylvania, have begun the amendment process. Many of the changes are attempts to establish in law control over practices that sportsmen consider part of their tradition and that animal-rights forces say are immoral.
Limitations in other states usually have succeeded through public ballot initiatives that bypassed the legislature.
Pennsylvania has no such option. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Matt Baker (R., Tioga), said he offered the preemptive action in response to animal-rights forces' successes elsewhere.
Hunting, trapping and, to a lesser extent, fishing, have been declining for years, as Americans continue migrating from rural areas to cities and suburbs, and as development displaces animals' habitat. Those trends, along with evolving ethical beliefs and organized opposition by animal-rights groups, have affected public opinion.
The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance has tracked dozens of issues from a ban on hunting cougars in California to a constitutional amendment granting rights to pregnant hogs in Florida. Sportsmen win about 70% of the fights, but would lose more than half if they were not organized, said Doug Jeanneret, director of communications for the Ohio-based alliance, which lists 35,000 contributors.
Jeanneret said animal-rights groups often target practices that reap publicity but affect relatively small numbers - hunting and trapping bobcats in Pennsylvania, for example. Those groups responded that they seek only to ban outrageous practices.
The right-to-hunt amendment passed with statewide, bipartisan support. All the nays were cast by urban legislators. It must be approved by both chambers over two sessions. The public would have the final say, as early as November 2005. Voters have approved all five amendments that reached the ballot over the last six years.
The briefs included in these reports are provided by the PFBC’s field staff – Waterways Conservation Officers, Area Fisheries Managers and Aquatic Education Specialists – from across the Commonwealth. During the winter months, reports will be issued every other week, with each compilation consisting of information from three of the Commission’s six regions on a rotating basis.
Anglers on Shepard’s Pond, located on State Game Lands 250 in Terry Township, are catching good numbers of largemouth bass. Anglers are using nightcrawlers and fishing in 10 to 14 feet of water. There is also some fast chain pickerel fishing at the northwest end of the pond – use minnows and target the stumps. Shepard’s Pond is the larger of the two ponds located on this game land.
Ice anglers are catching pickerel at various locations on Beltzville Lake. Some pickerel are around 22 to 23 inches. Ice anglers are most successful in the area of Preachers Access near the Wild Creek Cove and Pohopoco Cove. Bluegills, perch and some bass are being caught in this area as well. Anglers are using jigs tipped with mealworms, waxworms or minnows. Brown trout are being caught off Pine Run Access. Pickerel, bass and perch are being caught off the point at the boat rental area.
Ice anglers have also been doing well with pickerel at Mauch Chunk Lake. Anglers at this lake are also catching bass and perch up in the 12- to 14-inch range. There are also occasional reports of walleye being caught. Jigs tipped with minnows seem to work well at Mauch Chunk Lake. There is little or no fishing pressure on area streams
Ice fishing has been slow over the past several weeks throughout this county. Anglers fishing both public and private frozen bodies of water have not had much success. Anglers at Lackawanna State Park Lake have managed to catch a few nice trout, although the activity seemed much better during the early ice.
The fish cooperation is sporadic overall. There are inconsistent reports of perch catches from Frances Slocum Lake.
Some bass are being caught and there is some bluegill activity at Moon Lake. This lake will be stocked with trout during the week of February 23rd.
Some nice crappie, bluegills and an occasional walleye are being caught at Sylvan Lake.
Lake Took-A-While will also be stocked with trout during the week of February 23rd. Remember that ice fishing isn't permitted at this lake because the ice usually isn't safe. The good news is that the ice historically melts by the end of February or early March, allowing for a good month's worth of fishing for the stocked trout - anglers had a blast fishing for them last year. Even when the lake has some ice on it, open water can be found by the inlet off State Route 11 and at the lower end of the lake. The two items necessary for this years fishing conditions are determination and persistence.
The ice has been good and thick on most private lakes due to freezing temperatures. And the ice anglers have been out in force on the weekends. They are having phenomenal luck with big bass and pickerel as well as large numbers of panfish. One odd note to add: One weekend while an officer was checking fishermen on Lake Harmony, a man commented that all he was catching that day was pickerel and asked where the bass were. Other anglers expressed the same. On this same lake the next day, fishermen commented that all they were catching were bass! It just goes to show how unnoticeable conditions may change and affect whether or not a particular species of fish are feeding.
Anglers have been doing well on Tobyhanna Lake with the pickerel and perch since February 8th. Prior to that date, it seems anglers were not reporting these recent good catches.
Ice fishermen at Hidden Lake have reported catching large pickerel. Hidden Lake is located in the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area of Monroe County. This lake will be stocked with trout during the last week of February.
Ice remains at acceptable levels for fishing around northern Pike County. Catch reports are spotty in certain areas. Shohola Lake seems to have consistent catch reports.
Lower Promised Land Lake is producing some decent pickerel and perch catches along with assorted panfish. Live bait seems to be the ticket.
Don’t forget that trout-stocked Lake Minisink and Little Mud Pond will be closed to fishing from March 1 to 8:00 a.m. on the opening day of trout season. Now is the time to get your last fishing days at these two lakes.
Rainbow trout are being caught at Quaker Lake in the deeper water (20 plus feet). Anglers are jigging with various teardrops that are tipped with waxworms. The average size of the trout has been 14 inches or more.
Ice remains at acceptable levels for fishing in eastern Wayne County and catch reports are spotty in certain areas. Overall though, the fishing activity is on the upswing. There are numerous reports at Prompton Dam of anglers taking pickerel, bluegill, perch, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. The walleye fishing has been slow but productive at times. There have even been a few channel cats and bullhead taken through the ice.
Gouldsboro Lake has been producing nice catches of panfish and pickerel.
Ice anglers are catching bluegills and bass at Stevens Lake. Jigging maggots and minnows seem to be the ticket. A favorite spot seems to be up at the northern end of this lake. But, if fishing activity isn’t strong at the northern end, shift to another area.
Perch and bluegills are being caught up at Lake Walter in good numbers. Anglers are parking along Route 29 and walking down to the lake. Just make sure your vehicle is off the road, particularly during bad weather.
Anglers are also ice fishing on the northern end of Lake Carey.
There is still open water along the shoreline and docks at Lake Winola due to privately owned “bubblers” (aerators that keep the docks from freezing).
Ontelaunee Lake continues to produce the best ice fishing results in the area. Panfish have been running on the smaller side, but the action has been consistent. Large northern pike and muskellunge always remain a possibility at this lake.
Looking for a shot at a lunker? Anglers are reporting some success catching large walleyes in the Felix Dam area of the Schuylkill River. The fish have been few and far between, but catching the big one has never been easy. Try jigs in a variety
of colors in deeper areas near fast water.
The recent stocking of trout in Leaser Lake should provide some action for hard water anglers. Recently, ice fishing has not been very productive with only a few perch and pickerel being caught. The fishing on area streams has been treacherous, and many streams have large chunks of broken ice along their shores, making walking difficult.
Panfish have been slow to bite on Minsi Lake, but pickerel have not stopped taking fathead minnows on a regular basis. Fish them on a tip-up for best results. Largemouth bass action has been intermittent, however, a 6-pound, 10-ounce largemouth was recently brought through the ice. Bass will take a fathead or shiner minnow as well, although extra care should be taken with your bait to ensure it is alive if you are targeting bass.
Ice conditions are favorable on Tuscarora and Locust Lakes. Many ice fishermen are targeting walleyes at Tuscarora with little success. Instead, ice fishermen on both lakes are finding that trout and perch are providing the most cooperative fishing. The yellow perch on Tuscarora Lake are averaging 11 inches, while the rainbow trout are running slightly shorter. Locust Lake will close to fishing on March 1st and re-open for the statewide trout opener on April 17th.
Shawnee Lake has been drawn down six feet for vegetative control. This has made ice conditions somewhat unpredictable, so pay close attention to ice thickness and watch your step. Ice anglers are still catching largemouth bass and pike on the lake. Fish the lower half of the lake near the dam where fish are more likely to be concentrated.
Both Gordon and Koon Lakes are providing good ice fishing for panfish. Anglers are catching bluegills and perch using wax worms for bait. The most popular area has been the arm of Koon Lake near U.S. Highway 220.
Fishing has been good on warm days on the Yellow Breeches Creek. Anglers using small spoons have reported good success catching stocked trout. Keep in mind that most of this stream closes on March 1st along with all other approved trout waters in the state, and will reopen on April 17th, the statewide trout opener.
Opossum Lake is still fishing well. Anglers using jigging spoons have caught yellow perch as large as 14 inches recently. Some trout are also being caught on the lake, with anglers using live bait reporting the most consistent results.
Cowan’s Gap Lake in Cowan’s Gap State Park has been recently stocked with trout, and is a good bet for ice anglers to catch a nice trout. Try actively jigging small spoons tipped with grubs or minnows. Anglers fishing tip-ups should note that trout often respond better to live minnows, so it can be important to keep your bait fresh.
Trout have been stocked recently at Stover’s Dam in Lebanon. The ice fishing action has been good for the nice-sized rainbows that were stocked. Small jigs with worms or grubs are working well. Salmon eggs and corn are also producing fish.
Memorial Lake in the state park of the same name has been giving up small panfish to persistent ice anglers. Crappies and yellow perch have been the most regular catches. Anglers have also reported catching northern pike up to 27 inches on large minnows fished on tip-ups.
Lake Arthur: The area near the Mt. Zion Church has produced good catches of largemouth bass in the 15- to 18-inch range are being reported being caught about one foot off the bottom in 8-10 feet of water using a single minnow on a tip-up. Fishing the Muddy Creek Finger area around dark over the submerged railroad bed using a tip-up with a minnow should produce bass also.
Harbor Acres Lake has been producing brown and brook trout on jigs and tip-ups in three to four feet of water using micro spoons, maggots, minnows, and maggot tipped lures. Sizes have been ranging from 8-17 inches. Many very nice two-year-old brown trout have been stocked in this lake. This “Select Stocked Lake” is open until March 31st with a three-trout daily limit and a seven-inch minimum size. It’s located on Game Lands 95 at the intersection of Meal and Calico Roads.
The “Glades” propagation area will yield nice bass, catfish, and crappie, but to date, very few anglers have fished this very under-utilized area. It’s located behind Moniteau High School and is open from January 15th to March 15th by ice access only. No access by land areas to the ice is permitted in the posted area. Public accesses are: Christy Road Access, Kirt’s Ditch Access, Thompson’s Road Access, and the Spillway Vista.
Pymatuning Lake: Small panfish are being caught on the ridges and gravel bars in the evening jigging.
Good size panfish are being caught in the northern end of Conneaut Lake around the weed beds.
Small panfish have been caught at Woodcock Lake and Canadohta Lake.
Panfish and some musky have been caught at Tamarack Lake.
Justus Lake is part of the Select Trout Stocked Lake Program, and was recently stocked with some great looking brook trout. Try using smaller jigs tipped with maggots, or live minnows for the best results. The north end of the lake or the cove near the beach could prove to be productive.
Allegheny River: Shore ice is preventing anglers from accessing the river. Once this shore ice melts in the next couple of weeks, walleye and northern pike fishing should be good. Try floating minnow lures or live minnows.
There’s been some big northern pike taken from the Kinzua Reservoir (a 43-inch northern was recently caught) and good numbers of walleye (a 16-pound-plus walleye was caught three weeks ago through the ice) being landed. Walleye are hitting on live minnows.
Chapman Lake was recently stocked with brook trout. Anglers are also catching small perch using grubs, and some previously stocked brook trout on minnows.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBUTARIES
Perch action is picking up on Presque Isle Bay although anglers are not seeing the abundant catches witnessed saw last year. The most productive area has been off the Chestnut Street boat launch on the Bayfront Highway straight out about a third of the distance across the bay. The best reports have come from anglers fishing in 15 to 24 feet of water off the bottom. Anglers are also beginning to pick up smelt as well. Misery Bay and Horse Shoe Pond at the end of Presque Isle State Park are still hot spots for nice size bluegills. If shiners aren't catching them for you, try a variety of small jigs.
HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania Game Commission officials last week delivered the agency's annual report to the House Game and Fisheries Committee at an informational meeting
in the State Capitol. To view a copy of the annual report, go to the Game Commission's website www.pgc.state.pa.us , click on "Annual Reports," then select "2002-2003 Legislative Annual Report."
Representative Merle Phillips along with members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus introduced legislation (HR 538) recognizing the importance and contributions of sportsmen to Pennsylvania on January 27, 2004. The resolution recognized sportsmen for the $70 billion a year economic impact and the additional $1.7 billion they spend on conservation programs, along with the heritage and
tradition it fosters among the Commonwealth’s residents.
The bill also addressed the value of federal programs such as the National Wildlife Refuge System, Pittman-Robertson Act and Dingell-Johnson Act. The bill passed the House with a unanimous vote on Feb 2, 2004.
188 lb speared sturgeon largest ever taken from Lake Winnebago in 73 seasons
OSHKOSH – The 2004 Lake Winnebago lake sturgeon spearing season will go down in the record books for the highest one-day harvest, the shortest season, and the largest fish ever taken from lake Winnebago, but also for having greatly exceeded the harvest cap put in place to protect this unique fishery.
Spearers registered 1,303 sturgeon on Feb. 14, the opening day of the season, the highest one-day harvest of sturgeon ever. The season lasted just 12 hours, as spearers quickly exceeded the harvest number that triggers closure of the season. David Piechowski of Red Granite speared a sturgeon that was 79.5" long and weighed 188 lbs, the largest fish ever taken from Lake Winnebago during 73 seasons and besting the previous 51-year-old record of 180 lbs.
But those successes were tempered by concern over the number of adult females killed despite regulation changes implemented in recent years to better protect their population.
“Spearers were happy with the conditions and their success, but the harvest cap for adult females was exceeded by 62% and that concerns us,” said Ron Bruch, DNR fisheries supervisor in Oshkosh. “The overharvest this year indicates that our system to control the sturgeon take, while close, falls a little short in safeguarding the population and the tradition of spearing for the long haul.”
DNR limits harvest to 5% of the adult lake sturgeon population because overharvest can crash a population and rebuilding can take generations because female lake sturgeon don’t start spawning until they are 20 to 25 years, and then spawn only every three to five years. Harvest caps for 2004 are 425
each for juvenile and adult female sturgeon and 1,300 for adult male sturgeon. When spearers reach 80% of any of those harvest caps, the season closes at the end of spearing hours the next day. If none of those triggers are reached, the season closes after 16 days.
In 2004, spearers exceeded both the trigger and the harvest cap for adult females on opening day en route to spearing 1,847 sturgeon over the two-day season. Spearers on opening day registered a record 1,303 sturgeon, including 509 adult female fish, well over the harvest cap of 425. By the time the 2004 season closed at the end of spearing hours Feb. 15, a total of 689 adult females had been harvested, 264 over the harvest cap. That's a marked contrast to recent years, when shortened spearing hours, tightened spearing regulations, and poor spearing conditions had stretched out the seasons and kept totals well under the harvest caps.
The 2003 season ran 10 days before spearers passed the trigger to shut down the season, and the final harvest total of 350 adult females was well below the 2003 cap of 400. The 2002 season ran for the full 16 days allowed by statute and didn’t reach any of the triggers. In fact, the 2004 season looked more like the 2000 and 2001 seasons, which prompted the tighter regulations and shorter spearing hours: the 2000 and 2001 seasons closed after two days and spearers exceeded the harvest caps for adult females.
Bruch said the fast and furious action of 2004 reflected in large part excellent spearing conditions. “Very clear water and a high concentration of sturgeon -- along with a high concentration of spearers in the southern one-third of the lake -- resulted in the high harvest,” he said. Bruch said the 2004 season results would spur DNR and the citizens advisory group that helps shape the sturgeon management program to re-examine the season’s regulatory structure.
MADISON – Anglers are reminded that the current inland game fishing season closes on Monday, March 1, 2004.
In 2005 and subsequent years, however, the inland game fishing season will close at the end of the day of the first Sunday in March. The panfish seasons remains open year-round as does the game fish season on select waters, as listed in the Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations.
The change in season closure date was approved during the
2003 annual DNR Spring Rule Hearings and subsequently by the Natural Resources Board, along with a slate of other fishing regulation changes. Those approved changes go into effect for the 2004-2005 license year, which starts April 1, 2004, according to Patrick Schmalz, the regulations and warmwater fisheries specialist for DNR.
"Anglers from across the state expressed their desire to end the game fish season on a Sunday and starting in 2005, they will gain additional days of fishing on most waters," said Schmalz. Inland game fish season closes March 1.
MADISON – The return of more typical winter weather in Wisconsin after two previously mild winters brings both good and bad news for anglers eager for the March 6 opener of the early trout season.
"The good news is that last fall's rains and the winter snows will help provide some relief to last year’s low stream flows,” says Larry Claggett, DNR coldwater ecologist. “The bad news is some waters that aren’t near spring flows may be frozen and snow-covered when the early season opens in March. “But trout populations are generally in good shape, and anglers should experience good fishing once streams are accessible and have normal flows.”
Drought conditions in much of the state in 2003 meant that flows in many streams were half the normal level. In some cases, the low flows resulted in lower trout numbers, particularly in more marginal streams. “Lower flows mean fewer places for fish to hide, more crowding, more stress, warmer water in summer and colder water in winter, which could lead to less growth and even death if severe enough,” Claggett says.
While the rains of late 2003 and the snows of 2004 will offer some help for the early trout season, flows later in the year are likely to still be below normal in some parts of the state.
The 2004 early trout season opens at 5 a.m. March 6 and continues until April 25 at midnight. The early season is catch-and-release only, and only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used while fishing for any species of fish on trout streams. Anglers may have barbed hooks in their possession while fishing.
All streams are open to early fishing in most counties with the exception of most Lake Superior tributaries and most streams in northeast Wisconsin. Only specified waters are open in northeastern Wisconsin; those waters are listed in the 2004 Trout Fishing Regulations pamphlet, which is scheduled to reach license outlets in mid-February.
Anglers will need to watch the weather this year and be aware of stream conditions in the area they intend to fish. Fisheries biologists report varying conditions across the state.
Chopped down walnut trees mistaken for Ash Trees
February 17, 2004 -- Almost 80 walnut trees were mistakenly chopped down in a bid to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer in southern Ontario. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency admitted Wednesday that the trees were mistaken for ash and chopped down last week.
About 64,000 ash trees are being cut in Windsor, Ontario, and southwestern Ontario's Essex County to stop the tree bug. Ken Marchant, a forestry specialist with the agency, said the
problem happened with a tree removal company. "Tree markers have made a few mistakes and in some cases the crews cut down trees that were not marked," Marchant said. "But he said the error will not happen again."
The agency hopes to halt the beetle's spread by creating an ash-free zone in southwestern Ontario stretching from Lake Erie in the south to Lake St. Clair in the north. Officials say they hope the 6-mile-wide zone, also known as a firebreak, will save ash trees east of the line.
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