Week of March 6, 2006

Club News





2nd Amendment issues








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Club News

SONS of Lake Erie Ice Out Party April 9

The S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie's Ice Out Party will be held on Sunday, April 9, at the Cauley Memorial Auditorium, 215 East 4th St. Erie, PA from 1 PM until 6 PM.


The price of admission to the party is $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for kids under 12 payable at the door (toddlers are free).  Free hot dogs and refreshments will be furnished throughout the afternoon. There will be numerous door prizes and games for your enjoyment.

The highlight of the day will be the "Fantastic Fin and Fur Drawing." Raffle tickets for this drawing are $5.00 each or three for $10.00. The five dollar per ticket donation will give you a chance to win one of 10 great prizes. The Grand prize is a 2006 Yamaha "Bruin" 4X4 automatic with trailer purchased from Off-Road Express, 10320 Wattsburg Rd.


For more raffle tickets or any questions call the club phone number at 814-453-2270.


Americans see less crime than Britons, Canadians

Historians, world leaders and assorted pundits with Yankee bashing in mind have long cultivated the idea that America is a violent place. Not so, says Gallup, which released a report recently revealing that the nation is not necessarily Dodge City: The impact of crime is lower in the U.S. than in Britain, and in many cases Canada.


"The U.S. is often seen from abroad as a relatively lawless society, with murders and gun-related crimes aplenty. But a series of Gallup surveys in Great Britain, Canada and the U.S. suggest the image is somewhat distorted," noted David W. Moore of the Gallup News Service.  It's close, but the United States emerged as the least crime-ridden.


In three polls of 3,025 persons -- about 1,000 in each country -- 32 % of the Americans said they or someone in their households had been a victim of crime of some type within the previous year. Among Canadians, the figure was 33 %; among Britons, 36 %.  About 71 % of both Canadians and Britons, compared with 67 % of Americans, said there had been more crime in their respective countries in the previous 12 months.


Gallup also asked respondents whether they had been mugged, assaulted or had property stolen, among five other unpleasant experiences. Overall, Britain proved the most dangerous, with a quarter of the respondents reporting that they or a family member had been a victim of crime. Canada and the United States were tied at 21%.

On specific crimes, 22 % of the British reported their home, car or property had been vandalized. The figure was 17 % among Canadians and 15 % among Americans.  About 7 % of the Britons said they had been mugged or physically assaulted; the number was 4 % for both Canadians and Americans. Car theft was higher in Britain as well, with 5 % reporting the crime, compared with 3 % of Canadians and 2 % of Americans.


Americans had experienced the most home computer or Internet-based fraud, with 8 % reporting it; the number was 7 % among British respondents and 6 % among Canadians.  Canadians had the highest incidence of money or property stolen, with 17 % reporting it. Among Americans, it was 16 %; among British, 13 %. The countries tied in sexual assaults (1 % in all three), strong-arm robbery (2 %) and home break-ins (4 %).


Meanwhile, 45 % of Britons said they lived within a mile of an area where they were afraid to walk alone at night. The figure was 38 % among Americans and 35 % among Canadians.  Some 42 % of British respondents said they had considerable confidence in their police to protect them from violent crime. Among Canadians, the figure was 67 %; among Americans, 53 %.


The surveys were conducted between October 13 and December 20 last year.



Santorum introduces S.2249 to eliminate S.S. #s

Sportsmen’s Privacy Protection Act

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has introduced legislation to eliminate the requirement in the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill that requires hunters and fishermen to furnish their social security numbers when getting a license.


"Across America, hunting and fishing is an age old heritage that is passed on from one generation to the next.  Our outdoor sportsmen should not be required to surrender sensitive information and risk being victims of identity theft to preserve this legacy.  This is much needed reform and the NRA would like to thank Senator Santorum for leading this effort in the United States Senate," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.

Senator Santorum's bill is a companion to H.R. 4144, introduced in the House by Representative Phil English, also of Pennsylvania.  The House version of the bill has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.


"This proposed law will help save 16 million hunters and another 34 million fishermen who buy licenses every year from falling victim to identity theft," continued Cox. "On behalf of NRA members across the country, I want to thank Senator Rick Santorum for his support of the hunters and fishermen and his work to preserve our country's strong outdoor traditions."



National Fishing & Boating Week is June 3 - 11

National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW) is an annual, national celebration of fishing and boating coordinated by RBFF.  NFBW occurs the first full week of June - this year, June 3 - 11, 2006.  Hundreds of communities across the

country host fishing and boating events designed to give families the opportunity to participate in these great pastimes.


Is yours planned?

Ithaca Gun Co. is reborn in Ohio

It's now known as Ithaca Guns USA

The familiar but tattered Ithaca Gun name can once again be listed with shotgun manufacturing companies.  It's now Ithaca Guns USA, LLC, and headquarters is Upper Sandusky, Ohio.


Craig and Floyd Marshall, owners of MoldCraft, a molding and tool and die company that makes plastic molds for fast food chains' salad bowls and the like, purchased the rights to the Ithaca Gun name, designs and inventory in December.  Using their 30,000 sq ft CNC machinery-equipped plant and Ithaca Gun plans and specs, the new company is already turning out variations of the Model 37 pump that has been the flagship of the troubled Ithaca Gun name for early 70 years.


Ithaca Gun LLC, which was formed in 1995 to purchase the company's name and assets following the failure of Ithaca Acquisition Inc. in King Ferry, failed itself last summer.  The company moved from its rented factory quarters in King Ferry last spring in anticipation of being purchased by a Rhode Island entity. When the deal fell through, Ithaca Gun LLC — which had defaulted on a development loan from Cayuga County and faced significant federal and private debt — closed its doors.


The company's barrel machine was lost as collateral and most of the remaining tooling was sold off, but netted just $8,200. The Marshalls entered the picture in the fall with a purchase offer, and a deal was finally negotiated a week before Christmas.

"I think the former owners deserve credit in that they turned down a larger offer to assure that manufacturing would remain here (in the United States) and quality would be maintained," Marshall said.


The guns are identical to those made in the past, but Marshall notes that the use of better steel and new manufacturing processes will improve the quality. The company is building variations of the Model 37 bottom-ejection pump and has plans to eventually redesign and build the Model 51 autoloader, the NID double and possibly the elaborate Knickerbocker trap design.


They have a service department in place that will service all Ithaca models with the exception of the SKBs. The new company cannot honor the warranties on guns built by Ithaca Gun LLC, however, because of pending legal consideration.


Ithaca Gun was founded in the 1880s and was managed for nearly 100 years by the Smith family until it fell on hard times and sold out to the company that owned Brunswick/AMF in the 1980s. That Ithaca Gun entity went bankrupt in 1986 and a Rochester-based corporation, Ithaca Acquisition was formed to buy the assets in 1987. That company moved the manufacturing plant from its original site on Fall Creek in Ithaca to a school building in King Ferry in 1989. Ithaca Acquisition failed in 1994 and Ithaca-based Ithaca Gun LLC was formed in 1995.


Check out their new web site:  www.ithacagunsusa.com


Annual Lake Committee Meetings scheduled for March 20-24

All 5 lake meetings to be held in Windsor, ON

The annual Lake Committee Meetings of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission will be held in the same location for a change. The Eight Great Lakes State DNRs and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources have agreed to hold their annual lake committee meeting in Windsor, ONT on March 20-24 at the Cleary International Centre, 201 Riverside Dr West, Windsor, Ontario N9A 5K4.


Riverside Dr West is along the river, and the Centre is located between Church and Ferry Sts, about 2 blocks south of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.  http://www.thecleary.com/

Meeting Schedule:

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for March 3, 2006

Lake Level Conditions: 

All of the Great Lakes are 4 to 9 inches below the levels of a year ago except Lake Ontario, which is 1 inch below last year’s level.  Lake Superior is below chart datum and is expected to be at the same level a month from now.  Lake Michigan-Huron is below chart datum and should rise three inches within the next 30 days. Lake St. Clair is expected to rise 4 inches over the next month.  Lake Erie is expected to rise 4 inches by next month and Lake Ontario is expected to rise two inches over the next month.  Due to a warmer than average January, some of the Great Lakes seem to have begun their seasonal rise earlier than normal, but levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain lower than 2005. 


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is projected to be near average during the month of March.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated to be below average and about average during March respectively.  The Niagara River and St. Lawrence River flows are expected to be above average in March.


Projection by April 3:

The US Army Corps of Engineers projects the following changes in lake levels by April 3, 2006:  Lakes Michigan-Huron +3”, Lake St. Clair +4”, Lake Erie +4” and Lake Ontario +2”



Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center web page. 


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary





St. Clair



Expected water level for 3/3 in ft






Chart datum, in ft






Diff from chart datum, in inches






Diff from last month, in inches






Diff from last year in inches







Notable Quotes

"The said constitution shall be never construed to authorize congress to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms------"

 -Samuel Adams- during the Massachusetts's Convention to

Ratify the Constitution, 1788

"Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

 General Macarthur


2nd Amendment issues

Bill allows force to be met with force

In one's own defense - Castle Doctrine” Self-Defense Law

Kansas is one of 14 states considering a "stand your ground" bill, which would allow people to kill an intruder without fear of being arrested or sued.   Senate Bill 418, “The Personal and Family Protection Act,” passed through the Senate by a vote of 29-11.  SB 418 will now advance to the House of Representatives. 


House Bill 2577, the “Stand and Defend Act” will be voted on by the House Federal & State Affairs Committee this coming week.  This important legislation allows a person to use justifiable force when the fear of bodily harm is present.  Supporters say the bill is a way to protect those who protect themselves. It would allow people to "meet force with force" not only in their homes, but in their cars and on the street.


The "stand your ground" bill automatically assumes that people fear for their lives when someone breaks into their homes. It would shield people from prosecution and civil lawsuits when they kill or harm an aggressor.  The bill applies not only to actions people take in their own homes, but anywhere they have a right to be, including cars, parks, parking lots or on the street.


Florida was the first to create the new law that expands the protection of its citizens under the Castle Doctrine. The Florida "Castle Doctrine" law basically does three things:


One: It establishes, in law, the presumption that a criminal who forcibly enters or intrudes into your home or occupied vehicle is there to cause death or great bodily harm; therefore a person may use any manner of force, including deadly force, against that person.


Two: It removes the "duty to retreat" if you are attacked in any

place you have a right to be. You no longer have to turn your back on a criminal and try to run when attacked. Instead, you may stand your ground and fight back, meeting force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others. [This is an American right repeatedly recognized in Supreme Court gun cases.]


Three: It provides that persons using force authorized by law shall not be prosecuted for using such force.


It also prohibits criminals and their families from suing victims for injuring or killing the criminals who have attacked them. In short, it gives rights back to law-abiding people and forces judges and prosecutors who are prone to coddling criminals to instead focus on protecting victims.


"This is not a gun bill. It's strictly to defend oneself," Rep. Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, said.  "Basically, over the last 50 or 60 years, most of our laws have addressed the criminal side of justice as opposed to the victim's side of justice," Carlson said.  He predicted that the bill he is sponsoring would pass, even though Kansas is one of four states that has not passed a law allowing residents to carry concealed weapons.


Violent crime -- including murder, rape, robbery and assault -- has fallen about 7 % nationwide in the past four years, according to FBI statistics.


Michigan, Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming are among the states that have joined Kansas in introducing Castle Doctrine legislation similar to Florida Law.

Supreme Court Justice Champions Hunting

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia fondly remembers carrying a rifle around New York City as a boy and says outdoorsmen should attack the idea that guns are only used for crimes.


An avid outdoorsmen who's hunted with Vice President Dick Cheney, Scalia spoke last week at the National Wild Turkey Federation's annual convention.  "The attitude of people

associating guns with nothing but crime,     that is what has to be changed," Scalia told the audience of about 2,000.  "I grew up at a time when people were not afraid of people with firearms," said Scalia, noting that as a youth in New York City he was part of a rifle team at the military school he attended.


"I used to travel on the subway from Queens to Manhattan with a rifle," he said. "Could you imagine doing that today in New York City?"



Clinton Lake implements “no wake” speed limit at night

New Regulation began March 1st

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has implemented a new night time no-wake speed limit on Clinton Lake in DeWitt County in central Illinois beginning on March 1.  The new no-wake restriction begins each day at one-half hour after sunset and continues until the next morning at one-half hour before sunrise.


“The safety of boaters on Clinton Lake is our most important consideration in enforcing a no-wake speed limit from dusk to dawn beginning March 1st,” said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood.  “Clinton Lake is one of the state’s most popular destinations for boating.  Limiting the speed of boats to no-

wake after dark makes sense.”


Clinton Lake State Recreation Area welcomes more than 900,000 visitors each year and it is estimated that more than 500,000 people use Clinton Lake for recreational boating.


The night time no-wake restriction applies to all Clinton Lake boaters except waterfowl hunters during open waterfowl seasons only.


In addition to the no-wake speed limit on all areas of Clinton Lake at night, boaters are reminded that existing 24 hour a day no-wake speed limits remain in place on the upper arms of the lake.


Governor Announces State Support for Bass Pro Deal

Outdoor Retailer to Create 300 New Jobs, Catalyst for Area Development

 PORTAGE, Ind. -- Governor Mitch Daniels last week joined Bass Pro Shops President Jim Hagale and Portage Mayor Doug Olson to announce the state support of a planned destination-retail store in Portage through assistance from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). The Springfield, Mo.-based retailer is widely known to attract additional service industry businesses wherever a store is located and would mean a significant increase in investment for northwest Indiana.


The Bass Pro Shops Portage store will be 130,000 sq ft with an 8,000 sq ft Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant, a marina and an expansive boat showroom featuring a complete selection of Tracker, Nitro and Tahoe boats. The IEDC will provide approximately $2.5 million in public infrastructure assistance for the city of Portage to help aid in the creation of business that the Bass Pro Shops Portage location will attract.


Bass Pro Shops unique, award-winning outdoor stores are 

known for combining retail with entertainment, conservation

and outdoor education. Their destination retail stores across America and Canada attract over 78 million people annually.


Located on I-94 at Portage’s Northern edge, the city and Holladay Properties sought out Bass Pro several years ago as a catalyst for growth in that area.  Much more than a retail store, the sights and sounds of the outdoors are brought indoors through museum quality wildlife dioramas, huge murals and chandeliers depicting outdoor scenes, massive log and rock work, waterfalls and other water features, and aquariums stocked with native fish species. The attention to the finest detail from wildlife tracks in the concrete, to wildlife carvings on logs and rafters is what helps add to the uniqueness of a Bass Pro Shops store.


More than just a fishing and hunting store, Bass Pro Shops will also offer equipment and clothing for hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, outdoor cooking and more. A gift and nature center will also serve up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture. Employment information is available in the career opportunity’s section of www.basspro.com .

DNR to host waterfowl season open houses March 6, 8, 9

Public comments due by April 15, 2006

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources will host a series of public open houses to gather public opinion about waterfowl hunting for the 2006-07 season. The results of the 2005 Waterfowl Hunter Survey will be available at these events.


All open houses will be from 3 - 7 p.m. (local time) The dates and locations are:


Monday, March 6: Sugar Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area, Winslow, IN

Wednesday, March 8: Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area, Edinburgh, IN

Thursday, March 9: Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area, Morocco, IN

Also available at the open houses will be preliminary season dates for the 2006-07 waterfowl hunting seasons. The preliminary dates have been developed using results from the 2005 Waterfowl Hunter Survey and are offered for public comment.


These preliminary dates are subject to revision and must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this summer.  The DNR will also accept comment on additional waterfowl hunting issues such as zone and split configurations.  All materials available at the open houses will also be available on the DNR Web site:  www.IN.gov/dnr/


Written comments may be sent to the DNR, Div. of Fish and Wildlife, Waterfowl Zone Comments, 553 E Miller Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401. All comments must be received by April 15, 2006.

DNR offers advanced fire workshop March 10

Wildfires are not confined to the American West. They also happen every year in Indiana. Indiana's spring fire season begins when the snow cover has melted and with the onset of warm, dry winds that can dry out the fuels. The fall fire season is triggered by leaf fall and killing frost.


While not matching the size or intensity of the well-publicized western fires, Indiana has more than 3,000 wildfires reported each year.


Indiana Project Learning Tree and the DNR Fire Headquarters are offering an advanced PLT fire workshop on Friday, March 10 at Southeastway Park in Indianapolis. The workshop is designed to provide teachers and natural resource educators with information and resources they can incorporate into their existing curriculum and education programs.

The workshop will run from 9 to 4 p.m. Participants will receive a bag of educational materials to supplement the workshop content. Certification Renewal Units are available for licensed teachers.  The workshop is free although a $15 deposit is required to hold a space. The deposit will be returned at the workshop.  Snacks and lunch will be provided.


Focusing on wildland fire, the session will discuss fire behavior, fire ecology, fire suppression and prevention, the wildland-urban interface and the use of prescribed fire as a management tool.  The workshop will conclude with a live fire exercise and visit to the Southeastway Prairie - an area where prescribed fire is used. Applicable subjects include science, math, social studies, language arts and visual arts.


For more info or to register, contact Donna Rogler, Project Learning Tree Coordinator at 317-549-0354 or [email protected]


Regional Fishery Workshop March 25

Grand Haven, MI Community Center

Michigan Sea Grant Agent Chuck Pistis is again hosting his annual Regional Fishery Workshop March 25, at the Grand Haven, MI Community Center, 421 Columbus Ave, Grand Haven, MI  49417


Registration is due by March 21. Registration Fee: $14.00 in advance, $17.00 at the door (Includes Lunch).

Make Checks payable to: Ottawa County MSU Extension, and mail to:

Ottawa County MSU Extension

ATTN: Regional Fishery Conference

333 Clinton St.

Grand Haven, MI 49417


Doors open at 8:30 AM with coffee and rolls.  For more info call: 16-846-8250 or Email: [email protected]

Public Comment Invited on Lamprey Barrier in Menominee County, MI

The USFWS is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment (EA) that lays out a plan to construct a sea lamprey barrier on the Cedar River in Menominee County, Michigan. The Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) and the USFWS have designed a sea lamprey barrier to place on the river as an alternative method to control sea lamprey in the Great Lakes.


The draft EA proposes to construct a barrier to block spawning migrations of sea lampreys in the Cedar River, a tributary to Lake Michigan located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The primary goal of this project is to deny sea lamprey access to spawning habitat and about 35.24 hectares of preferred larval sea lamprey habitat. This represents 1.8 percent of 1,900 hectares of preferred habitat regularly treated with the lampricide TFM or blocked by the 69 sea lamprey barriers in the Great Lakes today.


The draft EA considers three alternatives, including a fixed-crest barrier with a fishway and trap, and a “No Action” alternative, which is required under the National Environmental Policy Act. The proposed alternative includes a fixed-crest steel sheet pile (SSP) with a lamprey trap and two eight-foot draw-down gates.


Under the proposed alternative, a 54” SSP barrier that is seven feet, 52 inches from the stream bottom would span approximately 78 ft across the Cedar River. A trap and two eight-foot-wide draw-down gates would be located in line with the barrier. A large trap with a large funnel would trap large fish, and a small trap with a smaller funnel would trap smaller fish, specifically sea lampreys. The traps would be serviced daily during the sea lamprey migration season, March through August.


Sea lampreys captured in the trap would be removed from the river and non-target fish would be placed upstream. A jumping pool downstream of the gates would assist jumping fish over the barrier. The draw-down gates would be lowered during the non-operational period, September through February, to minimize backwater and allow for the stream and fish to move through the barrier.

For the last 46 years, the GLFC has contracted the Service and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans to deliver a successful Sea Lamprey Control Program. The GLFC was formed during 1955 as a coalition between the United States and Canada to rehabilitate the Great Lakes fishery and coordinate research and control efforts for sea lampreys.


The primary control method relies on the application of the lampricide TFM (3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol) to streams to kill larval sea lampreys before they transform, enter the Great Lakes and feed on fish. The GLFC’s strategic vision milestone calls for reduced reliance on TFM through alternative control techniques. Installing barriers on key sea lamprey producing streams is targeted to play a major role in achieving this milestone.


If the river was not ranked for treatment during 2004 through 2006, the population, as estimated by the 2003 stream survey, would produce about 45,993 transformers that would enter Lake Michigan and destroy about 13,646,840 lbs of fish. This does not include spawning events and additional recruitment that would occur during 2004 and 2005.


TFM treatments are not 100 percent effective and as a result, lampreys may survive treatments. If the river was treated during 2005, an estimated 874 larvae would survive the treatment, transform and enter Lake Michigan during 2006. These transformers would destroy about 34,960 pounds of fish and contribute to the decline of Coho and chinook salmon, steelhead and whitefish populations in Lake Michigan.


Copies of the draft EA on Cedar River sea lamprey barrier may be obtained by contacting Cheryl Kaye, Marquette Biological Station, USFWS, 1924 Industrial Pkwy, Marquette, MI 49855; 906-226-1217; [email protected] .


Written comments on the EA will be accepted through March 10, 2006. Written comments should be submitted to Cheryl Kaye at the above address, or they may be faxed to 906-226-3632. When faxing a comment, a copy should also be mailed to ensure that a complete version of the text is received.


Volunteers Needed for March Stewardship Workdays

For SE Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas

A series of volunteer stewardship workdays will be held throughout March in southeast Michigan state parks and recreation areas.


Volunteers are needed to remove invasive species and to restore native ecosystems protected in these locations. All volunteers are required to complete a registration form. Park officials remind volunteers to bring appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants, boots, gloves, eye protection, and drinking water. Appropriate footwear also is required as some sites may be wet throughout the winter.


For information about the specific tasks at each location and

to obtain directions, go to www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers and click on "Be a Part of a Core Volunteer Steward Team."


Dates, times and locations of the workdays are as follows:

Bald Mountain Recreation Area, Saturday, March 11, 9 a.m. to noon

Waterloo Recreation Area, Saturday, March 18, 10 a.m. to 1 PM

Pinckney Recreation Area, Sunday, March 19, 1 p.m. to 4 PM

Brighton Recreation Area, Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m. to 1 PM

► Highland Recreation Area, Sunday, March 26, 1 p.m. to 4 PM

Seasonal Boat Slips Available at State Harbors

Several boat seasonal slips are available at three state harbors along Lake Huron for the 2006 boating season.  Slips are available at Hammond Bay, Presque Isle and Port Austin harbors. Interested boaters should contact the harbors directly to make arrangements to secure a seasonal slip opening.


Three slips are available at Hammond Bay and four slips are available at Presque Isle. Any size boats can be

accommodated. Contact the DNR Cheboygan Field office at 231-627-9578 for more info.  Port Austin has an opening for a 30-foot slip. Please contact Sleeper State Park at 989-856-4411 for additional information.


The DNR Parks and Recreation Division manages 16 developed marinas along the Great Lakes within the Harbors of Refuge program.


Northern pike size regulations modified on Big Birch Lake

Responding to anglers' concerns, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has agreed to an early review of new regulations aimed at increasing the size of northern pike in Big Birch Lake.


Groups of dark house spear fishers and walleye anglers raised concerns about the new regulations, which require the release of northern pike 24 to 36 inches long. One pike longer than 36 inches is allowed in the three-fish daily bag limit. The DNR agreed to review the regulations, which take effect on the May 13 fishing opener, after five years rather than 10 years, as originally planned.


"In 2010, we'll review the regulations and determine if we're reaching our northern pike and walleye goals," said Jim Lilienthal, DNR Little Falls area fisheries supervisor. "If our netting surveys show our goals are being met, the regulation will continue to 2015. Otherwise, we will consider dropping the regulation."


While there is broad statewide support for regulations aimed at increasing the size of northern pike, some spear fishers are concerned those regulations limit their opportunities to harvest fish. Moreover, some anglers are concerned that larger northern pike could harm walleye populations.


"We believe these regulations will result in quality northern

pike fishing and a more balanced fish community," Lillenthal said. "The review will consist of an evaluation of all data collected between 2006 and 2010. We will assess changes in northern pike and the fish community as a whole to determine if lake goals are being met."


The average size of northern pike in Big Birch has increased from 19 inches to 21 inches since a 1996 regulation required anglers to release all northern pike greater than 24 inches. The number of fish greater than 30 inches has also substantially increased.


With the modifications, northern pike regulations on Big Birch Lake will be consistent those found on other lakes in the state. In addition, the new regulations will help determine if the average size of northern pike will continue to increase.


Minnesota has approximately 4,400 lakes with northern pike population. Only 103 have experimental or special regulations for northern pike. The remaining lakes are governed by statewide regulations. These regulations are intended to increase the average size of northern pike for anglers.


Since the 1950s, fisheries biologists have observed a general decline in the size of northern pike in Minnesota lakes. Size regulations have been effective with other lakes and have this potential with Big Birch Lake.


Access road to Pickerel Lake gated

The year-round public access road to Pickerel Lake has been gated by a private landowner because of easement problems.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is working to resolve the issue to continue to provide access to this designated trout lake.  The gate affects only the access road.  The lake is still open for use for those who can make their way down the steep hills to the lake

Pickerel Lake is within the statutory boundaries of McCarthy Beach State Park.  Access to the lake has been over private land under an easement with a private landowner since the 1950s.  For further information, contact Bob Moore, DNR Grand Rapids area trails and waterways supervisor, 218-999-7923.



Ohio’s Lake Erie Steelhead Fishery

Now’s The Time To Fish For Ohio’s Lake Erie Steelhead

Ohio’s Lake Erie tributary rivers and streams offer some of the best steelhead fishing in the United States, and one of the best times to take advantage of this opportunity is now.  During the fall, steelhead begin entering streams from the Vermilion River to Conneaut Creek. Fish will continue to enter streams all winter long in preparation for the spring spawn. Most steelhead spawn during February and March, and returned to Lake Erie by early May. This fishery offers great opportunities for shore-bound anglers to catch trophy-sized fish during the fall, winter, and spring along Ohio’s North Coast. The bag limit is two fish per day, 12 inches or greater in length.


Steelhead are stocked yearly into the Vermilion River, Rocky River, Chagrin River, Grand River, and Conneaut Creek, by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. In addition to the stocked rivers, steelhead can be found in most any tributary stream or creek entering Lake Erie east of Huron. Public access is available in local county Metroparks systems, and on city, state and federal owned properties unless posted.  Please remember the law requires anglers to have written permission to fish from private property.


Conditions on the rivers will vary with rain and snow events. Avoid fishing when rivers are dark brown in color, generally after a rain or snow-melt.  Water which appears to be greenish in color, but not crystal clear, provides good fishing conditions.

Smaller creeks and rivers will be fishable first. Always keep

safety in mind. Ohio’s Lake Erie tributary rivers and streams look benign compared to the rivers in the western US. Do not be fooled! River bottoms are slippery, the water is cold, and currents can be strong. Be particularly cautious around ford areas, where the current may be stronger and the water much deeper.  If unfamiliar with a stream or river, always fish with a partner.


If you are just beginning in steelhead fishing, start with spinning gear and bait. Spawn sacs, minnows and nightcrawlers are effective baits for steelhead. Cast upriver and let the bait, which should be bouncing the bottom, drift downstream with the current. If you prefer fly fishing, use sucker spawn egg patterns, clouser minnows, woolly buggers, and single egg patterns. As with spin fishing, cast upstream and drift your fly down, making sure the fly is on the bottom. If you are doing things right, you will lose a lot of bait, hooks, and flies which get snagged on the bottom. However, you will also catch fish!


Always remember to practice etiquette while on the stream; don’t crowd another angler by standing too close, and take your trash home with you.  If you don’t plan to keep fish you catch, use a landing net.  Avoid dragging the fish onto the bank, do not touch the gills, and handle them gently with wet hands while removing the hook. Above all, get outdoors and enjoy nature while fishing for a trophy! 

Boater Education Course key to Boating Safely

COLUMBUS, OH – Boaters will find that a day on the water is safer and more fun if they take time to learn the “rules of the road” before heading out to their favorite lake or river, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft.


“Being a responsible boat operator means understanding the rules and knowing how to keep yourself and your passengers safe during a day of fishing, waterskiing or pleasure boating,” said Mike Quinn, interim chief of the ODNR Division of Watercraft. “We encourage all boaters to review Ohio’s boating rules before the season, and, if possible, attend a safe boating class.”


Anyone born on or after January 1, 1982 is required by Ohio law to successfully complete an approved boating education course or a proficiency exam before operating any powered watercraft of more than 10 horsepower. This rule also applies to the operation of any rental watercraft. Any person supervising the operation of a powered watercraft of more than 10 horsepower is also required to meet the mandatory boater education requirement.


Other things to know about boating education include:

► Boating education teaches both novice and experienced boaters to be safe, knowledgeable and responsible.


► Taking an approved boating education course not only provides useful knowledge, but also helps an operator boat with confidence by making their experience safer and more enjoyable.

► Some approved courses, such as the Ohio Boating Education Course, are taught free of charge by the ODNR Division of Watercraft and some of its boating partners. This basic eight-hour classroom course and exam can be completed in one day and leads to receipt of the boating education safety card.


► Boating education requirements also can be fulfilled through an at-home study course offered by the ODNR Division of Watercraft, an approved online course at ohiodnr.com, or by taking an ODNR proficiency exam.


► Other courses, such as those offered by the U.S. Power Squadrons and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, range from the basic boater education course to very specialized boater training courses. Many of these courses require a fee for educational materials.


► The U.S. Coast Guard offers specialized training, including a 16-hour Boating Skills and Seamanship course and a seven-week Sailing Skills and Seamanship course. Also offered is a six-hour boating safety class designed for those who must meet Ohio’s mandatory boater education requirement.


► Pre-registration is often required for courses. A full schedule of approved boating education courses is available on the Division of Watercraft page at ohiodnr.com.


► Boating is a fun, safe and enjoyable outdoor recreation that requires a personal commitment to being responsible and safe on the water.

More than 200,000 deer taken during Ohio’s ’05-’06 Hunting Season

COLUMBUS, OH - For the third year in a row, Ohio deer hunters killed more than 200,000 deer during the 2005-06 hunting seasons, with a total harvest of 209,513 whitetails, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The total number of deer taken was 3 percent below last year's season total of 216,443. 


“This number is consistent with our pre-season estimate of the total deer population being down approximately seven percent,” said Steven A. Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife.


Counties reporting the highest number of whitetails harvested during the deer hunting season included Coshocton-7,746; Muskingum-6,793; Tuscarawas-6,525; Guernsey-6,424; Knox-6,238; Licking-6,168; Harrison-5,414; Jefferson-5,349; Holmes-5,108; and Washington-4,946.

Deer-gun season produced the greatest portion of the harvest, with 116,517 deer killed.  Archery hunters took a total of 60,090 deer.  The early muzzleloader season (216), special hunts at Ravenna and NASA (760), youth-gun season (8,641) and the statewide muzzleloader season (23,289), accounted for the remainder of deer taken.


Deer hunting contributes an estimated $266 million to Ohio's economy each year and helps to support thousands of jobs. Venison is delicious and nutritious meat, low in fat and cholesterol. It is the number one wild game served by hunters in Ohio. Deer hunters also contribute thousands of pounds of venison to organizations that help feed less-fortunate Ohio residents through special programs. 


The 2006-2007 deer season proposals will be the subject of a vote at the Ohio Wildlife Council meeting scheduled for April 5 in Columbus.


State seeks info about illegal release of wolves

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission officials announced that they are seeking information about the person or persons who may have illegally released a pair of gray or timber wolves or wolf-hybrids that have appeared in Straban Township, Adams County, in recent days.  Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer WCO Darren David is investigating, and any information should be provided to the South-central Region Office at 814-643-1831.


Mike Dubaich, Game Commission Bureau of Law Enforcement director, noted that there are 35 licensed facilities that are permitted to either possess, breed and/or sell wolves and wolf-hybrids in Pennsylvania, and as part of their permit, must comply with township, caging, public safety and record-keeping requirements.  However, he also noted that there are other states with far fewer restrictions or oversight on the sale or possession of exotic wildlife, including wolves and wolf-hybrids.

Agency officials note that this is not the first time an illegally released wolf has been found in the wilds of Pennsylvania.  In 1999 and 2003, two different individuals in the Allegheny National Forest and Susquehanna County, respectively, killed wolves or wolf-hybrids that later were determined to have been surgically neutered, demonstrating that these two animals were once held in captivity.


"Game Commission policy requires proposed species reintroductions to be appropriate and feasible," said Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director.  "We believe that any reintroduction program involving wolves or other large predators would be impractical and inappropriate given the population distribution and density of people in our state.  We do not believe that there are any areas remote enough in our state where large predators could be reintroduced without setting up a conflict situation for people or other wildlife valued by people."


Wild Lake Trout found in Lake Simcoe

Signs Show Coldwater Fish Making Tentative Comeback

SUTTON — “A small number of wild lake trout are surviving to adulthood in Lake Simcoe – a promising sign that the popular fish may be rebounding”, says Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay.


Wild trout have been virtually extinct in Lake Simcoe since the late 1980s because of excess phosphorus in the lake and loss of fish habitat. The Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy, a partnership involving three levels of 

government, First Nations, the Lake Simcoe RegionConservation Authority and the public, has focused on reducing phosphorus in the lake to help restore habitat to support a self-sustaining community of coldwater fish.


Over the years, the Ministry of Natural Resources has stocked lake trout in Lake Simcoe to maintain a viable population while ecological conditions in the lake improve enough to support a self-sustaining population of lake trout. This has also helped maintain the significant economic and social benefits of a fishery that would otherwise have been lost in the region.

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