Week of April 2, 2007

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Club News

Club hosts MI-DNR Director Humphries at Annual Meeting and Banquet

The Grand Traverse Area Sport Fishing Association (GTASFA) on Monday, April 23, 2007 will be having their Annual Meeting and Banquet at the Hagerty Center-NMC Great Lakes Campus.

 

The key note speaker at this event is Rebecca Humphries, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director, and her topic will be "Conservation Funding".  Humphries was named director of the Michigan DNR April 19, 2004, leaving the DNR's Wildlife Division where she had served as chief since December 1998. 

 

The Annual Banquet will consist of the presentation by Mrs. Humphries, GTASFA attorney Steve Schultz will provide an update to the membership, games and raffles, kid prizes, local vendors, and dinner. The GTASFA will also conduct their annual meeting and 2007-2008 officers will be elected.

The event will take place at the Hagerty Center and doors open at 5:30 p.m.  Tickets are $30 and all attendees are encouraged to join the GTASFA at a yearly membership rate of $15.  This event is open to the general public and all are welcome to attend including children.

 

2006-2007 President Pat Cole stated that he is "looking forward to putting on a wonderful Annual Banquet and is excited to continue this local organization as a strong voice for the fishing anglers and enthusiasts in this area.  The GTASFA is a great organization and we want to continue to be a prominent voice in this region by continuing to educate our membership and community members."

 

The GTASFA has over 200 members and was started in 1978.  The mission statement of the GTASFA is "Our mission is fishin."  For further info on GTASFA,c write or call:  GTASFA, 401 S. Union Street, Traverse City, MI  49684, 231-946-5808 or www.gtasfa.com .


National

President’s budget authorizes construction of barrier

The President’s budget for FY 2008 recognizes the priority of the permanent barrier and requests funding for the project. A summary of the budget request for the US Army Corps of Engineers includes the following language:

 

The Budget’s support for aquatic ecosystem restoration activities includes providing funding for three significant new initiatives…

Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Dispersal Barrier

To protect the ecosystem of the Great Lakes from Asian Carp, which have had a harmful impact on the ecology of the Illinois Waterway, and from other invasive species, the Corps will improve the existing electrical barrier on the Illinois Waterway and continue to construct a second barrier.   For more info: www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2008/corps.html

 


U.S. House OKs Bill To Cut Ship Pollution

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The House on March 26, approved legislation to cut polluting emissions spewed by ships powered by diesel fuel.

 

Under the bill, the U.S. Coast Guard and EPA would be given the authority to develop and enforce emission limits on the thousands of domestic and foreign-flagged vessels that enter U.S. waters each year.  The legislation would bring U.S. ship emission standards and requirements in line with pollution regulations followed by other countries.

 

Those regulations were adopted by the International Maritime Organization in 1997 to limit sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide

emissions from ship exhausts that deplete the Earth's ozone. 

The organization's regulations entered into force internationally in 2005 and the U.S. Senate adopted the treaty the following year.

 

Ocean-going vessels produce more sulfur dioxide emissions than all the world's cars, trucks and buses combined, according to a new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation, made up of transportation and air quality officials and experts from around the world.  The study shows that the sulfur content of marine fuel is far greater than highway diesel fuel. Ships use fuel with an average sulfur content of 27,000 parts per million (ppm) compared to just 10 to 15 ppm for road fuels in Europe, Japan and the U.S.


Regional

Bloody Red Shrimp newest threat to Great Lakes

Tiny shrimp latest invader in Lakes Michigan and Ontario

This tiny shrimp from SE Asia, joins zebra and quagga mussels, round gobies, spiny water fleas and more than 180 invasives that are changing the ecosystem and fishery of the Great Lakes. While this tiny shrimp is food for many game fish, this critter also feeds on zooplankton, further impacting

the bottoms-up food chain.

 

Native to the Caspian and Black seas, the shrimp have moved during the past two centuries into Western Europe through rivers and canals. International freighters brought them over in ballast and dumped them into Lakes Michigan and Ontario.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for March 30, 2007

Weather Conditions:

Record shattering warmth across the Great Lakes basin highlighted the weather this week.  The mercury soared to 80 degrees on consecutive days in Detroit and several other cities on Monday and Tuesday.  Showers and thunderstorms along a cold front brought very heavy rain to some areas late Tuesday, followed by more seasonable temperatures.  Expect seasonable temperatures and a chance of rain across the Great Lakes basin this weekend.

Lake Level Conditions:

Lake Superior is currently 12 inches below its level of one year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is at the same level as it was a year ago.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 4 to 9 inches above last year’s water levels.  All of the Great Lakes are in their period of annual rise, and are forecasted to rise 1 to 4 inches over the next month.  During the next few months, Lake Superior is expected to remain well below its water level of last year.  Water levels on Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to be similar to last year.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

Flow in the St. Marys and St. Clair rivers is predicted to be below average for March. Outflow from the Detroit River is also predicted to be lower than average this month. Flow in the Niagara River, as well as the St. Lawrence River, is expected to be above average. Water levels and flows in the connecting

channels may be greatly impacted by ice jams.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center web page.

Alerts:

Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Superior basin over the last several months, Lake Superior’s water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum through August.  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

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Mar 30

599.7

577.3

574.3

572.0

245.5

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-17

-3

+24

+34

+29

Diff last month

0

+2

+11

+7

-3

Diff from last yr

-14

-1

+6

+7

0

 


Canada

Canadian Lawmakers Launch Provincial Sportsmen’s Caucus 

The success of the U.S. Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and similar state sportsmen’s caucuses has become an international sensation, leading to the launch of the British Columbia Outdoor Caucus in the province’s legislature this month. 

 

Noting the differences in priorities of urban and rural legislators, founder East Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett doesn’t want important outdoor issues to be overlooked.  “The B.C. outdoor caucus will be non-partisan, so I say to all members: I

hope that you join the caucus, but if you want to do politics don't bother joining because this is not about politics. This is about the outdoors,” he said.  Bennett cited access to the outdoors, the economic impact of outdoor recreation and proper management of natural resources, fish, and wildlife as concerns that sparked him to create a caucus. 

 

Last year, members of Parliament created an Outdoor Caucus after meeting with Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus leaders and CSF.  Since that time, they have been outspoken on topics such as the country’s controversial gun registry.


2nd Amendment issues

New Jersey Trial Court Recognizes Second Amendment Right

The U.S. Court of Appeals decision striking down Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban isn't the only recent court ruling to recognize Second Amendment rights.  In a recent New Jersey case, a judge also found that the amendment protected the rights of a would-be gun buyer.

 

In this case, the local police denied the plaintiff a "firearm purchaser identification card" required by state law.  The police argued he wasn't eligible for the card, because he'd once owned guns that had been seized and not returned as a 

result of a domestic incident.  The plaintiff pointed out that he had agreed not to have the guns returned, and that the law blocking new purchases based on past seizures wasn't passed until three years after the incident. 

 

In its February 27 decision, the Warren County Superior Court found that the police had violated the idea of "fundamental fairness."  Because the law didn't exist at the time of the incident, the plaintiff couldn't have intended to give up "his right to bear arms as provided by the [Second Amendment]."  As in the D.C. case, the story is far from over, because the state plans to appeal.


 

Lake Michigan

Yellow perch recovery continue on Lake Michigan & Green Bay

MILWAUKEE – Yellow perch from the big pond are making a comeback in anglers’ creels, reflecting the growing recovery of this species in Lake Michigan and Green Bay.

 

Recently analyzed angler surveys show that anglers pulled in nearly two to four times as many yellow perch in 2006 as they did in 2005 from Lake Michigan and Green Bay, respectively. Anglers in 2006 reported catching 822,555 perch from Green Bay, up from 297,917 in 2005. They caught 67,660 perch from Lake Michigan, up from 32,848 in 2005, survey results show. The increased harvests are positive signs for these important fisheries, both of which suffered precipitous declines in yellow perch populations over the last decade.

 

Green Bay perch harvest

Green Bay’s increased harvest reflects increasing yellow perch abundance and the fact that anglers were able to keep more yellow perch because the bag limit increased from 10 to 15 effective May 20, 2006. Poor natural reproduction between 1988 and 2000 resulted in a 90 % decrease in yellow perch and triggered DNR to drop sport bag and harvest limits on Green Bay in 200l to protect the 1998 year-class. Fish hatched in that year, along with those from 1991, were the only ones that entered the fishery in any kind of numbers and which comprise the bulk of the harvest.

 

DNR fall trawling surveys found reasonably strong year-classes in 2002, 2004 and 2005, and an extremely strong year-class in 2003. That 2003 year-class comprises the bulk

of the fish anglers are harvesting now. Of the 244 angler-caught fish that were aged by DNR fish biologists, 75 percent were determined to have hatched in 2003.

 

Lake Michigan perch harvest

In southern Lake Michigan, where the bag limit stayed the same for 2006, the increased harvest is a positive sign that there are more young perch out there helping rebuild the population. That’s very important because Lake Michigan has experienced a lakewide decline in yellow perch populations since the early 1990s, caused by a large decline in the number of yellow perch surviving their first year of life. Until recent years, the only year with strong natural reproduction was 1998.

 

DNR yellow perch assessments, and now the harvest results, seem to indicate those efforts to protect the fish are paying off. DNR assessments have documented hatches and survival of fish from 2002, indicating more young fish are joining the 1998 year-class in rebuilding the population. In 2005, the 2002 year-class comprised 41 % of the fish anglers were harvesting, compared to 37 % from the 1998 year-class. In 2006, the numbers were 57 % and 26 %, respectively.

 

In addition, DNR egg deposition surveys and young-of the year surveys in 2005 indicated that a large amount of eggs were deposited and a successful hatch occurred, suggesting a potentially strong year-class.  It’s too early to tell how many of those 2005 fish survived and are entering the fishery. They were too small in 2006 to be caught in the nets DNR uses for assessments and were just starting to be kept by anglers.


Illinois

Total Outdoorsman Challenge May 5

GURNEE, IL – Field & Stream is looking for a few good women and men to compete in the Total Outdoorsman Challenge.

In it's 4th year, the Field & Stream Total Outdoorsman Challenge calls on all outdoors men and women to enter to compete for the opportunity to win upwards of $25,000 in cash and prizes.

 

A regional qualifier will be held at Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee Mills Mall on Saturday, May 5. Many will enter, but Field &

Stream will choose only 60 participants to compete in baitcasting, flycasting, archery, and air rifle challenges. The top overall finisher will advance to the final event.

 

To register stop by the Customer Relations Desk at Bass Pro Shops in Gurnee Mills Mall to fill out an entry form. The deadline to enter is Saturday April 14, so hurry if you would like to be considered as a participant. For more info go to: Field & Stream Total Outdoorsman Challenge website: www.fieldandstream.com/totaloutdoorsman .


Federal goose management rule will have no impact on 2007-08 waterfowl seasons in Illinois

Permits from IDNR still required for nuisance goose control

SPRINGFIELD, IL - A new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service final rule on Canada goose management will have no impact on the upcoming 2007-08 waterfowl hunting seasons or nuisance permit procedures in Illinois.

 

The Illinois DNR has decided not to implement any changes in Canada goose permit procedures for 2007.  All current Canada goose permit procedures in Illinois remain in effect and state permits are required for all lethal goose control activities, including nest and egg destruction.  In the meantime, the IDNR will continue to review the new options available for dealing with issues related to Canada geese in the state.

 

In August 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a record of decision and final rule on resident Canada goose management, which took effect last September.  The rule is intended to give states additional options for managing human-goose conflicts.  The options are divided into three main components:

 

1.)  A series of depredation orders which will allow airports, landowners, agricultural producers, and public health officials to take Canada geese and their eggs without a federal permit, provided reporting requirements are met;

2) States may choose to allow the use of expanded hunting methods for geese, including unplugged shotguns, expanded hunting hours, and the use of electronic calls during early September seasons;

3) The creation of a management take program which would allow the harvest of Canada geese during the month of August.

 

An important provision of the final rule is that state wildlife agencies like the IDNR will make final decisions on which components of the new rule to implement.  States can choose to implement all, some, or none of the provisions contained in the final rule.

 

The earliest a state could use the August management take program would be in 2008.  Any changes that might be implemented in the coming years regarding hunting season dates or methods of take in Illinois would be intended to deal with human-goose conflicts, not merely to provide more recreation opportunities.  Only those areas of the state with significant problems regarding Canada geese will be considered.

 

In addition, no changes in Canada goose hunting regulations for the 2007 September season will take effect until further notice.  Hunters in Illinois must continue to use plugged shotguns and cannot hunt geese using electronic calls or hunt geese after sunset during the 2007 September season.


Michigan

DNR Closes Merwin Creek Campground in U.P.

The Merwin Creek State Forest Campground, located in Schoolcraft County, will be permanently closed this spring.

 

“Some time ago we permitted the operation of the Merwin Creek Campground to the Central Upper Peninsula Community Corrections Program,” said Jeff Stampfly, Department of Natural Resources Forest, Mineral and Fire Management Unit Manager at Shingleton.

 

“This year, the community corrections program chose to discontinue campground management. The DNR will not be

able to provide the necessary services to keep the campground open due to budget constraints, staffing shortages and rising costs,” Stampfly said.

 

Merwin Creek Campground is located about nine miles northwest of Gulliver and will be dismantled this spring, including removal of picnic tables, fire pits and bathrooms. The water well will be sealed and no camping will be allowed at the site. Efforts are ongoing to secure support to maintain the boat launching access site, but no plan is in place at this time.


Minnesota

Spiny waterflea infestation triggers changes on Canadian border waters

In response to the spread of nonnative, invasive spiny waterflea to US-Canada border waters, the Minnesota DNR has implemented new regulations on Rainy Lake, Namakan Lake, Rainy River and Lake of the Woods.

           

The regulations are intended to prevent the spread of spiny waterfleas to other waters. They prohibit the transport of water, prohibit harvest of bait for personal use, and restrict the commercial harvest of bait from those waters, similar to zebra mussel-infested waters in Minnesota. Commercial harvest of bait will still be allowed at Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River by licensed minnow dealers who have received special training and permits.

 

Experts believe spiny waterfleas originally arrived in the United States from Eurasia in the ballast water of cargo ships. They were first found in Lake Ontario in 1982 and in Lake Superior in 1987. Boaters, anglers and seaplanes have most likely spread them to inland waters since then.

 

DNR recently designated the four waters as "infested waters" because spiny water fleas are documented in those waters, or in the case of the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods, the waterfleas will be carried in water flowing downstream into them. Crane Lake, also in the Canadian border region of the state, was recently confirmed to contain waterfleas. Kabetogama and Sand Point lakes are also likely to have them since they are directly connected to Crane Lake. Designation of these waters, and possibly other adjacent waters, as infested will follow.

 

Spiny waterfleas collect in masses, sticking to fishing lines, downrigger cables and anchor lines. The masses can resemble gelatin or cotton batting with tiny black spots, which

are the creatures' eyes and/or eggs. Individual animals are

difficult to distinguish without magnification because they are only 1/4 -5/8” long.

 

Anglers are often the first to discover spiny waterfleas because the fleas adhere to angling gear. The waterfleas can be a nuisance to anglers. Where there are high densities of the waterfleas, they can foul up angling gear. The waterfleas can have different harmful impacts in different lakes. The waterfleas compete with small fish for food called zooplankton. While larger fish eat them, tiny fish may not be able to consume this invader. In certain types of lakes, waterfleas can change the species and numbers of zooplankton, which can harm those lake ecosystems.

 

To combat the spread of the spiny waterfleas and other aquatic invasive species, the DNR,  Voyageurs National Park, and others will step up public information efforts with the message to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Signs will be posted at water accesses, watercraft will be inspected at water accesses, and brochures and identification cards will be distributed to boaters and anglers to inform them how to prevent the spread.

 

Before leaving the water access, boaters and anglers should:

remove aquatic plants and animals, including gelatinous or cotton-batting-like material from fishing lines, downrigger cables or anchor ropes

Drain water from livewells, bait containers and bilges by removing the drain plugs; those who want to keep live bait must replace lake or river water with tap or spring water.

dispose of unwanted live bait in the trash

spray the watercraft and gear with hot high pressure or hot tap water (above 140 degrees F or 60 degrees C for at least one minute) before transporting to another water - or dry the watercraft and gear thoroughly for at least five days before transporting to another water.

 

First image from DNR-Montz

Second image courtesy of Jeff Gunderson, Minnesota Sea Grant Program (fleas on fishing line)


New York

Shortnose sturgeon return to New York

The Shortnose sturgeon is an endangered species in the United States primarily due to habitat and water quality degradation. Yet, the population of Shortnose sturgeon in the Hudson River grew by 400% over an 18-year period, and may now number as many as 61,000 fish.

 

Scientists from the University of Maryland Chesapeake Biological Laboratory sought to unravel this happy mystery in order to shed light on how the presumably slow-growing population of Shortnose sturgeon could have recovered so rapidly. They captured and released almost 600 fish in the Hudson, collecting pectoral spines in order to determine their ages. They discovered that the number of sturgeon produced was highly variable from year to year, with 31,000 – 52,000 of the long-lived fish added to the Hudson population from 1986-

1992 while other years saw substantially lower recruitment.

 

Further analysis revealed that river flow volume and temperature during the preceding fall seemed to influence the success of annual sturgeon reproduction during this time period. Although a lack of data makes it difficult to assess the current Hudson River population relative to its historical abundance, researchers are closer to solving the mysteries surrounding this ancient fish in a modern world.

 

Year-Class Strength and Recovery of Endangered Shortnose Sturgeon in the Hudson River, New York, by Ryan J. Woodland and David H. Secor. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 136:72-81. Woodland can be contacted at woodland@cbl.umces.edu


Wisconsin

Hypothermia is a serious concern during spring boating

MADISON – The dramatic rescue of a kayaker from a flood-swollen river in west central Wisconsin late last month offers what state boating safety specialists say is a compelling example of how quickly cold water can affect a person and why boaters need to take special precautions when on Wisconsin’s waterways this spring.

 

On March 13 around 5:30 p.m., the Pierce County Sheriff’s Dept received a call that a woman kayaking in flood conditions on the Rush River had overturned and become separated from her boat. The victim was in the middle of the river on a log and the caller said that the woman had been there for about 45 minutes and was becoming hypothermic. Rescuers wearing survival suits were able to reach the woman, but she

said she was unable to grasp anything with her hands and

that she was unsure if she could even move from the log due to how cold she was.

 

Conservation Warden Brad Peterson arrived at the scene in a flat bottom boat, was able to navigate to the victim, and rescuers were able to get her into the boat for transport to a hospital. Peterson was commended by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department for his life-saving efforts.

 

DNR boating safety specialists caution boaters that even though spring has arrived and the weather is warming, the water can still be very cold and hypothermia is a real threat to boaters who capsize.  Hypothermia can occur when the body’s temperature drops below 95 degrees, according to Roy Zellmer, DNR boating safety administrator.


Ontario

Fish ladders temporarily blocked then reopened

Precautionary measures taken against spread of deadly fish virus

After VHS had been detected in Northern Lake Huron, the MNR acted to temporarily shut down provincial fish ladders and egg taking operations.

 

The MNR issued the order March 29, affecting 18 to 20 fishways touching lakes Ontario, Erie, and Huron, where VHS was just found last fall.  The ministry also ordered no collection of spawn, which could carry the infection.

 

After reviewing procedures and operations the Ministry re-authorized the dams and fish ladders be back in operation, egg taking is back on line and the stocking of Rainbows will begin soon.           

 

Last fall, VHS was found in salmon and whitefish by Michigan 

biologists in waters near Thunder Bay. It has not yet been found in rainbow trout, which are running up local rivers now to

spawn. But rainbow trout and other salmonoids, local sport fishery favorites, migrate great distances and are expected to bring this menace to local fish populations up local rivers. Ultimately scientists fear it could spread across the continent.

 

The Ministry said 17 freshwater fish species have tested positive for VHS and 10 have shown symptoms of it. About six species have died from it, including walleye, yellow perch and muskie - three of the most important inland sport fish species in Ontario.

 

But in large bodies of water like Lake Erie, where fish populations number in the hundreds of millions, the loss of even tens of thousands of fish from VHS "really doesn't put in jeopardy the fish stock, but the virus can kill a large number of fish."


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