Week of April 13, 2009



Lake Ontario
Lake Huron



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Waterfowl Hunting’s Contribution to U.S. Economy

Waterfowl hunters spent $900 million on a variety of goods and services from food, transportation, guns and decoys to hunting dogs, clothing and other incidental expenses in 2006, according to a new report issued by the USFWS. These trip and equipment-related expenditures generated more than $2.3 billion in total economic output for 2006, which resulted in $157 million in federal and state tax revenues, supported more than 27,000 jobs, and generated more than $8.5 million in employment income.


The report, The Economic Impact of Waterfowl Hunting in the

United States, is an addendum to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. The

report shows more than 1.3 million people, 16 years of age and older, hunted waterfowl in 2006.  Waterfowl hunters represented 10 percent of all hunters, 7 percent of all hunting trip-related expenditures, and 6 percent of all equipment expenditures.


According to the report, waterfowl hunters tend to be younger, have higher educational achievements, and are more affluent compared to all hunters. The majority (74 %) of waterfowl hunters live in the South and the Midwest.


Army Corps announces activation of new electric barrier

CHICAGO - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on April 8 activated Electric Barrier IIA, in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Lockport, Ill.


The Army Corps has been operating a similar demonstration barrier in the Sanitary and Ship Canal since 2002. Both Barrier IIA and the demonstration barrier will operate at the same time to provide redundant back up. Both will operate at a field strength of one-volt per inch.


Chicago District Commander, Col. Vincent V. Quarles, hailed the activation of Barrier IIA as a significant step forward in halting the spread of invasive species via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. He cautioned however, that much more work remains to be done. "The barriers are not a panacea," Quarles said. "They serve to plug the biggest hole, but much more work needs to be done and we all need to start looking at options for blocking other pathways."


Although Barrier IIA was designed to be able to operate at levels higher than one-volt per inch, the barrier has not yet undergone safety testing at higher levels. The Army Corps is working with the Coast Guard and marine industry waterway users to complete higher voltage safety testing this summer. The Army Corps is also working with fisheries biologists to

determine the optimal voltage required to repel all sizes of fish, including smaller juveniles. Results of the safety testing and voltage requirement studies will be used to determine future voltage settings for the barrier project. In the interim, Quarles said the Army Corps and the Coast Guard are developing potential options for operating at higher voltages if juvenile fish are detected in the barrier area.


The U.S. Coast Guard has established a regulated navigation area and safety zone in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal around the navigable waters located adjacent to and over the barrier system. The temporary interim rule places navigational and operational restrictions on all vessels transiting those navigable waters, including the requirement for all commercial red flag vessels to be escorted through the area by Army Corps-provided bow boats.


All boaters are reminded to exercise extreme caution while traveling in the Sanitary and Ship Canal from the Midwest generation power plant to the pipeline arch, an approximately 1400-foot section of the canal from river mile 296.1 to 296.7. While traveling through the area boaters are advised to remain seated, stay out of the water, keep hands and feet out of the water, and closely supervise children and pets or send them below deck. Boaters are also advised not to linger or attempt to moor in the restricted area.

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for April 10, 2009

Weather Conditions

The Great Lakes basin experienced more precipitation early this week as a storm system brought a wintry mix to the region.  Warmer and drier conditions arrived by midweek, ahead of possible precipitation on Friday.  Saturday and Sunday should be dry and warmer with rain possible early in the week.  Mild temperatures will continue throughout the rest of the week.

 Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is 5 inches above its level of a year ago.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are 12 and 6 inches, respectively, above their levels of a year ago.  Both Lakes Erie and Ontario are the same as their levels last year.  Lake Superior is projected to rise 4 inches and Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to rise 4 inches during the next month.  Both Lakes St. Clair and Erie are forecasted to rise 1 inch during the next 30 days, while Lake Ontario is predicted to rise 5 inches over the next month.  Over the next several months, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are predicted to remain at or above their levels of a year ago.  Lakes St. Clair and Erie are projected to be above last year's levels through September.  Lake Ontario is forecasted to be below last year's levels over the next six months.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In March the outflows through the St. Mary's and St. Clair Rivers were lower than average.  The outflow from Lake St. 

Clair into the Detroit River was near average in March, while the Niagara and St. Lawrence River outflows were above average. 


Lake Superior is below its chart datum elevation and is expected to be below datum through May. Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center's webpage.





St. Clair



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Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario Spring Action Kicks Off With LOC Derby

Lake Ontario Counties Spring Trout and Salmon Derby

The grand daddy of all spring fishing derbies will help to kick off the Lake Ontario fishing season this May 1st through the 10th when the Lake Ontario Counties Spring Trout and Salmon Derby explodes with some ferocious angling action in this popular great lake. The derby, run by Empire State Lake Ontario Promotions, will be offering over $30,000 in cash prizes, including a $10,000 check for the largest fish caught overall in the 10-day event.


"After several excellent years of spring fishing along the lake, we're excited by what the prospects are for 2009," says Dave Chilson, president of ESLO Promotions. There are four divisions' salmon, lake trout, brown trout and rainbow/steelhead trout. In addition, a $100 cash prize is awarded to the big fish each day in each specie category for the first nine days of the derby. Of course, all the fish must be caught from Lake Ontario.


Weigh in stations run along the coast from the Niagara river to Henderson Harbor. For a complete list of registration outlets and weigh in stations go to www.loc.org or pick up the latest

edition of the LOC Derby News at your local tackle shop. Also look for the paper at various sportsmen shows throughout the northeast.


Sign Up Online!  Register now easily online: www.loc.org/derby/registration/index.asp


The ESLO Derby has three events for 2009:

Spring: May. 1 - May. 10, 2009
Fall:  Aug. 21 - Sep. 7, 2009
Summer: Jun. 20 - Jul. 19, 2009


Entry fees are $25 per event or $70 for a season pass including all three events. A youth derby pass is available for kids 10 to 15 for just $12 per Derby or $35 for a season's pass.  For more information or to register online go to www.loc.org or you can call the LOC headquarters at (888) REEL-2-IN (733-5246) for more information today.



[email protected]

888-733-5246, 585-544-2563

Lake Huron

USGS needs angler help on Predator Diet Study on Lake Huron

Angler Input needed to aide researchers

The USGS is in need of diet information from angler caught predators during 2009 on Lake Huron to study what are the predator fish eating. In Off-Shore waters they expect there will be very few alewives, some rainbow smelt but an abundance of chubs. Their goal is to learn how predators are responding to this novel forage base. Also in Saginaw Bay we have a growing Walleye population and they want to estimate their predatory demand, especially on yellow perch. The USGS is asking anglers to remove and freeze the stomachs from the fish they catch because angler caught fish is the only way to get adequate data this year from Michigan waters.


It is important that anglers keep the samples cold until they can be frozen to stop the enzymes in the stomachs from degrading the contents so they ask that you carry plenty of ice. Keep the fish on ice until they are cleaned and the stomachs can be frozen for study. They request that the anglers remove the entire stomachs and anything that may still be in their mouth and place them in a zip lock freezer bag for analysis.


 If you catch a Chinook Salmon they also ask that you remove a small scale sample and a small section (about 5 vertebrae) of their vertebrae below the adipose fin and place it in the bag as well. If you wrap the vertebrae in foil first it will help preserve the sample. The vertebrae sample is used to determine if the fish is a hatchery fish or a natural reproduced fish as all of the

hatchery fish are fed food laced with oxytetracycline as fingerlings, this oxytetracycline will then show up under the microscope as a visible band in the vertebrae and thus the biologists are able to tell the ratio of hatchery raised fish vs. natural spawned fish. The scale sample is used to help age the fish and determine overall health.


The species they are looking for stomach samples from are as follows: Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, Atlantic Salmon, Pink Salmon, Lake Trout, Steelhead, Walleye, and Smallmouth Bass.  The following information is also requested; the port the fish was caught out of, the date, if it had a fin clip, length of the fish and weight.


This is a way for the USGS and the Michigan DNR complete some studies that they will not be able to otherwise complete due to budget issues and they would like our help. They will provide you with all of the necessary material and even arrange to pick up the samples. You can get more information and some bags to put the samples in and arrange for them to pick up the samples by contacting the following.


Jeff Schaeffer at the USGS - 734-214-7250 or [email protected]

Jim Johnson at the Mich. DNR – 989-356-3232 or [email protected] , or

Alpena Great Lakes Fishery Station - MI DNR. 160 East Fletcher, Alpena Mich. 49766


Fish survey coming to Prairie Creek reservoir

Anglers who frequent Prairie Creek Reservoir should note that a fish survey will start this month at the 1,252-acre southeastern Delaware County body of water.


Department of Natural Resources biologists will conduct the survey, with sampling also slated for early August and October.

Electro-fishing boats, gill nets and trap nets will be used to collect fish. Each fish will be counted and measured, and representative scale samples will be taken to determine the age and growth of abundant game species.


Biologists will use the data to monitor populations and identify fish management problems. Although biologists have conducted supplemental surveys during the last decade to evaluate walleye stockings, the last fish population survey

completed on the reservoir was in 1999.


“Our goal for this survey is to collect as many different kinds and sizes of fish possible,” said Rod Edgell, DNR assistant fisheries biologist. Although the survey is designed to collect data on the entire fishery, the October sampling will evaluate the walleye population. Since, 2001 approximately 62,600 two-inch walleye fingerlings have been stocked annually into the reservoir.


“Our walleye stocking program has been successful, and the local anglers have been very supportive,” Edgell said. “Fall sampling will give us the data we need to continue to monitor the population.” To assess fish habitat, an aquatic plant survey and water chemistry sampling will also take place.  


A survey report will be available to the public next winter.

Lake Manitou Ramp Will Close Due To Invasive Plants

The Department of Natural Resources' access site on Lake Manitou will be available through the last weekend of this month but will close temporarily for an unspecified length of time as soon as April 27.


All other public and private access sites remain closed, including the city boat ramp on the northwest corner of the lake.


The closure will allow for further treatment of hydrilla, an exotic, highly invasive plant that was first confirmed as being in the lake in August 2006. Last year, when the DNR relaxed access restrictions at the lake, it expected to have to re-close the area again due to the nature of the plant.


"No one should interpret this as a setback in the effort to eradicate hydrilla from Manitou," said Doug Keller, aquatic invasive species specialist with the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. "We suspected that hydrilla tubers (similar to roots) remained in the lake when access restrictions were relaxed at the end of June 2008, and that was confirmed in surveys last fall. As a result of two years of controls, we have decreased the tuber population 93 percent and through continued efforts we will eliminate this plant."

The closure will give DNR time to apply Sonar, a chemical that eliminates hydrilla plants, before boats are allowed to come and go. That treatment is expected to be done in mid-May, by which time many of the tubers should have sprouted and emerged through the sediment, making them susceptible to Sonar. Keller said it's likely that periodic interruptions in the availability of the Manitou access site will continue in future years.


"As long as we know that hydrilla tubers remain in the sediments of Lake Manitou, we will implement periodic access restrictions during periods when there is a risk of movement of the plant," Keller said.  "Hydrilla tubers can sprout at any time water temperature is 55 F or warmer, which requires that a concentration that is lethal to the plant be maintained throughout its growing season to eliminate newly sprouted plants," Keller said.


It's possible, but by no means a given, that the ramp will re-open at the end of June.


Sonar, with the active ingredient Fluridone, is an aquatic herbicide produced by SePRO Corporation of Carmel. Humans, fish and other aquatic life are not harmed by Sonar, especially at the extremely low rate being used at the lake, according to Keller.

Indiana youth turkey season, April 18 & 19

Indiana’s 2009 spring turkey youth season takes place April 18 and 19. The special season is open to hunters age 15 or younger. Youth hunters are limited to one bearded or male wild turkey. To participate, a youth hunter must be accompanied in the field at all times by an unarmed adult who is at least 18 years old. The youth must be in possession of either a youth consolidated hunting license or an apprentice turkey license. The adult does not need a license.


An apprentice license is available to youths who have yet to complete the requirement of hunter education. All persons,

regardless of age, are limited to three apprentice licenses in their lifetime.


Legal weapons include 10-, 12-, 16-, or 20-gauge shotguns, bow and arrow, or crossbow. All turkeys must be properly tagged and checked-in at an official turkey check station. A list of check stations is available in the 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping Guide or online at www.wildlife.IN.gov.


Youth turkey hunters killed 956 turkeys during the 2008 youth season and 736 turkeys during the 2007 youth season.


Lake Mecosta Boat Access Site undergoing improvements

The Lake Mecosta boating access site, located in Morton Township in Mecosta County, is closed for needed site upgrades. Upgrades will include asphalt paving, improvements in drainage and barrier-free accessibility.


The improvements will benefit users of the site by providing more efficient use of parking space and enhanced

maneuverability at the boat launch approach area. It has also been found that asphalt paving of boating sites saves public dollars in the long run, as many gravel sites require perpetual maintenance, including grading, erosion repair, and regular replenishment of surface aggregate.


Isabella Corporation of Mt. Pleasant, the project's general contractor, has said they had planned on starting the project on April 6, and anticipates completing the project by May 15.


Sale Of Sport-Caught Fish Nets Multiple Criminal Convictions

COLUMBUS -- Two Columbus-area residents were recently convicted of buying and selling sport-caught fish, following an investigation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Under state wildlife laws, only commercially caught fish may be sold in Ohio.


David E. Crockett, 63, of Columbus, and Naser Saleh, 43, of Upper Arlington were convicted in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas and the Franklin County Municipal Court of a variety of misdemeanors and felonies involving the trafficking of sport-caught white bass.  Saleh is the owner of Frebis Food Center, located on the south end of Columbus.


The investigation began in 2005 when an anonymous source revealed that a local grocery store was selling native Ohio sport-caught fish. Undercover wildlife investigators, with assistance from the Ohio Bureau of Investigation, entered the store and purchased white bass, crappie and bluegill from May 2005 until May 2007.  Saleh had been purchasing the sport-caught fish from David E. Crockett and then illegally selling them to retail customers.


Crockett was found guilty of catching white bass from Ohio waters, mostly the Sandusky River, during their spawning run

each spring. His catches numbered as many as 3,000 fish a year. A search warrant was executed at his residence in Columbus and his fish hauling trailer along with fishing poles, fishing tackle, and fish were seized.


In Ohio, the sale of sport-caught fish can range from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a fifth-degree felony, depending on the amount of fish sold.


Crockett was charged in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas with a total of two fifth-degree felony charges for selling white bass, one fourth-degree felony for carrying a concealed weapon, and one third-degree felony for tampering with evidence. Saleh was charged in the Franklin County Municipal Court with three fourth-degree misdemeanors for selling white bass. Both men entered guilty pleas to all charges.


The defendants were sentenced to pay a total of $22,041 in fines, court costs and restitution. They were also levied five years and nine months in jail, with the jail time suspended for a five-year probationary period. Community service and loss of fishing privileges were also included in the sentences.


The City of Columbus Board of Health assisted the DNR in the investigation.


Up to 70 waters to be tested for VHS fish disease

Expansion concerns in Lake Michigan

MADISON – Three years after VHS fish disease was first detected in Wisconsin waters, state fisheries officials are confident that good compliance with new rules and procedures can continue to contain the fish disease.


But they are keeping a close watch on lakes and rivers, particularly the Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan systems where VHS has been found. VHS is not a human health threat but it can infect 37 different fish species and has caused big fish kills in other Great Lakes waters.


Testing is underway for VHS on up to 70 lakes and rivers across the state, and DNR fisheries staff is expanding efforts to look at susceptible species in the Winnebago System.


“We’re entering our third year with VHS in pretty good shape due to the efforts we’ve taken to contain the disease and the cooperation we’ve had from people who can potentially spread the disease: boaters, anglers, bait harvesters, fish farmers and our own fisheries management staff,” says Mike Staggs, who leads the Department of Natural Resources’ fisheries management program. “We didn't find VHS in any new waters in 2008 testing and that’s a credit to everybody who followed the new rules and procedures.”

Staggs is concerned, however, that 2008 saw VHS expand its range much farther south in Lake Michigan, killing round gobies and yellow perch near Milwaukee.


The disease poses a threat to southern Lake Michigan fish as well as increases the chance that VHS will inadvertently be spread by boaters and anglers moving infected live fish and contaminated water back and forth between Lake Michigan and inland waters. Lake Michigan is the state’s most popular water and the one that people most often trailer their boat to and from, according to a 2007 DNR study of recreational boaters.


Sue Marcquenski, the DNR’s fish health specialist, is also closely watching what happens on Lake Winnebago and Lake Michigan to see if they exhibit the same pattern seen on some other Great Lakes waters where VHS has been detected.  “My hunch is that there may be a lag time of at least two years after VHS causes an initial outbreak before we see fish kills in new locations, or in new species from the same location,” she says.


Staggs says that DNR will be carefully monitoring state waters for VHS this year and working closely with the public to prevent the spread of the deadly fish disease.


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