Week of May 18, 2009

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National Safe Boating Week May 16-22

Recent drownings tragically reinforce safe boating message: Wear It!

MADISON – The drowning last week of two men on a northwestern Wisconsin lake just prior to National Safe Boating Week tragically  reinforces what state boating safety specialists say is the key message of this national observance: Wear It! Wear your life jacket.

 

“There are so many reasons people give for not wearing life jackets,” says Cathy Burrow, who works with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources boating safety program. “‘It’s too hot!’ ‘It doesn’t look cool.’ ‘I know how to swim.’ ‘Nothing is going to happen to me.’ But with 20 drowning deaths in Wisconsin last year and now four confirmed drownings already this year, it’s pretty clear there are no good excuses for not wearing a life jacket.”

 

The theme of the 2009 National Safe Boating Week, which runs May 16 through 22, is “Wear It!” www.safeboatingcampaign.com  and the campaign is focused primarily on getting people to wear life jackets, along with encouraging safe and responsible boating, staying alert, aware and sober while on the water, and taking boating safety education classes.

 

“Much like a helmet to a biker or skate boarder, life jackets are

an essential part of boating safety equipment and should be worn at all times  while on the water,” Burrow said. “Life jackets are no longer the orange, hot and bulky vests of years gone by, new innovations and developments have produced a smaller, sleeker, and much more comfortable version of a life jacket, leaving you with no reason not to wear them.”

 

Modern life jackets, also called PFDs or personal flotation devices, allow more mobility and flexibility for boating, fishing, paddling and hunting and are much cooler in the warmer weather.

 

Of the 20 boating fatalities in Wisconsin last year, 80 % were not wearing their life jackets. Neither of the two men who drowned early in the morning of May 7 after their boat overturned on Lake Wapogasset in Polk County were wearing life jackets. A woman who was with the men had a life jacket and was able to reach shore and survived.

 

In addition to wearing life jackets, Burrow suggests that all people operating boats should take a boating safety course. The course is required for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1989, to legally operate a boat on Wisconsin waters. Direct classroom instruction from volunteer instructors is offered across the state. Information on classes can be found on the upcoming classes and locations page of the DNR Web site. In addition two online courses are available.


Firearms Sales Figures for April
The upward trend in firearms sales continued in April, marking the sixth consecutive month of significant increases.

Data released by the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) reported 1,225,980 checks in April 2009. This figure is a 30.3 % increase from the 940,961 reported in April 2008. The April increase follows a 29.2 % gain in March and rises of 23 % in February, 28 % in January, 24 % in December and 42 % in November when a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Free Fishing Days

Illinois Free Fishing Days will be held this year on June 5, 6, 7 and 8. Most all other states will also offer similar programs. Organizations interested in receiving educational and promotional materials to be used as part of an Illinois Free Fishing Days event should contact Terry Beard at 217/785-5822.  During Illinois Free Fishing Days, anyone may fish

without the need to have a sport fishing license, inland trout stamp or salmon stamp. www.freefishingday.com/freefishingsearch.html

 

Another good web site with all states & their Free Fishing Days programs is: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/911932/


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 15, 2009

Weather Conditions

A quick moving storm system brought showers and thunderstorms to much of the Great Lakes basin this week.  The heaviest rain occurred late Wednesday and into Thursday morning, with a few locations picking up several inches of rain in just a few hours.  Cooler and dryer conditions are expected for the upcoming weekend, following the passage of a cold front late Friday.  Temperatures will climb back into to the 70s by early next week.

 

Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is currently 2 inches above what it was at this time last year.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are 12 and 7 inches, respectively, higher than their levels of a year ago.  Lake Erie is 4 inches above last year's level, while Lake Ontario is 5 inches below last year's level.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are each projected to rise 3 inches during the next month.  Lake St. Clair is predicted to rise an inch during the next 30 days, while Lake Erie will fall an inch.  Lake Ontario is forecasted to decline an inch during the next month.  Over the next several months, Lake Superior is predicted to be around its level of a year ago. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are forecasted to remain at or above last year's levels.  Lake Ontario is forecasted to be at or below its levels of a year ago over the next six months. 

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In April, the outflow from Lake Superior through the St. Mary's was lower than average.  The outflows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers were below average as well, while the Niagara and St. Lawrence River outflows were above average. 

 

Alerts

Lake Superior is near its chart datum elevation.  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 May 15

601.2

578.6

 

574.8

572.4

246.7

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

 

 +1

 

   +13

 

+30

 

+39

 

+41

Diff last month

 

+5

 

 +7

 

+2

 

 +1

 

+2

Diff from last yr

 

+2

 

+12

 

+7

 

+4

 

-5

 


Lake Superior

A View From the Lake 2009

Registration is open for the 2009 U of Wisconsin - Minnesota Sea Grant boat trips aboard a Lake Superior research vessel.  

Reserve your spot on A View From the Lake cruises online at:  www.seagrant.umn.edu/vfl, or by calling Minnesota Sea Grant:  218-726-8106.

 

For only $20 (discount of $10 for groups of 4 or more), participants will experience aquatic science, discuss land use challenges, and enjoy a three-hour excursion on one of the world's largest lakes.  Trips aboard the L.L. Smith, Jr. R/V are scheduled to depart from the following ports (visit the Web site for times).

 

Ashland, Wisconsin: June 14, 15

Washburn, Wisconsin: June 16

Bayfield, Wisconsin: June 20

Grand Marais, Minnesota: June 24, 25

Silver Bay, Minnesota: June 27

Superior, Wisconsin: July 16, 17, 18

Two Harbors, Minnesota: July 25, 26

Duluth, Minnesota: July 30, 31, August 1

 

In Wisconsin waters, participants will learn how professionals and volunteers are collaborating to evaluate the health of Lake Superior coastal wetlands and streams. They will also discuss how land cover analysis can be used to accommodate future growth while maintaining healthy aquatic communities.

 

In Minnesota waters, participants will take a practical look at what it means to live "sustainably" and demystify sustainability by learning about local sustainability projects. They will also discover how monitoring helps experts evaluate economic and environmental sustainability in the Lake Superior basin.

 

A View From the Lake is entering its sixth season.  Support for this year's program is provided by Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology, the EPA Great Lakes National Program Office, and the Wisconsin DNR.


Illinois

Free Fishing Days

Illinois Free Fishing Days will be held this year on June 5, 6, 7 and 8. Most all other states will also offer similar programs. Organizations interested in receiving educational and promotional materials to be used as part of an Illinois Free Fishing Days event should contact Terry Beard at 217/785-5822.  During Illinois Free Fishing Days, anyone may fish

without the need to have a sport fishing license, inland trout stamp or salmon stamp. www.freefishingday.com/freefishingsearch.html

 

Another good web site with all states & their Free Fishing Days programs is: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/911932/

Michigan

Summer Charity Fishing Derbies Set for Hayes State Park

Hayes State Park and Midwest Sportsman are sponsoring two "Go-Get Outdoors" charity fishing tournaments on Wamplers Lake this summer to benefit the Michigan National Guard Family Fund Program.

 

The first fishing tournament is scheduled for Sunday, May 31, with the second tournament planned for Saturday, Sept. 19.  Both tournaments will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

All anglers are welcome to participate. Cost is $80 for each two-person team; with $10 going into a "Big Bass" pot. Prizes will be awarded for various categories. Once event costs are covered, remaining proceeds will go to the Michigan National Guard Family Fund to help the men and women who are serving our country.

 

"The Michigan National Guard Family Fund has helped so many military families from our great state," said Rick Pulver,

tournament director. "This is our second year at Hayes State Park, and we want to invite all anglers to support this great cause."

 

For more information or to obtain a registration form, contact Gary Bailey at (517) 784-0391 (for the May event) or Rick Pulver at (517) 788-3804 (for the Sept. 19 tournament).

 

Hayes State Park is located at 1220 Wamplers Lake Road in Onsted. For information about the park, events, accessibility or persons needing accommodations to attend this event, contact the park at (517) 467-7401 (TTY/TDD 711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired). Camping reservations can be made online at www.midnrreservations.com, or by calling 800-447-2757.

 

Join the DNR in celebrating the 90th anniversary of Michigan's State Parks this year. Events are being posted at www.michigan.gov/dnrgogetoutdoors.


DNR Proposes Changes to Trout Regulations

Michigan DNR Fisheries officials are seeking comments on proposed changes to state trout fishing regulations on inland lakes and streams that are designed to further simplify the rules.

 

The current regulations, which were adopted in April 2000, were designed to simplify and standardize trout regulations by stream type, matching regulations to resource potential and allowing for diverse recreational opportunity. Analysis of creel surveys conducted on some of the streams showed that some of the regulations have not produced the desired results.

 

The proposal calls for elimination of Type 2 stream regulations, which were designed to produce larger fish.  "It hasn't worked," said Division Fish Chief Kelley Smith.

 

As a result, Type 2 streams will be reclassified into other types. In addition, the proposal calls for standard minimum size limits of seven inches for brook trout and eight inches for

brown trout statewide. Previously, size limits for both species

differed by peninsula.

 

Meanwhile, the proposal recommends combining all Type 5, 6 and 7 streams, as well as some research streams, into one Gear Restricted Waters category. For the most part, the regulations on those streams will remain the same as the current regulations, but combining the streams into one category will allow for more flexibility in regulations moving forward.

 

The proposal also calls for a 24-inch minimum size limit on splake, which will make the regulation the same as it is for lake trout.

"Our stakeholders have consistently asked us to simplify regulations," Smith said. "We feel this proposal does that while still allowing us to manage for maximum recreational potential."

 

To read the proposal: www.michigan.gov/dnrfishing.  Send comments on proposals to: DNR-InlandTrout@michigan.gov.


Minnesota

A View From the Lake 2009

Registration is open for the 2009 U of Wisconsin - Minnesota Sea Grant boat trips aboard a Lake Superior research vessel.  

Reserve your spot on A View From the Lake cruises online at:  www.seagrant.umn.edu/vfl, or by calling Minnesota Sea Grant:  218-726-8106.

 

For only $20 (discount of $10 for groups of 4 or more), participants will experience aquatic science, discuss land use challenges, and enjoy a three-hour excursion on one of the world's largest lakes.  Trips aboard the L.L. Smith, Jr. R/V are scheduled to depart from the following ports (visit the Web site for times).

 

Ashland, Wisconsin: June 14, 15

Washburn, Wisconsin: June 16

Bayfield, Wisconsin: June 20

Grand Marais, Minnesota: June 24, 25

Silver Bay, Minnesota: June 27

Superior, Wisconsin: July 16, 17, 18

Two Harbors, Minnesota: July 25, 26

Duluth, Minnesota: July 30, 31, August 1

 

In Wisconsin waters, participants will learn how professionals and volunteers are collaborating to evaluate the health of Lake Superior coastal wetlands and streams. They will also discuss how land cover analysis can be used to accommodate future growth while maintaining healthy aquatic communities.

 

In Minnesota waters, participants will take a practical look at what it means to live "sustainably" and demystify sustainability by learning about local sustainability projects. They will also discover how monitoring helps experts evaluate economic and environmental sustainability in the Lake Superior basin.

 

A View From the Lake is entering its sixth season.  Support for this year's program is provided by Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology, the EPA Great Lakes National Program Office, and the Wisconsin DNR.


 

Ohio

Ohio wants anglers to participate in online study

COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio DNR invites anglers to visit www.ohiodnr.com/creel  to take a new online angler survey.

 

The online survey consists of 19 questions asking anglers to provide feedback on a variety of topics, including where they fish and the methods they use; what species they fish for; effects the economy is having on fishing habits; and length and rod limit regulations. Anglers will also be given the opportunity to provide general comments about fishing in Ohio.

 

The online survey will be available beginning May 15 and will

run through September 30, 2009. Responses to the survey

are confidential. Information provided by anglers through the surveys is vital to the successful management of Ohio's fisheries and the Division encourages all anglers to participate.

 

Fisheries biologists use angler survey data in combination with biological data from fish populations to identify ways of improving fishing on Ohio's inland reservoirs, lakes, rivers and Lake Erie. The Ohio DNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.


Wisconsin

Northern zone musky season opens May 23

MADISON - It may be hard to top last year’s record haul of trophy muskies, but anglers wanting to try should target some of Wisconsin’s largest musky waters in 2009. Last year’s parade of monsters reaffirms that if you want to catch a big fish, you should fish big waters, says Tim Simonson, the fish biologist who leads the Department of Natural Resources’ musky team.

 

“We know that the ultimate size of fish – how big they grow – is higher in larger lakes,” Simonson says

In 2008, anglers registered with Muskies Inc. a record

89 muskies caught from Wisconsin waters that were

48" or larger, 29 of which were 50" or larger.

 

Anglers who chose to register their 2008 catch with Muskies, Inc. reported catching a record-high 89 fish 48 inches or greater from Wisconsin waters, with 29 of them 50 inches or larger. That’s up from 58 total fish 48 inches or greater registered in the previous year.

 

Nearly one third of the 2008 fish reported to the Musky Inc. registry came from the big waters Green Bay, the Fox River, or Lake Michigan. Another big water, the Chippewa River, in 2008 produced a new world fly rod record for a released fish on a 36-pound tippet for the 51.25" musky Hayward resident Brad Bohen caught Oct. 16, 2008. The Chippewa Flowage, an unnamed Vilas County lake, the Wisconsin River, the Holcombe Flowage in Chippewa County and Green Bay rank among the top 50 waters in the number of 50 inch and greater fish registered with Muskie Inc. since 1970.

 

Lake size explains nearly 70 % of the observed variability in the ultimate length musky reach, Simonson says. This relationship predicts that lakes larger than 2,000 acres typically support populations more likely to produce fish that will, on average, reach or exceed 50", he says.

 

 The big fish are there for the catching. DNR fish technician

Greg Matzke displays the 50.7" musky he captured and released during spring surveys on Sherman Lake in Iron County.  (WDNR Photo)

 

This relationship also predicts that lakes down to 100 acres (and lower) are capable, biologically, of producing 40 inch or larger fish, Simonson says. They may give up trophy fish on rare occasions, as DNR fish crews found earlier this month when they captured a 50.7-inch fish on Sherman Lake, a 123-acre walk in-access only lake in Iron County.

 

Scientists don’t fully understand yet why musky grow to a larger size in larger waters, Simonson says, but it’s likely related to the type and availability of forage in the big waters.

 

It’s also likely related to the fact that it’s easier for musky to elude capture in a bigger water. “When a fish lives 15 to 20 years, the chance of it being caught several times are pretty good, particularly in smaller waters,” he says. “Every time it’s caught, there’s a chance it could be injured during handling even if it’s released.”

 

Lists of musky lakes and rivers in Wisconsin, including their size and classification as trophy waters or action waters, can be found on the DNR Web site.

 

The musky season opens May 23 in Wisconsin north of U.S. Highway 10, excluding Wisconsin Michigan boundary waters, and runs through Nov. 30. The daily bag limit is one and the minimum length limit is 34 inches is most waters. Check the 209-2010 fishing regulations for special regulations on some waters.

 

Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters opened for musky fishing on May 15.

 

Lake Michigan waters north of Waldo Boulevard in Manitowoc open for musky fishing May 23. Included in this season are the Bay of Green Bay, the Fox River upstream to the DePere dam, Sturgeon Bay and other bays to Lake Michigan and Green Bay. The daily limit is one, the minimum length limit is 50 inches, and the season closes Nov. 30.

 

The Lake Michigan season for musky south of Waldo Boulevard in Manitowoc is already open. It runs May 2 through Dec. 31 and the daily limit is one. There is a minimum length limit of 50".

 


New online boating safety course is available

Now three convenient options to get this life-saving training

MADISON – A new online boating safety course can help young boaters meet state requirements to legally drive a boat -- and can help  boaters of all ages stay safe on the water this summer, Wisconsin recreation safety officials say.

 

“This new course provides another opportunity for people to get trained and educated in the boating safety techniques and information that just may save their life,” says Todd Schaller, DNR recreation safety chief.   “We now offer three convenient options to choose from – two online courses and hands-on classroom instruction -- so people can find something that best fits their schedule and their learning styles.”

 

Wisconsin law requires that anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1989 must pass a boating safety course to operate a motorboat on Wisconsin waters. However, the DNR recreational safety specialists recommend that all boaters take the course to learn the rules and responsibilities of operating a boat.

 

The vast majority of boating accidents and fatalities on Wisconsin waters every year involve operators who have never taken a boating safety course. In 2008, 19 of the 20 people

killed in boating accidents on Wisconsin waters had never taken a boating safety education course.  Operator inexperience, inattention, recklessness, and speeding are the four leading causes of these tragic accidents.

 

The new boater safety course is called BoaterExam.com and is offered by a company of the same name. It features many eye-catching animations and the ability for students to choose to hear the material as well as read it on the screen, making this course a good choice for younger students, says Cathy Burrow, recreational boating specialist. The “Boater Exam” joins BoatEd, the other online course that DNR provides through a private contractor. BoatEd has recently been updated to include animations, video and true stories of boating survivors.

 

The third option is classroom option provided by the DNR’s corps of seasoned boating safety instructors. All three options cover the same material. Learn more about each of these three options online, including a schedule of courses offered in the classroom on the boating safety education page of the DNR Web site.

 

For more info: Todd Schaller (608) 267-2774


Anglers should reap the rewards this season from trout stream restoration projects

MADISON – For great trout fishing this summer, anglers will want to check out a recently released report detailing new trout habitat improvement projects on more than 100 miles of streams in 35 counties, Wisconsin fish biologists say. Such habitat projects often lead to eye-popping increases in fish populations at the habitat improvement sites, particularly a few years after work has been completed.

 

A recently released report on inland trout stamp revenue expenditures from 2004 – 07 details how $5,222,564 in trout stamp funds were spent, where habitat work was done, and summarizes projects that took place in 35 counties.

 

“Many anglers seek out streams with habitat work, knowing that good fishing will likely be found there,” says Larry Claggett, Department of Natural Resources coldwater fisheries ecologist. “And since it takes a couple of years for the fish to respond, anglers should really start seeing the benefit of an improved fishery from projects in this timeframe.”

 

Since 1978, anglers have had to purchase a trout stamp (now $10) to fish inland waters, with the funds going to restoring and improving trout habitat. Overall, the DNR fisheries program has restored more than 750 miles of trout stream, and each year, maintains many miles of previous habitat work and keeps more than 750 miles free of beaver dams in northern Wisconsin.

There is also a significant amount of revenue from general fishing license fee sales that supports inland trout habitat work. During 2004 to 2007, nearly an additional $1 million was spent on improving Wisconsin’s inland trout streams.

Gilbert Creek in Dunn County is great example of habitat work well received.

 

In-stream trout habitat improvement projects completed on Gilbert Creek resulted in restoration of more than 2.5 miles of outstanding native brook trout water with densities up to 6,000 per mile, of which 700 per mile exceed the legal length limit of eight inches.

 

“The trout stamp program is very successful and directly benefits the angler,” Claggett says. “Our goal is to make sure the trout are healthy, have good habitat and increased natural production, and that anglers have a great fishing experience. The program is as strong as ever thanks to trout anglers continued commitment to the sport and purchase of trout stamps.”

 

Angler looking for more information on where the habitat work was completed can purchase a private book; Todd Hansen’s 2008 “Map Guide to Improved Trout Waters of Wisconsin”.

 

For more info: Larry Claggett, fisheries biologist, (608) 267-9658.

 


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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