Week of July 4, 2005

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes






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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

World's Largest Fish Caught in Thailand

 A Mekong giant catfish believed to be the world's largest freshwater fish has been caught in Chiang Khong, northern Thailand by local fishermen, says a WWF scientist studying giant freshwater fish in the Mekong River Basin. But with the fishing record comes a warning that Southeast Asia’s largest and rarest fish is critically endangered and disappearing fast.


The largest Mekong giant catfish, Pangasianodon gigas, in the record since 1981, the 292 kilogram (644 pound) fish was caught on May 1.

A century ago the Mekong giant catfish was found along the entire length of the river from Vietnam to southern China. Today, the population is in decline, scientists estimate the number has decreased by about 90 % in the past 20 years.


Until recently, large individuals of this species were caught often in Thailand, particularly at Chiang Khong near their reported spawning grounds. At this traditional fishing spot, 30 of the enormous fish were caught in 1995, but only seven in 1997, and just two in 1998. Although a few of the giant fish have been caught in the last two seasons, none were captured there in the preceding three years.


IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame to Enshrine Five Men

Five men will be inducted into the International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame, this fall. The class of 2005 includes Stuart “Stu” C. Apte, John L. Morris, George Parker, Donald J. Tyson and Edward vom Hofe.


The star-studded enshrinement ceremony and dinner, sponsored by Rolex, will be held Tuesday, October 25, at 6 p.m. at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Dania Beach, Fla. The public is invited.


Each year the honorees are selected for the important contributions they have made to the sport of fishing through angling achievements, literature, the arts, science, education, invention, communication, or administration of fishery resources.


The inductees and their contributions are:

Stuart “Stu”C - Apte An all-around angler considered a pioneer in fly fishing for tarpon. In the 1960s Apte developed a huge following as a Florida Keys guide. He’s also a writer, photographer and holder of more than 40 IGFA world records.

John L. Morris - Best known as the founder of Bass Pro Shops, one of the world’s leading suppliers of fishing tackle, Morris is a five-time qualifier for the Bassmaster Classic, an ardent conservationist and an IGFA Trustee Emeritus.


George Parker - One of the first captains to charter regularly out of Kona, Parker caught Hawaii’s first blue marlin over 1,000 lb in 1954, then went head-to-head with scientists until the grander was properly identified as a Pacific blue marlin.


Donald J. Tyson - Tyson is a passionate billfisherman dedicated to tagging and releasing the world’s great fish for future generations. As IGFA Trustee, he played a major role in making the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum a reality.


Edward vom Hofe - He produced fly and salmon reels, in the mid and late 1800s then began responding to the demands of saltwater anglers. Vom Hofe reels were known for their craftsmanship and dependability, the reel of choice for well-heeled, blue water fishermen. He died in 1920 at the age of 74.


Great Lakes Folk Festival

Celebrating and preserving culture, the Great Lakes Folk Festival lets you experience and take part in traditional music, food, activities and more!  Learn how to sail or fly fish with demonstrations by maritime workers.  Free and fun for all ages, this annual event is brought to you by the Michigan State University Museum, in East Lansing from August 12-14.  For more information visit www.greatlakesfolkfest.net .


The half-mile festival site in downtown East Lansing showcases the country's rich cultural heritage through performances and living museum exhibitions.   Activities

include a Taste of Traditions Food Court, with authentic regional and ethnic food, Folk Arts Marketplace with hand-made goods, and Children's Folk Activities area with hands-on activities.  The festival is developed by MSU Museum's Michigan Traditional Arts Program, the state's center for research, documentation, preservation and sharing of folk arts and life.


Admission to the festival is free.  Festival hours are: Friday, Aug. 12, 6 - 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 13, 12 noon - 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug. 14, 12 noon - 6 p.m.

Model Quantifies Round Goby Feeding And Growth

Since their first sighting in the Great Lakes basin in 1990, scientists have worked to understand the potential impacts of these fish. Basic questions that remain unanswered are how much food will round gobies eat, and will their feeding behaviour affect contaminant accumulation in other fishes? Questions such as these are best answered with bioenergetic models - relationships that account for the gains and losses of materials - food energy, contaminants, and nutrients. Researchers with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources have developed such a model for round gobies.


"With this model we are able to determine how much food a round goby must eat in order to grow an observed amount" says Victoria Lee, a fisheries technician with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) Lake Erie Fisheries Station in Wheatley, Ontario.


"Through a series of carefully controlled laboratory experiments we have determined how food consumption and metabolic rate are affected by body size and water temperature," Lee notes. "By knowing the number of calories

in the round goby and their food, we can determine the total amount of food consumed. In turn, if we know the contaminant or nutrient concentration of round gobies and their prey, we can also estimate how much of these materials are moved into the food web by round gobies."


The present study describes the development of this model and tests it using existing data from both the Great Lakes and the native range of the round goby in Europe. The generic format of the model will allow other researchers to easily apply the model or aspects of the individual laboratory studies into their own research.


Lee and fellow researcher Dr. Tim Johnson, an OMNR research scientist, have been examining different aspects of round goby ecology in the Great Lakes, including population size, feeding preferences, migratory behaviour, age and growth, and response of native fishes to the round goby. The bioenergetic model will use findings from these and other studies to provide quantifiable estimates of the impact of round gobies on aquatic ecosystems.

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 1, 2005

Weather Conditions:

Another week of hot and humid conditions occurred in the Great Lakes basin, ending what turned out to be a very warm June.  Many stations reported more 90-degree days in June than the entire summer of 2004.  The hot and muggy conditions also meant scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the week.  A strong cold front swept across the region Thursday, bringing strong storms with very heavy rain.  Cooler, dryer air will follow the front and persist into the Holiday weekend.


Lake Level Conditions:

Lake Superior is currently 3 inches above July 1, 2004’s water level.  The remaining lakes are 3 to 5 inches below the levels of July 1, 2004.  The spring of 2004 was significantly wetter than the spring of 2005.  The dry conditions this spring are the main reason that water levels are lower than last year.   Looking ahead, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to rise an inch over the next month and be slightly lower this summer than the summer of 2004.   Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to fall 3 inches over the next month and this summer’s levels are forecasted to be lower than 2004. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

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


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.  Users of the St. Mary’s river should be aware that regulated flows will be close to 40% higher during July than they were in June


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary





St. Clair



water level for July 1 in ft






Chart datum, in ft






Diff from chart datum, in inches






Diff from last month, in inches






Diff from last year in inches








Women will finally have a place in the BASS tournament world

Beginning next year, BASS debuts the Women's Bassmaster Tour

ESPN will unveil more details about the new tour at next month's CITGO Bassmaster Classic -- an event that in its 35-year history has never included a female angler, because none of the few who fish tournaments has ever qualified. The announcement of the WBT might seem like a step toward involving more minorities in professional bass angling. BASS and the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the other big professional circuit, are overwhelmingly male.


"Women have wanted to be elevated in this sport for a long time," said Kathy Magers, of Dallas, Texas, and the force behind WBT. A former competitor, she fished the BASS Open circuit and for the defunct Bass 'n' Gals. "I knew that to ever see women's bass fishing on the same level with men, it had to be under the umbrella of an organization like BASS."


She said she approached BASS a year ago about creating a women's circuit. "Not all women want to fish with guys and for a lot of different reasons," said Magers, who has two grown children.  "For some women it's the bathroom issue," she said. "Some are extremely modest and would die rather than deal with this in front of men. Then there are women who grew

up with seven brothers and it wouldn't matter a bit."


Most bass boats aren't equipped with bathrooms, and competitors would lose valuable time in Bassmaster Tour events if a partner had to be taken to shore to find facilities.   "I tell my partner my Triton boat has a built-in bathroom. That means he turns his head for me and I turn my head for him," said Lucy Mize, of Bel Lomond, Ark,, and a tournament angler married to pro angler Jimmy Mize, who is in Pittsburgh this week preparing for the Classic. "The bathroom thing is no big deal."


Time and money are the more pressing reasons few women have competed, Magers said. Women who want to turn pro need to cultivate sponsors, since maintaining a boat and traveling to tournaments can be costly.


"Not all women can take time off from work or time away from their family," she said. "But fishing as well as men has never been an issue. I've seen tiny little girls haul huge sacks of bass to the scale, and women load and back up their boats like any man."


Any angler who finishes at the top in any open series of three tournaments qualifies for the BASS Pro Tour, which is a steppingstone to the Classic.



IL sets New Season Dates for Crow Hunters

SPRINGFIELD - New dates have been established for crow hunting in Illinois for the 2005-06 season to provide more hunting opportunity in the fall when crows are migrating and are present in larger numbers in the state.


Illinois hunters will be allowed to take crows from Oct. 15, 2005-Feb. 28, 2006, though the crow season will be closed during all gun deer seasons.   The upcoming gun deer seasons during which no crow hunting will be allowed are Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 1-4 (firearm), Dec. 9-11 (muzzleloader-only) and Jan. 13-15 (late winter deer season).


Hunter surveys indicated a preference for fall/winter crow hunting opportunities compared with the summer/winter season that had been in place.   Federal regulations allow a maximum of 124 days for crow hunting during each season. 


Hunters may use shotguns, calls, electronic calls, decoys,

and blinds during the state’s established crow hunting season.  Crow hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to sunset with no daily bag limit.  The crow season is closed during all gun deer seasons because crow hunters would be required to wear a blaze orange cap and upper outer garment during deer seasons and it would be very difficult to hunt crows wearing blaze orange.


The new crow season is not intended to increase harvest, but to provide more hunting opportunity during migration.


Illinois crow harvest in recent years:


1999-00 - 11,244 hunters took 69,767 crows

2000-01  -  6,910 hunters took 47,743 crows

2001-02  -  8,373 hunters took 60,507 crows

2002-03  -  4,826 hunters took 45,144 crows



Nighttime Boating Safety

As boating season gets busier with the warm weather and approaching holiday, the Minnesota DNR urges boaters and riders to know the rules and remember to have proper navigation lights on from sunset to sunrise. 


To help, the DNR offers this list of nighttime boating laws and regulations. 

1)   Navigation lights (On most motorboats less than 20' this is usually a red-green combination bow light & all-around white light, usually located near the stern) are designed to "be seen" and NOT to see with. The lights are set that way to help another boat in determining what your boat is doing. If your boat is non-motorized, you need one white light shown in time to prevent a collision. Lights need to be on from sunset to sunrise. These lighting requirements are standard throughout Minnesota, the US and the world.


Typical Navigation Lights on an Outboard Boat Less than 20' Long


2)   Boats do not generally have "headlights" like cars and trucks. Spotlights and docking lights may be OK for areas near shore where they are not aimed at other occupied boats. Generally, when you operate a boat at night you need to keep your night vision. Glare from other lights (even lights on your boat) or background lights on shore can hamper this.


3)   Slow down - even a speed of 25 mph on the water is fast

enough to cause damage, injury or death in your boat, if you hit an object. Colliding or jumping over another boat can result in the same outcomes on that craft. Remember, you are relying on night vision to see what is ahead of you - slow down and give yourself a chance to avoid a collision.


4)   Avoid boating at night if you are inexperienced. Boating at night may sound like fun to a novice boater, but it requires good handling skills, a sharp lookout (360 degrees) and a good knowledge of the area where you are boating. Natural and man-made obstructions are a hazard during daylight - darkness only amplifies this problem. Day or night, boating needs to be thought of as three-dimensional - you continually need to be aware of what is both around you and under the water.


5)  Wearing life jackets is even more important for night boating or fishing. Carry a small flashlight in your PFD to help someone find you if you do fall overboard. A cell phone or marine radio (depending on where you boat) are both excellent ways to summon help.


6)   Let someone on shore know where you are going and when you will be back.


7)   Alcohol can affect your vision, judgment, coordination and balance among other things - day or night, always stay away from alcohol when venturing out in a boat - whether you are an operator or a passenger.

New York

Euthanasia Bill is Camouflaged Attack on Hunting and Trapping
New York sportsmen are being called to defeat a dangerous, precedent-setting senate bill that would set standards for the killing of wildlife.


Senate Bill 2084, sponsored by Sen. Frank Padavan, R-Bellerose, will allow the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to set the standards for destroying nuisance wildlife, including trapped animals, based on the organization’s euthanasia policy.  Changes to the AVMA guidelines would automatically become wildlife law.  There would be no review by the legislature, public or wildlife professionals.


The AVMA has taken stances against trapping and hunting.  In 2002, it objected to a woman shooting her own dog as an act of euthanasia.  Now, the same group is in line to set the standards for trapping and hunting.


“This legislation could be devastating for sportsmen,” explained Tony Celebrezze, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance director

of state services.  “Neither veterinarians nor any other private organization sets wildlife rules in New York or any state. If anti-hunters were to make up the majority of the AVMA’s Board of Directors, it would be able to change wildlife policy without approval of wildlife professionals.”


The bill is an invitation for the animal rights lobby and the lawyers with the Animal Protection Litigation section of the Humane Society of the United States.  They can argue that the regulations would not only apply to trapping, but hunting as well.  Senate Bill 2084 reflects the intent of a bill that Illinois sportsmen were able to defeat two years ago.  The New York bill has passed the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee by a vote of 10 to 4. It awaits action on the Senate floor.


Take Action! New York sportsmen should call their senators today and urge them to oppose SB 2084.  Explain that allowing a private organization to set standards for the dispatch of wildlife is unacceptable and a significant threat to hunting. 


Ohio Takes a Stand for Hunting

State kicks off new effort to open doors to youth mentored hunting

About 80 % of Americans support hunting, but 34 states, including Ohio, restrict youth participation in hunting.

Of the 14.7 million hunters active in 2002, only .0001 percent were supervised youth involved in an incident.


A new bill could make it easier for young people in Ohio to hunt with their parents. This proposed legislation kicks off the "Familes Afield" program, a national campaign created to sustain America’s hunting heritage.


Bill HB 296, introduced by Ohio Rep. Stephen Buehrer, R-Delta, will create an apprentice hunting license allowing qualified, licensed, adult hunters to introduce youth to hunting before completing a hunter education course.


Declining hunter numbers and resulting consequences such as drastic cuts to state wildlife and habitat conservation programs and more economic hardships for rural America, has caused alarm among sportsmen. The National Wild Turkey Federation, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and the National Shooting Sports Foundation look to address these growing concerns with the Families Afield program.       


Nearly 80 % of Americans support hunting, but 34 states restrict youth participation in hunting. Theses states restrict hunting before age 13 or prohibit the introduction of hunting before the completion of a hunter education course. Ohio is one of those states. Families Afield argues that parents, not politics, should decide when youngsters are mature enough to join their families for a hunt.


Young people are not being introduced to hunting, while state

age restrictions and rigid hunter regulations may compound participation problems. The total number of hunters has dropped 23 percent in the last 25 years. Currently, for every 100 American hunters lost, only 69 hunters take their place.


Ohio was chosen to introduce the Families Afield because the state has lost hunters in recent years.


Families Afield shows the time to introduce youth to hunting is now. Currently, hunters 25-54 years old – a demographic with youth mature enough to be introduced and mentored in hunting – represents 64 percent of hunters or 9 million people. There are considerably fewer hunters between ages 25 and 34, leaving fewer opportunities to pass on the hunting heritage in the future.


The three sportsmen’s groups will also use the Families Afield initiative to emphasize that young hunters are safe hunters. Data compiled and analyzed by Silvertip Productions and the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, shows young hunters, supervised by an adult mentor, have one of the lowest injury rates of all hunters. Of the 14.7 million hunters active in 2002, only .0001 percent were supervised youth involved in an accident.


Familes Afield is an education and outreach program designed to work with elected representatives, agency officials, hunters and the general public to help states eliminate unnecessary barriers to youth hunting. The program’s founders share a vision of creating opportunities for youth and, by doing so, benefiting all Americans who appreciate wildlife. After all, through license fees and excise taxes on ammunition, firearms and archery equipment, hunting underwrites much of the country’s habitat and conservation programs.

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