Week of July 7 , 2003

National

Canada

Regional

General

2nd Amendment issues

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

       Weekly News Archives

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       New Product  Archives

National

Deer and elk meat may be risky eating

Consumer Reports on consuming wild game

Public-health authorities are keeping a close eye on chronic wasting disease (CWD), an animal disorder similar to mad-cow disease that is spreading in deer and elk populations across North America, reports Consumer Reports magazine in their November 2002 issue.

 

In diseased animals, the brain accumulates infectious protein particles called prions and becomes riddled with sponge like holes. The process is similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad-cow disease. As in BSE, animals that develop CWD become emaciated and uncoordinated, and they eventually die.

 

Unlike the experience with infected cows, however, there is as yet no direct evidence that eating the meat of deer or elk with CWD actually causes disease in people. Still, test-tube experiments with prions have shown that human infection is theoretically possible. And researchers are investigating the deaths of several people who hunted or regularly ate venison and subsequently succumbed to brain-wasting disease.

Should consumers avoid eating deer and elk meat? Until more is known, the answer to that question depends on your personal risk tolerance, according to the food-safety experts at Consumers Union’s Consumer Policy Institute. As of May 13, deer or elk have tested positive for CWD in 13 states―Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North & South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming―and in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Eating game from regions not listed above is not necessarily safer, since adequate testing has not been done in most areas.

           

If you decide to eat deer or elk meat, consider choosing steaks, which are far less likely to be infected than organ meats. Chopped meat or sausages may be more risky, since they are likely to contain meat from several deer or elk, and possibly organ meat and nerve matter that may harbor infectious prions. Cooking the meat until it’s well done will protect against bacteria but not infectious prions, which are so highly resistant to heat they can’t be cooked out.

 


Commerce Secretary announces New Ocean Fishery Council Appointments

Secretary of Commerce Don Evans today announced the appointment of 31 members to the eight regional fishery management councils.

 

The appointments include one seat on the Pacific Council held exclusively by a representative of an Indian Tribe with federally recognized fishing rights from the states of California, Oregon, Washington or Idaho, and out-of-cycle appointment of a member to Pennsylvania's obligatory seat on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) for a member that resigned in mid-term. The appointment of a member to an at-large seat on the Caribbean Council currently is pending.

 

The councils, established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Act), prepare fishery management plans for marine fish stocks in their respective geographical areas of responsibility.  The management plans are submitted for review by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service and approved by the secretary.

The council members represent diverse interests including commercial and recreational fisheries, environmental, academic or other interests from each geographic area.  Terms of the council members expire annually on Aug. 10

for approximately one-third of the 72 obligatory and at-large members appointed to the eight regional councils.  On behalf of the secretary, the assistant administrator for fisheries solicits nominations from the governors of fishing states and oversees the annual appointments process.  Governors must submit completed gubernatorial nominations by March 15, and the Secretary of Commerce announces the selections by  June 27.  New members take their seats on Aug. 11.

 

Under the Act, the secretary selects from the list of gubernatorial nominees a council member for each appointed obligatory and at-large seat that has become open due to an expiring term, a resignation or other reason.  Obligatory seats are state-specific, while at-large seats are  regional in scope.

 

Last year's agency report on council membership is available on the Internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/reg_svcs/councils.htm

 

The Council members identified in the attachment will begin service on Aug. 11, 2003; their terms will expire on Aug. 10, 2006, except for the  appointment to Pennsylvania's obligatory seat to the MAFMC, which will expire on Aug. 10, 2005.  The at-large seat on the Caribbean Council will  remain vacant until a slate of gubernatorial nominations have been submitted by the Governors.


2003 Ocean Fishery Council Appointments

*Note indicates the individual is being reappointed.

New England Council - The New England Council includes members from the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.  The appointees for 2003 are for the Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island obligatory seats, and one at-large seat:

 

Obligatory seats

* *Francis W. Blount, Jr. - Gail Frances, Inc. (also known as the Francis Fleet) - South Kingstown, R.I. * Sally E. McGee - Environmental Marine Advocate - Environmental Defense -Stonington, Conn.* Rodney M. Avila - Owner and President of Trident Fishing Corporation, New Bedford, Mass.* James A. Odlin - Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, Inc. - Newry, Maine

 

At-large seat

* *Dana B. Rice, Sr . - commercial fisherman and seafood dealer - Birch Harbor, Maine

 

Mid-Atlantic Council - The Mid-Atlantic Council includes members from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  The appointee for the 2005 expiring Pennsylvania obligatory seat and the appointees for 2003 are for the New Jersey and Virginia obligatory seats, and two at-large seats:

 

Obligatory seats

* Anthony P. Bogan - Captain, Bogan's Boat Basin - Brick, N.J.* *Robert H. Pride, III - recreational fisherman - Newport News, Va. * Eugene J. Kray - recreational fisherman - West Chester, Pa.

 

At-large seats

* *Laurie A. Nolan - organizer and manager of commercial tilefish vessels - Montauk, N.Y.* *Dennis L. Spitsbergen - former Executive Assistant for Councils, Morehead City, N.C.

 

South Atlantic Council - The South Atlantic Council includes members from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.  The appointees for 2003 are for the Florida and Georgia obligatory seats and two at-large seats:

 

Obligatory seats

* Charles D. Harris - nature guide and consultant - St. Simons Island, Ga.* *Anthony L. Iarocci - commercial fisherman - Marathon, Fla.

 

At-large seats

* Benjamin M. Currin - Proprietor, Sport Fishing Adventures - Raleigh, N.C.* John A. Wallace - commercial fisherman - Meridian, Ga.

 

Caribbean Council - The Caribbean Council includes members from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The appointee for 2003 is for the U.S. Virgin Islands obligatory seat.

Obligatory seat

* *Virdin C. Brown - former Commissioner, U.S.V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources - St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

 

Gulf Council - The Gulf Council includes members from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.  The appointees for 2003 are for the Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana obligatory seats, and for two at-large seats:

 

Obligatory seats

* *Karen L.J. Bell - seafood restaurateur, Cortez, Fla.* *Bobbi Walker - charter boat owner - Orange Beach, Ala.* *Myron J. Fischer - recreational fisherman - Cut Off, La.

 

At-large seats

* Walter J. Thomassie - commercial fisherman - Houma, La.* *Harolyn Kay Williams - fishery manager - Vancleave, Miss.

 

Pacific Council - The Pacific Council includes members from California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.  The appointees for 2003 are for the California and Oregon obligatory seats, the Tribal seat and two at-large seats:

 

Obligatory seats

* Darrell J. Ticehurst - recreational fisherman - Hillsborough, Calif.* Frank R. Warrens - recreational fisherman - Portland, Ore.* *James E. Harp - Tribal Representative, Quinault Indian Nation, Amanda Park, Wash.

 

At-large seats

* *Robert D. Alverson - Manager and Exec. Secretary, Fishing Vessel Owners' Assoc. - Bothell, Wash.* *Donald K. Hansen - recreational fisherman - San Clemente, Calif.

 

North Pacific Council - The North Pacific Council includes members from Alaska and Washington.  The appointees for 2003 are for the Alaska and Washington obligatory seats:

 

Obligatory seats

Arne J. Fuglvog - commercial fisherman - Petersburg, Alaska* Edward B. Rasmuson - recreational fisherman - Anchorage, Alaska * David Benson - commercial fisherman - Kingston, Wash.

 

Western Pacific Council - The Western Pacific Council includes members from the American-flagged Pacific Islands of the American Samoa and Guam, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands.  The appointees for 2003 are for the American Samoa, Guam, and Hawaii's obligatory seats:

 

Obligatory seats

* Manuel P. Duenas, II - commercial fisherman - Sinajana, Guam* Sean C. Martin - commercial fisherman and manager, Kailua, Hawaii * Stephen Haleck - recreational fisherman - Pago Pago, American Samoa


Canada

Bass Pro Shops Heads North to Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada -- Bass Pro Shops has announced it will open an Outdoor World retail store in the new Vaughan Mills mall near Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The mall is scheduled to open late 2004.

Bass Pro Shops currently has 16 retail locations from Florida to Michigan and is recognized as a major tourist draw, attracting millions of visitors to its stores from a wide geographic radius. Known for their award-winning conservation efforts and education programs, this theme is evident throughout their store design and the year-round action-oriented events for outdoor enthusiasts. Philanthropic efforts are primarily directed toward non-profit organizations that support conservation of fish and wildlife as well as outdoor education.

At 130,000 square feet, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World will be the largest in the 1.2 million square foot mall and is expected to employ around 250-300 associates. The store in Vaughan Mills will offer some of the same signature features of other Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World stores such as wildlife exhibits, a waterfall and large aquariums filled with native fish species. Record fish and wildlife mounts and old pictures and artifacts from local hunters and fishermen will also be on display.

Bass Pro Shops visitors can shop the area’s most comprehensive collection of fishing, hunting, camping and marine items, and visit clothing, gift and footwear departments. The store will also feature the complete line of world-famous Tracker and Nitro boats and other popular brands.

 

Once completed, Vaughan Mills is anticipated to bring 20 million visitors each year and become one of the region’s largest centers for millions of Canadians and United States

citizens. The location is highly populated with 7.5 million

people within 60 miles of the center, including Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York.

Vaughan Mills will feature 15 anchor stores and 200 specialty stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. Vaughan Mills will be visible from Highway 400 and built adjacent to Paramount’s Canada’s Wonderland (a Canadian theme park,) which attracted over 3 million visitors in 1998.

Vaughan Mills is a joint venture for Ivanhoe Cambridge of Montreal, Quebec and the Mills Corporation of Arlington, Va. Both are self-managed real estate investment trusts (REIT) that own, develop, lease, acquire, redevelop, expand and manage retail and entertainment destinations.

Bass Pro Shops is already acquainted with the Mills Corporation. Currently Bass Pro Shops operates eight stores at Mills Corp. malls including Arundel Mills (Baltimore, MD); Cincinnati Mills (Cincinnati, OH); Concord Mills (Concord, NC); Discover Mills (Atlanta, GA); Grapevine Mills (Grapevine, TX); Gurnee Mills (Chicago, IL); Opry Mills (Nashville, TN) and new this year Potomac Mills (Washington, D.C.)

Other stores include Islamorada, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Houston, TX; Memphis, TN; Detroit, MI and Springfield and St. Louis, MO.

Future store sites include Bossier City, LA; Destin, FL; Savannah, GA; Little Rock, AR; Oklahoma City, OK; Hampton, VA and Las Vegas, NV.

For more information on Bass Pro Shops events, products or retail locations, call 1-800-BASSPRO (1-800-227-7776) or visit www.basspro.com.


  

Regional

Schornack confirmation as Chair of U.S. Section of IJC - support needed

The confirmation of Dennis Schornack as chair of the U.S. Section of the International Joint Commission is pending on this week's calendar of the U.S. Senate, and we need your help.  Follows is an open letter to the Senate.  Schornack is an avid angler and boater and a firm supporter of the sport fishing community from all over the basin – and a big time adversary of invasive species.  He needs our support and endorsement. 

 

All you need to do is send your name and home town and state to: john@nevin.us and he will add your name to the letter below.

 

Dan Thomas, President
Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council

 

June 23, 2003

 

The United States Senate

Capitol Building

Washington, D.C.  20510

 

Dear Senators:

 

We urge you to confirm the Honorable Dennis Schornack as Chairman of the United States Section of the International Joint Commission (IJC).  He has most ably served in that position since April of 2002, has achieved much over that same period and is extremely well qualified to continue in this important post.  That’s why we join former Michigan Governor Bill Milliken, former Wisconsin governor Anthony Earl and former Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley in supporting his confirmation.

 

Under the leadership of Chairman Schornack, the IJC has

moved swiftly to raise awareness in the United States and Canada about the growing threat of aquatic invasive species.  For example, he played a key role in the installation of an electrical dispersal barrier in the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal to block the passage of the Asian carp – a huge filter-feeding fish that threatens to devastate the Great Lakes fishery.

 

In addition, under his thoughtful supervision, the IJC issued the first report in almost a decade on the status of polluted hotspots in the Great Lakes known as Areas of Concern and discussions are underway with both governments to make this report a living document on the Internet for the first time.  Moreover, as one of the original authors of Annex 2001 of the Great Lakes Charter, Chairman Schornack is uniquely suited to lead the IJC in discussions over how best to protect the waters of the Great Lakes from diversion.

 

We are also honored that Chairman Schornack has succeeded in scheduling the IJC’s Great Lakes Conference and Biennial Meeting in Ann Arbor this September, bringing this event to the heart of the Great Lakes for the first time since 1991. 

 

For more than a year, Chairman Schornack has patiently waited for the Senate to act and has served our president and our nation with grace and distinction.  Moreover, he has developed excellent relations with his counterparts in Canada, earning the respect and admiration of his fellow commissioners.  Therefore, we urge you to do what’s right for the Great Lakes and for America by confirming the Honorable Dennis Schornack as Chairman of the U.S. Section of the International Joint Commission.

 

Sincerely,

 

 


Great Lakes Water Levels

The expected water levels on the Great Lakes for June 3, 2003. Connecting Channels and the St. Lawrence River are given in inches above (+) or below (-) Low Water Datum (LWD). LWD is a plane of reference used on a navigation chart. It is also known as chart Datum.

Great Lakes:

Lake Ontario +30, Lake Erie +24, Lake St. Clair +14, Lake Michigan-Huron -01, Lake Superior +01.

Detroit River:

Lake Erie at Pelee Passage +24, Mouth of River at Gibraltar +21, Head of River above Belle Isle +15.

St. Clair River:

Mouth of River at St. Clair Flats +15, Algonac +12, St. Clair +06, Blue Water Bridge +01, Head of River at Fort Gratiot -01, Lake Huron Approach Channel –01.

 


IJC welcomes report to combat Invasive Species

Supports Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans

The IJC welcomed the recent report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans that urges the government of Canada to take quick and decisive action to combat the threat of alien invasive species in the Great Lakes. In particular, the report, "Aquatic Invasive Species: Uninvited Guests" recommends that "Canada seek a permanent reference to the IJC to coordinate and harmonize bi-national efforts to counter the threat of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes Basin."

 

In addition, the IJC strongly supports the committee's

recommendation that the government of Canada commit to long-term funding for sea lamprey control, which is needed to keep the sea lamprey from devastating the Great Lakes fishery. "This program is essential to the rehabilitation of the fishery," said the Rt. Honourable Herb Gray, chair of the Canadian section of the IJC. 

           

"This important report captures the urgency of quick action to slam shut the doors to invasion," said Dennis Schornack, chair of the United States section of the IJC. "We are gratified that the committee heard our presentations and transformed our recommendations into a detailed, comprehensive plan of action."

 


General

Catch-and-Release – protect our resources

How anglers can help improve fishing

Fishing pressure has increased since the 1950s, says the Minnesota DNR. Not only has the number of anglers increased since then, the average number of days each angler fishes has substantially increased.

 

Improvements in fishing gear and related technology have made anglers more effective at finding and catching fish. Comfortable fishing rigs replaced rowboats, graphite rods replaced steel poles and sophisticated electronic equipment has become affordable and commonplace.

 

In addition, anglers today know more than ever about fishing thanks to numerous quality publications, the Internet and other information sources. Since anglers generally target larger fish, the cumulative effect of these advances has resulted in fewer big fish available for everyone.

 

By releasing some medium- and larger-sized fish, anglers can enjoy their sport with less impact to the resource. Releasing fish may be required by regulations on certain lakes or may be voluntary.

 

Even anglers who release everything they catch should practice restraint when the fish are really biting. Spreading your fishing effort by not targeting just one species can help to minimize pressure and conserve the resource. Even with the best handling, a certain percentage of fish will die after being released. Here are suggested practices that help reduce fish mortality from stress or hooking injuries.

 

Tips for proper catch-and-release:

ô If a hook is deeply imbedded, don't tear the hook out, remove it carefully with pointed pliers, hook remover or hook/barb cutting tool. If the hook is too deep, cut the line so that at least an inch hangs out of the mouth. This helps the hook to lay flush when the fish takes in food.

ô Circle hooks may help remove the number of deeply hooked fish. They are designed to hook fish in the mouth.

ô Don’t place fish you plan to release on a stringer or in a live well. Confinement adds significant stress to the fish and decreases their chance of survival upon release.

ô Play and land fish quickly. A prolonged struggle places too

much stress on a fish.

ô Don’t fish in very deep water unless you plan to keep what you catch. Fish pulled from cool deep water through warmer surface water can be too stressed for survival.

ô Fish pulled from deep water may have extended air bladders. Do not puncture or deflate – the fish can discharge excess swim bladder gas after returning to the water.

ô Wet your hands before touching a fish to help prevent removal of their protective slime coating.

ô Be prepared for photos. Have camera ready when the fish comes to reduce the time the fish needs to be out of the water.

ô When lifting fish for a photograph or just to admire it, hold it horizontal, supporting the weight with both hands. Do not hold the fish by the eye sockets or gills, but rather by the lower lip or under the gill plate and also support the belly of the fish. You can damage the internal organs of fish, especially larger ones, by lifting them vertically from the water.

ô A fish that can be legally kept should not be released if it is bleeding heavily, which indicates its chance of survival is poor.

ô You cannot intentionally fish for a species during its closed season, even if you intend to catch-and-release.

ô Handle the fish gently and keep it in the water as much as possible. If possible, unhook the fish without placing it in a net or lifting it from the water. Fish placed in nets or on a boat floor can suffer damage to the eyes and mucous coating on the scales.

ô In streams, release fish into calm water. Hold the fish until it swims free from your hand. A tired fish placed in fast water can die by tumbling downstream or over rocks.

ô To revive a fish, cradle it under the belly and gently move it side to side in the water until it swims away. Never pump or force the fish back and forth, this can easily damage the gill filaments.

ô Never toss a fish back into the water. Instead, revive the fish if necessary or gently slide it back into the water.

ô Use hooks without barbs or pinch them down with a pliers to reduce the possibility of hooking injuries and to make releasing fish quicker and easier.

ô Use artificial bait. There is less hooking mortality when using artificial bait. If using live bait, be sure to set the hook quickly.


Oxygen for minnows

Use Hydrogen-peroxide

Laboratory tests conducted by fish culturists in recent years have demonstrated that common household hydrogen-peroxide can be used safely to provide oxygen for small fish. Hydrogen-peroxide releases oxygen by decomposition when it is added to water.

           

In one test, 25 fry (2 cm long) were put into each of two one-quart bottles of water. Then, during a three-day period, 12 drops of hydrogen-peroxide were added to one bottle, and none to the other. The result: 100 % of the treated fry survived and 100 % of the untreated fry perished.

           

In another test, 50 fry were kept in a one-quart bottle and two

drops of hydrogen-peroxide were added to the water every four hours. In three days, 86 % of the fry were still alive and well.

 

Researchers tested this idea in the hopes of using it to provide small hatchery fish with oxygen during transportation periods. Anglers who use live minnows for bait might also want to experiment with the idea. To be safe, start off by adding only very small amounts of hydrogen-peroxide to a minnow bucket. And remember that it takes about 600 drops of the size used by the researchers to make one fluid ounce. Also, keep in mind that water temperature is very important to minnow survival. Keep the water in a minnow bucket fresh and cool.

(Courtesy: Southtowns Walleye Association of WNY)

 


Asian oysters in Chesapeake Bay

The Associated Press reports that the Virginia Marine Resources Commission approved a proposal from the Virginia Seafood Council to put 1 million sterile Asian oysters into Virginia waters of the Chesapeake Bay to determine if they can be grown, processed, and sold economically. The industry group submitted a similar proposal last summer but withdrew it after scientists said the two-year experiment could lead to unpredictable ecological consequences.

 

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science supports the revised

plan, saying it uses a more reliable method to render the oysters sterile and prevent them from spreading. The Asian oyster better survives the parasite infections that are destroying the bay’s native oyster population. The Asian oysters also grow larger and faster than the natives. Harvests of the native oyster fell from about 4 million bushels per year in the 1950s to last year’s 20,000 bushels. Workers will tend the Asian oysters in secured mesh bags and cages for up to 24 months while they grow.

 


Wildlife officials tout fishing as healthy alternative to TV, video games

ALBANY, Ga. - "It doesn't take a lot of planning," said Chris Martin, coordinator of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Aquatic Education Program. "It can be only for a few hours. It doesn't have to be a consuming day."

 

There are 44 million anglers in the nation, but fishing is waning in popularity among the young, losing out to videogames, television, and team sports. It's important to introduce children to fishing because it gets them interested in conservation and helps fund government wildlife work through license fees, said Beth Brown, spokeswoman for Georgia's Wildlife Resources

Division.

 

Earlier this month as every state had license-free fishing days as part of National Fishing and Boating Week, there were many children's fishing events offered by state DNR agencies, local communities or private groups.  Thousands participated.

 

Industry officials believe fishing will grow in popularity as this generation matures. "If anything, it will become more appealing in the future," said Janet Tennyson, media representative for the American Sportfishing Association. "It seems people are trying to find new ways to enjoy the outdoors, especially with the hustle and bustle of our lives."


Letters

Dear Mr. Thomas:

As Mayor and on behalf of the City of Chicago, I thank you for attending the Aquatic Invasive Species Summit in Chicago. Your participation enabled us to take a meaningful first step towards resolving this critical issue. I look forward to working with you to develop innovative solutions to the problems associated with aquatic invasive species. I hope you will continue your involvement in this vital effort.

Please accept my thanks for your time and contributions and best wishes for much continued success in your endeavors.

           

Sincerely,

Richard M. Daley

Mayor

 

 


2nd Amendment issues

Defensive use of guns underreported

Newspapers/networks ignore lives saved by guns

Book explores media's failure to cover positive firearm stories
A noted defender of the Second Amendment has authored a new book contending that much of the news coverage of the mainstream media is slanted in favor of gun control. John Lott has authored the book "The Bias Against Guns – Why Almost Everything You've Heard About Gun Control is Wrong."

 

"When I had done my previous work on guns ("More Guns, Less Crime"; 1998), it struck me when I was talking to people how frequently they said they had never heard of a defensive gun use," said Lott. 

 

He also believes much of the debate over guns is based too much on emotion, "that facts don't matter," he said. "I think that's wrong. Facts matter a lot, but you have to think about them much more broadly than simply looking at numbers."

 

The media conditions many to oppose guns because reporting of incidents when firearms are used negatively is so much more prevalent than coverage of when guns protect lives and property, which is estimated by researchers to be more than 2 million times a year – most never involving the firing of shots.

"Part of what I try to do in the book is to see how balanced [media] coverage has been," Lott said. "I was shocked at how imbalanced it was.  Many of the national morning and evening network news shows in 2001 had "about 190,000 words of reporting on gun-crimes stories," he said, "but during that entire year, there was no mention of using guns [for protection] or self-defense."

 

Lott also discusses in his book government funding of gun-control "propaganda." "I read all of these [government] reports when they come out," he said. "I can't find one single government report that tries to measure the benefit of guns. Every year the government publishes a report listing the top ten guns used in crime. Why not have a report listing the top ten guns used in self-defense?" Lott says. "What about a report … on the benefits of injuries that were prevented by people who used a gun?"

 

The former Yale professor, in his new book, also discussed the elevation of crime in England and Australia from gun bans.

 

"If my research convinces me of anything," he says, "when you ban guns … it's going to be the most law-abiding people who obey these rules and not the criminals. The problem you face is that if you disarm law-abiding citizens relative to criminals, you're going to see increases in violent crime rather than drops."


Illinois

IL - DNR announces boat access grants

The Illinois DNR recently announced the award of $725,000 in grants to assist seven local communities in providing improved boat and canoe access facilities.

 

Waters where boaters will benefit from the projects include the Chicago River, the Little Wabash River, Governor Bond Lake in Bond County, Lake Mattoon in Coles, Cumberland and Shelby counties, McCollum Lake in McHenry County, Spring Lake in McDonough County and Lake Nellie in Fayette county.

 

Chicago received $200,000 toward a boat access site that will be constructed on the Chicago River.

The program is funded through fees boaters pay on motor fuel and for registrations for boats and canoes. Grants can provide up to 100% of the cost of constructing new and improved public boat access facilities and up to 90% of the cost of acquiring land for providing boat access facilities. The maximum grant for a single project is $200,000.

 

Applications for next year’s boat access grants may be submitted between July 1 and Sept. 1. For more info, contact the IL DNR, Div. of Grant Administration, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL  62702,  217-782-7481.

 


IL-In-depth study planned for Chicago Waterway System

Potential for expanded uses will be evaluated

A comprehensive multi-year evaluation of current conditions in the Chicago Waterway System, and its potential for expanded uses, has been launched by the Illinois EPA. It will be the first in-depth look at the system in nearly three decades.

 

IEPA Director Renee Cipriano announced plans for the project that involves the Chicago River, its two main branches (North Branch and South Branch), the Cal-Sag Channel, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, and tributaries in an area extending from the metropolitan Chicago area to the Lockport vicinity.

 

The Chicago Waterway System makes up the surface drainage network serving most of the Greater Chicago metropolitan area. The system receives discharge from three of the largest municipal wastewater treatment plants in the nation as well as releases from more than 100 combined sewer outfalls.

“We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of people who live and work along the Chicago River and its tributaries and this study will give us a better sense of what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done to clean up this waterway,” said Director Cipriano.

 

Recreational boating and other sports are on the rise within the system and improved fish populations and species diversity now support a modest recreational fishing use. These benefits indicate that the current use classification is outdated, making the planned study a timely undertaking.

           

The Agency is currently conducting a similar study on the Lower DesPlaines River, immediately downstream of the Chicago Waterway System. That review is addressing many similar issues to those that will be part of the Chicago Waterway System review.

 


IL - Fishing Derby for people with disabilities July 17

Registration is now open for the annual Lions Fishing Derby for people with disabilities, scheduled for Thursday, July 17 from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Shabbona Lake State Park in DeKalb County. The Paw Paw Lions Club is chairing the event on

behalf of 16 sponsoring Lions Clubs in the region. Members of the DeKalb County Anglers organization will provide fishing gear and bait and will assist fishing derby participants. The fishing derby is open to persons with disabilities from throughout northern Illinois. For more information, phone 630/552-1345 or contact Shabbona Lake State Park at 815/824-2106.

IL - DNR offers fishing clinics, loaner tackle

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Families, children or anyone interested in learning to fish are invited to participate in free urban fishing clinics throughout Illinois this summer, while anyone interested in fishing can borrow the needed equipment through the state’s popular Access to Fishing equipment loan program, IL DNR Director Joel Brunsvold announced. 

 

"The urban fishing clinics have been a big hit over the years, attracting thousands of children and other would-be anglers to park ponds all over the state to get some basic instruction on how to fish,” Brunsvold said. “The Access to Fishing equipment loan locations throughout the state allow anyone interested in fishing to borrow the equipment they need, to give fishing a try and become hooked on fishing, like so many of us."

The free Urban Fishing Program clinics are geared toward children ages 16 and younger, but anyone interested in learning basic fishing techniques may attend. Parents are encouraged to attend with their children.

 

Clinics can also be arranged for special needs or senior groups. The clinics are presented on weekdays during the late spring and summer months at more than 25 locations throughout the state.  

 

There are more than 130 locations throughout the state at which loaner fishing equipment is available. For more information on participating as an equipment loan site, contact the IDNR Urban Fishing Program at 217/782-6424, SBC Relay 800/526-0844, TDD 217/782-9175


Indiana

IN - DNR assesses farm for ecological damage

Manure spill from hog farm found in Little Sugar Creek

The Indiana DNR has cited Pohlmann Farms for damages of more than $230,000 to Little Sugar Creek in Montgomery County. The demand for damages is part of the action being taken by the state in reaction to the manure spill at the farm in March.

           

The DNR cited Indiana law to make a preliminary estimate of Pohlmann's liability for the value of the fish that were killed in the incident ($1,855.58), the administrative costs of the investigation and follow-up ($1,080.30), as well as lost recreational use and the recovery of injured natural habitat ($227,291.00). Pohlmann has talked to DNR and has begun negotiations to reach a settlement of the matter. If no settlement is reached, the DNR will ask the

Indiana attorney general to sue for damages.

 

The count of dead fish included a variety of sizes and species that added up to 3,040 fish. The loss of recreational value includes fishing and other associated recreation that will be impossible while the stream is damaged. The recovery of the habitat is based on the estimated time it will take for the 10-mile stretch of the stream to recover and serve as a part of a healthy ecosystem.

 

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management filed a petition with the Montgomery Circuit Court to close Pohlmann Farms' swine operations. IDEM charged that in seven separate incidents spanning 14 years, Pohlmann Farms improperly discharged more than one million gallons of manure into Little Sugar Creek, killing more than 56,000 fish.


Michigan

 MI - Largemouth bass virus spreads

Largemouth Bass Virus is spreading into more Michigan lakes, the state DNR reported. This virus was first found in Michigan when it killed largemouth bass in Lake George on the Michigan-Indiana border in the fall of 2000. Since then it has caused deaths in other lakes in Michigan. 

 

This virus is just one of more than 100 naturally occurring viruses that affect fish but not warm-blooded animals. Humans cannot get this virus. The DNR researchers and other scientists are not sure how it spreads. Fish-eating birds and anglers are likely causes.

 

Its origin also is unknown, but scientists have found LMBV to be 98% identical to a virus found in guppies and "doctor fish," an imported aquarium species from Southeast Asia. So it is possible that it is yet another one of our undesirable imported exotic species such as the zebra mussel and Eurasian milfoil.

 

The virus has been found in other fish ― smallmouth bass, spotted bass, blue gill, white crappie and black crappie ― but it has manifested as a killing disease only in largemouth bass. LMBV has been found in bass that show no signs of disease, which suggests that bass and other fish can carry the virus, but never die from the disease.

Largemouth bass are the only fish that develop the disease from the virus and die

 

Auburn University scientist John Grizzle discovered that LMBV can remain viable in water for at least 3-4 hours. It is critical that anglers empty and dry out their livewells, bilges, and bait buckets before traveling to another lake. Stress seems to be the main common denominator that causes the virus to manifest into the disease for the largemouth bass.

 

"We will test 15 more lakes in Michigan this year checking for the spread of the virus," said DNR fish production manager Gary Whelan. "We will also re-sample lakes that had past die-offs and are already known to have the disease to see how the pathogen works in a longer time frame. We have retested some of the lakes that had LMBV and it did not show up in the retest."

 

"Largemouth bass can carry the virus and not become diseased unless stressed. It is very important for fishermen to target other species during the hot summer months," Whelan said. "If your bass club has scheduled a tournament in July or August perhaps you could target lakes that harbor smallmouth, which are not affected by the disease."


MI - Warning issued against mosquitofish

Biologists say creature won't fight W. Nile

State biologists say mosquitofish should not be planted in Michigan ponds and streams to combat mosquitoes and the West Nile virus, which killed 51 people in the state last year. Although the 2" fish has been planted in other states and countries for mosquito control, biologists at the Michigan DNR said the fish, native to the South, would not be effective in Michigan.

 

"There's no reason to plant them here," said Bob Haas, Mt. Clemens DNR Fisheries supervisor. "There's too much of a risk that they could escape into public waters."

 

Michigan should continue to keep mosquitofish out, said Doug Sweet, curator of fish at the Belle Isle Aquarium. The

fish have been "grossly overrated" as an effective method of mosquito control, Sweet said. "I don't understand why or how it started," he said. "But somehow a myth was born that they were very good mosquito eradicators."

 

The fish are "nasty little fish," he said, noting they nip the fins off of other fish. If they were introduced in Michigan in large numbers, they will drive away native fish because they could eat the larvae of other fish and amphibians, Sweet said.

 

DNR biologists have analyzed other studies of mosquitofish to conclude that fish would not be a good fit for Michigan.

 


Minnesota

 MN - Anglers can swap their lead tackle
St. Paul, Minnesota - The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance (OEA) and the DNR are partnering with retailers, conservation, and outdoors groups to offer lead tackle exchanges across the state this summer. Over 17 lead tackle exchange events are scheduled beginning this month. Anglers can bring lead sinkers and jigs to the event to trade for non-lead ones.

 

"We want to offer anglers throughout Minnesota the chance to try out and compare non-lead tackle made from metals such as bismuth, tin, and stainless steel," said Kevin McDonald, coordinator of the OEA's non-lead tackle program.

 

Carrol Henderson, supervisor of the DNR's Nongame Wildlife Program, is enthusiastic about the lead exchange program. "This is an excellent opportunity for people who care about wildlife to cooperate with the fishing tackle industry and reduce the amount of lead being deposited in Minnesota's lakes."

 

Schedule of Exchanges: For updates, visit http://www.moea.state.mn.us/reduce/sinkers.cfm

  *    Fri., July 11, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gander Mountain - Rochester

  *    Fri., July 11, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gander Mountain - Duluth

  *    Fri., July 11, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gander Mountain - Fridley

  *    Wed.-Thurs., July 16-17, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Joe's

Sporting Goods, 935 N. Dale Street, St. Paul

  *    Fri., July 18, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gander Mountain - Burnsville

  *    Fri., July 18, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gander Mountain Bemidji

  *    Sat., July 19, 10 a.m. to noon Lake Mary Assoc, Kensington Runestone County Park - Douglas Co.

  *    Fri., July 25, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gander Mountain - Minnetonka

  *    Fri., July 25, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gander Mountain - St. Cloud

  *    Fri.-Sat., August 1-2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Upper Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge -Wabasha

 *     Fri., August 1, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gander Mountain - Maple Grove

 *     Fri., August 8, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gander Mountain - Woodbury

 *     Sat., August 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dakota County Fair Grounds, Farmington

 *     Fri., August 15, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Gander Mountain - Bloomington

 *     Sat., August 16, noon to 2 p.m. Marion Lake Association, Lions Club Shelter - Dent, Minn.

 

 Earlier this year the Legislature considered banning the sale and use of lead tackle, but after a series of stakeholder discussions, the groups involved agreed that a better approach was to educate anglers about the alternatives to lead tackle and to offer opportunities to try out non-lead sinkers and jigs.

 


MN - Angling fees used to destroy fish habitat

Minnesota anglers are getting ripped off by a program that helps destroy aquatic vegetation—the very foundation of healthy fish habitat—and anglers are subsidizing the destruction, no thanks to the state legislature.

 

"Perhaps being ripped off isn't the right phrase,'' said Dave Overland, who lives in Cedar, MN."I'd like to call it a welfare subsidy."

 

Overland, a devoted angler and fishing activist, used to sit on a citizen oversight committee that keeps an eye on the Department of Natural Resources' books. The committee recently issued a report highlighting areas where the Game and Fish Fund, supported by hunter and angler license fees, is being misspent. The DNR aquatic-plant permit program is just such a program, Overland said.

 

The program issues permits to landowners who want to remove weeds from their lake. The removal can be done either with chemicals or machines known as Weed Rollers. The program costs the DNR about $500,000 to operate, which pays for the enforcement of weed removal regulations and a handful of staffers who run the program and monitor lake plant health.

 

In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, lake weed removal is a big deal. About 10,000 property owners were covered by the DNR permits last year, and countless numbers of lakeshore owners remove weeds illegally, DNR officials say. Yet permit fees raise only about $110,000, covering a sliver of the costs of running the plant program. Who pays the rest? Hunters and anglers, because the Game and Fish Fund is used to pay for the shortfall in the program ― and it's mandated by law.

 

"Anglers shouldn't be paying for the destruction of fish

habitat. And neither should hunters,'' Overland said. "They're paying for the destruction of habitat that is used by young-of-the-year fish. Then we're paying to stock more fish like walleyes and muskies. That's just not right."

 

Currently landowners pay a $20 fee to remove aquatic plants from their property. They also can apply for a group permit and pay $200, an amount that is capped by the Legislature. "That means a lake association can get together and have the plants removed from their lake for $200,'' Overland said.

 

Lee Pfannmuller, director of the DNR's ecological services division, was sympathetic with Overland's argument.

 

"Dave's point is well taken,'' she said. "The fact is, we've tried to raise the fees twice before and failed twice. The lakeshore owners are well organized and have voiced their concerns (with higher fees) at the Legislature. And I understand why anglers are upset that we're not recovering our full costs."

 

There is an effort this year to raise the fees. The Legislature is considering a proposal that would raise the individual fee from $20 to $35 and raise the group application cap from $200 to $750. "The Minnesota Lake Association has said they feel they should pay their fair share,'' Pfannmuller said. "This is a move in the right direction.''

 

Pfannmuller conceded that the issue is a political one that is largely out of the DNR's hands. "I testified on this eight years ago,'' she said. "But the department doesn't have any power to change it." Lakeshore property today averages 22 homes a mile, compared with two homes a mile in 1950.

 


Ohio

OH - Lake Erie fishing popularity celebrated

PORT CLINTON, OH - State and local officials, and representatives from the media, sport fishing associations, and tourism industries, fished Lake Erie on June 25 as part of the 25th annual Fish Ohio Day celebration in Port Clinton.

 

"Whether trailering a boat, using a fishing guide service, or fishing from shore, Lake Erie provides a smorgasbord of angling opportunities for every taste and skill level," said Steve Gray, chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. "Besides being the Walleye Capital of the World, the lake's fun- and easy-to-catch yellow perch provide the perfect family-style entertainment."

 

Sportfishing contributes $762 million to the state's economy each year. Lake Erie, Ohio's number one fishing destination, provides a tremendous boost to Ohio's economy and to tourism along the lakeshore, Gray added. The counties bordering the lake account for about 25 percent of all fishing license sales to Ohio residents, while nearly 85 percent of all non- resident licenses are sold along the lakeshore.

 

Despite the lake's mixed bag of sport fish species, walleye

and yellow perch have long been the claims to Lake Erie's fame. These two sport fish have traditionally been the catalyst that draws anglers from throughout the country, and helps boost local economies across the entire lakeshore. The ODNR Division of Wildlife works directly with the other Lake Erie states and the Canadian province of Ontario in a cooperative approach in managing these important Lake Erie fisheries. Currently, the group is focused on efforts to increase the lake's walleye population to reverse a gradual decline that has been occurring in Lake Erie since the mid- 1990s.

 

Ohio's expanse of Lake Erie waters covers 2.25 million acres of surface water and 262 miles of mainland and island shoreline from Toledo to Conneaut.

 

"Ohio's vast Lake Erie shoreline provides hundreds of boat ramps, marinas, shoreline access, and fishing boat charters, as well as a multitude of family attractions. That's what makes Lake Erie the ideal destination for a fishing outing with friends or a family fishing vacation." said Gray.

           

The annual Fish Ohio Day is sponsored by the ODNR Division of Wildlife, Ottawa County Visitors Bureau, Lake Erie Charter Boat Association, and the city of Port Clinton.


OH - Fishing Regs proposed to protect Lake Erie Walleye and smallmouth bass

Proposals would lower walleye limits, close smallmouth bass spawning season

COLUMBUS, OH - Conservation measures designed to provide long-term stability for Lake Erie's walleye and smallmouth bass populations are being proposed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife and may result in significant new fishing regulations in the 2004 season. The proposals will be finalized and presented later this summer to the Ohio Wildlife Council to be effective March 1, 2004.

 

ODNR's Division of Wildlife plans to propose reducing the springtime limit on walleyes from 4 to 3 fish per day from March 1 – April 30. The limit for walleyes outside of the March 1- April 30 period is planned to stay at 6 fish per day. Also planned is a proposal creating a year-round walleye size limit of 15".

 

"Poor weather conditions during recent springs have resulted in inconsistent and minimal walleye reproduction in Lake Erie," said Gary Isbell, executive administrator for the Division of Wildlife's Fish Management and Research Program. "The outlook for the 2003 hatch is not good, based on the cold, stormy spring this year."

 

Isbell said that while many anglers are reporting some of the best catches seen in recent years, the concern is for the future of the fishery since reproduction has been poor in two of the past three years.

 

The Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has advised member agencies to prepare for  "40-60 % reduction in total allowable catches (T AC) for 2004."

 

"All Lake Erie agencies are examining regulation options best-suited to their area to meet this challenge," said Isbell.

State fisheries biologists are also proposing closing of smallmouth fishing in May and June, when the popular sport fish are laying eggs and guarding their nests.

 

The proposal comes in response to concern that the round goby, an invasive fish species, is adversely impacting smallmouth populations by preying on bass eggs and fry. Gobies arrived from Eastern Europe in the ballast water of transoceanic ships and have multiplied rapidly during the 1990's, becoming abundant throughout Lake Erie.

 

Research conducted by the Division of Wildlife in conjunction with The Ohio State University over the last three years has documented that gobies are having a negative impact on smallmouth reproduction, as higher populations of round gobies dramatically decrease the number of smallmouth in the nesting areas.

 

In addition, tagging studies conducted in cooperation with the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association and Ohio Sea Grant have confirmed limited movements or small home ranges of smallmouth bass. Fish that are tagged and released are likely to be found at a later time in the same location. This raises concerns about removing smallmouth during the spawning season and explains how serious nesting failures are to local populations.

 

Another potential negative factor impacting smallmouth bass is the double-breasted cormorant, a bird that dives to feed on small fish including small bass. Neither gobies nor cormorants were present in Lake Erie just 10 years ago.

The Division of Wildlife, based on a hearing to be scheduled this summer, consultation with anglers, and further review of the recent research information, will finalize the proposals between now and September. Ohio Wildlife Council action will likely take place in October 2003.

           

No fishing regulation changes are proposed for yellow perch or white bass.


OH - Lake Erie Anglers encouraged to return tags

SANDUSKY, OHIO - State fisheries managers are asking the cooperation of Lake Erie anglers in returning metal jaw tags and catch information from several fish species caught in Lake Erie and its tributaries. Tag information returned on walleyes, smallmouth bass, and the endangered lake sturgeon provides research data used to manage the lake's fisheries, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

 

Metal jaw tags are located on the left side of the lower jaw of the fish. Anglers who catch a tagged fish, regardless of the tagging agency indicated on the tag, are encouraged to report it. Tags should be flattened and returned to the ODNR Division of Wildlife, Lake Erie Fisheries Unit, 305 E. Shoreline Dr., Sandusky, Ohio 44870. The Wildlife agency will forward the tag to the appropriate agency after recording the information. Tag information can also be reported by calling (419) 625-8002

 

When reporting a tagged fish, anglers are asked to include the species of fish caught, the five-digit tag number, date the fish was caught, location caught as specific as possible, fish length (from snout to tail), whether the fish was kept or released, and the angler's name, address, and telephone number. Anglers who release a tagged fish should not remove the taco All anglers returning complete tag information will receive a letter stating when and where the fish was tagged.

 

Walleye: ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists tag walleyes in Lake Erie, Sandusky Bay, and the Maumee, Sandusky,

and Grand Rivers as part of an ongoing walleye tagging project between Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario. Information collected from returned tags is used to determine walleye movement patterns and distribution, seasonal harvests, spawning habits, survival rates, and exploitation rates.

 

Smallmouth: Angling pressure for these fun-to-catch fighters has quadrupled over the past decade. This tagging project is helping biologists determine the fraction of the population removed by fishing each year, as well as determine the extent to which small mouth bass move in Lake Erie. The information will be used to determine appropriate management strategies and regulations for the species.

 

Lake Sturgeon: Observations of the endangered lake sturgeon by Lake Erie anglers, boaters, and shoreline residents have been on the rise in recent years. The Division cooperates in an interagency tagging study to collect information on sturgeon populations in Lake Erie and connecting waterways in the lower Great Lakes. Recaptures of these highly migratory fish will help biologists learn more about the population, migration movements, and possible spawning grounds.

Lake sturgeon provided a lucrative commercial fishery across the Great Lakes in the mid-1800s. Lake Erie historically had the largest sturgeon production of all the Great Lakes. By the 1920s, sturgeon populations were much reduced from unregulated harvesting, pollution and the damming of rivers that prevented sturgeon from returning to spawning grounds, and the slow maturity rate of this fish species.

 


Pennsylvania

PA - Game Commission Action

* Gave final approval to a regulation allowing the holders of any of the appropriate licenses or stamps to cooperate while hunting antlered or antlerless deer;

 

* Gave final approval to a regulatory change to apply all recently enacted State Game Lands use regulations to Game Commission-owned administrative lands, such as game farms, regional offices and the Harrisburg headquarters;

 

* Gave final approval to a request from Presque Isle State Park, Erie County, to remove regulations regarding special deer hunts in the park. The park now will use existing seasons and bag limits to control deer populations;

 

* Gave final approval to a regulatory change to clarify that permits for dog trials other than bird dog trials may be issued by the Game Commission;

 

* Gave final approval to create a permanent "Hunter ID" number for use only by those persons who do not have a valid Social Security number;

* Gave preliminary approval to put into regulation procedures under which the Game Commission will co-sign federal migratory bird depredation permits for the purpose of reducing nuisance and damage problems from waterfowl, as well as a listing of those migratory bird

species which are excluded from permitting by standing federal depredation order.  Previously, the Game Commission had been operated under these procedures by way of a statement of policy developed in 1995;

 

* Gave preliminary approval to a measure to prohibit the release of any captive held or captive bred game or wildlife into the wild.  The proposed regulation was presented as a means to prevent the spread of animal-borne diseases, and to protect Pennsylvania's native wildlife and habitats.  The proposed regulation includes an exception for lawfully acquired mallard ducks, ringneck pheasants, bobwhite quail and chukar partridge for dog training or hunting purposes.

 

* Approved the creation of a seasonal propagation area of nearly 20 acres around a Partners for Wildlife wetland restoration project on State Game Lands 188 in Beaver Township, Snyder County.  Human disturbance during the breeding, nesting and brooding season is negatively impacting waterfowl production capability on this area.  The propagation area will be closed to public access from March 1-July 15 each year.

 

* Confirmed the dates for the next Board meeting to be Oct. 6 and 7.  The Board also confirmed the January 2004 seasons and bag limits meeting for Jan. 25, 26 and 27. On Sunday, Jan. 25, the Board will gather public comment on 2004-2005 hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits.


 

 

Wisconsin

WI - Genetic tests show Trout Lake fish unique

BOULDER JUNCTION, Wis. – Genetic tests have confirmed that lake trout from Trout and Black Oak lakes in northern Wisconsin are unique not only in Wisconsin but in North America and have maintained their purity despite a century of mingling with different strains stocked into their home waters.

 

That finding will guide state efforts, particularly stocking strategies, aimed at helping the Trout Lake lake trout population recover from a decline caused by limited natural reproduction and stocking problems through the 1990s.

 

“The test results have given us important information to help us with our long-term restoration plan,” says Wes Jahns, the DNR fisheries technician leading the recovery effort. “They’ve confirmed our belief that these fish are unique to Trout Lake, so to preserve this unique strain, all future stockings in Trout Lake will be of the Trout Lake strain only.”

 

As part of that plan, DNR crews earlier this spring stocked Trout Lake with 39,120 year-old lake trout known as “yearlings” and Clear Lake in Oneida County with 4,349 yearlings and 114,000 fingerlings. The stockings are intended to help restore the Trout Lake population in its home water and to establish the strain in another lake as back up and to provide new fishing opportunities, Jahns says.

The importance of achieving these goals is brought home by genetic sleuthing by researchers from DNR, the University of Wisconsin and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Prior Canadian research involving fish from 60 U.S. and Canadian waters has shown that there are four distinctive lineages of lake trout in North America. This most recent study took that insight one step further by looking for genetic markers that are capable of identifying distinct populations and subpopulations, according to Kyle Piller, a DNR and UW researcher and lead scientist on the project.

 

Researchers looked at native strains from the two lakes and all populations that served as stocking sources for the lakes over the last 100 years, including strains origination from Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

 

“Based on all of the populations that we analyzed, lake trout in Trout and Black Oak lakes represent unique strains of lake trout,” Piller says. “They are unique not only in Wisconsin, but in North America. These two lakes harbor the only two populations of lake trout indigenous to the Upper Mississippi River Basin.”

 

Piller, a research associate at UW-Madison’s Center for Limnology, said the lake trout’s genetic distinctiveness is most likely due to their long period of isolation from other lake trout populations. “The lack of connectivity between systems leads to a lack of gene flow, which, in turn, has resulted in local adaptation and genetic distinctiveness for these populations.”

 

Interestingly, Piller says, the study showed that the

genetic integrity of the native lake trout was maintained despite many years of artificial stocking of Great Lakes strains. That’s contrary to scientific literature that clearly shows that the most common outcome resulting from nonnative fish introductions is the mixing of native and nonnative gene pools, which can lead to lower fitness and survivability, and population declines.

 

Trout Lake has been stocked off and on since 1900 with either a Lake Superior strain or a Trout Lake strain of fish. That stopped between 1988 and 1997 when the state hatchery that raised yearling lake trout became infected with a viral disease and the lake trout strain was not allowed back in. Stocking resumed in 1998, when the Art Oehmcke Hatchery in Woodruff started producing lake trout fingerlings.

 

“Most likely, the lake trout in Trout and Black Oak lakes are each better adapted to their respective lakes than the introduced Great Lakes populations are to these systems,” Piller says.

 

The challenge now for fisheries biologists is to protect that genetic purity at a time when the Trout Lake population is struggling. DNR population surveys have shown that natural reproduction was declining for reasons biologists haven’t been able to identify, and that the population is aging.

Those disturbing trends spurred the state to close the ice fishing season in 1990 to protect the lake trout population, and in 1996 to establish a 30-inch minimum length, one daily bag limit during the open season, which runs from the first Saturday in May through Sept. 30. It also spurred development of the restoration plan that includes, in addition to the regulations, research to help better understand and address the reproduction problems, and a careful stocking plan.

 

The stocking that occurred this spring on Trout Lake and Clear Lake will be another important step in the recovery plan because it marks the first of three years of planned stockings of yearlings, which stand a better chance of survival than the fingerlings that have been stocked in the last few years.

 

“Because we don’t know the degree of natural reproduction taking place in Trout Lake, survival of these yearlings will play a critical role in sustaining the population in years to come,” Jahns says. “If the lake trout become established in Clear Lake it will provide another population of the Trout Lake Strain.”

 

Black Oak Lake is not stocked because its population is naturally reproducing and stocking could actually harm the natural reproduction, Jahns says. But that population itself is in need of a higher degree of protection. Recent sampling on Black Oak lake reveals a self-sustaining population at average to below average densities, he says.

 

As a result, DNR will hope to propose changing regulations from a minimum size of 26 inches to 30 inches with a bag limit of one to provide additional protection and uniformity with Trout Lake.


WI - Walleyes Found After Fishing Tournament

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – Warming water temperatures appear to have combined with stress to cause mortality among some walleyes released after at a recent fishing tournament at Bay City, WI. Fisheries biologists and conservation wardens are investigating the number of walleyes that died at this time.

 

An estimated 1,700 walleyes were taken during the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail tournament. Approximately 200 of the fish were cleaned and the fillets were donated to a local food pantry. The remaining 1,500

fish were released. The tournament permit, issued by the DNR to the Village of Bay City, allowed the tournament to be conducted on a catch-and-release basis as long as waters were 70 degrees or less. Water temperatures were at 67 degrees during the tournament, according to fish biologists.

 

More than 120 boats participated in the three-day event. The limit of walleye for each boat is six daily, according to tournament regulations. The fish are held in tanks during the day and released later but stress due to handling and water temperatures appear to have caused fish mortality, according to biologists.


WI - Lakes 50 acres or less with public access are slow-no-wake

SPOONER, Wis. -- Boaters and anglers must be aware of the state’s Slow-No-Wake law. This regulation prohibits operation of a motorboat at the speed at which a boat moves as slowly as possible while still maintaining steerage control on lakes with public access that are 50 acres in size or less.

 

There is an exception to this rule, says Conservation Warden Kelly Crotty, for lakes that serve as thoroughfares between two or more navigable lakes.

 

"While different boats have different Slow-No-Wake speeds depending on size and design," Crotty says, "all recreational boats operating at this speed would be moving very slowly." The slow speed prohibits water skiing and personal watercraft use.

Crotty explained that there are several reasons for the speed restriction. One goal is to prevent erosion damage to shorelines caused by extensive wave action. The lake shoreline is home to different types of vegetation and varying phases of animal life like fish and frog eggs.  "Many small fish such as young gamefish and minnows also spend time near the shoreline," Crotty says.

 

Another goal of the law is to maintain aesthetics provided by wildlife like loons, waterfowl, turtles and the serenity and relative quiet that smaller lakes offer. Many homeowners and seasonal residents purchase property on small lakes to enjoy the tranquil lakefront.

 

Crotty reminds boaters that the Slow-No-Wake restriction is posted at some, but not all, lake access points. "It is the responsibility of the boater to be familiar with the state laws and local ordinances," he said.


WI - Carp disease spreads to Mississippi, St. Croix Rivers

MADISON – Newly released test results confirm that a new carp virus that killed 10 tons of carp in Cedar Lake last spring has spread to downstream waters including the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers as far south as Wisconsin’s southern border.

 

These discoveries shift the challenge in Wisconsin from

eradicating Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC), which does not cause disease in humans, to controlling it, preventing its spread, and learning more about it, says Sue Marcquenski, fish health specialist for the WI DNR. She and other state and national fisheries officials worry that SVC, which occurs in carp and related fish in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, may infect minnows and shiners that are important forage for Wisconsin game fish.

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