Week of July 9, 2007



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College fishing programs finding new anglers

If the increase in university-sanctioned fishing programs in the past 12 months is any indication, the future of America's favorite pastime appears to be in good hands for yet another generation.


Just one year ago, two dozen colleges had formal fishing programs with teams interested in competing for a national fishing championship; now there's more than 100 schools planning to participate in 2007 - and not by accident.


"When we saw the interest leading up to last year's first-ever National Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship, we believed it to be a good fit for our long-term strategic growth initiatives," said Jim Stewart, RBFF manager of education and outreach. "These college students are proving that fishing is cool and judging from the growth that we're seeing, they are spreading the word."


Stewart is referring to the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation's involvement in the BoatUS National Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship (NCBFC). The NCBFC is a first-of-its-kind effort to make bass fishing a fully recognized college sport with conference play, an annual season-ending championship and national television coverage on the Fox College Sports (FCS) network.


At the debut championship held last Fall on Lake Lewisville

near Dallas, 41 teams represented 24 schools in the competition. Conferences like the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC had a prominent presence. North Carolina State won the premiere and the $12,000 first place prize.


Designed as a membership recruitment program, the Anglers' Legacy collegiate competition offers cash awards to the top 10 school-sanctioned fishing clubs with the most growth based on the highest percentage of new members who have not fished in at least the two previous years.  Winning the top Anglers' Legacy prize of $2,500 in 2006 was North Carolina State, and the $1,750 second place prize went to Eastern Kentucky University.  The prize monies must be used for purchasing club equipment and gear.


The Anglers' Legacy contest is based on specific criteria and a formal application process.  Proof of new fishing license holders is the primary measurement. More than 100 two-person collegiate teams are expected to participate in the 2007 NCBFC, returning to Lake Lewisville, Sept. 27-29, with daily weigh-ins to be held at Sneaky Pete's Marina.


In addition to Anglers' Legacy, FCS and BoatUS, the NCBFC is supported by the following national sponsors: Ranger Boats, Garmin, Evinrude, Cabela's, Minn Kota, Costa Del Mar, Pioneer Beef Jerky, American Rodsmiths, Keelshield, Nemire Lures, Sebile and Stearns.


New Sea Grant program to foster regional cooperation 

A new consortium created for the Great Lakes region

Seven Sea Grant Programs serve the five Great Lakes region. The new Great Lakes Research and Outreach Consortium is designed to foster communication, cooperation, coordination and collaboration on research, education and outreach projects. While it doesn’t replace the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, it does enhance its programs.


Issues such as water quality, invasive species and fisheries often cross state boundaries. The consortium will provide the 

means for any one of the seven Sea Grant programs to coordinate and develop projects for the entire region as well as accept and distribute funds to the other six programs. 


“Each of the lakes is bordered by several states and/or two countries. The issues that affect each lake often affect the region as a whole and can best be addressed by coordinated programs carried out simultaneously on each lake.  Our new consortium is specifically designed to foster that kind of relevant program,” said Jeff Reutter, director of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, in a statement.

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 6, 2007

Weather Conditions

Cooler than average temperatures in the Great Lakes basin early this week gave way to hot and muggy conditions by Wednesday.  A weak low pressure center will push through the region Thursday and bring with it a chance of showers and thunderstorms.  The upcoming weekend looks sunny and hot.  The next chance of inclement weather will arrive early next week.


Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is presently 13 inches below its level of a year ago, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 2 to 4 inches lower than they were at this time last year.  Lake Superior is predicted to rise 2 inches over the next 30 days. In that same period, Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to decline an inch, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are projected to drop 4 inches. During the next few months, all of the lakes are forecasted to be below their water levels of a year ago.


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be well below average for July. Flows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also predicted to be lower than average this month. Flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are expected to be

below average as well.



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





St. Clair



Level for Aug 4






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr







Dangers of Dams

Water-based recreation is a huge industry in Illinois. Each year, an estimated 1.2 million anglers spend more than 16 million days fishing Illinois waters, and more than 380,000 registered watercraft operators take to the state’s million-plus acres of lakes and reservoirs and 26,400 miles of streams.


Tragically, each year people die preventable deaths on Illinois waters, including a number of people boating, fishing, wading or swimming near the turbulent waters associated with dams.


A “run-of-river” or “low-head” dam extends from bank to bank and forces all flows up and over the spillway. These low-head dams are constructed of stone, concrete or timber, and while they’re typically only a few feet in height, these dams often create a powerful backwash with dangerous currents. Too often, people do not understand the strength of the backwash and place their lives in jeopardy.


A safety assessment of publicly owned low-head dams on Illinois public waters is underway and the report will include

recommendations for improving public safety. The study includes 25 publicly owned dams on the Rock, Fox, Des Plaines, Kankakee, Sangamon and Vermillion rivers. Included in the study are assessments of general structural conditions, safety enhancement alternatives (such as the possible removal of hydraulic rollers), and public safety measures, including signs, boat barriers, buoys, fencing, markings and clear zones.


As you visit public-owned waters where dams exist, remember to “Keep Your Distance – Keep Your Life.” Respect the power that dams possess and stay away from them.


If your recreational plans include spending time near a dam, review maps and speak with local experts to learn the locations of dams and recommended river portages. While on the river, keep an eye out for low-head dams and other hazardous structures. Stay back from dams when approaching from upstream or downstream. Never paddle over low-head dams and never wade or swim in their vicinity. And please, always wear your life jacket.

Children's Science Workshop July 19

The Illinois State Museum in Springfield invites youngsters ages 6-8 to a Summer Safari, a children's science workshop on Thurs., July 19 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. 


Go on a summer safari - meet your team, get your gear, and go on a hike in the Changes exhibit hall at the Museum. Learn about animals from Illinois' prairies, rivers, and forests. See

their habitats, learn about what you can do to help Illinois wildlife, and make a fun animal craft to take home. 


Advance registration for the children's science workshop is required by Mon., July 16. The fee is $10 per child for Museum Society members and $12 per child for non-members.  For more information, call 217/782-0061.

Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame – deadline July 31

July 31 is the nomination deadline for the annual Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame program, recognizing commitments to natural resource protection and outdoor recreation in Illinois. Nominees may include those outdoor sportsmen and women who have made significant contributions or exhibited unparalleled dedication in preserving, promoting, enhancing or supporting natural resources or outdoor recreational opportunities in Illinois.  


All nominations must be submitted to the Illinois Conservation

Foundation (ICF) on the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame

nomination form, available on the ICF web site at www.ilcf.org.  For more info, contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone 217/785-2003, e-mail [email protected]  


Inductees selected for the 2008 class of the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame will be announced later this year. The induction will occur at the annual Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet on Feb. 9, 2008 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield.

Lake Michigan Memorial Derby July 19

The Illinois Conservation Foundation invites anglers to enjoy a memorable day of fishing on Lake Michigan at the 12th annual Sam Romano Lake Michigan Fishing Tournament on Thurs., July 19 out of North Point Marina at Winthrop Harbor.  Climb aboard a Lake Michigan charter boat at 6:45 a.m., spend the morning fishing, and then return at 11 a.m. for the weigh-in.  A

social hour, lunch and an awards presentation will follow.  Reserve a charter for five anglers for $1,000, or sign up individually for $200 per person.  For more information or to register, phone 217/785-5091 or check the ICF web site at www.ilcf.org. Proceeds benefit youth fishing and education programs.

19 new CPOs join DNR

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has announced the graduation of 19 new cadets from Conservation Police Academy. The new class is expected to be on patrol beginning December 2007. The cadets just completed 12 weeks of CPO training at the Conservation Police Academy in Springfield.

This year’s recruit class marks only the second class of ne Conservation Police Officers that have been trained and housed at the Conservation Police Academy.  This facility makes it more efficient and more cost effective for the department to conduct

recruit classes from year to year.


Coast Guard rescues four after boat capsizes

DETROIT - The Coast Guard rescued a family of four on Sunday, July 1 after their vessel capsized in Lake Erie.  Station Toledo received notification at midnight of an 18' vessel taking on water near Consumer's Power Plant approximately five

miles north of Toledo, Ohio. A 25' response boat, as well as, an HH-65 rescue helicopter arrived on-scene, and the response boat's crew recovered the family and brought them back to shore.  The mother and two children were wearing life-jackets.

DNR closes 20 State Forest Campgrounds

The Michigan DNR late last week announced the closure of 20 state forest campgrounds throughout the state to facilitate a $75,000 reduction in state General Fund appropriation to the Recreation and Trail Program for fiscal year 2007. The campgrounds will be closed effective Monday, July 9, 2007.


State forest campgrounds are within state forest lands in Michigan, and are not state parks. State forest campgrounds offer a more rustic setting for primarily tent camping. Basic campsites are $15 per night or as posted at the campground information stations. State forest campgrounds are not staffed and are not a part of the DNR’s online reservation system.


“To be forced to limit any outdoor experience has been a very difficult decision for the department,” said DNR Director Humphries.  “Michigan’s natural resources offer amazing recreational opportunities, and we encourage everyone to camp at one of the 118 campgrounds that will be open the remainder of this season.”


All 138 state forest campgrounds were reviewed in developing

the closure list. The three factors that were considered in developing the list include revenues collected per

campground, revenues per campsite and revenues per mile. The combined factors placed the closed facilities at the low end of the revenue-producing state forest campgrounds. Closing them will provide a cost savings to the program, DNR officials said.


Campground closures will occur in the following counties: Alpena, Antrim, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Crawford, Luce, Marquette, Oscoda, Otsego, Schoolcraft, Grand Traverse and Wexford. The remaining 118 state forest campgrounds will be open and available for rustic camping throughout the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula.


Camping outside of designated campgrounds on state forest lands is prohibited within one mile of designated state forest campgrounds. There are no fees for dispersed camping.  For additional information on state forest campgrounds that will be open the remainder of this season, please visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr  and click on Recreation and Camping.

USCG rescues 3 anglers from partially submerged vessel

DETROIT - U.S. Coast Guard Station Saginaw River rescued three fishermen three miles east of the mouth of Saginaw River on Monday, July 2.   U.S. Coast Guard Station Saginaw River received a distress phone call from man onboard an eighteen foot aluminum fishing boat reporting his vessel was partially submerged three miles east of the mouth of Saginaw

River and he and his friends were in the water and needed



The three fishermen stayed with their vessel until the CG arrived, and the small boat crew pulled the three fishermen from the water within minutes of initial notification.  The rescued fishermen, from Prudenville & Superior, MI; and Erlanger, KY, were transferred to local EMS and are reportedly in good condition.

USCG reviews missing kayak search efforts

DETROIT - Capt. Patrick W. Brennan, Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit, has convened an internal review of the Coast Guard's search efforts to located Mr. William Wertheimer. Wertheimer, 36, of Farmington, MI, was reported overdue on June 16, 2007, while kayaking on Lake Huron; and found deceased on June 17.

Cmdr. Tracy Wannamaker, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan's Chief of Response, has been assigned to conduct the review.  The public will be able to obtain a copy of the review by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to the Ninth Coast Guard District when the review is completed.



Carp virus found in Mississippi River

Federal wildlife officials have confirmed an exotic fish virus is active in the upper Mississippi River. Test results on carp taken from the Mississippi between Onalaska and Genoa, Wisconsin in May revealed the spring viremia of carp virus, USFWS officials said last week.

The virus attacks the carp family, including baitfish such as shiners. It can cause bleeding, protruding eyes and intestines, and darkening skin, said fishery experts. It can be fatal in fish, but poses no threat to humans. Finding the virus means it's active in the Mississippi, state officials said.

Some stocking of hatchery raised fish to begin

Testing found no signs of deadly fish virus

MADISON – Wisconsin fisheries officials have finished assessing the risk that state fish hatchery operations could accidentally spread a new fish virus, and have concluded that hatcheries can safely resume some stocking and other fish transfers if they meet strict safeguards.


Fish stocking from key northern hatcheries could begin later this week if test results from their water supplies come back negative for viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, as expected. Officials at other hatcheries are now evaluating whether they’ve met all the safeguards and can resume stocking they halted when the Department of Natural Resources imposed a moratorium May 16, 2007.


“We’ll be stocking significant numbers of fish but there will be less fish stocked and we’ll be stocking them in such a way it reduces the risk of spreading VHS as much as we possibly can,” says Mike Staggs, DNR fisheries director. “Nobody is more concerned about spreading VHS than the department and we won’t do anything to knowingly spread this disease.”


Some 90 % of Wisconsin lakes and rivers have naturally reproducing, self-sustaining fish populations, but it’s important for providing fishing opportunities in some waters, including Lake Michigan, where the popular fishery for chinook, Coho and steelhead is maintained by stocking.


DNR has approved a policy with the guiding principle that the department will not stock any group of fish in 2007 that have tested positive for, or show clinical signs of VHS, nor any group of fish for which testing of their parents or “broodstock,” 

the hatchery water supply, or the forage fish they were fed has shown a positive VHS result. Changes to the planned stocking of specific lakes are not known now, but DNR fisheries staff will re-allocate fish among lakes based on longstanding priorities for stocking, Staggs says.


Officials had originally planned on stocking about 14 million fish from the state’s 13 hatcheries in 2007, but the final number won’t be known until the fish are transferred out of their rearing ponds and raceways, counted, and then stocked into lakes and rivers. Different species are stocked at different times of the year well into the fall and next spring.


What’s known now is that all testing to date of DNR spawning brood stocks, hatchery fish, and water supplies and forage fish has been negative for VHS and that despite those clean results, fish from four facilities will be stocked back only into waters where VHS has been documented or is suspected.


Fish from the old Wild Rose, Kettle Moraine Springs and Lake Mills hatcheries will be stocked only in Lake Michigan or Lake Winnebago, where VHS has already been detected, and fish from the Bayfield hatchery will be stocked only into Lake Michigan or Lake Superior, where VHS is suspected.


In addition, fish that were transferred from these facilities to four outlying ponds may only be stocked into Lake Michigan or Lake Winnebago. Fish species being reared at these facilities include chinook and Coho salmon, brown and rainbow trout, walleye, northern pike, sauger and lake sturgeon.


DNR staff concluded it’s too great a risk to stock fish from those facilities elsewhere for different reasons, Staggs says.


Words to Ponder

Words to Ponder

"We don't really have the ability to enforce the law with respect

to illegal work in this country in a way that's truly effective" Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff



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