Week of July 12 , 2004
Bass Pro Shops to
Reward Snakehead Killers
A top-level predator, the voracious snakehead has no natural enemies outside of its natural, fresh-water habitat in Asia and Africa, and it is known to consume anything. The fish is often sold at Asian markets or kept as a pet, and biologists say the snakehead could have harmful effects on future fish populations. However, the containment of the fish is easier said than done. A snakehead can survive on land up to four days and, with the use of its fins, is able to crawl into different bodies of water. In the U.S., fisheries scientists have found four species of snakeheads in seven states.
Late last month the Maryland Department of Natural Resources released a draft regulation that would prohibit residents from possessing 29 types of non-native fish or their eggs, including the northern snakehead, www.nbc4.com reported. The new regulation is aimed at individuals who introduce snakeheads into area waters after they become too large for domestic aquariums or are no longer wanted.
In 2002, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland
Fisheries approved a regulation similar to Maryland’s proposal that added snakeheads to the state’s list of predatory and undesirable exotic species. "We established this regulation to prevent these animals from harming our native wildlife," VA DGIF director William L. Woodfin, Jr said in a statement.
But if breaking the law isn’t enough to keep snakeheads from ending up in Maryland’s waters, Bass Pro Shops has come up with an incentive to take the fish out. The fishing tackle retailer announced its involvement in the snakehead fight by offering gift certificates for every snakehead taken on a line and hook in Maryland. The gift certificates, which range from $10 to $50 depending on the size of the fish, will be awarded to fishermen after the catch is reported to the DNR and the snakehead is turned into the Bass Pro Shop’s store in Hanover.
The reward for catching and killing the fish comes one week after the discovery of a 6-year-old snakehead in the Potomac River. The mature fish has scientists worried that breeding has already begun and that snakeheads are here to stay. Some scientists are even under the impression that the worst is yet to come. "We’ve had reproduction for some time in the system," John Odenkirk, a biologist with the VA DGIF, told the Washington Times. "It’s nowhere close to what we’ll see pretty soon."
This just in - Here
are the names of the “nine nitwit congress-critters” who requested United
Nations monitors for this November’s presidential election:
Edolphus Towns, D-NY
Joseph Crowley, D-NY
The handover of power to Iraq by the victorious American forces has stimulated public discussion about a word
that seems to have fallen in disfavor in the last few years: sovereignty. That means the ability of a government to act without being subject to the legal control of another country or international organization, restrained only by moral principles.
Sovereignty was transferred to Iraq on June 28, but when the question came up at a Senate hearing as to whether Iraq can the order U.S. troops to leave, the official answer was: not yet. Iraq won't become truly sovereign until it can do that, which won't happen until elections establish a permanent government.
The United States Constitution is based on the premise that we are a sovereign nation and we don't obey any power unless authorized in the Constitution. The Europeans, on the other hand, are rapidly abandoning their national sovereignty in favor of an international bureaucracy called the European Union.
EU spokesmen are using "unilateralism" as a smear word to show their disdain for America's stubborn adherence to sovereignty. They assert the ridiculous proposition that U.S. actions cannot be legitimate without United Nations approval.
The enemies of sovereignty are squeamish about the term world government. They like the softer slogan global governance, which harbors undefined concepts such as human rights, sustainable development, and international justice.
Unhappily, it's not only non-Americans who are trying to replace U.S. sovereignty with global governance. Bill Clinton told the United Nations that he wanted to put America into a "web" of treaties to set the ground rules for "the emerging international system." Clinton signed many UN treaties that would have diluted our sovereign rights.
Clinton's chief foreign policy adviser was notorious for his article in Time magazine (July 20, 1992) entitled "The Birth of the Global Nation." Talbott opined that "national sovereignty wasn't such a great idea after all," and he predicted that "Nationhood as we know it will be obsolete, all states will recognize a single, global authority."
After Clinton failed to get congressional authorization for his war on Yugoslavia, his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright rationalized it by demanding that Yugoslavia surrender its sovereignty. She said: "Great nations who understand the importance of sovereignty at times cede various portions of it in order to achieve some better good for their country."
Clinton signed the International Criminal Court treaty, which would have locked us into a global judicial order. He urged us
to accept the “Convention on the Rights of the Child” which would have set up a global committee to monitor the way parents raise their children.
He and Al Gore were big fans of the Kyoto Protocol to the Convention on Climate Change, which would have set up a global tribunal to control our energy use. Bill and Hillary demanded the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which would have created a global commission of feminist "experts" to regulate gender issues in our laws, customs, education and wages.
The Convention on the Law of the Sea would have created an International Seabed Authority to control and distribute the mineral riches under the seas. Each of these Clinton-supported treaties would have grabbed a big slice of our sovereignty, but fortunately none were ever ratified.
The World Trade Organization, which Clinton did get us to join, is a good example of how trade agreements can morph into global control. WTO Is not "free trade" but a global bureaucracy and quasi-judicial system that manages world trade and has ruled against the United States a dozen times.
Likewise, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was sold to the American people as free trade among the three major North American countries. It spawned an international tribunal that has repeatedly overruled American law and courts, most recently to allow the immediate entry of thousands of Mexican trucks in violation of U.S. environmental law.
Some people are now trying to expand the 3-nation NAFTA into the 30-nation FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas), which is an attempt to force us under a Western Hemisphere bureaucracy modeled on the European Union. President George W. Bush signed the Declaration of Quebec City on April 22, 2001, which was a "commitment to hemispheric integration" larded with favorite UN doubletalk such as "interdependent," "greater economic integration," and "sustainable development."
Cornell Professor Jeremy A. Rabkin, in his new book - "The Case for Sovereignty" - convincingly explains why the maintenance of American sovereignty, rather than yielding authority to various international institutions, is essential not only for our own security but is beneficial to the peace of the world. He shows that sovereignty is compatible with international trade but not with international regulation of trade.
Our Declaration of Independence is, in essence, a declaration of American sovereignty. Our freedom depends on it and on avoiding European mistakes. Americans must never accept any governing authority higher than the U.S. Constitution. Courtesy: www.eagleforum.org
A mild fever has been raging through the ranks of fishing tackle manufacturers in recent weeks and months. They've been busy building new show booths and more importantly, developing innovative new products to unveil to the outdoor media and industry buyers at the 47th annual International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades ("ICAST"), which takes place in just a few days, July 14-16 in Las Vegas.
The fishing industry is part of the U.S. sports products industry. According to SGMA International's Recreation
Market Report, manufacturers' sales of sporting goods equipment, sports apparel, athletic footwear, and
recreational transport items in the U.S. totaled $68.6 billion in wholesale dollars in 2003. Fishing equipment is
a $1.0 billion (at wholesale) chunk of that overall market:
1. Sports Apparel ($22.8 billion)
2. Recreational Transport ($18.5 billion) - Pleasure boats & motors, PWCs, RVs (except motor homes), bikes
3. Sports Equipment ($17.5 billion)
The six largest categories of sports equipment are:
a. Exercise equipment machines ($3.8 billion)
b. Golf ($2.4 billion)
c. Firearms/hunting ($1.9 billion)
d. Camping ($1.7 billion)
e. Team/institutional ($1.56 billion)
f. Fishing ($1.0 billion)
g. Other sports equipment categories ($5.1 billion)
4. Athletic Footwear ($9.7 billion)
Source: SGMA International is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers and marketers in the sports products industry. For more information: www.sgma.com .
Current Lake Levels:
All of the Great Lakes are currently higher than the levels of a year ago. Lake Michigan-Huron has the greatest increase over last year, with 13 inches higher than the level of a year ago. The remaining lakes are 2 to 7 inches higher than last year’s levels. The upper Great Lakes remain below average with current levels at 5, 10, and 3 inches below average for Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair, respectively. Lake Erie is currently at its long-term average for July, while Lake Ontario is 4 inches above average.
The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be near average during the month of July. Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are expected to be below average. The Niagara and St. Lawrence River flows are projected to be near average for the month of July.
After a picture-perfect day on Friday, a series of systems will
bring the chance for scattered thunderstorms to the region from Saturday through Wednesday. Temperatures during the week will climb into the 80s across much of the basin.
Forecasted Water Levels:
Lake Superior is expected to continue its seasonal rise over the next month, increasing by approximately 1 inch. Lake Michigan-Huron is approaching its seasonal peak this month while lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario will continue their seasonal decline during the next month. Lake St. Clair is expected to decline 2 inches, while lakes Erie and Ontario are predicted to drop 3 and 4 inches, respectively, over the next month.
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.
The Council of Great Lakes Fishery Agencies, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the Council of Lake Committees are organizing a demonstration of a new technology to automate marking and tagging of hatchery-reared trout and salmon stocked into the Great Lakes.
Northwest Marine Technology, Inc. has developed an automated mass-marking device capable of coded-wire tagging and adipose clipping between 3,000 and 5.000 hatchery fish per hour. This technology has been successfully implemented by the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, who collectively coded-wire tag and fin clip approximately 100 million hatchery-reared salmon each year. The Commission and the Councils believe that this technology may be advantageous for use on fish stocked into the Great Lakes and could provide an opportunity to significantly advance fishery management and hatchery operations in the future.
The State of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has graciously agreed to loan the Great Lakes Fishery Commission one of the mass marking trailers for a demonstration project at the Platte River Hatchery in Beulah, Michigan. As leaders in the fishery Community, the MI DNR is inviting members of its Great Lakes Advisory members to visit the newly renovated hatchery and inspect the marking and
tagging technology. The Great lakes Fishery Commission together with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division will be coordinating the demonstration projects, tours, and information sessions regarding the mass marking technology.
In addition, staff from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Northwest Marine Technology, Inc. win be present to answer questions. Tours will occur on the weekdays from July 16-July 29 at 10:00 a.m.. 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. The demonstration project will tag and mark 350,000 Coho salmon during this 10-day period.
We hope that you are able to attend and have specifically set aside Friday, July 23 and Monday, July 26 for hosting our Advisory Committees. The lake Michigan Advisory Committee has tentatively set aside Monday, July 26 for a meeting and tour together at the Platte. However, you are welcome to attend the demonstration on any of the other days if the 23rd or 26th is inconvenient. Please RSVP Alison Niggenmyer at 734-662-3209 ext. 28, [email protected] or Tammy Newcomb at 517-373-3960, [email protected] at your earliest convenience and let us know when you are planning to attend and how many people will be with you.
For more info go to: www.glfc.org/massmarking
A cordial Invitation to a Fish Tagging Demonstration
The Council of Great Lakes Fishery Agencies, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, and the Council of Lake Committees are cordially inviting members of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and other concerned leaders of the angling community to a demonstration of a new technology to mark hatchery-reared trout and salmon stocked into the Great Lakes.
The demonstration is of a mass-marking device capable of coded-wire tagging and adipose clipping between 3,000 and 5,000 hatchery fish per hour. This technology has been successfully implemented by the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, who collectively coded-wire tag and fin clip approximately 100 million hatchery-reared salmon each year. This technology has the potential to significantly advance fishery management and hatchery operations in the future. It will also dramatically reduce mortality related to fin-clipping.
The commission and the councils have borrowed this technology from the State of Washington and will demonstrate it at two locations in an “open house” fashion:
1. Platte River Hatchery (Michigan DNR) in Beulah, MI, July 16 - July 29, where 350,00 Coho salmon will be tagged and marked.
2. Iron River National Fish Hatchery (USFWS) in Iron River, WI, August 5 - August 12 where 100,000 lake trout will be tagged and marked.
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is inviting any member of our staff or other leaders of the sport fishing community to attend one or both of the demonstrations. The commission will provided a guided tour of the operation. In addition, staff from Northwest Marine Technology, Inc. will be present to answer questions.
Please RSVP to Dan Thomas – [email protected] or 630-941-1351 with names and e-mail addresses of those planning to attend the demonstration. Please also note the dates of the planned visit.
More information, including maps to the demonstration sites, go online at www.glfc.org/massmarking
SAULT STE. MARIE -- Armed with Bayluscide Granular, the United State Fish and Wildlife Service has sent a team of biologists and technicians to the St. Mary's River System to resume the battle against sea lampreys.
Each lamprey eel, according to USFWS documents, kills 40 or more pounds of fish in its adult life. Lampreys prefer to feed on trout, salmon and whitefish, but they have been known to feed on virtually everything including even heavily-scaled fish like carp and lake sturgeon. Even in cases where the parasitic eels do not cause the death of a fish, they leave it in a weakened state with telltale scarring.
While the USFWS was busy treating various small streams throughout the Great Lakes, the region’s primary breeding ground -- the St. Marys River -- had been virtually impossible to treat with traditional methods until recently. A chemical known as TFM has been an effective weapon in many small streams, but is cost prohibitive and ineffective due to the large water system, depths and currents of the St. Marys River.
It has only been in the last few short years that a successful plan had been developed to target the St. Marys. Complete the science of GPS and flying helicopters dropping Bayluscide Granular into more than 2,000 acres of targeted areas of the rivers in the late 1990s, marked the first substantial success.
The time released coating of Bayluscide Granular allows the chemical to stay on target as it plunges through the water onto the targeted silt. The time-release coating then dissolves at the river bottom releasing the lampricide at the specifically targeted area.
Bayluscide is non-toxic to humans, pets, livestock, mammals and birds, according to the USFWS.
The latest round of treatment will take place through July 22 with 266 acres identified for application, but this time around all of the work will be done from boatside and will not require any aerial assaults. The exact timing of the applications will hinge on weather conditions.
With all that has been reported and printed about Snakeheads and other invasive species recently it is important to note once introduced these critters can literally fly from one lake to another.
A recent report stated "Snakeheads May Be Making Home in Potomac," since at least five have been found in that large river basin. How did they get there? It’s an easy to explain how the fish may be moving from one body of water to another, other than the limited "walking" cited in some stories.
Fish, in fact, fly from one body of water to another in tangled
strands of water plants that can become stuck to the feet of feeding water birds. The small eggs or veligers or whatever biologists call sometimes microscopic beginnings of fish are often consumed by these water feeding birds. Fish lay their eggs often in thick vegetation, and birds, in essence, carry of "stock" these critters in other ponds and streams by carrying the next generation of fish to their new home.
This is why it is so important for pet owners not to dispose of exotic species into the neighborhood. Given a chance, many will survive and thrive. That's also why many scientists and fisheries managers are convinced invasives introductions are forever.
Want to go fishing but don't have a pole? The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is loaning out summer fun with its fishing pole loaner program.
Geared to increase outdoor opportunities in education and recreation in DuPage County, the loaner program is similar to checking out a book at a library for the day. Fishing rods and reels are available at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville and Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Wheaton. The loaner poles are available to those 16 years of age or older with a valid driver's license, or anyone in a group accompanied by an individual 16 years of age or older with a valid driver's license. Only one rod and reel combo per person will be issued, and the equipment must be used and returned in the same preserve and same day as borrowed.
Ten rods and reels are available for loan per preserve at Blackwell and Herrick Lake forest preserves. All were donated by the Illinois DNR and were purchased from money obtained from fishing license fees. Basic tackle and information on fishing and fish identification are supplied. And though bait is not provided, it is available for purchase at the boat-rental area. All Illinois and Forest Preserve District fishing regulations apply.
For more information on the District's forest preserves, programs or events, call (630) 933-7200 or visit the Forest Preserve District's Web site at www.dupageforest.com . Blackwell Forest Preserve is located on Butterfield Road, one mile east of Route 59. Herrick Lake Forest Preserve is located on the corner of Butterfield and Herrick Roads.
WHAT: 5th Annual Fish Festival
WHEN: July 24-25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHERE: Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, Hatchery Road and M-43, six miles west of US-131
Michigan DNR's six fish hatcheries produce more than 750,000 pounds of fish every year for stocking throughout the state. The annual fish festival at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery is a free, fun and educational way for families to
enjoy the out-of-doors and learn about the vital role of hatcheries in providing quality recreational fishing opportunities statewide.
The festival features hatchery tours, catch-and-release fishing (kids only) on the show pond, guided nature hikes, children's activities, exhibits and displays by the DNR Fisheries Division and presentations by several local conservation organizations, as well as live music and refreshments.
Michigan DNR Director Rebecca Humphries announced Mindy Koch has been tapped to be the next DNR Resource Management Deputy.
Koch, who currently is chief of the DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management Division, was among five candidates vying for the post. She will replace George Burgoyne.
“This position carries key responsibilities for overseeing all of the DNR’s resource divisions,” Humphries said. “Mindy has the experience and leadership skills to help the DNR continue to meet its mission goals. I am highly confident she will be an outstanding asset to the department in this role.”
Koch joined the DNR in 1978 as a Resource Specialist in the Land Resource Programs Division. She was promoted to Environmental Quality Specialist for the Hazardous Waste
Division in 1982 to implement the public participation program for siting hazardous waste facilities. She was named Permit Coordinator and Local Government Liaison for the DNR in 1987, and Assistant to the Deputy Director for Environmental Protection in 1988.
Koch served as Acting Chief of the Waste Management Division from ‘91 to ‘92. From 1992 to 1995, she was Deputy Director for DNR Region III, responsible for DNR operations in the southern Lower Peninsula. She became the dept’s Legislative Liaison in 1995, and served in that capacity until her appointment as Land and Mineral Services Division Chief. She became Chief of the Forest, Mineral and Fire Management Division in 2001.
Koch, a Grand Ledge native, holds a bachelor's degree in resource development from Michigan State University. She lives in Lake Odessa and has two children.
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission last week authorized DNR staff to begin drafting the framework for a limited dove hunting season in Michigan this fall.
The request came during the NRC’s regular monthly meeting in Lansing, in response to the recent enactment of legislation reclassifying doves as a game species in Michigan. The commission will review the proposed hunting framework at its August meeting, and could implement the hunt in six counties along Michigan’s southern border in September.
DNR Director Rebecca Humphries approved statewide antlerless deer hunting license quotas for the fall 2004 hunting season. Statewide, the measure provides 715,000 antlerless licenses. The combined deer hunting seasons this fall are expected to harvest approximately 242,000 antlerless deer.
New for this hunting season is a change to reclassify deer hunting on properties enrolled in the Commercial Forest Act
Program, which provides tax incentives on private lands actively managed for timber production and ensures public access for hunting and fishing. In previous years, hunters were allowed to take deer on CFA lands under private land rules. This year, deer hunters are required to apply for a public land antlerless permit if they are hunting CFA properties.
The NRC moved to streamline its monthly meeting schedule for future meetings, from two-day meetings each month to single day meetings whenever possible.
“The public takes the time to attend NRC meetings because natural resource issues are important to them,” said NRC Chairman Keith Charters. “Often, the issues they come to discuss with the Commission during Thursday’s public comment periods are decided during the following day’s business meeting. By addressing Commission business after the public comment portion, we can make it easier for those take the time to attend NRC meetings to see their issues through.”
Home of 2004 Governor’s Open and great Northwoods Walleye and Sturgeon fishing
In an effort to obtain an estimate of the population size of lake sturgeon in Lake of the Woods / Rainy River, the Minnesota DNR is conducting a mark - recapture study along the southeast side of Lake of the Woods and all 82 miles of the Rainy River. The study is a cooperative effort with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Rainy River First Nations Indian Band.
Coincidentally, some of the best Northwoods walleye fishing is to be had in this area.
During the Governor’s Open in May, while most other boats were landing one or two walleyes for the whole day our guide put us into some areas that produced limit catches - for two consecutive days. Our guide, Gonzo, had no secrets, he used the same fathead minnows others purchased earlier those mornings, but he just didn’t travel as far. Always within site of the lodges Minnesota Tourism used to put up the 650 writers, we fished the Rainey River where it enters the Lake of the Woods, while most of the other boats went by us on into the big lake.
While we targeted walleyes, we also caught a few sturgeon, and that was a first time thrill us. Look at some of the photos here. Although most of us probably have never seen a lake sturgeon except in some government aquarium, let alone fish for them, here in the Baudette area of Lake of the Woods and Rainey River they are a common sight and hook-ups are a common occurrence. Landing the big ones on 6 or 8 lb test line is another story.
Not only did we do nothing different except stay in the river channel, on the first day we had 10 walleyes and two sturgeon – which we threw back - within the first two hours of fishing. That was the way it went for two days.
Sunday, my partner and I went out with local DNR district supervisor Mike Larsen and actually targeted sturgeon. It was the last day of catch-and release season and Mike put us into sturgeon all day. As exciting as our outing was, we had a blast watching locals trying to land some of these huge prehistoric creatures on walleye rigs. None were successful. We did better than most walleye anglers and any sturgeon we caught that had not been tagged yet, Mike measured and inserted a metal tag behind the dorsal fin, and recorded the time, date and location of catch. What a fishery!!
For contact info on lodge and guide service see end of article. Back to sturgeon assessment.
The study is composed of two phases. The marking phase was conducted from April 15-May 31. The recapture phase started June 21 and will run through August 6.
During the marking phase, researchers tagged 1,747-lake sturgeon. Fish were captured using gill nets and volunteer anglers. Lake sturgeon that were tagged ranged from 16 to 71”. About half of the lake sturgeon tagged were caught by DNR nets, the rest were caught by anglers. Of the 1,747 fish tagged, 959 were over 40” and 788 were less than 40”.
While we targeted walleyes with the lowly Minnesota minnow, we also caught a few sturgeon, and that is always a thrill. Although most of us probably have never seen a lake sturgeon except in some government aquarium, let alone fish for them, here in the Baudette area of Lake of the Woods and Rainey River they are a common occurrence.
"Involving the anglers is a huge component of this project," said Joe Stewig, DNR fisheries specialist and project leader. "Without them we would never have been able to tag as many fish as we did. For that, I want to thank all of the volunteers and anglers who cooperated with our biologists."
The recapture phase involves randomly selecting sites within the lake and river to set nets. The captured fish will be examined for tags. Based on the number of marked fish to unmarked fish, scientists can estimate population numbers.
If anglers catch a tagged lake sturgeon, they are asked to record the date, tag number, length, where the fish was caught and then contact the Baudette Area Fisheries office at (218) 634-2522 (Larsen’s office) or e-mail Joe Stewig at [email protected] . Anglers should not remove tags from fish they intend to release.
Baudette was selected as this year’s location for the 2004 Governor’s Open. The area has exceptional walleye and sturgeon fishing throughout the year. In many months, incidental catches of sturgeon – some big ones – even though the season may be closed, are made while targeting walleye.
For more info go to: www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/baudette/index.html
For guide and lodge service in the area:
Gonzo Guide Service
Tom “Gonzo” Stay, proprietor
Border View Lodge
Baudette, MN 56623
Officers seize 438 sunfish
When Bruce Pfalzgraff, a conservation officer with the Minnesota DNR, ran a registration check of a Michigan vehicle near a lake in west central Minnesota recently, he suspected something was fishy.
Those suspicions were confirmed after reviewing a Turn-In-Poacher report from June 2002. At that time, a group of Michigan anglers were suspected of an overlimit of sunfish. However, they had left Minnesota before the officer could confirm it. This time Pfalzgraff was luckier.
"I observed a pickup with a Michigan license plate on the east access of Dead Lake in Otter Tail County when I ran a registration check," Pfalzgraff said. "It revealed the owner was part of the group of Michigan anglers from two years earlier and he was back in the area."
The veteran officer from Pelican Rapids followed the vehicle to a motel in Battle Lake where he and Conservation Officer Tom Campbell of Henning kept the anglers under surveillance for a week. They then confronted the owner of the vehicle and his friend who later admitted they were among four people who had fish stored in a refrigerator/freezer in a shed at the motel. A fifth person had refrained from angling due to poor health. Minnesota conservation officers recovered 438 sunfish. That's 338 sunfish over the legal limit.
"This is one of the worst cases of catching and keeping an overlimit of fish I've seen in the 24 years I've been with the DNR," said Pfalzgraff.
Wayne T. Allen, 73, Plainwell, Mich.; Raymond J. Otten, 79, Gobles, Mich.; Barbara E. Verploegh, 75, Parchment, Mich.; and Betty J. Allen, 68, Galesburg, Mich., were each charged with taking/possession of 84.5 sunfish over the limit. Twenty is the sunfish possession limit in Minnesota. Wayne Allen, Betty Allen and Barbara Verploegh were also charged with angling with an extra line. The group paid $5,098 in fines and restitution.
"This is a real loss for the people who enjoy fishing Otter Tail County lakes," said Chief Conservation Officer Mike Hamm. "These community fishing waters provide anglers a close-to-home place to fish. It's vital people obey the rules so there's plenty of fish for everyone to catch.
This situation shows that people are watching violators at these waters and that DNR Conservation Officers take these cases seriously," Hamm said. "Also, there are some pretty hefty fines and restitution associated with not obeying the rules."
Those who see possible fishing violations in Minnesota are encouraged to call the Turn-In-Poachers hotline at 1-800-652-9093.
Hikers in the High Peaks Asked to Assist by Reporting Sightings
The DEC has begun a two-year study of black bears in the eastern portion of High Peaks Wilderness Area. DEC wildlife experts are placing radio collars on bears and tracking their movements to determine the home ranges, seasonal movements, habitat use, and behavior of the bears in the area.
“The number of negative interactions between humans and bears in the Marcy Dam-Lake Colden corridor of the High Peaks Wilderness Area have continued to increase in recent years, ” Commissioner Crotty said. “The findings of the High Peaks Black Bear Study will be used to develop a nuisance black bear management plan to help protect both the public and New York’s bear population.”
The primary objectives of the study are to estimate of the number, sex and age, and physical condition of bears using the Marcy Dam/Lake Colden area of the High Peaks Wilderness Area; determine the home ranges, seasonal movements, and habitat use of collared bears in the High Peaks Wilderness Area; and determine the effectiveness of aversive conditioning techniques used on nuisance bears.
In the summer of 2003, there were 170 reported human/bear encounters in which a bear either destroyed property (such as backpacks or tents) or was successful in obtaining food from campers. The DEC has already taken a number of steps to reduce the number of negative human/bear interactions in the High Peaks Wilderness, including:
● Working towards proposing a regulation to require the use of bear resistant canisters in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness;
● Providing information on proper food storage and management practices in the back country; and
● Increasing systematic aversive conditioning of black bears that frequent back country camping areas.
Hikers and campers in the High Peaks Wilderness can assist DEC with the black bear study by reporting all bear sightings and any negative bear encounters, such as the loss of food or damage to camping equipment. When observing a bear, look for color ear tags, color paint markings on its body or any other unique features that may help to identify individual bears. Also note the date, time and location of the sighting or encounter.
Bear sighting reporting forms are available at the Lake Colden caretaker cabin, the trail register kiosk at Marcy Dam, the High Peaks Info Center, DEC staff, and http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/reg5/hpbearstudy.html . Reports may submitted by mailing the forms to NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977, or by calling (518) 897-1291.
In areas where study activities are underway, warning signs will be posted. Although the temporary study areas will be located away from the marked human trail systems, hikers and campers should be advised to avoid the areas and obey the instructions of DEC staff.
In addition to some immediate reduction in negative human/bear encounters in the High Peaks, it is expected that the study will provide information that can be used to develop a long term plan to significantly reduce these negative interactions. Additionally, data on black bear biology in the High Peaks Wilderness and other information gathered will be valuable as a reference for future work on nuisance bears throughout the State.
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