Week of August 2, 2010

New Fishing-Boating Products


Lake Erie



Other Breaking News Items


       Weekly News Archives


       New Product  Archives

New Fishing-Boating Products

Culprit Creature Craw

The new Culprit Creature Craw's oversized claws create a massive flapping action and a "thump" on the retrieve that you can feel, much like a spinnerbait. The claws are securely attached mid-body, allowing bites to concentrate at the hook, thus eliminating the problem of short strikes that are common with designs that have the claws positioned away from the hook. This design also lessens the chances for the claws to be pulled or ripped from the body.


The Creature Craw is a bass catching machine! Bass can detect this bait from within heavy cover and rush to devour it. It excels in low visibility conditions, such as muddy water, heavy clouds or thick cover. It's deadly when flipping Texas style into heavy cover. The Creature Craw is very effective rigged with a lighter weight and fished in a swim, stop and retrieve manner


through shallow weeds and stumps. It also makes a great jig trailer.


The Culprit Creature Craw is available in 3.5-inch size, 8-count packs, in 10 colors: Blue Shad, Black, Electric Blue Lightnin', June Bug, Black Blue Flake, Okeechobee, Pumpkin Pie, Green Pumpkin Orange, Watermelon Candy and Green Pumpkin.      About 3.99


888-252-7421      [email protected]  



Culprit T-Rex

The T-Rex offers a new concept in finesse baits. Its a textured design in a straight-tailed bait, with etched segments that provide a vibration as it falls. These etched segments decrease the amount of surface area in contact with the cover, allowing it to slip in and out easier. Additionally the etched design reflects light at different angles, casting shadows upon itself. This give the T-Rex a camouflage look that is much more natural to bass.


The T-Rex features amazing twitching action, and is typically used without weight and on top, occasionally allowing it to sink seductively in hot spots to create a predatory strike. The perfect combination of length, shape and body-weight density makes this lure come alive in the water!

The T-Rex and -Rex Jr. is available in 5-inch, 12-count packs and 6-inch, 10-count packs in 10 colors: June Bug, Watermelon Pepper, Candy Corn, Ayu, Smoke Purple Flake, Pro Blue, Pumpkin Pie, Green Pumpkin Orange Flake, Green Pumpkin Watermelon and Merthiolate.                                                     About 3.99


888-252-7421      [email protected]  





Culprit Fat Max

The Fat Max is very versatile, but works great flipping in shallow water where most anglers use jigs and creature baits. The Fax Max is bulkier than a standard worm (hence its name!) and has a tail design that does not wrap around cover, making it ideal flipping in heavy cover.


The Culprit Fax Max is available in 7-inch size, 10-count packs,


 in 10 colors: Black, Pumpkin Seed, June Bug, Watermelon, Black Blue Flake, Grape Dazzle, Pro Blue, Cola, Green Pumpkin and Red Bug. 


About 3.99


888-252-7421      [email protected]  





Recreational Fishing Alliance Blasts Presidential Order

Executive Order circumvents tired old Democratic Process

WASHINGTON, DC - Editor's Note: On July 19, President Obama signed an executive order dealing with ocean protection law that has been vehemently opposed by  science-based fishing organizations. Today, the Recreational Fishing Alliance comments on the act- and its potential impact.


President Barack Obama used his presidential privilege on July 19 to circumvent the legislative process, signing a new ocean  protection law that's vastly similar to legislation which has languished in Congress for nearly a decade. While environmental groups are hailing  it a momentous day for America's oceans, the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) said these are sad times for our democratic process.


"Rep. Sam Farr of California has been pushing this ideological hogwash through the House for nearly 10 years, but every time his doomsday  bill gets debated in Committee it is tossed out for being utter nonsense and a bureaucratic nightmare," said RFA Executive Director, Jim  Donofrio. "Our President appears to be infatuated with nonsense and bureaucracy, and once again proves that his authority to rule is more  powerful than the legislative process alone, signing his name to decrees as if he were king."


The San Jose Mercury News in Congressman Farr's home district said the new policy secures Farr's longtime vision for the creation of a  National Ocean Council to coordinate the many layers of state and federal regulation on such matters as offshore drilling, shipping and fishing.  "At a time when science knows the oceans are dying and several politicians have known it, there's never been a crisis to drive policy, until  now," said Farr, a California democrat who the San Jose Mercury News cites has tried unsuccessfully to win a similar oceans conservation plan  through legislation known as Oceans 21. "This is giant step forward," Farr said of the presidential order, calling the decree the "clean water and  air acts for the ocean."


Oceans 21 failed to gain Congressional support because of its ability to restrict access to public resources while creating a new bureaucratic  hierarchy with unprecedented power to regulate fisheries and implement ocean zoning without oversight or public input. The RFA has been at  the forefront of exposing Oceans 21 for the farce that it is, and they've been a leader in preventing its passage through legislative channels. On  June 18, 2009, the RFA was the only national recreational fishing organization asked to testify before Congress in opposition of the bill.


"We claimed all along that this Ocean Policy Task Force was being orchestrated as Oceans 21 legislation from the very beginning, with the  expectation of the environmental groups that it get passed by royal decree," said Donofrio. "For Mr. Farr


to resort to such hyperbole by  claiming our oceans are dying in order to get folks to swallow his ideological pill is disingenuous at best."


The threat of a pending presidential order that would restrict recreational fishing set off a media firestorm in March when a national opinion  piece in ESPN warned that efforts of the Obama Administration's Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force and its involvement in implementing a  policy of "marine spatial planning" could ultimately effect the management of and public access to the nation's natural public resources. In  response, Donofrio said at the time that he was unnerved by glaring similarities of the presidential plan and Rep. Farr's H.R. 21, the Ocean  Conservation, Education, and National Strategy for the 21st Century Act. "This appears to be an attempt by the Executive branch to  circumvent the established legislative process and enact policy that failed as legislation 5 years in a row," Donofrio said at the time, adding  RFA still believes enacting laws through Executive order and proclamation sets a dangerous precedence.


"Not only does this new National Ocean Council threaten to override our current federal fisheries management process, it threatens the  integrity of our regional fishing councils and creates an overarching bureaucracy which could summarily dismiss all input from stakeholders,"  Donofrio said. "Our current fisheries management process might need some adjustment, but this presidential decree just sets up such an  incredible bureaucratic infrastructure that Americans could find it very hard to find opportunities to fish in the future, particular in terms of  coastal access," Donofrio said.


Reports say the new National Ocean Council is being co-chaired by John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and  Technology Policy, and Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the Council for Environmental Quality. The council also will include the secretaries of all  Cabinet-level federal agencies and representatives of other federal environmental and economic agencies, which will oversee planning done by  nine regional bodies. The RFA said more government appointments from the top down will ensure that local stakeholders can expect to get less  input in the future.


"Mr. Obama has made it very clear that he and his administration know better than we do," said Donofrio. "It's sad to watch a guy like  Congressman Farr step up and embrace the arbitrary process of executive privilege as opposed to the democratic process of review and debate  in the House. Clearly it's a win for the California Democrat who wrote an ill-conceived law which had no support from the public, none from the  stakeholders and no support from fellow legislators on the Committee, yet he still got his law passed by sovereign declaration," Donofrio said.  "Doesn't that just speak volumes about our current political climate in Washington?"

Asian Carp Editorial

By William A. Cosh,  Wisconsin Attorney General

One of the most serious economic and environmental threats to Wisconsin in recent years is the imminent invasion of Asian carp into Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes.  This invasion must be stopped.


The bighead and silver carp, more commonly known as Asian carp, are prolific and voracious.  The non-native Asian carp, which can consume up to 40% of their weight in food per day compete directly with commercial and sport fish for food.  In some stretches of water, it is reported that up to 97% of the biomass is Asian carp.  Commercial and sport fish are crowded out, jeopardizing the future viability of these native fish and causing commercial and sport fishing to go elsewhere.  Waterfowl production, too, can be adversely affected by Asian carp.


Not only do Asian carp threaten the health of the ecosystems they invade, but they can be dangerous to people as well.  By now I am sure you’ve seen videos of leaping silver carp.  Fishermen, boaters, water-skiers: beware.  These and other recreational pursuits become dangerous when fish that can grow to 100 pounds come hurtling through the air after being startled by motors.  Research fish biologist Duane Chapman of the United States Geological Survey likens the impact of being stuck by a 20-pound flying fish as similar to being hit by a bowling ball.  A fortunate boater who escapes injury may nevertheless be repairing broken windshields. 


If these fish enter and take hold in the Great Lakes, they will irreversibly change the ecosystem.  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources acknowledges that the Asian carp are “well suited to the water temperature, food supply, and lack of predators of the Great Lakes and could quickly become the dominant species.”  


The Asian carp invasion into Lake Michigan would surely adversely affect Wisconsin’s and the region’s commercial and recreational industries that depend on a healthy lake.  The Great Lakes fishery is valued at $7 billion annually.  In Wisconsin, sport fishing alone in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior is estimated to generate 5,000 jobs and $419 million annually.  This doesn’t include the Great Lakes considerable value to other industries or other states, and it doesn’t account for the loss of recreational opportunities Wisconsinites enjoy     

today that will diminish if the Asian carp invade the Great Lakes.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers assured us that monitoring, electrical barriers, netting, application of pesticides, and reduction in commercial river lock operations would keep the carp from getting too close to Lake Michigan.  These measures, we were told, would protect the Great Lakes while the Army Corps and other federal agencies continue to “study” solutions. 


Their assurances don’t hold water.  In December 2009, a bighead carp was recovered from the Canal north of the Lockport Lock, and eDNA collected for the Corps indicates that Asian carp are present at multiple locations lakeward of the Barrier System: in the Canal; the Calumet-Sag Channel; the North Shore Channel; the Calumet River; and in Calumet Harbor in Lake Michigan.  This June, a bighead carp was recovered from Lake Calumet, approximately six miles from Lake Michigan.  Nothing stands as a barrier between Lake Calumet and Lake Michigan.  Yet the Army Corps’ response?  More study.  


The voracious Asian carp are at the doorstep of the Great Lakes.  Before the turn of the 20th Century, the door was created when the Great Lakes were artificially linked with the Mississippi River system to allow Chicago to send its sewage west and south.  Today, with its leisurely response, the United States government is holding that door open, simply hoping the problem will go away.


It won’t.  It is time to shut the door.


That is why, on behalf of the State of Wisconsin, I filed a lawsuit with the Great Lakes States of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  We are asking the court to order both immediate preventive and long-term solutions.  In the short term, we want certain locks closed, effective barriers created to prevent continued fish migration, and Asian carp killed that have already passed the Barrier System.  Long-term, we think the best solution is the one nature once provided: the physical separation of the Great Lakes basin and the Mississippi river systems. 


It is time to stop another environmental catastrophe from occurring before it is too late.


Fishing Rules are Changing

In the past few weeks there have been some changes in fishing and boating regulations that anyone who is boating or fishing across the  Midwest needs to keep in mind. Remember that many of these regulations vary from state to state, but if you're going to be fishing or pulling a  boat through that state, you need to be in compliance with that state's laws.


In Minnesota, for example, when you're pulling your boat down the road, you need to have the plug pulled out of the boat, and the livewells  emptied. You can't transport fish in water in your livewell. You need to get a cooler with ice and put the fish in there for the trip home if you  want to keep the fish fresh.


This may not be a new law, but it's one that many anglers don't know about it. You can't transport minnows that you're using for bait from lake  to lake if you put lake water on them. Let's say you're on Lake X and fishing with minnows. To keep them lively, you take some water out of the  lake and put it in your minnow bucket. If you decide to go to another lake, as I understand it, you have to destroy the minnows. You can't  dump them into the lake, and you can't take them with you.


But, as I understand it, you can transport from lake to lake if you keep the minnows in the water that was at the baitshop, so here's my personal  plan. Frabill makes a series of very

nice, quiet, aerated bait containers. They keep minnows lively

for extended periods of time. When I get  minnows in the morning, I'm going to put them with the bait shop water directly into the Frabill aerated container.


I won't need to add lake water, maybe just a little ice every now and then. By doing so, I can travel from lake to lake without worry about  violating the minnow transport law. That is, if I understand the law correctly. Similar minnow transport laws are popping up in a lot of places.


These laws were enacted to prevent the spread of invasive species of plants that live in water, to prevent the spread of critters like zebra  mussels, and to prevent the spread of diseases that minnows can carry. More and more bodies of water are being infested with unwanted  plants and organisms that can be harmful to the ecosystem. Because of floods and birds flying to different lakes, the spread of these unwanted  elements are going to happen anyway. The goal of the new laws is to slow the spread of the invasions until we're able to develop a way to  eradicate the various unwanted stuff.


Just as our waters are being invaded with unwanted things, the fishing world is being invaded with more regulations. However, if we want to  continue to enjoy fishing, we need to accept these laws as a small price to pay for improved fishing.

Charter Captain saves downed pilot

LUDINGTON (AP) Kristin Berg and Capt. Randy Schmidt, a married couple from Park Ridge, IL  were motoring along the Michigan coast on July 24th while also monitoring Channel 16 on the marine radio, which ultimately saved a life.


A call from a fisherman to the U.S. Coast Guard about a plane crash changed Berg and Schmidt's vacation to a life-saving rescue on Lake Michigan.  ''The nerd in me wrote down the coordinates,'' said Schmidt, a law professor at the University of Chicago and a Chicago charter captain. Schmidt changed course and headed toward the crash site where he spotted one man in the water, Jerry Freed, the pilot of the small plane.


The plane, from the Gratiot Community Airport experienced


electrical failure before crashing about 8 miles off the coast of Ludington, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. There were five people on board, but only Davidson was rescued.  The group was headed to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.  


''Spotting a person in that kind of water is very difficult,'' Schmidt said. ''We were right on top of him, and we were lucky to see him.''  Late that day U.S. Coast Guard authorities reported finding no signs of the other four people on board.


Schmidt is also president of the Chicago based group of charter captains the Chicago Sportfishing Association.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 30 

Weather Conditions

Hot and humid air returned to the Great Lakes basin ahead of a cold front that began to push through late Tuesday and into Wednesday. This cold front touched off showers and storms in many locations throughout the basin. By Thursday, a high pressure system had moved in bringing about clearer skies and drier air. There is a slight chance of showers and storms late Friday and into Saturday, but many locations will experience pleasant conditions through the weekend.

Lake Level Conditions

All of the Great Lakes continue to be 5 to 7 inches below their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, the water level of Lake Superior is expected to rise 2 inches, while Lake Michigan-Huron is forecasted to remain steady over the next 30 days. The water levels of Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to decline by 4 to 6 inches over the next month.

Forecasted July Outflows/Channel Conditions

The outflows from Lake Superior into the St. Mary's River, Lake Huron into the St. Clair River, and Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River are forecasted to be below average during the month.  Near average outflow is expected from Lake Erie into the Niagara River.  The flow in the St. Lawrence River is forecasted to be below average throughout the month of July.


Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.





St. Clair



Level for July 30






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr









Climate changes could disrupt walleye reproduction

Long-term warming of the Great Lakes climate is melting the ice from Minnesota lakes earlier in the year.  As those “ice-out” dates move farther up the calendar, they may be disrupting the reproduction of a popular sport fish, according to a recent study in the journal Transactions of the American Fisheries Society.


“Each day ice-out gets earlier, walleye spawning tends to get a day to half a day earlier,” said Ray Newman, study co-author and professor of fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology at the U of Minnesota.  It’s not yet clear how that will affect the fish, but it has the potential to cause a few problems, he said.


First, if walleye spawning occurs too early, baby fish might hatch before the food that they depend on is available. But that won’t be a problem if climate change also bumps up production of the tiny plants and animals the little walleye eat.  Second, survival of stream-born baby walleye is tied to water conditions like depth, speed and muddiness. Those factors change dramatically in the spring as melted snow and seasonal rains flow into streams.


If an earlier ice-out has walleye hatching before stream conditions are just right, the fish might not make it.  Though the study focused on inland lakes in Minnesota, the lessons learned could also apply to walleye swimming in the Great Lakes, Newman said.


The effect of climate change on Great Lakes ice cover is often couched in terms of water levels. Warmer temperatures mean less ice on the lakes. The ice that does form melts earlier. The open water evaporates and the lake levels drop.


But this study is a reminder that changing ice cover patterns can have direct biological impacts on the Great Lakes, too.  “I think you could expect with a number of things there may be

somewhat similar responses,” Newman said. “One of the populations of walleye in the St. Louis River goes into Duluth-Superior Harbor and into Lake Superior.”


That’s a Lake Superior now approaching record-high water temperatures, which could reflect a new reality facing Great Lakes fish. “Clearly the lake has been warming up,” he said. “So that’s going to have further implications for fish populations.”


Though the study may bear bad news for some of the region’s fish, the methods the researchers used are a bright spot for wildlife biologists studying climate change, according to Newman.


The researchers used records of ice-out dates from the Minnesota Ice Cover Database and other organizations. These records weren’t kept with climate change in mind. But they’ve still proven useful for studying warming.  “These long-term data sets that are collected by agencies end up being useful to get an idea of what’s happening with our resources and potential response to climate change,” Newman said.


That’s not news to John Magnuson, emeritus professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin. Magnuson has used historical records showing earlier and earlier ice-out on Wisconsin lakes to demonstrate that not only is climate change real, it’s already having impacts.  It’s a simple way to illustrate a complex topic.  “You don’t need a climate model,” Magnuson said. “You don’t even need a thermometer.”


Ongoing research by the Minnesota DNR on another set of long-term data sets seems to show that bass and sunfish — considered warm water species — are getting more common in the northern lakes in Minnesota, Newman said. "They seem to expanding their range northward,” he said.


Lake Erie

Lake Erie Subject of Survey

Sandusky, OH - How can we make your Lake Erie experience better? This is the question four Ohio agencies who work together to improve Lake Erie are asking people who live, work and play along Ohio's 312-mile coast, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).


The Lake Erie Ohio Public Access/Visitation Survey seeks to gather data on perception and satisfaction levels with public access to Ohio's portion of Lake Erie, visitation habits of Ohio residents and tourists, and activities that people like to participate in while visiting.


Open until September 17, the survey can be accessed online

by visiting ohiodnr.com/coastal and selecting the "Public Access Survey: Ohio Lake Erie Visitation" icon.


The online survey is sponsored by ODNR's Office of Coastal Management and its Division of Wildlife's Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve in addition to the Ohio Sea Grant and Ohio Lake Erie Commission. The agencies' goal is to work with coastal visitor bureaus, metropolitan park districts, watershed groups, non-government organizations and communities to improve Lake Erie access and amenities based on the survey results. By basing public access improvements on user feedback, it is hoped visitation to Lake Erie will increase, resulting in positive impacts to coastal communities' economies.


Muncie, Williams lakes offer bluegill and bass fishing

ALBION – Anglers looking for new fishing opportunities may want to try bluegill and bass fishing at Muncie and Williams lakes off County  Road in 250W in southwestern Noble County.


Both lakes are now accessible at a newly constructed boat ramp located on the west side of 46-acre Williams Lake. A short channel connects it  to 47-acre Muncie Lake, located upstream.  The boat ramp, along with a parking lot and loading dock, is provided by the DNR.  Based on recent sampling by biologists, each lake contains ample numbers of bluegills and largemouth bass.


Using a shocker-boat, gill nets and trap nets, biologists captured 260 bluegills in Muncie Lake and 287 bluegills in Williams Lake. Although  most adult bluegills were 7 inches long, some measuring up to 9 inches long were present.  The overall catch rate was 104 bluegills per 15  minutes of shocking and was similar to the average number of bluegills captured at other natural lakes in the area (100 per hour). The catch rate  at Williams Lake (119/hour) was slightly higher than the catch rate at Muncie Lake (89/hour).


Sixty largemouth bass were caught during the survey at Muncie Lake, including one that was 20 inches long. At Williams Lake, 47 bass were  sampled with the largest one measuring 21 inches long.  The overall catch rate of bass was 95 per hour of shocking and was also similar to the  average catch rate at other lakes in the area.


Other sport fish captured during the surveyed included black crappies up to 10 inches long and redear up to 9 inches long.  Nine channel  catfish, measuring from 13 to 25 inches long, were caught in Muncie Lake. Two northern pike, ranging from 32 to 34 inches long, were also  caught.


Although sport fish accounted for most of the fish noted during the survey, 15 carp up to 24 inches long were captured at each lake. Carp  represented 24 percent of the total weight of fish caught at Muncie Lake and 30 percent at Williams Lake.


Biologists will issue a complete report of the findings later this year. The only other information previously on file on the status of fish  populations in both lakes was obtained from surveys conducted in 1977.

Spring turkey harvest best in 40 years

The 2010 harvest was the highest it’s been since spring turkey hunting began in 1970, with estimated hunter success rate of approximately 22  percent. Hunters harvested 13,742 wild turkeys in 88 of the 92 counties, exceeding the previous high of 13,193, set in 2006, by 4 percent. 


The majority of the birds were harvested in the early part of the season during the early morning hours. Juvenile and adult weights were  slightly up compared to the mean weights of previous years. The proportion of juvenile turkeys in the harvest was 19 percent, with 54 percent  being 2-year-olds, and 28 percent being 3-year-olds.  Last year, hunters reported

seeing fewer jakes than in other years. That trend continued  this year.


The south-central and southeastern regions supported 49 percent of the harvest, followed by northern Indiana at 23 percent.


A total of 1,554 birds were taken during the youth-only weekend before the regular season. The 2010 youth harvest made up 11% of the  total harvest and with a 59 % increase over the 2009 youth season harvest. 



Lake Erie Walleye Update

Steve Hewitt, Lake Erie Basin Coordinator, said there are potential walleye changes for 2011 for Lake Erie. Walleye management is based on a  quota system. The Lake Erie Committee considers recommendations on April 1 in Michigan, March 1 in Ohio. Each agency sets regulations to  remain within their own quota limits. Quotas are set for the current year (in March) but the regulations are set the previous year.


The walleye abundance seems to be declining this year, and about 15 million are projected for 2011. This would be classified as in crisis mode.  The task group recommended a 2010 total allowable catch of 2.2 million walleye. The 2010 Michigan quota is 128,000 walleye.


In 2003, DNRE had to make changes to regulations with help from partners: closed season April 1-May 31, bag limit to five, minimum size 15  inches. This year DNRE will be working with Lake Erie/Lake St. Clair Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee to evaluate potential reductions  under bag limit, size limit and season date changes.

Other considerations in evaluating regulation options include: Economic impacts, angler responses, responses of other agencies (Ohio, and  Michigan move across borders) and Ohio regulations. In considering regulations options to meet the Michigan quota, DNRE will consider how  to incorporate more timely regulation responses, such as the Ohio example. Regulation changes for the current quota year would always allow  DNRE to respond more quickly to walleye increases as well as decreases. The DNRE Fisheries Division will work with citizens to have  regulation proposals for this fall to the NRC.


There is no feasible way to stock this size of water body with walleye, or any fish. The best years for Walleye are very seasonal based even in  the 2003 flux. They have very periodic reproduction, and are surprised that bad age classes have happened for so many years in a row. The bag  limit is five in Michigan right now. There is a split season in Ohio. Size limit is 15 inches across all states.




Coastal Advisory Council looks to fill vacant seats

SANDUSKY, OH - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has announced two vacancies on the Coastal Resources Advisory Council. The council's 19 members provide advice on Lake Erie coastal management issues.


The Coastal Resources Advisory Council (CRAC) will hold its next quarterly meeting on Thursday, August 12 at 10:30 a.m. at The OSU Stone Laboratory in Put-In-Bay, which is located at 878 Bayview Drive in Put-In-Bay.


Interested CRAC applicants should contact the ODNR Office of Coastal Management at (419) 626-7980 or visit its Web site at www.ohiodnr.com/coastal .

The council meets quarterly at locations along Lake Erie, offering an opportunity for the public to see and hear about important lake-related topics, as well as offer their ideas and concerns relative to lake issues. Its mission is to advise the director of ODNR on the Ohio Coastal Management Program and to promote, protect, enhance and encourage the wise use of Lake Erie's coastal resources and its watershed.


The Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.



Lake Michigan Brown Trout New State Record

41 pound 8 ounce monster a sign of the great fishery

MADISON – Its official: the 41 lb, 8 oz brown trout Roger Hellen of Franksville caught in Lake Michigan on July 16 is now a Wisconsin state record fish.  And it may be a world record, too.


The Department of Natural Resources received Hellen’s application last week and has confirmed the new state record, which smashes the old record by nearly 5 pounds. The previous record was 36 pounds 8.9 ounces and 40.5 inches for a fish caught August 23, 2004, in Lake Michigan in Kewaunee County.


Hellen’s is the ninth state record set this year, and the first for a fish caught by hook and line. The other records have been for fish taken using alternate methods, including a spearing record for lake sturgeon and six bowfishing records. One of those bowfishing records, for smallmouth buffalo, was established for the first time in March and has changed hands twice since, once in April and again on July 1.


Hellen caught the fish in Lake Michigan north of Racine while competing in a fishing tournament. The fish measured 40.6 inches long and weighed 41 pounds 8 ounces on a certified scale at a local meat market, according to Cheryl Peterson, the state fisheries technician who weighed, measured and processed the fish at the tournament. With that certified weight, Hellen’s fish would appear to squeak by the 41 pound 7 ounces world record brown trout caught last year in the Big Manistee River in Michigan.


“It was very exciting – it was certainly the biggest trout or salmon I’ve ever seen,” says Peterson, a fish technician on Lake Michigan since 1997. “We knew as soon as it was on the scale it was going to be a new state record.”


Brown Trout chomping on round gobies


The brown trout fishery in Wisconsin’s Great Lakes waters,

like the salmon fishery, is supported by stocking originally done to help control populations of alewife, an invasive fish species, but now done as well to support what’s become a popular fishery.

Now, the browns appear to be chomping on a newer invasive fish species – round gobies -- helping fueling good survival and fishing, says Brad Eggold, DNR fisheries supervisor for southern Lake Michigan.


“One of the things we’re finding is the trout species are less discriminating when it comes to food, compared to Chinook,” he says.

“We know from stomach samples they really go after round gobies and we know there are a lot of gobies. That could be why we are seeing really good survival of the fish and good condition.”


Alewives are key forage items for Chinook, and populations of the invasive species are at near-historic lows since they became ubiquitous in the lake in the 1950s.


“We’ve really seen an uptick in brown trout fishing probably in the last 10 years, primarily in bigger harbors like Milwaukee and Racine and Sheboygan,” he says. Winter fishing in the mouths of harbors has been particularly popular, he says.

Lake Michigan fishing has been going strong this summer. “The numbers and variety of fish anglers have been catching, particularly in the last four weeks or so, has been excellent,” Eggold says. “We’ve settled into a pretty good summer pattern. The warm weather and winds have pushed the warmer surface water out into the lake, bringing cooler water temperatures closer to shore and making it easier to catch salmon and trout.”


The temperatures have really concentrated the fish in narrow bands, making them more accessible for anglers, especially those fishing from shore.


Storm closes Turtle Flambeau Flowage camping

Public accesses for fishing open

Mercer, WI.-- While damage assessment continues from last night’s storm on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage northeast of Park Falls, Department of Natural Resources officials will reopen boat accesses. All camping in the flowage, however, remains closed until further notice.


“Our crews are going from campsite to campsite to do an assessment of the damage,” said DNR Lands Supervisor Paul Bruggink. “About 50 per cent of the 70 campsites received damage which varies from site to site.”


Tuesday night at about 8 p.m. a major wind event hit the flowage. At this time state officials are not sure if it was a straight line wind event or a tornado. Iron County Emergency Management, the  Iron County Sheriff’s Department, and DNR employees worked through the night assisting and rescuing people camping on the islands. Several injuries were reported.


Damaged areas extend from the Turtle Dam, on the west side

of the flowage, to ½ mile east of Murrays Landing on the east side.  The area is about 8 miles long and one to one ½ miles wide. Within this area trees are down, campsites extensively damaged and some roads are impassable.  There are also reports of several watercraft damaged from the storm.


As part of the response, the Office of Emergency Management, Iron County Sherriff’s Department, and DNR mobilized search operations into three divisions with four boats per division. The priorities for these crews are:

1.      Search, rescue and evacuation.

2.      Safely deliver campers back into their respective sites to retrieve personal items and watercraft.

3.      Clean up the sites, i.e. evaluate hazards, cut trees.

4.      Repair damage to campsites. Some picnic tables and toilets were completely demolished.

5.      Reopen sites as conditions warrant.


Iron County officials, in conjunction with the Towns of Mercer and Sherman, are conducting damage assessments to residences and public infrastructure in the affected area.


Inspections show some boaters increasing risk to lakes and river

Wardens will shift from education to enforcement of new aquatic invasive species law

MADISON – Surveys at boat landings across Wisconsin in summer 2010 show that 96 percent of people say they are following a new law to prevent the spread of Eurasian water-milfoil and other aquatic invasive species. But a few are leaving boat landings with aquatic plants attached, potentially putting scores of lakes and rivers at risk.


From May through late July, 182 people were observed arriving at boat launches with aquatic plants hanging off their boat trailers or boats, or driving away from boat launches at the end of the day with invasive plants attached, according to statewide reports entered through July 25 by boat inspectors and DNR Water Guards. Boat inspectors advise the boaters of the law and how to comply, but they do not have authority to issue warnings or citations. Survey results are available on the Department of Natural Resources website.


Chief Conservation Warden Randy Stark says that such numbers will spur conservation wardens and Water Guards to shift from educating boaters about the new law, to enforcing it. “Given the extensive media coverage and boater surveys at the landings showing high public awareness of the new law, we’ll begin transitioning to enforcing the law by issuing citations to those individuals who, by not complying, can erase the excellent efforts of the vast majority of boaters.”


The vast majority of Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers are free from the most problematic aquatic invasive species; a case over the July 4th weekend in Vilas County illustrates the threat such waters face from boaters who do not follow laws to prevent spreading aquatic invasive species or fish diseases.

DNR Water Guard John Preuss checked the public launch at pristine Allequash Lake in Vilas County and found a trailer with Eurasian water milfoil and zebra mussels hanging from it. When the boater returned to the launch, he told Preuss he was aware of aquatic species law but launched anyway with weeds attached. The man had fished earlier that week in

Shawano Lake in Shawano County, which has aquatic

invasives including Eurasian water-milfoil, rusty crayfish and zebra mussels. Preuss cited the man for launching a boat in state waters with invasive plants attached, which carries a penalty of $389.50 for a first time offense.


“The Vilas County AIS Partnership is very happy that (Water Guard) John Preuss chose to visit the landing that day and was vigilant in following through on the incident and issuing a citation,” says Ted Ritter, who coordinates invasive species efforts for Vilas County. He adds that the UW Trout Lake Center for Limnology has agreed to monitor Allequash Lake carefully to see if either zebra mussels or Eurasian water-milfoil get established in the lake from the incident, Ritter says.


Aquatic invasive species officials and public awareness campaigns have stressed to boaters the need to inspect their boats and remove any aquatic plants for the last 15-20 years. It’s illegal to launch or leave boat launches and drive on public roads with aquatic plants and animals attached, according to Bob Wakeman, who coordinates aquatic invasive species prevention and control for the DNR.


DNR conservation wardens, Water Guards, and the paid and volunteer watercraft inspectors statewide made a concerted push in the weeks leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, the busiest boating weekend of the year, to educate people about the laws. The effort netted extensive media coverage and wardens and Water Guards statewide issued dozens of warnings to boaters about the transport law, regional warden supervisors reported.


“Awareness of AIS is very high thanks to the efforts of many individuals and groups around the state that see this as a potential threat to the quality of the lakes in the state,” Stark says. “Enforcement of this new law will help support their work, and the good job most boaters are doing to remove aquatic plants and animals from their boats and trailers. We need everybody to do it, however, and hope the enforcement stick can get those last few boaters to comply.”

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