Week of August 28, 2006

National

Regional

General

Michigan

New York

Ohio

Wisconsin

       Weekly News Archives

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National

“Fish and Wildlife Journal” to air Katrina efforts of DNR folks, Aug 30 & Sept 2

Last year, Hurricane Katrina left the U.S. in shock and the stories and statistics have literally filled the media since. Far too little has been said about the heroic contributions made in the critical days and weeks following this disaster by the incredible efforts of the men and women who wear fish and game uniforms.         

           

On August 30 and September 2, at 10:00 PM (both Eastern times) The Outdoor Channel’s "Fish and Wildlife Journal" will air a special that documents the contributions of the agencies

 and the agency personnel who helped get the gulf coast states through the very worst of the disaster and back on the road to recovering and healing from the devastation. 

 

Executive Producer Chris Chaffin says “We hope this program will contribute in some small way to both recognizing the dedication and professionalism of the people who reported for duty during that trying and dangerous time…and extending some degree of gratitude from the outdoor community for their service.  We thank them for being there…and for caring enough to serve.”


NY - Study Shows Natural Chinook in the Millions in NY’s Salmon River

Fisheries managers are excited but cautious about the finding that five to ten million Chinook salmon were naturally reproduced in the Salmon River in 2005. A five million- fish finding comes from a New York Sea Grant-funded project carried out by State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry (SUNY ESF) graduate student Dustin Everitt. In fact, SUNY ESF Dean of Research Dr. Neil H. Ringler says, “The calculations are actually quite conservative, and the number of juvenile Chinook for 2005 could easily have been close to ten million fish.” Everitt worked under the guidance of Ringler, assisted by Michael Connerton, and with hydroacoustic analysis expertise from Cornell University’s Dr. Lars Rudstam.

 

New York Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist David B. MacNeill says the finding comes after a litany of meaningful research conducted on the Salmon River by SUNY ESF, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and New York Sea Grant since the late 1970s.

 

“The good news now is that the Salmon River obviously has good habitat for natural spawning, but this number of naturally-produced salmon may create additional pressure on prey fish populations. More research is needed to better understand how many of the wild fish are surviving to ‘fishable’ size,” MacNeill says.

 

The NYSDEC and USGS began conducting an annual seining (netting) fish index count on the Salmon River in 1999. NYSDEC Regional Fisheries Manager Daniel Bishop says the potential for the Salmon River to naturally produce Chinook salmon began to improve in 1997.

 

“We have seen naturally-spawned Chinook in the Salmon River since the late 1990s, when a stable year-round water flow on the River was instituted by the power companies. Before that the flow would be shut off at night and leave the River ‘high and dry’,” Bishop says.

 

Ringler says, “Because of the stabilized flows in the Salmon River, the magnitude of reproduction is far higher today than during our initial studies (30 years ago). The recognition that wild fish matter will greatly enhance future management decisions in Great Lakes fisheries.”

 

“Using a seining technique at four stations in recent years, we could say that there were a lot of wild fish in the River,” says James Johnson, a USGS fisheries researcher, “but we needed the more detailed assessment that Dr. Ringler and Dustin Everitt undertook to actually quantify the number.”

 

Bishop notes that all five million of the naturally-spawned fish will not make it out of the River that is the largest cold water tributary to Lake Ontario. Still, he says, “These natural Chinook have the potential to have an extremely significant impact on the numbers of adult stock in Lake Ontario and on the long-term sustainability of the lake and river fishery. Their survival could depend upon an historical low level of the prey fish, alewife.”

 

The researchers all say the next step is to collect adult Chinook from Lake Ontario, the Salmon River and the Hatchery to assess their survival rate. Johnson notes that the wild fish can be as much as one-third smaller than the

stocked fish entering the Lake.

 

At Cape Vincent, NYSDEC Lake Ontario Unit Leader Steve LaPan says the NYSDEC and SUNY ESF are now cooperating on another Sea Grant project using microanalysis of fish scales to distinguish the wild Chinook from stocked salmon in Lake Ontario, a technique also being assessed by Canadian fisheries managers.

 

“This technique analyzes the rings on fish scales to assess differences in growth at early life stages, similar to counting the rings of a tree trunk. Wild versus hatchery-raised fish are thought to grow differently so we are evaluating this technique as a way to count the two populations,” LaPan explains. He cautions, however, “One year’s data will not provide a definitive snapshot. Survival rates vary year to year. Counts could be ten percent one year and eighty-five percent the next depending on many factors in the fishery.”

 

Johnson, who, as Dr. Ringler’s first student, discovered Pacific salmon in the Salmon River’s tributaries, says, “Fisheries managers in Michigan conducted a marked fish survey and were shocked at the high survival rate of wild salmon in their fisheries. The five million count of young natural Chinook in the Salmon River has our attention in New York so that we are now ready to look at marking hatchery-raised fish so we can scientifically calculate a relative survival rate of the wild salmon compared with the stocked salmon. We will probably need at least two years’ worth of comparison counts before we can get excited here.”

 

The NYSDEC Salmon River Fish Hatchery at Altmar and Caledonia Fish Hatchery produces 1.8 million Chinook salmon each year from eggs collected from wild broodstock that return to the Salmon River to spawn. The young fish are hand fed, monitored daily for health problems, and later released into Lake Ontario.

 

Salmon River Program Coordinator Fran Verdoliva says Chinook salmon are unique in that they do not require two years of residence in the River before they grow large enough to enter the Lake.

 

“The Chinook spawn in October and the fry are ready to go to the lake in June or July. With the regulated water flow, the River is now more functional for spawning and for juvenile fish survival. The question is how many of the wild fish will survive in the lake and return here to spawn their own young,” Verdoliva says.

 

Another of Dr. Ringler’s SUNY ESF students, Mary Penney, is finishing her master’s thesis on the Salmon River’s critical habitat factors for wild salmon survival. Penney, the Stewards Program Coordinator with New York Sea Grant, says analysis is underway on such factors as water depth, temperature, velocity, and river bottom substrate.

 

“This research adds to the work that Dr. Ringler and his students have conducted for many years by providing the first study and the baseline data on the water conditions that wild salmon need to survive,” Penney says.

 

The 2001 New York Sea Grant report on “The Economic Contributions of the Sport Fishing, Commercial Fishing, and Seafood Industries to New York State measures the value of freshwater recreational fishing at $2.3 billion and nearly 11,000 jobs.


USS New York

 With a year to go before it even touches the water, the Navy's amphibious assault ship USS New York has already made history. It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center.

           

USS New York is about 45 % complete and should be ready for launch in mid-2007. Katrina disrupted

 construction when it pounded  the Gulf Coast last summer, but the 684' vessel escaped serious damage, and workers were back at the yard near New Orleans two weeks after the

storm.

 

It is the fifth in a new class of warship -designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.

           

Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite, La., to cast the ship's bow section.         

The ship's motto? - 'Never Forget'


Americans Can See Bald Eagles at Refuges in 38 States

Once reduced to just 417 pairs across the country, the majestic bald eagle now boasts an estimated 7,066 pairs that can be seen by Americans in more than 125 national wildlife refuges in 38 states. These refuges are a pivotal reason that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering removing the bald eagle from the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

 

Three of the 150-plus great national wildlife refuges where Americans can now see bald eagles include:

 

Bald eagles inhabit national wildlife refuges in Alabama,

Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

 

For a map showing the states and refuges inhabited by bald eagles, go to http://library.fws.gov/Pubs3/baldeagle_refuges.pdf .

For general information about the bald eagle, go to www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/baldeagle.htm .

 


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for August 25, 2006

Lake Level Conditions: 

Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are both 2 inches lower than they were a year ago at this time.  Lake St. Clair is 1 inch above last year’s level, while Lakes Erie and Ontario are 4 and 6 inches, respectively, above the levels of a year ago.  Lake Superior’s level is expected to drop 1 inch over the next month.  The levels of Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are all projected to decline 2 to 6 inches during the next month.  All of the lakes are in their period of seasonal decline.  Over the next few months, Lakes Superior, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are predicted to remain near the water levels of a year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to surpass its 2005 level.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be near average in August.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are expected to be below average during August.  Flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are expected to be near average in August.

Alerts:

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.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Aug 25

601.4

577.8

574.1

571.5

245.7

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

+3

+3

+21

+27

+29

Diff last month

-1

-2

0

-3

-4

Diff from last yr

-2

-2

+1

+4

+6

 


General

Field & Stream names SLA Fly Reel top in class

Back-to-back Best-of-the-Best Awards for Cabela’s

SIDNEY, Neb. – For the second year running, Cabela’s has garnered national praise in the form of Field & Stream’s Best of the Best Award, this time for the company’s popular SLA Fly Reel. In 2005, Cabela’s Extreme Hunter Frame Pack was named Best of the Best in the hunting pack category.

 

“These awards are the result of Cabela’s commitment to providing the best gear for the best value,” said Dennis Highby, President and CEO of Cabela’s. “Our employees live and breathe the outdoor lifestyle and their experience and knowledge go into every piece of Cabela’s-branded equipment. Recognition from such a prestigious magazine as Field & Stream solidifies Cabela’s position as an innovator and leader in the outdoor field.”

 

Cabela’s staff of fly-fishing experts spent thousands of hours designing and testing the SLA fly reel. Their on-the-water

experience resulted in a large-arbor fly reel that combines value and performance in one award-winning package.

 

“Cabela’s SLA is the only recent entry I’ve seen in the true large-arbor category, and it’s the least expensive, top-performing reel in its class,” said John Merwin, fishing editor for Field & Stream. “I gave one a workout on some big rainbows in Arkansas’ White River tailwater, and the drag stayed whisper-smooth from start to finish.”

 

The Best of the Best Awards represent the top gear tested by editors at the popular outdoor magazine. Products that rise to the top exemplify excellence in their category. “Field & Stream Best of the Best Awards identifies and details the best new equipment on the market,” said Jay Cassell, Field & Stream deputy editor.

 

For a free Cabela’s Catalog, call 800-272-1594 or point your browser to www.cabelas.com .


 

Michigan

Detroit River Refuge Attracts Anglers

The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, where the professional record walleye was caught, sits along 48 miles of the Detroit River and Lake Erie in the heart of a major metropolitan area. It will be the launch site of the Wal-Mart/FLW Walleye Tour April 5-8, when 150 angling pros will compete for the top 50 catches.

 

The refuge is considered as one of the best fishing spots for walleye. A 13.2 lb walleye, caught on the Detroit River, holds the professional catch record.

 

Created in December 2001 as North America’s first

international wildlife refuge, the Detroit River Refuge includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals and riverfront lands that provide habitat for 29 species of waterfowl, 65 kinds of fish, and 300 species of migratory birds along the river in Michigan and Canada.

 

Sport anglers are attracted to the refuge because of the more than 10 million walleye, white bass, steelhead and salmon that migrate through the Detroit River every year.

 

For more information, contact John Hartig, manager, Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, (734) 692-7608; e-mail, john_hartig@fws.gov .


New York

Study Shows Natural Chinook in the Millions in NY’s Salmon River

Fisheries managers are excited but cautious about the finding that five to ten million Chinook salmon were naturally reproduced in the Salmon River in 2005. A five million- fish finding comes from a New York Sea Grant-funded project carried out by State University of New York College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry (SUNY ESF) graduate student Dustin Everitt. In fact, SUNY ESF Dean of Research Dr. Neil H. Ringler says, “The calculations are actually quite conservative, and the number of juvenile Chinook for 2005 could easily have been close to ten million fish.” Everitt worked under the guidance of Ringler, assisted by Michael Connerton, and with hydroacoustic analysis expertise from Cornell University’s Dr. Lars Rudstam.

 

New York Sea Grant Fisheries Specialist David B. MacNeill says the finding comes after a litany of meaningful research conducted on the Salmon River by SUNY ESF, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and New York Sea Grant since the late 1970s.

 

“The good news now is that the Salmon River obviously has good habitat for natural spawning, but this number of naturally-produced salmon may create additional pressure on prey fish populations. More research is needed to better understand how many of the wild fish are surviving to ‘fishable’ size,” MacNeill says.

 

The NYSDEC and USGS began conducting an annual seining (netting) fish index count on the Salmon River in 1999. NYSDEC Regional Fisheries Manager Daniel Bishop says the potential for the Salmon River to naturally produce Chinook salmon began to improve in 1997.

 

“We have seen naturally-spawned Chinook in the Salmon River since the late 1990s, when a stable year-round water flow on the River was instituted by the power companies. Before that the flow would be shut off at night and leave the River ‘high and dry’,” Bishop says.

 

Ringler says, “Because of the stabilized flows in the Salmon River, the magnitude of reproduction is far higher today than during our initial studies (30 years ago). The recognition that wild fish matter will greatly enhance future management decisions in Great Lakes fisheries.”

 

“Using a seining technique at four stations in recent years, we could say that there were a lot of wild fish in the River,” says James Johnson, a USGS fisheries researcher, “but we needed the more detailed assessment that Dr. Ringler and Dustin Everitt undertook to actually quantify the number.”

 

Bishop notes that all five million of the naturally-spawned fish will not make it out of the River that is the largest cold water tributary to Lake Ontario. Still, he says, “These natural Chinook have the potential to have an extremely significant impact on the numbers of adult stock in Lake Ontario and on the long-term sustainability of the lake and river fishery. Their survival could depend upon an historical low level of the prey fish, alewife.”

 

The researchers all say the next step is to collect adult Chinook from Lake Ontario, the Salmon River and the Hatchery to assess their survival rate. Johnson notes that the wild fish can be as much as one-third smaller than the

stocked fish entering the Lake.

 

At Cape Vincent, NYSDEC Lake Ontario Unit Leader Steve LaPan says the NYSDEC and SUNY ESF are now cooperating on another Sea Grant project using microanalysis of fish scales to distinguish the wild Chinook from stocked salmon in Lake Ontario, a technique also being assessed by Canadian fisheries managers.

 

“This technique analyzes the rings on fish scales to assess differences in growth at early life stages, similar to counting the rings of a tree trunk. Wild versus hatchery-raised fish are thought to grow differently so we are evaluating this technique as a way to count the two populations,” LaPan explains. He cautions, however, “One year’s data will not provide a definitive snapshot. Survival rates vary year to year. Counts could be ten percent one year and eighty-five percent the next depending on many factors in the fishery.”

 

Johnson, who, as Dr. Ringler’s first student, discovered Pacific salmon in the Salmon River’s tributaries, says, “Fisheries managers in Michigan conducted a marked fish survey and were shocked at the high survival rate of wild salmon in their fisheries. The five million count of young natural Chinook in the Salmon River has our attention in New York so that we are now ready to look at marking hatchery-raised fish so we can scientifically calculate a relative survival rate of the wild salmon compared with the stocked salmon. We will probably need at least two years’ worth of comparison counts before we can get excited here.”

 

The NYSDEC Salmon River Fish Hatchery at Altmar and Caledonia Fish Hatchery produces 1.8 million Chinook salmon each year from eggs collected from wild broodstock that return to the Salmon River to spawn. The young fish are hand fed, monitored daily for health problems, and later released into Lake Ontario.

 

Salmon River Program Coordinator Fran Verdoliva says Chinook salmon are unique in that they do not require two years of residence in the River before they grow large enough to enter the Lake.

 

“The Chinook spawn in October and the fry are ready to go to the lake in June or July. With the regulated water flow, the River is now more functional for spawning and for juvenile fish survival. The question is how many of the wild fish will survive in the lake and return here to spawn their own young,” Verdoliva says.

 

Another of Dr. Ringler’s SUNY ESF students, Mary Penney, is finishing her master’s thesis on the Salmon River’s critical habitat factors for wild salmon survival. Penney, the Stewards Program Coordinator with New York Sea Grant, says analysis is underway on such factors as water depth, temperature, velocity, and river bottom substrate.

 

“This research adds to the work that Dr. Ringler and his students have conducted for many years by providing the first study and the baseline data on the water conditions that wild salmon need to survive,” Penney says.

 

The 2001 New York Sea Grant report on “The Economic Contributions of the Sport Fishing, Commercial Fishing, and Seafood Industries to New York State measures the value of freshwater recreational fishing at $2.3 billion and nearly 11,000 jobs.


Ohio

Outdoors Ohio featured on Cleveland Indians Network

A new fishing and hunting show is spotlighting the best of the outdoor sports from around the Buckeye State.

 

Outdoors Ohio with D’Arcy Egan has made its debut on the Sports Time Ohio (STO) television network to bring fishing, hunting and the outdoor sports together with Cleveland Indians baseball on the team’s new network.

           

Sports Time Ohio airs on Ohio cable networks, reaching 2.8 million households. In the coming weeks Outdoors Ohio will air a wide variety of outdoor experiences ranging from Lake Erie’s fantastic fishing, largemouth bass tactics and fly fishing for stream trout to trapshooting and duck, goose and pheasant hunting.

 

Outdoors Ohio will focus on the outdoors opportunities to be found around the Buckeye State, as well as a few one-tank trips. Each show is aired on Sports Time Ohio at least four times each week. For more information on Outdoors Ohio,

including weekly air times, visit www.outdoorsohio.com. For information on the Sports Time Ohio network and its shows, including Cleveland Indians baseball games, visit www.sportstimeohio.com.

 

Host D’Arcy Egan has covered fishing, hunting, shooting and the outdoors for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer for almost 30 years. His wife, Laura Brown Egan, an artist and former Lake Erie fishing guide, will regularly join Egan on Outdoors Ohio. The couple, who live on the Lake Erie shoreline in Marblehead, also host the Inside the Great Outdoors Radio Show on WKNR-850AM in Cleveland on Sundays from 7-9 a.m.

           

“If you’re outdoors-minded, the Buckeye State is a great place to live,” said Egan. “There is wonderful fishing to enjoy from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. The white-tailed deer, waterfowl and wild turkey hunting is outstanding. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to bring the best of Ohio’s outdoors to the Sports Time Ohio network, as well as the many characters who make up the outdoor community.”


Wisconsin

Sturgeon hook and line season opens Sept. 2 on many waters

Harvest tag required for anglers intending to harvest sturgeon

MADISON – Starting with the 2006 hook and line season for lake sturgeon that opens Sept. 2, all anglers who plan to harvest a sturgeon must buy a harvest tag before they fish. Anglers who intend to practice catch and release only do not need a tag but need a general inland fishing license.

 

Revenues from harvest tag sales will be directed to projects to strengthen and expand sturgeon populations and fishing opportunities in Wisconsin’s inland waters.

 

The harvest tag is required for any angler who intends to harvest a sturgeon during the hook and line season, including people who do not need a fishing license such as anglers under 16 years old, active military personnel, and people born before Jan. 1, 1927, who are exempt from needing a fishing license. In past years, all anglers had to get a tag but it was free.

 

Close monitoring and management of lake sturgeon populations are particularly important to their survival and to maintaining fisheries for the fish, which are Wisconsin’s largest and longest lived fish. Lake sturgeon can grow to 100 years old and reach 200 lbs. Because females don’t reach sexual maturity until 20 to 25 years old and then spawn every three to five years, overharvest is a problem and recovery is difficult.

 

The harvest tag costs $20 for residents and $50 for nonresidents. It can be purchased in three easy ways: over the Internet through the DNR Web site; at any DNR Service Center; at automated license issuance system sales locations; or by calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). The harvest tag is available throughout the season.

 

Anglers who harvest a legal size fish must immediately attach

the harvest tag to the fish and take it to a registration station by 6 p.m. the next day for registration.

 

“The harvest tag is required only if you’re planning to harvest a sturgeon and you must have the tag before you fish,” says Mike Staggs, Wisconsin’s fisheries director. “You don’t need a harvest tag if you only plan to catch and release.”

 

By law, revenues from sales of the harvest tag must be directed to sturgeon management activities on waters other than Lake Winnebago, which already has a dedicated funding source. The tag and fee was approved by lawmakers in 2005.

 

Until now, sturgeon management projects involving inland waters other than the Lake Winnebago system had to compete for funding against other projects aimed at benefiting other cool-water species such as walleye, musky, and northern pike.

 

Since 2004, all revenues from the sale of spearing licenses needed to participate in the Lake Winnebago system spearing seasons go to the Winnebago system’s sturgeon management program. Previously, such revenues went into the general fish and wildlife account.

 

The lake sturgeon hook and line season has attracted a growing number of participants, particularly nonresidents. In 2005, about 10,000 anglers received the free harvest tags, about 30 percent of them nonresidents.

 

Lake sturgeon are found in major rivers in Wisconsin’s Lake Superior, Mississippi River, and Lake Michigan drainages. Information on lake sturgeon biology, distribution, and status in Wisconsin is available on the DNR Web site as is Wisconsin’s goals and management plan for lake sturgeon. Many DNR restoration and management efforts on inland waters are detailed in the regional forecasts in the 2006 Wisconsin Fishing Report.

 


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

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