Week of September 3, 2007

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Whopper Kokanee Salmon Caught from Nantahala Lake, N.C.

But Great Lakes fishing still stands out, if not taken for granted

RALEIGH, N.C. – In three trips to Nantahala Lake this month, Mark Swann has managed to reel in two kokanee salmon state records.

 

On August 20, the Black Mountain angler landed his second state record — a 3.07 lb fish that measured 19 ½" in length — on a custom built rod with a Penn 209 reel, using a Frisky Fish spoon as a lure. The fish was weighed on certified scales at Ingles Market in Bryson City.

 

Swann caught his first record-breaker, a 2.48 pounder, on Aug. 3, only to see the record broken the next day by 9-year-old Levi Towery, who brought in a salmon that topped his by a mere two-tenths of a pound. His latest catch may be hard to beat.

  According to Doug Besler, the fisheries biologist who certified this latest state record, some kokanee salmon in Nantahala Lake may get as big as 5 lbs during the spawning run. Swann’s fish is a nice size, particularly for the nutrient-poor reservoirs common in the western part of the state.

 

Nantahala Lake is the only spot in North Carolina where kokanee salmon are found. The fish, which is native to the western United States, was stocked in Nantahala Lake in the mid-1960s by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission in an attempt to establish the species as a forage fish for other predator fishes in the lake. This stock has remained and become a favorite target for anglers like Swann.

 

Photo courtesy of N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission.


World

NOAA Fishing Observers Suffer More Attacks at Sea

WASHINGTON, DC (ENS) - Attacks against government observers monitoring commercial fishing fleets doubled in one year, an indication of rising tensions on the high seas, according to agency figures released last week by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER.

 

Observers on fishing vessels track the catch to manage quotas and report any harm to marine mammals and other marine species. Figures obtained by PEER under the Freedom of Information Act show that the number of observer harassment cases more than doubled from 2004 to 2005, at the top of a rising trend over the past decade.

 

During 2005, the last year for which figures are available, more than one in 10 of the 500 observers in service experienced some form of intimidation or obstruction, according to agency records. Many of the observers are female and face particular challenges from all-male fishing crews on long, difficult voyages.

 

Other violations reported by observers rose dramatically starting in 1999 and continued to rise through 2005, according to PEER. But even as reported incidents increase, the government agency responsible for the monitoring program, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, has stopped keeping track of incidents.

 

For more than 30 years, professional observers have accompanied commercial fishing vessels to monitor compliance with catch limits, by-catch rules and regulations protecting dolphins and other marine mammals. These observers, who work under contract to NOAA, are the only independent source of information for what occurs on the high seas.

The economic pressures facing commercial fishing fleets are growing more intense as fish populations continue to decline and international competition grows fiercer. At the same time, reported cases of harassment of and interference with observers, is on the rise. Yet in 2006, NOAA abruptly stopped collected data, writing to PEER that “no documents were found that are responsive to your request … for a summary of all incidents of violence, threats or harassment against professional observers … between January 1 and December 31, 2006.”

 

Agency data also indicated that in the vast majority of cases, NOAA took no enforcement action, and when it did, a warning was the most frequent sanction. Many violations were dismissed on the basis that the agency lacked resources to investigate them.

 

"These numbers suggest that when the going gets tough for its fishery observers, NOAA goes away," said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, whose organization has tracked attacks against federal resource workers ever since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. "As our oceans continue to be over-fished, the importance of supporting the corps of professional observers only grows more acute," said Ruch, "yet NOAA appears to be in retreat."

 

At an international conference for fishery observer programs May 15 in Victoria, British Columbia, Bill Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries Service, said, "We need strong observer programs to address the significant problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. It is widely recognized that illegal fishing undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks."

 


National

Appeals court considers ballast issue 

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on last Monday heard oral arguments regarding the ballast discharge decision made last September by the U.S. District Court in California.

 

With last year’s ruling in Northwest Environmental Advocates v. EPA, the California federal district court ordered the EPA to develop a permit program for all types of vessels by Sept. 30, 2008. This would result in multiple permits for recreational boat engine cooling water, bilge water, gray water and common deck runoff, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which had representatives attending the hearing.

 

Judges Michael Daly Hawkins, Kim McLane Wardlaw, and William A. Fletcher — all President Clinton judicial appointees — were selected as the appeal panel. The NMMA says judges “were clearly engaged in the case,” and Department of Justice attorneys actively defended the EPA permitting exemption during arguments for the appeal.

 

DOJ told the judges that the nation’s estimated 18 million 

recreational boats would have to be covered under this decision, underscoring the magnitude of the permitting impact, and that EPA would need more time than the District Court allowed to decide out how to address recreational vessels.

 

Judge Fletcher said during the hearing he is listening sympathetically to the industry and the EPA, and that this is a complicated affair. He is hesitant to have this deadline come “hell or high water,” the NMMA reports. Fletcher also responded to the shipping coalition’s safety arguments that “no one wants to run ships ashore.” However, Judge Wardlaw asked the government lawyers “how can you exempt other [non-ballast] discharges and remain consistent with the Clean Water Act as it is written?”

 

The final outcome of the appeal will not be known for some time. However, the NMMA says the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals “clearly recognizes that the case now goes beyond large commercial ship ballast water and impacts recreational boats as well.”


Update on Congress activities to control Asian Carp

By Marc Gaden, GLFC

Although Congress is in summer recess, returning after Labor Day, things have been flying fast and furious in Washington and elsewhere with invasive species legislation on several fronts:

 

1. Ballast water legislation in the U.S. Congress is moving in both the House and the Senate.  Bills are pending in both chambers (H.R. 2830 and S. 1578) that establish a ballast water standard that is 100 times stricter than the standard proposed under the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) convention on ballast water.  (The U.S. and Canada argued for and attained the right for IMO member states to establish stricter standards than provided in the IMO convention.)  Both bills also mandate the application of ship-board technologies to treat ballast water to meet the standard.  Both bills also contain sound provisions for rapid response. 

 

There are major differences between the two bills, however.  The House bill says that implementation of the standard must occur by 2015.  A substitute to the Senate bill that’s expected to be introduced says implementation must occur by 2012.  The House bill says that if technologies do not exist by 2015 to meet the standard, delays can occur until the standard can be met.  The Senate bill says that if technologies do not exist by 2012, the best available technology must be applied, thus not allowing for delay and instead mandating a ratcheting of best available technologies.  The Senate bill explicitly pre-empts (i.e., prohibits) the use of the Clean Water Act to manage ballast (the Clean Water Act contains a mandate for the EPA to

regulate ballast, but the act has never been applied to ballast and, in fact, several groups are currently suing the EPA because of that). The House bill is silent on the issue. Finally, the House bill explicitly pre-empts states from enacting their own ballast laws. The Senate bill also pre-empts state action, but it also outlines some key areas where states can act (e.g., enforcement, penalties).

 

We almost saw major movement on the Senate bill a few weeks ago, but the bill was pulled from consideration in committee (hopefully temporarily) because there were strong objections by some about the pre-emption of the Clean Water Act.  Some believe that the Clean Water Act should be used as the vehicle to regulate ballast.  The Senate bill would pretty much rely on the Coast Guard, though with significant EPA involvement. 

 

The GLFC (Great Lakes Fishery Commission) wrote to the committee urging immediate consideration of the Senate bill and asking the Senate to work out the Clean Water Act issue.  It is important to remember that the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration, in which many of us participated, did support the approach of the National Aquatic Invasive Species Act (NAISA), which is essentially the same approach taken in the current Senate bill.  The collaboration also supported the use of alternatives to this approach (such as the Clean Water Act) by a certain date, if the approach proved unsuccessful.  In other words, the regional collaboration’s recommendation was to keep the Clean Water Act option open, but to pursue a different course; a course similar to that which is now presented in the Senate bill.  It is unclear whether the Senate will take the bill up when it reconvenes in early September.


Sportsmen applaud President’s Order to promote hunting

(Washington, D.C.) – An Executive Order issued by the President of the United States will spell more hunting opportunities and enhanced conservation efforts, according to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, the nation’s premier sportsmen’s rights advocacy organization. 

 

Last week Bush released the order, entitled “Facilitation of Hunting and Wildlife Conservation.” It directs all relevant federal agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities, wildlife management and habitat. “The Executive Order is a great milestone for sportsmen and wildlife conservation,” said Bud Pidgeon, president and CEO of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. “It clearly demonstrates that the President understands the unbreakable bond between successful wildlife conservation and hunting - that sportsmen are the key to abundant wildlife and habitat.”

The order, #13,443, directs federal agencies that manage public land, outdoor recreation and wildlife management to:

►Address declining trends and implement actions that expand and enhance hunting opportunities

►Consider the economic and recreational value of hunting

►Manage wildlife and habitat in a manner that expands and enhances hunting opportunities

►Work with states to manage wildlife in a manner that respects private property rights and state authority over wildlife

►Establish goals with the states to foster healthy game populations

 

“The order gives federal agencies a clear-cut directive that they work to increase hunting opportunities with state wildlife agencies,” said Pidgeon. “It will result in more resources directed at preserving the future of hunting and greater access to public land. The President is to be commended.”


Regional

Great Lakes Water Levels for August 31, 2007

Weather Condition

Scattered showers and thunderstorms were common in the Great Lakes basin this week.  Most locations picked up at least a few tenths of total precipitation through Wednesday evening, with heaviest rain once again confined to the southern third of the region. Much of the northern Great Lakes basin is still suffering from severe drought. High pressure will lead to a nice holiday weekend.  Temperatures will reach the upper 70s and lower 80s under abundant sunshine.

 

Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is presently 11 inches below its level of a year ago, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 3 to 8 inches lower than last year’s levels.  Lake Superior is predicted to remain at around the same level over the next 30 days. Lake Michigan-Huron is projected to decline two inches, while Lakes St. Clair and Erie are projected to decline 6 to 7 inches over the next month, respectively.  Lake Ontario is expected to drop 4 inches over the next month. Each lake is forecasted to be below their water levels of a year ago during the next few months. 

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

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

In addition, flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are expected to be below average as well.

 

Alerts

Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Superior basin over the last several months, Lake Superior’s water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum over the next six months.  Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Aug 4

600.4

577.4

573.8

571.4

244.9

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-9

 -1

+18

+27

+19

Diff last month

 -1

-2

0

+2

-7

Diff from last yr

-11

-4

-7

-3

-8


Latest from the Goby Guru

Implications for taking on ballast

ANN ARBOR, MI-- Ever since U of Michigan fishery biologist David Jude discovered non-native round gobies in the Great Lakes in 1990, scientists have been trying to figure out exactly how the unwanted intruders got there, and how they quickly spread to all five lakes.

 

Oceangoing freighters were the prime suspects, right from the start. But round gobies are bottom-dwelling fish, so how could significant numbers of them get inside ships that normally take on ballast water close to the surface?

 

"It's been a mystery to us as to how they were getting on board. We've been scratching our heads about how that happened," said Jude, a research scientist at the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment. Now Jude and U-M graduate student Stephen Hensler say they've found the answer: synchronized swimming on a grand scale.

 

At night during the summer breeding season, countless newly hatched round gobies leave their lake-bottom homes and swim to the surface. This nocturnal migration never before documented among round gobies -- boosts the chances that large numbers of hatchlings will get sucked into the ballast tanks of Great Lakes freighters.

 

Jude and Hensler report their findings in the current issue of the Journal of Great Lakes Research. In addition to uncovering a previously unknown chapter in the life history of the round goby, the authors say their results have implications for ballast-water management on freighters that visit Great Lakes ports.

 

Newborn fish of many other species as well as tiny aquatic animals called zooplankton -- are known to rise to the surface 

at night and descend to the depths after sunrise, following food and evading predators, Hensler said.

 

"If you had some sort of policy whereby ships would only take on ballast water at the surface and only during the day, it would reduce the likelihood of introducing new species and spreading existing ones around," said Hensler, a doctoral student at the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

 

At least 185 nonnative aquatic species have been identified in the Great Lakes, and ballast is blamed for the introduction of most including the notorious zebra and quagga mussels and two goby species. The voracious and aggressive round goby is native to the Caspian and Black seas in Eastern Europe. Anglers despise them because they steal bait from hooks.

 

Scientists say round gobies have disrupted the Great Lakes ecosystem and are responsible for local extirpations of at least three species of small, native, bottom-dwelling fish: the mottled sculpin, the greenside darter and the logperch.

 

Jude was the first to find round gobies in the Great Lakes system, in 1990 on the St. Clair River northeast of Detroit. By 1995, they'd spread all the way to Duluth Harbor, on the western shores of Lake Superior.

 

Jude and Hensler launched a study in western Lake Erie in June 2005, where they collected 167 round goby larvae in nets towed at the surface at night, but caught none during the day. All of the larvae were between a quarter and a third of an inch long, which corresponds to an age of 2 to 5 days. In the Great Lakes, an adult round goby is typically 3 to 5 inches long.

 

The article is available at:http://www.iaglr.org/jglr/db/show_article.php?file_name=2007/num2/33_2_295-302.pdf


Airplane Monitors Great Lakes Algae

A rare bird has been flying over the Great Lakes recently, and it isn't migrating or searching for prey.  This hawkeyed species is a Learjet aircraft outfitted with an advanced imaging system. Engineers at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland modified the plane to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitor algae in western Lake Erie and Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay. The Glenn team began its latest round of flights in August.

 

The plane's new imaging system allows scientists to study incredibly detailed pictures of algal blooms in the lakes. What's so interesting about algae?

 

Most algae are harmless and even important to the health of the ecosystem. But when algae grow rapidly enough to form blooms that float on the water or wash ashore, they can be a nuisance. The blooms may, for example, lead to smelly, foul-tasting drinking water and unpleasant swimming conditions. What's worse, some algal blooms produce toxins that can make humans and other animals sick.

 

Algal blooms vexed swimmers and skiers in the Great Lakes throughout the 1960s, until the federal government limited the use of phosphorus in detergents and fertilizers. Over the past decade, however, Microcystis, a type of blue-green algae known to produce the toxin microcystin, has returned to the Great Lakes. No single cause has been pinpointed, but runoff from cities, fertilizers, septic tank overflow, zebra mussels, and livestock near water supplies are likely culprits.

This concerns government and business leaders because the Great Lakes provide drinking water to 40 million people and have more than 500 recreational beaches. The lakes also generate approximately $4 billion in commercial and sport fishing business, according to NOAA.

 

Although municipal water plants filter the toxins and no illnesses have been reported, scientists at NOAA's Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health are researching and developing technology to detect and predict the blooms.

 

The area's vastness makes finding the blooms by boat difficult and time consuming. To solve this problem, the laboratory has been working with NASA to develop techniques for distinguishing harmful algae from other types of algae using satellite and aerial images.

 

In a 2000 study funded by NASA Glenn, scientists from the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University in Ohio were able to identify blue-green algae using satellite images. The data collected from NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites matched toxin concentrations in the water samples. Since then, NOAA has also used the Landsat TM Earth-observing satellite, which is equipped with a stronger imaging system, to monitor the blooms.

 

Aerial monitoring also produces quick results, enabling researchers to take water samples immediately after the air crew spots a suspicious bloom.


Veterans Issues

GI Bill Benefit Expiration Date

$$$ Millions in Scholarships available

Once you have separated from the service you have 10 years to use all of your benefits. Although separating from service "starts the clock" on your 10-year time limit, you should know that if you rejoin active-duty service for more than 90 days, during the 10-year period, your 10-year clock is reset. In other words, you get 10 years from your last discharge. Visit the GI Bill FAQ page for more information.

Don't let your benefit expire. Take the first step and request free information from schools that match your education needs and schedule.  In addition to using your GI Bill, www.Military.com  has more than $300 million worth of scholarships in their database geared specifically for service members, veterans, and their families. Take a look and find the right scholarships for you.

 


General

Omega-3 oils protect the heart in people with high cholesterol

An omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil may help prevent nonfatal heart problems in some people with high cholesterol, a Japanese study shows. The omega-3 fatty acid is called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). It's found in fish such as salmon and mackerel, along with another fatty acid called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA may lower the risk of non-fatal coronary events by 20 %, according to the study published in The Lancet.

 

Researchers followed 18,645 Japanese high-cholesterol patients for four and a half years. All the patients were already taking cholesterol medications known as statins when the study began. Over the course of the study, half of the patients were assigned a daily EPA supplement in addition to their medication, while the other half received only medication.

 

The group receiving the EPA supplement had a 24 % lower occurrence of a type of chest pain known as angina pectoris, and a 19 % lower occurrence of non-fatal coronary events. The researchers did not report any effect on mortality risk.  "Overall, this study shows that EPA, at a dose of 1,800 milligrams per day, is a very promising regimen for prevention of major coronary events," the researchers wrote. However, they cautioned that their results might not generalize to other ethnic groups.

 

EPAs occur naturally in fish oils, as well as spirulina and microalgae. They are only one of many types of omega-3 fatty acid.

 

Previous studies have linked consumption of omega-3s to improved heart health and reduced risk of cancer. Experts are

still unsure, however, on the health benefits of EPAs in particular. A study recently published in the British Medical

Journal examined a variety of prior studies on the subject and found no evidence linking EPA to improved heart health.

 

Dariush Mozaffarian of Harvard School of Public Health praised the search for heart-healthy foods.  "Compared with drugs, invasive procedures and devices, modest dietary changes are low risk, inexpensive and widely available. We must curb our infatuation with downstream risk factors in treatments, and focus on the fundamental risk factors for cardiovascular disease: dietary habits, smoking and physical activity," Mozaffarian said.

 

Research on omega-3 fish oils keeps looking better and better: new studies have found that omega-3s fish oils can help with three catastrophic diseases -- Alzheimer's, heart failure, and cancer.

 

Ernst J. Schaefer, MD, of the USDA's nutrition research center at Tufts University analyzed levels of omega-3s and the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. He and his colleagues measured blood levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, one of the principal omega-3s in fish) in 899 elderly men and women. More than half of the subjects also completed dietary questionnaires, which were used to assess intake of DHA and fish.

 

Over nine years, 99 of the subjects developed dementia. Schaefer determined that people with the highest blood levels of DHA were about half as likely to develop dementia, compared with people who consumed little DHA. They were also 39 % less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.


 

Lake Erie

Lake Erie Fishing continues to sparkle

The Lake Erie walleye fishing continues to sparkle from Huron to Cleveland, reports D'Arcy Egan of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but the Lake Erie yellow perch fishing has been spotty. Inland anglers are suffering from rising water temperatures, focusing on channel catfish and probing deeper waters for largemouth bass and walleye. Emerald shiner minnows are in short supply all around Lake Erie, with minnow netters hampered by a full moon and anglers switching to worms and golden shiners.

 

Cleveland area

The walleye fishing is still very good in about 65 feet of water north of Cleveland. Trolling anglers are working spoons, with orange a popular color. Yellow perch are being caught on worms and golden shiners around the Cleveland Crib, but the fishing remains inconsistent.

 

Central Lake Erie

The walleye fishing has been excellent, with surprising numbers of big walleye caught in recent days in 47 to 53 feet of water from Cranberry Creek to Avon Point. Spoons dominate the lure selection, with orange, raspberry and pink the top colors. Some tandem-blade nightcrawler harnesses also are taking walleye and the occasional steelhead trout.

The walleye fishing also has been fair to good about eight miles northwest of the mouth of the Grand River and off Geneva and Conneaut. Lake Erie anglers in eastern Ohio are complaining about the large numbers of white bass and white perch taking walleye lures, especially spoons.

 

The yellow perch fishing has been fair around the hump a little more than a mile northwest of the mouth of the Grand River. Perch continue to move, with fish being caught around the hump during the day and on top of the structure early and late. Some steelhead trout have been caught near the Ontario border.

 

Western Lake Erie

The walleye fishing has slowed, with anglers focusing on the "F" can area northeast of North Bass Island and around "A" can north of the Camp Perry complex and west of Port Clinton. Drift fishermen casting gold spinner rigs with small blades and a piece of nightcrawler continue to catch walleye. Trolling with spinners and spoons has been productive.

 

The yellow perch fishing has been fair to good off the east side of Kelleys Island and around Rattlesnake and Green islands.


 

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario Salmon/Trout harvest up 75 %

NYSDEC reports fishing effort in July 2007 was estimated at 16,316 fishing boat trips, the sixth lowest July effort estimate among the 23 years censused, but nearly equal to the 2002-2006 July effort average (previous 5 years). Boats targeting trout and salmon accounted for 10,212 boat trips, a 31.2% increase compared to the 2002-2006 effort average, and only the second time in the last 12 years that the July effort estimate for trout and salmon boats has exceeded 10,000 boat trips.

 

Boats targeting smallmouth bass accounted for just 4,738 boat trips, the lowest July effort estimate for smallmouth bass anglers among the years censused, and a 40.3% decline compared to the 2002-2006 July average.

 

The estimate of total trout and salmon harvested was 22,507 fish, a 75.5% increase compared to the 2002-2006 average July harvest, and the highest July salmonine estimate since 1994. Smallmouth bass harvest was estimated at 7,280 fish in July 2007, the third lowest July estimate among the years censused, and a 27.8% decrease compared to the 2002-2006 July average. Large numbers of yellow perch were observed harvested at several locations in July 2007 and the estimate of 5,039 was the third highest July yellow perch estimate among the years censused. Fishing quality for trout and salmon as measured by harvest rates was well above average in July 2007.

 

The trout and salmon harvest rate among boats seeking trout and salmon was 2.19 fish per boat trip, the third highest July harvest rate among years censused, and a 32.5% increase compared to the 2002-2006 July average. Comparisons by species show that July 2007 harvest rates were above their respective 2002-2006 averages for rainbow trout (+110.4%), Chinook salmon (+57.8%, and a July record high), Coho salmon (+37.2%), and brown trout (+26.5%), and below their respective 2002-2006 averages for lake trout (-95.4%), and Atlantic salmon (none observed in July 2007). The July 2007 smallmouth bass harvest rate among boats targeting

smallmouth bass was estimated at 1.46 fish per boat trip, a 25.2% increase compared to the 2002-2006 July average, but still the eighth lowest July smallmouth bass harvest rate among the years censused.

 

The total number of trout and salmon harvested in April-July 2007 was estimated at 67,511 fish, a 59.4% increase compared to the 2002-2006 average April-July harvest, and the highest estimate observed since 1994. Brown trout and Chinook salmon were the most commonly harvested species, comprising 37.3% and 32.4%, respectively, of the 2007 April-July salmonine total.

 

Smallmouth bass harvest in 2007 since opening day was below average, while yellow perch and walleye harvest estimates were above average. The 2007 smallmouth bass harvest was estimated at just 9,931 fish, the third lowest estimate among the years censused, while yellow perch harvest was estimated at 13,826 fish, the second highest April-July estimate among the years censused. The 2007 walleye harvest was estimated at 1,225 fish, which is a record high within the area and time censused.

 

Fishing quality for trout and salmon as measured by harvest rates remains excellent. The 2007 April-July trout and salmon harvest rate among boats seeking trout and salmon was 2.19 fish per boat trip, a record high among the years censused, and a 36.3% increase compared to the 2002-2006 April-July average rate. Comparisons among the salmonine species show that April-July 2007 harvest rates were above their respective 2002-2006 averages for Coho salmon (+224.7%, a record high), rainbows (+45.6%),brown trout (+33.7%, second highest), and Chinook salmon (+26.7%, third highest), and below their respective 2002-2006 averages for lake trout (-55.4%), and Atlantic salmon (-68.9%). The smallmouth bass harvest rate among boats seeking smallmouth bass was 1.24 fish per boat trip, just 2.6% less than the 2002-2006 average June-July smallmouth bass harvest rate.

 


Indiana

New White River boat launching ramp

DNR opens seven new ramps in 2007

The new Burnett Public Access Site on the West Fork of the White River is open. The site built by the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife includes a no-fee boat launch ramp, parking lot and an ADA-accessible loading platform.

 

The new river access is in southwest Morgan County about 1.5 miles south of State Route 67 on Paragon Road. A DNR Lake Permit sticker is not required for boat launching.  "Burnett

PAS is one of seven ramps opened by the DNR during the last year," said James Kershaw, supervisor of the DFW's Public Access Program.

 

The six other new ramps access the Ohio River at Charlestown State Park; the Tippecanoe River at Germany Bridge County Park in Fulton County; the Mississinewa River at Matthews in Grant County; Shipshewana Lake in Lagrange County; the Tippecanoe River southwest of Pulaski in Pulaski County; and Shriner Lake in Whitley County.


Some northeast Indiana lakes re-open for boating

Three of the public lakes in northeast Indiana that had been closed to boating since Aug. 24 because of flooding are now open for motorized watercraft operation. These lakes include: Lake George in Steuben County, and Sylvan Lake and Skinner Lake in Noble County.

 

The following lakes are restricted to non-motorized watercraft until further notice: 

 ► Noble County:  Waldron, Steinbarger, Tamarack, Jones.

 ► Lagrange County:  Dallas, Witmer, Westler, Hackenberg, Messick, Big Turkey, Adams, Oliver, Olin and Martin.

 ► Steuben County:  Big Turkey, Crooked, James, Snow, Jimmerson, Little Otter, Big Otter.

 

These lakes have water levels that can still be dangerous to personal property, such as piers and seawalls. Some lakes still have water levels that are flooding homes.  Conservation officers will continue to monitor the lakes and open them when safe for all users. Those seeking further updates may call the District 2 DNR Law Enforcement office, (260) 244-3720

 


Minnesota

DNR's firearms safety/new apprentice hunter program new opportunity to go hunting

With Minnesota's fall hunting seasons just around the corner, Minnesotans young and old are already planning their hunt. But before they hunt they need to complete a DNR Firearms Safety Hunter Education Course. All 50 states and Canada have firearms safety hunter education requirements and certification may be necessary prior to purchasing a license.

 

This year Minnesota joins a number of other states in offering an Apprentice Hunter Program that allows first-time hunters a once-in-a-lifetime exemption from firearms safety certification if they are closely accompanied by a licensed hunter while in the field. This program is intended as a hunter recruitment tool to allow a person to try hunting for a year, even if they have not yet taken the firearms training course.

 

Minnesota requires anyone born after Dec. 31, 1979, to have completed a Firearms Safety Hunter Education Course before they can purchase a hunting license. Youth 13 and older must possess a firearms safety certificate or an apprentice hunter validation for small game hunting.

 

For big game hunting, youth 12 and older are required to possess a firearms safety certificate or the new apprentice hunter validation. The Apprentice Hunter validation defers the hunter education requirement for one year.

 

The Apprentice Hunter Program requires first-time hunters to be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter when they are in

the field. The Apprentice Hunter must be within uninterrupted visual contact and unaided verbal communication with the accompanying licensed hunter at all times. The validation, which is good for one year, will cost $3.50 and may be purchased from any of the 1,700 businesses that sell hunting and fishing licenses across Minnesota.

 

The DNR predicts that the people most likely to take advantage of the new program are youth who failed to get into a firearms safety class in time for the hunting season, or young adults who are trying hunting for the first time and were unaware of the firearms safety requirement.  Other participants will likely include individuals who are invited by friends to try hunting but who do not have adequate advance time to complete the training prior to the opportunity to go along on a hunt.

 

Youth 11 and older are eligible for courses taught by volunteer instructors across the state. Those 18 and older have the option of completing a home study course that is either computer or workbook based. As many as 25,000 Minnesotans take the DNR Firearms Safety course every year and become certified. This program is credited with making hunting one of the safest outdoor recreational activities. The DNR Web site contains information course listing and course options.

 

For more visit the Apprentice Hunter Program is available online at www.mndnr.gov .


New York

DEC to Halt Recreational Fluke Season Sept 17

Federal Quota Likely Already Exceeded

Citing overfishing, New York State DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis announced the closure of the summer flounder (fluke) season effective Monday, Sept 17.

 

Preliminary data indicates New York has likely already exceeded its 2007 recreational fishing quota for summer flounder, set by federal mandates. If the state allows the

season to remain open through the end of the year, as scheduled, it could trigger harsher regulations next year, the commissioner said.

 

"We know recreational fishermen and charter captains typically fish fluke into October. But if we do not shut down now, we risk greatly exceeding our quota and forcing a further clampdown on these businesses and anglers next year," Grannis said.


Ohio

DNR to host boating safety Education Grant workshop Sept 19

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft will host a free workshop on September 19 for organizations that are planning to apply for a 2008 Boating Safety Education Grant. The workshop, which will provide guidance and training in the grant application process, will be held 9:30 - 4 p.m. at the ODNR Fountain Square Complex, 2045 Morse Road in Columbus.

 

The Waterways Safety Fund provides more than $350,000 in grant funding annually to community organizations that teach boating safety education programs. Individual grants ranging from $1,000 to $30,000 per program are competitively

awarded on a cost-share basis, with the applicant matching at

least 25 percent of the total boating education program cost.

 

A total of $364,303 was awarded this year to 33 recipients to provide boating safety education programs statewide.

 

Attendees must pre-register to attend the free grant workshop by calling the Division of Watercraft at 614-265-6674 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Boating Safety Education Grant applications for 2008 grant awards must be postmarked to the Division of Watercraft by October 26. Information about the Boating Safety Education Grant Program, including a grant application, can be found online at www.ohiodnr.com .


Wisconsin

Natural Resources Board sets 2007 waterfowl seasons

MADISON – Waterfowl hunters will enjoy a full 60-day Wisconsin duck hunting season, the longest allowed under federal guidelines, following action taken by the state Natural Resources Board at its meeting today in Bayfield.

 

The board approved a 2007 Wisconsin waterfowl season structure that includes an increase in the canvasback duck bag from one to two birds, elimination of the early closure provision for the Exterior zone of the Regular Canada goose season, inclusion of a split in the southern zone of the Exterior for Canada goose hunting and again expanded opening day shooting hours beginning at 9 a.m. instead of noon as in previous years.

 

The board also adopted a statewide nontoxic shot

requirement when hunting rail, snipe and moorhens beginning in 2007 and directed that hunters use nontoxic shot when hunting mourning doves on DNR lands beginning in 2008.

 

Each year, state, provincial and federal biologists from the United States and Canada cooperatively review spring waterfowl breeding surveys across North America and other biological and social data. State biologists provide season recommendations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which in turn establishes a season frame work, or sideboards, within which states can establish their waterfowl hunting seasons. Wisconsin wildlife managers conducted a series of hearings around the state in early August to gather hunter comments on the season proposal approved by the Natural Resources Board.


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