Week of September 15, 2008
|Fishing beyond the Great Lakes|
Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
The European Fishing Tackle Trade Association, EFTTA, has said it remained ‘hopeful’ that action will be taken over cormorants – after the European Parliament’s fisheries committee acknowledged that ‘there is a problem’ with the birds. Increasing numbers of the fish-eating birds are sweeping across Europe, with almost two million cormorants established on the continent and depleting fish stocks at a rate of 1,000 tonnes a day.
EFTTA is a firm supporter of European MEP Heinz Kindermann, who is pressing for an official pan-European Cormorant Management Plan to be introduced to create a realistic framework for controlling the birds. At the European Parliament Fisheries Committee meeting on July 15, a member of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) agreed ‘there is a problem’ and also said the situation was ‘not sustainable’.
EFTTA lobbyist Jan Kappel, also the secretary general of the European Anglers Alliance, said: “The Commission has indicated that isolated local/regional measures alone are not
sufficient to reduce damages from cormorant predation to a bearable level - and that an internationally coordinated,
coherent approach to the cormorant problem is needed. “However, the Commission also said that the introduction of a pan-European management plan would be premature, which is very hard to understand because there is more than enough scientific material to enable a scientifically solid and well-founded conclusion.”
The cormorant issue will be discussed again by the Fisheries Committee in September and October, while MEP Kindermann’s report will be voted on at a meeting on November 5. EFTTA CEO Jean-Claude Bel said: “We have to be hopeful that common sense will prevail.
“The Commission has acknowledged there is a problem and MEP Kindermann and Dr Franz Kohl are presenting a compelling case for a management plan. “EFTTA urges the Commission to fully understand the devastation that these birds are causing to fish stocks – inland as well as at sea – and take appropriate action. “The situation worsens every year and recreational fishing is under attack, which means our trade and the jobs of 100,000 people in Europe are at risk.”
The Dutch government is surveying anglers worldwide as part of an international survey on the use of lead within sportfishing. The European Fishing Tackle Association reports environmental policy in the Netherlands is being
geared towards reducing the use of lead and its Chemicals Management Division is canvassing opinion and experience on a worldwide basis to allow it to make informed decisions. Visit www.royalhaskoning.com for more information.
Every year, EFTTA uses its Youth Grant Scheme in conjunction with its members to make thousands of Euros available for fishing projects throughout Europe. Members offer their own financial support to individual projects and EFTTA boosts contributions up to a total of €40,000.
Before applying for a grant from EFTTA, all applicants must find a corporate sponsor from one of EFTTA’s members. If successful, EFTTA will match the sponsorship from each member up to a maximum of €2,000 per project. EFTTA members who sponsor programs are also responsible for administering the spending of the EFTTA grant on the particular project. They can either purchase fishing tackle products on the applicant’s behalf or award a cash grant if more appropriate.
The deadline for applications is October 1st 2008. Following
this date, Board members will be reviewing the applicants and making their selection decisions at the Autumn Board Meeting in mid October.
The program applies to first time applicants only, so if a project has applied and been granted before, they will not be eligible again. This is unless they can prove their new scheme to be completely separate from their last application.
EFTTA CEO, Jean Claude Bel said: “The future of fishing across Europe depends on encouraging youngsters into the sport and EFTTA and its members are very proud of the part we play in promoting angling through the Youth Grant Scheme. EFTTA provided funding for 12 individual cases last year and this year we would like to increase that support so please take this opportunity to contact an EFTTA member to gain support for your projects.
Conservation efforts in Baja region beginning to pay off
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., USA ---- Community based enforcement efforts in Baja California Sur, Mexico, supported by The Billfish Foundation (TBF) through the Center for Marine Protection and funded by the recreational fishing license fees paid to FONMAR, have resulted in three recent seizures of vessels carrying multi-tons of illegally harvested dorado.
On August 13, a commercial vessel from Mazatlan was seized in waters north of Loreto with 1,300 kilos (nearly 1.5 tons) of dorado (also known as mahi mahi), a species strictly relegated for sportfishing and not commercial long-lining or netting. Local FONMAR agents said the crew was filleting the illegal fish at sea. Then over the weekend of Sept. 5, two boats owned by commercial longline king Henry Collard were seized and charged with illegally harvesting dorado while using a shark permit in Magdelena Bay. The two vessels were carrying 14 tons of dorado along with several tons of shark.
News reports in the local La Paz newspaper El Sudcaliforniano were critical of the illicit activities described as “the fishing mafia” and commercial “pirates” which are often funded by the Mexican federal government. The report said it’s been happening for years.
Collard, a prominent representative of commercial fishing interests, was reported to have threatened fisheries enforcement agents that he “is a personal friend of Ramon Corral and you can’t do this to me!” TBF President Ellen Peel said this statement does not do much for Corral’s already tainted image by accusations of wrong doing by his own CONAPESCA personnel.
“Corral is the head of Mexico’s fisheries agency CONAPESCA and has been an unyielding supporter of the new regulation NOM-029 that attempted to allow the “incidental” harvest of billfish, dorado and other species within Mexico’s 24 year-old conservation zones.”
The news report also said the CONAPESCA boarding party, received a call from senior officials of Mexico City, and opted to withdraw from the arrest site, leaving the responsibility for the inspection staff of FONMAR. The news reporter said the
FONMAR personnel were not intimidated by the threats of the crew of the seized boat.
Investigations are also underway by U.S. and Mexican officials regarding the transportation of hundreds of tons of the illegal dorado catches from the Port of Guaymas into Arizona through Nogales, and into California through Tijuana.
TBF President Ellen Peel said, “Apparently the recent interest of U.S. enforcement officials in the import of illegally caught dorado has persuaded CONAPESCA that they need to concede TBF’s position that there is no basis in Mexican law to allow bycatch in the conservation zones and enforce the federal fisheries law.”
Peel said the foundation was instrumental in getting FONMAR established locally in Baja Sur in 2005 so angler’s license fees go to directly assisting conservation and protection of the fish resources in the region. Small panga patrol boats have been purchased from the FONMAR money. As a result local fishermen are reporting illegal acts to the FONMAR officials.
Dr. Russell S. Nelson, TBF’s Chief Scientist, said the increased enforcement against illegal fishing activities in and around the Baja Conservation Triangle has been the first priority for funding FONMAR, the trust created in 2005 by TBF and its Mexican conservation partners.
Working with governments worldwide The Billfish Foundation advances the conservation of billfish and associated species to improve the health of oceans and economics. Since 2002, TBF has been working in the “triangle” an area bounded by Los Cabos, La Paz and Magdelena (Mag) Bay in the southern Baja peninsula.
“There are many loop-holes in the May 15 NOM-029 regulation also known as ‘Shark Norma,’ “said Nelson. “It dramatically and destructively affects the fishing resources in the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) and the millions of tourist dollars that support sportfishing such as catch and release for striped marlin in the region.”
Now be kind to plants! Just months after introducing a ban on catch and release angling, the Swiss have now turned their attention to plants - and say it is 'morally impermissible' to harm them.
Members of the Swiss Confederation Federal Ethics
Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology ECNH, unanimously consider "arbitrary harm caused to plants to be morally impermissible" and that there needs to be "moral justification" for industries like farming and agriculture, where plants are effectively harmed, but for a reason.
Criminalizing Criticism of Islam, blasphemy
Wall Street Journal Europe, September 10, 2008
There are strange happenings in the world of international jurisprudence that do not bode well for the future of free speech. In an unprecedented case, a Jordanian court is prosecuting 12 Europeans in an extraterritorial attempt to silence the debate on radical Islam.
The prosecutor general in Amman charged the 12 with blasphemy, demeaning Islam and Muslim feelings, and slandering and insulting the prophet Muhammad in violation of the Jordanian Penal Code. The charges are especially unusual because the alleged violations were not committed on Jordanian soil.
Among the defendants is the Danish cartoonist whose alleged crime was to draw in 2005 one of the Muhammad illustrations that instigators then used to spark Muslim riots around the world. His co-defendants include 10 editors of Danish newspapers that published the images. The 12th accused man is Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, who supposedly broke Jordanian law by releasing on the Web his recent film, "Fitna," which tries to examine how the Quran inspires Islamic terrorism.
Jordan's attempt at criminalizing free speech beyond its own borders wouldn't be so serious if it were an isolated case. Unfortunately, it is part of a larger campaign to use the law and international forums to intimidate critics of militant Islam. For instance, in December the United Nations General Assembly passed the Resolution on Combating Defamation of Religions; the only religion mentioned by name was Islam. While such resolutions aren't legally binding, national governments sometimes cite them as justification for legislation or other actions.
More worrying, the U.N. Human Rights Council in June said it would refrain from condemning human-rights abuses related to "a particular religion." The ban applies to all religions, but it was prompted by Muslim countries that complained about linking Islamic law Shariah, to such outrages as female genital mutilation and death by stoning for adulterers. This kind of self-censorship could prove dangerous for people suffering abuse, and it follows the council's March decision to have its expert on free speech investigate individuals and the media for negative comments about Islam.
Given this trend, it's worth taking a closer look at the Jordanian case.
The prosecutor is relying on a 2006 amendment to the Jordanian Justice Act that casts a worryingly wide net for such prosecution. Passed in response to the Danish cartoons incident, the law allows the prosecution of individuals whose actions affect the Jordanian people by "electronic means," such as the Internet. The 2006 amendment, in theory, means anyone who publishes on the Internet could be subject to prosecution in Jordan. If the case against the 12 defendants is allowed to go forward, they will be the first but probably not the last Westerners to be hit by Jordan's law.
Amman has already requested that Interpol apprehend Mr. Wilders and the Danes and bring them to stand before its court for an act that is not a crime in their home countries. To the contrary Dutch prosecutors said in July that although some of Mr. Wilders's statements may be offensive, they are protected under Dutch free-speech legislation. Likewise, Danish law protects the rights of the Danish cartoonists and newspapers to express their views.
Neither Denmark nor the Netherlands will turn over its citizens to Interpol, as the premise of Jordan's extradition request is an affront to the very principles that define democracies. It is thus unlikely that any Western country would do so, either. But there is no guarantee for the defendants' protection if they travel to countries that are more sympathetic to the Jordanian court.
Unless democratic countries stand up to this challenge to free speech, other nations may be emboldened to follow the Jordanian example. Kangaroo courts across the globe will be ready to charge free people with obscure violations of other societies' norms and customs, and send Interpol to bring them to stand trial in frivolous litigation.
A new form of forum shopping would soon take root. Activists would be able to choose countries whose laws and policies are informed by their religious values to prosecute critical voices in other countries. The case before the Jordanian court is not just about Mr. Wilders and the Danes. It is about the subjugation of Western standards of free speech to fear and coercion by foreign courts.
More than 200 student anglers to convene on Lake Lewisville next week SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Sept. 8, 2008) - The field is set for the 2008 BoatU.S. National Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship (NCBFC), with 106 two-person teams representing 57 schools from 23 states registered to participate. The full-field enrollment makes it the largest college bass tournament ever held.
Presented by Careco Multimedia and Fox College Sports, the three-day tournament takes place on Lake Lewisville, Texas (near Dallas), Sept. 18-20. The stage is unlike any other in collegiate sports because regardless of school size, each team competes against one another on equal terms in head-to-head competition.
Among the mix are traditional college-sport Division I powerhouses from the Big 12, SEC, Pac-10, Big East and more, but there are also many small schools that don't have big time athletic programs. A team from North Carolina State won the inaugural event in 2006. Last year it was a Texas A&M team. However, it was the University of Montevallo (Alabama) that won a large regional event earlier in the year over schools like Auburn, Ole Miss and Georgia.
Also unlike other college sports, bass fishing teams can be male, female or co-ed. In some instances, it has been the girls responsible for starting their school's fishing program. That was certainly the case with Tiffany Spencer from the University of Texas-Arlington and Kat Cammack from the Metropolitan State College of Denver (Colo.). Both ladies were instrumental in getting fishing clubs started and their teams
entered into the championship.
For teams to be eligible to compete in the championship they must be officially recognized school fishing programs. During NCBFC competition, each team is responsible for full operation of their boats. Only artificial lures are allowed and each team is allowed to weigh-in five bass, measuring at least 14 inches in length for largemouth and 12 inches for spotted bass, each day. Team standings are based on cumulative total weights each day. After the second day of competition, only the top five teams advance to the third and final day. The finalists compete from equally rigged Ranger Z-21 bass boats with Yamaha outboards, MotorGuide trolling motors and Garmin electronics.
All teams are fishing for the more than $35,000 in scholarships and prizes, but in the true sense of college rivalries most say the real honor comes in carrying the national championship award back home to their schools. "Trevor (Knight) and I lifting the trophy over our heads last year was an unbelievable experience that I'll never forget," said Texas A&M's Rackley. "It's something I'd like to do again this year." Rackley has a chance to repeat as he does return, but with a new partner as Knight graduated since last year's win.
The championship will be featured along with several other collegiate regional bass fishing events as part of the 13-episode NCBFC television series produced by Careco Multimedia in conjunction with Fox College Sports that begins airing in early October on Fox College Sports and affiliated networks. For more info: www.collegiatebasschampionship.com.
GAINESVILLE, Florida, September 9, 2008 (ENS) - Fishes that once were abundant in North American streams, rivers and lakes are now disappearing, with nearly 40 percent of all species in jeopardy, according to the most detailed assessment of the conservation status of freshwater fishes in the last 20 years.
The report shows that 61 fishes are presumed extinct, and 280 species are classed as endangered. In addition 190 are considered threatened, and 230 fishes are listed as vulnerable to extinction.
The new report, published in the journal "Fisheries," was conducted by a team of scientists from the United States, Canada and Mexico, led by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey. The team examined the status of continental freshwater fishes and those that migrate between rivers and oceans.
"Freshwater fish have continued to decline since the late 1970s, with the primary causes being habitat loss, dwindling range and introduction of non-native species," said Mark Myers, director of the USGS. "In addition, climate change may further affect these fish."
The 700 fishes now listed as imperiled for this report by the Endangered Species Committee of the American Fisheries Society are a 92 percent increase over the 364 listed in the previous 1989 study.
The fish at greatest risk are the salmon and trout of the Pacific Coast and western mountain regions. More than 60 percent of the salmon and trout had at least one population or subspecies in trouble, the report shows.
Also at great risk are minnows, suckers and catfishes throughout the continent; darters in the southeastern United States; and pupfish, livebearers, and goodeids, a large, native fish family in Mexico and the southwestern United States.
Fish families important for sport or commercial fisheries are also vulnerable to extinction. One of the most popular game species in the United States, striped bass, has populations on the list.
22% of sunfishes, a family which includes the well-known
species such as black bass, bluegill and rock bass are listed
as at risk. The southeastern United States, the mid-Pacific coast, the lower Rio Grande and basins in Mexico that do not drain to the sea are losing their freshwater fish species more quickly than other regions.
"Human populations have greatly expanded in many of these watersheds, compounding negative impacts on aquatic ecosystems," said Howard Jelks, a USGS researcher and the senior author of the paper.
River systems that are both hotspots of regional biodiversity and also show the greatest levels of endangerment are the Tennessee, where 58 fishes are in jeopardy; the Mobile with 57 fishes at risk; and the southeastern Atlantic Slope river systems where 34 fishes are imperiled.
The Pacific central valley, western Great Basin, Rio Grande and rivers of central Mexico also have high diversity and numbers of fish at risk of extinction, according to the report.
Many of the fish populations at risk are restricted to only a single drainage. Of fish on the American Fisheries Society's 1989 imperiled list, 89% are either still listed with the same conservation status or have become even more at risk. Only 11 percent improved in status or were delisted.
The authors say the new list is based on the best biological information available. "We believe this report will provide national and international resource managers, scientists and the conservation community with reliable information to establish conservation, management and recovery priorities," said Stephen Walsh, another lead author and USGS researcher.
The authors emphasize that improved public awareness and proactive management strategies are needed to protect and recover these and other aquatic species.
"Fish are not the only aquatic organisms undergoing precipitous declines," said USGS researcher Noel Burkhead, a lead author on the report and the chair of the AFS Endangered Species Committee. "Freshwater crayfishes, snails and mussels are exhibiting similar or even greater levels of decline and extinction."
For an interactive map showing the fish species at risk, click here.
In a major victory for sportsmen and conservationists nationwide, a federal court has ruled to protect hunting and wildlife management on an important parcel of federal land. The ruling reiterates that wildlife management takes precedent over protectionism on the nation’s National Wildlife Refuges.
Judge Mary H. Murguia of the U.S. District Court for Arizona ruled in favor of the USFWS in a case brought by environmentalists seeking to block wildlife management in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. The decision preserves the principle of active wildlife management within national wildlife refuges, even those that have had part of their land designated as “wilderness” under the National Wilderness Act
The plaintiffs had claimed that FWS violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wilderness Act by
constructing and restoring wildlife watering devices on the NWR. While these devices are key for the survival of bighorn sheep and other desert wildlife, the plaintiffs claimed they violated federal law.
Last year, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund, the litigation arm of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, moved to defend FWS and several sportsmen groups in the case. The USSLDF argued that a “Wilderness” designation does not preclude wildlife conservation. Joining the U.S. SLDF were several other groups including: Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, Arizona Deer Association, Arizona Antelope Foundation, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Yuma Valley Rod & Gun Club, Safari Club International and the NRA.
Plaintiffs in the case against the FWS included Wilderness Watch and Arizona Wilderness Coalition.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA is planning to create new rules restricting the Interstate Movement and Import Restrictions on Certain Live Fish.
APHIS plans to establish regulations to restrict the interstate movement and importation into the United States of live fish that are susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), a highly contagious disease of certain fresh and saltwater fish. The disease has been responsible for several large-scale die-offs of wild fish in the Great Lakes region.
Comments on the interim rule are due on or before November 10, 2008. Comments on the environmental assessment are due on or before October 9, 2008.
You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
►Federal eRulemaking Portal: To submit or view comments and to view related materials available electronically go to:
► Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of your comment to Docket No. APHIS–2007–0038, Regulatory Analysis and Development, \PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238. Please state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS– 2007–0038.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. P. Gary Egrie, Senior Staff Veterinary Medical Officer, National Center for Animal Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 46, Riverdale, MD 20737–1231; (301) 734–0695; or Dr. Peter L. Merrill, Senior Staff Veterinarian, National Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 39, Riverdale, MD 20737– 1231; (301) 734–8364.
For more info, see Federal Register, Vol. 73, No 175, Sept 9, 2008 http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-20852.pdf
"Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia; Interstate Movement and Import Restrictions on Certain Live Fish"
Mostly sunny skies and cooler temperatures occurred in the Great Lakes basin for much of the week as high pressure built in. To date in September, the Great Lakes basin as a whole has seen near average precipitation. That could change as a string of frontal systems are slated to bring wet weather to parts of the region Thursday through the weekend. The remnants of Hurricane Ike also look to be a player, with heavy rain possible Sunday and into early next week.
Lake Level Conditions
Currently, all of the Great Lakes are at or above their levels of a year ago. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair are 14, 8 and 5 inches higher than they were at this time last year, respectively. Lake Erie is at its level of a year ago, while Lake Ontario is 11 inches higher. All of the Great Lakes are predicted to fall during the next month. Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are forecasted to drop 1 to 2 inches, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are forecasted to fall 5 to 8 inches over the next month. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Ontario are predicted to remain above their levels of a year ago over the next several months, while Lake Erie is projected to hover around last year's level.
Current Outflows/Channel Conditions
In August, outflow through the St. Mary's River was slightly
above average, while outflows through the St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara Rivers were below average. The outflow from the St. Lawrence River was above average.
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.
DETROIT - On Sept. 17 and 18, Coast Guard Sector Detroit will host Boundary Blitz, a training exercise involving a security incident at a private sector facility on the St. Clair River and a major oil spill on the Detroit River. This full scale exercise emphasizes awareness, prevention, response and recovery from the fictitious security incident and major oil spill. U.S. response teams from local, State, Federal and private sector entities and Canadian response teams in the Province of Ontario will participate. They will focus on multi-agency notifications, coordination and use of the Incident Command System. The event will bring together dozens of agencies to work in an environment closely simulating a real world contingency response.
Sept. 17 - Preparedness Response (PREP) Exercise: The exercise will be driven by a fictitious oil spill from a Coast Guard regulated facility. This simulated large oil spill in the Rouge River will affect the Detroit River on the U.S. and Canadian shoreline as well as portions of Lake Erie.
Sept. 18 - Area Maritime Security Exercise: This exercise will involve a fictitious Transportation Security Incident (TSI) at a Coast Guard regulated facility on the St. Clair River.
Media opportunities include viewing oil collection operations near Elizabeth Park in Trenton, Michigan, on September 17th, and visiting the Unified Command / Incident Command Post at the Best Western Concorde Inn in Clinton Township, Michigan, on either Sept. 17 or 18.
RALEIGH, NC– Hunting from a tree stand offers real advantages, provided it is done safely. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reminds hunters to think before they climb. The safety guidelines below apply to all hunters in all states.
Five basic guidelines for tree stand safety include:
• Always wear a full body harness, also known as a fall arrest system. This is the best precaution anyone can use.
• Maintain three points of contact (hands and feet) when climbing up or down.
• Never carry anything when climbing – use a haul line to raise/lower an unloaded gun, bow or other gear once seated.
• Check all belts, chains and attachment cords before use.
• Don’t select a decaying or leaning tree, or slippery-surfaced or smooth-bark tree.
“Of course, those aren’t the only things to heed to ensure your safety,” said Capt. Chris Huebner, the state’s hunting safety coordinator. “It’s important to know how your tree stand works and you should practice using it at low heights before you go hunting. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. “Everyone should use extra care when it’s a homemade tree stand, especially anything of a wood-and-nail construction or if it has been standing for any length of time,” he said. “When you go hunting, be sure someone knows where you are and when you're returning.”
IDNR Conservation Police concentrate on state Parks and Boat Launch Areas
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Officers made 42 arrests on charges of operating under the influence or driving under the influence during the recent Labor Day holiday weekend as part of an enhanced enforcement effort intended to improve safety at state parks and boat access areas.
The IDNR Office of Law Enforcement reports CPOs made 33 arrests for operating under the influence (OUI) and nine arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) on Aug. 30-Sept. 1.
The Illinois Conservation Police has received more than $300,000 in state grant funding to combat motor vehicle driving under the influence (DUI) and boater operating under the influence (OUI) offenses. The grant funding was provided by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Division of Traffic Safety.
Last year in Illinois, 507 alcohol-related traffic fatalities were reported. Two of the reported boating fatalities and two snowmobile fatalities in Illinois last year involved use of alcohol or drugs. In addition to OUI and DUI enforcement at state parks and boat access areas, Conservation Police Officers also focus on traffic safety through enforcement of speeding and seat belt laws.
Hunting season shifts into a higher gear Monday, Sept. 15, as squirrels, rabbits, hares and ruffed grouse become fair game statewide. DNR officials say conditions are right for a good season.
Rabbit and squirrel are numerous almost statewide. Hunters who were successful last year are likely to find good hunting in the same general areas. Rabbit and hare season runs through March 31 with a daily bag limit of five in combination. Squirrel season runs through March 1 with a daily bag limit of five.
Grouse populations, which are cyclical, are on an upswing, said DNR upland game bird specialist Al Stewart. “We’re into
the second or third year of a population increase, so hunters
have every reason to be encouraged going into this season,” Stewart said. Grouse season runs through Nov. 14, closes for the 16-day firearms deer season, then re-opens Dec. 1 through Jan. 1. The daily bag limit is five in the two northern zones of the state, three in southern Michigan. Woodcock season opens the next Saturday, Sept. 20, and runs through Nov. 3. The daily bag limit is three.
Pheasant and quail seasons open Oct. 20. The season for both species closes on Nov. 14. In addition, there is a separate pheasant season in a portion of southern lower Michigan that opens on Dec. 1 and extends through Jan. 1, 2009.
Department of Natural Resources officials remind hunters that a special five-day, antlerless-only deer season begins Thursday, Sept. 18, in all of Zone 3, the southern Lower Peninsula, and in the six counties of Presque Isle, Montmorency, Alpena, Alcona, Oscoda, and Iosco in the northeastern Lower Peninsula.
“Despite liberal hunting regulations, we’ve been unable to bring deer numbers down to within our management goals in most of the region,” explained DNR Deer Specialist Rod Clute. “We are hoping hunters will take advantage of this special season and help us manage the herd by taking adult does.”
The Sept. 18-22 season is a firearms season; hunters may use archery gear, but are required to wear hunter orange as they would during any firearm season. Hunters are reminded it is illegal to bait deer due to the recent discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a captive deer facility in Kent County.
Hunters in the nine-township CWD Surveillance Zone in Kent County, including Tyrone, Solon, Nelson, Sparta, Algoma, Courtland, Alpine, Plainfield, and Cannon townships, are required to bring the deer to a check station for mandatory CWD testing. For more information on CWD, visit www.michigan.gov/chronicwastingdisease.
OSWEGO COUNTY, NY -- With summer's unusual weather behind us, history's most unusual presidential elections ahead of us, and an uncertain economy around us, folks are finding life getting harder to call. Fortunately, Oswego County has a pleasant remedy for these times of uncertainty: salmon and trout runs and walleye bite.
Boasting the Salmon and Oswego Rivers, Lake Ontario's fish nurseries, and Oneida Lake, the greatest walleye hot spot in the Northeast, Oswego County offers the most productive fall fishing in the Lower 48 states.
Fish grow huge in Lake Ontario, way beyond trophy-size. Indeed, the world record Coho salmon was taken in Oswego County's piece of the lake about 10 years ago. Ironically, two new contenders were caught during Labor Day weekend; one was a 34.6 lb Chinook and the other a 34.10 lb. Coho/Chinook hybrid.
In addition, the county claims the state record Chinook (47 lb. 13 oz.) and brown trout (33 lb. 2 oz.). The state record steelhead (31 lb. 3 oz.) also came from the big lake. These species run the Oswego and Salmon rivers in unbelievable numbers each fall--the salmon and browns to spawn, the steelhead to feast on their eggs--offering anglers shots at fishy glory, all within casting distance of shore. One of the best beats is right in downtown Oswego, within earshot of city traffic and music pouring out of riverside taverns. (World class fishing just doesn't come any easier or convenient than this.)
On the other hand, if you're into wading, or floating over raging rapids slicing through a pristine gorge crowned in blazing autumn foliage, where encounters with bald eagles dining on salmon carcasses are fairly common, you'll find the Salmon River more up your alley.
Generally Chinooks, and sometimes a coho or two, start trickling into the Salmon River in late August, especially during water releases from the Salmon River Reservoir for kayaking and tubing. Jason Edwards, river keeper at the Douglaston Salmon Run, claims "pods of salmon entered Douglaston over the Labor Day weekend and most of our clients reported having hits."
Mid-September sees the returns jacked up a couple notches, and the last week of the month sees full blown runs. Hundreds of salmon--sometimes thousands--averaging 20 pounds can enter the stream on any given day, especially after a stiff rain.
Brown trout averaging six lbs start running toward the end of September, and steelhead ranging from five to 20 lbs are fast on their tailfins.
Draining the Finger Lakes and Oneida Lake, the Oswego River runs uncomfortably warm by salmonid standards until around the first of October. After that, all the species run at once. Since the stream's rapids are less than a mile long, the fish are concentrated, and so are the anglers. Suffice it to say it's a sight to behold--and, surprisingly, most anglers go home with fish, their dreams fulfilled.
By mid-November, most of the salmon have performed their final act and exited life's stage, and the brown trout beat fins back for the safety of the open lake. However, steelhead continue running all winter long to take advantage of the rivers' slightly warmer waters, and all the eggs the ever-fluctuating water levels loosen from between the rocks.
Surfing for Oneida Lake's Walleyes
Early autumn's cooling temperatures spur walleyes to feed voraciously. On Oneida Lake, their hunger brings them in close enough for surf and shore anglers to reach with crankbaits like Rebels, Smithwick Rogues, Bombers and Rapalas.
Daytime bank angling can be productive in relatively deep areas like off the canal walls lining the north shore in Brewerton, and the public fishing access site under the I-81 bridge.
Still, the best action takes place from the surf around dusk and dawn. Just about anywhere you can enter the lake will do. But shore access on this highly popular body of water can be iffy.
Fortunately, one of the best fall walleye bites happens at Toad Harbor, in the Three Mile Bay/Big Bay Wildlife Management Area. Get there from I-81 by taking Central Square exit 32 and heading east on NY 49 for about two miles and hooking a right onto Toad Harbor Road. Continue for about another two miles, bear left onto McCloud Road and travel about a mile to its end.
"Eyes" in the Fast Lane
If you like the bubbly, walleyes return to the rapids in Oswego County’s rivers. The plunge pool below the dam at Caughdenoy (Oneida River), and the Oswego River's rapids at Phoenix, Fulton, Minetto and, to a lesser degree, the City of Oswego, draw walleyes from mid-September through November. The crankbaits listed above work well, and so do bucktail jigs, or jigheads tipped with worms, minnows or YUM grubs.
For more info about Oswego County’s fishing hotspots, current conditions and visitor information, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com or call 800-248-4FUN (4386).
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