Week of September 18, 2006





Veterans Issues





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       New Product  Archives


USFWS wants Silver carp on hit list

Importing and Transporting Live Silver Carp to be Banned Under Rule

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to add all forms (diploid and triploid) of live silver carp, gametes, eggs, and hybrids; and all forms (diploid and triploid) of live large scale silver carp, gametes, eggs, and hybrids to the list of injurious fish, mollusks, and crustaceans under the Lacey Act.


This listing would have the effect of prohibiting the importation and interstate transportation of any live animal, gamete, viable egg, or hybrid of the silver carp and largescale silver carp, without a permit in limited circumstances. Available information indicates that this action is necessary to protect the interests of human beings, and wildlife and wildlife resources, from the purposeful or accidental introduction and subsequent establishment of silver carp and large scale silver carp populations in ecosystems of the United States.


A petition to the Service signed by 25 Members of Congress

outlined impacts of silver carp to humans and native species in waters of the United States. The proposed rule - advanced under the injurious wildlife provisions of the Lacey Act - addresses these concerns.


Comments may be submitted via e-mail to [email protected] . Include "RIN number 1018–AT29" in the subject line of the message, or by fax to 703-358-1800


The proposed rule to add silver and largescale silver carp to the list of injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act was published in the Federal Register on September with a 60 day comment period. Comments on the proposal must be submitted on or before November 6, 2006.


Below is the PDF file of the proposed rule:




Coast Guard extends comment period for firing ranges

U.S. Coast Guard proposing live firing ranges in Great Lakes

Two CG vessels fired machine guns in Lake Superior, off Two Harbors. MN Sept. 12


The USCG is proposing 34 firing zones to accommodate 57 USCG units in the region to help guardsmen train in maritime defense. Although the Coast Guard has extended its comment period another 60 days, their most recent announcement did NOT include a suspension of their intentions.

Great Lakes boaters will probably soon be hearing more small arms fire in other parts of the Great Lakes as part of a US Coast Guard program to hone up for military preparedness.  Contrary to some regional tabloids erroneously announcing the Guard’s suspension of their intention to implement live firing pending the completion of the new 60 day comment period, the Guard on Sept 12 did just that in Lake Superior.  Specifically, the live firing took place eight miles offshore of Two Harbors, and 20 miles NE of Duluth.


In an original 30 day Federal register announcement that expired on August 31 the Coast Guard is “proposing” 34 live-fire training zones on the Great Lakes to help guardsmen train in maritime defense – and public safety - on the lakes. Now, The Coast Guard, at the request of U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, MI has extended by 60 days the public comment period on the proposal.


Uncharacteristic of the friendly relationship the angling and boating communities have had with the Coast Guard, none of us were notified that the agency had posted an "Advanced notice of Proposed Rulemaking” in the Federal Register.  Nor did the Coast Guard give adequate notice for comment, considering their original comment period was only 30 days.


The Ninth Coast Guard District re-opened the time for public comments concerning those proposed Great Lakes safety zones saying,  "In an effort to have full consideration of all issues prior to finalizing these zones, the public comments time period will be extended an additional 60 days once published in the federal register."


Basically, "the Coast Guard proposes to establish safety zones throughout the Great Lakes. These zones are intended to restrict vessels from portions of the Great Lakes during live fire gun exercises that will be conducted by Coast Guard cutters and small boats. These safety zones are necessary to protect the public from the hazards associated with the firing of weapons."


The USCG says three (3) zones will be in Lake Ontario, four (4) in Lake Erie, six (6) in Lake Huron, fourteen (14) in Lake Michigan and seven (7) in Lake Superior. The Federal Register announcement also includes the coordinates of


those zones.


The "Guard is proposing to establish these safety zones to conduct training essential to carrying out Coast Guard missions relating to military operations and national security. Accordingly, these proposed safety zones fall within the military function exception to the Administrative Procedure Act."


What this little known Federal law means is the Coast Guard does NOT have to give 30 days notice or a starting date when they intend to begin their firing exercises.  As part of the Department of Homeland Security, they are not required to seek comment, hold public hearings or develop an environmental impact study.  The Coast Guard presently has no plans to hold hearings. 


An Important factor to remember is it was our elected federal officials that approved and signed into law the “Administrative Procedure Act”. The Coast Guard is just following that law.


The announcement adds: "These safety zones will only be enforced during time the safety zone is actually in use. Furthermore, these safety zones are located in places known not to be heavily used by the boating public. Hence, this determination is based on the minimal amount of time that vessels will be restricted from the proposed zones and that the zones are located in areas which vessels can easily transit around."


The USCG says they will give "notice to the public via a Broadcast on channel 16 to Mariners that the regulation is in effect."


In the April 3, 2006 online Weekly News segment, the GLSFC reported that for the first time since 1817, U.S. Coast Guard vessels on the Great Lakes were being outfitted with weapons – machine-guns capable of firing 600 rounds a minute. Until then coast guard officers had been armed with handguns and rifles, but the vessels themselves hadn't been equipped with weapons.


The War of 1812 saw violent battles on Lake Erie and Lake Huron between U.S. troops and British forces, which were largely composed of militias from Britain's colonies in what is now Canada. After the war, the United States and Britain – and later Canada – agreed to demilitarize the Great Lakes waters.  Both countries recently reinterpreted the treaty to allow more modern weapons by considering them weapons of law enforcement.


Maps of the proposed firing zones, by lake, can be viewed at:  http://www.great-lakes.org/cg_firing_ranges.html

The full text of the Coast Guard announcement can be found in the [Federal Register: August 1, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 147)], Pages 43402-43406. 


National Hunting & Fishing Days Sept 23-24

Visit the National Hunting & Fishing Days web site to view the extensive list of activities available for families and children during this annual festive occasion commemorating our right

to hunt and fish.



Quote of the day

Washington, Sep. 13 — "There can never be full and absolute security for potential terror targets in the United States", says

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff speaking to the

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Fish Study Continues in the Detroit River Int’l Wildlife Refuge

The USFWS Alpena office has teamed up with state and other federal agencies to conduct the second fishery survey within the recently established refuge. The Refuge boundary includes Michigan waters of the Lower Detroit River and Lake Erie. The last time a similar fishery survey was conducted in that area of the Great Lakes was back in the early 1980’s. Since that time many changes have taken place, specifically the addition of exotic species that have likely displaced or reduced the numbers and diversity of native species.


The first part of the survey took place last year in September with efforts focusing on wetland areas located along western Lake Erie. The second part of the survey was conducted this year to identify wetland areas being used as nursery areas during the month of July.


The primary goal with this project was to provide baseline information about what species, both native and exotic, are using the remaining wetland complexes found within Refuge waters in the lower Detroit River. The Refuge provides some of the last remaining natural wetland areas available in the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie. Refuge manager John Hartig and DNR Biologist Joe Robison continue to meet with landowners within the Refuge Boundaries seeking management agreements to protect the remaining wetlands. Those nursery areas are critical to the early life stages of many species of sport fish as well as some state listed species. Historical records from past surveys have identified over thirty species of fish using those wetland habitats for either spawning or nursery areas.


At a planning meeting in March 2006 researchers and

managers met to identify locations in the lower Detroit River that were considered important nursery habitat and to identify the dates to sample. During the September 2005 survey along western Lake Erie (using both electro-fishing and seining) 46 different fish species were collected. We were able to demonstrate that some state listed species as well as many economically valuable sport fish species (walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and other sunfishes) were using those locations as nursery areas. In 2006 sampling took place in July, earlier in the season with the rational that many of the species spawn early in the spring and would still be residing in the nursery areas. With the exception of one location in western Lake Erie all sampling took place in the lower Detroit River.


Small mesh fyke nets were used in 2006 in addition to electro-fishing and seining gear. Sampling consisted of 14 seine hauls, electro-fishing at 24 locations, and 29 fyke net sets. We caught a total of 11,814 fish representing 55 species from 15 families. Two species, the silver lamprey and the state listed silver chub, were collected last year but not found this year. Ten new species were captured this year that were not represented in last year's catch including alewife, muskellunge, rainbow trout, striped shiner, horneyhead chub, black buffalo, smallmouth buffalo, silver redhorse, northern hog sucker, and white crappie. Again this year a number of economically important species of sportfish were using the limited number of wetland areas as nursery grounds. This effort is a critical first step in identifying the current status of fish species within the newly created Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and will aid the refuge with establishing its Comprehensive Conservation Plan.


California bill will restrict ballast dumping of invasives

Rules would be toughest restrictions in the nation

California is on the verge of adopting the toughest restrictions in the nation on non-native aquatic species that harm state waterways, threaten water supplies and clog water pipes.


State lawmakers last week sent Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger a bill to require ships entering California ports to treat their ballast water to kill the aquatic species that hitchhike from port to port around the world.  Just one state, Michigan, has passed a rule that will make ship ballast water treatment mandatory, but it doesn't spell out how thorough the treatment must be, California officials say.


Under the state bill given final approval last week on a 50-28

 Assembly vote, ships would have to treat ballast water before dumping it in ports or coastal waters.


The San Jose Mercury News reports treatment standards would be phased in, starting in 2009, to provide time for systems to be developed to kill the organisms. By 2020, no discharge of organisms larger than 50 microns -- about the size of a grain of sand -- would be allowed.


Effective controls on the biological invaders are overdue, said the author of the bill, Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto. ``These invasive species have already caused a nightmare in terms of local ecosystems, but their impact is not limited to the environment,'' he said.


Trail of Tears route study under way

The National Wildlife Refuge System has begun a study of federally designated Trail of Tears routes through the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama and White River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas.  The project, expected to take some two years, will include field work and studying archival records to determine if visible evidence of the trail, boat landings or camp sites still remain at those three refuges.


The Trail of Tears commemorates the 1838 forced removal of some 16,000 Cherokees from their ancestral homelands in the mountainous southeastern woodlands of Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. An estimated quarter of the Cherokee died on the trail to the Indian Territory, in what is now Oklahoma.


Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks and Seminoles, among many other tribes, were similarly uprooted and displaced.


Currently, 2,200 miles of land and river “Trail of Tears” routes through nine states are maintained by the federal government

as a national historic trail. Those routes pass through eight national wildlife refuges in Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois and Oklahoma: Chickasaw, Lower Hatchie and Tennessee Refuges in Tennessee; Wheeler Refuge in Alabama; Holla Bend and White River Refuges in Arkansas; Cypress Creek Refuge in Illinois; and Sequoyah Refuge in Oklahoma.


In July, the House of Representatives passed legislation requiring a six-month study by the Department of the Interior on the proposal to expand the trail by some 1,400 miles. The proposed expansion would include two other routes by which Cherokees were herded through Arkansas and Tennessee into Oklahoma. The Senate has yet to act on the measure.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Archaeologist Richard Kanaski says new interest in the Trail of Tears could provide an avenue for educating the American public more broadly about all those first residents of the “new” world.


For more info: [email protected]

Judge rules hunting on National Refuges may be illegal

Federal Court ruling puts onus on USFWS

A District of Columbia federal district court judge has ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must examine more fully the environmental impact of hunting on 37 National Wildlife Refuges before issuing regulations that open or expand hunting opportunities on those refuges.


The suit was originally filed in 2003 by anti-hunting groups seeking to thwart hunting on refuges, and several sportsman's organizations aided in the defense of the suit. One of them, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, through its Sportsmen's Legal Defense Fund, is urging the USFWS to appeal the court's decision.


The Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund is urging the USFWS to appeal the judge’s decision handed down that could outlaw hunting on 37 units of the Refuge System.  Preliminary indications are that U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina’s decision will require the FWS to perform costly and lengthy studies on the environmental impact of hunting on the entire refuge system before it can expand hunting opportunities on any refuge.


The USFWS already studies the impact of hunting on refuges through the required refuge plans it completes as well as national migratory bird studies.  Adding more studies only succeeds in miring down the process so that no one will be able to hunt on refuges.


The decision also runs contrary to current law.  In 1966, and again in 1997, Congress expressly recognized the legitimacy 

of hunting on units of the refuge system and directed the USFWS to facilitate and increase these opportunities whenever they are determined to be compatible.


The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), which manages the Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund, will seek from Congress redress on this baffling decision.  “The court’s decision is bad for the refuge system,” said Rick Story, senior vice president for the USSA.  “We are urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to appeal the judge’s ruling.  I can assure you that the Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund will back them 100 percent.”


The Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund collaborated as defendant interveners in the case with Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Izaak Walton League and the California Waterfowl Association. 


The case was filed in 2003 in the Washington, D.C. Federal District Court by the Fund for Animals, which has since merged with the Humane Society of the United States. It originally sought to ban hunting on 39 units of the 100 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System.  The case claimed that the USFWS, which manages the refuges, failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires extensive Environmental Impact Statements, prior to establishing hunting programs.


In September of 2005, Judge Urbina granted a motion for partial dismissal of the anti-hunters’ case, ruling that since the goals outlined in the USFWS strategy are not final agency action there is no need for comprehensive environmental studies.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Sept. 15, 2006

Lake Level Conditions:

Lakes Superior is 7 inches lower than it was a year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 2 inches below last year's level.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are higher than the levels of a year ago by 2, 4, and 5 inches, respectively.  All of the lakes are in their period of seasonal decline. Over the next month, Lakes Superior and Michigan are expected to fall 2 to 3 inches. During this period, Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are projected to drop 6 inches.  Over the next few months, Lakes Superior is expected to remain below last year’s levels, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are predicted to remain near or slightly above the water levels of a year ago. 


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be below average in September.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also expected to be below average during September.  Flow in the Niagara River is expected to be near average in September, while flow in the St. Lawrence River is expected to be above average in




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





St. Clair



Level for Sept 15






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr







Canada Cuts Kyoto Funding

The Government of Canada has pulled back from a $1.5 million pledge to the United Nations to support the Clean

Development Mechanism (the Kyoto Treaty.)  Canada’s contribution towards the administration of the scheme was to have been the largest of any country.


Tree Stand Safety A Must For Hunters

We received this from the N. Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and are passing it on in the interest of public safety.


RALEIGH, N.C. (Sept. 11) - More North Carolina hunters will be injured this year in accidents involving a tree stand than from any other cause, according to statistical forecasts. In an effort to help prevent hunting accidents, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is urging particular caution when using a tree stand or elevated hunting platform.


"The leading cause of hunter injuries in North Carolina, including fatalities, is falls from tree stands," said Capt. Chris Huebner, the hunting safety coordinator for the Wildlife Resources Commission.   Tree stands are among the most popular hunting equipment used during deer season but, when not used properly, they can be among the most dangerous. Capt. Huebner offered the following advice:


Tree Stand Dos

-         Always wear a proper safety harness (fall arrest system) when using a tree stand.

-         Always use a rope to raise and lower a bow, an unloaded gun or other equipment.

-         Always read and understand tree stand instructions and practice at low heights before hunting.


Tree Stand Don'ts

-         Don't use homemade tree stands, especially those of nail and wood construction.

-         Don't use a decaying, leaning or slippery-bark tree for your tree stand.

-         Use precaution or avoid using a tree stand in rain, snow or icy conditions.

-         Never climb with a weapon.


Hunters should carry a whistle, flashlight and a cell phone, if possible, Capt. Huebner added. "Also, you should always tell someone where you are hunting and when you expect to arrive home."  One safety precaution is so important that Capt. Huebner repeated it:  "We advise using a full-body safety harness each and every time you are sitting in, or climbing up or down from a tree stand." When worn correctly, a proper safety harness will not restrict breathing, if there is a fall.


Veterans  Issues

Veterans Lose GI Bill after 10 Years

Many veterans are unaware that their GI Bill benefits will expire after ten years and just over 50% of eligible veterans use their GI Bill at all. You only have ten years to use your GI Bill from your date of discharge. Since the GI Bill currently pays out over

$1000 a month, or $37,000 over 36 months, you could be missing out on a huge benefit. To learn more about your G.I. Bill benefits, visit the Military.com Education Center. To learn more about GI Bill benefits and military-friendly schools, request free information today



Disease travels with firewood, so burn only local wood

The final big travel weekend of the summer has come and gone but great concern remains about the movement of firewood and that practice’s effect on the environment.


Transporting such wood is the primary means by which many highly destructive diseases and insects can be moved in or out of otherwise contained areas by unwary, well-meaning citizens. Because of that, state entomologist Bob Waltz urges people to burn only local firewood and to break the habit of transporting it across state and even county lines.


“In some cases, such as with emerald ash borer, were it not for people moving firewood, the insect could advance only about a half-mile per year; with people transporting firewood, these things can move as far as a vehicle can take them and will thrive anywhere that provides the right host.”


The emerald ash borer, for instance, has been found in Indiana in St. Joseph, LaGrange, Steuben, Randolph, Huntington, Hamilton, Marion, Adams, and, most recently, White counties. Large infestations are present in Michigan,

Ohio and Canada. Two recent infestations have been found in Illinois, one within Chicago and one west of Chicago.


Waltz said that as people close camps and start burning fires at their residences as the weather cools, they should resist the temptation to take leftover firewood home for the winter because of what might be hitching a ride. With the various hunting seasons coming up, hunters should commit to not carry firewood away from their home counties to campsites, because of the risk of moving pests.


The state entomologist said that if people absolutely must move firewood, where there are no quarantines restricting the practice, they should be sure to burn all that they move. He said that firewood that is left at a camp until spring poses the greatest threat of hosting diseases that could damage the forest.


“Hunters, campers and anyone else who uses firewood should only use what’s available locally, without exception,” Waltz said. “Transporting firewood is a hard habit to break but if we don’t stop, we are going to lose many forests and with them a lot of great places to camp, hunt and relax.”

Ohio River boat ramp construction at Charlestown State Park underway

Construction has commenced on an Ohio River boat ramp complex that, once finished, will provide the only free state access site on the Indiana side of the river from Clarksville to Madison.  


When completed, the Charlestown State Park facility will be one of the largest ramps available on this section of the Ohio, which is heavily used by recreational boaters. Features of the facility will include a 75-foot wide ramp that will provide five launching lanes, a 98-car parking lot, two river overlooks, ADA facilities and signage.


The work, which is being done by contractor MAC of New Albany, is expected to continue through next spring and into early summer.


At first, the construction effort may not be obvious to visitors and local residents. The initial part of the effort will be the reconstruction of 3 miles of roads from the current park to the

site for the new ramp. A new two-lane bridge over Jenny Lind Run that will replace the old one-lane bridge is included in the project.


The area the project addresses is a nearly 80 mile long pool created by the McAlpine Lock and Dam, one of five such structures on Indiana’s portion of the Ohio. Until now, there have been no Indiana public access sites or bridge crossings on this heavily used section of the river.


The expected total cost is approximately $2.8 million. The estimated cost of the boat ramp and parking lot is $1.03 million, 75 percent of which will be funded by a federal sport fish restoration grant. The balance of the project will be paid for by state funds.


Although use of the boat ramp will be free, a gate fee is charged to all vehicles entering the park itself. The Monday-through-Thursday rate for in-state vehicles is $4 per day, $5 Friday through Sunday and holidays. Cost for out-of-state vehicles is $7 daily.


Platte River State Fish Hatchery Offers Guided Tours

Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries officials last week announced the Platte River State Fish Hatchery in Beulah will be offering public tours of the hatchery complex this fall.


“The entire family will enjoy this guided tour, which also includes watching the big chinook and Coho salmon run up the Platte River,” said Tom Clare, the hatchery’s seasonal interpreter who will guide visitors through the facility explaining fish culture and the history of salmon in Michigan.


The Platte River State Fish Hatchery was established in 1928 as a satellite rearing station and converted to the state’s main

salmon hatchery in 1972. The facility raises Coho and  Chinook salmon and is the main egg-take station for Cohosalmon in the upper Great Lakes. The facility recently received major improvements, including the renovation of the outside raceway complex, installation of a new effluent treatment system and new water and waste monitoring systems, and the development of state-of-the-art degassing and aeration structures.


The hatchery is located at 15210 US-31 in Beulah and is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To register a large or small group for a tour or for information on the best times to watch salmon run up the Platte River, contact Tom Clare at (231) 325-4611.


Muskie fishing regulations meetings Sept 19, 20, 29

Public meetings on proposals to increase the minimum length for muskellunge on three lakes and two rivers in Koochiching and St. Louis Counties will be held on September 19 in Orr, September 20 in Littlefork and September 29 in St. Paul, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) International Falls Area Fisheries Office.


The public input open house will give the public an opportunity to learn more about the proposals and provide comments on special fishing regulations proposed for Crane Lake, Shoepack Lake, Little Shoepack Lake, Littlefork River and Bigfork River in St. Louis and Koochiching Counties.  The Orr open house will be held on Tuesday, September 19, 2006, from 7 - 9 PM, at the Orr City office building located near the intersection of Highway 53 and County Road 23.  The Littlefork open house will be held on Wednesday, September 20, 2006, from 7 - 9 pm, at the Littlefork Community Building, 220 Main Street, Littlefork, Minnesota.  Both meetings will follow the open house format, with DNR staff on hand to provide information, answer questions and take input on the proposals.  A 10-day public comment period will follow each open house and will terminate on September 30, 2006.


The following regulation change proposals will be open for


·           Crane Lake - increase muskellunge minimum length limit from 40 inches to 48 inches

·           Shoepack Lake - increase muskellunge minimum length limit from 30 inches to 40 inches

·           Little Shoepack Lake - implement a muskellunge minimum length limit of 40 inches

·           Littlefork River - increase muskellunge minimum length limit from 40 inches to 48 inches

·           Bigfork River - increase muskellunge minimum length limit from 40 inches to 48 inches


A similar public input open house will be held in the DNR Central Office Building in St. Paul, MN, on September 29, 2006 from 8 am to 4:30 pm, for the same regulation proposals.  A 10-day public comment period will follow the meeting and will terminate on October 9, 2006. 


Comments may be written at the open houses or mailed to (September 30 deadline) International Falls Area Fisheries Headquarters, 392 Highway 11 East, International Falls, MN 56649; or (October 9 deadline) DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, Box 12, 500 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul, MN 55155-4012.  Comments will also be accepted by telephone at 218-286-5220 or Email to [email protected] .


Lake Erie fishing Can Heat up Your Fall

By Kelly Riesen, Ohio Sea Grant Extension

Whether your favorite flavor is steelhead, smallmouth, walleye or perch, October offers a chance to head to Lake Erie for some of the biggest fish of the year.


Spring-spawning fish are starting to mature their eggs right now, and that means they need lots of food.  That’s also why fall fishing on the big lake can be action-packed.


Steelhead are stocked yearly by ODNR Division of Wildlife to provide excellent fall, winter, and spring recreation in northern Ohio rivers.  The Manistee steelhead strain, which is a hard-fighting, spring-spawning variety, is stocked in Lake Erie tributaries from the Vermilion River to Conneaut Creek.


Though these fish are spring spawners, they begin entering the rivers during autumn as water temperatures begin to drop.  Reports already have come in from anglers bagging steelhead in Cleveland’s Rocky River. Cool, rainy weather will bring steelhead into rivers from Huron to Conneaut.  Conneaut is often a good place to start the steelhead season because Conneaut Creek is stocked by both Ohio and Pennsylvania.


During autumn the water is cold enough to comfortably support steelhead, yet not so cold that activity is decreased.  Translated, October steelhead will smash flies or bait and perform the lively acrobatics these fish are so well-known for.  At this time of year anglers should stay relatively close to river mouths, as steelhead have not moved far upstream.  If the water is deep enough, try casting and retrieving spinners and crankbaits.


Many public access areas on rivers including the Grand, Rocky, and Chagrin have low-head dams or ford areas. These are great places to cast and retrieve artificial lures.


If you prefer to use live bait, minnows can work wonders at this time of the year while steelhead are still actively feeding to put on weight.  Spawn sacs are another popular bait which will work nearly any time of year.


Fly fisherman will be successful with larger sized woolly buggers, clouser minnows, and egg patterns.  All steelhead anglers, whether fly or spin fishing, should make sure their baits or lures are near the bottom to keep them in front of the fish.


Anglers who still have their boats in the water also have some exciting fishing opportunities in store for the month of October.  Some of the best smallmouth fishing of the year will be over the next month.  Keeping an eye on bait fish can be a key to finding bass.


As the water cools, bait fish will begin to hug the bottom in 15

to 30 feet of water, and the bass will follow. Using jigs tipped with minnows can be particularly effective, as well as fishing crayfish or shiners straight down on a simple split shot and hook rig.


Excellent fall smallmouth fishing can be found from Avon Point to the Bass Islands. Some productive places to try are the C-shaped structure off Avon Point, the artificial reefs offshore of Cleveland and Lorain, Gull Island Shoal, and West Reef.


Jumbo walleye are an October feature on Lake Erie, but you may have to brave some wind and cooler temperatures. Walleye feed heavily during autumn to prepare for a long winter but also begin moving toward springtime spawning areas.


The westward migration from the Central to the Western Basin is in full swing and the waters offshore of Huron and Vermilion are home to an annual trolling fest.  Planer boards and diving planes pulling the same small spoons used all summer are a top offering, but as the water cools, crankbaits also regain their effectiveness.


Shoreline anglers are also successful in catching big walleye at this time of year.  Schools of bait fish move into shoreline areas at night, and hungry walleye follow them.  The best time to fish is after dark on a relatively calm evening.


Casting and retrieving minnow-shaped crank baits takes most of the shoreline catch.  Some good places to try evening shoreline fishing for walleye in October are the Marblehead lighthouse on Catawba Island, Huron Lighthouse pier, and Fairport Harbor breakwall.  Nearshore fishing from Lorain to Catawba will be good all winter, or at least until ice-up.


Yellow perch fishing will continue to be good outside of most harbors from Fairport to Port Clinton. Try fishing in 25 to 35' of water in the Western Basin, and slightly deeper in the Central Basin.  If you’re not sure where to start, watch for packs of anchored boats.  These anglers are likely targeting yellow perch, and a big pack is a good sign that a particular area is producing.


Perch usually move in closer to shore later in the season. This gives shoreline anglers the opportunity to get in on some of the action as well.


Fall offers phenomenal fishing opportunities on Lake Erie. Just remember that the weather can be unpredictable and the lake can turn dangerous very quickly.  Exercise caution and have a great time filling the freezer.


If you’re looking for someplace to stay try Lakeside.


Steelheaders Value Their Fish!

Ann Arbor, MI — Avid Ohio Lake Erie steelhead anglers value their sport to the tune of $28.50 to $37.70 per fish.


For the first time Ohio Sea Grant researchers have estimated the value of this small but important fishery and found it to be highly prized by anglers. They estimate the value of steelhead fishing in Ohio's Lake Erie tributaries to be as large as $12 to $15 million per year.


"Knowing the value of this steelhead fishery will help policy makers to justify expenditures on stocking programs," said Dr. Brent Sohngen, Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics at The Ohio State University.


Ohio Sea Grant Extension Specialist Dave Kelch led the steelhead angler intercept survey effort to gather economic data on this fishery. Nearly 500 steelhead anglers were contacted on popular Ohio Lake Erie tributary streams for their

names and addresses and 375 responded to the subsequent mail survey.


"Typical steelhead anglers were 46 years old, middle class, male, and had 9 years of steelhead angling experience," said Kelch. "Less than two-thirds of respondents fished with spinning tackle and one-third used fly tackle."


They mostly took single day trips (94% of respondents), traveling about 52 miles round trip. The value of the steelhead angling experience to participating anglers is estimated at $36 to $46 per trip and the money spent to participate in steelhead fishing is estimated at $26 per trip. It was also noted that steelhead anglers keep only one of every eight steelhead caught.


The Ohio DNR stocks about 400,000 steelhead annually into five Lake Erie tributary streams

Source: Journal of Great Lakes Research

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. 

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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