Week of October 8, 2007

Words to Ponder



Lake Huron

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Words to Ponder

Words to Ponder

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a

wise man and a wise guy are opposites?


Bill to fund electric barrier awaits Bush's signature

Legislation that would dedicate millions of dollars to local waterways is awaiting President Bush's approval.


The Water Resources Development Act was passed earlier this week with a four-to-one vote by the U.S. Senate. Among money for other projects affecting the Great Lakes, the act pays for the permenant creation of the electric barrier at the Chicago Waqterway Canal at Lake Michigan to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.


The money would be allocated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a wide range of projects centered on addressing causes of environmental contamination.


U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Twp., said much of the money would be directed toward high-tech water-monitoring equipment that already has been installed in many area water-treatment plants. The President has threatened to veto

the bill, Miller said, but she is confident the legislature has the votes to override a veto.


WRDA passed the US House on April 19 by a veto proof vote of 394 to 25, and in the US Senate on May 16 also by a a veto proof vote 91 to 4. A conference committee was then created to work out differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill . A conference report resolving those differences passed in the House of Representatives on August 1, paving the way for enactment of the bill, by roll call vote. The totals were 381 Ayes, 40 Nays, 11 Present/Not Voting. The Bill - HR 1495 now awaits the President's signature.


Miller said the economic impact of the area's water resources cannot be overestimated. "It is literally our identity," she said. "And unfortunately we have not ... been the best stewards of this fantastic global - it's really global - treasure."

Feds to help fight VHS fish virus

WASHINGTON — The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will make $1.5 million available to control the deadly VHS fish disease in the Great Lakes and surrounding states. The funding will focus on education, testing, and surveillance and compliance efforts to prevent the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia.


U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich,

announced the funding.


The contingency funding provided by APHIS will support upgrades at the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories to improve testing, surveillance and compliance support efforts in coordination with state and tribal agencies in the Great Lakes watershed, and an educational campaign to prevent the spread of VHS.

Lawmakers to scrutinize troubled port worker ID program

House and Senate lawmakers plan to ratchet up pressure on the Homeland Security Department to improve security at the nation's ports through a series of public hearings this month.


In particular, lawmakers say the department's progress in issuing security cards to port workers has been lacking

and the program -- which the department says has cost $91 million -- has been too expensive. To get a transportation worker ID card, workers have to undergo immigration, criminal

and terrorist screening checks, and give a fingerprint for biometric identification.


Faced with three congressional hearings this month, the department announced it will begin issuing cards Oct. 16 at the Port of Wilmington in Delaware. In November, the department plans to roll out the card program at 11 other ports.  Under the law, the department is required to begin issuing  ID cards at the nation's 40 top ports by Jan. 1 -- another deadline that is likely to be missed.


IN - Another plant set to delay water quality compliance

Some of you heard about controversies about the BP Refinery in Whiting Indiana. Another very large water pollution source to Lake Michigan of multi-state concern is US Steel at Gary, IN.  


Recently filed comments on US Steel's Draft NPDES permit renewal show the US Steel permit expired in 1999 and is just now being renewed and they want to have another 5 years

before they comply with Great Lakes Water Quality Standards.  Indiana's 2007 Draft Permit renewal would drop or relax several effluent limitations and compliance schedules to which the plant was previously subject under their 1994 permit.


For more info: /www.sagady.com/workproduct/NRDCELPCComments


Great Lakes Water Levels for October 5, 2007

Weather Conditions

Above average temperatures were recorded across the Great Lakes basin this week as southerly winds ushered in warm Gulf of Mexico air. The Lake Superior, Michigan-Huron and Erie basins also picked up significant rainfall during the first three days of October.  More warmer than average temperatures are expected for the weekend and early next week.  Some new record high temperatures are possible.

Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and Erie are 3-5 inches lower than last year’s levels.  Lake St. Clair and Lake Ontario are 9 and 11 inches below their levels of one year ago, respectively.  Lakes St. Clair, Michigan-Huron, and Ontario are projected to decline 3 inches over the next month while Lake Superior and Lake Erie will fall 1 and 6 inches, respectively.  The water level of each lake is expected to be below its water level 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 October. 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 near average.


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 at or below datum over the next six months. Lake Superior also set a new record low monthly average for August and September, and may set records for the next few months as well.  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 Oct 5






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr







Going Fishing? Catch-and-release In Less Than Four Minutes, Please

Science Daily — Recreational fishing that involves catch-and-release may seem like just good fun, and that released fish go on to live happily ever after, but a recent study at the University of Illinois shows that improper handling techniques by anglers can increase the likelihood of released fish being caught by predators.


After the stress of the catch and lack of oxygen from being out of water, the fish is in a weakened state. When it eventually gets released back into the water, if fish haven't been handled properly, they are more likely to be caught by a predator.


A study on the effects of catch-and-release angling on bonefish which was conducted by a team led by University of Illinois researcher Cory Suski.


"Whenever a fish is caught and reeled in, it expends a lot of energy so that's one stressor," said Suski. Depending upon the skill of the angler, the catching can last a long time and put additional stress on the fish. When the fish is brought up on the deck or in the boat to measure and take a picture, it faces an additional challenge and cannot obtain enough oxygen, and the fish continues to accumulate physiological disturbances. "Our recommendation to catch-and-release sport anglers is that they minimize the time it takes to actually land the fish and take a picture, and then get it back into the water as soon as possible."


Suski's goal isn't to eliminate catch-and-release sport fishing; in fact he hopes the research will help conserve fish populations and the economic benefits from recreational fishing.


How long can a fish be out of water? Results from the study showed that both the duration of an exercise bout (the catch)

longer than four minutes, as well as the length of exposure to

air, will result in a proportional increase in negative effects on the fishes' physiological condition. The study also showed that the longer duration of the catch-and-release, the longer the time the fish needed to recover and the greater likelihood of the fish being caught by predators.


The fish in the study were caught in nets, put into dark tanks and allowed to rest. Later they were chased to simulate angling. Blood samples were taken at various time intervals after the angling simulation in order to monitor the levels of calcium, lactate and glucose during recovery.


"We found that it took two to four hours for the fish to recover to normal levels. We also observed that early during the recovery time the fish were acting kind of woozy -- that behavior would mean they would be less likely to out-swim a predator," said Suski. "Our study indicated that the four-hour recovery for bonefish is sufficient for at least some physiological variables to return to baseline values."


Suski likened the fishes' physiological changes when being caught to the lactate that builds up in a runner's muscles after running a 100 yard sprint. The runner's heart rate and breathing may return to normal fairly quickly, but the lactate build-up can take a much longer time to return to normal.


The study identified several strategies for fisheries management in catch-and-release settings:

►Minimize length of time spent angling the fish

►Minimize length of time fish is exposed to air after being caught

►The longer that the fish is presented with challenges, the longer it will take to recover after being released

►The temperature of the water can also affect recovery time -- warmer water may increase recovery time

New NRA Site for Hunters’ Rights

FAIRFAX, Va. – On November 1, NRA is launching a new Web site devoted to hunters’ rights. All factors that affect your freedom to hunt, and the future of the sport itself, will be addressed at www.nrahuntersrights.org .


The site will not tell you how to hunt, where to put your tree stand or what the best guns and loads are for your favorite species. Many Web sites and magazines can already tell you all that. The site will alert you about threats to hunting and NRA’s efforts to combat them -- our direct lobbying efforts at every level, our hunter recruitment and instruction programs and our funding of conservation and range improvement projects.


Commenting on the need for this site, Kayne Robinson, former NRA President and now Executive Director of General Operations, said, “Hunting is under attack in ways it has never been attacked before. Stifling regulations are overly complex and too often have nothing to do with game management. Anti-hunting groups with well-financed coffers and celebrity spokespersons grab every headline they can get. Nit-picking laws that turn inadvertent mistakes into criminal offenses are becoming common horror stories. Shrinking lands, dwindling numbers of hunters and other factors are combining to threaten the sport more and more.”


But whether it’s a proposed ban on hunting ammunition, the closure of public hunting lands, or ridiculous regulations that are actually driving people out of the sport, NRA is at work on

every front to ensure your continued right to hunt. The combination of NRA’s political strength, hunting programs, grant funding and the sheer size of our hunting membership make us the most formidable defender of hunting there is. 


The new site will give credit where it’s due, too. If a new range opens in your state, if a season is extended or added, or if a youth mentored hunt is instituted, you’ll read about it at www.nrahuntersrights.org. With limited time and resources, hunters need to know about every new opportunity, place to hunt, or new season available.


NRAhuntersrights.org will also provide many opportunities for hunter input and recognition. We’ll be open to stories from you on a variety of topics, such as:

►Trophy Gallery—Share your hunting photos with others.

►Hunt Reports—Had a particularly good or bad experience with an outfitter? Let us know.

►Gut Check—Your true stories of survival.


Unsung Heroes—Know someone in your state doing good work for hunters? Let’s give that person some recognition.

Regulatory Nonsense—Is there a hunting law in your state you feel just doesn’t make sense? Guidelines for submitting all such material are available by sending an email to: [email protected] . Just put “Hunters Rights Guidelines” in the subject line. Your questions and comments on the site are welcome at the same address.   Watch for monthly gift giveaways, too.

Lake Huron

More Than Cormorants Overhead?

The Lake Huron Fishing Club reports the United Sates Air Force has notified the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources that they have re-activated a 40 year old "live fire practice area"

in the centre of Lake Huron.  This 94 km X 37 km militarily

restricted zone straddles the 6 Fathom Bank and north end of Yankee Reef.  Few of us fish this far out but anyone crossing the lake would be wise to take caution.


Fall Wingshooting Clinics

The IDNR and partnering organizations host several wingshooting clinics for beginning shooters and experienced hunters this fall.  The free youth/women's clinics provide instruction for youngsters ages 10 - 15 with separate sessions for girls and women ages 10 and older.  Instructors are certified by the National Sporting Clays Association.  Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of women and men ages 16 and older. A small fee is assessed each hunter clinic participant to cover the cost of  

clay targets and refreshments.


Upcoming Youth/Women's clinics:

•October 26-27 - Ten Mile Creek SFWA (Hamilton Co.), 618/643-2862 Upcoming Hunter's clinics are:

•October 6-7 - World Shooting and Recreational Complex (Randolph Co.), 217/785-8060

•Oct. 13-14 - Hamilton County SFWA near McLeansboro, 618/773-4340

State Police propose age ban on firearms

The Illinois State Police have submitted a proposal to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) which would end firearm safety education and shooting activities for anyone under 10 years of age. The proposal, which must be approved by JCAR, would forbid parents from obtaining Illinois Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) cards for their children under age 10.


If this proposal were to become law the state would dictate to parents how and when they could pass along our history, heritage and culture to their children. No hunting. No safety education and training. No shooting sports. What's more, the proposal could force parents to store their firearms only in a manner authorized by the state.


This regulation would do nothing to curb crime and only endanger children as parents would have to delay firearm

safety education until their children were older. Furthermore, according to the National Safety Council, firearms accidents involving children are at an all-time low -- involved in less than 1% of all accidental fatalities in the United States.


Prior to considering proposed regulations, JCAR must observe a 45-day public comment period during which citizens may submit their views on the proposal, in writing, to JCAR.


Please send comments on your opposition to this change by Oct. 25, 2007 to:

Mr. John M. Hosteny

Interim Chief Legal Counsel

Illinois State Police

801 South 7th St, Suite 1000-S

P.O. Box 19461

Springfield, Illinois 62794-9461


DNR Plans Nine Meetings on Consent Decree

Will review proposed Tribal 1836 Treaty Inland Consent Decree

The Michigan DNR will host a series of nine public meetings in October and November to discuss the recent agreement of hunting, fishing and gathering rights with five Michigan Indian tribes over the Treaty of 1836. The area of Michigan impacted by this treaty is roughly the eastern half of the Upper Peninsula and the northwest one-third of the Lower Peninsula.


At the meetings, DNR staff will discuss the agreement and its impact on natural resources in the treaty area. DNR staff also will highlight what methods and harvest limits for hunting and fishing are contained in the agreement for tribal members, as well as gathering activities on public lands within the treaty area. There also will be time allowed for questions from the public on the agreement.


The agreement will be reviewed by the United States Federal Court Eastern District in Kalamazoo on Oct. 22.

Meeting schedule:

●  Escanaba, Tues, Oct. 16, 7 - 9 PM, Room 958-962, Joseph Heirman U Ctr, Bay de Noc College, 2001 N. Lincoln Rd.

●  Sault Ste. Marie, Wed, Oct. 17, 7 - 9 PM, Sault Ste. Marie High School Theatre, 904 Marquette Ave.

●  Traverse City, Thurs, Oct. 18, 7 - 9 PM, Garfield Township Hall, 3843 Veterans Dr.

●  Scottville, Tues, Oct. 23, 7 - 9 PM, Finn and Feather Club, 3276 Darr Rd.

●  Alpena, Wed, Oct. 24, 7 - 9 PM, Thunder Bay Recreation Center, 701 Woodward Ave.

●  Gaylord, Thurs, Oct. 25, 7 – 9 PM, Northland Sportsmen’s Club, 1542 Alba Rd.

●  Grand Rapids, Tues, Oct. 30, 7 – 9 PM, West Walker Sportsmen’s Club, 0-599 Leonard St. NW.

●  Dundee, Thurs, Nov. 1, 7 – 9 PM, Cabela’s, 110 Cabelas Blvd.

●  Saginaw, Tues, Nov. 5, 7 - 9 PM, Elissa Rose Banquet Ctr, 215 N. Park Ave.

Key changes in the Inland Consent Decree fly under the radar

The Traverse City Record Eagle reports several new changes have occurred recently, and they seem to have slid under the sportsman's radar. The 2007 Inland Consent Decree (ICD) between five Indian tribes, the United States Government and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was agreed to on Sept. 26.  The ICD grants the Bay Mills Indian Community, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, certain fishing, gathering and hunting rights.


"This Decree has been agreed to by all parties except the Sault tribe," said Kelley Smith, DNR Fisheries Chief. "The Sault tribe has sent it out on a referendum, and they expect their members will vote on the issue within the next three weeks."


There are certain items that haven't been discussed or are not understood by most anglers and hunters as well as non-sportsmen, and all parties should understand these key points. Some may cause concern to certain people, but the DNR says it's wise to let these things work themselves out over a period of time. The key issues include:


►This agreement allows fishing, gathering and hunting on a subsistence basis. Smith says this means collecting sufficient resources to feed a tribal family and keep them warm.


►Smith said that 4.6 million acres are involved in the ICD in the central and western third of the northern Lower Peninsula and the eastern two-thirds of the Upper Peninsula. Numerous lakes and rivers are included in both peninsulas.


►"Both state and tribal officers can enforce this Decree," Smith said. "Tribal officers can check non-tribal sportsmen but it ends there, and if necessary, they would call in a state conservation officer. Tribal members would go to tribal courts." He said the tribes have their own regulations, and the state and tribes will meet at least once a year to determine if the resources are being properly managed.


►The tribes can harvest birch bark (which, if properly done, will not damage the tree), collect sap to make maple syrup, and collect dead-and-down fire wood. The tribes cannot harvest standing timber or extract gravel, minerals or sand from state land.


►Tribal members can exercise these rights on any land open

to the public, and any Commercial Forest Act land that is 1,000 acres or larger. They may not trespass on private property without permission.


►Some exceptions to state fish and game laws exist with the tribes. If the DNR determines a lake must be completely eradicated of fish, the tribes can take those fish for commercial purposes. "However," Smith said, "it must be a complete eradication."


►Some anglers worry about gill netting in inland lakes. Smith said gill nets will be illegal to use with two exceptions. A tribal biologist can use one to check fish populations, and during a complete eradication a permit will be issued for one net for one tribal member and only for 24 hours. They must have a specified bag limit, and that harvest must be reported. There will not be a wide-open net fishery.


►There are other exceptions. Tribes will have opportunities to spear or fish with hook and line during the closed seasons for non-tribal anglers. The season in the Lower Peninsula is March 15 to the Friday before the last Saturday in April. In the Upper Peninsula, the season will be April 1 through May 14. Smith said there are sufficient safeguards built into this agreement to protect our fisheries.


►The tribal limit for deer is five animals, and the season is from the Tuesday after Labor Day through the first full week of January. The five-deer bag limit means one buck can be taken before Nov. 1 and one after Nov. 14 with a firearm. The tribes will observe a two-week quiet period before the statewide firearm deer opener. The tribal bear season will run from Sept. 10 through October, and the tribes are entitled to 10 percent of the bear and elk licenses issued.


►There are approximately 50,000 tribal members. Smith adds a final note: "Our best advice is for sportsmen to respect the tribe's rights to fish or hunt. This agreement does not impact state anglers, hunters and trappers. Give this agreement an opportunity to work, and everyone will get their fair share of the resources of this state."


A meeting concerning the 2007 Inland Consent Decree will be held Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Garfield Township Hall, 0466 W. Sharon Road SE, Fife Lake. Phone (231) 369-2483. For more details about the ICD go to www.michigan.gov/dnr   .

Dave Richey also writes a daily Weblog, and readers are invited to visit it and his other features at www.daverichey.com.  Contact him at [email protected]


Plans to Repair the Cheboygan Lock and Dam Underway

DNR officials announced that repairs to the Cheboygan Lock and Dam have begun. During construction, DNR personnel will work with the Great Lakes Tissue Company, owner of the powerhouse, to regulate the flow of water around two temporary structures that will be built to protect the on-site workers and the property above and below the dam.


The dam was originally built in 1845 and had several owners during the early years. In 1967 ownership of the dam spillways and the lock was transferred from Consumers Power Company to the DNR.


Although the dam is operating properly, damage due to erosion needs to be repaired. Construction will include the removal and replacement of components of the dam, repairs to abutments, replacement of the spillway deck, a new barrier-

free walkway and approach platforms, replacement of stone in

the plunge pool, new shoreline rip rap and site work that will include fencing, lighting, fish habitat structures, walkways and grading. Additionally, through a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a new sea lamprey control structure will be included as part of the project. When not being used for lamprey control, this new structure will be used as a fishing platform.


This project is funded by a USFWS Sportfish Restoration Funds grant, and revenue from Michigan boat registration fees and marine fuel taxes. The lock will reopen in the spring and continue to operate in the 2008 season. However, the area around the dam will be closed to public fishing. Construction is scheduled to be fully completed in late 2008.


Questions? Contact Paul Petersen, 517-335-3033.

Old missile site to become part of wildlife refuge

A 50-acre former missile site on Grosse Ile will become part of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, under an amendment approved by the U.S. Senate. The Associated Press reports a second proposal approved by the Senate and

authored by Michigan U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, will authorize a land exchange between the city of Detroit and the U.S. Coast Guard along the Detroit River waterfront, which will allow the Coast Guard to improve their operations and enable the city to connect two segments of the riverfront walk


Poachers fined $28,000

Eight men from Ohio and Michigan charged with wildlife code violations including taking hundreds of walleyes over their

limits from the Maumee River during the last two spring runs have been fined $28,000 from two municipal courts.

Boaters to benefit from dredging projects

Dredging slated for Ashtabula, Lorain, Erie and Wood counties

COLUMBUS, OH – Recreational boaters will notice improved waterway navigation at four sites on Lake Erie thanks to more than $878,000 in Recreation Harbor Evaluation Program grants, awarded by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.


The largest award is $366,000 to the Conneaut Port Authority in Ashtabula County for dredging of the marina and navigation

channels leading to Lake Erie from the Conneaut Lagoon Access.  Other grant awards include more than $364,000 for the Vermilion Port Authority to dredge recreational navigation channels leading to Lake Erie from the Vermilion Lagoons Access in Lorain County.


A grant of more than $210,000 went to the City of Huron for dredging the municipal boat basin. The City of Rossford in Wood County received more than $161,000 for excavation of the Rossford marina basin.


Wisconsin angler reels in 40 lb lake trout

By Kevin Naze

It's not a state record, but Bob Brault almost certainly set a Lake Michigan mark for a shore-caught lake trout on September 27 while fishing off the north pier in Two Rivers.


The 40 3/8", 40.2 lb monster of a laker smacked a white-and-green-faced K/O Wobbler spoon with a silver back sometime between 11:30 a.m. and noon.  The fish had at least three healed sea lamprey scars and an adipose fin clip, said Brault, who was casting with a spinning rod and using a reel spooled with 12 lb test monofilament.

The world-record hook-and-line lake trout weighed 72 pounds and was landed Aug. 19, 1995, in Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories. Lake Athabasca in Saskatchewan reportedly produced a 102 lb laker for a commercial gillnet fisherman in 1961, and more recently, a released 54” lake trout that was estimated to weigh close to 80 lbs.


Lake Superior has produced the Wisconsin and Michigan records. Wisconsin's fish was a 47-pounder taken in 1946, while Michigan's was a 61½-pounder landed in 1997. The Michigan fish broke a 51-year-old mark, also set in 1946.

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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