Week of November 26, 2007

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes


Lake Erie



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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Florida is No. 1 in fishing 

Florida reigns as the leading fishing destination, according to a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation is conducted every five years and is considered the gold standard for comparing outdoor recreational activities between the states.


Florida provided 46.3 million days of recreational fishing in 2006. Texas, the second-highest state in the survey, provided 41.1 million days. Of fishing days spent in Florida, 4.8 million days were by tourists (nonresidents), while Wisconsin, the second-highest state for tourist days, provided 3.8 million days.

In terms of nonresident anglers, Florida is also number one with 885,000, versus second-ranking North Carolina with less than half that at 395,000.  Florida again ranked first in number of fishing participants age 16 and older with 2.77 million. Runner-up Texas had 2.53 million participants. However, in 2001 Florida had 3.10 million anglers, so there has been a decline of about 11 percent over five years, according to these estimates.


Anglers in Florida spent $4.4 billion in 2006. The Lone Star State ranked second with $4.3 billion spent on fishing. Recreational fishing dollars helped to support 75,068 jobs in Florida, with Texas falling second with 58,938 jobs.

N. Carolina to use direct marketing to Increase Fishing License Sales

First-Ever Direct Mail Marketing Program from RBFF to Target Lapsed Anglers

ALEXANDRIA, VA– The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) announced that the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will participate in a direct mail marketing effort to increase fishing license sales. The direct mail toolkit, developed by RBFF to help increase participation in the sport and generate awareness of the connection between fishing license sales and conservation efforts, will be used to implement a lapsed angler recruitment program in North Carolina.


"North Carolina's involvement in the direct mail toolkit is an important step in reconnecting with lapsed anglers in the state," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "A recent study by Southwick Associates revealed that only 15% of anglers bought a license in each of the past five years.

Revenue from fishing license sales is a critical source of funding for state agency conservation and management programs. We look forward to additional state partner involvement on this program."


"North Carolina has diverse sport fishing opportunities, from Appalachian brook trout to Atlantic striped bass," said North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Interim Director Fred A. Harris. "We are excited about working with RBFF to remind our inactive license customers of the fun and excitement of fishing."


The product will include future modules to address retention and recruitment of new anglers, an online component complete with direct mail templates, instructions to implement a direct mail campaign and marketing assistance from RBFF. A workshop for states that want to use the toolkit will be held in January.


Fate of National Bison Range now a political football

House Leaders Pushing in Opposite Directions on Transferring Refuge to Tribes

Washington, DC — The National Bison Range, called the crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System, is at the center of a political tug-of-war over whether to transfer its management to a local Indian tribe, according to correspondence released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Prominent Democratic committee chairs are themselves at odds, pressing diametrically opposite courses of action upon Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.


In December 2004, over the objections of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuge managers, political appointees in the Interior Secretary’s office imposed a one-year agreement turning over half the positions, functions and funding of the National Bison Range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). Problems with the arrangement escalated until December 11, 2006, when the Fish & Wildlife Service cancelled the deal with the tribes citing both non-performance and harassment of refuge staff.


Despite this termination by the Fish & Wildlife Service, its parent agency, the Interior Department, announced its intention to negotiate a new pact, but nearly 11 months later talks remain at an impasse.


Meanwhile, Congressional leaders have weighed in on both sides. On one hand, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, joined by its ranking Republican, Rep. Don Young of Alaska has urged Interior to satisfy CSKT demands. In a November 2, 2007 letter, Reps. Rahall and Young wrote “we think it makes sense for the Tribes to manage the local Bison Range programs…”


Squaring off against Rep. Rahall is an even more senior Democrat, Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, chair of the Energy

and Commerce Committee and a seminal influence on natural resource policy. In a November 7, 2007 letter to Secretary Kempthorne, Rep. Dingell insisted that “The Department’s transfer of management responsibilities at the Complex is unsanctioned by law and unprecedented.”


Rep. Rahall is also behind legislation to make it very difficult for Interior to reject any tribal offers to take over national parks and refuges and virtually impossible to cancel those funding agreement once executed. While supporting transfer of all refuge functions to tribes, Rep. Rahall has tried to deflect concerns about his new legislation by insisting, “No unit of the National Park System would be turned over to an Indian tribe by this bill.” The legal basis for his paradoxical distinction, however, is not apparent.


“In 2004, the politicos at Interior opened a Pandora’s Box and do not know how to close it,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that an Interior Inspector General report on the matter is reportedly finished but not yet released. “The first question should be ‘What was wrong with the Bison Range agreement?’ followed by ‘How can it be fixed?’”


A key issue is how to guarantee effective management of federal lands by tribal governments which insist that their sovereign status should exempt them from federal rules and public oversight. Similarly, it is unclear how complaints by members of the public about tribal operations would be resolved and by whom. Significantly, the Rahall legislation, heard in his committee last week, excuses tribes from sanctions for non-performance or misconduct except in the most extreme circumstances.


“Lost in all the fuss is what is best for the wildlife and what furthers the mission of our national network of refuges,” Ruch added. “Regardless of whether it is federal, state, local or tribal – who manages parks and refuges matters far less than how well those lands are managed.”


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Nov 23, 2007

Weather Conditions

Rain and snow were reported in the southern Great Lakes basin this week as a low pressure center tracked through the Ohio River valley.  Mild temperatures early in the week fell quickly to much more seasonable readings by the end of the week.  The upcoming weekend will see a mix of sun and clouds with seasonable temperatures.

Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior's water level is 6 inches higher than it was at this time last year. Lake Michigan-Huron is 7 inches below its level of one year ago, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 13 to 20 inches lower than last year's levels.  All of the Great Lakes are in their period of seasonal decline and are forecasted to fall 1 to 2 inches over the next month.  Lake Superior is predicted to remain above last year's water levels through April, but the remaining lakes are forecasted to stay below their levels of a year ago.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be well below average for November. Flows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also predicted to be lower than average this month. In addition, flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are 

expected to be below average.


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





St. Clair



Level for Nov 23






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr






Coast Guard locates lost hunters

PORTAGE, Mich. - A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter located a man that was lost in the woods for more than 24 hours in the Upper Peninsula on November 20.  Michael Turpeinen of Alston, Mich., was separated from his partner while hunting in the Ottawa National Forest.


An HH-65C Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., was requested to assist the local Sheriffs Dept. with the search. After searching all day in heavy snow, park rangers spotted fresh footprints near a section of Sturgeon River.  Soon after, the Coast Guard located Turpeinen waving his hands by the river bank and hoisted him into the Helicopter at 5:25 p.m. Turpeinen was transferred to awaiting Emergency Medical Services at Houghton County Airport.


CHEBOYGAN, Mich. - An aircrew from Air Station Traverse City assisted the Cheboygan County Sheriff's Department in locating a missing hunter at 1:55 a.m. November 18 near Cheboygan, Mich. The 54-year-old hunter was missing since 5:00 p.m. Saturday, the time he told his family he would return home.  His concerned family contacted authorities.  The aircrew, using Night Vision Goggles, spotted the hunter and his small fire at 1:55 a.m. Sunday in a wooded area northwest of the intersection of Mackinaw Avenue and Stoney Pointe

Road in Cheboygan. Within 10 minutes of arriving on-scene, the aircrew directed the Cheboygan County Sheriffs, searching on the ground, to his location.


This hunter's successful rescue emphasizes the importance of a leaving a hunting plan with family or friends and carrying matches, a lighter, or signaling device. First, this hunter told his family, very specifically, where he was hunting and what time he expected to return home. Both of these pieces of information expedited his rescuers' response.  Second, he lit a small fire that staved off the cold and signaled the aircrew to his location.


Despite the lack of leaves on trees this time of year, detecting a hunter on the ground can be quite difficult from overhead.


To better the chance of detection by rescuers, the following survival equipment is strongly recommended:

• 2 Way VHF-FM radios and/or cell phone

• Cold weather survival gear

• Handheld GPS (Global Positioning System)

• Bright Orange Reflective Clothing

• Flashlight, strobe light, or other form of Illumination for Night Vision Goggle Detection

• Audible and visual signaling devices

Grant to fund Great Lakes Ph.D

$3.1M will help University at Buffalo launch waterway science doctoral program.

Buffalo - The University at Buffalo has received a $3.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to produce a new, more broadly trained breed of environmental scientist using the Great Lakes basin as a laboratory. Students in the doctoral program will integrate not only engineering and science but public policy and philosophy in planning for the restoration of waterways and other ecosystems damaged by man and nature.


"Ecosystem restoration is inherently complex because ecosystems are complex," said Alan Rabideau, professor at UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. "The restoration design process must address the hydrology, economy and the social and political environment where an ecosystem is located."


The idea for the Ecosystem Restoration through Interdisciplinary Exchange - or ERIE - program grew out of work that Rabideau and others have done on stream restoration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and an environmental consulting firm.


"While hydrologists worry about how the water flows in a stream or creek, the ecologists worry about how changes in

those flows affect the fish and other organisms that live in those waters," Rabideau said. "In many cases, the ecologists and the hydrologists don't fully understand the other's perspective."


Add in the politics and cost of projects and the complexity grows. Several Western New York waterways, including the Niagara River, flow through or abut Indian reservations - so the program will solicit input from tribes whose perspectives on the environment may conflict with Western ideas, said Don Grinde from the Department of American Studies.


Students also will work with faculty from the UB Law School, Buffalo State College, Niagara University and several Canadian universities on issues ranging from contamination problems to the effect of climate change on Great Lakes water levels.


"The goal is that graduates will be drawn to socially relevant problems and will have the interdisciplinary perspective to tackle them," Rabideau said. The five-year grant was one of 20 awarded in this year's NSF Integrative Graduate Education Research and Traineeship program. The first five to 10 students will be enrolled for the September 2008 semester. The ERIE program is expected to train 25 doctoral students over the life of the five-year grant.


Government of Canada re-introduces Bill to abolish the wasteful long-gun registry

OTTAWA, The House of Commons, on November 16 and Honorable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, re-introduced legislative amendments to eliminate the requirement for Canadians to register their non-restricted firearms.


“Our Government has made a commitment to repeal the long-gun registry and we are following through on our promise,” said Minister Day. “These legislative amendments will allow us to continue focusing on more effective measures to tackle crime and keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals. Our goal is to provide law enforcement with the tools and resources they need to combat gun violence and other serious crimes.”


These proposed amendments will support the Government’s overall strategy to tackle violent crime and keep our families and communities safe.


This bill would:

►repeal the requirement for businesses and individuals to

register non-restricted long-guns; and

►require firearms retailers to record all sales transactions of non-restricted firearms, as was the case prior to the imposition of the long-gun registry.


Gun control measures in Canada continue to include the requirement for gun owners to undergo a background check, pass a firearms safety training course, and hold a valid firearms licence before being able to acquire and possess firearms and to acquire ammunition.


These requirements, in addition to enhanced screening measures announced in Budget 2007, will help to maintain public safety for all Canadians. Individuals will also continue to be required to register prohibited and restricted firearms, such as handguns.


Canadian police officers will continue to be able to determine who is and is not in legal possession of firearms through a quick check of the Canadian Police Information Centre.

Lake Erie

The Cure for Catching Steelhead

By: Kelly Riesen

Ohio Sea Grant Extension

If a trip to Ohio fits your budget better than a plane ride to Alaska, Oregon, or Washington, you’ll sacrifice only scenery while experiencing some of the best steelhead fishing in the country.  Though the limit is two fish per person, per day, it is not uncommon for anglers to catch and release up to 20 fish in a day. This is unheard of in other areas of the country known for trout and salmon fishing.


  The Ohio Division of Wildlife stocks a spring-run strain of steelhead, so the best stream fishing is usually during the month of April. However, fish begin entering streams in northeast Ohio during late September and are actively feeding in the rivers through the winter.


  The hands-down favorite bait for catching steelhead is the spawn sac. A basic spawn sac consists of cured salmon or steelhead eggs wrapped in colored nylon netting.  There are several reasons for the popularity of spawn sacs. First, they work undeniably well in almost all conditions. Steelhead are born egg-eaters. It’s programmed into their DNA to eat their own eggs, and the eggs of other fish.


  Cold water temperatures can make fish sluggish and unwilling to bite. In this regard, spawn sacs are particularly good for winter fishing because they “milk”, or emit a pungent scent which is nearly irresistible to a steelhead.  Making your own spawn sacs is easy and cheap, but there are some tricks to making good ones that will catch more fish.  A good spawn sac should “milk”, or give off a white substance when tossed into the water. This stinky effluent is what makes the spawn sac such deadly steelhead bait.


Finding eggs is the first step. You can either catch a female steelhead and remove her eggs, or buy salmon eggs at a local outdoor retail store.  Due to current laws to protect steelhead in Ohio, you cannot buy their eggs in Ohio. Steelhead eggs are considered by many anglers to be better than salmon eggs, so if you wish to use them, you will need to catch a female steelhead.


You’ll also need an egg cure such as Pro-Cure Bait Cure, Atlas Mike’s Shake N’ Cure, or Quick Cure, which are available at outdoor retail stores. There are also many recipes online for making your own egg cure at home.  Eggs do not have to be cured to be an effective bait. However, the shelf life of an uncured egg is short, which means you would need to harvest many female steelhead over a season.


  Curing the eggs increases their shelf life, and one or two female steelhead should be enough to get you through an entire season of steelhead fishing.


  The following instructions are for making spawn sacs from a female steelhead that you have caught. Eggs bought from a store are usually already cured, and can be immediately tied into sacs and frozen. In the spring, the eggs will often be developed and loose, and can simply be squeezed out of the fish. Carry a supply of gallon-size zipper bags while you fish in case you catch a female steelhead and want to keep the eggs.


  In the fall and winter, eggs are usually not mature and will be

stuck together in the skein (the membrane which holds the

eggs together inside the fish). In this case, you will need to open the fish and remove the entire skein and eggs. Remember that it is illegal to leave dead fish carcasses on the river bank. Take the fish home with you and dispose of it or have it smoked for a tasty treat.


  At home, rinse the eggs with distilled water to remove any blood and slime. Drain the eggs well and immediately cure the eggs, following the directions on the egg cure bottle. If the eggs are stuck together in the skein, cut the entire skein into nickel-size chunks before curing.  Some commercial cures direct you to soak the eggs for more than an hour, but this often leads to over-hardening of the eggs, which lessens their “milking” quality when in the water. Allowing the eggs to cure for less than an hour will solve this problem.


  During the curing process, liquid is pulled from the egg. When you are done curing, drain the liquid off, pour the eggs onto a paper towel, and let them sit for about ten minutes. You can now freeze the cured eggs to be tied into spawn sacs another time. You can also tie a few before freezing so they’ll be ready for a spur-of-the-moment fishing trip. Baby food jars and old prescription pill bottles work well for storing the eggs, and also provide a convenient way to carry the eggs in your fishing vest.


  The cured eggs will stay good for about a year in the freezer, and can be frozen, thawed, and refrozen. If you take a jar out of the freezer to go fishing, you can simply throw them back in the freezer upon returning home. The process of freezing and thawing actually makes a better spawn sac because this will cause the egg membranes to break down. This will make the eggs softer and cause them to “milk” even more, giving off that fish-catching scent.


  Spawn sacs are arguably the best bait for guaranteed success in catching steelhead. Cure them right and you’ll have a supply to last you through the year, and the fish will fight to get on your hook.


D’Arcy Egan adds in his Plain Dealer fishing report, the early leaders in the Lake Erie Walleye Fall Frenzy fishing derby provided an indication of what is working to hook a trophy walleye after dark in the Cleveland area. Mike Miller (11.38 pounds), John Virant (10.975 pounds) and Frank Murphy (9.45 pounds) were trolling Rapala Husky Jerk lures. Joseph Miller (10.14 pounds) was casting a Husky Jerk from the shoreline.


The big walleye were all caught between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Anglers can enter the three-week derby at local bait and tackle shops are at fishcrazycharters.com.


The steelhead trout fishing has been very good from the Vermilion River to Conneaut Creek. All of the rivers were low and clearing before the Thanksgiving Day rains, which could kick off another run of big trout from Lake Erie. Bait anglers were casting spawn bags, single eggs and jigs tipped with maggots, Berkley Gulp minnows or nightcrawlers. Fly fishermen were working the deep pools with egg patterns and nymphs, or swinging a streamer through the unseasonable warm stream waters.



State Police refusing to issue FOIDs to youths

Arbitrarily setting age limit of 10 years FOID card

There's more than one way to attack the Second Amendment. And one of the most insidious ways is to make it illegal or impractical to teach the next generation how to use guns safely. But that is precisely what the Illinois state police are trying to do -- in a proposed regulation which would make it illegal to issue a Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID) to a kid under 10.


An investigation conducted by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) found that the state police are already denying FOID cards to citizens under 10 years of age. Last May, police director Larry Trent directed the FOID division staff to begin denying these young applicants. "Since that time, the State Police have used this bogus age limit as justification to deny over 200 applications," said ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson.


All this even though Illinois law does not set an age requirement for issuance of a FOID card with a parent's consent. Imposing one could have disastrous effects on Illinois' rich hunting heritage and would endanger the lives of children.


The FOID system needs to go. We're seeing what happens when government officials turn a God-given right into a privilege. First, they tell you that you have to get a government-issued card before you can own (or even touch) a firearm. Then they start putting age restrictions on who can possess a firearm. Today, it may be ten years of age. What will it be tomorrow?


Furthermore, there is one aspect in which the proposed regulation -- limiting the FOID age to 10 -- can affect you right away. For liability reasons, you will now need to lock up your guns, as long as you have kids in your home that are under 10 (and hence, unable to acquire an FOID card).  The bottom line is: rather than making more rules, the state of Illinois should be repealing the ones they have!


ACTION: Please register your opposition to this proposed regulation by contacting JCAR (the Joint Committee on 

Administrative Rules).This committee consists of legislators who are accountable to the citizens. Even though the Illinois State Police is suggesting the change, it is JCAR that will make the ultimate determination.


You can copy and paste the pre-written message below (or compose one of own) and e-mail it to:  [email protected]   


----- Pre-written message -----


Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules:

There's more than one way to attack the Second Amendment. And one of the most insidious ways is to make it illegal or impractical to teach the next generation how to use guns safely.


But that is precisely what the Illinois state police are trying to do -- in a proposed regulation which would make it illegal to issue a Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID) to a kid under 10.


Rather than making more rules, the state of Illinois should be repealing the restrictions that are limiting the God-given liberties of  its citizens. The Second Amendment protects a right, not a privilege. Nevertheless, the state of Illinois ignored the Constitution when it told gun owners they had to get a government-issued card before owning (or even touching) a firearm. Now, there are age restrictions that are being proffered. What will be next?


Furthermore, there is one aspect in which the proposed regulation -- limiting the age for acquiring an FOID card -- can affect me right away. For liability reasons, a gun owner will now need to lock up his or her guns, as long as he has kids in the home that are under 10 (and hence, unable to acquire an FOID card).


The bottom line is: rather than making more rules, the state of Illinois should be repealing the ones they have! I would strongly oppose the proposed regulation.



Counties supporting the Second Amendment

There is a growing movement to support the Second Amendment in Illinois at the county level

Currently, 60 of the 102 counties in Illinois have passed resolutions stating support of the individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms guaranteed  by the Second Amendment.  This growing movement should be noted by state lawmakers in Springfield.  Mostly symbolic, these  proclamations state support for the Second Amendment and opposition to efforts to restrict that right in the Illinois General Assembly.  For  more information on this effort, go to http://www.pro2aresolution.com/.


In general, these resolutions proclaim support of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and opposition to efforts to restrict that right that have  been proposed in the Illinois General Assembly.  While these resolutions are mostly symbolic, they should be noted by state lawmakers in  Springfield.  Clearly, the majority of elected officials at the county level, as well as their constituents, support law-abiding gun owners, even if  the leaders of certain influential counties, such as Cook County, may wish to see infringements on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms  continued, or extended, throughout all of Illinois.


Here is the resolution:


WHEREAS, the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms is guaranteed as an Individual Right under the Second Amendment to the United  States Constitution and under the Constitution of the State of Illinois, and;


WHEREAS, the Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms for defense of Life, Liberty, and Property is regarded as an Inalienable Right by the  People of _______________ County, Illinois, and:

WHEREAS, the People of _________________ County, Illinois, derive economic benefit from all safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting,  and shooting conducted within __________ County using all types of firearms allowable under the United States Constitution and the  Constitution of the State of Illinois, and;


WHEREAS, ____________ County Board, being elected to represent the People of _____________County and being duly sworn by their  Oath of Office to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Illinois, and;


WHEREAS, the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate, being elected by the People of the State of Illinois and being duly  sworn by their Oath of Office to uphold the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Illinois, and;


WHEREAS, proposed legislation under consideration by the Illinois State Legislature would infringe the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and  would ban the possession and use of firearms now employed by individual citizens of _______________ County, Illinois, for defense of Life,  Liberty and Property and would ban the possession and use of firearms now employed for safe forms of firearms recreation, hunting and  shooting conducted within ____________ County, Illinois;


NOW, THEREFORE, IT BE AND IS HEREBY RESOLVED that the People of _____________ County, Illinois, do hereby oppose the  enactment of any legislation that would infringe upon the Right of the People to keep and bear arms and consider such laws to be  unconstitutional and beyond lawful Legislative Authority!


For more info: www.pro2aresolution.com/ .


19 state properties to close for special deer reductions, Nov. 26-27, Dec. 10-11

19 state properties, 18 state parks and one nature preserve,

will be temporarily closed to the general public, Nov. 26-27

and Dec. 10-11, for special deer reduction efforts. Properties:  www.in.gov/newsroom.htm?detailContent=113_12822.htm


Fisheries Visitor Center Hosts Open House Dec 1

The Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center in Oden is hosting an open house on Saturday, Dec. 1, from noon until 3 p.m.  “The public is invited to help us kick off our winter program season,” said Maureen Jacobs, visitor center interpreter. “We’ve got several fun activities planned to get families enjoying the out-of-doors.”


There will be food and refreshments, plaster animal track making for the kids, snowshoeing (weather permitting), the train car museum, free fish food for the show pond, catch-and-

release fishing, free holiday wrapping for all items purchased from the gift store, a hatchery tour and more. The event also is an opportunity to meet the members of the center*s new nonprofit community-supported friends group.


The Center is located on US-31 in Oden, about five miles east of Petoskey. During the winter months, the visitor center is open only during special programs. Tours of the Oden State Fish Hatchery are available by reservation. Please call (231) 348-0998 for the winter program schedule.


Fish house and dark house licensing changes greet ice anglers

Changes to fish house rules during the close of the 2007 Legislative session will greet anglers in Minnesota this ice fishing season, particularly those leaving such structures unattended on the ice overnight. The Minnesota DNR expects the changes to generate some questions since the 2007 Fishing Regulations Handbook does not reflect the new statute language.


Col. Mike Hamm, DNR's chief conservation officer, said the changes are pretty straightforward. "If you haul a fish house out and leave it unattended on the ice overnight, it needs a fish house license," Hamm said. The rule change applies to both dark houses and fish houses.


The legal definition for a "fish house" means a structure set on

the ice of state waters to provide shelter while taking fish by



For a fish house or a dark house to require a shelter license, it has to be left unattended on the ice overnight and used for taking fish. "Overnight" is defined as the hours between sunset and sunrise outlined in the DNR's sunrise/sunset tables in the 2007 Fishing Regulations Handbook. 


Also under new provisions of the statute, residents and nonresidents are treated the same. This means in most cases a nonresident using a fish house during daylight hours will not need a fish house license. Likewise, if a nonresident angler is found occupying a fish house during the night, no fish house license will be required. However, if a nonresident places a fish house on a lake and leaves it unattended overnight, a nonresident shelter license will be required.

New apprentice hunter program draws 2,700 participants

Data compiled by the Minnesota DNR indicates that more than 2,700 Minnesotans took advantage of an innovative new program designed to encourage participation in the pastime of hunting.


The DNR's new apprentice hunter validation permit has been issued to more than 2,721 hunters since it became available earlier this year. The $3.50 permit allows Minnesota residents 12 and older, who normally would be required to possess a firearms safety certificate, to hunt without that certificate for one year.


Under the program, first-time hunters must be accompanied by and stay within visual and unassisted voice contact of a licensed adult hunter who has a firearms safety certificate or is exempt from the requirement. When these rules are followed, apprentice hunter programs have been proven to be



Jay Johnson, DNR hunting recruitment and retention coordinator, said the new permit was developed to create a hands-on, participatory opportunity for more people to learn about hunting, hunting ethics and the conservation philosophy that is integral to the sport from those who know it best. "This program," he said, "allows individuals to learn and begin their development into the next generation of hunter/conservationists even if, initially, they don't have a firearms safety certificate."


"The Apprentice Hunter Validation Program is just one arrow in the quiver of the DNR's recruitment and retention efforts," Johnson said.  "It, along with special youth hunts, National Archery in the Schools and Becoming an Outdoors Women programs, all are working to remove barriers to participation and inspire enthusiasm for the sport."

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

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

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