Week of November 30, 2009

Misc New Fishing-Boating Products
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues


2nd Amendment issues
Lake Huron

Other Breaking News Items
  • High court to decide if property lines should change with tide

    The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision by late June.

  • Carp battle not over yet

    Biologist says Asian fish need right conditions to breed in lake.  "If a few fish get into the Great Lakes, it's not game over," said Chapman, a U.S. Geological Survey researcher who has made a career out of studying the fish on the heavily infested Missouri River.

  • Millions of Pounds of Dead Carp for Sale in Utah
    Utah wants to remove about 50 million pounds of carp from Utah Lake to restore the ecological balance and help the endangered June sucker.

  • EDITORIAL: Close the waterways and poison the carp
    If finding evidence of Asian carp within a few miles of Lake Michigan isn't an emergency for the Great Lakes, what in the world is?

  • Asian carp worries fishermen
    The fishermen along the Illinois and Indiana shore don't mind the cold when yellow perch flirt with a line like they did Monday. They don't mind much of anything if the fish are biting. And that's why they're worried about the Asian carp.

  • Asian carp pose 'catastrophic' threat to Great Lakes
    If Asian carp get to the Great Lakes, it could be “catastrophic,” the Ontario Commercial Fisheries Association’s executive director said Monday.

  • Asian carp invasion: Prepare for the worst
    Anglers in the Great Lakes watershed better fish as much as possible in the next decade. Chances are that Asian carp may enter the world’s biggest freshwater reservoir, auguring a potential disaster for many of our sport fisheries.

  • The incredible, indelible cormorant
    Along with the ducks, geese, and gulls that frequent the waters of Milwaukee is a bird that may be less familiar to most landlubbers: the cormorant. But appreciation for cormorants here has waxed and waned over the past century as human and bird have repeatedly crossed paths.

  • EDITORIAL: Close the gates
    The Asian carp appears to be not only on the doorstep of the Great Lakes, it's managed to push the door ajar and is trying to wriggle through. But before we get used to adding a carp menu to Friday fish fries, there are still some things authorities can do to prevent a full-scale invasion.

  • EDITORIAL: Keep those monster carp out
    No need to cue the "Jaws" soundtrack. They don't eat people. But the giant Asian carp threatening to invade and terribly disrupt Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes must be stopped.


       Weekly News Archives


       New Product  Archives

Misc New Fishing-Boating Products

Cyber Santa fills stockings with ice, no matter if you’re naughty or nice

There’s no such thing as the angler who has everything. There’s always room to cram one more lure in the tackle tray, forcing the lid shut. Every garage stall has shelf space for one final fishing gadget. If it doesn’t, put in another shelf. Cut and dry, if it’s gifted, and built for catching fish, you’ll gladly receive it (even if you have one like it)and create space for it (even if a physical assessment says there’s no room at the inn).


Macho Minnow

Realizing you can’t miss with a fishing trinket, there’s still wisdom in buying smart and seeking what’s new and hot. Here are a few gift ideas for the ice angler in your life:


Let’s start small, and budget-minded. About a decade ago, Northland Fishing Tackle changed ice fishing forever with the Buck-Shot Rattle Spoon. The deliberately noisy jigging spoon remains the standard by which all ice fishing lures are judged. Well, it seems there’s a new benchmark on the frozen lakes for 09-10:


The dynamic lure has dazzling action that drives fish bonkers. A beveled brass body causes it to randomly slip out and away on the drop. Once locked and loaded, the Macho Minnow’s signature KickerTail Fin gives it life, flashing-fin like a distressed minnow… or disgruntled elf kicking and screaming. It comes in a spectrum of six sizes and ten colors, from 1/12-ounce panfish punishers up to the predator pleasing ¾-ouncer.  www.northlandtackle.com


About $4.39 to $5.79


MarCum VX-1 Flasher

Can’t find a jig without a flasher? “Finding” of course means spying it under the ice on a sonar screen. MarCum Technologies just made owning high-definition electronics that much easier on the wallet.  The VX-1, despite its entry-level price, affords most of MarCum’s signature and patented features. It all starts with output, massive output. Peak-to-peak, the VX-1 delivers 1,000 watts of unchallenged power to locate your jig – bottom, weeds, fish, etc. – and return a signal that competing models in its price-range cannot.


Other remarkable features include a super bright display for superb daytime viewing, even on the brightest afternoons. A patented interference rejection system lets you fish in tight quarters without picking up clutter from buddy’s flasher, regardless of what brand he fishes. Last but not least, the LX-1’s Bottom Zoom feature helps dial-in low-lying fish like walleyes and sauger.


This IS the gift that keeps on giving… www.marcumtech.com   


About $299.00


Snosuit Gauntlet Gloves

Also available in Mitt style

You know those junked choppers with the ragged linings crinkled-up on the closet floor? Throw ‘em out, or re-gift them as a practical joke to a loved one. Because if your wishes come true, there’ll be a brand spanking new set of Snosuit

Gauntlet Gloves hung by your chimney with care.


Perhaps the ultimate gift – based on return on investment – the Gauntlet Gloves were intuitively designed with the climate conditions of an ice fishing expedition in mind. From the snow to the icy chill to the wetness, Snosuit has you covered.

Santa would die for (metaphorically) protection like this. SnoShell waterproof, windproof and breathable technology make sleet and snow non-factors. SnoCore Micro Fiber Thermal Insulation turns howling rooftop winds into summer breezes. 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material keeps you noticeable on the ice and Santa visible to low-flying aircraft. And a bonus treatment of DuPont™ Teflon® Fabric Protector keep the Gauntlet Gloves in fine physical condition, even while cleaning-up after the reindeer.


About $49.99




Frabill 1662 Pro Thermal Tip-up

It’ll be unmistakable under the tree gift wrapped without a box – much like a paperback book or lamp. The discus-shaped Frabill 1662 Pro Thermal Tip-Up is classic in form, but unique from other family members in that it comes packaged with 50 yards of line, a line marker, depth finder, and a 1677 Lil’ Shiner Tip-Up Light. It’s ready for deployment straight off the shelf.


The wonderment behind Frabill’s entire series of Pro-Thermal Tip-Ups is their capacity to operate ice-free. The circular, hole-sealing tip-up is completely insulated. Neither wind, nor rain, nor snow, nor the blow of Old Man Winter is going to wreck your day. Same goes for Santa; he’s a real trooper.


About $29.99




StrikeMaster Glide-Lite sled

Like Christmas, ice fishing has an official sleigh. It’s not strung with jingle-bells or navigated by Rudolph, but it, too, carries a precious payload. StrikeMaster’s inventive Glide-Lite pull-behind sled was dreamed-up explicitly for toting ice fishing gear, and with ease. 


Fortified by the time-honored roto-molding process, the Glide-Lite yields mega-storage for ice fishing essentials;  i.e. a flasher, underwater camera, and tackle boxes. In its rear, the transport unit sports holders for a half dozen rod and reel combos. The seating arrangement serves two purposes as well. Drop in a Frabill Sit-N-Fish or other 5 or 6 gallon bucket, and voila, there’s a place to rest your haunches as well as store your day’s catch.


About $79.99



Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

MI - Hunting Seasons Re-open for Ruffed Grouse and Pheasant

The Michigan DNR is reminding small-game hunters that the season on ruffed grouse and pheasant reopens Tuesday, Dec. 1, and runs through Jan. 1. Grouse season is open statewide with a limit of five per day, 10 in possession, in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula (Zones 1 and 2) and a limit of three per day, six in possession in southern Michigan (Zone 3).


Pheasant hunting resumes across much of southern 

Michigan, east of U.S. 131 and south of M-20 and US 10 .Check the 2009 Michigan Hunting and Trapping Guide for exact boundaries. The limit is two roosters daily, four in possession.


“Bird hunters often find opportunity in the late season in areas that were too wet earlier in the year, but can be accessed in December because the standing water is frozen,” explained DNR upland game bird biologist Al Stewart. “Hunters who concentrate in high-quality habitat should still be able to find birds.”

IL - First Weekend Deer Season Harvest Totals 66,126

Hunters will resume firearm deer season Dec. 3-6

The Illinois DNR) reports that hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 66,126 deer during the opening weekend of the 2009 Illinois Firearm Deer season, Nov. 20-22.  The second portion of the firearm season will be Dec. 3-6.


The preliminary total for the first three days of the 2009 firearm season compares with the first weekend harvest of 71,894 deer during the 2008 deer season.  The top county harvest total last weekend was in Pike with 2,012 deer, followed by Fulton (1,725), Adams (1,614), Jefferson (1,606), and Randolph (1,576).  For the entire seven-day firearm season in 2008, hunters harvested 106,018 deer.  The preliminary first-season figures reported for each county include those deer taken on special hunt areas within that county as well as on private land.


“Standing corn was a significant factor affecting hunter success for the first weekend of firearm deer hunting this year,” said IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager Paul Shelton.  “The wet weather this fall has delayed corn harvest in many locations, and that makes it tougher for hunters to find deer.  Only 60% of corn had been harvested statewide during

the gun season, while the 5-year average is 98% harvested at that time.  The good news is that there is still a lot of deer hunting left, so loads of opportunities remain for Illinois hunters.”


You can register your deer harvest online through the IDNR web site or by phoning 1-866-ILCHECK (1-866-452-4325) by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest.  Hunters in Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties take their deer to county check stations where the IDNR registers the deer and conducts sampling for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Sixty percent of the deer taken during the first weekend of firearm hunting were bucks, compared with 59 percent bucks taken during the first weekend of the firearm season in 2008. 


The Illinois firearm deer season ends Dec. 3-6.  The muzzleloader-only deer season is Dec. 11-13.  The expanded, split Late-Winter Antlerless-only Firearm and the Special CWD deer seasons (both in select counties only) are Dec. 31-Jan. 3, 2010 and Jan. 15-17, 2010.  The state’s 2009-2010 Archery Deer Season continues through Jan. 17 (except closed in firearm counties during the second firearm season Dec. 3-6). 



ClimateGate Scandal

In the wake of the ClimateGate scandal that erupted last week, the Competitive Enterprise Institute took legal action against several government agencies to force disclosure of public documents.  In a post to Pajamasmedia.com,


CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner, author of Red Hot Lies, explains: "The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding “Climategate” scandal revealing document destruction, coordinated efforts in the U.S. and UK to avoid

complying with both countries’ freedom of information laws, and apparent and widespread intent to defraud at the highest levels of international climate science bodies.


Numerous informed commenters had alleged such behavior for years, all of which appears to be affirmed by leaked emails, computer code, and other data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK’s East Anglia University."

Read all about the legal action on Pajamasmedia.com


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Nov. 27, 2009

Weather Conditions

Early this week above normal temperatures were recorded across the Great Lakes basin.  As low pressure moves to Great Lakes region on Thanksgiving Day, expect a mix of rain and snow. The best chance for an inch of wet snow accumulation will be across the higher terrain of the basin with snow showers possibly continuing into Sunday morning.  To date in November precipitation across the Great Lakes basin is below average. Sharply colder temperatures are expected to arrive for the weekend and persist into next week.

Lake Level Conditions

All of the Great Lakes except for Lake Ontario remain several inches higher than their levels of a year ago. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 3, 11, 7, and 5 inches, respectively, higher than their levels last year at this time. Lake Ontario is 1 inch below its level of year ago. The water levels of Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair are expected to decline by 3, 2, and 1 inches, respectively, over the next month. The levels of Lake Erie and Ontario are projected to remain steady over the next 30 days. Over the next several months, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan-Huron and Lake St. Clair are forecasted to be above their water levels of a year ago. Lakes Erie and Ontario are forecasted to remain near or below last year's levels over the same time period. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In October, the outflow from Lake Superior through the St. Mary's River and the outflow from Lake Michigan-Huron


through the St. Clair River were below average. The flow in the Detroit River was also below average. The Niagara River carried near average flows during October, while the outflow from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River was above average in October. 


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 27












Datum, in ft






Diff in inches











Diff last month












Diff from last yr











Toledo man sentenced for making false distress call to Coast Guard 

CLEVELAND - Frederico C. Flores, 22, of Toledo, Ohio, was sentenced last week to three years supervised release with standard and special conditions, and ordered to pay $112,735 in restitution to the U.S. Coast Guard for making a false distress call to the U.S. Coast Guard on March 12, 2009.


Flores, who pled guilty on June 29, 2009, utilized a hand-held VHF radio and transmitted several false distress calls, over channel 16, to U.S.  Coast Guard Sector Detroit during a 27-hour time frame. The false distress calls were transmitted from an apartment complex in Toledo, and caused numerous Coast Guard and local emergency  response assets to search for hours for, what was believed to be, a vessel in distress.  The cost of the search exceeded $112,000.


A coordinated effort between U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit,

U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service and the Federal Communications  Commission, determined the source and location of the transmission and led to the arrest of Flores.


Anyone who knowingly and willfully communicates a false distress message to the U.S. Coast Guard or causes the Coast Guard to attempt to  save lives and property when no help is needed is a violation of 14 U.S. Code 88(c).  The penalties for this federal felony can include up to six  years in prison; $250,000 fine; $5,000 civil penalty and the possible reimbursement to the U.S. Coast Guard for performing the search.


For additional information on false distress calls, also known as hoax calls, contact the Ninth Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office at (216)  902-6020.


2nd Amendment Issues

Overwhelming Support for Incorporation of the Second Amendment 

On November 16, the NRA filed its brief with the U.S. Supreme Court as Respondent in Support of Petitioner in  McDonald v. City of Chicago. The NRA brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local  governments through the Fourteenth Amendment.


Last week, an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate signed an amicus curiae,  or "friend of the court," brief supporting the NRA's position that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the states through the  Fourteenth Amendment. The amicus brief bears the signatures of a record 251 Members of Congress and 58 Senators—the most signers of a  congressional amicus brief in the history of the Supreme Court (in last year's historic Heller case, a then-record 55 Senators and 250  Representatives signed an amicus brief supporting the Second Amendment as an individual right). 


The McDonald case is one of several that were filed immediately after last year's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Court  upheld the Second Amendment as an individual right and invalidated Washington, D.C.'s ban on handgun possession, as well as the capital  city's ban on keeping loaded, operable firearms for self-defense in the home.


In September, the Supreme Court agreed to consider the McDonald case, on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for

the Seventh Circuit.  That court incorrectly claimed that prior Supreme Court precedent prevented it from holding in favor of

incorporation of the Second  Amendment. As we argued at the time, the Seventh Circuit should have followed the lead of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in  Nordica v. King, which found that Supreme Court precedent does not prevent the Second Amendment from applying to the states through the  Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause.


In addition to the federal brief, a large bipartisan group of state legislators and other elected officials from all 50 states, along with more than  three-fourths of state attorneys general also filed amicus curiae briefs in the McDonald case this week.  They, too, are supporting the NRA's  position that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.


The state legislators' brief bears the signatures of 891 state legislators and other elected officials—including two governors and three  lieutenant governors.  The state attorneys' general brief was prepared by the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) and bears the  signatures of attorneys general from 38 states.  Both of these briefs were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.  (To see a copy of the  state legislators' brief, please click here.  To see a copy of the state attorneys' general brief, please click here.)


Chicago has had a handgun ban and other restrictive gun laws in place for 27 years. The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on  McDonald v. the City of Chicago case in February 2010.

Current law on Militias

"The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age. The classes of the militia are (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard,


and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members on the militia who are not members of the National Guard."

Title 10 Section 311(a) of the United States Code

Bipartisan Majority of Attorneys General File Brief Supporting Second Amendment

Fairfax, Va. -- An overwhelming, bipartisan majority of attorneys general have signed an amicus curiae, or "friend of the court," brief supporting the NRA’s position that the Second Amendment is incorporated against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. The amicus brief, prepared by the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and bearing the signatures of attorneys general from 38 states, was filed with

the U.S. Supreme Court November 23. 2009 in the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago.


Last week, the NRA filed its brief with the Supreme Court as Respondent in Support of Petitioner in the McDonald case. The NRA brief asks the Court to hold that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment.


What’s to like about Wind Farms?

There are many proposals for offshore and onshore wind farms. We oppose all wind farms – offshore and onshore - for many reasons; all the right ones.


Environmentally, esthetically, economically and from a conservation perspective, they are wrong. They create noise, lower residential property values; destroy ranges for wildlife and cattle and compromise pristine wilderness and shorelines. They indiscriminately kill wild birds, endangered birds, all kinds of birds; numerous birds and their habitats. They adversely affect bats, killing millions of them yearly, thus increasing mosquitoes and subsequently requiring more chemical spraying. They have a negative and deadly impact on



Electricity produced by wind farms costs more than that produced by traditional energy sources, they threaten crop production, dry up and heat regional soils affecting agriculture and exacerbating droughts.  Wind farms require massive governmental subsidies. They only produce energy when the wind is blowing.


Folks may say the want them, but not in their own back yards. They are not an environmentally friendly power source.


So,…What's to like about them?

Lake Huron

Walleye in Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay carry less PCB contamination than a decade ago

Walleye swimming in Michigan’s largest watershed are 80 percent less contaminated with PCBs than they were in 1997, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Great Lakes Research.


PCBs are toxic, potentially cancer-causing chemicals that were used in electrical insulators, hydraulic equipment and some paints. The U.S. and many other countries banned PCB production in the 1970s and 1980s


PCB levels in Saginaw Bay walleye have dropped 80 percent since 1997, said study author Chuck Madenjian, a fishery biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center. He credits the drop to a dredging project in 2000 and 2001 that pulled more than 340,000 cubic yards of polluted sediment out of the Saginaw River, the bay’s main tributary.


“This dredging was really effective in bringing down those concentrations to some really low levels,” said Madenjian,


That’s good news for Saginaw Bay’s world-class walleye fishery, said Michelle Selzer, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s coordinator for the Saginaw River and Bay Area of Concern. Areas of Concern are 43 highly contaminated sections of the Great Lakes designated by the U.S. and Canadian governments.


“The fish are our ambassadors,” she said. “They’re telling us something.”


What they’re telling us is that environmental laws like the Clean Water Act that crack down on industrial water pollution are working, she said. The laws aren’t perfect, but they give environmental agencies a chance to target and clean old pollution hotspots like the Saginaw River’s PCB deposits.

General Motors Corp. factories and municipal wastewater treatment plants dumped PCBs in the Saginaw River beginning in the 1940s, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1998, that agency, the state of Michigan and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe reached a settlement with General Motors Corp. and the cities of Saginaw and Bay City, Mich. to pay for the dredging.


Though the PCBs were dredged nearly a decade ago, this new evidence of cleaner fish is still significant because scooping polluted dirt out of a waterbody doesn’t always mean wildlife gets cleaner, Madenjian said.


“You would expect in general that it would happen, but sometimes you get mixed results,” he said.


A 1997 project that pulled 100,000 cubic yards of DDT-laced sediment out of San Francisco Bay left some fish more contaminated than they were before the dredging.


Madenjian tested fish from the Tittabawassee River, a tributary of the Saginaw River that eventually flows into Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. When Saginaw Bay walleye swim upstream to spawn, most head up that river system until they hit a dam on the Tittabawassee River on Dow Chemical Co. property in Midland, Mich., Madenjian said.


“You have the bulk of the spawners from the entire bay being concentrated right there at this Dow dam,” he said.  Dow Chemical is responsible for widespread dioxin contamination in the Saginaw Bay watershed. Dow, Michigan’s environmental agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently reached a tentative agreement on a plan for the chemical company’s dioxin cleanup. The plan is open for public comment until Dec. 17.



Bass fingerlings to boost Fort Wayne fishing

FORT WAYNE – The Indiana DNR continued efforts to improve fishing opportunities in Fort Wayne by recently stocking 780 largemouth bass into the ponds at Lakeside Park. The stocking is part of the “Fishin’ in the Fort” program initiated in 2008 with the Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department. The program aims to evaluate local fish populations, improve fishing around the city, and encourage youth to participate in outdoor activities.


The bass, approximately one to three inches long, were surplus fingerlings from this year’s state hatchery production and were stocked to prey on small sunfish.


“A fish population survey in 2008 showed that bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish were very abundant and exhibited slow growth rates,” said DNR fisheries biologist Nate Thomas.  “Similarly, few bass were captured in the survey, indicating there were not enough predators to control the sunfish



Thomas expects the largemouth bass to have noticeable effects in the next three to four years. Bass stocked this fall may limit sunfish reproduction in the spring by feeding on their fry. With a couple of years, he said the bass will be large enough to prey on adult sunfish. He said the stocking will provide potentially more and bigger bass for anglers and with less sunfish, bluegill fishing also should improve.


“It’s all an effort to create balance among predators and their prey,” Thomas said. “This will help provide better fishing in the future.”


The DNR also stocked surplus largemouth bass in Cemetery Pond near J. Edward Roush Lake, Hominy Ridge pond near Salamonie Reservoir, and Bostwick’s Pond near Missisinewa Reservoir.


Swap a used coat for admission to state parks

The Michigan DNR and the Salvation Army’s "Coats for Kids" program are helping families bundle  up and enjoy Michigan’s outdoors.  "Coats for Kids" encourages the public to bring gently used coats to one of 16 state parks on Saturday, Dec. 5 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. In  return, donors will receive free entrance to the park for the day.


They are: Bay City State Recreation Area, Fort Custer State Recreation Area, Harrisville State Park, Interlochen State Park, Island Lake State  Recreation Area, Leelanau State Park, Ludington State Park, Maybury State Park, Muskegon State Park, Pinckney State Recreation Area,  Pontiac Lake State Recreation Area, South Higgins Lake State Park, William C. Sterling State Park, Tawas Point State Park, Traverse City State  Park and Warren Dunes State Park.


This is the Salvation Army’s 24th year for the project but its first partnership with the DNR, said Roger Snider, director of the

Salvation Army’s  Western Michigan and Northern Indiana Division, based in Grand Rapids.  He said the organization “strives to help our neighbors in need and encourage communities and neighbors to step up and help each other.”


Maia Stephens, a DNR recreational programmer, said this is the first of many partnerships the department hopes to set up in the next year.

“We are looking for new ways to give back to the community,” she said.  The partnership is also part of the DNR’s GO-Get Outdoors campaign to encourage children to experience Michigan’s wildlife.


The GO-Get Outdoors campaign sponsors more than 500 events yearly, from learning how to ski and kayak to teaching environmental  stewardship, said Stephens. “We want people to see this as an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in a season when people wouldn’t normally think to spend a day at a  state park.”

Old fish makes new Great Lakes comeback

LANSING—Lake sturgeon, one of the oldest surviving species from prehistoric times, is making a small comeback in the Great Lakes region. “They’ve increased about a couple of percent since their lowest numbers, but at least the populations aren’t going down anymore,” said Bruce  Manny, a fishery biologist for the USGS Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor.  The increase is due in part to a spawning project in Black Lake, an inland lake in Cheboygan County.


According to a report in the Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 40 % of the lake sturgeon released into Black Lake as part of the project  survived their first winter, but Manny said, there are no estimates on the actual number due to a lack of comprehensive studies.


Gary Towns, the Southfield-based Department of Natural Resources’ lake sturgeon coordinator for Lake Erie, said industrialization has  eliminated most of the sturgeon’s traditional spawning grounds.  Towns said reefs built along the Detroit River are beginning to attract some spawning sturgeons.  “They might all die or get eaten, but at least they’re spawning,” he said.

According to Manny, there are about 2,000 sturgeon in Lake Erie, 20,000-25,000 in Lake Huron and 45,000 in Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago. “We’re hoping that things are turning around because they’re an interesting and critical part of the ecosystem,” Towns said.


To aid the turnaround in population, the DNR enforces extremely restrictive fishing requirements for sturgeon, including a special license and  limits on how many fish may be caught and held per year.  Manny describes the fish as an environmental barometer that can be used to test the quality of drinking water.  “If these fish can reproduce and thrive, we can say the source from which we draw our water is safe,” he said.


Jim Boise, a fishery biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Waterford, points to a remediation site in the Trenton Channel on the  Detroit River in Riverview as potential spawning ground for sturgeon. Chemical giant BASF Corp. cleaned up the site which Boase said is now regarded as a possible spawning area.




Hunting season a bonanza for many area businesses

Ohio businesses share in more than $859 million spent annually by hunters throughout the Buckeye State, according

 to information from the  latest U.S. Fish and Wildlife economic impact survey.


Musky anglers get holiday bonus: a longer season

Southern zone musky season runs through Dec. 31

MADISON –Musky anglers may find a trophy fish in their stockings this holiday season.  The southern zone musky season is open through Dec. 31, giving anglers another month to land a trophy like this 50-plus incher Jeff Hanson caught in the Madison chain of lakes.


They have another month – until the end of December -- to fish for the famed fighters in Wisconsin waters south of U.S. Highway 10.


“We’re happy to provide the anglers of Wisconsin with a holiday bonus: an opportunity to fish at a time of the year when many trophy fish are caught,” says Mike Staggs, Wisconsin’s fisheries director.


The longer season for the southern zone waters was approved by anglers during the 2008 spring rule hearings, and was initiated and guided through the process by the Capital City Chapter of Muskies Inc. and Scot Stewart, Department of Natural Resources fisheries supervisor for south central Wisconsin.


Several factors came together to make the longer season a reality, Stewart says. For starters, there is little or no reproduction in southern waters – the fish are raised at DNR hatcheries and stocked -- so there is no impact on spawning fish of a longer season.


In addition, protective regulations and a catch and release ethic that means that 98 percent of all musky caught are released, also convinced Stewart and the Cap City Chapter of Muskies Inc. that there wouldn’t be any harm and that a longer season was worth the effort to get a season extension through the rules process.


Jim Olson, president of Cap City Muskies, also noted that another reason for the season extension was the fact that southern lakes are freezing over later in the year, allowing 

boats on the lakes later. “The State Climatology Office has records dating to 1850. The median date for Monona to freeze over is December 15 and for Wingra is November 29. However, in the last 10 years the median date for Monona to freeze over has been December 28 and five times in the last 10 years Monona has not frozen over until January,” he said.


His research also indicates that above normal weather is predicted for December 2009, so we will probably have open water on Monona for much, if not all, of December.”


Olson notes that the late fall has traditionally been a good time to fish “so it will be interesting to see if that trend extends through December. In northern Wisconsin, typically the largest fish are caught later in the fall, so if you translate that to southern Wisconsin, it might mean some good fishing late in the year.”


“There were two muskies that we know of, that were caught and released by club members that exceeded 50 inches – and that is the mark that everyone shoots for.”


Olson plans to be out in his boat, taking advantage of the new opportunity and hoping the Madison lakes give up a lunker.  Stewart expects he’ll have plenty of company.  “I went over to the Olin boat ramp (on Madison’s Lake Monona) Sunday and it was pretty full. I know the trucks and they are all musky anglers. They are definitely out fishing right now, and unless the weather gets too nasty, I expect that to continue.”


The southern zone musky season closes Dec. 31. While there is a 45 inch minimum length limit for fish caught and kept from the Madison lakes, the southern zone regulations call for a 34 inch minimum size length and a daily bag of one. For regulations specific to the water you plan to fish, check the 2009-2010 Guide to Hook and Line Regulations.


Find lists of musky waters in Wisconsin, and more information on muskellunge and musky fishing on the Wisconsin Musky page of the DNR Web site.


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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