Week of December 13 , 2010

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National

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Jobs available
General

Illinois
Indiana
Michigan

New York
Wisconsin
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Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

DPMS offers unassembled barrel kits

All barrel kits are unassembled, the bolts and barrels are headspaced. DPMS recommends that you have a trained gunsmith assemble your barrel kit. Kits included are the 16" AP4, 24" Fluted and 24" Lo Pro Fluted. MSRPs are $399.00-429.00

 

The 16" AP4 Stripped Barrel Kit example

Description:

 Stripped Barrel Kit

16" AP4 Contour Barrel

Chrome-Moly Steel

A3 Flat Top Upper

1-9 Twist

Chambered in 5.56x45mm

Complete Bolt Carrier Assembly

GlacierGuards™

Forged front sight base

Barrel and Bolt are headspaced

 

About $399.00

 

dpms@dpmsinc.com          800-578-3767

www.dpmsinc.com/


National

Ashe nominated as New FWS Director

President Barack Obama has nominated Dan Ashe to be the next Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).  If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Ashe will succeed Sam Hamilton who passed away last February while serving as Director. 

Ashe has worked for the FWS since 1995 and has held a number of positions including Science Advisor to the Director, Chief of the National Refuge System, and Assistant Director for External Affairs.  Currently, Ashe is serving as Deputy Director of the FWS. 


Regional

How to ice fish for panfish, pike and walleye

Panfish, northern pike and walleye are most frequently caught in the winter, with 11.7 million, 866,000, and 750,000, respectively, based on the mail survey results. Four northern Wisconsin fish biologists who are avid ice fishermen share their secrets for success in targeting the big three:

 

Panfish

"Panfish are creatures of habit and habitat. They tend to be in the same general areas every winter. Don’t waste a lot of time looking for that secret honey hole away from the crowds. You’re probably just moving away from the fish. Instead, getting out there at the crack of dawn may put you on a hot bite before ever-increasing crowd activity puts the fish off. Most any tackle works when panfish are in a biting mood but most of time they will be in a neutral or negative mood.

 

Light tackle is a big advantage to tease out a bite from reluctant fish. Quality 2- or 3-pound test mono with a limber rod to absorb any sudden shocks will handle most panfish situations. The line should stay soft and supple in the cold. If your tear drop can’t pull the kinks out you’re not even going to detect bites that could have been a fish in the bucket. Bobbers are still popular bite detectors but the smallest one possible that barely holds the bait up is best. Even then bites won’t always take the bobber down. It takes some experience to learn when to set a hook on a bobber wiggle.

 

Wire or spring steel bite detectors on the end of the rod are the most sensitive. They also let you detect bites while you raise or lower your bait. Slowly pulling your bait up and away from a fish you spot on your fish finder often triggers a strike. On good bite days, fish are actively milling around and you can sit in one spot and wait for the fish. On slow days, the fish are pretty stationary. If you drop a bait right down on a resting school you’ll often get one or two to bite right away and then nothing bites even if you can still see fish on your finder. Since fish aren’t moving, you have to move from hole to hole picking up a few here and there for a meal." - Larry Damman, fisheries biologist, Spooner

 

Northern Pike

"When pike are active during early ice there is really no best time to fish. That's one of the reasons pike are so popular during winter - morning, mid-day, or afternoon can all be excellent times to catch pike. My advice? Keep it simple. Don't out-think your opponent. Pike are low on the evolutionary scale and supposedly have a brain that is 1/1305 of its body weight (Becker 1983). No need to get too fancy. Also, split the difference. Many anglers when setting tip-ups place their bait a certain distance off the bottom. For example, say water depth is 12 feet. Find bottom and set your bait one or two feet off

 

bottom.

 

If you are fishing in vegetation, my general rule is to think in halves. Twelve feet of water –put your bait at six feet. This serves two purposes. First, vegetation is still occupying a fair portion of the water column at early ice. If you place you bait based on x feet from the bottom there is a good chance it’s in the vegetation. No sight – no bite. Second, predators like northern pike cruise the water column. Even if they are near the bottom they can find prey above them. The opposite is less likely to be true." - Terry Margenau, fisheries supervisor, Spooner

 
Walleye

"Our surveys show that this is the best time all winter to put a walleye on the ice. Caution should be used at this time of year as ice thickness can very greatly even on the same body of water.

 

Walleye will be on the feed during this time period and frequenting the same places they were looking for a meal in late summer and fall. Deep weed flats and outside edges are the key sites to look for. Once ice and snow are on a lake finding these sites on your favorite lake may be difficult. Open water scouting and a GPS make finding these spots much easier and saves a lot of hole drilling. Walk softly on the ice and set up and wait away from your tip ups. Too much commotion on only a few inches of clear ice will spook fish.

 

Most anglers use tip ups, though jigging can also be very effective, baited with small sucker or medium golden shiners. Set some tip ups with each because on some lakes walleye sometimes show a preference for one over the other. Use light monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders (6- to 10-pound test) that are 2-plus feet long. Also try to use smaller sharp #10 or #8 (even #12) treble hooks because this makes the bait look more natural." - Steve Gilbert, fisheries biologist, Woodruff

 

"My trick for walleye fishing . . . . just go fishing a lot! Actually, the key for me is that I mostly fish at prime time (the hour before dark), and I concentrate on break lines and substrate edges in 8 feet to 12 feet of water. As for bait, I mostly use medium-size suckers and fish them 4 inches to 6 inches off the bottom with my tip-ups." Skip Sommerfeldt, fisheries biologist, Park Falls

 

Check out his predictions for ice fishing in 2010-11 and the daily diary Skip Sommerfeldt kept last hard water season, when he fished 68 days in a row. And learn how to make ice fishing fun for kids and the adults who bring them.


Quit your carping

Chicago Tribune.com editorial December 9, 2010

It's official: The dreaded Asian carp aren't an imminent threat to the Great Lakes, despite the hallucinatory anxieties of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

 

A federal judge refused last week to slam Chicago's shipping locks closed, saying the five states that sought an emergency order haven't shown the fish are "anywhere near, much less on the verge of, establishing a population in Lake Michigan."

 

We hope this latest ruling — on the heels of two rejections from the U.S. Supreme Court — will persuade our Midwestern neighbors to abandon their money-wasting, finger-pointing lawsuit. It isn't helping anything.

 

Led by Michigan Attorney General Michael Cox, the five states sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

 

The states are afraid the carp, which have been making their way north from Arkansas for 15 years, will take over Lake Michigan and eventually the Great Lakes, jeopardizing a $7.5 billion fishing and boating industry. The carp are voracious eaters, prolific breeders and impressive jumpers, known to leap from the water when frightened by outboard motors.

 

"The thought that somebody could be skiing on an inland lake and get knocked over by a 30-pound fish … that strikes right at the heart of our tourism experience," Steve Yencich, CEO of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association, told the Detroit News.

 

Some biologists think the worries are overstated, and not just

the part about getting whacked by a flying fish. It's possible the carp are happy where they are. The lake waters might be too cold and too still for them to spawn successfully. There might not be enough plankton to keep them fed.

 

Maybe that's why the fish haven't already invaded. Or maybe it's because the underwater electric barrier installed to keep them away from the locks is working, as U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow observed in his ruling.

 

Yes, at least one fish has made it past the zapper, he noted, but "the documented evidence strongly suggests that the electric barrier is working to effectively deter Asian carp."

 

The consequences of closing the locks, meanwhile, would be devastating and immediate. More than $29 billion in goods move through the locks each year on barges. Tour boats and recreational boaters also pass through on their way to and from the lake. There's also the threat of flooding after heavy rains if the locks can't be opened to allow runoff into the lake.

 

Too bad, the five states say. So far they've refused to rule out an appeal, and Cox has called on President Barack Obama to order the Corps of Engineers to shut the locks. This despite the administration's $78.5 million plan to battle the carp, including more barriers coupled with netting, poisoning and biological controls.

 

Here's what's lost in all the hyperbolic doomsaying: Nobody on this side of the locks wants the carp to get into Lake Michigan, either. Illinois has spent more than $13 million to keep them out, not counting the resources wasted on this ridiculous legal fight. We're all in the same boat, neighbors. Drop that suit.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for December 10 

Weather Conditions

Temperatures across the Great Lakes region dropped notably last weekend with many areas of the basin experiencing temperatures that were 11 to 15 degrees below average this week.  In addition, New York cities Rochester and Syracuse were pummeled with 23 and 43 inches of snow, respectively, within the past week, while cities such as South Bend, IN, also received large amounts of snow.  Temperatures will rise this Friday, but fall sharply on Sunday and Monday.  Additionally, most of the region will experience accumulating snowfall with greater amounts in areas prone to lake effect snow.

Lake Level Conditions

Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron, are 8 and 14 inches, respectively, below their levels of a year ago.  Lakes St. Clair and Erie are 2 and 4 inches, respectively, below last year's levels, while Lake Ontario is 2 inches above its level of a year ago.  Over the next month, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to decline 3 and 2 inches, respectively.  Lake St. Clair is predicted to decline 2 inches, while Lake Erie is expected to remain steady.  Lake Ontario is forecasted to decline 2 inches.
Forecasted December Outflows/Channel Conditions

The outflows from Lake Superior into the St. Mary's River and from Lake Huron into the St. Clair River are expected to be below average in December.  The Detroit River's flow from Lake St. Clair is predicted to be below average and the 

Niagara River's flow from Lake Erie is predicted to be near average this month.  The flow in the St. Lawrence River is forecasted to be above average throughout December.

Alerts

The water levels of both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are currently below chart datum and are forecasted 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.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Dec 10

600.75

577.03

573.16

570.41

244.55

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-4

-6

+10

+14

+15

Diff last month

-1

-4

-2

-1

 +2

Diff from last yr

-8

-14

-2

-4

 +2


Jobs available

Jobs available

1. USGS, Escanaba Hydrologic Technician- closing date December 21

http://jobview.usajobs.gov/GetJob.aspx?JobID=94555207&JobTitle=Hydrologic+Technician%2c+GS-1316-05+(ATL-DEU-JLN)&brd=3876&vw=b&FedEmp=N&pg=1&where=escanaba%2c+mi&rad=20&rad_units=miles&re=0&AVSDM=2010-12-07+10%3a06%3a00

As a Hydrologic Technician within the Michigan Water Science Center, some of your specific duties will include:

-Performs routine measurements of surface/ground/water quality under a variety of field conditions.
-Performs routine water-quality measurements such as water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen and alkalinity.
-Performs installation, maintenance, servicing, and troubleshooting of sensing, recording and communications equipment/instrumentation.
-Assists in the construction/removal of gages and supporting structures.

 

Jessica Mistak, Northern Lake Michigan Supervisor

DNRE Fisheries Division

6833 Hwy 2, 4, and M-35

Gladstone, MI 49837

906-786-2351 x127

906-786-1300 FAX

 

2. MI DNR Fisheries Biologist, Northern Lake Michigan Mgmt Unit, Escanaba

http://agency.governmentjobs.com/michigan/default.cfm

The Michigan DNRE is accepting applications for a Fisheries Biologist in the Northern Lake Michigan Management Unit,

based in Escanaba.  Application material may be found at http://agency.governmentjobs.com/michigan/default.cfm.  The deadline for applying is 12/16.

 

Job Description:

Assist the Unit Manager in managing the fisheries and related aquatic resources in the Northern Lake Michigan Management Unit.  Plan, direct, analyze, and disseminate fisheries and aquatic habitat surveys and their results.  Document results and make management recommendations in appropriate formats.  Review environmental permit applications, comment in writing and testify in court as appropriate.  Participate in habitat protection, enhancement, and restoration activities.  Plan and participate in fish production and fisheries management operations in the Management Unit and coordinate with other personnel. 

 

Act as the primary author for select River Assessment reports.  Develop watershed assessments for major water bodies, and participate in the development of resource management plans for Michigan waters of Lake Michigan and inland waters within the Unit.  Communicate and collaborate with Fisheries Division and Department personnel, local, State, Federal, Tribal, and non-profit groups to promote the mission of Fisheries Division.  Respond to public inquiries and present information in written and oral formats.  Provide technical assistance as needed to diverse stakeholders, and assume general administrative duties as assigned.

 

Jessica Mistak, Northern Lake Michigan Supervisor

DNRE Fisheries Division

6833 Hwy 2, 4, and M-35

Gladstone, MI 49837

906-786-2351 x127

906-786-1300 FAX


General

Take steps to prevent going through the ice

Early ice can also be treacherous ice, so it's important to take a few basic safety precautions.

 

Ice claws: nail heads are ground off to a point and then covered with corks to prevent injury. The cord, made to the correct length, can be worn inside the jacket with each claw inside a sleeve. Or they can be draped over the shoulder and

inside the coat. The wooden dowels and nylon cord will float, so they are accessible in an emergency

 

Check in with local bait shops so you know ice conditions before you go. Tell someone where you're going and when you'll be back, and then go prepared with some basic equipment to help yourself or others should something happen, like wearing a float coat or carrying picks and a rope.


Illinois

Local Club stocking Walleye in Chicago metro lake

Perch America has been working in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on a comprehensive walleye stocking program at Wolf Lake in Hammond, Indiana.

 

Wolf Lake at 385 acres falls within the Lake Michigan watershed and is located near the southern border of Chicago, on the Indiana-Illinois state line. At one time was a bay that was connected to Lake Michigan. Walleyes have been dated back to the late 1800s of being a native species to Lake Michigan and presumed to spawn in Wolf Lake.  The Indiana portion of the lake (385) acres is separated from the Illinois portion (419) by a levee lying just west of the state line. Several culverts connect the 2 halves of Wolf Lake.

 

The purpose of these walleye stockings is to supplement the already existing population of walleyes. Due to minimal, if any, natural reproduction, it is imperative that Wolf Lake receives some young fish each year to stabilize the offset of angler harvest and natural mortality.

Since 1998 Perch America has been able to supply Wolf Lake with 5 - 7" advanced growth walleye fingerlings that have a greater chance of survival due to the fact that they are more of a predator at that size.  The Walleye Stocking program is an ongoing project that Perch America plans to continue each year as long as it is viable and productive for the environment. Perch America is in the process of raising funds for the 2011 stocking.

 

All efforts by Perch America members are strictly on a volunteer basis.  All funds raised go 100% to the purchase of the walleye fingerlings. All efforts of Perch America members are strictly on a volunteer basis. The price per walleye fingerlings in 2009 was $1.20. The cost for 2010 was $1.25 per fingerling.

 

This is the 13th anniversary of the Perch America Wolf Lake Walleye Stocking. The group has stocked an estimated 69,500 advanced growth walleye fingerlings into the lake. They plan to stock at least another 5,000 fingerlings in 2011.


Gun Suit against Cook County succeeds in State Supreme Court

CHICAGO, Dec. 4---A case brought against Cook County, challenging its "Assault Weapon" ban passed in 2006, has finally been decided favorably for the ISRA backed Plaintiffs. The case of Wilson, et al. vs Cook County et al., was returned to the State Appellate Court pursuant to the Supreme Court's exercise of its judicial authority, and the First District Appellate Court has been ordered to vacate its decision and reconsider the case based on the recent decision in McDonald vs. City of Chicago. McDonald was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court in which ISRA was one of the Plaintiffs.

 

In a move that surprised all parties to the litigation, the First District Appellate Court ordered both plaintiffs and defendants to file simultaneous briefs in 15 days, with no Reply briefing allowed. The Appellate court's Order came within days of the

 

Supreme Court's issued mandate, which directs the Appellate Court to vacate and reconsider.

 

The purported "assault weapons," as defined under the very broad and vague terms of the subject County Ordinance, include numerous semi-automatic handguns and rifles, including the Ar-15, M-1 Carbine, Smith & Wesson P99 pistol, Smith & Wesson 22A, Browning BAR Longtrack, Winchester Super X Rifle, and the Mini-30 Ranch Rifle just to name a few Since the lawsuit was filed in early 2007, the enforcement of the Ordinance has been at a virtual stand-still, and the objective of the ISRA is to see that this unwarranted ban is overturned with finality. A supplementary brief is being filed and the decision of the Appellate Court is expected soon. If required, ISRA is prepared to back this case to the U.S. Supreme Court.


IL Extends Controlled Pheasant Hunt at Iroquois County to Dec 29

Increases Hunter Quota at Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced that the  SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1controlled pheasant hunting season has been extended at the Iroquois County Conservation Area and hunter quotas have been increased at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area. 

 

The pheasant season previously scheduled to conclude on December 19, 2010 at Iroquois County Conservation Area will now continue through Sunday, December 26.  The site will be closed on Christmas Day.  The Iroquois County Conservation Area is located eight miles south-southeast of St. Anne. 

 

At Jim Edgar Panther Creek, the hunter quota for the remainder of the hunting season has been increased from the typical 55 hunters per day to 70 hunters per day.  Jim Edgar Panther Creek is located in Cass County, 11 miles northwest of Ashland. 

 

The season extension and hunter quota increase at these sites are possible because the IDNR Wildlife Propagation Centers had a better than expected pheasant production season.

 

Hunters are encouraged to use the online Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation System at www.dnr.illinois.gov 

to secure permits for these additional hunting opportunities.  Reserved permits ensure hunters will have the opportunity to hunt.  Standby permits are also available at each site, although standby hunting opportunities may be limited.

 

To access the reservation system: Click on the "Hunting" icon on the IDNR Home Page;

Then click on "Upland/Small Game Hunting;" Then click on "Controlled Pheasant Hunting Areas Permit Reservation System."

 

Hunters are reminded that the daily permit fee for the controlled pheasant program is $25 for resident hunters and $35 for nonresident hunters.  The daily permit fee applies to each hunter.  Daily permit fees are collected at the site hunter check station on the hunt date.  Hunters need to be prepared to pay permit fees with cash.  IDNR-operated sites do not accept checks and are unable to accept credit or debit cards.

 

Hunters without computers are encouraged to gain access to the controlled pheasant hunting online reservation system by checking with family or friends who have computers with internet access or by using a computer at their local public library.  Completing a permit reservation online takes less than five minutes.

 

For complete details, check the controlled pheasant hunting website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov.


Indiana

2011 DNR Special Events Calendar available online

Plan to make DNR State Parks and Reservoirs a big part of a fun 2011 by using the Special Events calendar that’s now posted on the DNR website.

 

This list includes almost everything from fireworks, car shows, living history, reenactments, volunteer days, fishing derbies, night-sky viewing, bird watching, craft workshops; some are strictly watching - others are for doing.

 

There's a special event for nearly every age and interest at Indiana’s  state park or reservoir properties, at least one of which is an easy drive from anywhere in the state. While you’re looking ahead, remember there’s still plenty of 2010 events to

round out the year, many of which are Christmas related.

 

You can download the calendar at:

• Special Events by Date for 2010 & 2011

 

The Web address for the link above is www.stateparks.IN.gov/3282.htm

 

Make sure to bookmark this site for easy reference all year long to find an outdoor activity to enjoy on short notice when other plans fall through. Some of the special events and programs carry a nominal fee in addition to the regular gate admission. Others are free with no gate admission.


Michigan

Discovery Weekend” Designed for Women Jan. 28-30

To Explore Ice Fishing, Snowshoeing and More

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is pleased to offer a “Winter Discovery Weekend” Jan 28-30 at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon. The event is part of the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program and is designed for women to try a variety of outdoor skills in a fun, safe and non-competitive environment. Classes are geared toward beginners.

 

Participants choose two classes from among nine topics offered, including ice fishing, self-defense basics, wilderness survival and first aid, snowshoeing, nature painting, butterflies and bugs, walking sticks, cross-country skiing or basic pistol shooting.

 

Guests should plan to arrive Friday evening between 4 and 9 p.m. On Saturday, guests participate in morning and afternoon classes (three hours each) with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided as part of the paid package. All sessions are taught

by experienced instructors who enjoy the outdoors and have a

true desire to share it with others. A variety of “on-your-own” activities are planned for Saturday evening. Breakfast is provided on Sunday, and the weekend wraps up with a special presentation by the Michigan Hawking Club.

 

The Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center is on the north shore of Higgins Lake at 104 Conservation Drive in Roscommon. Registration fee is $225 and includes two nights of lodging, four meals, all instruction and materials (with the exception of ski rental). Registration deadline is Jan. 21.

 

BOW is a noncompetitive program in which each individual is encouraged to learn at her own pace. The emphasis is on the enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of outdoor activities, and sharing in the success of one another.

For registration forms and information on this and other BOW programs, visit www.michigan.gov/bow, call 517-241-2225 or email dnr-outdoors-woman@michigan.gov.


MI designates Feral Swine Invasive Species

Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries has signed an order to make feral swine and wild boar an invasive species in Michigan. Humphries gave the order an effective date of July 8, 2011, giving the state Legislature time to enact laws to provide regulations for facilities that currently provide wild boar breeding and hunting. If legislation is not passed to regulate the facilities, the invasive species order will go in to effect, making it illegal to possess wild boar in Michigan.

 

Wild boar breeding and hunting in shooting facilities is unregulated in Michigan, and boars are not listed as a game species in the state. Wild boar are not native to the state of Michigan.

 

The order lists wild or feral boar/swine/hog, Old World swine, razorback, Eurasian wild boar and Russian wild boar as invasive species. The DNRE estimates that there are at least 65 swine hunting or breeding facilities in the state, and that a vast majority of the feral swine running at large in Michigan are animals that have escaped from hunting or breeding facilities.

 

A feral swine work group comprised of stakeholders including pork producers and wildlife and conservation organizations, and hunting and breeding facility representatives met over the last few months to make recommendations for regulations for wild boar breeding and shooting facilities, including fencing standards, biosecurity measures, methods of inventory, liability for escaped animals, indemnity, fees to support regulation and penalties for violation. Humphries has urged incoming legislative leaders to take up the recommendations in the form of legislation to regulate wild swine breeding and shooting facilities, and to place a moratorium on the establishment of any new swine breeding or shooting facilities.

 

Damage caused by invasive swine to important species and ecosystems has been documented in virtually every segment of their range in the United States. Feral swine are particularly disruptive of native wildlife, including many desirable game species in Michigan, such as white-tailed deer, pheasant, wild turkey and ruffed grouse. Feral swine compete with native wildlife for food, including hard and soft mast (acorns and berries), which are often vital for some wildlife species in the winter months.

The disease threat posed by invasive swine to human and animal health through the transmission of disease is significant, Humphries said. A few invasive swine borne diseases to which humans are susceptible include brucellosis, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, toxoplasmosis, sarcoptic mange, E. coli and trichinosis. Feral swine also carry several diseases that threaten livestock, including pseudorabies, swine brucellosis, tuberculosis, vesicular stomatis and classic swine fever.

 

Feral swine’s rooting behavior degrades water quality by contributing to significant soil erosion, and through the introduction of bacteria, including coliform bacteria, into rivers and streams. Rooting behavior also destroys native plant communities.

 

Some estimates suggest that invasive swine damage to agricultural crops and the environment conservatively total $1.5 billion in the United States. As opportunistic feeders, feral swine consume a wide variety of crops, including corn, hay, small grains, vegetables, soybeans, tree fruits and berries. In some states, studies have shown that feral swine’s rooting and wallowing behavior in agricultural fields can create holes that damage farming equipment and endanger operators.

 

Wildlife experts from Texas – considered the state with the largest feral swine population in the United States – presented information last year to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission about management problems with feral swine. Experts told the NRC that there are no practical or economical management techniques that can adequately control the spread and negative impact of feral swine. Through aggressive breeding and high adaptability, feral swine are quickly able to establish populations in a variety of climates and ecosystems, they said.

 

“The state lacks the financial and human resources needed to control this species,” Humphries said. “Other states have spent millions of dollars on trapping, shooting and other measures to control feral swine, and have admitted it is a losing battle.”

 

Feral swine have been sighted in nearly every county in Michigan. For info on feral swine:  www.michigan.gov/feralswine.


New York

Sea Lamprey Control Improves Lake Champlain Fisheries

The Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative is reporting unprecedented success resulting from the on-going sea lamprey control program. The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working together to improve and manage the fisheries of Lake Champlain. As a result of this program, the number and size of lake trout and salmon in the lake are increasing. This is great news. This is expected to translate into better fishing on Lake Champlain in the coming year. The wounding rate reductions observed this fall on lake trout and salmon also are a good indication that lamprey are having less of an impact on other fish in Lake Champlain. Species such as walleye and the lake sturgeon, which is listed as endangered in Vermont, also benefit.

Personnel from the Cooperative treated five rivers in the Lake Champlain Basin with the lampricide (TFM) in September. Observation of larval lamprey mortality and other data indicate treatments on all five rivers were highly successful. Final assessment of the treatments' effectiveness will be completed next summer employing a systematic search of these rivers to determine how many sea lamprey survived the treatments. Although positive effects are already being seen in response to prior treatments, further improvements to the fisheries are expected over the next four years as more larval lamprey fail to become parasites.

Data collected this fall indicate that the number of sea lamprey wounds on lake trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon continue to decline. The sea lamprey wounding rate is measured as the number of wounds per 100 fish examined. Sampling this fall found 15 wounds per 100 salmon. This is down from 30 wounds per 100 salmon last year. This marks the first time that the management goal of 15 wounds per 100 salmon has been met since the inception of the control program.

The wounding rate on lake trout is also down from last year with 40 lamprey wounds per 100 lake trout being found this fall, down from 55 last year. Although the lake trout wounding rate goal for Lake Champlain is 25 wounds per 100 fish, 40 wounds per 100 fish represents a significant improvement

from the 2006 wounding rate of 99 wounds per 100 fish. With fewer sea lampreys in Lake Champlain, more trout and salmon are now surviving to older ages and larger sizes. Continuation of current sea lamprey control efforts and ongoing innovations are expected to lead to further improvements in the trout and salmon fishery of Lake Champlain as well as the entire aquatic community.

 

The overall effectiveness of the sea lamprey control program is measured by fish biologists from all three agencies who collect hundreds of lake trout and salmon each fall. The fish are weighed, measured, examined for sea lamprey wounds, and then released. This information is used to assess the health of the fish populations and the relative degree of lamprey parasitism in the lake. As data analysis has progressed this fall, improvements in the condition of Lake Champlain fisheries have surpassed anything seen since the 1990s:

 

• Greater numbers of salmon, steelhead, and brown trout were collected.
• Greater numbers of smaller lake trout were found entering the spawning population, indicating increased survival of younger age classes.
• Greater numbers of older fish were collected, with salmon exceeding 5 lbs and lake trout exceeding 12 lbs increasing in frequency.
• A few salmon exceeding 9 lbs were collected. Salmon of this size haven't been seen for over ten years.
• Record returns of salmon and steelhead to the Winooski River fish lift and a substantial increase in returns of salmon to the Boquet River fishway are further indications of improvements.
• For the first time in many years, multiple age classes of steelhead were found.

U. S. Senator Patrick Leahy has annually secured the funds enabling a now successful and effective sea lamprey control program. With these necessary funds, the three agencies have worked hand-in-hand to address the sea lamprey problem in Lake Champlain. Thanks to all involved, Lake Champlain angling will continue to improve in the coming years.


Wisconsin

Cold weather kicks off Ice fishing season

MADISON - Cold weekend weather helped firm up ice in many parts of Wisconsin to kick off what is often some of the best fishing of the hard water season, state fish biologists say.

 

"Early ice fishing can be some of the best fishing for walleye, bigger game fish, for a lot of species," says Steve Avelallemant, fisheries supervisor for northern Wisconsin. "Especially on those lakes that are shallow and weedy. The fish seem to be accessible and biting more early in the hard water season, any time before Christmas."

 

Fishing pressure nearly triples in December in Wisconsin after lakes freeze over, based on results from a 2006-7 statewide mail survey of anglers. Fully one-third of the state's 1.4 million licensed anglers reported ice fishing, and they spent about 1,589,000 hours in December alone, up from 624,000 hours in November of that year, according to Brian

Weigel, the DNR fisheries researcher who analyzed the survey results.

 

Across the entire ice fishing season, anglers caught 14 million fish in the survey year and released more than half of them during the survey year.

 

Avelallemant advises that ice anglers who want to maximize their chances of catching fish go to a lake with a good northern pike population. "Northern pike, when you look at their distribution worldwide, you'll find them all the way up into the Arctic Circle. They prefer cold water. Pike tend to get cranked up when it gets cold."

 

He advises that anglers check in with local bait shops to find out what the walleye are hitting on, and fish that. "A pike will take whatever you throw down," he says.


Other Breaking News Items

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Corps changes aim from prevention to ‘reduce risk’

More than three years after Congress directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to explore ways to separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins in order to "prevent the spread" of nuisance species like Asian carp between the two grand water systems, the Army Corps is now embarking on what it says likely will be a four-year study.

 

EDITORIAL: Quit your carping
It's official: The dreaded Asian carp aren't an imminent threat to the Great Lakes, despite the hallucinatory anxieties of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

 

New scientists give IJC more teeth
By almost doubling its staff of scientists in Windsor, the International Joint Commission says it can be a more effective watchdog on water issues

 

Lake Michigan: home to almost 900 trillion quagga mussels
Asian carp get all the headlines lately, but another invader, present in the trillions, is already devastating the ecosystem in Lake Michigan: the quagga mussel.

 

Offshore wind would boost Ontario economy: report
The Toronto Star (12/8)
Ontario could create new industries, reinvigorate old ones, and generate thousands of new jobs over the next 15 years by building a vibrant offshore wind market around the Great Lakes, according to a report prepared by the Conference Board of Canada.

 

Tiny invasives & sooper yooper
A new study in the journal Ecology Letters finds there are more invasions by microbes... and very little is being done about them

 

Buoy to test wind energy six miles off Muskegon, MI  

The first floating buoy to test offshore wind energy in Lake Michigan is planned for six miles off the Muskegon shoreline next spring.  A federal grant helped fund the $3.7 million project spearheaded by Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon

 

Good news blows into Michigan: State lands 1st large wind turbine assembly plant
In a major boost for Michigan's emerging wind-energy industry, Gov. Jennifer Granholm plans to announce today that the state has attracted its first large wind turbine assembly plant.

 

COMMENTARY: Lake Erie wind turbines costly, inefficient
Green energy is all the rage, and Ohio is jumping on the bandwagon with little regard for financial considerations. The proposed offshore wind turbine project in Lake Erie is an example of wasteful spending in the name of going green and creating jobs.

 

 

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