Week of December 14, 2009

Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues




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Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

The Springfield XDM 3.8

Springfield Armory Announces Compact XDM: The Springfield XDM 3.8 is a 27½ oz, 19 round 9mm pistol with a 3.8" barrel. It's available in black, Bi-tone and SS/Black.



Caliber: 9mm

Barrel: 3.8-inch melonite, fully supported ramp

Sights: Dovetail front and rear (steel) 3-Dot

Trigger Pull: 5.5-7.7. pounds

Frame: Black Polymer

Slide: Forged Steel

Overall Length: 7-inches

Height: 5.6 inches

Weight w/empty mag: 27.5 oz.

Available Colors: Black, Bi-tone, SS/Black

High-capacity magazines not available in all states

Optional fiber optic sights "coming soon



Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council Review

The role of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council is stated as: To inform and educate anglers, boaters and the general public about natural resource conservation and enhancement.  Promote, protect and conserve our aquatic resources; manage against over-harvesting at the commercial and recreational level clean air and clean water; prevent the spread of unintentional introductions of nonindigeneous aquatic nuisance species (exotics); promote safe boating practices; and represent the sport fishing community before divisions of government.  


The majority of the credit for the effort of the Council goes to its President; Dan Thomas and the Council’s Board of Directors.  Dan serves as the editor of the Great Lakes Basin Report , Bob James as web master of the web site at www.great-lakes.org.   There is no other place to get the quality and in depth coverage provided by the Council.  To understand the value of the information provided, you only have to look back at 2009 issues of the Great Lakes Basin Report.


In February, the GLBR reported “Environmental Protection Agency predicting more invasive species”   The EPA had released a final report entitled, "Predicting Future Introductions of Nonindigenous Species to the Great Lakes." This report predicted the spread of aquatic nonindigenous species into the Great Lakes to help resource managers focus monitoring activities on particular species at the most vulnerable U.S. Great Lakes ports. The report also demonstrated the use of a habitat suitability model and ballast water discharge data to predict invasion potential.


In March the headline was: “NOAA posts Draft Mgmt Plan for Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary”.  NOAA was soliciting public comment on the draft management plan and the draft environmental assessment plan for Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  Without The GLSFC most people would not have been aware of this request.


On a good note, it was reported that $740 million goes to states for fish and wildlife projects. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that more than $740.9 million will be distributed to the fish and wildlife agencies of the 50 states, commonwealths, the District of Columbia, and territories to fund fish and wildlife conservation, boater access to public waters, and hunter and aquatic education.


In March Dan attended the Lake Committee meetings hosted by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and held in Ypsilanti, MI.   From these meetings came a series of fabulous highlight reports summarizing the voluminous data presented at these meetings.

The April report featured the “Status of Lake Michigan Salmon”:

●Michigan DNR Weir returns dropped to 16,907 fish; the second lowest return in the time series

●Weight of age-3 Chinooks increased at Strawberry Creek weir and from creel samples from 2007 levels

●Recruitment of naturally-produced Chinook salmon smolts has increased to 53%

●Alewife biomass from the bottom trawl was the lowest value (8.1 kt) in the time series (1985-2008

●In contrast, alewife biomass from acoustic surveys was the highest value (58.8 kt) in the time series (2001 – 2008;

●Results indicate that the abundance of young alewives is very high.

●Bottom trawl survey indicates the biomass of large alewife has declined substantially

●However recruitment and survival of young alewife appeared to be above expectations

●Less than 0.5% of the weir-returning Chinook salmon showed any sign of disease in 2008


Unfortunately, the status of Lake Huron was upbeat for walleye but remained very dire for salmon.

“The collapse of alewives in 2004 precipitated pronounced change in harvest trends and fishing behavior for the Lake Huron recreational fishery. Since 2003, walleyes have replaced salmonids as the leading species harvested in Michigan waters, even at Main Basin ports, which had traditionally been the focus of the salmonid fishery.” 


Lake Ontario was positive for salmon:

• The 2008 charter catch rate of Chinook salmon was the 6th highest in the data series. The six highest Chinook salmon catch rates occurred during the six most recent years (2003-2008).

• Charter catch rate for rainbow trout was the highest on record (104.6% higher than the 2003-2007 average), with improvements across the season and all regions of the lake. Total trout and salmon catch (127,799 fish) and harvest (79,159 fish) were dominated by Chinook salmon (43.6% and 44.9%, respectively) and rainbow trout (26.7% and 24.9%, respectively).

• Brown trout catch rates in the east were above average for most of the season (April-September), resulting in the highest estimated seasonal catch rate for that area in the 24 years surveyed.


In July, we were warned that the Clean Water Restoration Act spelled trouble for Anglers, Hunters, all Outdoorsmen.  At first glance, the Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA) (Bill SB787) appears to advance the interests of American hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts, given the connection between wildlife and water quality. In reality, the CWRA would threaten these interests. Senate Bill 787 as written and continuing through the legislative process of Congress could prove to be a nightmare in the regulation process of building fishing piers, intensifying the regulatory microscope for angling activities while trout-wading a stream, boating due to incidental discharges, or charter fishing state waters.


In October, we learned that the Obama proposal for Oceans/Great Lakes ignores recreational fishing.

This past June, President Obama created the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force. The Task Force, led by the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), was charged with developing a national policy and implementation strategy for conserving and managing the United States ocean territory and the Great Lakes. The policy will govern ocean and Great Lakes resource management and coordinate efforts among countless federal, state and local agencies. Without recreational angler input, decisions made under this national oceans policy could be used to unnecessarily close saltwater and freshwater recreational fishing areas.  Also, policies beneficial to oceans might be detrimental to the Great Lakes.


In November we were informed of the possibility that the Asian Carp may have breached the Electronic Barrier.  Multiple Carp DNA samplings have been found in multiple locations North and East, near O’Brien Lock.   During a press conference call held November 20, it was confirmed that multiple samples of carp DNA have been found substantially north and east of the existing carp barrier, and in another water body that has a direct connection to Lake Michigan.


Subsequent updates revealed that rotenone was used in a section of the river to kill all fish. 


As I said at the beginning of this article, other than the GLSFC, there is no other realistic way to get this quality information. Also, many of the concerns listed above have not been resolved.  To stay abreast of these concerns and efforts, go to www.great-lakes.org  or follow upcoming issues of the Great Lakes Basin Report.


Bob Mitchell, VP



Army Corps closes Little Calumet River for further treatment & research

No Asian carp collected above electrical barrier; safety zone rescinded

CHICAGO – The Asian Carp Rapid Response Workgroup on late December 7 completed fishing & research operations near the O’Brien Lock in an attempt to locate Asian carp after eDNA sampling in the area tested positive for the invasive species. The U.S. Coast Guard enforced a safety zone on the Little Calumet River from December 4 - December 7 for further treatment of the Chicago Waterway System


The IL DNR had requested the safety zone to support fishing operations and research for Asian Carp in the Little Calumet River and the Cal-Sag Channel during a period of already reduced traffic. The safety zone, from Mile marker 321-326.5 was closed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and included the O’Brien Lock while they did electrofishing and toxic treatment with Rotenone again.


 The Workgroup used commercial fishermen and federal fisheries personnel to deploy nearly 3,000 yards of fishing nets along a 5.5-mile stretch of the Cal-Sag Channel.  While the nets were successful in collecting more than 800 fish, no Asian carp were found.  The catch included more than 700 common carp and 10 other species.


The fishing operations that began on Dec. 1, wrapped up late on Dec. 7.  On Monday evening, the U.S. Coast Guard reopened the Cal-Sag Channel and Little Calumet River to vessel traffic. While the fishing operations and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal rotenone application have thus far confirmed just one Bighead Asian carp, the Workgroup expects their work to continue for some time.


U.S. Geological Survey biologist Duane Chapman said he didn’t expect many or even any Asian carp would be found floating after the poisoning. Because in the tests he did to determine how much of the toxin Rotenone would be required to kill the carp, they dropped to the bottom after they died, and the teams on the canal and channel were looking for floaters.


Chapman added that "I have a strong doubt that we will see any bighead or silver carp for a few days or more, if ever, after the poisoning is done." So the discovery of one dead bighead proves a couple of  things – that Chapman was right, there could be more dead Asian carp rotting on the bottom, and the risk these invaders pose to the Great  Lakes food chain and valuable sport fish species is far too high to take any more



eDNA appeared to serve its purpose as an early warning system and suggests that Asian carp may have reached the Cal-Sag Channel.  Based on recent sampling and the fish collection efforts there, the Workgroup believes that if Asian carp are present, their numbers are likely very small.  The Workgroup and its partners are committed to remaining vigilant in the future and exploring all options available to prevent the spread of Asian carp to the Great Lakes.


Among the next steps already underway to prevent the spread of the destructive fish to the Great Lakes:

►Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other partners will evaluate the week’s efforts and develop options for additional carp population assessment and control in the Cal-Sag Channel and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal

►U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue their eDNA sampling effort with U. of Notre Dame researchers

►U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are focused on addressing potential bypass issues (along the Des Plaines River, I&M Canal, Grand Calumet and Little Calumet River), the interbasin study and expedited construction of barrier IIB

►The Rapid Response Workgroup partners are evaluating a range of additional options and consequences for Asian carp prevention management strategies in the waterways—and potentially, further into the Great Lakes.


In other action:

►The Army Corps of Engineers will/has resumed genetic testing for Asian Carp on the canals and rivers in and around where the Chicago area's waterways meet Lake Michigan.


►Chicago Mayor Daley and his Great Lakes counterparts demanded on December 11, that the governments of the U.S. and Canada do more to save the shoreline and protect the Great Lakes from the Asian carp and other invasive species.


►Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm on December 2nd, instructed Michigan’s Attorney General Mike Cox to file a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Illinois and the Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago to force the temporary closure of three Chicago area locks heavily used by boats and barges.


►Some environmental groups on November 20th called for the immediate closure of all Illinois locks leading to Lake Michigan.

Weekly Great Lakes Water Level Update for December 11, 2009

Weather Conditions

The first major winter storm of the season pushed into the Great Lakes basin this week.   Heavy snow and strong winds created blizzard conditions throughout western and northern parts of the region, with snowfall totals approaching 20 inches in some locations.  Frigid temperatures followed the storm and are expected to persist into the weekend.  Lake effect snow will also occur in the snowbelt regions of all the lakes.  Another system may bring more snow to the region Sunday

Lake Level Conditions

All of the Great Lakes except for Lake Ontario remain higher than their levels of a year ago. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 4, 10, 3, and 2 inches, respectively, higher than their levels last year at this time. Lake Ontario is near its level of one year ago. The water levels of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are expected to decline by 3 and 2 inches, respectively, over the next month. The levels of Lakes Erie, St Clair and Ontario are projected to remain steady over the next 30 days. Over the next several months, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are forecasted to be above their water levels of a year ago. Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are forecasted to remain below last year's levels over the same time period. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Forecasted Outflows/Channel Conditions

In December, the outflow from Lake Superior into the St. Marys River and the outflow from Lake Michigan-Huron into the St.

Clair River are forecasted to be below average. The flow in the Detroit River is forecasted to be near average. The flow in the Niagara River and the outflow from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River are forecasted to be above average. 


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.   Ice information can be accessed via the National Ice Center's website.





St. Clair



Level for Dec 11












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Diff last month












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No such thing as safe ice, only safer ice

With temperatures expected to plummet tonight, ice will be forming, tempting those who enjoy ice fishing and other ice-related recreation to venture out too soon. The DNR Division of Law Enforcement reminds those who enjoy such activities that there is no such thing as safe ice, only safer ice.


“It is a cold and painful lesson that Mother Nature teaches us” said Col. Michael Crider, head of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “Ice fishermen aren’t fair weather fisherman that’s for sure. Anyone unprepared or uninformed is likely have a date with disaster sometime during their ice fishing years.”


To avoid such a situation, Crider suggested following these simple safety rules to minimize the risks associated with ice fishing and other ice-related activities.


- 4 in. of new clear ice is recommended for foot travel; if you go by snowmobile or ATV, 5 in. is the minimum.

 -Don’t consume alcoholic beverages.     


-Never fish alone. Always take a buddy and let someone know where you are going.


-Wear a life jacket under your winter gear. It not only will keep

you buoyant should you fall through, but also will provide

additional warmth.


-Carry ice picks or ice awls. These will allow you to pull yourself out of the water and onto the ice.


-Should you go through, remain calm. Turn in the direction you came from. Extend your hands and arms, forcing the ice picks solidly into the ice ahead of you. Kick your feet and pull yourself out onto the ice. Do Not Stand Up!  By rolling away from the hole, you spread out your weight until you are able to reach solid ice.


-Carry a signaling type of whistle. Using it may be the only way to let someone know that you are in trouble. A cell phone can be a valuable survival tool but only as long as it remains dry. Carrying a length of rope also can be useful.


-Stay away from areas on lakes that have inlets or outlets. Be mindful about flowing water if fishing on a channel between two lakes. Ice fishing on Indiana’s reservoir impoundments can pose particular concerns; pay close attention to fluctuating water levels.


-Remember to think ahead and have a plan.

Indiana glacial lakes fishing could improve in future

Fisheries-and fishing-in several northern Indiana glacial lakes might improve in coming years thanks to the findings of biologists from the Department of Natural Resources and researchers from Purdue University.


Starting in May, the groups worked together, primarily studying Adams (LaGrange), Crooked (Noble) and Dewart (Kosciusko) lakes and Lake Maxinkuckee (Marshall). The group also collected data from Robinson (Whitley), Knapp (Noble), and Cree (Noble) lakes.


Preliminary results show that the area that separates the warm, well-oxygenated upper-water layer from the cool, oxygen-depleted layer below, a divider known as the thermocline, ranged between 16 and 22 feet deep in all the lakes studied.


"Knowing where the thermocline is and how it changes over time helps us determine where to set our sampling gear to obtain accurate estimates of fish populations and better manage the resource for anglers" said Steve Donabauer, an assistant fisheries research biologist with the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife.


Observations also showed that the upper and lower water

layers began to mix in autumn, a process known as fall

turnover, which started near the end of September in shallow lakes such as Cree, where the maximum depth is 26 feet. Fall turnover replenishes oxygen and nutrients throughout an entire water column of the lake, making deeper parts of a lake more habitable to fish.


"Only the deepest lakes have yet to turnover," Donabauer said. "Crooked Lake is 109 feet deep and it still has a well-defined thermocline present at 55 feet." Historical records indicate that fall turnover typically occurs near the end of November in Crooked, but Donabauer said he thinks the lake won't turnover until the middle of December this year.


"Fall turnover is usually a difficult time for anglers because fish spread out into deeper habitats not previously occupied during the warm-water season," said Nate Thomas, an assistant fisheries biologist with the DNR's Division of Fish and Wildlife. "A few weeks after turnover, fishing will get better as fish again concentrate in more predictable habitats such as channels, shallow bays, along drop-offs and near underwater islands."


Any changes in the way the DNR manages the fisheries will occur after the final report is made available in late 2010.



Top 10 ice safety tips for 2010

MADISON –Hard water fishing will soon be here and state recreation safety wardens offer their top 10 safety tips to make sure the first trip of the season isn’t the last.


“Ice is always unpredictable, and that’s particularly true during Wisconsin’s first cold snap and early in the ice fishing season,” says Todd Schaller, the Department of Natural Resources recreation safety chief. Learn ice safety precautions, follow them -- and educate your children about the dangers associated with frozen ponds, lakes and rivers, he says.


Schaller offers these other tips for staying safe this season:

Contact local sport shops to ask about ice conditions on the lake or river you want to fish.


Do not go out alone, carry a cell phone, and let people know where you are going and when you’ll return home.

Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a float coat to help you stay afloat and to help slow body heat loss; take extra mittens or gloves so you always have a dry pair.

Wear creepers attached to boots to prevent slipping on clear ice.


Carry a spud bar to check the ice while walking to new areas.

Carry a couple of spikes and a length of light rope in an easily accessible pocket to help pull yourself – or others – out of the ice.



Do not travel in unfamiliar areas or at night.

Know if the lake has inlets, outlets or narrows that have current that can thin the ice.


Look for clear ice. Clear ice is generally stronger than ice with air bubbles in it or with snow on it.


Watch out for pressure ridges or ice heaves. These can be dangerous due to thin ice and open water and may be an obstruction you may hit with a car, truck or snowmobile.




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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