Week of February 27, 2012

Beyond the Great Lakes
Misc New Fishing-Boating Products
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

Lake Ontaio

Other Breaking News Items


       Weekly News Archives


       New Product  Archives

Beyond the Great Lakes

Virginia officials to restore elk with RMEF help
MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been officially notified that elk restoration efforts in Virginia will begin this spring.  Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries officials confirmed the news to RMEF, the project’s leading financial contributor with a pledge of $300,000. RMEF leaders say they will now step up local fundraising efforts to ensure the project, once

started, continues to move forward and remains on schedule.


Plans call for relocating up to 75 elk from Kentucky to Buchanan County, Va., with an elk management area to include Dickenson and Wise counties. Biologists are hoping for a sustainable elk population that will offer recreational opportunities such as elk viewing in the short term and a limited hunting season within four or five years.

Misc New Fishing-Boating Products

Tracker Marine wins NMMA 2012 innovation award

For Mako Pro Skiff series

Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Marine Group’s MAKO Pro Skiff Series was honored recently by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writer’s International (BWI) at the 71st annual Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail. 


The MAKO Pro Skiff Series was awarded the 2012 Innovation Award in the category of “Runabout and Fishing Craft to 24 Feet.”  Organized by NMMA and judged by BWI, the Innovation Awards are bestowed on products that best meet and demonstrate the following four criteria:  Innovative Distinction, Benefit to Consumers, Practicality of Use and Cost Effectiveness. 


The innovative AIV hull shape of the MAKO Pro Skiff series delivers superior stability, good rough water handling and a great load carrying capacity. The Pro Skiff Series consists of the 17CC, 16CC and 17 Tiller. 

“We knew these boats would be winners from the attention they received from consumers during testing,” said Maurice Bowen, Director of Marketing for Tracker Marine Group. “Now, the innovative design of the MAKO Pro Skiffs is delivering real-world benefits through quality fit and finish, performance, fuel efficiency, load-carrying capacity and ride, all with a very affordable price.”


Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Marine Group was one of thirteen companies to take home a prestigious 2012 Innovation Award.  “The MAKO Pro Skiff Series represents one of the best values in boating,” said Alan Jones, Executive Editor for Boating World magazine who was also one of the judges.  “MAKO reinvents the affordable skiff genre with a superior ride and finished interior.”


To learn more about Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Marine Group or for a complete listing of MAKO boats please visit www.trackerboats.com or shop the Boat Showroom listed at www.basspro.com.


Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

Remington  Model 700M SPS Tactical 300 Blackout

Madison, NC – Remington is proud to announce the Model 700 SPS (Special Purpose Synthetic) Tactical 300 Blackout rifle. Chambered for the incredibly popular 300 AAC® Blackout®, this new rifle features the time-proven Model 700 action and is designed to impress from the bench or in the field at a very affordable price.  A long-time favorite of both military and police units, the Model 700 offers the legendary accuracy and unfailing performance you’ve come to expect. 


At the core of the Model 700 SPS Tactical 300 Blackout is the machined solid-steel, cylindrical Model 700 receiver design ensuring uniformity, strength and solid bedding area. Unique to this precision rifle is the 16 ½ -inch, heavy-contour clean barrel threaded to accept AAC and all 5/8 x 24 threaded flash hiders, muzzle breaks and suppressors. The tactical-style carbon steel, hammer-forged barrel is the perfect balance between handling in tight spots and delivering pinpoint accuracy. With a twist rate of one in seven inches, this rifle is optimized for accuracy. These specialty, bolt-action rifles are shipped with a thread protector installed.


The rock-solid barreled action is bedded in a Hogue® OverMolded® GhillieGreen pillar bedded, synthetic stock with a semi-beavertail fore-end for added stability. The soft-touch, sure-grip stock is extremely comfortable for extended, long range shooting and assures a positive grip in both stressful situations and inclement weather. The dual point pillar bedding guarantees a solid interface 

between the action and stock to help insure cold bore accuracy and prevent point-of-impact shifts. Add Remington’s X-Mark Pro® externally adjustable trigger, designed to “break-like-glass” and set at 3 ½ pounds from the factory, and this rifle delivers surgical-like accuracy.


Other key features include a drilled and tapped receiver for the addition of optics; distinctive, laser-engraved “300 AAC Blackout 1:7” roll mark; convenient hinged floorplate magazine with 4-round capacity and a non-reflective, black oxide external metal finish; and sling swivel studs.  The Model 700 SPS Tactical 300 Blackout is the perfect tactical bolt-action rifle and available at a very affordable price.


Model #

700 SPS # 84205


300 AAC Blackout

Mag. Cap


BBL Lgth

16 ½  Inches


Carbon Steel


None (D/T for Scopes)


1 Turn in 7"


Matte Blue


35 ¾  Inches

Lgth of Pull

13 3/8"




Overmolded Ghillie Green


7 Lbs


About $817.00


800-243-9700     www.remington.com


Environmentalists threaten suit over ballast rule

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich (AP) — Environmental groups have threatened to file another lawsuit in their long-running battle with the federal government over ballast water discharges from cargo ships blamed for spreading invasive species in the Great Lakes and other U.S. waters.


Representatives of five organizations issued the warning on the final day of a public comment period on a regulation the Environmental Protection Agency proposed last fall. It would require oceangoing commercial vessels to install technology strong enough to kill at least some of the fish, mussels and even microorganisms such as viruses that lurk in ballast water before it's dumped into harbors after ships arrive in port. Environmentalists want tougher standards that would leave nothing alive in the water.


Ballast helps keep ships upright in rough waters. The EPA requires ocean vessels to exchange their ballast water at sea or rinse the tanks if empty to kill freshwater organisms, but some may survive in residual mud or pools of water.


The proposed rule is based on standards recommended by the International Maritime Organization, an arm of the United Nations, that the shipping industry says are achievable. Environmentalists say they are inadequate. They contend water cleanliness standards 100 to 1,000 times as strong are needed to kill virtually all organisms and prevent more attacks by invaders such as zebra and quagga mussels, which have seriously damaged Great

Lakes ecosystems and cost an estimated $200 million a year for damage repairs and control measures.


The mussels clog water intake pipes, gobble plankton crucial to aquatic food chains and enable sunlight to penetrate deeper into the water column, contributing to growth of nuisance algae linked to botulism outbreaks that have killed thousands of shore birds.


Some states have their own ballast water requirements. In New York, rules scheduled to take effect in 2013 would set live-organism limits 100 times stronger than the international ones, while California is phasing in standards 1,000 times tougher.


Shipping groups say technology to meet those standards doesn't exist. A report issued last year by EPA's Science Advisory Board agreed. The industry contends if New York proceeds with its rule, international shipping will grind to a halt in the Great Lakes region because vessels must go through New York waters to reach the lakes.


Environmentalists say the same methods used to treat municipal drinking water, such as chlorination, filtration and heat, could achieve the results they want.


The EPA is scheduled to make a final decision by November. When announcing the proposed regulation, the EPA said it would "substantially reduce the risk of introduction and establishment of non-indigenous invasive species in U.S. waters."



Researchers Use Fish Earstones to Collect Hatched Fish Data

Fish otoliths have been commonly used as a way to determine the age of a fish. Otoliths have an added benefit to research, tied to those fish originating from hatcheries. Otoliths are small bones, often called earstones, that grow lines with age, much like a tree trunk does. They also can show water quality and other environmental factors in the water.

Bowling Green State University scientists have found that

the otoliths can help determine the origin of fish’s birth and its habits on returning to its birth place for spawning. This information will supply fishery managers with information on the return rates of their fish which in turn influences the recreational fishing season.


The research is made possible by the Ohio Sea Grant which is a statewide program that supports research, education and outreach of Lake Erie and the Great Lakes. It is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sea Grant College Program.

Cabela's Reports Record Results, Eyes Expansion

Cabela's reported record fourth-quarter financial results. Net income was up 25% compared to the same period a year ago. Comparable-store sales, or sales at stores open for at least a year, rose 1.7%. "During the quarter, we saw a significant strength in the firearms and shooting

categories," CEO Tommy Millner said during the

company's fourth-quarter earnings call. The company also said that in 2012 it expects to open five next-generation stores in North America in addition to its first "outpost" store, which will be about 40,000 square feet and serve smaller markets.


Grand Valley researcher finds salmon link to contaminated fish

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A link between pollutant levels in stream-resident fish and stocked Pacific salmon in Lake Michigan has been described by a researcher at Grand Valley State University.

David Janetski, a postdoctoral researcher with the university’s Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon, said he has found a link between spawning salmon and elevated levels of pollutants in fish that normally live in tributaries to Lake Michigan. Those pollutants include PCBs; DDE, a chemical byproduct of DDT; and PBDE, a chemical that’s classified as toxic by the EPA. It is often used as a flame retardant in textiles and furniture.

Janetski’s research revealed that pollutant levels in fish residing in Lake Michigan tributaries where the stocked salmon travel to spawn are, on average, about 30 times higher than in stream reaches where the salmon don’t travel.

“Certain pollutants bioaccumulate in predator fish such as salmon, so when they migrate into streams to spawn and die, they leave those pollutants behind in the stream,” Janetski said. “These include PCBs and other organic pollutants.” He also said pollutants may be transferred to smaller fish, including brook trout, when they eat the eggs the salmon lay in the streams during spawning season.

While the salmon do seem to be bringing pollutants further upstream, Janetski said it’s not clear what the impact of higher pollutant levels would be on human health. Some of the levels in the streams without salmon were barely detectable, so a 30-fold increase doesn’t necessarily mean terribly polluted resident fish.

“If background levels in these streams are at a certain amount and salmon come in and raise that 30 times, I think that’s important in terms of understanding the dispersal and distribution of pollutants in the Great Lakes basin,” Janetski said. “We’ve found that salmon runs can be very important (to pollutant distribution) in certain situations.”  Janetski said the study doesn’t mean salmon shouldn’t be stocked in the Great Lakes any more, but if people are concerned about pollutant dispersal, it’s worth noting that salmon are certainly a factor.


The Pacific salmon that are transporting the pollutants from Lake Michigan to tributary areas are not native fish. Chinook and Coho salmon, native to the Pacific Northwest, have been regularly stocked in the Great Lakes since the late 1960s. The salmon help control alewife populations and are an extremely valuable species for commercial and recreational fishermen alike.

Janetski said the fish grow up and mature in the lakes and instinctively swim upstream to spawn. The fish do this in large numbers, which transports nutrients and pollutants from open water into streams.  “I believe we’ve found evidence that spawning salmon drive pollutant levels in stream-resident fish, that’s how I interpret our data,” Janetski said.

The project is a joint collaboration between AWRI and the University of Notre Dame, where Janetski just finished his doctorate in aquatic ecology.  For more information, contact David Janetski at (616) 331-3722 or visit AWRI online at www.gvsu.edu/wri.


A photo of Jenetski is available for download and use at the following link: http://gvsu.edu/s/7T



Lake Ontario

Poor Atlantic Salmon return on 1,400,000 MNR plants

Fall returns fail to live up to expectations, not so Rainbows

Atlantic Salmon are Lake Ontario’s only native salmon. Dollars, hours and futile efforts have been expended to re-establish an extirpated fish that disappeared in the late 1800s.


Although some research showed Atlantic Salmon restoration was feasible, and the combined New York and Ontario Ministry management plan of Lake Ontario Fish Community Objective for Atlantic Salmon, Mother Nature has yet to cooperate.  After stocking  457,512 fingerlings and yearlings in the Credit River in 2010, 405,426 in 2009, and another 478,000 in '06-'08, MNR reports show a total of 39 adult spawning Atlantic Salmon were caught in the Credit River at Streetsville and Norval.


Ontario GLSFC Director, and longtime outdoor radio and TV fishing Host Darryl Choronzey retorted "This is one big joke."


On the other hand, Choronzey has worked with the Lake Huron fishing Club and Ontario Steelheaders, showing they have improved the Saugeen River rainbow fishery. The Saugeen had a past history as a significant steelhead river, but the big flow had lost much of its shine as a premier Ontario steelhead stream.



Since the spring of 2005 club members have been trapping adult-run steelhead at Denny's Dam. They set a collection target of one 100,000 viable eggs and always have met

that goal. The mixing of eggs and sperm then takes place

on site at the Lake Huron Fishing Club's Kincardine fish hatchery. Depending on water temperature, club members generally carry out their total egg take and fertilization over a few days.


With new raceways built, and in a short span of a few years the two volunteer clubs, working with a few dedicated contractors, engineers and the local MNR office have created a miracle. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 steelhead now run the Saugeen annually. At Steelheaders Park downstream of Denny's Dam as many as 500 fish a day are being caught in a stretch of a few miles. The dam at Walkerton is approximately 50 miles by river to where the Saugeen empties into Lake Huron. This immense stretch of water is fishable until the last week of December and is full of autumn run Chambers Creek steelhead throughout that time frame. It's a big, beautiful flow that offers some of the best fishing anywhere in Canada. Definitely the best steelhead fishing in Ontario.


The open water fishery in the so-called Huron Blue Zone has been exposed and is about to create an entirely new Lake Huron sport troll fishery. "I've personally witnessed hundreds of steelhead now moving through the new fishways at Walkerton and above daily. We move and transfer a thousand adult steelhead in a little more than four days to new spawning waters," said Choronzey.  "I've been around the sport of fishing a long, long time. I'm just happy to refer to it as the best steelhead fishery on this entire continent of ours."


Choronzey and others have put out a lot of positive information about the LHFC and the Saugeen River Stocking program and how exceptional it is and the great work by the LHFC



Young anglers caught six "Fish of the Year" in 2011

Indiana’s 2011 Fish of the Year contest proves the art of angling has not been lost on our youth.

Fish of the Year recognizes the angler who catches the longest fish of each species tracked. In 2011, anglers submitted entries for 25 species.


Four anglers younger than 18 years old accounted for six wins.


Among the youth winners, 10-year-old Rylan Crockett scored the longest fish, a 33.3" channel catfish he caught in Cagles Mill Reservoir in Owen County on cut shad. Rylan caught the channel cat while competing in an Indiana Catfish Association Tournament with his father and grandfather, Brian and Jim Crockett.


Nine-year-old Evan Logan from Columbus was the youngest angler to win 2011 Fish of the Year honors. He tied for first in the bluegill category with an 11" specimen from a private pond in Johnson County that he caught using a worm and bobber.


Teenage brothers Danny and Michael Kotfer of Munster teamed up for four wins. Danny, 17, won for a 31.5-inch coho salmon, caught in the Little Calumet River in Porter County on a spinner; a 13-inch bullhead, caught at a private lake in Fountain County on a night crawler; and tied for first in the green sunfish category with an 8.5-inch specimen pulled from a private lake in Fountain County on a twistertail. Michael, 14, won for a 29-inch brown trout, caught in the Lake County waters of Lake Michigan using a spoon lure.


Danny and Michael’s father, Ron Kotfer, also earned wins in three categories. Ron Kotfer caught the largest chinook salmon at 35 inches, from the Lake County waters of Lake Michigan using a glow spoon lure; the largest rock bass at 10.3 inches, from the Little Calumet River in Porter County using a spinner; and the largest walleye at 22.5", from Wolf Lake in Lake County using a crankbait.

The longest winning fish among all the 2011 Fish of the Year species was a 55.5-inch flathead catfish. Tim Kaiser, an angler from Elnora, caught the flathead in the Ohio River in Perry County using a live bluegill as bait.


Other notable winners included:

  • In the steelhead category, Gene Ray of Paris, Ill., and Greg Dini, of Avilla, tied for first place with fish that measured 35 inches. Ray caught his in the St. Joseph River in St. Joseph County on an egg fly. Dini caught his in the LaPorte County waters of Lake Michigan on a spoon.

  • Joshua Gansman of Tennyson won in both the sauger and saugeye categories. Gansman caught a 19-inch sauger from a private pond in Warrick County on a redeye shad and a 24-inch saugeye from Huntingburg Lake in Dubois County, also on a redeye shad.

  • William Taylor of Crown Point won bragging rights for a 39-inch Northern pike from the Kankakee River in Lake County. He caught the fish on a double spinner.


As announced in an earlier news release, one angler caught a fish of state-record weight in 2011. Nine-year-old Noah Smith of Delaware, Ohio, established the first state record for a spotted gar. He caught the 29.2-inch, 3.2-pound fish from Crooked Lake in Steuben County using a live minnow.


New for 2012 in the contest, the Indiana Record Fish Program and Fish of the Year will recognize the lake whitefish species. In Indiana, lake whitefish are primarily caught in Lake Michigan in early spring and late fall.


For information about the State Record Fish or Fish of the Year programs, go to Fishing.IN.gov/3577.htm. To find out where to fish, go to Fishing.IN.gov and click on the interactive “Where to Fish Finder” link. To purchase an Indiana fishing license online, see IndianaOutdoor.IN.gov.


Blue Grass Pit bass fishing improves under new rules

Special bass fishing regulations at Blue Grass Pit paying off for anglers

The 195-acre Blue Grass Pit at Blue Grass Fish & Wildlife Area  in Warrick County has become one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in southwest Indiana. DNR fisheries biologists credit the pit’s success to regulations enacted in 2003, including a two-bass bag limit and an 18-inch minimum size limit


The latest fisheries survey at Blue Grass Pit was conducted in 2011. The bass electrofishing catch rate was near the pit’s record high at 150 fish per hour. Also, the number of mature bass caught was significantly higher than prior years. Twenty-four percent of the bass sampled were at least 14 inches and 4 percent were at least 18 inches. The largest bass sampled was nearly 23 inches. Currently, bass take seven years to grow to 18 inches, so it is important for anglers to practice catch and release to help preserve the fishery.


The first noticeable increase of larger bass at Blue Grass

Pit occurred in 2008. Better fishing was also documented in the 2009 angler creel survey. The angler creel survey

documented an explosion of big bass being caught and released as the number of bass at least 18 inches long increased from 66 in 2006 to 713 in 2009. The total number of bass caught of all sizes also increased over that same time period from 6,282 to 17,905.


Both Blue Grass Pit and Loon Pit, which is also at Blue Grass FWA, were identified as having the potential to produce big bass based on their habitats and forage base. The special regulations were enacted at both pits. The number of larger bass has also improved at Loon Pit, but not to the same degree as at Blue Grass Pit.  


Much of Blue Grass and Loon pits is open to bank fishing, and there is an ADA accessible concrete ramp and a gravel boat ramp at each pit. Outboard motors must be operated at idle speed. The pits also offer crappie fishing and are two of the few lakes where the Division of Fish & Wildlife stocks muskie. A map of the property and other information can be viewed at www.fishing.IN.gov/3099.htm


2012 Reserved Youth Turkey Hunt opportunities on DNR properties

Youth hunters (under age 18 on the day of the hunt) may participate in reserved turkey hunts during the special youth wild turkey hunting season, April 21 and 22, 2012, on selected DNR properties.


Participating fish & wildlife areas include Atterbury, Crosley, Deer Creek, Glendale, Goose Pond, Hovey Lake, Jasper-Pulaski, Sugar Ridge, Kankakee, Kingsbury, LaSalle, Pigeon River, Roush, Tri-County, Minnehaha, Fairbanks Landing, Hillenbrand, Chinook, Winamac and Willow Slough. Two reservoir properties, Salamonie and Mississinewa, also are participating.


A limit will be placed on the number of youth hunters allowed to hunt a respective property on each hunting day, in an attempt to provide quality hunts for participants. Each property will hold early registrations and drawings for the half-day hunts on site. Hunters wanting to sign up for Deer Creek, Fairbanks Landing, Chinook, Hillenbrand, or Minnehaha hunts may do so at Goose Pond FWA.


Hunts will run one-half hour before sunrise until noon at properties in the Central Time Zone, and one-half hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. on properties in the Eastern Time Zone.


A youth hunter may be drawn for either or both hunt days, depending on the number of applicants. Youth hunters, or an adult representing them, can register in person or by phone at the property they wish to hunt Monday through Friday from March 19–23 and March 26–30, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. local time. The drawing will be held April 2. All applicants will be notified of drawing results by mail. Applicants may sign up for only one property. Applicants must possess a valid 2012 Youth Consolidated Hunting & Trapping License, 2012 Regular Turkey License and Game Bird Stamp, or Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting License. Apprentice hunting licenses also may be used.

To register a youth for one of the hunts, the following information is needed: 

Hunter’s name

Type of license and license number

Date or dates being applied for

Mailing address

Phone number

Parent or guardian’s name, address, and phone number


Youth hunters who are selected for the hunt may check in at any time each day until the end of legal hunting hours for that property. Properties that do not fill their quotas during early registration may fill remaining spots during regular office hours until the youth season opens, using a drawing each morning of the hunt, or first-come /first-served process each morning of the hunt. Properties will not have a daily “no-show” drawing because there is no time by which selected youth hunters must check in during the morning hunts. Hunters interested in possible unfilled quotas at a property should contact that property for more information before going to the property on the opening morning of the youth season.


During youth wild turkey season, hunters under age 18 on the day of the hunt can take a bearded or male wild turkey. The youth must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old.


The youth hunter may use any legal shotgun, bow and arrow, or crossbow. The adult accompanying the youth hunter must not possess a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow while in the field. The adult does not need to possess a turkey hunting license unless the youth is using an apprentice license. A youth hunter may take only one bearded or male wild turkey during both the special youth season and regular season combined. The youth must be properly licensed to take a wild turkey and comply with all tagging and check-in requirements.



Michigan’s Sturgeon River Strain Brown Trout show promise

Recent Michigan DNR electro-fishing surveys below Hodenpyl Dam on the Manistee and Au Sable Rivers below the dam at Mio produced vastly different results, though they did have a couple of common characteristics.


Fisheries crews turned up more than 800 trout during a half-day survey with two shocking boats on the Au Sable, in a stretch that has come to be dubbed “the trophy water” because of the large trout there.  On the Manistee, two shocking crews turned up just over 100 trout.


But the crews did find some unusually large brown trout in both river stretches and they found something else they were looking for – good survival of Sturgeon River strain brown trout, something biologists hope bodes well for the future of brown trout fisheries in Michigan.


Fisheries Division, discouraged by relatively low return rates from stockings of brown trout in recent years, began stocking a different strain of browns – the Sturgeon River strain – in 2010. The Sturgeon River strain brood stock was collected from wild trout out of the Sturgeon River in the northern Lower Peninsula whereas other strains are raised from brood stock maintained in hatcheries.


Michigan had been using several other strains of brown trout for its stocking programs over the years – most notably Wild Rose and Seeforellen – but the DNR has seen relatively poor recruitment into the fishery in its Great Lakes and inland-lake stocking programs. Biologists wondered if going to a different strain would help.


Research biologist Todd Wills said Fisheries Division identified the Sturgeon River strain as a potential replacement for the Seeforellens in both the Great Lakes and inland lakes. But when fisheries biologist Steve Sendek – who works out of Grayling and is responsible for the Au Sable River – heard about the idea, he suggested that Fisheries Division stock the new strain (along with equal numbers of Wild Rose browns) in the tailwater fishery below Mio, too.


Fisheries biologist Mark Tonello, who is responsible for the Manistee River, seconded the motion. So Fisheries Division stocked both strains in the river stretches, marking them with different fin clips.


In the Manistee River, the marked brown trout collected by electro-fishing during the recent survey were all the same strain.  “We only found Sturgeon River fish,” Wills said. “We did not see any Wild Rose fish – not a one.  “The overall catch of trout was very low,” he continued. “It’s encouraging to see the Sturgeon River browns – and it leads us to believe that they did better than the Wild Rose

browns – but with the catch as low as it was, it’s difficult to

make any firm conclusions.”


That the catch was low was not entirely surprising as the Manistee River below Hodenpyl is marginal trout water and during the summer of 2011, the area suffered through the hottest July on record. Under those adverse conditions, a low survival rate of stocked trout is not unusual.  Although the catch was much better below Mio, the marked Sturgeon River fish recovered by the shocking crew far outnumbered the Wild Rose strain.


“There’s no question that below Mio, the Sturgeon River brown trout are doing better than the Wild Rose strain,” Sendek said. “We found about five times as many Sturgeon Rivers as Wild Roses and not just young-of-the-year fish; it looks like the Sturgeon River fish carry over from year to year better than the Wild Rose, too.”


Sendek said he is encouraged by what he’s seen so far.  “Since the Sturgeon River fish are a wild strain, they’re a little harder to work with than the Wild Rose, which is a domesticated strain,” Sendek said. “They come out of the hatchery smaller than the Wild Rose fingerlings, but they catch up.


“I’m looking for the fishery below Mio to not only keep going, but get better,” he continued. “With year-round fishing now and new regulations, this could be a win-win situation. This fishery is very special. And we can’t count on natural reproduction to sustain that fishery because of the influences of the dam. Stocking is going to be an important part of maintaining that fishery.


“I’m very optimistic about the future with the early results. I’m hoping this will revitalize all of our brown trout fisheries – we just have to learn how to utilize this new tool.”  Although the survey results are not complete, “it appears from the data we have now that the Sturgeon River strain browns are doing better in the tailwater fisheries – the Au Sable and the Manistee – than the Wild Rose,” Wills said.


As for the lake portion of the study, it’s too soon to tell, he said.


“We are not seeing a large return from any of the marked fish in the inland lakes we’ve stocked,” Wills said. “To date we’ve seen more Wild Rose fish, so the Wild Rose strain seems to be doing better. However, some of the lakes that we stock are difficult to sample with our survey gear, so we’re working with local fisheries managers to obtain reports from anglers to supplement information we collect in the field.


“We’ve also stocked Sturgeon River and Wild Rose strain fish in Lake Michigan, but our creel clerks haven’t seen any returns so far. Brown trout returns in Lake Michigan have been pretty low in general, and these fish may still be a little smaller than those typically harvested and reported by anglers,” Wills continued.

2012-2013 DNR updates for Waters in SW Michigan

The Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit is announcing fishery management actions and activities for the 2012-2013 angling season. These actions and activities include fish stocking, habitat rehabilitation projects, creel census, fish community surveys and angler access programs.


“These management updates are provided as a means to notify anglers and the public of changes in management and to make lake and stream property owners aware of our survey activities,” said Jay Wesley, Unit Manager in Plainwell. “We also value and encourage public input regarding our management actions and activities.”


For more information, contact Jay Wesley at 269-685-6851 or at the Plainwell Operation Service Center, Plainwell, MI 49080.


The Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit covers the Grand, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Galien river watersheds and all the lakes and streams within that area. Each year, fisheries biologists and technicians evaluate management options on various water bodies in order to achieve increased fishery benefits. Fish-stocking actions are reviewed at least every six years based on fish community or creel surveys. Counties with specific management actions and waters that are planned for surveys in 2012 are listed below. Anglers are asked to provide feedback on specific management options.


Allegan County

The Kalamazoo River will be sampled in April to determine the presence of spawning lake sturgeon as part of a long-term population rehabilitation effort. Available sturgeon eggs and larvae will be collected and raised in a streamside rearing facility in New Richmond. Pike Lake and Lake Sixteen will be removed from the Type C trout lake regulations since management of rainbow trout in both lakes has been discontinued. The Duck Lake Drain fish community will be surveyed as part of a random stream status and trends program. Excellent walleye, catfish, steelhead and Chinook fishing is available along the shore of the Kalamazoo River below Allegan Dam through the Allegan State Game Area.  


Barry County

Rainbow trout will be stocked in Deep Lake in the Yankee Springs Recreation Area. Walleye will continue to be stocked in Thornapple Lake, and the DNR will begin stocking the Great Lakes strain of muskellunge to establish future broodstock in Thornapple Lake. A fish community survey will be conducted on Baker Lake. The Morgan Dam is scheduled for removal on Highbanks Creek, and floodplain restoration work will begin on Quaker Brook. There are excellent shore fishing opportunities in the Yankee Springs Recreation Area at Gun Lake State Park, Deep Lake Campground and Hall Lake.


Berrien County

Blue Jay Creek in the Galien River watershed will be removed from the designated trout stream list due to a lack of trout. The Paw Paw River will continue to be stocked annually with yearling steelhead and with fall fingerling steelhead and coho salmon when available. A creel survey will be conducted to evaluate Lake Michigan effort and harvest at the Port of St. Joseph/Benton Harbor. Fisheries surveys will be completed at several sites on the St. Joseph River as part of a multi-year walleye population evaluation. Good fishing opportunities are available along the St. Joseph River for walleye, steelhead, salmon, catfish and smallmouth bass in Berrien Springs, Buchanan and Niles.


Branch County

Fisheries surveys are planned for Cary, Craig and Morrison lakes. Matteson Lake will continue to be stocked with walleye, and Lake Lavine will continue to receive rainbow trout. Fisheries Division will be partnering with local anglers and the Union Lake Association to raise walleye in a local pond for stocking in Union Lake.


Calhoun County

A fisheries survey will be conducted on Nottawa Creek. Natural resource damage assessments associated with the oil spill will continue on the Kalamazoo River and Talmadge Creek. A rock ramp will be constructed on the Garfield Lake outlet control structure to provide better fish passage. Walleye are planned to be stocked in Duck Lake. Brown trout will continue to be stocked in Dickinson Creek at the Historic Bridge County Park.


Cass County

Rainbow trout stocking will continue in Birch Lake, and


walleye will be stocked in Magician Lake. Dowagiac River shore and wading opportunities for brown trout are available at Dodd County Park.


Clinton County

A fish community survey is scheduled for Peet Creek and the Maple River. There are great shore fishing opportunities on Lake Ovid in the Sleepy Hollow Recreation Area.


Eaton County

Lakes Interstate and Delta will continue to be stocked with channel catfish, and they provide great shore fishing opportunities for bluegill and largemouth bass. The Grand River offers fishing opportunities for walleye, suckers, smallmouth bass, steelhead and coho salmon in Delta Mills and Grand Ledge.


Ingham County

The majority of the coho salmon stocked in the Grand River in Lansing are proposed to be moved downstream to improve survival. A public meeting will be conducted during the summer of 2012. The Grand River offers fishing opportunities for walleye, suckers, smallmouth bass, steelhead and coho salmon in the City of Lansing at the North Lansing and Morse dams.


Ionia County

A fish community survey will be conducted on the Maple River. Steelhead will continue to be stocked in Prairie and Fish creeks, and the brown trout strain will change from Wild Rose to Gilchrist Creek in Fish Creek. Shore fishing opportunities are available along Sessions Lake in the Ionia Recreation Area. Good angling opportunities are available along the Grand River in Portland, Lyons and Ionia for catfish, suckers, walleye, steelhead and coho salmon.


Jackson County

Fishing opportunities are available on Portage Lake in the Waterloo Recreation Area.


Kalamazoo County

Natural resource damages associated with the Kalamazoo River oil spill will continue to be assessed. Portage Creek will be surveyed to assess stream habitat improvements near Alcott Street. Muskellunge stocking will resume in Austin Lake. Fishing in the parks opportunities are available on Eagle, Whitford and Jackson lakes in the Fort Custer Recreation Area.


Kent County

Spring Brook, Flat River and Bear Creek will be surveyed as part of a status and trends program. The Flat River and Rogue River will continue to be stocked with steelhead. Muskellunge will be stocked in Murray Lake. Brown trout stocking will be discontinued in Buck Creek due to lack of survival and angler effort. Grand River shore access is excellent in the City of Grand Rapids for sucker, walleye, steelhead, Chinook salmon and coho salmon fishing.


Montcalm County

Clifford Lake will no longer be stocked with spring fingerling walleye due to poor survival.


Muskegon County

Mona Lake will be stocked with walleye.


Ottawa County

Crockery Creek will continue to be stocked with steelhead. Walleye will continue to be stocked in Lake Macatawa and the Grand River. The Great Lakes strain of muskellunge will be stocked when available in Lake Macatawa and the lower Grand River to take advantage of over-abundant gizzard shad and to provide a sport fishery. Fishing in the park opportunities are available along Lake Macatawa and the Holland Pier in the Holland State Park and beach areas. A creel survey will be conducted at the Port of Grand Haven.


St. Joseph County

Fish community surveys are scheduled for Lake Templene and the Pigeon River. Spring Creek will be removed from the designated trout streams list and Type 4 trout regulations due to a lack of trout.


Van Buren County

Clear Lake is scheduled for a fish community survey. Walleye stocking will continue in Maple Lake and the Black River. Bankson Lake will continue to receive muskellunge and the East Branch Paw Paw River will be stocked with brown trout. A creel survey will be conducted at the Port of South Haven.


Experience wildlife workshops March 3-10

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Would you like to learn more about boat building, identifying birds in the wild or using a fishing pole? You won’t have to look far to find wildlife-related workshops at this year’s Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week.


ANR Week, scheduled March 3–10, is an annual event that hosts a wide variety of meetings, workshops and conferences in areas such as agriculture, horticulture and natural resources on the Michigan State University (MSU) campus.


The following lists wildlife-related workshops at ANR Week:

The 17th Annual Quiet Water Symposium, the largest one-day show of its kind celebrating non-motorized outdoor recreation takes place March 3 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the MSU Pavilion. The day will consist of seminars on paddle sports, bicycling, birding, diving, and other outdoor skills and activities. Vendors will also be available to help you choose the right gear or classes with which you can get the proper start. For more information, visit www.quietwatersymposium.org or contact [email protected].

Also on March 3, the Beginning Birding Workshop takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kellogg Conference Center. Become a better birder by attending the morning portion of the session where you’ll learn about the use of binoculars and field guides, bird identification and the habitat of our feathered friends. In the afternoon session, you’ll put your newfound knowledge to the test by taking a bird walk around the MSU campus. Cost for this workshop is $25 per person. Register at the Michigan Audubon’s website at www.michiganaudubon.org/education/eventcalendar.


Learn more about Michigan’s aquatic resources at the Fishing for the Future of Our Great Lakes Workshop March 6-7 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The program takes place at the Natural Resources Building with a focus on getting kids and their families fishing in local areas. More than just an activity using a line and a worm, fishing develops life skills, long-term relationships and care for our valuable natural resources. Continuing education requirements for teachers will also be available through this session. The cost to register is $55. Find the registration form at www.projectfish.org/anrweek. For more information, contact Mark Stephens at 517-432-2700 or [email protected].


Spring Trout releases provide fishing opportunities around State

Releases start March 8 and continue through mid-May

COLUMBUS, OH - Public fishing opportunities will be enhanced this spring when more than 96,000 rainbow trout will be released into 61 Ohio lakes and ponds, according to the Ohio DNR.


The releasing of the rainbow trout, which are 10 to 13 inches long, will occur between March 8 and mid-May. Anglers are reminded the daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout. Anglers should also know there will no longer be fall catchable trout releases. Beginning in 2012, all catchable trout releases have been shifted to the spring season.


Some locations will feature special, youth-only angler events on the day of the scheduled releases. Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish the state’s public waters. Once the youth-only events have concluded, all other anglers may fish. Contact the nearest district office for specific information about the angler



The 2012-13 fishing license will be available March 1. The license will be valid March 1 through Feb. 28, 2013. An annual resident fishing license costs $19. A one–day fishing license is available and may be purchased for $11 by residents and non-residents. The one-day license may also be redeemed for credit toward purchase of an annual fishing license.


Ohio residents born on or before Dec. 31, 1937, may obtain a free fishing license where licenses are sold. Persons age 66 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1938, and have resided in Ohio for the past six months are eligible to purchase the reduced cost resident senior license for $10.


Additional information about spring trout releases is available by calling toll-free at 800-WILDLIFE. Information is also available from Division of Wildlife district offices in Akron, Athens, Columbus, Findlay and Xenia.


Sea Grant aiding in improving State’s stocking efforts

Ongoing Ohio Sea Grant research is assisting fisheries managers in states around Lake Erie in evaluating and improving their stocking efforts for steelhead trout, a popular sport fish in the region. Researchers from Bowling Green State University have found that the chemical signature of a fish’s otoliths, small bones located behind the eyes, can aid in determining where fish were hatched and whether they return to that same location for spawning.


Dr. John Farver, Associate Professor of Geology, and Dr. Jeffrey Miner, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, are able to determine the origins of adult steelhead trout in the Great Lakes region with better than 90% accuracy (100% for Ohio-raised fish). This finding becomes an important tool for state fishery managers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New York, who can use the information to determine the return rates of steelhead trout stocked into local streams to extend the recreational fishing season. The project is currently funded by Ohio Sea Grant.


“Fisheries managers stock about two million steelhead into Lake Erie each year,” explains Miner. “It’s a very substantial fishery that primarily occurs from October until April because that’s when the fish come up into the rivers to spawn. This provides an economic opportunity for the region at a time of year when other recreational activities are not at their peak.”


Steelhead trout are related to salmon, and like their cousins, most individuals will return to their “home stream”

to spawn once they reach maturity, with 8 to 10% of fish raised in hatcheries deviating from this pattern and moving

to a different stream. Steelhead fishing in Ohio alone contributes $12 million or more to the state’s economy, so fisheries managers want to make sure they raise fish that will return to their home state instead of essentially supporting another state’s economy. Ohio’s yearly investment into stocking steelhead is about $340,000.


Because steelhead are not native to this region, they can’t reproduce successfully in most streams that flow into Lake Erie—the water gets too warm during the summer months for the offspring to survive—and hatcheries along the lake stock juvenile fish into tributaries each year. Miner and Farver are able to determine which hatchery a fish came from based on chemical elements incorporated into the fish’s otoliths during growth, and combine that information with where it was caught to determine return rates for each hatchery along Lake Erie.


“If you look at an otolith, it looks very much like a tree that’s been cut in half, with rings that are demarcations of changes in growth,” says Miner. The center part of the otolith represents the fish’s early life, and rings are added as the fish continues to grow. In addition, using chemical elements such as strontium and barium that typically incorporate into the otolith, researchers can determine the water chemistry of where the fish spent certain parts of its life, and correlate that to various regions of Lake Erie and its tributaries.


For more information about this research, please visit www.go.osu.edu/otoliths .



Early inland trout season opens March 3

Exceptional fishing prospects on the line

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- Anybody with a fishing rod and an itch to get outside will want to take note: the scant snow and poor ice behind a disappointing winter for sportsmen and women have set the stage for what state fisheries biologists say should be a fantastic early trout season opening March 3 on inland waters.


“Unless a major snowstorm or Arctic blast hits our area, anglers could see one of the best early trout season's on record this spring,” says Heath Benike, Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist based in Eau Claire.  “Trout populations are strong across most trout streams right now and fish should be very active especially from early to late afternoon.”


Jordan Weeks, fisheries biologist for Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe and Vernon counties, agrees: “Anglers are going to find a lot of fish,” Weeks says. “They are going to find hungry fish and easily accessible streams because of no snow. They're going to be able to go where they want to go. I think it's going to be fantastic as long as we don’t get a big rain or snow to slow or stop it.”

Weeks noted that even though his area was supposed to get snow overnight on Feb. 20, a predicted warm up later in the week would likely melt the snow with little effect on the streams.
Season details

The early catch-and-release trout season opens at 5 a.m. on March 3 and runs until midnight April 29.

Most trout streams are open to early fishing with the exception of most Lake Superior tributaries and most streams in northeast Wisconsin; check the current trout fishing Regulations pamphlet for specific waters. Anglers are not required to use barbless hooks but must use artificial lures and flies.


Trout population reports for 2012

Trout populations have generally increased statewide, and the number of fish in all sizes examined have increased, since 1950, according to a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point analysis released in 2011 and discussed in "A Trout Treasury," an April 2011 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine article.


Angler Education workshops set for March

Get the training and materials to start a kids' fishing program

MADISON -- Fishing club members, youth leaders, classroom teachers, and leaders of afterschool and summer recreation programs are encouraged to attend free angler education workshops in March in Madison, Menomonie, Milwaukee and Stevens Point.


"Our basic angler education training workshops will help you start your own fishing program for kids," says Theresa Stabo, aquatic education coordinator for the Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources. "It's a great opportunity to share your passion for fishing by introducing kids to the sport, and at the same time, helping them learn about Wisconsin's aquatic resources and gain important life skills."


Basic Angler Education instructor training certification workshops focus on teaching spin casting and incorporating related topics in a K-12 curriculum or youth development program. Some workshops feature fly fishing or complementary aquatic resources education programs.

Unless otherwise noted, all workshops are free of charge and include lunch or dinner, Stabo says. However, there is a $15 workshop commitment fee that is returned upon

completion of the course. Pre-registration is required;

download the form and return to the designated contact.

Basic angler education instructor workshop schedule
  • March 17, Menomonie - 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Menomonie Public Library, 600 Wolske Bay Drive, Menomonie. Instructor: Dennis Vanden Bloomen, UW-Stout. Registration Deadline: March 10, 2012

  • March 22, Madison - 4:30 - 8:30 p.m., Madison Public Library - Sequoya Branch, 4340 Tokay Blvd., Madison. Registration Deadline: March 15, 2012

  • March 24, Milwaukee - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Milwaukee School of Engineering, Student Life & Campus Center Building, Room CC-130, Corner of State & Broadway, Milwaukee. Enter on the west side of building. Registration Deadline: March 19, 2012

  • March 31, Stevens Point - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Club 10, 1602 Highway HH West. Directions: From Highway 39/51, exit West on Business Hwy 10. Business 10 becomes Main Street. Hook left off of Main onto Clark Street and cross the Wisconsin River. Veer right onto Hwy HH when you get to Hwy M. Club 10 is on the right. If you pass Rocky Run, you missed it. If you are lost, call 715-344-7128. Registration Deadline: March 23, 2012

Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)


New EPA rules to reduce mercury in fish
New federal standards will regulate toxic air and water emissions from coal-fired power plants, which doctors say put locals — especially children — at risk


Canada applauds NY on ballast water decision
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Pierre Poilievre, welcomed yesterday’s decision by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) to remove a threat to shipping on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.

Leaders say stricter ballast standards will harm Seaway shipping, cost jobs
The operators of the Port of Ogdensburg claim that ballast water standards called for by the head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation will harm chances for an economic recovery along the St. Lawrence Seaway.

10 invasive species threatening Canadian habitats
 From parasites to crabs and living slime affectionately dubbed "rock snot," invasive species can wreak havoc in a new habitat. Take a look at 10 non-native plants and animals that are disrupting ecosystems in Canada.


Green Bay to be tested for Asian carp
In its effort to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, President Obama's administration will conduct tests in Green Bay for the presence of the voracious species.


Feds to spend $50 Million on carp fight

The Obama administration announced it is committing $50 million to DNA sampling, underwater cameras, sophisticated tracking systems and projects exploring ways to poison the ravenous invaders without harming native species.  John Goss, Asian carp  Czar, said the new efforts "will strengthen our


Michigan DNR OK with Alabama rig
The controversial Alabama fishing rig, which lets anglers use six jigs or similar lures on a single rod, passes muster under Michigan's fishing rules, the Department of Natural Resources has decided.


Feds plan to spend $51.5 million in 2012 on protecting Great Lakes from destructive Asian carp
The Obama administration plans to spend $51.5 million this year in its continuing battle to protect the Great Lakes from destructive Asian carp


Environmentalists threaten suit over ballast rule
Groups on Tuesday threatened to file another lawsuit in their long-running battle over ballast water discharges from cargo ships blamed for spreading invasive species in the Great Lakes and other U.S. waters.


Brule Hatchery may be on list to close
The fish rearing station in Brule, Wis. — known locally as the Brule Hatchery — was slated to be closed as of January due to state government budget constraints.


Underwater guns set toward invaders
A new federal and state partnership seeks to bolster the Grand Traverse Bay's native fish populations. Officials will use traps and seismic guns to clear rusty crayfish and round gobies from spawning reefs, where they hang out and eat fish eggs.

Lake Erie virtually ice-free this year, Great Lakes ice cover at 5 percent
Lake Erie is not alone in this ice-free zone. Temperatures around all five Great Lakes are averaging a good 5 degrees F above normal since November.


Restoring Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon

While a thorough wild salmon restoration program for Lake Ontario might be desirable, we now know that there may also be an economic case for doing so with publicly-supported funding. Wild Atlantic salmon once nourished the bodies and souls of Aboriginals living along the Lake Ontario shoreline and salmon rivers were one of the factors that helped to attract European settlement.



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