Week of March 5, 2012

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


Lake Huron
Lake Michigan
Lake Ontaio

New York
Other Breaking News Items


       Weekly News Archives


       New Product  Archives

Beyond the Great Lakes

Bass Pro Shops coming to Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs, Colorado--Bass Pro Shops has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to be part of the new 200-acre Copper Ridge development on Colorado Springs’ north side, according to developer Gary Erickson who negotiated the deal.  This new location of a Bass Pro Shops® Sportsman’s Center off Interstate 25 and North Gate Boulevard will overlook the Air Force Academy, and with its convenient location, will attract tourists and travelers to the entire Pikes Peak region and will initially generate at least 250 jobs.


“We will break ground on the approximately 117,000 square foot store in April, and expect it to open in the summer of 2013,” Erickson said.  The recently completed North Gate Boulevard, a $10 million investment by local developers, creates easy access to Bass Pro Shops from the Air Force Academy, Interstate 25, Highway 83, and eventually Powers Boulevard when it is extended to Interstate 25.


Nationally, Bass Pro Shops will host over 112 million people visiting their 58 stores across America and Canada this year; the average customer stays 2 ½ hours and

drives an average distance of 50+ miles.  Bass Pro Shops

was recently named by Advertising Age magazine as one of the Top 10 Hottest Brands in America along with name brands such as Old Spice, M&M’s, iPad and Droid.  Also, Bass Pro Shops has been recognized numerous times for their conservation and outdoor education efforts.


The Bass Pro Shops store will be the first anchor in the Copper Ridge development that will eventually include up to 2,000,000 square feet of planned retail, restaurants, offices, residential lofts and a hotel.


Also included in this development will be the Colorado Grand Resort & Hotel, Inc., a family resort experience.  This resort will feature a 30,000 square foot indoor/outdoor water park experience, a Colorado Grand Lobby with massive log and rock décor and family sized themed suites.  This resort will open in 2014


The Colorado Springs Bass Pro Shops Sportsman’s Center will feature the much- acclaimed Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill. This 15,000 square-foot nautical-themed entity located within the store, features a truly unique atmosphere and design geared for family fun and dining.

Legislation repeals One-Gun-a-Month by Virginia Governor

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has signed House Bill

940 into law which repeals Virginia's prohibition of purchasing more than one handgun per month.

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

New Largemouth Bass Record Set in Arkansas

Almost 36 years to the day, Arkansas’s largemouth bass state record has finally been broken. Paul Crowder of Forrest City set the new record on Lake Dunn near Wynne. Crowder’s lunker weighed 16 pounds 5 ounces, breaking the old record by just a single ounce.

Aaron Mardis of Memphis had held the state record since March 2, 1976. Mardis’ 16 pound 4 ounce fish was caught

on Mallard Lake near Manilla in Mississippi County.


Crowder broke the record on Feb. 28 using a plastic 6" Mann’s jelly worm with a bullet sinker and plastic rattle in tequila sunrise. He was using an Enigma rod and reel combo purchased from Bass Pro Shops. Crowder caught the fish on Trilene 14-pound test line. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Fisheries Biologist Lee Holt certified the fish on a certified scale at Hayes Market in Wynne.


The fish measured 26½ inches in length and was 22¾ inches in girth.

Misc New Fishing-Boating Products

Field & Stream Year's Best New Fishing Gear

2012 Fishing Best of the Best Award Winners Announced

New York, NY- February 22, 2012- Field & Stream magazine gave top honors to the world’s best new fishing products today in the magazine’s annual Fishing Best of the Best roundup. Winners were rigorously tested by panels of experts who selected 16 new products as the best in their class. The Fishing Best of the Best Award winners are featured in Field & Stream’s March issue, on newsstands today.   


“We tested more than 100 pieces of the latest gear and winnowed it down to the standout products that clearly are the Best of the Best,” says Slaton White, Deputy Editor of Field & Stream. “We spend months battle-testing equipment in every major category to hone in on the gear we think will help our readers have the best possible day on the water.”


Field & Stream’s list of the best fishing equipment highlights items in 6 categories: Baitcasting, Spinning, Flyfishing, Lures and Accessories, Outerwear, and Marine Electronics. The gear-test panels are made up of Field & Stream editors and gear fanatics who have centuries of collective fishing experience. The group evaluates products based on performance, ability to deliver in the field, reasonable and fair pricing, design, and usefulness to anglers.


For more on Field & Stream’s Fishing Best of the Best

Awards, please see the March issue of the magazine or visit FieldandStream.com


Field & Stream’s 2012 Fishing Best of the Best Winners:



• Cabela’s Platinum ZX Rods

• Daiwa T3 Ballistic Reel


• Sage 586-4 One Rods

• Ross F1 #3 Reel

• MFC Waterproof Boat Box

• L.L. Bean Waterproof Hybrid Duffle


• Hummingbird 1158C DI



• Quantum EXO Reel

• Fenwick Elite Tech Smallmouth Rods



• Yeti Roadie 20 Cooler

• Sébile D&S Crank

• VMC Spinshot Hooks



• Patagonia Rio Azul Waders

• Cabela’s E.C.W.C.S. Thermal Zone Polartec Power Dry Baselayer System

• Simms Prodry Jacket and Bibs

• Fishpond Nimbus Guide Pack

Fenwick Elite Tech Smallmouth Rod Wins Field & Stream Best of the Best

Innovative Rod Wins Fishing 2012 Best Spinning Rod Award

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Field and Stream selected the Fenwick Elite Tech Smallmouth rods as the 2012 Fishing Best of the Best Winner for spinning rods. “Fishing Best of the Best” winners, along with other notable fishing gear, are featured in Field & Stream’s March issue.


“We worked hard to produce a rod specifically for the smallmouth angler,” said Mitch Dreisbach, Fenwick Product Manager. “The Elite Tech Smallmouth rods are fine tuned to fit any smallmouth technique.”

Fenwick starts with a high modulus graphite blank designed specifically for smallmouth applications using the Fenwick Development System Technology which is based on over 60 years of research and development of rod materials and design. Titanium frame guides with lightweight Zirconium inserts reduce overall blank weight and line wear.


The Fenwick Elite Tech rods, available in five spinning and five baitcast models, are built with the quality and workmanship that has made Fenwick one of the most recognized names in fishing.



Sébile D&S Crank wins Field & Stream Best of the Best
Innovative Bait Wins Fishing 2012 Best Lure Award

COLUMBIA, S.C. (February 28, 2012) – The Sébile® D&S Crank was selected as Field & Stream’s Best Lure award for Fishing 2012. “Fishing Best of the Best” winners, along with other notable fishing gear, are featured in Field & Stream’s March issue.
“The D&S Crank is a great crankbait for fishing very heavy cover,” said Patrick Sébile, Global Director Product Management- Sébile. “The Sébile D&S Crank is a new twist on a very traditional bait.
Whether retrieved or trolled, Sébile’s unique Gravity Snagless Hook System uses gravity to hold the hook down in its lowest position possible. This allows the bait to run through heavy grass, brush and rocks without fear of snagging. The hook moves upward on the lure’s body during a strike for an immediate hook set.
The triangular-shaped body is armed with a moving wide gap hook so the point is protected by the lures flattened tail making the D&S Crank one of the first conservation-conscious lures. Since anglers no longer need to deal with

treble hooks, catch and release is easier, faster and much safer for the fish.


Internally, there are three partitions each containing a bead that rolls different lengths to create different sound levels, making the D&S Crank targetable for a reaction strike on many levels. This bait is designed to run as deep as 20 feet while cranking and 28 feet while trolling, and is constructed of heavy-duty, ultrasonic-welded ABS material.
The D&S Crank is a premium lure designed for any fisherman that likes to target those species that hold tight to cover, but it also works well in the open water. It is available in nine fish-catching colors including: Matte Orange/Yellow Crawdad, Matte Brown/Red Crawdad, Holo Greenie, FireTiger Gold, Hot Lime, Natural Red Tilapia, Natural Shiner, Blue Althea and Natural Gold Shiner.
Field & Stream’s list of the best fishing equipment touches on every type of tackle: baitcasting, spinning, and fly fishing. The list also highlights the best fishing accessories, from electronics and lures to sunglasses and outerwear. Best of the Best items are sure to make it onto many anglers wish lists, with products to fit every budget.

Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

Birchwood Casey Expands Target Line

Practice for the zombie apocalypse is now more fun than ever with the new splattering Darkotic Insectoid targets from Birchwood Casey.


Birchwood Casey Darkotic Targets have proven to be popular with the zombie shooting crowd. The Darkotic Insectoid targets expand the line to include even more nasty creatures that are fun to shoot.

Four new "undead" insects are available. The Blood Drive Mosquito, Crawl Space Spider, Buzz Kill Fly and the House Guest Cockroach. The 12"x18" splattering targets are available in 8 packs for $12.50, 50 packs for $70.00, or can be ordered individually/bulk in multiples of 100 for $1.20 each. The 23"x 35" non-splattering paper versions of all four targets are available for $1.40 each in bulk/multiples of 100.


800-328-6156 x7933   www.birchwoodcasey.com


Millett Scope Tite helps shooters stay on target

Keeping screws tight on rings, bases and accessories can be a problem, especially on firearms with heavy recoil or guns that fire hundreds of rounds of ammunition at a time. Scope Tite from Millett, a performance-driven and trusted brand in the shooting industry for decades, helps shooters remain on target and functioning shot after shot.


Millett Scope Tite works on fasteners of any shape or size and can be safely used on metal, wood,

plastic and a host of other materials. Scope Tite works

equally well on both internal and external threads, and fasteners can be easily adjusted, removed and even reused. In fact, one application can last up to five times during assembly and disassembly.


Battle-proven by the United States Army on the Abrams tank, Scope Tite is made in the USA. Millett Scope Tite is available in a 5 mL tube.


About $9.95


800-423-3537    www.millettsights.com


EPA’s Global Warming Juggernaut challenged in Court
Lawsuits Question Basis, Procedures Behind EPA’s “Endangerment Finding”
Washington, D.C. – EPA’s economically ruinous plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions are being challenged in federal court this week by a broad array of states and private parties, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday in a set of cases challenging EPA’s decision to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.  The court will also review a series of major EPA regulations based on that decision.

The petitioners argue that EPA acted arbitrarily and illegally in a number of respects:  it ignored the severe shortcomings of climate models; it illegally adopted the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and it refused to reopen its proceedings in the wake of Climategate.  The agency also ignored the fact that its incredibly costly regulations will have no detectable impact on global temperature.  Despite the extraordinary economic impact, the much-ballyhooed benefits will in fact

amount to zero.


“The fact that the court is devoting two days to hearing these cases demonstrates the importance of these legal questions.  But from a political standpoint, there’s even more at stake,” said CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis.  “In 2010, after two decades of global warming advocacy, Congress declined to give EPA explicit authority to regulate greenhouse gases when Senate leaders pulled the plug on cap-and-trade legislation.  EPA’s insistence on going forward with its command-and-control agenda despite this defies both history and logic.”

Last year, EPA’s own Inspector General found that the agency based its 2009 “Endangerment Finding” (that emissions from greenhouse gases endanger the public health and welfare) on a flawed and inadequate assessment of climate science, and that EPA’s peer review methodology did not meet OMB requirements for highly influential scientific assessments.  (See EPA IG Report)

The appeals court's rulings in Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA are anticipated this summer. (View the legal brief.)

Supreme Court Won’t Tip the Scales on Asian Carp
The United States Supreme court has, for the third time, refused an appeal from some Great Lakes states (Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) to close the Illinois shipping channels in order to slow the spread of invasive Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.


The appeal called for the Army Corps of Engineers to install nets in Chicago-area rivers.

The original lawsuit, not the appeal to the Supreme Court, is against Chicago’s local water reclamation agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and calls for Illinois to immediately close down the majority of its Chicago-area locks and dams. Illinois’ government claims this could lead to flooding and damage to the state’s shipping industry.


Despite refusing to hear the appeals of the Great Lakes states, for the third time, the Supreme Court offered no explanation for its decision.


Feds release 2012 Asian Carp Control Strateg Framework

WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration last week announced a series of new measures to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp, building on the unprecedented proactive plan the Administration established in February 2010 to prevent this invasive species from developing self-sustaining populations in the Great Lakes.


The 2012 Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework adds several initiatives to the comprehensive effort to combat Asian carp, including expanding eDNA sampling to additional areas in the Great Lakes region, deploying new nets and other technologies to enhance Asian carp capture rates, and developing cutting-edge biological controls and monitoring technology, among other measures.


“This strategy builds on the unprecedented and effective plan we are implementing to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes while we determine the best long term solution,” said John Goss, Asian Carp Director at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “The 2012 Strategic Framework will strengthen our defenses against Asian carp and move even more innovative carp control projects from research into implementation.”


The Administration released the original Asian Carp Framework in February 2010 to develop and implement effective Asian carp controls and keep the invasive species from establishing a self-sustaining population in the Great Lakes while a permanent solution is developed.


Updates to the Framework in 2012 include:

• Deploying new alternate traps and nets and other technologies to enhance Asian carp capture rates

• Implementing eDNA sampling with particular focus on

southern Lake Michigan, western Lake Erie and other potential hotspots

• Ensuring continued electrical barrier effectiveness through expanded use of telemetry and split beam hydro-acoustic monitoring

• Refining water guns to repel carp and evaluate their effectiveness at repelling juvenile and larval Asian carp

• Assessing the feasibility of using pheromones to capture and remove Asian carp

• Identifying potential compounds for inclusion in a toxicant screening program for controlling Asian carp

• Developing targeted control systems for Asian carp based on species-specific digestive system characteristics

• Expanding law enforcement surveillance and enforcement of illegal transportation of federally listed invasive species

• Increase Asian carp outreach and education efforts through the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network.


Key actions completed since 2010 include:

• Enhanced the fish barrier system to include strengthened electric barriers, physical barricades to stop Asian carp migration during floods, and closed off smaller waterway connections to the Great Lakes

• Utilized emergency authority provided through Section 126 of Energy and Water Development Act of 2010 to block flood waters from the Des Plaines River with a 13-mile fish barrier and a permanent block in the Illinois and Michigan Canal to keep Asian carp from crossing into the Chicago Waterway

• Installed a 1,500 foot fish barrier fence at Eagle Marsh, near Fort Wayne, IN, to block advancement of Asian carp from the Wabash to the Maumee and Lake Erie

• Identified 18 other pathways across all the Great Lakes states with the potential to transfer aquatic invasive species between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins


Court rules against U.S. Forest Service on illegal fees

Agency was charging prohibited fees for Fishing, Hiking, Hunting, Boating, Parking, Etc

The San Francisco-based Federal Appeals Court has ruled that certain U.S. Forest Service (USFS) "Federal Lands Access Enhancement (FLREA) Fees" are not legal in some western states, setting a nationwide legal precedence. The Court's decision found the agency couldn't legally charge fees for fishing, hunting, hiking, walking, picnicking, parking, four wheeling, boating, horseback riding and other uses on undeveloped land.


The unanimous three-judge panel in a February 9th ruling found that "FLREA clearly prohibited fees solely for parking and hiking" fee laws that had been put in place by the U.S.

Congress over ten years ago, but the USFS continued operating fee programs around the country "that did just that."


The Forest Service says it began a review of all recreation fees two years ago, and in January made preliminary proposals on their future status. Under these proposals, 26 national forest areas will still require visitor fees, down from the current 90 areas nationwide.


The case (Adams v. U. S. Forest Service) stems from a lawsuit filed in 2008 by four hikers who visit Mt. Lemmon, located in the Coronado National Forest, near Tucson. "Everyone is entitled to enter the national forests without paying a cent," wrote Judge Robert Gettleman for the unanimous three-judge panel.

National Bills Advance Sportsmen Interests

Hunters and anglers have faced numerous federally imposed restrictions in recent years.  New legislation in Congress, to be put on a fast track in the U.S. House of Representatives, tackles some of the worst restrictions on our sporting heritage.


The newly introduced H.R. 4089 is a package of four high-priority bills (Titles I-IV below) to protect and enhance hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting, especially on public lands. The new bill also addresses backdoor attempts to stop hunting and fishing, plus it allows the import of legally hunted polar bear trophies now tangled in federal red-tape. Enactment of H.R. 4089 will be a win-win-win-win for all sportsmen.


Title I is the former H.R. 2834 – the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance has been a long-time leader in the effort to pass this legislation. It mandates that National Forest and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands are open, as a matter of law, to fishing, hunting, and shooting until, or unless, closed for specific purposes and on the basis of necessity and sound evidence. This title also reverses a spate of activist judicial rulings to ensure that wildlife conservation and management activities may occur on Forest and BLM lands, including areas designated as Wilderness.


Title II protects recreational shooting on BLM National Monument lands reversing recent unwarranted restrictions on this traditional activity.  Growing restrictions on recreational shooting on public lands have become a major problem and this provision will fix that problem on BLM Monument lands.


Title III allows the importation from Canada of 41 polar bear trophies stuck in legal limbo. These trophies were taken before the bear was listed as an endangered species (over strong scientific objections from the hunting and conservation community) but could not be imported legally after the listing occurred. The provision enables hunters to bring home their taxidermy mounts.


Title IV confirms that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot ban lead in traditional ammunition or in sport fishing gear. 

Anti-hunting/anti-fishing activists, such as the radical Center for Biological Diversity, have been pressing—and suing—EPA to ban traditional ammo and fishing tackle. This provision swiftly cuts these activists off at the pass.


Sportsmen greatly appreciate the bi-partisan work by the House Natural Resources Committee and Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) to forge this important new hunting/fishing/shooting bill and put it on the fast track.  Let us hope that the U.S. Senate and the Obama Administration are ready to do their part in enacting promptly this vital bill,” said Bill Horn, USSA Director of Federal Affairs (and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior).


As H.R. 4089 begins to move in Congress, sportsmen everywhere need to voice their strong support to their Representatives.  Take Action!  Every sportsman and sportswoman should immediately contact their Congressman and urge them to support this groundbreaking bill. To find your Congressman’s contact information, visit USSA's Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org/LAC.


FCC extends comment period on GPS decision to March 16

BoatUS recently cautioned that America's boaters weren't out of the woods yet with the possibility of the country's sole electronic navigation system failing as the result of radio signal interference issues from a newly proposed cellular broadband network.


The association said the Federal Communications Commission extended the public comment period to the network's proposed builder, LightSquared, allowing comments through March 16.  Boaters and all users of GPS are urged to submit comments to the FCC to ensure that the nation's system of global positioning devices keeps Americans safely on course.


"This latest move is no surprise and we hope the additional two weeks gives GPS users the chance to have their voice heard." BoatUS president Margaret Podlich said in a statement


Here is how to file comments to the FCC through its online comment form:

Click here for the FCC online Comment form: http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/hotdocket/list


• Select “Proceeding Number 11-109.”

• Enter contact information.

• In the box that says “Type in or paste your brief comments,” here are some points to select from:

• Explain how you use GPS in your life — on the water, on land or in the air.

• What would happen to your business/personal life if GPS became unavailable or unreliable?

• Wireless broadband service is important, but it should not come at the expense of GPS.

• All of the studies show that LightSquared's proposed network would cause interference and that there are no remedies.

• Tell the FCC that you rely on it to protect the integrity of the GPS signal and that you support its recommendation to stop LightSquared's current proposal.

• Click “Continue.”

• If the review page is correct, click “Confirm.”



Early Season Boaters warned of Cold Water Risks

COLUMBUS, OH – As sport anglers venture onto Lake Erie and other waterways in their boats for early season fishing action, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Watercraft advises boaters to take precautions to reduce the effects of cold water immersion should people unexpectedly fall into the icy cold water.


The risks associated with a cold water immersion for unprepared people can be severe and result in death if a boat capsizes or a person falls overboard. Most Ohio waterways remain free of ice, but water temperatures are only a few degrees above freezing.


The most apparent risk to life results from the immediate effects of cold water shock and cold water incapacitation. This often leads to hypothermia for people who become immersed in cold water and are not properly dressed for the conditions.


Properly loading a boat and not overloading it with people and gear is an important first step to reduce the chances

of a boat capsizing. Properly wearing an approved life

jacket or inflatable vest saves lives and should be a part of every boat angler’s safety gear routine before boating. Paying close attention to current and future weather conditions and filing a float plan with a responsible person are also key safety tips to follow when boating, especially during cold conditions.


Another good way to be prepared for an unexpected fall into seasonally cold waters is to dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. More safety tips are available on the Division of Watercraft’s website at www.ohiodnr.com/watercraft.


Information shared in a training program known as the Cold Water Boot Camp details the risks associated with cold water immersions and offers tips on how to be prepared for cold water boating conditions. Learn more about the training program at www.coldwaterbootcamp.com.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at www.ohiodnr.com.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Mar 02, 2012




St. Clair



Level for Mar 02






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr








Unseasonably warm temperatures were paired with several storm systems across the Great Lakes basin this past week. This produced heavy snow across much of the northern parts of the basin and large amounts of rain elsewhere. Precipitation is once again predicted across the Great Lakes Basin to start the weekend. The precipitation will range from snow to the north and rain to the south. The remainder of the week anticipates a slight chance of precipitation and a continuation of the above normal temperatures basin wide.


Currently, Lake Superior is 2 inches higher and Lake

Michigan-Huron is 7 inches higher than it was last year.

Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 28, 20, and 22 inches, respectively, higher than they were at this time last year. Over the next thirty days, Lake Superior is projected to drop 1 inch from its current level, while Lake Michigan-Huron is projected to remain steady. The water levels of Lakes St. Clair and Lake Erie are forecasted to remain steady, while Lake Ontario is forecasted to increase 1 inch over the next month. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.



Lake Superior's outflow through the St. Marys River is projected to be below average for the month of March. Lake Huron's outflow into the St. Clair River and the outflow from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River are expected to be near average throughout the month of March. Lake Erie's outflow through the Niagara River and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River are both predicted to be above average in March.


The water levels of Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are below chart datum, and are forecasted to remain below chart datum over the next several 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. Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center's website.


Take Proper Safety Precautions while Ice Fishing

CLEVELAND — The U.S. Coast Guard is urging individuals who choose to recreate on frozen lakes and rivers to take proper safety precautions after two events on Sunday demonstrated the danger and unpredictability of ice in the Great Lakes.

There were no injuries reported during the two incidents.


Sunday morning, seven individuals were rescued on Sunday morning after being stranded on an ice floe about 300 yards from Riley’s Bay in Green Bay. A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay, Wis., aboard a 22-foot Special Purpose Craft—Airboat, and a rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., were dispatched to the scene, but all seven people were assisted by local authorities prior to their arrival.


Also on Sunday, 36 cars reportedly fell through the ice on Lake Winnebago during an ice fishing tournament. There were no injuries or pollution reported and tow trucks were called to remove the cars from the water.


“The ice conditions we've seen so far on the Great Lakes have been remarkably unpredictable," said Capt. Steve Torpey, chief of response for the 9th Coast Guard District.

“The relatively warm weather has made for some particularly treacherous situations, and we were very lucky there were no human tragedies in either of these incidents.”


The Coast Guard wants to remind the public to make a serious investment and commitment to ice safety on the Great Lakes, since varying levels of ice thickness are common on the Great Lakes.  If people do choose to go on to the ice, however, they should remember the acronym I.C.E. — Intelligence, Clothing, Equipment.

  • Intelligence:  know the weather and ice conditions, know where you're going, and know how to call for help

  • Clothing: have proper clothing to prevent hypothermia; dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature

  • Equipment: have proper equipment: marine radio, life jackets, screw drivers/ice picks, etc


Although air temperatures may seem relatively warm, lake temperatures remain extremely cold. Immersion into icy water quickly leads to hypothermia and possibly death within minutes. 

For more information contact the 9th District External Affairs Office at 216-902-6020.


Registration opens for QDMA National Convention

BOGART, Ga. -- Registration is now open for the 12th Annual Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) National Convention, to be held Aug. 9-11 in Nashville, Tenn.


For a second-consecutive year, QDMA’s National Convention will be held in partnership with the Bass Pro Shops Land & Wildlife Expo and the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. Last year, the partnership helped produce one of the largest conventions in recent years, and QDMA is returning to Nashville to expand on last year’s success at the beautiful, world-class Opryland Resort.


The 2012 QDMA National Convention will continue to be the same great event that attendees have come to know and love over the years featuring:

Experts & Seminars

Special Guests

QDMA Leadership Session

Grand Banquet & Auction

Hunt Auction Luncheon

Boot Scoot n’ Boogie Party

“Going for the Gold” Opening Ceremonies 

Hands-on Hunting Workshops 

Rack Pack Youth Events

And Much More! 


To register or for more information, log onto www.qdma.com  or call (800) 209-3337. Questions about the National Convention and the registration process can be emailed to [email protected] as well.


Attendees will have access to the nation’s top wildlife and habitat experts from leading conservation, wildlife, agricultural and forestry management organizations and companies. Seminar sessions will focus on how to improve the wildlife habitat of your recreational property, ultimately attracting more wildlife and building a sustainable long term plan for your land.

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan managers host Stocking Conference April 14

Lake Michigan College at Benton Harbor site of meeting

EAST LANSING – This past fishing season proved to be a good one for Lake Michigan with more and bigger fish than in the previous year. “The kings were bigger, the cohos were bigger, and there were plenty of fish to go around,” said Daniel O’Keefe, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educator.


However, the risk of fishery collapse is still possible. “Stocking is one of the most influential tools managers have available for influencing the lake, but even stocking has a limited influence in a complex system dominated by exotic species,” O’Keefe said. 


Some possible stocking options for trout and salmon will be addressed at the public meeting held at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Mich. on April 14. Fisheries managers from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin will speak about the risks associated with each stocking option and will ask for input. The Lake Michigan Committee will reach a decision this fall following the input

of concerned anglers, decisions impacting salmon stocking in Lake Michigan over the next several years. 


This full-day workshop is open to the public at no charge. Participants will learn more about specific options for stocking policy and have the opportunity to speak with fisheries managers about the future of Lake Michigan fisheries. However, pre-registration is required so click here:  April 14 Conference Registration ; a draft agenda is not yet available. 


If you cannot attend the full-day workshop, a portion of the live program on April 14 will include the opportunity for online participants to ask questions and give their opinions regarding future stocking policy. Online participants also must pre-register and will receive instructions for participation via e-mail.


Those interested in fisheries management and saving the Great Lakes should visit MSU Extension News at www.news.msue.msu.edu for more information. MSU Extension News features helpful articles about various topics submitted by MSU Extension experts throughout the state.  To register: April 14 Conference Registration

The Future of Salmon and Trout Stocking in Lake Michigan

Five species of salmon and trout support a world-class recreational fishery in Lake Michigan. Stocking has played an important role in maintaining the balance between predators and baitfish, such as the non-native alewife, since the late 1960s. If too many salmon and trout are in the lake, baitfish decline and salmon starve or fall prey to disease. If too few salmon and trout are in the lake, the

non-native alewife could foul beaches and affect native species.


Ongoing research is being used to investigate the possibility that changes to stocking policy could improve fisheries and limit the risk of predator-prey imbalance. Fisheries managers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana will set a stocking policy for Lake Michigan salmon and trout by fall of 2012.

Lake Huron

Lake Trout Stocking in Lake Huron

Al Wikins, President Lake Huron Fishing Club

The Ministry of Natural Resources is currently putting the final touches on a proposed "Revised Lake Trout Rehabilitation Plan for the Ontario Waters of Lake Huron".  If approved, this document will guide the MNR's lake trout management efforts on Lake Huron for the next 20 years. 


As a major stakeholder in the Lake Huron Fisheries, the Lake Huron Fishing Club will be providing input to the MNR on the proposed rehabilitation plan.  We will be doing this through our membership in the Fisheries Management Zone 13 Advisory Council and through the EBR process when the "Plan" is posted for public review.  We have had several discussions about the lake trout issue at our club meetings, our Executive meetings, FMZ13 Council meetings and many of you have approached me personally to express your opinions.  At the last LHFC Executive meeting a motion was put on the table and voted to state the opinion of the Lake Huron Fishing Club on the Lake Trout Rehabilitation Plan. 


"The Lake Huron Fishing Club recommends that the Ministry of Natural Resources terminate the stocking of Lake Trout into Lake Huron."

 There are many considerations that contributed to this recommendation.  Here are a few:


The MNR has been attempting to rehabilitate lake trout in Lake Huron since the 1940's.  There has been very little success until just the past few years.  The natural reproduction that is now being seen across the lake is likely not a result of stocking improvements but the ecological changes resulting from the collapse of alewives.


Lake trout is not a species of fish that is sought after by anglers.  Just about any other species of fish are rated higher than lake trout when it comes to what big lake anglers wish to catch.

Lake trout is not a species of fish that are wanted by the commercial fishing industry.  There is next to no market for the fish, they have limited quota for the fish, and lake trout damage the fishing gear they use for catching whitefish.


The MNR refuses to exclude commercial fishermen from the lake trout rehabilitation areas.  While they are not being targeted, an incidental catch is inevitable.  This is counterproductive to rehabilitation.


Lake trout accumulate toxins present in the waters. In central Lake Huron women and children are advised not to consume a lake trout greater than 14 inches in length.


The stocking of lake trout into Lake Huron is an expensive exercise.  The yearly cost has been averaging $930,000 and 30% of the provincial fish culture capacity is used putting lake trout into the lake.  90% of funds paying for this program come from the MNR's Special Purpose Account.  These are the license dollars that sports fishermen pay the government to be allowed to fish.


The MNR has not been responsible in their stocking of lake trout.  Dumping fish off the end of the pier in Kincardine, through floating ice, in the middle of the day with hundreds of seagulls present is wasting a valuable resource.  If the Lake Huron Fishing Club were to stock our fish in that manner our members would ask for the resignations of the hatchery managers. 1 - 2 million lake trout fingerlings/year have to be having a significant impact on a fragile prey base in the lake.  


This amount of biomass in one species must be suppressing other sport fish species.  Reducing the number of lake trout may well result in a rebound of other fish species that are more desirable from both a sportfishing and commercial viewpoint.


Lake Ontario

5 Million Atlantics stocked, 33 Return

Is Lake Ontario a vacuum for DNR, MNR stocking funds?

Concerned anglers are asking the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources when is it time to fold the cards and walk away from the game.  The game in question is the province’s attempt at re-introducing Atlantic salmon back to Lake Ontario north shore tributaries.


The program has been going on since 1987. From 1987 to 2006 the OMNR stocked approximately 1.9 million fry, fingerling, fall fingerling and yearling Atlantic salmon. In 2006 the Ministry of Natural Resources teamed up to form the much ballyhooed Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. More than 3 million Atlantic salmon have been stocked from 2006 to 2011.


Twenty-five years after sitting down to play the game Ontario anglers are now asking where are the results of stocking mass numbers of  Atlantic salmon over the last 25 years? The chances of catching an Atlantic salmon on the north shore of Lake Ontario are almost nil and that’s after approximately 5 million Atlantic salmon have been stocked by the government of Ontario.


Well here’s part of the answer. The Ontario Ministry of

Natural Resources just released their 2011 Atlantic Salmon Restoration: Credit River Assessment report. It notes that the entire return to the Streetsville fishway was comprised of a pitiful 33 Atlantic salmon. It should be noted that the Credit River is the main stocking site for the program.


After stocking more than 5 million fish and having only 33 Atlantics return to the fishway this past fall, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources should fold their cards and walk away from this folly. Anglers pay the bill with their annual license dues. They obviously want fish and not dismal scientific results.


Government hatchery facilities are few and far between in the Province of Ontario. The Normandale Fish Culture Station, Lake Ontario’s major provider is presently packed to the ‘gills’ with Atlantics. Economic times are tough, government funding is always stressed.


Definitely, now is the time to get out of experimenting and back to rearing fish for the fisherman and the sport fishery.

Darryl Choronzey

Going Fishing TV

Ridgeway, Ontario



Conlin addresses Illinois AFS annual meeting

Retired Illinois DNR Fish Chief, Mike Conlin, addressed the Illinois Chapter American Fisheries Society 50th Anniversary Meeting during the February 21-23, 2012 conference at Starved Rock State Park Lodge in Utica. Here is the text of Mr. Conlin's well-received speech.

Illinois Fisheries In The Age Of Political Ineptitude - Is There Hope?

IL DNR Fisheries Division in dire shape

First of all let me state that prediction is difficult, especially of the future. I've been around the Illinois fisheries scene for nearly 5 decades. Yet, as I stand here today there are only two things that I know for sure......the first is that hip boots leak only in cold water.....the second is that the Division of Fisheries is in a world of hurt. On the surface, the Illinois DNR's Division of Fisheries appears to be dead in the water. Consider that.......nearly half the counties of the state have no coverage by a District Fishery Biologist.......they are at half staff on the Lake Michigan Program.......the Division is one retirement away from having no one assigned to the Mississippi River Program .......the Urban Fishing Program will shrink to nothing (1 person) after a key upcoming retirement.......there is no longer any Reservoir Fishery Management Program (Shelbyville, Carlyle, Rend)......there are only 11 staff presently instead of 24 to produce fish at Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery (and half-staff or less at Little Grassy and LaSalle Hatcheries as well).......over $18 million is needed for basic maintenance and upgrading within the now 30 year old hatchery system of Jake Wolf, Little Grassy, and LaSalle hatcheries.........the Division of Fisheries has but one person under the age of 40. What about the rest of the DNR? Pretty much the same story, really.


Heading into the late 1990's the DNR staff numbered around 2200. Today, that number has dramatically fallen to 1100+, with the retirement of many more baby boomers close at hand. At the same time that the number of DNR worker bees has fallen 50%, the number of DNR top Executive Staff has increased substantially. When the work force numbered 2200, there was a Director and two Deputy Directors.....today, with only 1100 employees, there is a Director, Assistant Director, THREE Deputy Directors, a Chief of Staff, an Assistant to the Director, and a plethora of Office Directors. Dr. Willard Klimstra (1979) once observed that patronage:


Tends to foster non-professionalism

Permits inefficient use of scarce dollars

Hampers the role of leadership

Inhibits freedom to address issues honestly and openly

Tends to negate long-range planning based upon biological principles

Creates an atmosphere of insecurity, and

Promotes "politicking" in the interest of personal survival


I would just add that, in my view, it is criminal that a fat executive staff is thriving and causing, in part, the occurrence of a dangerously lean field staff.


Everyone realizes that the amount of General Revenue Funds available for state government has shrunk dramatically in recent years. But why are the core functions and responsibilities of the DNR (conservation and management of our wildlife and aquatic resources and enforcement of laws protecting such) also so anemic, funding wise? After all, isn't the Wildlife and Fish Fund (where all hunting and fishing license income is deposited) a special fund which can only be utilized for funding the core functions of the DNR? Guess again. In 2005, the 25 year annual payment of $1.4 million/year to pay for the expansion of the fish hatchery system was completed. Although an additional $1.4 million of the fees anglers pay annually for fishing licenses was now available for other Division of Fisheries needs, Fisheries did not receive one penny of this money.


Resident fishing license fees were increased in 2010 ($12.50 to $14.50) but none of the monies generated from the increase went to the Division of Fisheries. It's simply a matter of diversion. As general revenue monies began to dry up the past decade, monies from the Wildlife and Fish Fund were directed toward programs it had not historically been utilized for. Seven years ago there was a $45 million balance in the Wildlife and Fish Fund. Today, there is virtually a zero balance, with negative balances just on the horizon. Why does the Director of the DNR allow that? Well, the sad fact is that the Director is really not the Director at all. To truly manage, one must have control of the budget and personnel. The Director of DNR in actuality controls neither one. The Budget and Personnel Directors within DNR answer not to the DNR Director, but rather to the Governor's Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Central Management Services, respectively. What this all adds up to is that those really in charge of the DNR haven't a clue regarding what conservation of our aquatic, wildlife, natural heritage, and forest resources consists of or why it is of such critical importance.


The current ineptitude exhibited within the Executive Branch surely has no equal within State Government. Right? Wrong. One only has to look to the Legislative Branch. It seems that the defining characteristic of legislators these days is that "they do not know how to play well with others". They are so busy fighting amongst themselves and concentrating on getting re-elected that they are incapable of addressing the egregious problems which exist in the Executive Branch of our government.


So, back to the initial question. Is there any hope? Aldo Leopold once said "That the situation appears hopeless should not prevent us from doing our best." I think that in this one statement lies the foundation of our hope for the NEAR-TERM future of the Division of Fisheries. The current Division, as tattered and torn as it is, is comprised of men and women whose deep sense of professionalism give them the will to carry on in the face of extreme adversity. My college mentor (Dr. Leonard (Bull) Durham) and my first DNR supervisor (Leo Rock) both taught me that if one is to endure in the conservation business, he/she needed not only a proper education, but also a deep passion for what they are doing, accompanied by a tenacity exceeding that of the fiercest bulldog. So the current Fisheries Crew on the listing DNR Ship realize that "conservation is a marathon, not a sprint". In other words, they know that all the present day political ineptitude, lack of leadership, and economic hardship just goes with the territory.


As the famed outdoor writer, John Madson, noted at the Division of Fisheries Statewide Meeting in 1979, "There are times when professionalism will sustain a person when about everything else seems to have failed. It's a hedge against discouragement and failure, and the true professional is likely to still be churning along when the ribbon clerks and bush-leaguers have fallen by the wayside. Why? Because it's their style. It's what they are trained to do, and dedicated to doing, and take pride in. Professional wildlifers (conservationists) are literally and 

figuratively defending ground against overwhelming forces. You are buying time for the principles of ecological diversity and quality and hoping for reinforcements that may never come. You are professionals and you may not have a helluva lot, but you've got each other, and your work and some awful good people out there who are depending on you to help give them a world worth living in.........and that's enough".


So, for the present, professionalism is sustaining those who have toiled in the conservation vineyards for the past 20 years or more. This culture which has developed within the Division over the past 60 years is a formidable asset during these most trying of times. But what really bothers me for the LONG-TERM is that as the present highly experienced and older work force continues to retire and dwindle, who will pass on the Division culture? And to whom? DNR biologists have two separate masters........a political master and a science master. Certainly future DNR fisheries biologists will continue to have a scientific influence from their technical college training. What will be missing on the science influence side is the lack of experienced DNR staff. After all, training is what you get in the classroom, education is what you on the job out in the boons........and if there be no trained experienced field biologists to assist in both development of the technical and philosophical education of the leaders to be of the next generation , there will be a tremendous price to pay in terms of things natural and free. No transfer of culture will occur as it has automatically happened during the past six decades. The "can do philosophy" so deeply ingrained into the very fabric of being of present fisheries managers could well wither and die.


Another potential nail in the coffin of future Division culture and professionalism is the ever-increasing lack of opportunity for interaction........not only with each other, but with their professional society, university, and private sector counterparts. In the past, the extremely strong interaction between the aforementioned entities has formed the basis for an informal, but extremely powerful force which provided balance against the ever-present Division of Fisheries political master. The strength of this unofficial alliance cannot be overstated. Losing it would be like a prize fighter losing the protection of his good left jab. Should such a constrained environment continue to drag on for a significant time period, then the political master may well gain the cultural upper hand and deliver a knock-out punch to science-based professional fisheries management within State Government. Such an eventuality would prove extremely detrimental, not only to the Division and it's colleagues (universities, professional society, private sector), but more importantly, to the aquatic resources with which they are charged to manage and protect for all citizens of the State.


Another point of extreme concern to me relative to the future of the Division is the apathy of the public in matters of fisheries and aquatic resource conservation. At one time there was a strong and very vocal voice relative to matters relating to state funded fisheries activities. No more. Whether this has occurred due to continuing growth of the public's lack of faith in government or the fact that our population is now urban rather than rural, I don't claim to know. What is for sure is that anglers (except for a few select fishing organizations, which comprise only 2-3% of Illinois fishers) don't seem to much care what happens to the DNR or its fisheries programs.........and the public at large with it's deadly malady of Nature-Deficit Disorder certainly doesn't give a whit. We can no longer count on public outcry to assist with the perilous trials and tribulations of the Division. Unfortunately, the Division can not succeed without public support. It's a hard pill to swallow, but the once closed circle of mutual respect and need between the public and the DNR is broken, and the DNR is crumbling as a result.


At this point, permit my personal note: if you are not confused, you are not thinking clearly. Just what does the future hold? Is there genuine hope? Right now you might feel somewhat like President Harry Truman did when seeking advise from his economic adviser. Truman complained that his staffer would say, "On the one hand the outlook for the economy looks good..............but on the other hand, there are dark clouds on the horizon..........". That is exactly what I've done to you today. On the one hand, I've given a possible NEAR-TERM SCENERIO with a bit of light at the end of the tunnel; on the other hand I've given a potentially dark LONG-TERM SCENERIO.


You, like Truman, are likely wishing for a one-handed economist. My crystal ball is cloudy, but let me take a crack at predicting where things might be headed. I think that we will never again see the Division of Fisheries as it once was. The "Good Old Days" will not return. Government is too dysfunctional, bureaucratic, corrupt, and politically polarized to fix it. In the future I believe that many of the fisheries programs once provided will be seen as too expensive, if for no other reason than the pension and health care costs of the personnel involved. Programs like Urban Fishing, management and stocking of Private, Public, and State ponds and lakes, Commercial Fishing, and Aquaculture will become privatized.


The Division of Fisheries will continue to exist, albeit in a smaller role than previously (although it may become combined with other present DNR Divisions and/or State Departments (like Illinois EPA for example). I believe that environmental review of proposed projects with potential effects on rivers and streams, pollution fish kill investigations, Aquatic Nuisance Species, watershed management, etc. will continue to be handled by state employed biologists. The same goes for management of the state's one million acres of Lake Michigan. How long it will take before this new order of things restores fisheries services to what they were in the late 1990's is anybody's guess. If complete restoration does indeed someday occur, it will likely not be before the passage of two or three decades. After all, it required 50 years to build the Division to its peak, and only 10 to raze it.


I am no Chicken Little, but if one takes a long hard look at all the factors involved, I think that my view of the eventual outcome is fairly close to reality. It's not the end of the world, but there is a long long road ahead with many rugged peaks to climb. In the end, this scenario can eventually provide protection of the public trust and the availability of what use to be public (now privately provided) services. I think that is where we will find ourselves down the line. As difficult as it is presently for our professional fisheries folks, challenges laying in wait around the corner in the fisheries arena will require even more courage and intestinal fortitude of folks if they are to achieve and hang on to their professionalism. Huge changes, lots of heartache, and many lost opportunities in the meantime.........but the sun will continue to rise and "there will still be water in the crick come mornin'." So rejoice and roll up your sleeves, there is work to be done.

Downstate Democrats rip Chicago over "nonsensical gun proposals"

State Rep. Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton) recently responding to the myriad of anti-gun proposals recently introduced by Chicago politicians, including House Bill 5167, a bill that would add two percent surcharge on the sale of ammunition said: “As we make more and more progress towards the passage of a conceal and carry law in Illinois, anti-gun politicians from Chicago are desperately throwing up radical bills that deny the constitutionally-protected rights of law-abiding Illinoisans.  These include proposals to require a $65 registration fee per handgun and to add an additional tax on ammunition. Making gun owners register is an attempt to put us in the same class as sex offenders, and I won’t stand for it.  Ammunition and firearms are used extensively by people all over Illinois to put food on the table and as recreation. To impose a new tax on ammunition would be to punish this way of life.


“These nonsensical proposals directly violate the 

Constitution and target lawful gun owners, rather than criminals.  It is equally my job to support practical legislation as it is to vocally oppose bills that are not good for the district.


“Chicagoans desperate to seem ‘tough on crime’ ought to come on board and support conceal and carry as it will surely result in gangbangers thinking twice before victimizing an armed citizen.  Conceal and carry is a realistic solution, but it seems like these anti-gun crusaders are more interested in punishing law-abiding gun owners in my district than anything else."


“I will always stand up for our Second Amendment rights, and I urge all of my like-minded constituents to join me in this fight by having their friends and family throughout the state call their own legislators and relay the message that our gun rights will not be compromised.”



La Salle Lake Opens for Season on March 15

MARSEILLES, IL – The Illinois DNR announced that the La Salle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area will open for the 2012 season on March 15.   Beginning March 15 through March 31, La Salle Lake will be open Wednesday thru Sunday, 6:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.  As in previous years, La Salle Lake will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during this two-week period.


For the period April 1 through July 15, La Salle Lake is scheduled to be open seven days a week, 6 a.m. until sunset.   From July 16 through August 31, La Salle Lake is scheduled to be open five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, 6 a.m. until sunset.  During the period from September 1 through September 30, La Salle Lake will be open seven days a week, 6 a.m. to sunset.


All fishermen must be off the lake by closing time each day.  Hours may be adjusted due to staffing issues, so

visitors should call ahead to (815) 357-1608 to confirm

operating hours.   Visitors to La Salle Lake are reminded that on opening day and during the first two weeks of the fishing season, long lines are expected at the site entrance.  Visitors are encouraged to adhere to all rules, regulations and direction from staff to make this spring season at LaSalle Lake an enjoyable experience for all.


Visitors are also reminded that La Salle Lake is a perched lake and can become turbulent during windy or inclement weather.  The IDNR encourages all visitors at La Salle Lake to be aware of the lake conditions at all times. 


There is a wind warning system at LaSalle Lake. It is located on the tip of the internal dike that extends from the west shore. When the light of the wind warning system is flashing, no boats are to be launched and boats on the lake should seek shelter.



DNR gives temporary OK to umbrella rigs

Indiana DNR director Robert E. Carter Jr. has signed a temporary rule that establishes a limit on the number of hooks allowed on a rig or lure array used for sport fishing, essentially making so-called umbrella rigs legal through the remainder of this year.


Until recently, umbrella rigs were a traditional saltwater trolling apparatus used effectively in the northeastern United States to catch striped bass and bluefish, according to Ken Smith’s Fishing Encyclopedia.


The rig is an umbrella-shaped frame of multiple wires from which lures or hooks are attached. It is designed to resemble a school of baitfish.


Professional bass fisherman Paul Elias triggered a frenzy among freshwater anglers when he used a version of the apparatus, The Alabama Rig, to win an FLW Series national tournament in October. Elias caught a 20-fish limit weighing more than 100 pounds to beat his closest challenger by 17 pounds and earn the tournament’s $100,000 first-place prize.


Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society (BASS), the FLW’s rival tour, announced in January that umbrella rigs cannot be used in the Bassmaster Classic or the Bassmaster Elite Series.


In the meantime, states have been scrambling to see if umbrella rigs fall inside or outside of their fishing regulations. Indiana’s existing rules do not adequately describe whether or not umbrella rigs are legal. Indiana Administrative Code 312 IAC 9-7-2 states that “an

individual may take fish with not more than three poles, hand lines, or tip-ups at a time…(and) an individual must affix to each line not more than: two hooks, two harnesses for use with live bait, or two artificial baits.


The ambiguity with the umbrella rig is whether it should be defined as one lure with many parts or many lures on single line.

As DNR officials continue to study the issue, the temporary rule adds a fourth option to the existing regulation that allows “one rig or lure array for use with multiple artificial baits with not more than five hooks.”


The temporary rule expires on Jan. 1.


“This gives Hoosier anglers an opportunity to gain first-hand experience with the use and effectiveness, or drawbacks, of how umbrella rigs actually perform,” Carter said. “It also gives the DNR time to gather information on what, if any, future definitions or restrictions need to be considered.”


The temporary rule does not apply to trout and salmon streams that are tributaries of Lake Michigan or to the St. Joseph River downstream of the Twin Branch Dam in Mishawaka. The regulations on those waters continue to be limited to one single hook, one harness for use with live bait, or one artificial lure per line. Single hooks, including those on artificial baits, must be no larger than 1/2 inch front point to shank. Double and treble hooks on artificial lures may not exceed 3/8 inch from point to shank. All trout and salmon taken in Indiana must be hooked in the mouth (no foul hooking allowed).


DNR Fisheries Report highlight’s 2011 Activities
A report highlighting the various activities of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries Division during 2011 has been produced and is now available online at www.michigan.gov/fishing.


The 2011 Fisheries Division Accomplishments Report summarizes the programs and work completed in the past fiscal year by division staff in an effort to maintain and improve Michigan’s fishery. The report categorizes the division’s work into three sections: fish, habitat and people.


The fish section explains activities related to understanding and improving Michigan’s fish communities; the habitat

section describes activities related to protecting and rehabilitating aquatic habitat; and the people section explains activities related to partnering with people interested in the fishery. Quick facts about Michigan’s fishery are also provided, including the economic value of the state’s fishery and a breakdown of the division’s 2011 appropriation budget.


This report provides citizens with an overview of the state’s fishing resources, and showcases why fisheries are considered some of the best in the country.  Input on the activities of Fisheries Division is encouraged by readers of the 2011 Accomplishments Report. All communication can be shared through [email protected].

DNR Beginner & Advanced Pheasant Hunts for Women

 For women who have an interest in pheasant hunting but aren’t sure how to get started, or for those with shotgun shooting experience who would like a little more challenge, the DNR’s  Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program offers two guided pheasant hunts in March and April. Both hunts will take place at Hunters Creek Club in Metamora (Lapeer County).


No shooting or hunting experience is required for the BOW Pheasant Hunt for Beginners on Saturday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The day will begin with a safety orientation, followed by trap-shooting practice with one-on-one certified instruction provided by Hunters Creek Club staff. Extra attention will be given to those who have never shot or bird hunted before. After lunch, participants will head out to the field for a guided walk-up hunt with dogs. Shotguns will be provided for those who do not own one. The $160-per-person cost of this program covers instruction, target practice, guided hunt and lunch.


The BOW Advanced Pheasant Hunt will take place on Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants

do not need to be experienced hunters for this event, but they are required either to have taken an approved hunter education class or to have some experience with shotgun shooting. After one round (25 shots) of sporting clays and lunch, the class will break up into small groups for a guided walk-up hunt with dogs. The cost is $150 per person, which includes one round of sporting clays, guided hunt and lunch.


A small game license or apprentice license is needed for both hunts. Orange vests will be available to borrow. Eye and ear protection will be provided, and target load shells for trap/sporting clays shooting will be supplied by Federal Ammunition. For the pheasant hunt in the afternoon, attendees will need to purchase one box of field load ammunition, which may be purchased at the Hunters Creek Pro Shop.


Hunters Creek Club is located ay 675 E. Sutton Rd in Metamora. For more information about the club: www.hunterscreekclub.com. For registration forms and information on BOW: www.michigan.gov/bow, call 517-241-2225 or email [email protected].


DNR Archery Workshops for Women March 24 & 26

The Michigan DNR will present a Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Introduction to Archery workshop in two locations in March:

► Saturday, March 24, 9 to noon, Detroit Sportsmen’s Congress www.D-S-C.org, 49800 Dequindre Road in Utica

► Monday, March 26, 5 to 9 p.m., Caledonia Sportsman’s Club www.csc.us.com, 10721 Coldwater Road SE in Alto


This workshop will cover safety, dominant eye, proper shooting form/technique, various archery equipment, maintenance and selection. The course will also provide

hands-on practice shooting a bow with assistance by

instructors. All equipment will be provided, and no skill level is required.


Girls age 10 and older are welcome to attend, but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Cost is $20/person.  BOW is a program where individuals are 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:  www.michigan.gov/bow, 517-241-2225 or email [email protected]

New York

NY Pursues Uniform, National Ballast Water Requirements

DEC Will Work with Other States and Stakeholders to Advocate a Strong National Standard

In comments filed today with the Environmental Protection Agency, DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens indicated that New York will pursue a uniform, national ballast water standard that will leave in place the EPA’s current standards in New York for the remainder of EPA’s current Vessel General Permit through December 2013.


“New York remains concerned about the introduction and spread of invasive species in the state’s waterways and we hope that a strong national solution can be achieved,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “At the same time, shipping and maritime activity is critical to New York state and international commerce. A technically feasible national standard which recognizes the critical economic role played by our waterways is the only viable way to address the spread of destructive aquatic invaders through ballast water.”


EPA’s recent proposal for the next four-year term, December 2013 through December 2017, for its Vessel General Permit includes adopting a protocol that was set forth by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2004. DEC submitted comments on EPA’s proposed standards for 2013-2017. To view DEC’s comments, visit: www.dec.ny.gov/docs/water_pdf/ballastltr022112.pdf


Martens continued, “The EPA proposal can be strengthened to better protect against the harms associated with aquatic invasive species and take advantage of numerous recent, cost-effective advances in treatment technology. A strong, uniform national standard is the preferred approach to ensuring that vessels install and use achievable and cost-effective technology to treat ballast water discharges.”

DEC intends to continue to work with other states, such as California, Michigan and other Great Lakes states, and stakeholders to advocate that EPA and the Coast Guard adopt a more protective national approach to this widespread problem.


In DEC’s comments to EPA, Commissioner Martens proposed adopting a national standard with the following key elements: a 100 times IMO discharge standard implemented by June 1, 2016; a voluntary discharge standard of 10 times IMO by June 1, 2014; grandfather until 2024 vessels deploying 10 times IMO systems prior to June 1, 2014; continue to require ballast water ocean exchange and flushing; and require the use of any reasonable and effective management practices to limit aquatic invasive introductions prior to 2016.


A letter granting extensions to the compliance deadlines for Condition 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the New York 401 Water Quality Certification to the 2008 Vessel General Permit can be found here: www.dec.ny.gov/docs/water_pdf/vesselgpletter.pdf.  Condition 1 of the certification that requires ballast water exchange and flushing remains in effect.


Invasive species have dramatically damaged and impaired the nation’s waters. A recent scientific report by researchers from the Cary Institute estimated that zebra mussels, a ship-borne invasive species first discovered near Detroit 20 years ago, now comprise half the consumer biomass, by weight, of the Hudson River. More than 180 such invaders – species that infest, overwhelm and destroy native habitat – already plague the Great Lakes. The majority of these invasive species were traced to ballast water discharges.



Proposed Changes to Freshwater Fishing Regs

Changes to the current freshwater fishing regulations designed to enhance fishing opportunities and protect the state's freshwater fisheries were announced today by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). DEC will accept public comments on the proposals through April 2, 2012.


“New York provides some of the best fishing in the nation and every two years DEC modifies existing freshwater sportfishing regulations and proposes new regulations to help ensure this remains the case,” said Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources Kathleen Moser. “We encourage anglers to review these proposed changes and provide DEC with comments.”


The proposed regulation changes are the result of careful assessment of the status of existing fish populations and the desires of anglers for enhanced fishing opportunities. Several of the changes being considered are to remove special regulations that are no longer warranted.

In order to receive input early in the process, changes under consideration for this proposal were available on DEC’s website earlier this year for comment. This feedback, in addition to comments received from angling interest groups, provided essential input to the development of the regulation changes that are now being formally proposed. Below are highlights of the proposed changes.


Draft regulation changes that pertain to walleye:

Establish a special walleye regulation of 18-inch minimum size and three per day in Lake Pleasant and Sacandaga Lake (Hamilton County) to aid restoration of the walleye populations in these waters.


Prohibit fishing in the following stream sections from March 16 until the first Saturday in May (opening day for walleye) to protect spawning walleye: Lake Pleasant outlet to the mouth of the Kunjamuk River (Hamilton County); Little Sandy Creek (Oswego County) from the intersection of the channelized area next to Koster Drive downstream of the State Route 3 bridge to the lower boundary of the public fishing rights section located upstream of the State Route 3 bridge; and Catskill Creek (Greene County) from the Route 9W bridge upstream to the dam in Leeds.


Remove special walleye regulations (18-inch minimum size and three per day) and apply the statewide regulation (15-inch minimum size and five per day) for Lime Lake (Cattaraugus County) and Bear and Findley lakes (Chautauqua County) because these populations no longer require the added protection provided by the special regulation.

Change the walleye daily limit for Lake Erie and the Upper Niagara River to six per day to harmonize limits with bordering jurisdictions.


Draft regulation changes that pertain to black bass:

Eliminate the special black bass closed season for Oneida Lake and implement statewide regulations to create additional fishing opportunities and expand statewide consistency, as continuance of this special closed season is not warranted.

Apply statewide black bass regulations for Allen Lake (Allegany County) and Cassadaga Lake (Chautauqua County) as recent surveys have shown stable bass populations in these waters.


Draft regulations that pertain to trout and salmon:

Extend the catch and release only regulation for brook trout into tidal streams in Suffolk County to provide additional protection to brook trout populations that spend part of their life in marine waters and offer a unique angling experience.

Eliminate Suffolk County tidal trout regulations and apply freshwater stream trout regulations to these sections because the anticipated sea run brown trout fishery did not develop.


Change minimum length for salmonids in the Upper Niagara River to “any size” because the current 12-inch minimum length is no longer necessary and this will also eliminate the need for special tributary regulations.


Change the trout regulations for the Titicus Outlet (Westchester County) and Esopus Creek, Shandaken tunnel outlet to Ashokan Reservoir (Ulster County) to a daily limit of five fish with no more than two trout longer than 12 inches to increase catch rates of larger trout.

Delete the 12-inch size and three fish per day limit for kokanee salmon in Glass Lake (Rensselaer County) because DEC no longer stocks this species.


Open Lake Kushaqua and Rollins Pond (Franklin County) to ice fishing for lake trout as these populations are considered stable enough to support this activity.


Open Blue Mountain Lake, Eagle Lake, Forked Lake, Gilman Lake, South Pond and Utowana Lake (Hamilton County) to ice fishing for landlocked salmon and reduce the daily limit for lake trout in these waters from three per day to two per day. Combined with an existing regulation this change will create a suite of nine lakes in Hamilton County that will have the same ice fishing regulations for lake trout and landlocked salmon.


Delete the catch and release trout regulation for Jordan River from Carry Falls Reservoir upstream to Franklin County line (St. Lawrence County) because this regulation is considered inappropriate for this remote stream section.


Implement a 12" minimum size for brown trout in Otisco Lake (Onondaga County) to increase the opportunity to return more brown trout to the creel.


Reduce the limit of rainbow trout from five to one in the

western Finger Lakes and three to one in the tributaries to

provide further protection for this species. Western Finger Lakes include Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Canadice, and Hemlock Lakes.


Remove the restriction of no more than three lake trout as part of the five trout limit in the western Finger Lakes to foster harvest opportunities and reduce competition with other trout species and impacts on the forage base.


Eliminate trout catch and release section for Ischua Creek (Cattaraugus County) in the village of Franklinville to enhance angling opportunities by allowing beginner and young anglers to use the section of stream and keep fish.


Change the minimum size limit for rainbow trout in Skaneateles Lake (Onondaga, Cayuga and Cortland counties) and Owasco Lake (Cayuga County) from nine inches to 15 inches. This would create consistency with the other Finger Lakes as most of these lakes have environmental conditions that support excellent growth of trout and would provide angling opportunities for large fish.


Add the tributaries of Beaverdam Brook (Oswego County) from their mouths to the upstream boundary of the Salmon River Hatchery property to the current Beaverdam Brook fishing closure (which also currently prohibits fishing within 100 yards of any DEC fish collection device). This addition of the tributaries would make oversight and enforcement of this area more effective in safeguarding fish returning to the hatchery.


Delete the special trout regulation for Palmer Lake (Saratoga County) to match the statewide regulation. This minor adjustment would extend the season 15 days.


Draft regulations that pertain to pickerel, muskie and tiger muskie:

Institute a catch and release only regulation for chain pickerel in Deep Pond (Suffolk County) to allow the pickerel population to recover from over exploitation and increase needed predator control over panfish.


Implement a 40" size limit for muskellunge and tiger muskellunge in the Chenango, Tioughnioga, Tioga and Susquehanna rivers (Chenango, Cortland, Broome and Tioga counties) and a 36-inch size limit at Otisco Lake (Onondaga County) to increase the trophy potential of these species in these waters.


Draft regulations that pertain to ice fishing and baitfish:

Delete special ice fishing regulation for Square Pond (Franklin County) because this water will no longer be managed for trout.

Eliminate the existing ban on the use of tip-ups in Crumhorn Lake (Otsego County) because this is an unnecessary regulation.


Allow ice fishing on stocked trout lakes in Allegany, Niagara, Wyoming, Chautauqua, Erie and Cattaraugus counties unless otherwise stated. These lakes are managed for put and take trout fishing and they contain warm water fish species that should be available to anglers during the winter months through the ice.


Open specific waters to ice fishing currently deemed as trout waters in the counties of Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence Counties as ice fishing can be allowed for at these locations.


Provide for ice fishing at a privately managed water in Hamilton County (Salmon Pond) that is stocked with trout by a private party, as requested.


Include Cayuta Lake (Schuyler County) as a designated water from which baitfish may be taken as the commercial harvest of alewife should have no negative effect on the alewife population or the lake’s ecology.


Draft regulations that pertain to gear and angling methods:

More clearly specify that attempting to take fish by snagging is prohibited.

Permit the use of multiple hooks with multiple points on Lake Erie tributaries to provide additional angling opportunities.

For the Salmon River (Oswego County) allow a bead chain to be attached to floating lures. The distance between a floating lure and hook point may not exceed three-and-a-half inches when a bead chain configuration is used. This was determined to be an effective angling method and was not considered an attractive snagging device.


For the Salmon River (Oswego County) implement a “no weight” restriction (i.e., only floating line and unweighted leaders and flies allowed) from May 1 – 15 for the Lower Fly Area and from May 1 – August 31 for the Upper Fly Area to provide further protection to vulnerable fish.

Explicitly and clearly indicate that the catch and release requirement for New York City waters does not apply to snakeheads and that any snakeheads caught while angling are not to be returned to the water.


DEC is proposing additional regulation changes to remove special regulations that are no longer relevant, to provide more clarity in the current regulations and to make minor adjustments to current language. The full text of the draft regulation as well as instructions for submitting comments can be found on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html.


Comments on the proposals can be sent via e-mail to [email protected], or mailed to Shaun Keeler, New York State DEC, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753. Hard copies of the full text can be requested from Shaun Keeler at the same addresses listed above. Final regulations, following full review of public comments, will take effect October 1, 2012.


Record Bear Harvest in 2011 in New York

Hunters in 2011 set a record number of bears harvested in southeastern New York, beating 2008's record of 520 bears by 11o bears. Conversely, the Adirondack region saw its lowest bear harvest since 1998. In every region of New York with the exception of the Adirondack, the number of harvested bears increased in 2011 versus 2010 numbers.


These changes in bear harvest numbers are due in part to a new hunting rule that expanded the bear hunting area and a longer hunting season. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reported a record number of bear harvested while deer take was steady in 2011. Hunters in New York State harvested 1,250 bears during the 2011 hunting seasons


Outside of the Adirondack region the 2011 bear harvest set new records, substantially exceeding previous record takes in central and western New York. In contrast, bear take in the Adirondack region dropped to a level not seen since 1998.   Hunters in southeastern New York harvested 630 bears in 2011, besting the previous record of 520 set in 2008. This was due in part to a new rule that expanded bear hunting in eastern New York State to include all or portions of seven new counties in eastern New York from Rockland and Westchester north to Washington beginning in 2011. Hunters took 50 bears from this new area, including 18 bears taken in Washington County, 11 in Rensselaer County, 10 in Columbia County, seven in Dutchess County, two in Putnam County and two in Rockland County. Yet even without these additional bears, take in the rest of the southeastern region exceeded previous record levels, reflecting a 25-year trend of generally increasing bear harvests in this region.

In central and western New York, the 2011 bear take of 353 greatly surpassed the previous record of 193 bears set in 2008. This was due in large part to a regulation change that moved the regular bear season opening day up one week to coincide with the start of the regular deer season. This change was implemented to reduce bear population growth and range expansion. Yet, as with bear take in the southeastern region, it is likely that even without these additional seven days of the regular season in the central-western region, bear take during the traditional season would have matched or exceeded the 2008 record, reflecting a 15-year trend of generally increasing bear harvests in this region.


In the Adirondacks, bear take was below the five-year average and the overall bear take was down about 47 % from 2010.  Bear harvest rates in the Adirondacks typically drop in the early season during years of abundant soft mast (cherries, raspberries and apples), while the take will increase during the regular season in years with abundant beech nuts.


This past season provided abundant soft mast, particularly raspberries and blackberries in September and October, and bear take during the early season was only 70 bears, about 70 percent below the five-year average. Beech nut abundance was mixed throughout the Adirondacks and the regular season bear take was approximately 15 percent below the five-year average. Additionally, much of the muzzleloading and regular season in the Adirondacks had above average temperatures and snow cover was inconsistent and relatively scarce making bear hunting all the more challenging.



2012 sturgeon spearing season enters record books

OSHKOSH -- The 80th consecutive Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing season is one for the record books and its fans, as they do in baseball, are already saying, "Wait 'til next year!"


"We had a slower than hoped for season with the poor water clarity and poor ice conditions keeping people off the ice and slowing the harvest, but the impression I got from talking to spearers is there's still a lot of happy people," says Ron Bruch, Department of Natural Resources fisheries supervisor for Oshkosh.


"We had the fifth and sixth largest fish ever recorded and more than 6 percent of the fish harvest were trophies. The Winnebago season ran the full 16 days, so people had a lot of opportunities to spear. And perhaps most importantly, nobody got hurt and we all demonstrated once again how vibrant and colorful our Wisconsin sturgeon culture is."


The 2012 Lake Winnebago season closed February 26 after running the full 16-days allowed by law; the Upriver Lakes season closed at the end of day Feb. 12 when the number of female sturgeon speared exceeded the trigger to close the season.


Across both seasons, spearers harvested 566 fish, with 36

of them weighing more than 100 pounds, or about 6.3

percent. Fish of that size are considered trophies, and their proportion of the harvest, normally about 1 percent of the harvest, has increased in recent years to 6 percent or greater. Find harvest breakdowns on DNR's 2012 Winnebago System Spearing web page.


Spearers are already making plans for 2013 as expectations are high with the robust population in the Lake Winnebago system and the high percentage of trophy sized fish in the population, Bruch says.


"The big question people are asking me is, will we automatically have higher harvest caps in 2013?" he says. "There's a good chance we probably will, but I can't say for sure until we get all the data in."


The Winnebago sturgeon management program has been so successful in maintaining harvests yet at same time allowing the sturgeon population to grow that harvest caps in recent years have been more than double what they were when harvest caps were first instituted in 1999, Bruch says.


"People realize, hey, we're in really good shape here, and when we do get a super clear year, we're going to have a great season," he says.


Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)


Lake Erie walleye bag limits still in danger of being cut for 2012
Ohio's fisheries experts report that the Lake Erie walleye population is a little better than a year ago, which might allow the daily sport fishing bag limits to remain unchanged in 2012.


Asian carp seized at border
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is investigating another large border discovery of Asian carp. A ministry conservation officer was contacted Tuesday night by the Canada Border Services Agency about a truckload of fish coming from the United States that had 14,000 pounds of Asian carp.

Chicago's water rate hike causes ripples through suburbs
When Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to nearly double the rate Chicago charges its neighbors for Lake Michigan water, many suburbs began looking for cheaper alternatives — and others are making moves to profit from the dispute.

EDITORIAL: Stop carp before it's too late
The Obama administration has taken steps to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes. The problem, though, is the fish is only 55 miles away from Lake Michigan, and federal officials simply haven’t done enough to ensure the carp doesn’t reach it.

Senators oppose Michigan Coast Guard cuts
U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow want Congress to reject cuts to the U.S. Coast Guard that could "put at risk the large number of boaters on Lake Michigan." The Obama administration wants to close the Coast Guard's seasonal air facility in Muskegon.

Why Michigan plans to kill thousands of mute swans
The mute swan population has grown to the peril of other waterfowl species and marsh vegetation. That’s the conclusion of state and federal wildlife agencies across the country. Mute swans are also hindering Michigan’s efforts to restore its native trumpeter swan population.

Japanese knotweed: a plant with strange super powers
An invasive plant called Japanese knotweed has been a popular landscape plant in Michigan for years. It’s native to Japan, where it’s one of the first plants that comes up after a volcanic eruption. So it can actually push through volcanic rock. The problem with that is... it can also break through the foundation of your home.


EDITORIAL: Stop carp before it's too late
The Obama administration has taken steps to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes. The problem, though, is the fish is only 55 miles away from Lake Michigan, and federal officials simply haven’t done enough to ensure the carp doesn’t reach it.


DITORIAL: Forget the "strategy," close the canal
The Obama administration said it will spend about $50 million this year to shield the Great Lakes from Asian carp. But there's a simpler way: Block the waterways that the carp are using to get to the lakes. And that means closing the Chicago canal system and restoring the natural basins of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watersheds.


Experts give lake's fishery good grades during State of Lake Ontario presentation
Lake Ontario continues to be great fishing-wise for most species, and fishery biologists from both sides of the border are working together to tweak what’s going well and to address joint concerns.


Top court rejects states' appeal on Great Lakes carp
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by five states seeking an order requiring that a range of steps be taken to keep the invading Asian carp out of the Great Lakes where they are considered a threat to fisheries.





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