January 13, 2003

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Short to retire from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Assistant director, Fisheries to leave March 1

Assistant director, Fisheries USFWS Cathy Short announced on January 7, she will retire from the Service March 1

 

In an e-mail to select business associates listed as "friends" in her e-mail she stated "on March 1, 2003, I will be joining my husband, Hank, in retirement and moving to the Southwest.  I can't yet imagine waking up in the morning and not going to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."

 

Having served in FWS for some 25 years, Short's background, education and expertise was primarily in ecological services, with the Region 5 Hadley, MA office.  Having little or no fisheries background, Short was appointed to head up the fisheries section of USFWS by former FWS director Jamie Rappaport Clark, a Clinton appointee.  Short was involved in many contentious issues, most of them beyond her level of expertise, however that did not dissuade her actions.

 

One of them, a few short years ago, was the actions taken by a local group of anglers and citizens from

Henderson Harbor, NY who elected to do the job FWS was

queasy about –thinning out cormorant populations on Little Galloo Island. in eastern Lake Ontario.

 

Short wrote a news release and described their activities: "The USFWS, expressing revulsion at the senseless slaughter…We are appalled at this horrible act…was especially disgusted by the nature of the Little Galloo killings…The slaughter of adult birds at their nesting sites is particularly inhumane" and "The ignorance displayed by this killing..."

 

Click http://www.great-lakes.org/message.html for full article "Conservation Management takes a wild turn - who to blame? USFWS culpable, but covers backside with indignation and moral outrage"

 

Neither her demeaning rhetoric nor her presence in the Service will be missed, and the angling and hunting communities will breathe a sigh of relief with her retirement.

National Fisheries Conference Set

   The USFWS will host the first National Fisheries Leadership Conference in Washington, DC, January 20-24, 2003. The conference is expected to draw 450 fisheries program leaders, federal, regional and state and other invited partners to exchange ideas and to talk about the program's new Strategic Vision that is designed to lead America's fisheries program into the 21st century.

 

   Invited speakers include Vice President Dick Cheney, Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Service Director Steve Williams. The conference begins with an evening reception

on January 20 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, at 2500 Calvert St., NW.

  

   The Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council has been invited and will be participating.

           

Visit the conference web site at www.ifw2irm2.irm1.r2.fws.gov/fishery/natlfishconf/index.html  for the full agenda and other details. Contact: Ken Burton, 202/208-5657, Ken_Burton@fws.gov  or Craig Springer, 505/248-6867, Craig_Springer@fws.gov

Indiana State record walleye disqualified - Anglers question legality of safety and security regs

   A giant walleye caught recently from Lake Michigan will not be accepted by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as a new Indiana state record.

 

   The 14.47-pound walleye was caught Dec. 11 by Scott Hoswell of Frankfort, Ill. while fishing from a boat in the Port of Indiana.  The 32.25-inch long fish was about a quarter pound heavier than the standing record walleyes taken in 1974 from the Kankakee River and 1977 from the Tippecanoe River.

 

   In the process of verifying the new record, DNR officials learned from Hoswell that the fish was taken from a boat while fishing inside the Burns International Harbor, commonly known as the Port of Indiana.  The harbor is a commercial port facility operated by the Indiana Port Commission.  For safety and security reasons, recreational boats are not permitted within the harbor.  A DNR public fishing site is located within the harbor for shoreline fishing, but there is no public boat launching ramp at the site and fishing from boats is prohibited.

 

   However, serious questions are being raised about the propriety and legality of establishing a safety and security zone in the Port of Indiana, when there is unrestricted movement by shore anglers in and about the port.  The GLSFC is also questioning the economic propriety of killing a first-class fishery that has the potential for establishing other state records and to generate economic benefits for a state that has a $2 billion budget deficit.  It's like killing the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg.

 

   We are reminded of another foolish and poorly thought-out regulation (there are many) by Michigan outlawing the use of the drop shot fishing technique.  The technique of Drop-shotting is a new method of catching bass first introduced in the southern states, but it’s catching on in the Midwest, too.  But it’s not legal in Michigan.  Their fishing regulations prohibit snagging in Michigan, and the same regs also makes the drop-

shot rig illegal for fishing in Michigan waters.  Michigan is another state struggling with a burgeoning budget.

 

   Most Great Lakes states prohibit snagging, but the drop-shot rig is not illegal. Michigan’s fishing regulations booklet states anglers can not “have a weight suspended below any hook unless the hook is on a dropper line of at least 3" long.”

 

   The drop-shot rig involves tying a hook onto the main line, putting a soft plastic lure on the hook, and adding a sinker to the end of the line, below the lure. The rig is designed to have an angler suspend a  lure off the bottom, but Michigan calls it snagging.

 

   "Indiana's record fish entry rules require that a fish be legally taken to be eligible," said Bill James, DNR Chief of Fisheries. "We appreciate Mr. Hoswell's honesty and his skill as an angler.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to accept an entry that did not comply with all relevant laws and regulations, including watercraft rules."

 

   DNR conservation officers advised Hoswell of recent changes to the law that restricts boats from venturing past the entrance of the breakwall at the Port of Indiana.  No citation was issued.  Indiana Port Commission rules do permit private craft, including fishing boats, to enter the Port "as a harbor of refuge."  However, the rules specify that "No person shall launch a boat or fish from a boat in the port area."

 

   Despite the disqualifying technicality, James is enthused about the catch and future walleye fishing prospects. "It's a pretty safe bet that this wasn't the only state record walleye in southern Lake Michigan," he said."Sooner or later I expect to see another one landed that will meet all the requirements for a new record."

           

A photo of Hoswell and his catch is available at: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/stuff/gallery/recd.htm

Wisconsin DNR Smelt hearing - Whitefish regs also under review

   The state DNR will hold three hearings on a proposal to enact rule changes in the summer trawling season for smelt on the bay of Green Bay. The first will be at 7 p.m. Jan. 16 in Room 310 of Green Bay City Hall. Other hearings will be held January 21, Cleveland - 7 p.m. in Multi-purpose room, Lakeshore Tech. College, 1290 North Ave, and January 22, Milwaukee - 7 p.m. in "C" Auditorium, Milwaukee MATC, 1036 North 8th St.

           

   Under the proposal, the season, which runs from June 15 to Sept. 30, would be cut to July 1 to Sept. 1. The rule changes also would cut the allowable harvest from 351,993 lbs to 100,000 lbs. Other hearings will follow in

Cleveland in Manitowoc County, and Milwaukee.

 

   The hearing will also include proposals relating to commercial netting of whitefish in Lake Michigan. Under current rules, commercial whitefish trap nets must be removed from waters of Lake Michigan south of Kewaunee from June 28 through Labor Day. The proposed rule opens most of the area of Lake Michigan south of Kewaunee to commercial trap netting during summer, while also defining an area between Manitowoc and Two Rivers where summer trap netting would continue to be banned. In addition, it reduces the number of trap nets from 12 to 6 that may be used by any individual license holder in Lake Michigan south of Kewaunee and establishes new net marking requirements.

Michigan BOW program offers hunter safety class to women

   The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program is sponsoring an all-women's hunter safety class in conjunction with the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center at Mitchell State Park in Cadillac.

 

   The two-day class, scheduled for Jan. 25-26, is open to any female, 18 years and older, who wishes to attain a hunter safety certificate necessary for hunting. All hunters born on or after Jan. 1, l960 must have this certificate or proof of a previous license to purchase any Michigan hunting license.

 

   The class will meet each day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Upon successful completion of the course, each participant will receive a hunter safety certificate. The class is presented free of charge, but participants should bring

their own sack lunch. Class size is limited to about 30 participants and pre-registration is required by calling Rick Torres, park interpreter and class instructor, at 231-779-1321.

 

   "These classes are a good way for women to familiarize themselves with firearms and how to handle them safely, even if they don't intend to hunt," said Lynn Marla, DNR BOW coordinator. "This is important information for single mothers, for example, who may not be interested in hunting, but whose children may be going out to shoot with relatives."

 

   The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program is a hands-on, outdoor skills program for women who wish to enjoy all that Michigan has to offer. For information on other programs scheduled for women throughout the state, contact Lynn Marla, BOW Coordinator, at 517-241-2225 or marlal@michigan.gov

Michigan Gillette Visitor Center hosts lake sturgeon program

   The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced an exciting 2003 speaker series at the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center in P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, highlighting contemporary Great Lakes issues and scientific research.

 

   The series begins Jan. 25, at 11 a.m., with a presentation by lake sturgeon researcher Pat DeHaan, a graduate student at Michigan State University who currently is conducting research on lake sturgeon conservation genetics. DeHaan's research, under the supervision of Dr. Kim Scribner, contributes to the knowledge and understanding of lake sturgeon history and ecology, especially in terms of their mating system and the effects of population fragmentation.

   The research is part of a larger, collaborative project that includes the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

   Upcoming programs in this series focus on current research to study the history of sand dune development along Lake Michigan and what the Michigan DNR is doing to identify and preserve our important coastal wetlands.

 

   There is no admission fee for the lake sturgeon program and pre-registration is not required, however, a state park motor vehicle permit is required for entry. For more information, contact the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center at 231-798-3573.

Help needed from Amphibian enthusiasts - help monitor Indiana frog populations

To monitor Indiana frog and toad populations

   Speculation of a nationwide decline in frogs and toads has prompted the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to ask Hoosiers to leap into action.

 

   The DNR is looking for volunteers to participate in the Indiana Amphibian Monitoring Program. Volunteers are needed to listen for frogs and toads from late February through July, the breeding seasons of Indiana's amphibians.  Surveys are conducted at night, usually after rainy days, or on misty nights, when frogs and toads give their breeding calls. Information collected by volunteers will help DNR biologists better understand the distribution and abundance of amphibians in Indiana.

 

   Volunteers must attend a training workshop in order to participate in the survey. Past participants are also required to attend.  Each training workshop covers Indiana's 16 frog and toad species, their calls and breeding habitats, setting up surveys, and recording data.

 

   Registration is not required to attend a training workshop. Attendees are asked to bring pen and paper to the workshop.  Participants must be 18 or older.  Anyone interested in volunteering is urged to come to a workshop and sign up for a survey route.

 

   The Indiana Amphibian Monitoring Program is part of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) by the U.S. Geological Survey.  Two survey methods will be utilized starting this spring: national routes and stationary sites. National routes are driving routes that take one to two hours to complete, not including drive time to the survey area. Stationary sites are completed at frog and toad breeding sites.  Surveys are repeated three times during the breeding season.  Internet access is required to participate in the program.

 

Information on Indiana's Amphibian Monitoring Program is available online at:

http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/endangered/naamp/nindex.htm

 

Training workshops:

North Judson

Saturday, Feb. 22

11 a.m.  - 1 p.m.

Kankakee Fish & Wildlife Area

4320 W. Toto Rd.

574-896-3522

http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/publications/kank.htm

 

Ft. Wayne

Saturday, Jan. 25

11 a.m.  - 1 p.m.

Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne

Classroom Medical (CM 159)

Park in Lots 7 and 9

http://www.ipfw.edu/campus

 

West Lafayette

Saturday, Feb. 15

2 - 4 p.m.

Morton Community Center

222 N. Chauncey

765-775-5110

 

Indianapolis

Saturday, Jan. 18

11 a.m.  - 1 p.m.

Holiday Park Nature Center

6349 Spring Mill Rd.

317-327-7180

 

Petersburg

Monday, Jan. 27

7 - 9 p.m.

Pike County 4-H Building

Hornaday Park

812-354-6838

 

Versailles

Saturday, Feb. 1

11 a.m.  - 1 p.m.

Versailles State Park

Box 205, U.S. 50

812-689-6424

http://www.IN.gov/dnr/parklake/parks/versailles.html

Michigan application period for the 2003 spring wild turkey hunting season underway

   Apply online at www.michigan.gov/dnr  or visit your local license agent.  For complete details, see the Michigan Spring Turkey Guide at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/03sprturkey_51743_7.pdf

 

   The current hunting regulations are established to maximize hunting opportunity while maintaining high quality hunting experiences. As a result of the continuing growth and expansion of the turkey population, the Michigan DNR has increased turkey hunting opportunities again this spring during the April 21 - May 31 season. A total of 43,920 licenses are available for the general limited quota hunt periods.

 

   Hunters again have the option of applying for Hunt Unit ZZ, which includes all private-land units in southern

Michigan. Hunters who draw this license may hunt the first two weeks of the season on private land anywhere in the unit.

 

   If you're looking for the greatest hunting flexibility, check out the guaranteed hunt period (Hunt No. 234 -- May 5-31) that includes all open areas, except public lands in Unit ZZ. New this year, Hunt No. 234 may be purchased online or from license agents during the Jan. 1-Feb. 1 application period. Individuals who select this option will not be charged the application fee. Hunters also may select this hunt as a second choice on their application.

 

   The 2003 spring wild turkey hunting season promises to be another good one, weather permitting. Don't miss it. Apply online today.

 

GLERL Ballast treatment Seminar

   A seminar on Ballast Water Deoxygenation will be held at the GLERL Main Conference Room, 2205 Commonwealth Blvd, Ann Arbor, on Thurs, January 16. The seminar: "Ballast Water Deoxygenation Can Prevent Aquatic Introductions While Reducing Ship Corrosion" will begin at 10:30 AM

 

   Co-sponsored by the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL), the U of Michigan Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER), and the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, Dr. Mario N. Tamburri, Chief Scientist of Alliance for Coastal Technologies, Chesapeake Biological Lab, U of  Maryland Center for Environmental Science will describe a treatment that can dramatically reduce the survival of most organisms found in ballast waters while providing economic benefits to ship owners.

 

   Tamburri states "Purging of oxygen from ballast tanks with nitrogen was recently found to be a cost-effective technique for reducing corrosion and therefore extending ship life.  We tested the tolerance of larvae of known

invasive species to low levels of oxygen, comparable to those resulting from this anticorrosion treatment, and detected significant levels of mortality."

 

   One of the most important mechanisms for the introduction of aquatic nuisance species is transport in ship ballast waters, and while several ballast tank treatments to prevent transport of aquatic organisms appear promising, all existing approaches will result in significant costs to the shipping industry.  Tamburri will describe an economic treatment that can dramatically reduce the survivorship of most organisms found in ballast.

 

   Two separate literature reviews further support the conclusion that few organisms will be able to withstand extended periods of exposure to nitrogen treated ballast water. This novel deoxygenation technique may therefore have direct benefits to both marine conservation and the shipping industry.

           

Contact: Dr. David Reid, 734-741-2019, david.reid@noaa.gov

PA Sea Grant to Host Fish Tumor Conference

   The PA Sea Grant will host a Fish Tumor Conference January 21-22, at Gannon U, Waldron Center, Erie, PA. Sponsored by USEPA Region 3, & PA Department of

Environmental Protection, the purpose of the conference is

to refine and coordinate the standardization of protocols currently being used to evaluate this beneficial use impairment.  For more info contact Eric Obert at eco1@psu.edu 814-898-6420

Minnesota Fishing Report - Fishing Hot Spots for the week of January 13, 2003

UPPER RED LAKE

Fishing this past weekend was the best it has been all year with a few reports of limits and many people coming in with around 5 to 10 crappies. The bite has been a little more aggressive as of late and the size of the crappies is right around 12 to 15 inches. A group of guys from Ham Lake had the best luck so far this year with about 50 fish for the six of them with one of them getting his limit. The bite is not strictly at night like it has been in past years; many people are picking up them during the day also.  The northern bite has remained hot with many reports of 15-pound plus fish. There was also a 42-inch northern caught and released last week. The fishing should remain strong over the next few weeks. The ice conditions are great, with only one pressure ridge and that is only a couple hundred yards of shore, and 14 to 18 inches of ice.

 

ALEXANDRIA

Ice action has been a bit slow this past week. For walleyes, Reno and Mary are still kicking out a few nice fish in 18 to 20 feet. For panfish, Ida is definitely the best thing going in 12 to 15 feet.

 

BATTLE LAKE

 Bass fishing is really good right now on North and South Turtle lakes. For panfish, check out Clitherall and Norway lakes. Walleye fishing is fair at best on Nancy, Norway and Ottertail lakes. Northerns are big and very active on North Turtle.

 

BEMIDJI

 Northern fishing is very good on Red Lake with reports of very big fish being caught very common. Walleye fishing has slowed down while perch action has definitely picked up on Winnie and Bemidji in depths ranging from 30 to 35 feet.

 

BIG STONE

The best thing going right now is the walleye and perch bite around the Meadow Brook

and Twin Silo's areas. A good crappie bite is also taking place right now on Peterson Lake. These fish are hungry and active!

 

BLACKDUCK

 Walleye and perch fishing is fair now on BlackDuck. Although, most fish being caught are decent is size. For panfish, check out Gilstad.

 

CHISAGO CITY

 We have had an excellent year for ice fishing so far! Decent size walleyes and northerns are coming to the scales from Chisago, South Center, North Lindstrom and Green Lake! Crappie anglers are also reporting an increase in activity in depths ranging from 12 to 30 feet.

 

CROSSLAKE

 Crappie and northern action is starting to take precedent over walleye fishing as we move into January. Walleye continue to bite during early evening, try in 18 to 26 feet of water with shiners and rainbows on rattle spoons. Northern action continues to be strong with large pike minnows on tip-ups. Crappie and panfish action is improving on most area lakes. Try minnows and waxworms on small glow jigs or hooks fished in 12 to 16 feet down.

 

DETROIT LAKES

Fishing remains pretty steady in the area. The walleye bite has slowed somewhat but you will still pick up a few in the early mornings and later in the day. Lindy rattle spoons tipped with a minnow head is really working well. Most fish are in 18 to 24 feet. Lakes kicking out a few walleyes right now are Big Detroit, Lida, Lizzie, Ottertail, Big Floyd, Eagle and Pelican. The panfish bite is still going quite strong on Little Detroit, Prairie, Town, Mud, Cotton, Big Toad, Little Cormorant and Little Pelican. Lindy pounders tipped with waxworms are working well. Good northern fishing going on all area lakes.

 

DULUTH

 Walleye fishing on the St. Louis River has been hit and miss lately. While lakes such as Fish, Island and Boulder have been producing a decent crappie catch. Shore anglers casting into Superior have found plenty of loopers along the breaks. A live bait rig tipped with a crawler is the top producer.

 

EDEN VALLEY

Crappie action is really picking up on Browns, Horseshoe and Rice lakes. Most of the action is located deep in 30-foot plus depths. For walleyes, Koronis is still your best bet in 20 to 26 feet. Anglers are also reporting a good catfish bite on the Horseshoe Chain in 20 feet of water.

 

GRAND RAPIDS

Crappies are starting to take center stage in our area. Splithand and Rice are both producing a good bite in depths ranging from 16 to 20 feet. Bowstring is very good right now for perch while northern fishing remains constant on Pokegama.

 

HACKENSACK

 Some of the smaller lakes turning on for panfish. Walleye fishing has continued with positive results, but nothing like Lake of the Woods. Best fishing times continue to be early in the morning, and from 3 p.m. to dark. Try Pleasant and Birch lakes in 17 to 21 feet for walleyes, and a little shallower towards dark. Fatheads, shiners and rainbows continue to work. For panfish, use crappie minnows and waxworms.

 

KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN

 Anglers report minimal success catching crappies, the bite slowed down substantially;

however, anglers state walleye, sauger and perch activity has improved. Live bait jigs in 25 to 35 feet of water, at mid-afternoon before dark seems to be the best time and depth. Ash River entrance, Lost Lake and current-fed bays seem to be the most consistent areas to fish. Namakan fishing is improving and some of the best pike spearing and angling is now being reported out of Namakan. Ice conditions are very good, depths range from 14 to 24 feet, use caution near pressure ridges and fish a minimum of 50 feet away from marked snowmobile trails.

 

LAKE OF THE WOODS

 The plowed roads leading out to the action are in great shape and ice is reported to be anywhere from 17 to 21 inches thick. The heavier track vehicles, cars and pick-up trucks have been traveling out from Wheeler's Point this past week. Travel from Morris Point

is still only TV's, snowmobiles, or walkers due to pressure ridges. Anglers are catching nice mixes of walleye and sauger in 22 to 27 feet west of Pine Island and in 15 to 17 feet along the South Shore. Anglers fishing the Rocky Point area are fishing in 28 feet of water using fathead minnows and chartreuse jigs. The best time has been from 9:30 a.m. through 2 p.m. Vehicles are going out from Long Point. Orange, white and gold jigs have been the hottest colors to use. The Northwest Angle and Islands area has a great 20 inches of solid blue ice allowing anglers and resort operators to easily travel. Bombardiers have been the main mode of transportation along with other heavier vehicles. The great spots for houses have been around Four Block, Little Oak and Crow Duck. Fishing in 18 to 27 feet producing results. Fishing around the Islands has been great on the reefs with minnows and jigs. Lots of eating size fish have been caught and perch are also showing up more in the mix.

 

LEECH LAKE

The ice is good on Leech Lake and surrounding lakes, and so is the bite. Leech is putting out good numbers of walleyes from the depths of Walker Bay. A twilight opportunity to catch walleyes and some nice fish too. Although, anglers are catching mostly smaller walleyes from the humps in depths of 30 to 50 feet of water a few larger 17-inch plus fish are being caught as well. There is no apparent problem catching fish, it's catching larger fish that is the trick. Most anglers having the best luck with either a rattlin' buck-shot spoon tipped with a minnow head, other anglers are having success with a simple teardrop shaped jig suspended 18 feet off the bottom with a bobber. Other good walleye reports from the Diamond Point area of Leech Lake where similar tactics are catching fish in depths of 12 to 20 feet. The perch have been small with the exception of some ice fishermen concentrating near Hardwood Point. Here in 12 to 16 feet of water, some real nice jumbo perch have been making fishermen smile. A good bite of nice fish is to be had if you are willing to travel to this portion of the lake. The panfish bite in Shingobee Bay has slowed a bit, yet you can still catch handful sized bluegills and crappies if your timing is right (twilight, or overcast day). The depth is 8 to 11 feet of water with micro minnow tipped with eurolarve or a waxworm. Some fishermen are doing well jigging small spoons tipped with waxworms and avoiding the smaller fish, just hawgs for these folks.

 

MANKATO

 The panfish bite on Washington has been very good in Mud Bay while both walleyes and crappies are hitting consistently on German Lake. Northern anglers are having a blast on Little Jefferson running tip-ups in mid-depth areas.

 

MAPLEWOOD

 Northern action is good on White Bear and School Section lakes while the crappies are hitting on Bald Eagle and Peltier Lake in 13 to 17 feet of water. Walleye reports are a little thin. However, Phalen, Jarvis and Clear lakes have all been producing fish at one time or another.

 

MAPLELAKE

Northern action is good all over the area. From there the reports get a little weak. Ramsey, Buffalo and Clearwater are all giving up some crappies and walleyes for those willing to put in the time.

 

MILLE LACS

 Walleye action is picking up as we speak. Late afternoon into early dark is definitely the best time to chase these fish. Deep water such as the gravel humps that taper into muck or the mud flats are all good choices. Set lines with shiners are taking the majority of fish. The south end bays are producing plenty of perch and northern catches. Wahkon and Isle are both good choices. We have plenty of good ice to get out and about.

 

MONTEVIDEO

Check out Boyd's and Madison landings. Anglers willing to work for their catch are being rewarded with plenty of walleyes. Size can be a problem but you can weed out a decent meal off a day's catch. Northern reports have been good around the Appleton Spillway.

 

NISSWA

 Walleye fishing is good on Gull Lake in 20 to 28 feet of water using shiners. Panfish are active on Cullen and Gull. On North Long, the middle of the lake is still open. Experts are trying to figure out what is causing this.

 

PARK RAPIDS

Walleye fishing has turned spotty at best lately. Check out Fish Hook Lake in 25 feet using flatheads for your best chance at a bite. Northerns are also active on Fish Hook in 14 feet. For crappies, head towards Big Mantrap. Suspending fish in 40 feet are very active.

 

PELICAN RAPIDS

 Lida and Pelican are providing plenty of sunfish action. Good walleye reports are coming in from both South and North Lida as well as Crystal. For active northerns, check out Prairie and Lizzy.

 

RAINY LAKE

 Fishing on Rainy Lake is in full gear! Several locals have moved their houses on to Rainy Lake. The Park Service has staked the lake surface snowmobile trails within the park. The park's ice road is open from the Rainy Lake Visitors Center to Rainy Lake City. Fishing on Rainy Lake is getting a good start. Anglers are enjoying more good days than bad. Most are having luck fishing for walleye and northern pike at 35 feet deep, using medium shiners and small jigs.

 

SAINT CLOUD

 About the only positive thing we've heard lately has been the perch and crappie bite on Little Rock Lake. These fish are decent in size and plentiful.

 

SAINT CROIX

 The vertical jigging bite on the Mississippi River Pool 4 area has found walleyes and not saugers as the main taker. Granted these walleyes are smaller and many are sub legal but plenty of legal (greater than 15 inches) limits are being caught. The predominate bait is minnows. Plastics, hair jigs, you name it, they've been snubbed, if it isn't live, at least for the moment it's not the top bait. Walleyes are grouped fairly well in 19 to 23 feet. Some large fish have been caught and released recently as well. The water flow is minimal (668.2 feet above sea level at Lock and Dam #3), water temperatures 33 degrees. In general the St. Croix River the crappie bite remains fair at best, the fish that are caught are quality fish though. Anglers on the average are catching 3 to 5 fish per outing over the deep water in 36 to 40 feet.

 

STARBUCK

 Northerns are on a terror all over the lake! Big perch are also showing up lately. Walleyes are much slower this week. However, anglers willing to put in the time using a glow jig tipped with a fathead can still *ice* a few fish from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in depths ranging from 12 to 15 feet. Crappies are active on the Glenwood end in 14 to 16 feet around the DNR Hatchery. Big perch are also very active around the lake.

 

LAKE VERMILION AREA

 The crappies are biting in 40 feet of water on Lake Vermilion in Wolf Bay. Mixed sizes with a few in the 12-inch class being caught. A customer of ours accidentally found crappies while fishing for walleyes on the lake and the sizes ran from 12 to 15 inches. He won't say where but if you feel like exploring you might get lucky. Morning bite is the best for the big ones. Small lakes around the area are producing crappies, but not what you would call pounding them! The lake and stream trout season opened in the BWCA and many fishermen took to hard ice to try their luck. Mixed reports so far. Trout Lake off of Vermilion had little success this weekend. Those fishermen who caught lake trout, caught nice fish in the 8-pound and bigger class, not many small ones, but far and in between. Tip-ups with sucker minnows suspended worked best. Lac La Croix also had mixed success. Those that caught fish, caught nice trout in the 7-pound and up class and jigging was the trick. A tip for early season lake trout fishermen is, try fishing in 18 to 20 feet of water in shallow bays off of good trout water. Bigger trout will go after perch minnows in those shallow bays and you can get some dandies if you're willing to cast old school theories aside.

 

WABASHA

 Good size perch and walleyes are hitting on Lake Pepin. Jigging raps are the favorite. Panfish are very active along the Nelson, Wisc. Dyke Rd. and 2 Mile Walk. Waxies and spikes are the ticket. Northerns are active in most backwater areas.

 

WACONIA

Northerns in the 6- to 11-pound range are showing up everywhere around the lake. Walleyes have really been active with plenty of small fish to be caught. Look for 12 to 17 feet and you're in business. The bite is soft so pay attention. Crappie action only gets better in 12 to 15 feet right off the weed breaks.

 

WATSON

Walleyes continue to bite on Lac qui Parle, several small ones and a few keepers. Ice conditions are not improving much, 10 inches most places, no vehicles are on the ice so most fishermen are using TV's.

 

WAYZATA

 Northerns are hot all over Minnetonka in 18 to 24 feet of water using large shiner minnows. The walleye bite has moved a bit deeper into 36 to 39 feet. Small shiners on a set line or jigging spoons in greens and yellows are both very productive. Crappie fishing has been the best on Sarah and Independence in the deeper structures.

 

WILLMAR

Crappie anglers are having a blast catching their favorite fish through the ice on Florida and

Norway lakes. The best time seems to be late in the afternoon well into dusk. Green Lake is giving up a few walleyes but nothing like it had been.

 

WINNIBIGOSHISH

Another great week of fishing on Winnie. There is not much for snow, so you can drive anywhere you want. Stay away from all inlets and outlets and watch out for cracks. A lot of limits of perch and some nice walleye coming in and some reports of 24-inch walleye slot releases. The north end of Snag Hole in front of the federal homes, Sugar Bar, Center Bar, Moses Bar and Horseshoe Bar seem to be the hot spots. Fish in 24 to 30 feet and use a  rattlin' glow color jig & minnow. Keep moving until you get on the perch, then stay in that area and have fun.

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