Week of February 9 , 2004
GENEVA — The shipping industry should do more to kill stowaway alien species, from jellyfish to algae, that can wreck ecosystems when flushed from ships' ballast tanks, the environmental group WWF said Feb 4.
"Ballast water, carried by ships to provide balance and stability, is loaded with thousands of marine species that can invade new environments when released in ports," WWF said, warning that alien species could be as damaging as oil spills. "A convention is urgently needed to prevent a marine alien species disaster," the group said in a statement ahead of a U.N. International Maritime Organization conference on ballast water in London from Feb. 9-13.
WWF said the IMO conference should agree on mandatory treatment of the estimated 10 billion tons of ballast water carried round the world every year to kill off hitch-hiking marine life.
It said current guidelines for sucking up water from ports and dumping it at destinations, sometimes on the other side of the globe, afforded little protection to the environment. Survivors of voyages can thrive in new habitats, freed from predators and parasites
WWF said it cost $750 million to control the zebra mussels, brought inadvertently from Europe, that have infested 40 percent of the internal waterways of North America's Great Lakes area. North American jellyfish in the Black Sea and Asian kelp in Australia have been disastrous for fisheries in their new homes.
"Invasive species are perhaps the major environmental challenge facing the shipping industry," said Simon Cripps, director of WWF's Endangered Seas Program.
WWF said the IMO should set the strictest standards at the talks. The draft text of the convention, for instance, has alternatives for limiting the number of viable organisms in ballast water that range from one to 100 per 35 cubic feet.
"Good economic solutions for treating ballast water don't yet exist," said Andreas Tveteraas, the WWF's delegate to the talks. "Promising technologies involve combinations of filtration, ultra-violet radiation. and heating.... You could also add nutrients to ballast water to deoxygenate it," he said. Other methods include electrocution or dumping water on land.
Source: Reuters News Agency
WASHINGTON — Animal welfare groups sued the U.S. government February 6 to try to block new rules that permit the killing of double-crested cormorants, a voracious fish-eater. The large black birds are prevalent throughout North America, with the highest U.S. concentrations in the Great Lakes area.
pose a threat to terrestrial island resources, some threatened and
endangered birds, recreational and commercial fishing and fish farming,
USFWS says. Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a rule
allowing state, federal, and tribal officials in 24 states to kill the birds
to prevent decimation of other resources. The service also expanded an
earlier rule, which had authorized fish farms to kill birds who threaten
their business so federal officials could kill the birds at their winter
government, which is responsible for managing their populations.
The Fund for
Animals, the Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, and
the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida filed their suit Thursday in federal
court in New York City. "Cormorants, like many other birds, eat fish to
survive, and should not be punished for doing what comes naturally," said
Michael Markarian, the fund's president.
A revitalized FishNet, a group of conservation organizations working together on fisheries policy advocacy, is currently tackling issues ranging from sportsmen's access to public lands to nationwide habitat restoration programs.
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is taking a lead role on issues that ultimately affect sportfishing, such as funding for fish passage and hatcheries. The group is currently advocating for more funding for fish passage projects
carried out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management.
FishNet also is prevailing upon Interior Secretary Gale Norton to fulfill legal requirements for fisheries management funding resulting from federal water projects such as dams. This would allow the Fish and Wildlife Service to be paid for services rendered to other agencies and prevent budget shortfalls elsewhere.
With the House of Representatives proposing a 5-cent-per-gallon increase in the federal excise tax on gasoline, and the White House promising to veto any bill with a tax increase, Wallop-Breaux reauthorization looks to be in limbo. Wallop-Breaux is the federal program that channels a portion of what boaters pay in fuel excise tax back into programs that support boating.
"It is clear a tax increase in a presidential election year is a poison pill that will probably kill chances of a Wallop-Breaux reauthorization in 2004," the Marine Retailers Association of America says in its latest Washington Watch newsletter. U.S. Sen. John Breaux, D-La., has introduced S. 1804, the Sport Fishing and Recreational Boating Safety Act, also known as Wallop-Breaux. The current authorization expired Oct. 1, 2003, but Congress approved a short-term extension through Feb. 29.
Future movement of the Wallop-Breaux bill is closely tied to the impending TEA-21 act, or highway reauthorization bill.
Currently there are three separate highway funding reauthorization proposals: one for $247 billion from the Bush Administration, one for $311 billion from the Senate, and one for $375 billion in the House.
The Senate Commerce Committee already has approved its version, which includes the Breaux language approved by the American League of Anglers and Boaters. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has not yet acted.
As the Feb. 29 deadline approaches, Congress will have two options. If it appears an agreement on the highway bill is close, the program can be extended for three months in order to finish the deal and send a bill to the White House for approval.
However, if the two chambers are not close in resolving differences, MRAA says Congress likely will pass an 18-month extension, leaving the final reauthorization for the next Congress after the 2004 election.
Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced on Tuesday, January 27, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding 79 grants, totaling nearly $14 million, to help 60 federally recognized Indian tribes conserve and recover endangered, threatened and at-risk species and other wildlife on tribal lands.
The Service is awarding the grants under two new programs, the Tribal Landowner Incentive Program (TLIP0 and Tribal Wildlife Grant Program. These programs are similar to cost-share programs recently developed by the department to assist states, local communities, private landowners and other partners undertake wildlife conservation projects.
Of the $14 million, the Service is providing about $4 million to federally recognized Indian tribes to help fund 23 projects under TLIP. Contributions from tribes and other partners raise the total value of these projects to $6.8 million. The grants were chosen through a competitive process to address protection, restoration and management of habitat to benefit at-risk species, including federally listed endangered or threatened species and proposed or candidate species. The maximum award under this program is $200,000 with a required minimum 25-percent match from non-federal funds.
Meanwhile, about $10 million will help fund 56 projects under TWG. Contributions from tribes and other partners increase the total value of these projects to $12.4 million. These grants are awarded to federally recognized Indian tribes to benefit fish, wildlife and their habitat including non-game species. Although matching funds are not required for these grants, they are considered to be an indicator of a tribe’s commitment. The maximum grant award under this program is $250,000.
Indians and Indian tribes have a controlling interest in more than 52 million acres of tribal trust lands and an additional 40 million acres held by Alaska native corporations.
Some grants awarded in the Great Lakes region include:
Tribal Landowner Incentive Program
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Manistee, MI $137,644
Study the Status and Habitat Use of Bobcat, Lynx rufus, in the Northern Counties of MI
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Cloquet, MN $200,000
Fond du Lac Wild Rice Restoration Project - 4 Lakes
Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians, Grand Portage, MN $84,911
Wetland and Wild Rice Restoration on Grand Portage Tribal Lands, Grand Portage, MN
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cass Lake, MN $133,858
Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species Habitat Enhancement and Wetland Projects
Tribal Wildlife Grants 2003
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Suttons Bay, MI $160,000
Evaluate and Enhance American Martin and Other Predatory Furbearer Populations
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Baraga, MI $120,000
Native Fish Species Projects on the L'Anse Indian Reservation and Adjacent Waters
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Manistee, MI $133,500
Assessment of Riparian Habitat Restoration in the Manistee River Corridor
Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, Fulton, MI $249,839
Comprehensive Wildlife Management Plan - 3 projects (Plan, Greenhouse & Invasive Species Control)
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Cloquet, MN $133,150
Moose Population Dynamics and Census Techniques Research
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Cloquet, MN $60,920
Angler Exploitation of Select Walleye Populations in the 1854 Ceded Territory of MN
Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Cloquet, MN $42,506
Sturgeon Population Study on the upper St. Louis River
Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians, Grand Portage, MN $104,025
Continued Assessment and Rehabilitation of Native, At Risk Species in Lake Superior and Adjoining Tributaries in and around the Area of Grand Portage, MN including the Pigeon River and Bay
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Indians, Cass Lake, MN $209,708
Wildlife Habitat Assessment with an Emphasis on Rare and Culturally Important Species - Including Wild Rice Inventory
Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Red Lake, MN $247,007
Red Lake Wildlife Habitat Preservation and Maintenance, Enhancement and Evaluation Project
Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Odanah, WI $147,784
Restoration of the Raymond "Snooty" Couture Fish Hatchery and Rearing Ponds
Ho-Chunk Nation, Black River Falls, WI $50,000
Monitoring and Management of Gray Wolf (Canus lupus) in the Central Forest Region of WI
Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Hayward, WI $249,800
LCO Fisheries Program Development including Lake and Stream Surveys
Lac du Flambeau Band Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau, WI $120,330
Lac du Flambeau Lake Sturgeon Restoration Project on the Lac du Flambeau Chain of Lakes and Bear River
Menominee Indian Tribe, Keshena, WI $91,031
Lake Sturgeon Restoration Project
Menominee Indian Tribe, Keshena, WI $55,986
Timber Wolf Reintroduction
Stockbridge-Munsee Community, Bowler, WI $250,000
Stockbridge - Munsee Fish and Wildlife project
Results from a recent national survey of products issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service indicate that there is a high level of satisfaction among customers using weather information. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The survey was conducted by an independent research company at the request of the National Weather Service, and assessed the performance of the nation's principle weather provider among sectors that rely heavily on its products. These sectors were aviation, emergency management, media and marine.
Questions in the survey were geared at gauging usefulness of National Weather Service products by the customers, how to improve on products, how the products are being used by various sectors and how the individual sectors perceive the effectiveness and proficiency of the National Weather Service as a whole.
On a scale of 0 to 100, emergency managers ranked the National Weather Service at 80, marine personnel scored it at 78, 77 for aviation and media satisfaction was 76. All four of these customer segment scores are above the aggregate score of 70 for all federal agencies and also above the aggregate score of 74 for all organizations.
President Bush is requesting more than $1.3 billion -- $22.6 million more than last year for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service’s 2005 budget. The
request represents the administration's continuing commitment to protect
America's natural resources and support conservation partnerships in
communities across the country.
Current Lake Levels:
Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 8, 19, 6 and 4 inches, respectively, below their long-term average. Lake Ontario is 9 inches above its long-term average. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are all above last year’s levels. Lake Superior is at the same level as a year ago. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 3, 4, 5, and 20 inches above last year’s level, respectively.
The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be below average during the month of February. Flows in the St. Clair, Detroit, Niagara, and St. Lawrence Rivers are expected to be near average in February.
A potent winter storm is forecasted to push through the Great Lakes basin Thursday and Friday. Heavy snow is expected in
the western basin, while sleet and freezing rain are possible to the east. Ice cover across the upper lakes should continue to build, as temperatures will remain below freezing.
Forecasted Water Levels:
Lakes Superior and Ontario are expected to continue their pattern of seasonal decline over the next four weeks. Lakes St. Clair and Erie should start their normal seasonal rise over the next several weeks. However, short-term fluctuations on Lake St. Clair could persist as long as the cold weather and ice conditions in the rivers continues. The level of Lakes Michigan and Huron are expected to remain fairly stable over the next month.
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.
The USEPA - Great Lakes National Program Office has announced the availability of funding for projects that would help to implement the Great Lakes Legacy Act.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) is requesting proposals for projects, for up to $10,000,000, addressing contaminated sediment problems in Great Lakes Areas of Concern located wholly or partially in the U.S. AOCs as outlined in the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002.
The deadline for all Project proposals is 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, March 31, 2004. Supplementary info: Request for Projects (RFP) is available on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/glla .
The purpose of this request is to solicit ideas for projects that would help to implement the Great Lakes Legacy Act. In order to receive funding under the Legacy Act, projects must be located in one of the 31 U.S. Great Lakes AOCs. Top priority will be given to projects that are geared toward on-the-ground remediation (i.e., actual implementation of a remedial option) of contaminated sediments within a U.S. AOC.
Remediation projects would include, but are not limited to, remedial options such as: dredging, capping, monitored
natural recovery, treatment technologies, or a combination of remedial alternatives for contaminated sediment.
The next priority level would be given to projects that seek to move a contaminated sediment site toward remediation. These projects could include: site characterizations, site assessments, source identification/source control, monitoring, remedial alternatives evaluations and short-term/long-term effects analyses.
Please note that the Legacy Act program is not a grants program, and that this Legacy Act RFP is a departure from GLNPO’s annual funding guidance process. The funding guidance proposals for Great Lakes sediment grant projects are being solicited under a separate request for proposal process scheduled for release in January 2004.
The non-federal share of the cost of a project shall be at least 35% of the total project costs and 100% of cost of operation and maintenance of the project. States, tribes, industry, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders are eligible to apply.
Corps still wants to spend $2.3 billion to accommodate future growth
Upper Mississippi River barge traffic has declined again in 2003, continuing a fifteen-year old trend of stagnation, according to the latest U.S. Army Corps of Engineers figures released last week by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The Corps data shows large, cumulative decreases in barge traffic at nearly all locks, with the most heavily utilized locks exhibiting fully a one-quarter reduction in traffic.
The Corps is now on the verge of revealing its draft recommendation regarding replacement of the existing river locks on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway with new locks designed to accommodate future growth in barge traffic. The price tag on this project is an estimated $2.3 billion, and with an even greater amount of "environmental restoration" spending currently estimated at $5.3 billion, makes this overall $7.6 billion package the second most expensive public works project in Corps history (second only to the $8 billion Everglades Restoration).
In sharp contrast with the established history of declining
traffic, the Corps has embraced wildly optimistic traffic forecasts in their continuing attempt to justify this project. These Corps forecasts form the foundation of their new economic analyses that were recently sharply criticized this past December by a National Academies of Science panel commissioned to review the latest Corps study.
"With each passing month, the Corps forecasts veer farther and farther from reality," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch whose organization is suing the Corps over these fraudulent estimates and unreliable economic models used in the agency’s controversial $70 million study to justify lock construction. PEER also points to other economic factors such as a continuing barge industry consolidation, the near end of commercial barging on the Missouri River and new value-added uses for grain production, such as ethanol, that do not require shipment down the river to New Orleans as contributing factors that will extend the traffic slump through the next decade
"Right now, the Corps is thrashing around to find any way to justify this mega-project that passes the straight face test," Ruch added.
MADISON – Wisconsin’s on-again, off-again winter is spurring recreation safety officials to urge anglers to make sure they know ice conditions before they go fishing and take special precautions to avoid breaking through the ice. The same holds true for snowmobilers, skaters, all-terrain vehicle users and others venturing onto the ice this winter.
“The most important ice safety tip we tell people is that no ice is ever safe,” says Karl Brooks, a Department of Natural Resources conservation warden and snowmobile administrator. “It’s too unpredictable.” Brooks says that some authorities provide general guidelines for how thick ice should be to support a person, a snowmobile or a car, but that such guidelines should be taken with a grain of salt.
“All of those guidelines depend on whether the ice is real solid. You can have 8 to 10 inches of ice, which some guidelines say is thick enough to support a vehicle, but if you have 10 inches of real crummy ice, you may be in trouble in you drive your car on it.” Brooks says that ice anglers, ice skaters, snowmobilers and others who seek out ice need to consider a variety of factors when determining whether ice is solid enough for their travel and activity.
“Determining whether you go on the ice is not determined by one single factor, it’s a combination of a bunch of things,” Brooks says. “You want to have a sense of the temperatures that developed that ice. Was it formed recently or over a period of time? Ice formed over time and under very cold temperatures is generally safer.
“You want to know the body of water you’re on. Even on the same lake, one end could be warmer and less thick – are there inflows or outflows, is it a flowage or river or lake, or are there artesian wells?
“You should also look at the amount of snowpack on the ice.
Snow acts as an insulating barrier. If you’ve got cold temperatures outside and warm water underneath the ice, you can find areas of 6 to 8 inches of ice and just a few feet away, areas with 1 inch of ice or les
“Finally, take a look and see who else is out there. If no one else is out on the ice that ought to be a clue to you.” Brooks suggests anglers contact area sports shops to ask about the ice conditions before they drive somewhere to fish.
He offers these other tips for staying safe:
♦ Do not go out alone and let people know where you are going
♦ Wear proper clothing and equipment, including a float coat to help you stay afloat and to help slow body heat loss
♦ Take extra mittens or gloves so you always have a dry pair.
♦ Wear creepers attached to boots to prevent slipping on clear ice.
♦ Carry a spud bar to check the ice while walking to new areas
♦ Carry a couple of spikes and a length of light rope in an easily accessible pocket to help pull yourself – or others – out of the water and back onto the ice if you should break through. There are commercial made spikes that are easily carried.
♦ Know if the lake has inlets, outlets or narrows that have current that can thin the ice.
♦ Look for clear ice. Clear ice is generally stronger than ice with air bubbles in it or with snow on it.
♦ Be prepared to leave your vehicle in a hurry if you drive out on the ice. Plan a hasty exit if the vehicle breaks through: leave windows open and unfasten seat belts.
♦ Don’t park vehicles in a group. Distribute the weight and periodically move vehicles to allow the ice to recover.
♦ If you do break through, use what’s available to help get back onto the ice. Once you are out, keep low on all fours, or even roll on the ice until you get to a more solid surface where you can again walk
Attendance, up 5% at 2004 show sends positive vibes
CHICAGO, February 4 - - More than 19,000 people attended Strictly Sail Chicago, held January 29 to February 1 at Navy Pier, an increase of 5% compared to the 2003 event. Exhibitors at the show were equally impressed with the quality of the attendees as they were with the quantity, and are optimistic about the sailing industry in 2004.
In its ninth year, Strictly Sail Chicago is now the largest indoor sail boat show in the country, and the only show of its kind in the Midwest.Gary Schotts with Hunter says Strictly Sail Chicago is a great event for his company as well, and that expectations are always high coming to the Second City. "It's been a good show for us and a good year in general. Not only have the crowds been good, but so have the sales. People don’t seem to be quite as concerned with the economy as they were last year. Our sales are the best at Chicago in four years, and sales at all our shows are up this year,' says Schotts.
“We have a core group of attendees from all over the Midwest that come to this show every year. Not only are they interested in finding the newest boats and accessories, but they also want to catch up with their sailing friends from around the country,” says show manager Kevin Murphy.
"There are a lot of people upgrading from trailerable boats to boats that require slips, and that's a good sign for boating," says Roger Mellen with Northpoint Marina in Winthrop Harbor, IL. "We didn’t see that at last year’s show. Our marina was 98 % full last year, and we're running on a pace right now to even better that."
For more information on Strictly Sail Chicago, contact Kevin Murphy at (401) 841-0900, ext. 28, or visit www.sailamerica.com .
Sail America is an independent affiliate of NMMA, representing the sailing industry - a powerful group of enthusiastic companies and individuals dedicated to promoting sailing.
TUCSON, Ariz., January 29, 2004 Safari Club International announced that its Board of Directors unanimously elected Thomas M. Riley to serve as its Executive Director. Riley, Special Agent in Charge of the USFWS Office of Law Enforcement, Southeastern Region, will draw on more than three decades of leadership success at the nation’s largest wildlife law enforcement agency to advance SCI efforts to protect the freedom to hunt and to promote wildlife conservation worldwide.
The decision to hire Riley was made after an exhaustive eight-month search, and Riley also will be Executive Director of the Safari Club International Foundation, a nonprofit agency sponsoring hundreds of wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian service programs each year. The Atlanta, Georgia resident will assume his new responsibilities at SCI and SCI Foundation World Headquarters in Tucson on February 9, 2004.
Riley is very familiar with SCI and SCI Foundation operations. He was SCI’s 2002 Conservation Officer of the Year. He is a member of the SCI Foundation Conservation Committee and he helped establish the USFWS exhibitor booth at the annual SCI Hunter’s Convention more than a dozen years ago. This high-traffic booth annually attracts thousands of sportsmen attending the world’s largest international hunting show by assisting hunters in obtaining hunting information and permits.
During his 31-year career with the USFWS, Riley was regularly called upon to represent the Director and Secretary of the Interior at high level meetings with foreign countries, tribal governments, federal agencies, Congress, the media and the
public. He filled these assignments with maturity, clarity and purpose – always working to build consensus to protect national and international wildlife resources.
Riley gave lectures on wildlife law and conservation at the University of Oregon Law School, Long Beach State University and New Mexico State University. He also established the Cargo for Conservation program through which seized wildlife was shared with schools for conservation studies, and was instrumental in creating the US Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement forensic laboratory – now recognized as the world’s premier wildlife lab.
Prior to joining the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Riley was a middle linebacker and defensive signal coordinator for the Baltimore Colts. His two-year professional football career started after Riley attended Rice University on athletic scholarship and graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Safari Club International is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. This chapter driven, nonprofit association is a tireless advocate for the world’s 45 million sportsmen and sportswomen, who, through legal hunting, annually drive more than $1.7 billion in funding to conserve all wild species. For information, call 520-620-1220 or visit www.scifirstforhunters.org.
520-620-1220, ext. 477
WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/29/04 — Four leading U.S. independent boat builders and four top marine dealers last week voiced their support of Yamaha Outboards in testimony at the U.S. International Trade Commission’s preliminary conference to hear comments on Brunswick Corporation’s allegations of Japanese outboard makers’ dumping activities.
Yamaha Marine Group President Phil Dyskow said he was overwhelmed by the support demonstrated by the builders and dealers who traveled to Washington in one of the worst winter storms of the year to offer their support. “There was no shortage of our OEM builder and dealer partners who offered to attend to show support for us,” said Dyskow. “ Once the word was out, my phone didn’t stop ringing with offers of support. We limited the list to four top builders and dealers due to space and time constraints.”
The four independent builders were Genmar, Godfrey Marine, Maverick and Grady White Boats
Dumping occurs when a foreign company sells a product in
the U.S. market at less than the price it charges in its own home market or below fully distributed costs and the dumping cause material injury to the domestic producers of the same product.
Irwin Jacobs, Chairman of Genmar, the largest U.S. boat builder said, "In terms of import pricing relative to pricing by domestic manufacturers, based on Genmar's volume-based discounts and purchases in the recently completed 2003 model year, our lowest priced supplier is not a Japanese engine manufacturer, but a domestic engine manufacturer."
"To the contrary and belief of Mercury, we didn't bring Yamaha in because they offered lower prices than Mercury, because in fact, they didn’t. During the time period for this investigation, the biggest discount, that is, the lowest price Genmar received from any engine supplier was a discount from Mercury."
The marine dealers giving testimony offered the retail point of view, but had the same conclusion. Mercury’s problem isn’t pricing, but product reliability.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has joined the National Wild Turkey Federation’s efforts to offer women more opportunities to experience the outdoors through the NWTF’s Women in the Outdoors program.
"This agreement is a natural for both the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the National Wild Turkey Federation," said Illinois DNR Director Joel Brunsvold. "We have worked for many years with the NWTF and its Illinois chapter officials and members on habitat enhancement, turkey releases and hunting programs. This is another chance to partner with a great sporting organization to generate interest in and expand
hunting and outdoor recreation opportunities."
Women in the Outdoors is the NWTF’s hands-on outdoor education program for women age 14 or older. Women who attend events can learn a variety of outdoor activities such as canoeing, camping, hiking, fishing, shooting, outdoor cooking and much more.
As a partner to the Women in the Outdoors program, the Illinois DNR will continue to assist NWTF's outreach program by providing instructors for workshops and special presentations, helping publicize the events, as well as helping provide supplies and equipment for events.
Beginning with the spring turkey season this year, hunter education certification will be required for all hunters using Camp Atterbury Maneuver Training Center in central Indiana. The requirement is set to comply with U.S. Army regulations and applies to all hunting, including turkey, deer and small game.
"Security and safety are of the utmost importance," said Kenneth Newlin, Camp Atterbury post commander. "We're confident that those who have completed DNR's hunter education course know what they need to do to say safe in the field." Newlin anticipates that limited hunting will be open this
year on Camp Atterbury, but he warns that military training and tightened security could halt hunting access at any time.
Other Indiana military areas, such as Newport and Crane, also require hunter education. These areas are currently closed to hunting due to national security concerns. Hunting during established hunting seasons will remain open at DNR's Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area. Hunter education is recommended for all hunters and required for hunters born after 1986.
A listing of hunter education classes: www.in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/hunt-edu.htm
Michigan Sea Grant and the MI DNR, are planning to hold a yellow perch workshop Feb 28, in South Haven. A draft agenda, with speakers is posted below, and it will cover recent perch assessment work as well as presentations on current research. Sea Grant Agent Chuck Pistis says "We are also planning a session that will involve discussion on successful angling techniques."
The workshop will be held at Lake Michigan College, South Haven Campus. "We feel it is important that stakeholders be updated on the status of the yellow perch fishery and current research underway to understand the factors impacting the fishery" says Pistis.
Registration fee is $10.00 to cover lunch, refreshments and materials. ($15.00 at the door)
For a brochure and registration form call or e-mail Pistis at: email@example.com
Ottawa County Extension
HOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) -- Isle Royale National Park soon may be a little easier to reach.
The National Park Service has announced an agreement with Duluth, Minn.-based Royale Air Service, Inc. to reinstate seaplane services to the island during the summer, The Daily Mining Gazette reported.
The island has been without plane service since 2002, when former supplier Isle Royale Seaplane Service Inc. ended flights there after 37 years. The company cited higher insurance rates following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as the main reason. Jon Safstrom, owner and pilot for Royale Air Service, said he was pleased that the service will return. "I'm really looking forward to it," he said. "I'm excited about the prospect of working with the folks at the park and supplying a needed service to Isle Royale."
The business marks a new venture for Safstrom, who spent 17 years as a military and commercial pilot.
Isle Royale spokesman Smitty Parratt said the park service received bids from several companies that were reviewed by a
regional office on matters ranging from proper insurance to pilot qualifications.
The service will make flights to Isle Royale up to six days a week from May 18 to Sept. 15. Safstrom's Cessna 206 plane is capable of holding five passengers in addition to the pilot, as was the case with the previous seaplane. Fares will be $160 per person for one-way trips or $230 round trip.
Because the plane is capable of taking off from both sea and land, Safstrom will be able to depart from Houghton County Memorial Airport rather than the location a mile west of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, which was used before. This could make trips to Isle Royale more convenient for visitors who are flying into the airport, he said.
Parratt said the seaplane also could attract visitors to Isle Royale who were put off by the lengthy travel time required for boat voyages. He said plane flights to the island generally take 35 to 45 minutes, while the Isle Royale Queen's 4.5-hour trip out of Copper Harbor is the quickest from the Keweenaw Peninsula.
State recreation officials announced Michigan's Winter Free Fishing Weekend Feb. 14-15, when fishing license fees are waived for residents and nonresidents. All other fishing regulations still apply.
The Winter Free Fishing Weekend encourages Michigan residents and visitors to sample Michigan's year-round angling opportunities. Those who try fishing during the free weekend could discover a new hobby on one of more than 11,000 inland lakes, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, or 3,000 miles of Michigan's Great Lakes shoreline.
"Ice fishing offers an opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to experience Michigan's exceptional natural resources in a new way," said DNR Acting Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. "With an abundance of game fish throughout the state's inland
waters, anglers can catch large predator species such as northern pike, or a bag full of panfish for exceptional table fare. While bluegill, perch, trout and walleye are the most popular ice fishing species, Michigan waters are home to nearly two dozen species guaranteed to delight anglers of all ages."
The Free Fishing Weekend does not include President's Day, Feb. 16.
The DNR offers several online resources to help first-time and seasoned anglers maximize fishing opportunities throughout the state. Anglers can buy licenses online, review weekly fishing reports, access lake maps through an interactive map of the state, stocking records and find information about public access points on Michigan lakes, rivers and streams by logging onto www.michigan.gov/dnr .
The Grand Rapids Press reports that when Rep. Michael Sak, D-Grand Rapids, called last fall to say he wanted to amend current laws in order to keep anglers from denying others access to prime fishing holes, one might have thought he was overreacting. The issue initially seemed to be a local problem, something that might be handled by just airing the issue publicly. Not so.
Sak introduced legislation last week to make it illegal to mark a fishing hole with a buoy unless an angler, guide or his client is actively fishing the hole. It is simple legislation that may require some tweaking, but Sak is on the right track. "What this will do is clarify just what people can and can not do," he said. "People shouldn't have the right to go out and mark a spot and deny other anglers the right to fish that spot when they are not there actively fishing it."
"Rep. Sue Tabor (R-Delta Township) has said she is willing to hold committee meetings on the bill which will allow for some dialogue, clarification and debate." That public discussion will be worth a lot. This contentious issue surfaced last summer when Press reporter Howard Meyerson wrote about the problem on the Muskegon and St. Joseph Rivers where a couple of commercial fishing guides had been using floating buoys to reserve fishing holes.
They marked them while they ran downstream to land a fish, or they marked them as their own so they could fish it later once their client arrived. In both cases, they intended to keep others out. Recreational anglers and other guides got pretty steamed. It was the guides' audacity that got people riled. These men make their living off a public resource, funded mostly by recreational angler's dollars. But rather than foster an air of grateful cooperation, they unleashed the ugly specter of personal avarice.
Most anglers cooperate with each other and extend one another some basic courtesy. Step away from a fishing hole to land a fish and most will respect another's space on the river. The guides in question, however, might be gone from sight for 20 to 30 minutes. Then they would return and insist that new anglers vacate their marked spot. It was unacceptable behavior. Private profits do not trump public fishing rights on
There is nothing illegal about marking a spot. The issue until now has been one of angler ethics. The DNR believes a new law is unnecessary. "We think we have a statute in place to deal with this issue -- the angler harassment law," said Dennis Knapp, the legislative liaison for the DNR. "We don't feel we need an additional statute to deal with an issue like this."
Lt. Dave Pearl with the DNR's law enforcement division said the angler harassment law makes it illegal for a person to intentionally or knowingly block or impede or harass another who is lawfully fishing. The law's original intent was to protect anglers from harassment by animal rights supporters. "It would hold up if someone was trying to prevent another from fishing a particular hole," Pearl said. That includes the situation of a fishing guide returning to a hole after 20 minutes and telling another they had to leave.
On the other hand, the current law does not address the practice of dropping a buoy to mark a fishing hole, nor the obstruction to fishing caused because its anchor line would likely snag any fishing line drifting through. In that case, Pearl said anglers have other recourse. "If no one is around, then it's been abandoned," he said. "You can pull it up and put it in your boat ... just don't throw it on shore. That's littering.
"We don't want to create a confrontation between anglers. If someone marks a hole and you want to fish it and they say, 'That's my marker.' then the thing to do is contact a law enforcement agency," Pearl said. Doing that, of course, means hours before any action could be taken. It assumes anglers have cell phones or that guilty parties will stick around or could be identified. It presumes a conservation officer has time to investigate. It assumes that driftboat anglers who complain can specify the bend on the river where the confrontation took place.
That's a lot of maybes, and not much hard result. It would be far simpler to change the law and make the practice a no-no.
Source: Grand Rapids Press
"The Great Lakes: Assessing Ecosystem Health through Partnerships"
Kellogg Center, Michigan State University
Sponsored by Michigan State University and MI DEQ Office of the Great Lakes Agriculture and Natural Resources Week at Michigan State University, the conference "The Great Lakes: Assessing Ecosystem Health through Partnerships" will be held at the schools Kellogg Center.
In its 14th year, this annual Great Lakes conference will
highlight the current research and activities of agencies, Universities, and organizations working on various Great Lakes issues. Information will be presented on mercury and PCB contamination, invasive species, Great Lakes restoration, and fisheries.
This conference should be of interest to a wide diversity of groups including researchers, government agency personnel, educators, environmental groups and others who want to hear about current issues in the Great Lakes and problems being addressed. For more info or to register: www.iwr.msu.edu/events/ANRWeek/
gains control of game farms
Lt. Gov. John Cherry's office is drafting the executive order to make the change, which is supported by hunters but opposed by the Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Deer and Elk Farmers Association.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials on February 2 announced they are seeking public comment to help develop a Habitat Conservation Plan for the federally-endangered Karner blue butterfly.
The Karner blue butterfly lives in oak savanna habitats in west Michigan, where its caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of wild lupine. The amount of oak savanna has declined in recent decades. These areas have converted to forestland or are being utilized for agriculture and residential development. The overall vision for this plan is to provide habitat for this butterfly by restoring and managing oak savanna in west Michigan.
In seeking public comment, the DNR is particularly interested in identifying issues, concerns, and opportunities associated with development of a statewide Karner Blue Butterfly Habitat
Conservation Plan. The DNR would like to also identify any other associated environmental factors and effects on the environment as a result of implementing the Plan.
The DNR will host two public meetings in addition to accepting written comments. These meetings will consist of a short presentation followed by an opportunity for questions and input on the Plan. Additional information on the butterfly and the planning process, as well as opportunities for comments, can be found online at http://karnerblue.org . Comments received by April 1 will be used to craft management alternatives that will be considered in the planning process.
The public meetings will be held in Newaygo and Allegan. The Newaygo meeting will be on Feb. 10, 7-9 p.m. at the Brooks Township Hall, 490 Quarterline Rd, off M-37. The Allegan meeting will be on Feb. 11, 7-9 p.m. at the Allegan Area Community Center, 330 Trowbridge St, off M-89.
Natural Resources Commission posts opening
One of the nation's premier natural resources agencies, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, seeks exceptional candidates for the position of Director. The Director is appointed by, and serves at the pleasure of the Natural Resources Commission (NRC). The Director is also a member of the Governor's Cabinet. The Salary range for this position starts at $115,000.
The Director leads an agency of 1500 Full Time Equated Positions with a $250 million budget responsible for 3.8 million acres of state forest; 97 state parks with over 23 million visitors per year; fisheries in Great Lakes and interior waters; wildlife management; conservation law enforcement; forestry and fire control; land acquisition and disposition; oil and gas leasing; grant administration; and human resource management.
Major responsibilities of this position include NRC affairs (policy), leadership responsibility for organizational development, management of financial and human resources, program evaluation and control, development of
legislation and coordination with the Legislature; liaison with the Office of the Governor, other State agencies and, constituent groups. The Director must possess the ability to: provide creative direction; improve program integration; initiate and support quality improvement; develop innovative and entrepreneurial methods of customer service delivery systems; interact effectively with diverse stakeholders; and, improve outreach programs.
Candidates should have extensive senior executive experience in a large organization in natural resource management, public policy and administration obtained in either the public or private sector. Demonstrated leadership qualities are essential. The Director should have the ability to lead a management team that creates positive partnerships and relationships with members of the Michigan Legislature; Office of the Governor, other State agencies, citizens and constituent groups, and local government entities.
The deadline for receipt of applications is 5:00 p.m. on March 2, 2004. For more info contact the Natural Resources Commission: www.mi.gov/dnr
Michigan DNR officials announced applications are now being accepted for the new Forest Land Enhancement Program.
The Forest Land Enhancement Program was authorized by Congress under the 2002 Farm Bill. The program is established to promote sustainable forestry management on non-industrial private forestland through technical assistance, education, outreach and financial incentives. It is administered nationally and grants are funded through the USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry program.
In Michigan, more than 10 million acres of forest lands are owned by non-industrial private landowners. Forest lands provide many public benefits including watershed protection, wildlife habitat, aesthetics, timber production and recreation. These grants will offer cost-sharing opportunities to Michigan forest landowners for establishing resource management plans and practices of improving watershed and forest stand quality, wildlife and fish habitat, forest health, and rehabilitating forest lands after catastrophic events.
Non-industrial, private landowners who own and intend to manage at least five wooded acres are eligible to apply, and participation is voluntary. Applications will be accepted year-round and ranked based on national and state priorities, as described in the Michigan State Priority Plan. Cost-share contracts will be awarded quarterly.
Grant applications for the 2004 contract award periods must be received by Mar. 1, May 21, and Aug. 20, respectively. All grants require matching funds of 35 to 50 percent, depending on the cost-share practice. The match may be made up of cash contributions and in-kind services, but may not include federal funds. Grants up to $10,000 per year may be awarded.
To obtain a grant application or for more information, contact Debra Huff, Forest Stewardship Coordinator, at 517-335-3355, DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management, PO Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909-7952, or visit the website at www.michigan.gov/dnr .
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will host an open house Feb. 10 to provide information and receive public comment on forest management treatments proposed for 2005 in the Crystal Falls Management Unit.
The open house, from 3-7 p.m. CST at the DNR Crystal Falls Field Office, is an opportunity for the public to review proposed treatments and provide input toward final decisions on those treatments. It also provides the public an opportunity to talk with foresters and biologists about issues of interest.
Each year, DNR personnel inventory and evaluate one-tenth of the state forest. The information gathered includes the health, quality and quantity of all vegetation; wildlife and fisheries habitat and needs; archaeological sites; mineral, oil and gas activities; recreational use; wildfire potential; social factors, including proximity to roads and neighborhoods; and use on adjacent lands, public or private. Proposed treatments are then designed to ensure the sustainability of the resources
Each management unit is divided into smaller units or compartments to facilitate better administration of the resources. The Crystal Falls open house and compartment review will focus on: Bates, Crystal Falls, Hematite, Mansfield, Mastodon and Stambaugh townships in Iron County; and Breitung, Felch, Norway, Waucedah and West Branch townships in Dickinson County.
Maps and information regarding the proposed treatments, available at the open house, also can be accessed at www.michigan.gov/dnr , or by calling Steve Milford, Crystal Falls Unit Manager, at 906-875-6622.
The formal compartment review to finalize prescriptions for these areas is scheduled Feb. 25, beginning at 8:30 a.m. CST at the Crystal Falls Township Hall. Persons with disabilities needing accommodations for meetings should contact Steve Milford.
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission on February 6 approved an Interim Order allowing residents in parts of the Upper Peninsula to obtain supplemental deer feeding permits.
Permits will be issued to applicants in Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, Alger, and Luce counties, and the portions of Marquette and Chippewa counties north of the T43N – T44N boundary line. Feeding will be allowed from Jan. 1 through May 15, and permits will be granted from the Department of Natural Resources under the following conditions:
♦ No supplemental feed shall be placed prior to a permit being obtained;
♦ Applicants must have permission of the land owner or land administrator;
♦ Feed is limited to grain or pelletized food that does not contain animal protein, scattered or disbursed on the ground;
♦ Feed is placed at least one mile from livestock, specific
agricultural crops, and at least one-quarter mile from paved public roads;
♦ Permittees are required to provide a summary on their feeding activities to the DNR by May 30.
The order is only valid for one year, and will be reviewed again next year. Commissioner John Madigan, of Munising, said the change resulted from negotiations with many UP residents who are concerned with winter’s potential toll on the deer herd.
“While we remain vigilant in protecting Michigan deer and monitoring carefully for disease threats like Chronic Wasting Disease, we also recognize the importance of sustaining deer in areas of the state where they are most threatened by adverse weather conditions and least likely to present an imminent disease risk,” Madigan said. “While the UP retains its disease-free status, we believe this is a responsible move to help prevent large-scale deer die-offs during harsh winters.”
Permit applications are available at the DNR Operation Service Centers in Baraga, Marquette and Newberry, and field offices in Crystal Falls, Gwinn, Shingleton and Sault St. Marie.
Lake Geneva sunnie bite has been good. Lake Le Homme Dieu is your best option for some crappies, the bite is going after dark in 20-25 ft. Miltona and Carlos are your best bets to catch some walleyes in 25-30 ft of water.
Try Clearwater for sunfish and/or crappies. Crappies are in 35 ft of water. Cedar Lake is also producing some crappie action. For walleye action, your best bet is Lake Francis in about 20 ft of water.
Bemidji perch have been biting, with some bigger fish reported. Also, on Bemidji, try for some northern pike, this is a shallow bite.
BIG STONE -
Big Stone walleye bite has been very good, despite the cold weather. Best places for some action have been the Chataqua Park area in 10-11 feet or the Meadowbrook area in 12-13 ft.
Red Lake crappie bite has been pretty good. Not a lot of anglers out with the cold weather. The bite should improve, and we should see more anglers out with a little warmer weather.
Brainerd Lakes Area -
Last week's bitter cold temperatures kept the majority of anglers off the lakes this past week in the Brainerd area. With evening temperatures dropping to minus 35 F and daytime highs that didn't pass minus 15, most anglers remained indoors.
CHISAGO CITY -
Kroon Lake has been producing crappie and pike action. The pike are in around 15 feet of water, and the crappie are in around 30 ft. Also, some good pike reports coming from Sunrise. Both North and South Center lakes have been producing some good panfish action.
Thirteen-plus inches of snow, along with a big drop in the temperature, put a big damper on fishing for the first half of the week in the Crosslake area. Walleye anglers who ventured out reported action in deeper water with shiners or rainbow minnows jigged with Rattle Spoons. Northern pike action slowed due to frigid temps. Trout Lake gave up some nice trout, an 11-pounder was weighed in at Holiday Crosslake, shiner minnows fished in 45-60 ft will provide the most action. Panfish and crappie action seems to be luke warm, some fish are being caught in 20 feet and deeper with small jigs tipped with eurolarvae. Look for suspended fish.
DETROIT LAKES -
With the terribly cold weather over the last 10 days there has not been a lot of folks out ice fishing! We have had many days recently when the high temperature never went above minus 25! On top of the cold, we have received about 2 feet of snow here in the Detroit Lakes area. There are roads now starting to be plowed out to some spots on area lakes. Hopefully we'll have a better report for you next week as guide clients decide they want to get back out on the ice.
Fishing has been slow in the area due to the cold and snow.
EDEN VALLEY -
Koronis walleye bite going in about 18-26 ft. Horseshoe and Browns report a great crappie bite in about 20-22 ft. Glow jigs and crappie minnows working best for the crappie. Angler numbers have been down with the cold weather.
GRAND RAPIDS -
We have very few people going out. The wind and temp are killers. There is some trout being caught in Tioga Pit, this is where they planted some brood stock. Some perch and walleyes are still biting around the Bena area of Winnie. Still running about 28 ft. The north end of Bowstring has given up some crappies and a few walleyes. When the weather changes, look at Splithand and Rice lakes for crappie action.
The bite is pretty slow, not many anglers out with the cold weather. A few crappie reports coming from Pleasant Lake in 22-24 ft. Try a small jig and crappie minnow.
Not a lot to report this week, this area was in the deep freeze, below zero, big time all week. A few adventurous anglers did manage to get out, needing a sled and portable, to a couple likely holes, 25-35 ft deep, sharp incline reefs. Walleyes were the best bite, some saugers. No perch or crappie action significant enough to report. Some northern pike hitting in the shallows on sucker minnows, tip-ups working best. Warmer weather coming in should improve fishing, which will increase traffic making traveling easier. As of now, best or only access to fishing spots is by sled for Kabetogama and Namakan.
LAKE OF THE WOODS -
Several different weather fronts has made ice fishing interesting on Lake of the Woods. The Rainy River has seen good action around the Birchdale area and near the airport in Baudette. There were 86 houses from Clementson to Wheeler's Point this week. A gigantic walleye measuring 32" was caught this week on the river. The best time to fish for walleyes is early morning and evening hours of twilight. The Northwest Angle and Islands continue to experience fantastic fishing bringing in a good mix of walleyes, sauger and lots of jumbo perch. If the current cold snap holds, the bite will continue to be good.
The island community also reports excellent fishing, with resorts fishing two miles south of Oak Island, while others are having luck by McDonald's Island and right off Rabbit Ear Point. Many walleye in the 20 to 22" range are being landed on 1/4- and 3/8 oz jigs, fishing 6" off the bottom. The South Shore reports houses in the shallow waters (28-30 feet of water) are having the best luck. Some big walleyes are being caught about 11 feet off the bottom in 30 feet of water. Best presentations seem to be hot pink, glow pink and white glow jigs. A plain hook tipped with a fathead minnow and a small splitshot just up the line 6-8" also working well. Snowmobile trails are in excellent condition.
LEECH LAKE -
Walker Bay walleye bite reports have been decent, with a jig and minnow working best. Steamboat Lake has been producing some nice perch. However, anglers should be dreaming of catching the eelpout with the Eelpout Festival coming up the weekend of Feb. 13-15.
Big pike have been biting on Little Jefferson in about 6 feet of water. Anglers are using tip-ups with shiners and suckers. Washington walleye bite has been good in the evening hours. Try shiners, fatheads in 28 ft of water. Crappies are biting on German, this is an evening bite in 20 ft of water. They've been hitting Northland Buckshot rattle spoons.
Crappies have been going on Ramsey and most area lakes.
Maple Lake has been producing northern pike and sunfish, right off bottom.
MILLE LACS -
The bite has pretty much stayed the same for the past few weeks - lots of small perch, a few big perch and the occasional bonus walleye. For perch, mobility is a must! Move from one depth to another, gravel to mud or whatever it takes to locate a pocket of bigger fish. Jigging spoons have turned most of the decent perch so far. a noticeable trend toward a "bug bite" is starting to show up and the single hook option is often more practical to "gobbling-up" with some bugs that the treble is. Some of you will have to get over the "bugs = little perch" notion - remember that these fish have a buffet of 3-inch minnows to dine on all day, every day... change can be good. Most of the perch are coming from 25+ ft of water. The top colors have been red, orange and yellow. The walleye bite, although slower than normal is still alive. Consider going shallow (10 ft or less) off big rocks. Regular reports of walleye in these shallow haunts continue to come in. Your best bet here is to hang a small shiner on a glow jig and let the shiner do the work.
Lac qui Parle bite has been slow. The cold weather has slowed things down. Look for the bite to improve with a warm-up.
With frigid temps and deep snow last week the fishing reports were limited. But activity increased by the weekend for the fish and anglers alike. With the mild temps now the fishing has picked up. A few walleye and perch were caught over the weekend on Gull Lake near the Quarterdeck Resort on the west side of the lake. Right now anglers are catching the occasional big fish. Golden shiners fished in 25-38 ft is the best tactic. The best news is that the bluegills have started to bite. Up until this weekend they have been slow. Numbers of scrappy gills are biting on Nisswa and Cullen lakes. Pretty simple on technique, just tie on a small ice jig tipped with a waxworm or eurolarvae under a bobber. The day bite for crappies has picked up a little with guys catching a few mixed in with the bluegills. February and March are prime time for catching hungry bluegills and crappies.
PELICAN RAPIDS -
A few sunnies have been biting on Prairie. Crystal has been producing some crappie, sunnies and a couple walleyes.
Fishing action projected to heat up once cold snap lifts. Anglers are doing fairly well at their favorite summer reefs on the east end of Rainy Lake. We recommend you fish deep, about 40 ft, along flats on the approaches to reefs. Use a jig, with a minnow head and keep jigging. For your second line, use a jig with a small shiner - let it sit quietly, close to the bottom - and jig only occasionally. The cold front this past week slowed things down a bit in the Sand Bay area. A few sauger and walleye were caught with one walleye measuring in at 20". The pike bite was slow in the same vicinity, but still happening. An 8 lb pike was caught using a Bucktail, with a whole shiner on it. The weather will feel downright balmy this weekend compared to last. Fishing action is projected to be more exciting this weekend.
SAINT CLOUD -
Grand and Clear Lake northern pike bite has been okay in around 15 ft of water. Try Horseshoe, Pearl or Becker for some crappie action.
SAINT CROIX -
St. Croix River's Bayport area is still average for crappies. Big white bass (stripers, silvers) are turning up in the mix, also a few good size saugers are still biting. The crappies being caught are big, with smaller ones as well. Crappie locations remain over the deep basin in 36-40 ft. Try bobbers with crappie minnows.
Glenwood end of Minnewaska producing some crappies in around 16 ft of water, evening bite best.
UPPER RED LAKE -
Brrrr! With this cold weather the fishing has been a little slow. There are still crappies being caught, but it has slowed a bit. There have been reports of some limits and it seems that everyone is catching some fish. The northerns have still been hitting with many 15-pounders being caught. If we get some stable weather, the fishing should pick right back up. The ice is about 30 inches, so bring an extension. There is plenty of snow out on the lake, so watch and be careful where you drive.
LAKE VERMILION AREA -
Many walleye anglers have packed up their fish houses from Lake Vermilion and moved to other area lakes. The few diehard anglers that remain are having a good time, but just aren't catching fish. To have success on Lake Vermilion, break away from the crowd and head for deeper water around reefs and drops. The walleye fishing can be very tough this time of year and changing a few strategies, trying different spots can make all the difference. The crappie fishing on Vermilion hasn't turned on and many anglers are wondering if it ever will this year. The hot spots of last year haven't produced any good fishing action all winter and anglers know the fish are around but finding them has been the problem. When the weather warms up and crappie anglers start exploring they should find fish.
Small area lakes are producing a few crappies but the size is running small. Lake trout fishing has picked up on both Snowbank and Burntside Lakes near Ely, with 4- to 6 lb. average not uncommon. Many anglers are getting more than just one trout a trip. Minnows suspended from 10-30 ft down seems to be the most productive. Pit fishing for stream trout has been below average for this time of year. Most anglers are having a hard time locating fish. The anglers who are having success are finding the fish in the trees. Tough fishing, but can be very rewarding. Watch out for slush.
Pillsbury and Keg's Reefs are your best bets for some crappie action. Also, anglers fishing in Waconia Bay have reported some pike action.
Crappies and a few small walleyes are biting on Center Lake, off the Islands, in about 9 ft of water.
Fishing has been a little slow with cold weather and snow. For some walleye action, try deep water in 36-40 ft, with fathead shiners, try the bigger bays on Tonka. Panfish action has been great on North Arm, Crystle Bay, and Gray's Bay. These are the most accessible spots to find some crappie action, with the recent snow. Crappies are suspended in the deeper holes, and sunnies are in the weed edges. Eurolarvae and small jigs, on light line working best.
Big Kandi is your best bet for some walleye and perch action. Foot and Green are also good options for a few walleye. Try 30 ft of water, evening bite best.
Source: Minnesota Office of Tourism
The state has seized hundreds of yellow perch, phone records and computer files from three wholesalers while investigating illegal sales of the popular fish.
Kevin Ramsey, law enforcement supervisor of the Division of Wildlife's Lake Erie unit, said the probe, the first of its kind in Ohio, is likely to expand to include wholesalers in Cuyahoga County. Each of the state's 18 trap net license-holders people authorized to catch the fish with nets has a quota on how much yellow perch can be harvested annually.
State officials were tipped off last year that some license-holders harvested more perch than their quota and then filed false reports. Quotas vary among license-holders. No one has been charged, but wildlife officers last week seized frozen perch, computer discs and notebooks from West Water Fish in Vermilion, Smith Fisheries in Sandusky and Port Clinton Fisheries.
Port Clinton Fisheries and Smith Fisheries declined to comment. Their attorney, William H. Smith Jr. of Sandusky, said his clients did not go over their quotas. (He is not related to Smith Fisheries). Managers of West Water Fish could not
be reached for comment. West Water Fish has only a wholesale license. The two other wholesalers also have trap net licenses.
Depending on what charges are filed, license-holders could be fined and their licenses suspended or revoked. Quotas were established in 1996, the same year sport anglers were restricted to a daily catch of 30 yellow perch, as a way to restore the dwindling perch supply in Lake Erie.
Yellow perch have rebounded, in large part because the supply is being managed by Ohio, Ontario and the three other states that border Lake Erie, Ramsey said. Counting fish is not an exact science, which is why the cooperation of commercial fishers is essential, he said.
"We want accurate numbers, and the message is, the resource is way too important to let slip. It's not going to happen," Ramsey said. Over-harvesting also puts law-abiding license-holders at a disadvantage because offenders can undercut the wholesale price, which is about $6 a pound. Market price is $9 a pound and higher.
Source: The Plain Dealer
The briefs included in these reports are provided by the PFBC’s field staff – Waterways Conservation Officers, Area Fisheries Managers and Aquatic Education Specialists – from across the Commonwealth. During the winter months, reports will be issued every other week, with each compilation consisting of information from three of the Commission’s six regions on a rotating basis.
The Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers are partially frozen, making boating and ice fishing hazardous.
North Park Lake has approximately 10 "of ice and has reported several good catches of fish. There has been heavy ice fishing pressure on the lake.
Armstrong / Indiana Counties
Keystone Power Dam has had very light ice fishing pressure but excellent ice conditions. The access roads have not been plowed but can be accessed with four-wheel drive.
Glade Run Lake has approximately 10 " of ice.
Anglers are catching trout and panfish at Lake Rowena, through approximately 10 " of ice.
A good number of pike and pickerel are being hooked in the Slaelick and Wyerough areas of Glendale Lake, Prince Gallitzin State Park, through the ice.
Duke Lake at Ryerson Station State Park has roughly 10 inches of ice.
Yellow Creek Lake, Yellow Creek State Park, has about 15 "of ice with numerous pike and yellow perch being taken by the ice fishermen.
Fishing pressure has been light on Lake Somerset (average of 10" of ice) and Laurel Hill Lake despite excellent ice conditions.
Small pike and bass have been caught at Cranberry Glade Lake.
High Point Lake has some 15" of ice. Live bait on a jig head has been working to catch northern pike and perch.
Good catches of pike and perch have all so been reported on Indian Lake and Lake Stony Creek.
Although it has not been too nice out lately, fishing in Westmoreland County is in full swing. Fishermen have been hitting Donegal Lake, Twin Lakes and Keystone Lake (Keystone State Park) on a regular basis. Nice numbers of trout are coming from Twin Lakes and Donegal Lake. Keystone Lake fishing is slow, but the trout are of a nice size.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBUTARIES
A slight warming trend this week has melted the snow and rough surface ice making for slippery ice fishing conditions. Ice thickness on Presque Isle Bay this past weekend varied from 10 to 12 ". Any rise in temperature above freezing should signal caution to those walking the ice.
Ice fishing has picked up in the area with catches and sizes increasing. Larger bluegills have been picked up along with a few bass in Misery Bay and Horse Shoe pond. Anglers are finding success with black micro jigs and small chartreuse rubber ants. Anglers have also begun to bring in some of the jumbo perch that were so plentiful last year. Perch have been picked up in the deeper water in Presque Isle Bay on shiners.
The best area to target is the channel that runs the length of the bay from the Erie Yacht Club east to the Erie channel. Anglers that boat the bay would be familiar with the channel location as it is marked when the bay is not frozen. Generally the channel depth will be 20 to 25 ft.
Steelhead are being pulled from the Walnut Creek channel near the entrance to the marina and at the "Mud Hole" at the mouth of Elk Creek. Shore ice along the lake is still unstable and made up of mostly drifting chunk ice.
Fisherman's Paradise on Spring Creek is in excellent condition and sparsely used right now thanks to the wintry conditions
Black Moshannon Lake has ice in excess of 12 " and is good for fishing.
The ice is over 14" thick with an eight-inch cover of snow at F.J. Sayers Lake at Bald Eagle State Park. Anglers are having great success catching perch throughout the lake using maggots and minnows on tip-ups or hand-helds. Anglers should exercise caution accessing the lake this month as the Army Corps of Engineers will begin lowering water levels and large tilted ice slabs will line the shores.
The Trophy Trout section of Fishing Creek is in excellent condition. Dress warm and be prepared to slog through about eight inches of snow for access.
The West Branch of the Susquehanna River near Lock Haven is frozen over in most places and may look safe enough to venture out on. However, the water beneath the ice is constantly moving and makes for very unsafe ice conditions.
Little Pine Dam at Little Pine State Park has at least 12 inches of ice and is snow covered. The scheduled trout stocking was postponed due recent snow storms and was re-scheduled for the week of February 16th.
The ice is good but fishing has been slow on the Allegheny Reservoir. Anglers have put some nice pickerel and walleye on the ice over the past few weeks. Springs and gas wells can create weak spots in the ice and cause ice thickness to vary at some spots on the Reservoir. Use an ice staff to tap ahead of you to help locate areas of thin ice, then avoid them.
The new Roaring Creek Tract of the Wyoming State Forest provides three reservoirs for increased fishing opportunities on the Northumberland and Columbia County border. The impoundments are located between Routes 54 and 42, on a limited access secondary road. The reservoirs are temporarily posted as Catch & Release. Ice conditions are good and ice anglers are encouraged to try their luck at the pickerel, trout, sunfish and bass populations in these lakes.
The streams throughout the county are mostly ice covered with very few open areas. Fishing is at a standstill through most of the county.
All lakes in Tioga County are frozen and have ice anglers on them. There have been reports of good catches of panfish on Nessmuk Lake and Hills Creek Lake. There has been very light fishing pressure on Beechwood Lake. Anglers report slow fishing action on Cowanesque Lake which now has 8 to 12" of ice.
Beechwood Lake is scheduled to be stocked with trout the week of February 9 as part of the extended winter season Select Trout Stocked Lake program. A stocking for Lake Hamilton has been re-scheduled to the week of February 16.
Board action on other items
The Board of Game Commissioners elected new officers during its annual reorganization for 2004. Commissioner Russell E. Schleiden, of Centre Hall, Centre County, was elected Board President. Schleiden, who was appointed to the Board in 2000, previously served as secretary in 2002 and vice-president in 2003.
Commissioner Roxane S. Palone, of Waynesburg, Greene County, was elected vice-president. Palone, who was appointed to the Board in 2000, was elected as secretary in 2002. Commissioner John J. Riley, Scotrun, Monroe County, was elected secretary. Riley was appointed to the Board in 2002. Other Commissioners are: Samuel J. Dunkle, Duncansville, Blair County; Robert J. Gilford, Tionesta, Forest County; Stephen L. Mohr, Bainbridge, Lancaster County; Thomas E. Boop, Sunbury, Northumberland County; and Gregory J. Isabella, Philadelphia.
Commissioners are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate to serve an eight-year term. This is the first time since 1999 that all eight districts are filled.
In other action, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners also:
Gave final approval to a proposal to eliminate the requirement that hunters circle the number of antlerless deer licenses contained in an envelope. Eliminating this requirement will enable the Game Commission and county treasurers to process antlerless deer licenses rather than sending them to a "dead letter" file maintained by the Game Commission. The measure also moves the date when county treasurers can begin accepting over the counter applications for antlerless deer licenses to the third Monday in September, to ease the burden on treasurers who still are processing mail-in applications and allow ample time for applicants who have applied by mail to have their applications received and processed before others can purchase them over the counter.
♦ Gave final approval to a measure to prohibit hunters from discharging a firearm within 150 yards of a Game Commission vehicle releasing pheasants. Annually, the agency stocks nearly 200,000 pheasants onto suitable lands open to the public for small game hunting. Each year, agency vehicles or personnel are struck by shot-gun pellets.
♦ Gave final approval to a proposal to require those offering their services as a wildlife pest control agent to first obtain the proper Wildlife Pest Control Permit from the Game Commission.
♦ Gave final approval to a measure to lower the age for residents applying for a falconry permit to 16 years. This change eliminates conflicting language in the Game and Wildlife Code recently enacted by the General Assembly and Gov. Edward G. Rendell. Act 5 of 2003 (House Bill 285) was sponsored by Rep. David Hickernell and signed by Gov. Rendell on June 17.
♦ Gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change that will allow hunters who have lost their antlerless deer license to apply for a replacement at any county treasurer office. Previously, hunters had to reapply to a county treasurer within the Wildlife Management Unit for which the original license was issued.
♦ Gave preliminary approval to delete a regulation that currently voids an antlerless license if the check used to purchase it is nonnegotiable and requires a Wildlife Conservation Officer to confiscate the issued license. It would be replaced by regulatory language that allows for the person issuing the bad check to revalidate his or her license by resubmitting a negotiable check and paying a processing fee for submitting a nonnegotiable check to a county treasurer.
♦ Gave preliminary approval to an editorial change in Title 58 that specifies it is unlawful to: "Remove or attempt to remove any manmade or natural object, except wildlife and fish lawfully taken. Objects which may not be removed include animals, rocks, minerals, sand and historical or archaeological artifacts."
♦ Gave preliminary approval to a regulations change that would no longer require trappers to have beavers taken in the Commonwealth tagged by a Game Commission official. The agency has determined it is no longer necessary to collect this data in this manner.
♦ Gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change that provides for the use of .22 caliber "or less" rim-fire rifles or handguns to dispatch captured furbearers. This change provides for the use of .17 caliber firearms.
♦ Gave preliminary approval to allow small game hunters to use both center-fire or rim-fire handguns and rifles - providing they are less than .23 caliber - to take small game.
♦ Announced the next scheduled meeting of the Board will be held April 19-20, in the auditorium of the agency's Harrisburg headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave. Other meetings set by the Board, all of which will be held in the agency's headquarters in Harrisburg, are: Oct. 4-5; and Jan. 23-25, 2005. The Board will establish the dates for the June meeting at a later time.
Republicans vow to oust from office those who helped defeat bill
By a single vote, the state Assembly on February 4 upheld Wisconsin's 130-year ban on concealed weapons, setting up an election-year battle over the issue that at least one lawmaker acknowledged could cost him his job.
"I don't think it will, but I don't think it's inconceivable," said Rep. Gary Sherman, D-Port Wing, who switched his vote and opposed the conceal-carry bill even though Sherman had been one of its co-sponsors. Sherman's switch left the Republican-run Assembly one vote short of the 66 it needed to achieve a two-thirds majority that would have completed an override of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's veto. The vote was 65-34, with all Republicans and six Democrats supporting the override.
The Republican-controlled Senate and Assembly passed a bill last year that would have allowed Wisconsin residents over 21 to apply for licenses to carry concealed guns. Applicants would have had to pass background checks and get firearms training.
Sherman acknowledged many people in his rural North Woods district own guns and probably support permits for concealing them.
The GOP-led Senate overrode the veto last month with a 23-10 vote.
Republicans vowed on February 5 to oust from office those who helped defeat a bill to let Wisconsin residents carry concealed weapons. They also promised to introduce a new,
leaner version of the bill next year. "We're coming back,"
promised Rep. Scott Gunderson, R-Union Grove, a sport store owner who led the push to legalize concealed guns. "This bill will be back in January. And we will continue to move forward."
Sen. Dave Zien, R-Eau Claire, one of the plan's authors, warned lawmakers who voted to sustain Doyle's veto or ever voted against the legislation that gun supporters would kick them out of office in November's elections. "They'll have to be hypervigilant because we're coming," Zien said. "Anybody and everybody who voted against this bill, that flip-flopped on this bill. We're absolutely, firmly committed to taking over the Assembly and the Senate."
The bill, SB 214, would have allowed sheriffs to issue permits allowing certain people to carry concealed weapons. Applicants would have had to be 21 or older with no felony convictions in the previous three years. They could not be incompetent, mentally ill or addicted to drugs or alcohol. They also would have to pass firearms training and a background check
Wisconsin is one of only six states that don't allow concealed weapons. That list will shrink to five this spring when an Ohio law takes effect. The list could further shrink to four if Missouri's concealed-weapons law holds up in court.
Zien, Gunderson and LaSorte all promised to bring the bill back when the new legislative session begins next January. They all said the new bill won't contain the list of exemptions they tacked on to the old version to placate opponents. That bill included bans on concealed weapons in police stations, courthouses, schools, taverns, churches and hospitals.
Debauche, Bob's Bait & Tackle spearhead project
After reading a Dec. 14 article on the angling interests of Sgt. Steven Gorshe, a Wausau native stationed in Iraq; a group of Green Bay area residents sent an aid package to the avid fisherman and his like-minded military cohorts in the war-torn country.
"I rummaged through my fishing equipment and came up with two rods and reels I haven’t used for some time," said Denis Debauche of Green Bay. "Before sending them off to (Gorshe), I talked to Daryl Warren, manager of Bob's Bait & Tackle (1512 Velp Ave., Green Bay). He agreed to donate equipment. "A customer overheard us talking and said he, too, would donate rods and reels. From there, it just took off."
Daryl agreed to set up a donation headquarters at Bob’s Bait, while Debauche put up fliers around town and contacted everyone he could think of for donations. "Being a residential painting contractor, I even called people whom I had painted for in the past. The response was great" said Debauche. "As of this past week, over 50 rods and reels, along with a very large assortment of tackle, is on its way to SFC Gorshe in Iraq."
Another box of assorted gear will be sent as more equipment trickles in. “I hope this will give Gorshe and his men some peace of mind they are looking for,” Debauche said.
Source: Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers
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