Week of March 4, 2013

Words to Ponder
Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
Misc New Fishing-Boating Products
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
Regional

Lake Ontaio

Illinois
Michigan
Minnesota
New York
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Wisconsin
Other Breaking News Items

 

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Words to Ponder

Words to Ponder

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it"

Mark Twain

 

"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money."

Margaret Thatcher

 

"The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference –

 they deserve a place of honor with all that is good"

George Washington

 

Without guns in this country, all other amendments become null and void, simply because “We the People” will lose our power of enforcement.

Anonymous

 

"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him --- better take a closer look at the American Indian."

Henry Ford

 


Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Electric Fish Barrier ready to protect Iowa Great Lakes
SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - The electric fish barrier that will keep Asian carp from entering the Iowa Great Lakes through the Lower Gar Lake outlet is in place and operational. All that remains to be completed for the nearly $1 million project is final site restoration.

Mike Hawkins, fisheries biologist with the Iowa DNR, said if a high water threat arose, they could activate the barrier to prevent invasive fish from entering the Iowa Great Lakes from downstream.

“Invasive species seem unstoppable and are negatively impacting aquatic resources across the nation. This is an example of coming together as a community to win an important battle against them,” Hawkins said. “The electric fish barrier is currently the only effective tool to prevent upstream migration in this case.”

Electric barriers are superior to physical barriers because they do not obstruct water flow or collect debris. The system creates an electrical field in the water that prevents fish from moving past it. Most fish will avoid the electric field, but if a fish tries to swim past it, the electric field immobilizes the fish and the flowing water pushes it back downstream unharmed.

The electric fish barrier project became a priority after big head carp and silver carp were found in the lakes while sampling fish populations on three separate occasions. Two bighead carp were collected during a routine population survey in August 2011. In March 2012, 88 big head and 55 silver carp were collected during a seine haul at the East Okoboji Lake narrows. During the same time, two silver carp were collected in Big Spirit Lake. 

The fish likely entered the chain of natural lakes during the flood of 2011 that allowed them to pass over two dams in the Little Sioux River and over the outlet dam on Lower Gar Lake at the bottom of the Iowa Great Lakes.  There was a sense of urgency locally and within the DNR to protect the lakes that are important for the area’s tourism industry and economy. The ecology and lakes are too important.

From pre-design to operational, the 10-month project was a locally driven partnership between the cities, county, lake associations, water safety council, private organizations, and the Iowa and Minnesota departments of natural resources.

The Iowa Great Lakes are fed by streams flowing from Minnesota. The Minnesota DNR contributed $261,000 to the project with funding provided by the Outdoor Heritage Fund. The fund, which receives revenue from Minnesota sales tax dollars, may only be spent to restore, protect and enhance wetlands, prairies, forest and habitat for game fish and wildlife.

“We are looking at every opportunity to protect streams and lakes in Minnesota from Asian carp,” said Steve Hirsch, director of the Ecological and Water Resources Division for the Minnesota DNR. “This collaboration with our partners in Iowa will prevent Asian carp species from moving into the southwestern part of our state.”

 

“This was a huge community effort to come together, raise money and get the job done,” Hawkins said. “Minnesota had an interest in the project and made a significant monetary contribution. They were a great partner.”

Now that the barrier is in place cutting off access to additional Asian carp from entering the lakes, is there an estimate of how many did get in?  “We do not have a population estimate, but we do know that these fish need large river systems to reproduce and there is no evidence that they can reproduce in a lake environment,” Hawkins said.  “We believe their numbers are limited. Commercial netting and our annual sampling will give us some information on numbers.”

Big head carp and silver carp are filter feeders and not likely to be caught by hook and line. So far, there has not been a reported boating incident with these fish in the lakes, and area leaders are confident the barrier will prevent additional unwanted guests from entering the lakes.

SIDEBAR: ASIAN CARP IN THE U.S.
Bighead and silver carp were introduced into the southeastern United States, escaped into the wild in the 1980s, and have been rapidly spreading throughout the Mississippi and Missouri River watersheds ever since.   Bighead and silver carp are filter feeders and can impact native fish species and lake ecosystems by filtering zooplankton from the water that is an important food source newly hatched fish.  Silver carp are the more known of the two species because of the videos showing them leaping out of the water.

Both species can live more than 20 years.

 


Misc New Fishing-Boating Products

Top Fishing Equipment Brands for 2012

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - Southwick Associates’ AnglerSurvey.com announced the brands and products anglers purchased most frequently in 2012. This list has been compiled from the 15,819 internet-based surveys completed by anglers who volunteered to participate last year in AnglerSurvey.com polls.

 

In 2012, the top brands include:

  • Top rod brand: Shakespeare (10.0% of all purchases)

  • Top reel brand: Shimano (21.1% of all purchases)

  • Top combo brand: Shakespeare (18.3%of all purchases)

  • Top fishing line brand: Berkley Trilene, PowerPro (each 11.2% of all purchases)

  • Top hard bait brand: Rapala (23.5% of all purchases)

  • Top soft bait brand: Berkley Gulp, Zoom (12.8%, 12.6% of all purchases)

  • Top spinner bait brand: Strike King (18.5% of all purchases)

  • Top jig brand: Strike King (7.6% of all purchases)

  • Top hook brand: Gamakatsu (24.7% of all purchases)

  • Top sinker brand:  Eagle Claw (11.0% of all purchases)

  • Top swivel brand:  Eagle Claw (24.6% of all purchases)

  • Top rigs brand: Eagle Claw (11.8% of all purchases)

  • Top bobber brand: Thill (19.4% of all purchases)

  • Top leader brand: Seaguar (19.0% of all purchases)

  • Top fly rod brand: Sage (23.1% of all purchases)

  • Top fly reels brand: Cabelas (19.2% of all purchases)

  • Top fly combo brand: Cabelas (18.5% of all purchases)

  • Top fly line brand: Scientific Angler (3M) (15.4% of all purchases)

  • Top fly leader brand: Rio (38.7% of all purchases)

  • Top fish finder brand: Lowrance, Humminbird (43.0%,42.9% of all purchases)

  • Top tackle box brand: Plano (44.0% of all purchases)

  • Top landing net brand: Frabill (34.9% of all purchases)

  • Top fishing knife brand: Rapala (28.2% of all purchases) 

 

* Largemouth bass remain the number one targeted species of freshwater fish, with 55% of fishing activity targeting largemouth bass, followed by pan fish (38%) and smallmouth bass (25%).

* Saltwater anglers were more varied, with 31% of trips targeting redfish/red drum, followed by flounder (25%), and striped bass (19%). Please note these refer to species targeted on trips and not the number of fish actually caught.

 

The marketing data presented here is a summary of a 135-page market report just released by Southwick Associates that details consumer behavior including what products and brands are purchased, where they are bought, how much customers spend, and demographics of freshwater and saltwater anglers broken out by each product category. Current information about what gear and brands anglers prefer, how many days they spend on the water and what type of fishing they enjoy most is vital to businesses trying to build their customer base.

 


First Cast starts fishing season right at Gander Mountain

Event includes in-store savings, fun kids’ activities and a chance to win Dean Rojas’ boat

 The 2013 fishing season gets Gander Mountain’s version of a gala premiere this weekend with the launch of First Cast, a nation-wide event that will mean savings, fun and prizes for those who love their time on the water. The nation-wide event runs Feb. 28 through March 20 with special promotions and events throughout the Gander Mountain network of stores.

 

The fun and freebies begin March 2 & 3 at Gander Mountain stores in 24 states with a full weekend of in-store savings and kids’ activities, and the start of a major sweepstakes that will award the prize of a lifetime.

 

“First Cast is the perfect way to celebrate this time of year, when folks naturally start to think about the season to come, and the fun of getting out on the water,” said Steve Uline, Gander Mountain’s executive vice president of marketing. “We’re excited to provide family fishing fun and discounts in all of our Gander Mountain stores, and a sweepstakes that offers a chance to win one amazing fishing prize.”

 

Starting on Feb. 28, entries are being accepted in-store and on-line for

 Gander Mountain’s Fish Like A Pro Sweepstakes. The grand prize winner will own Elite Bassmaster Angler Dean Rojas’ boat – a fully loaded 2013 Skeeter FX 20 with 250hp Yamaha V Max SHO® Motor, valued at $70,000. Entries for the Dean Rojas boat will be accepted until Sept. 2.

 

The in-store events start March 2 & 3, when the first 250 customers through the doors on Saturday and Sunday will receive a scratch-off with a chance to win up to 50% off their entire Fishing, Marine, and select Apparel & Footwear purchases, with a maximum discount of $150.

 

Future generations of fishing enthusiasts will get in on the fun as well, with a full slate of kids’ events in store. At Noon both days, the first 50 kids in line will get a free opportunity to Paint-A-Lure, putting their creative talents to work decorating their own fishing lure that they can use on the water. From Noon to 3 p.m. both days, practice will make perfect in the Kids’ Casting Contest, where experts will assist young anglers in learning how to flip, pitch and make the perfect cast.

 

For more details, official rules and to enter for your chance to win the Fish Like A Pro Sweepstakes, visit any Gander Mountain retail store or enter online at www.GanderMountain.com/sweepstakes.


Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

SCI to represent hunters at CITES

International Conference will influence wildlife conservation

Washington, DC – Safari Club International and Safari Club International Foundation and will represent hunter-conservationists during the 16th Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The 16th CoP takes place in Bangkok, Thailand March 3-14, and may be the most influential event that will shape international wildlife conservation objectives for the next 3 years. 

 

“Our organizations are leaders in wildlife conservation who represent the hunter-conservationist at the world level,” said Joe Hosmer, President and SCI Foundation delegate. “For decades now, SCI and SCI Foundation have been working with countries to develop science-based wildlife management goals that benefit overall wildlife population health and sustainability of rural economies.”

CITES is a treaty among 177 countries that ensures cross-border trade in animals and plants does not harm individual species.  SCI Foundation and SCI attend as international non-governmental organizations, and work with delegates from various countries to ensure that major trade decisions are

based on sound science rather than politics and emotion. 

 

“High profile policy issues such as the potential up-listing of polar bear will be exploited by animal-welfare organizations that ignore substantive science in their lobbying,” stated John Whipple, President of Safari Club International.  “The range nations for polar bear -- Canada, Norway, and Denmark which represents Greenland -- and the CITES secretariat oppose the proposal for up-listing because it lacks a scientific justification. The animal welfare organizations have little interest in science; choosing to only advocate for their parochial political motivations.”

 

“SCI Foundation, in cooperation with Safari Club International, developed a comprehensive voting guide on all the policy recommendations being considered at the 16th CoP. We hope that every international conservationist will seek the counsel of the accomplished advisors who developed our materials for this incredibly important conference on wildlife conservation,” concluded Hosmer.  www.safariclubfoundation.org/CITES


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for March 1, 2013 

WEATHER CONDITIONS

This past week all of the Great Lakes basins except Lake Superior experienced a major winter storm. The storm brought rain and heavy wet snow to the area. This was enough to bump the monthly precipitation total of the Michigan-Huron basin to slightly above its monthly average. However, the precipitation over the Lake Erie, Ontario and Superior basins were still below average for the month of February. Snow is expected to taper off and cooler temperatures are expected as fair weather pattern sets up in the Great Lakes basin this weekend. This dry pattern is expected to remain over the area to start next week.

LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS

The water level of Lake Superior is 1 inch higher than one year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 12 inches lower. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 15, 19, and 17 inches, respectively, lower than their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, Lake Superior is forecasted to remain near its current level, while Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to increase 1 inch. The water level of Lake St. Clair is forecasted to increase 3 inches and Lake Erie is projected to rise 4 inches over the next month. Lake Ontario is also forecasted to increase 4 inches from its current level over the next month.

FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS

Lake Superior's outflow through the St. Marys River is projected to be below average for the month of March. Lake Huron's outflow into the St. Clair River and the outflow from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River are

also expected to be below average throughout the month of March. Lake

Erie's outflow through the Niagara River is predicted to be below average and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River is expected to be below average in March.

ALERTS

Official records are based on monthly average water levels and not daily water levels. Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are below chart datum. 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.

 

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for March 1

600.2

576.2

572.8

570.5

244.6

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-11

-16

+6

+16

+16

Diff last month

-2

+2

+1

+2

+3

Diff from last yr

+1

-12

-15

-19

-17


Lake Ontario

State of Lake Ontario Meetings March 6, 12 & 19

Biologists to Update Status of Lakes Fisheries

The annual State of Lake Ontario public meetings will be held in Oswego, Monroe and Niagara counties during March, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced.

 

Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries support thriving populations of fish, including a variety of trout and salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch and panfish. New York’s Lake Ontario waters comprise more than 2.7 million acres. A 2007 statewide angler survey estimated more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and major tributaries. The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $112 million to the local New York economy.

 

The meeting dates are as follows:

►Wednesday, March 6, 2013: 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at the DEC Training Academy, 24 County Route 2A, Pulaski (the former Portly Angler Motel), Oswego County. The meeting is co-hosted by the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association.

►Tuesday, March 12, 2013: 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at the Carlson Auditorium, in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science building (76-1125) on the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus, Rochester, Monroe County. The meeting is co-hosted by RIT and the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board.

►Tuesday, March 19, 2013: 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport, Niagara County. The meeting is co-hosted by Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board.

 

DEC, United States Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources biologists will make a number of presentations, including updates on the status of trout and salmon fisheries, forage fish, stocking programs, and fisheries management plans. Ample time will be provided at the end of the scheduled program for the audience to interact with the presenters. Information summaries for a host of Lake Ontario fisheries assessment programs will be posted at: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27068.html  prior to the public meetings. Previous annual reports can also be found at this site.

 

As part of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year, Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposes that hunting and fishing licenses be simplified and fees be reduced. For more information, go to www.governor.ny.gov/press/02202013-ny-open-for-fishing-and-hunting . For further information contact Steven Lapan, New York Great Lakes Section Leader at Cape Vincent Fisheries Research Station, (315) 654-2147.

 


Illinois

White-Nose Syndrome Confirmed in Illinois Bats
20th state to confirm deadly disease in bats

 Springfield, IL - The Illinois DNR has confirmed the presence of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease fatal to several bat species, in four Illinois counties. 

 

The University of Illinois- Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), the United States Forest Service (USFS)-Shawnee National Forest, the University of Illinois' Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (UIVDL), and the USGS National Wildlife Health Center-Madison, WI (NWHC) assisted in the discovery of WNS which was detected in LaSalle County in north-central Illinois, Monroe County in southwestern Illinois, and Hardin and Pope Counties in extreme southern Illinois. 

 

Little brown bats and northern long-eared bats from these counties were submitted to the UIVDL and NWHC in early-to-mid February 2013.  Both of these laboratories confirmed the disease, while the fungal pathogen was isolated directly from a LaSalle County bat and a Monroe County bat at the INHS.  

 

With confirmation of WNS in Illinois, a total of 20 states, mostly in the eastern U.S., and five Canadian Provinces have now been confirmed infected.  Currently seven hibernating bat species are affected by WNS: little brown bat, big brown bat, northern long-eared bat, tri-colored bat, eastern small-footed bat, the endangered Indiana bat, and the endangered gray bat. The disease continues to spread rapidly and has the potential to infect at least half of the bat species found in North America.

 

White-nose syndrome is not known to affect people, pets, or livestock but is harmful or lethal to hibernating bats, killing 90 percent or more of some species of bats in caves where the fungus has lasted for a year or longer,

according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. WNS is known to be

transmitted primarily from bat to bat, but spores of Geomyces destructans, the non-native, cold-loving fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, may be inadvertently carried between caves and abandoned mines by humans on clothing, footwear, and caving gear.  The name of the disease refers to the white fungal growth often found on the noses of infected bats. 

 

White-nose syndrome was first detected in New York State in 2006 and has killed more than 5.7 million cave-dwelling bats in the eastern third of North America as it has spread south and west across the landscape. A map of the current spread of white-nose syndrome can be found at http://whitenosesyndrome.org/resources/map.

 

Research has shown that WNS-infected bats are awaking from hibernation as often as every three to four days as opposed to the normal every 10-20 days. The fungus damages the connective tissues, muscles and skin of the bats while also disrupting their physiological functions. The bats wake up dehydrated and hungry during the cold winters when there are no insects to eat.

 

Bats are the only major predator of night-flying insects and play a crucial role in the environment. A single big brown bat can eat between 3,000 and 7,000 mosquitos in a night, with large populations of bats consuming thousands of tons of potentially harmful forest and agricultural pests annually. The bat conservation community is deeply concerned and involved with fighting the spread of WNS. Researchers in Illinois and across the U.S. are working diligently on finding a way to mitigate this fatal disease. Federal, state and local organizations continue to focus on conservation, containment, and education.


Michigan

Growing number of Michigan deer hunters give crossbows a try

Although the overall number of hunters in Michigan has been on a slight decline, the Department of Natural Resources reports that a recent deer hunter survey shows growth in one method of deer hunting - crossbows.

 

In the past, only hunters with disabilities had the option to hunt with a crossbow. Beginning in 2009, crossbows were allowed in most areas of Michigan during the archery deer season in an attempt to expand hunting opportunities, retain existing hunters and recruit new hunters. Crossbow hunters were required to obtain a free crossbow stamp to determine the number of hunters who took advantage of the new method.

 

In 2009, the opportunity to use a crossbow was extended only to hunters 50 years of age or older in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, while hunters of any age could use crossbows in the southern Lower Peninsula. In 2010 the age restriction was eliminated statewide.

 

The archery deer season runs statewide on public and private land and is divided into early and late season segments (Oct. 1 through Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 through Jan. 1). In the Upper Peninsula, crossbows are only allowed to be used in the early archery season.  "We have discovered that in 2011, 25 percent of the crossbow users had not hunted in the archery season in previous years," said DNR Deer and Elk Program Leader Brent Rudolph. "These hunters were newly recruited or drawn back to the sport of archery hunting."

 

The opinion survey also revealed that hunting with a crossbow met most or all of the archers' expectations, and nearly all crossbow hunters planned to use crossbows again in the future.

 

Number of hunters who obtained the free crossbow stamp by year:

2009 - 45,692

2010 - 64,340

2011 - 74,120

2012 - 88,565

 

Although the expanded opportunity increased the number of archery hunters, the amount of deer harvested overall during the archery season did not increase each year. Harvest of deer over all seasons combined declined or was similar to previous years.  "With close to 800,000 hunters in Michigan annually, we know deer hunting is a strong tradition held by many," said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. "The expanded crossbow regulations met all the expectations we hoped for. Our primary goal is to do a good job managing the deer herd, and if new hunting opportunities can also be made, that's a good thing."

 

To view the entire Crossbow Deer Hunter Survey report, go to www.michigan.gov/hunting and click on Wildlife Surveys and Reports in the left-hand navigation bar. Hunters are reminded to fill out their 2012 deer harvest survey at: https://secure1.state.mi.us/deersurvey

 


Free hunting and fishing licenses for disabled veterans March 1
blind anglers discount remains at senior rate  

The Department of Natural Resources is reminding Michigan resident disabled veteran hunters and anglers that they can obtain free hunting and fishing licenses at their favorite retail agent or online at www.mdnr-elicense.com on or after March 1.

House Bill 5292, signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder, allows a disabled veteran to obtain any resident hunting or fishing license for which a lottery is not required, free of charge. The veteran will be required to provide proof of eligibility at the time of purchase and carry this proof when using any license obtained under this legislation.

The law defines “disabled veteran” as a resident who either:

  • has been determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to be permanently and totally disabled as a result of military service and entitled to veterans’ benefits at the 100-percent rate, for a disability other than blindness; or

  • is rated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as individually unemployable.

 

Licenses will be available at the agents and online at the same time that the regularly priced items go on sale throughout the year. Some licenses become available for sale later in the year depending on the sporting season openers and leftover or over-the-counter quantities.

Legally blind anglers who are not disabled veterans can still receive their fishing licenses at the senior rates.

For more information about Michigan hunting and fishing licenses, visit www.mdnr-elicense.com.

 

 

 

 

 


More on proposed hunting license fees

The Michigan DNR is proposing that a base hunting license be required to hunt in Michigan. The base license would allow hunters to hunt small game, waterfowl and migratory birds.

 

The cost would be:

● $5 for juniors (ages 10 to 17)

● $10 for residents between the ages of 18 and 64

● $4 for seniors (age 65+)

● $150 for all non-residents

 

● Tags could then be added onto the base license for:

•deer ($20)

•antlerless deer ($20)

•fall turkey ($15)

•spring turkey ($15)

•fur harvester ($15)

•bear ($25)

•elk ($100)

Applications for the Pure Michigan Hunt and tags with draw seasons would be $5 each.

A mentored youth hunting and fishing license would continue to be available at $7.50

for youth under the age of 10.

In addition, we propose three fishing license fees:

● 24-hour ($15)

● resident all-species ($25)

● non-resident all-species ($75)

 

Also:

● Youth under the age of 17 would continue to fish for free

● Active military and disabled veterans who receive benefits at the 100 % rate would hunt and fish for free

● Senior citizens would receive a 60 % discount on base, deer, turkey, fur harvester and resident all-species fishing licenses

 

 


Minnesota

New options aim to rebuild Mille Lacs walleye population
Faced with a declining walleye population, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will change fishing regulations on Mille Lacs Lake in 2013 to protect the lake’s younger and smaller walleye.

The agency shared potential regulation options with citizens Wednesday, Feb. 27, during a public input gathering at a town hall near Garrison. 

“We are fully committed to doing whatever is necessary to improve the walleye population as fast, fairly and efficiently as possible,” said Dirk Peterson, DNR fisheries chief. “Mille Lacs is one of the premier walleye lakes in Minnesota and continues to be a great place to fish. However, we need to reduce walleye mortality on certain sized fish and that will translate into different regulations for the upcoming season.”

DNR fisheries experts are considering three length-based regulation options to ensure the state’s walleye harvest is below the safe harvest level of 178,500 pounds and combined state-tribal safe harvest level of 250,000 pounds. The options would allow anglers to keep walleye from 17- to 19-inches, 18- to 20-inches or 19- to 21-inches and, potentially, one trophy walleye longer than 28 inches. The DNR has not yet decided which 2-inch length option it will select.

The agency also is considering additional regulations to reduce walleye mortality. Options include an extended night fishing ban, reduced bag limits, the use of circle hooks for live bait and live bait restrictions. New regulations to potentially increase the harvest on smallmouth bass and northern pike also are being discussed as both are predators of walleye and the prey that walleye eat. All of these options would reduce walleye fishing mortality to varying degrees.

A decision on the slot limit length, daily bag limits, and other options is expected in early March. Currently, anglers must immediately release all walleye from 17- to 28-inches; the possession limit is four with only one longer than 28 inches. “The DNR is taking a broader look at regulation options because the safe harvest is at the lowest level since treaty management began in 1997, and a new length-based regulation by itself may not be sufficient,” Peterson said. “We are listening to anglers, business owners and others to identify a set of options that protects small fish and is as acceptable as possible to those who enjoy and economically benefit from the lake.”

Peterson said it is especially important for regulations to help conserve the lake’s large 2008 walleye year class because currently no strong year class is coming up behind these 16- to 17-inch fish.

Walleye in the 14- to 18-inch range, especially males, have been 

harvested heavily. That’s because state slot limits allowed anglers to keep this size fish and tribal nets also selectively catch fish in this size range.

 

Protective smallmouth bass and northern pike regulations may also have played a role in decreasing walleye numbers because they prey on young walleye and are competitors for the forage species walleye prey upon.

For Mille Lacs anglers, a 2-inch harvest slot limit would not be unprecedented. Two-inch harvest slots were implemented in 2001, 2002 and 2007. Similarly, angler kill has been below the 2013 allocation four of the past 10 years.

Peterson said one of the emerging challenges of managing Mille Lacs is the complexity added by the evolving biological implications of Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny waterfleas and zebra mussels. The impacts and interactions of these unwanted aquatic invasive species are not well understood but are making the lake increasingly unpredictable.

 

For example, Eurasian watermilfoil has created more habitat for pike and bass. Zebra mussels are changing the nature of bottom substrates. Spiny water fleas may be competing with larval fish for small zooplankton. Climate and weather conditions – namely warmer weather patterns – also have resulted in low tullibee numbers and higher hooking mortality due to warmer water temperatures.

“There’s a lot we know about Mille Lacs Lake, but it is a complex system and there’s much we don’t know, too,” Peterson said. “What anglers should know is that we are committed to fixing this problem and providing quality walleye fishing for generations to come.”    
 
The DNR has raised a number of conservation concerns this past year with Chippewa bands based on walleye population structure changes that may be linked to past state and tribal harvest strategies.

Based on population estimates, the bands voluntarily reduced their walleye harvest allocation from 142,500 pounds to 71,250 pounds for the 2013 fishing season, which allowed a higher safe harvest level for state anglers.

The DNR will take additional public comments on the proposals by email at millelacs.dnr@state.mn.us.

More information on Mille Lacs Lake and its fisheries can be found at www.mndnr.gov/millelacslake.


New York

State of Lake Ontario Meetings March 6, 12 & 19

Biologists to Update Status of Lakes Fisheries

The annual State of Lake Ontario public meetings will be held in Oswego, Monroe and Niagara counties during March, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced.

 

Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries support thriving populations of fish, including a variety of trout and salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch and panfish. New York’s Lake Ontario waters comprise more than 2.7 million acres. A 2007 statewide angler survey estimated more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and major tributaries. The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $112 million to the local New York economy.

 

The meeting dates are as follows:

►Wednesday, March 6, 2013: 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at the DEC Training Academy, 24 County Route 2A, Pulaski (the former Portly Angler Motel), Oswego County. The meeting is co-hosted by the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association.

►Tuesday, March 12, 2013: 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at the Carlson Auditorium, in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science building (76-1125) on the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus, Rochester, Monroe County. The meeting is co-hosted by RIT and the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board.

►Tuesday, March 19, 2013: 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport, Niagara County. The meeting is co-hosted by Niagara County Cooperative Extension and the Niagara County Sportfishery Development Board.

 

DEC, United States Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources biologists will make a number of presentations, including updates on the status of trout and salmon fisheries, forage fish, stocking programs, and fisheries management plans. Ample time will be provided at the end of the scheduled program for the audience to interact with the presenters. Information summaries for a host of Lake Ontario fisheries assessment programs will be posted at: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27068.html  prior to the public meetings. Previous annual reports can also be found at this site.

 

As part of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year, Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposes that hunting and fishing licenses be simplified and fees be reduced. For more information, go to www.governor.ny.gov/press/02202013-ny-open-for-fishing-and-hunting . For further information contact Steven Lapan, New York Great Lakes Section Leader at Cape Vincent Fisheries Research Station, (315) 654-2147.

 


Ohio

Statewide Rainbow Trout Releases to Begin

COLUMBUS, OH – More than 98,000 rainbow trout will be released this spring at 63 Ohio public lakes and ponds. The first release will be on Friday, March 1, at Adams Lake in Adams County, according to the Ohio DNR.

 

Rainbow trout releases will take place between March 1 and May 3, and the stocking of these public lakes and ponds are excellent opportunities for families to fish together. Fishing for catchable-sized trout is a great way to introduce young people to the outdoors. Rainbow trout are raised at state fish hatcheries and are 10-13 inches before they are released by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout.

 

Some locations will feature special angler events, including youth-only fishing, on the day of the scheduled trout release. Contact the nearest wildlife district office for specific information. Additional information about trout releases is available at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.

 

Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish state public waters. The 2013-2014 fishing license is available now and is valid through Feb. 28, 2014. An annual resident fishing license costs $19. A 

one–day fishing license costs $11 for residents and non-residents. The one-day license may also be redeemed for credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license.

 

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

 

Sales of fishing licenses along with the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program continue to fund the operation of the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s fish hatcheries. No state tax dollars are used for this activity. This is a user-pay, user-benefit program.

The SFR is a partnership between federal and state government, industry and anglers/boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders and motor boat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education to youth and acquire and develop boat accesses.


Pennsylvania

Trout Stocking Schedules now available

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is stocking adult trout in a variety of lakes and streams that are open to public angling throughout Pennsylvania in 2013 and has posted "where" and "when" those fish will be released at www.fishandboat.com. Anglers can easily

search the trout stocking schedules for locations and dates of interest. To make the list, simply go to www.fishandboat.com , click on the link for 2013 Trout Stocking Schedules, select a county, and start and end dates from the calendars at the top of the page.


Wisconsin

New fishing, hunting licenses go on sale March 6

Conservation patron, first-time buyer deliver great bargains

MADISON –Wisconsin hunting, fishing, trapping and other licenses for the 2013-14 seasons go on sale Wednesday, March 6. Annual licenses are valid from April 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014. Hunting and fishing licenses for the 2012-13 license year expire March 31, 2013.

 

“We’ve had many people calling in asking us when they can buy their new licenses and that’s a great reflection on the fantastic fishing and hunting Wisconsin offers,” said Diane Brookbank, DNR customer service bureau director. “We’re excited that they’re excited and we want to let anglers and hunters know they can purchase their new license starting next

week.”

 

The new license sales coincides with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sport Show, where Wisconsin DNR has a large presence with exhibits, informational displays, and of course, the very popular license booth. “Many Sport Show visitors buy their licenses from us during the show as part of their annual tradition,” Brookbank said.

 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show runs from Wednesday, March 6, through Sunday, March 10, at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis.  Any license bought before March 6 would be for the current license year, which ends March 31.


Citizen-based monitoring conference April 5-6 in Wisconsin Rapids Registration deadline March 24

MADISON – Volunteers from more than 150 organizations and projects across Wisconsin -- who assist state conservation and environmental officials in gathering a wide variety of data on the health of Wisconsin’s environment -- will gather April 5-6 for the Citizen-based Monitoring Network conference at the Hotel Mead in Wisconsin Rapids.

 

“Citizen-based monitoring helps the DNR by filling priority data gaps while also providing fun and educational experiences for the volunteers,” said Owen Boyle, coordinator of the Citizen-based Monitoring Network (exit DNR) for the Department of Natural Resources. “Many enjoy knowing they are making a difference and contributing directly to natural resource conservation.”

 

This is a collaborative event that is held by the Wisconsin Master Naturalists, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Water Action Volunteers, Citizen Lake Monitoring Network and the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network. This year’s conference is all about “Making Connections.”

Highlights at this year’s conference will include the Water Action Volunteers symposium, the launch of the Wisconsin Master Naturalists program and an awards ceremony honoring achievements in citizen-based monitoring. Presentations will also be given on state water monitoring priorities and the importance of citizen collected data in tracking climate change impacts.

 

“The conference aims to provide project coordinators and volunteers with resource support, access to DNR scientists and a social network of people excited about scientific monitoring,” said Boyle. “Those with an interest in monitoring animals, plants, water quality and other natural resources are encouraged to attend this enriching conference.”

 

The conference will end Saturday with “Specialist Office Hours” which will feature one-on-one access to an array of natural resource and project development specialists. The registration deadline is March 24. Information about the conference and online registration materials can be found on the Network’s website: wiatri.net/cbm/Conference .


Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)

 

Thunder Bay Coast Guard radio station's closure raises concerns
A federal plan to close Thunder Bay's Coast Guard radio station and monitor Lake Superior waters out of Sarnia is raising concerns among mariners and volunteer rescuers.

 

Tribe opposing mine has its own water quality problems
The Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Wis., has been a sharp critic of the potential threat of pollution from a proposed iron ore mine, but the tribe is also grappling with environmental problems of its own.

 

Catastrophe when America’s Twin gave up guns

There was a time when Australia was well armed. Almost everyone had a gun, and almost everyone knew how to use them. Gun ownership was an integral part of the culture, and through an individual’s experience of shooting at or after school, in the military, or cadets, they were adept at their usage. An equivalent of the American Second Amendment – a luxury never afforded to the Australian population – appeared entirely unnecessary. Australia, through its history, was a gun nation, and it would always stay that way. Or so it was thought


Asian carp DNA found around the Great Lakes, but the invasive fish have yet to be captured
Federal and state officials have had success in finding plentiful environmental DNA of Asian carp in waters from the Chicago area to Western Lake Erie over the past two years, despite the fact that no live silver or bighead carp have been captured in those areas.

 

Official: Dam removal could help; local group disagrees
With fish populations declining in Ohio's Sandusky River, officials think removing the Ballville Dam will help replenish spawning areas and bolster the population, but some citizens aren't so sure.

 

COMMENTARY: Time to speak out on invasive-species plans
A recent study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers takes an in-depth look at four potential flash points here in Ohio that Asian carp or other invasive species could use to breech the now frighteningly porous natural barrier that has separated the two water systems for millennia.

 

Better ways to fight gun violence

Outlawing "military-style" guns would be a waste of time, since other weapons of identical capabilities would remain available. AThe problem with most gun control laws is that they impose a burden on the law-abiding that lawbreakers can usually evade. What is needed is an approach that focuses tightly on altering the behavior of criminals.

 

 

 

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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