Week of March 15 , 2004

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National

Fisheries Experts Share Good News, Latest Research About Bass Virus

OKLAHOMA CITY, . - The good news far outweighed the bad at this year's Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV) Workshop, sponsored by BASS.

 

"LMBV prevalence has declined and maybe LMBV is gone or going away," said Mike Maceina, a fisheries professor from Auburn University.

In speaking at the fifth annual gathering, Maceina was referring specifically to findings from fieldwork conducted at Alabama reservoirs. But his words accurately reflected the generally optimistic tone of the Feb. 27 meeting, which was attended by resource managers and scientists from across the country.

 

State biologists reported only two minor kills linked to LMBV during 2003, at Lake Wes Watkins in Oklahoma and Lake Paho in Missouri. Fieldwork, meanwhile, revealed that fisheries once damaged by kills continue to rebound, and research confirmed that warm water and crowding contribute to the prevalence and transmission of the virus.

 

"Altogether, we've had five kills and 23 of 55 lakes tested positive," said Dave Terre, regional director for Texas Parks and Wildlife. "But we've had no kills recently, and Fork and Rayburn have rebounded tremendously." 

 

In Alabama, Maceina's team worked with tournaments to look at bass populations in Wheeler, Eufaula, and other fisheries.   "At Wheeler, the virus was first detected in 1997," he said. "Then we lost the big fish in 1999 and 2000." While LMBV is noted to be a killer of large bass when it turns deadly, scientists found the highest prevalence of the virus in bass 12 to 15"  long. "You just don't see it in bass over 20"," Maceina said.

 

Those infected smaller fish experience slower growth rates and that, combined with a die-off of big bass, explains why anglers report more difficulty catching fish of 5 pounds or larger following an LMBV-related kill, the scientist explained. "A decline in big fish is due to slower growth and lower survival," he said. "The good news is that, by 2003, growth and survival rates had improved in most Alabama reservoirs."

And by implication, that is good news for other fisheries damaged by LMBV, from Texas to Michigan.

 

Maceina also confirmed what biologists have long believed regarding the role that stress and warm water play in LMBV outbreaks.  "Holding fish for two to five days seems to increase the prevalence of the virus," he said. "And higher temperatures do, too."

 

In the lab at the U of Illinois, professor Tony Goldberg discovered "a slight tendency for crowded fish to have higher viral loads.  "The difference (between being crowded and not crowded) is small, but statistically significant," he said.  During 2002, Goldberg and his associates found that LMBV-infected

fish died more quickly at 30 degrees Centigrade (87 Fahrenheit) than at 25 degrees Centigrade (77 Fahrenheit).

 

"The virus replicates more efficiently at that temperature," he said. "And it's important to remember that we're working with northern largemouth bass in Illinois. The thermal optima may be different in different places." Goldberg rated elevated water temperature as a high risk factor, with crowding, direct contact, and water-quality change as medium risks.

 

"Expect kills when water quality changes rapidly or fish are crowded," he said.  "Catch-and-release angling is okay (during hot weather), but do not subject fish to elevated temperatures and crowded conditions." To simulate stress from angling, Goldberg's team attached fishing line to small tank-held bass infected with LMBV and "played them." "The angling event made no difference in survival," he said. "Temperature, not angling, alters susceptibility."

 

At least in the laboratory, he noted.

 

"We need more field studies to help determine how these factors (angling, crowding, temperature) affect fish in complex ecosystems," added Goldberg.

 

At the Warm Springs Fish Health Center, scientists were unable to isolate live virus from the feces of herons and cormorants. That suggests that fish-eating birds do not spread LMBV.

 

They also found that LMBV is a tough and hardy virus, surviving both temperature changes and drying. Just allowing a livewell to dry for two or three days, in fact, likely is not enough to keep an angler from transporting the virus from one fishery to another.  Researchers suggest thoroughly bleaching, then thoroughly rinsing, livewells between visits to different bodies of water.

 

Throughout this past year's research, scientists continued to refine and improve their methods of checking bass for LMBV.

 

Finding a quick and non-lethal way of testing, however, remains a research priority. Others include further examination of LMBV's long-term effects on fisheries populations and investigating a possible connection between the virus and bacterial infections. Scientists also want to trace the virus' movement through infected fish and try to determine why LMBV kills some fish and not others. And they want to find out how long antibodies remain in previously infected fish.

 

Those attending this fifth annual meeting agreed that, overall, resources managers are in "monitoring mode" and that LMBV now seems to pose far less of a threat than it did in 1998 and 1999.

 

Nevertheless, they will remain ever vigilant.


Salmon's Return Spurs Debate on Spill at Dams
Need for Costly Measure Questioned

PORTLAND, Ore. -- As penance for their late beloved salmon, residents of the Pacific Northwest have taken about $1 billion out of their pockets in the past decade and flushed it down the Columbia and Snake rivers. The money was lost because the region chose to limit electricity generation in the summer, forgoing lucrative power sales to sweaty Californians during the air-conditioning season. Water was diverted away from fish-killing turbines and poured downstream so endangered salmon could migrate safely to the sea.

 

The summer spill began in the 1990s, when the Northwest was happily getting rich on high-tech enterprises, when people were moving here as much to recreate as to work, and when regional politicians were tripping over each other to vote green.

 

Now, however, unemployment is stubbornly high, electricity rates have soared and endangered livelihoods seem to be trumping endangered fish. Federal managers of the nation's largest hydroelectric system have said that this year they want to halt, or at least limit, the summer spill. Having sniffed the economic winds, many politicians agree. "When we are scratching and crawling for every penny we can get around here, I just don't think it is worth $80 million of lost power generation each summer to save very small numbers of fish," said Rep. Mike Schaufler, a Democrat in the Oregon legislature who represents the outer suburbs of Portland.

 

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the agency that sells electricity from federal dams on the Columbia and Snake, says it would collect about $1million a day in extra summertime revenue if not for the spill. If the spill continues, the BPA will have to raise electricity rates, said Greg K. Delwiche, the vice president in charge of power supply for the agency.

 

Together with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (which operates most federal dams) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (which oversees the protection of endangered salmon), the BPA has declared that the spill is "excessively costly compared to the biological benefit."

 

Local utilities and large industrial power users are cheering the federal agencies on. They are also lobbying intensively in Washington and in state capitals. Power users are upset about electricity rates -- once the lowest in the nation -- that have jumped nearly 50 percent since the West Coast electricity crisis of 2001. Four out of five homes in the Northwest get their power from dams -- more than anywhere else in the United States.

 

At an Oregon legislative hearing last week, the BPA trotted out computer projections showing that the spill this summer will  cost $77 million while ensuring the return of only about 20

 adult salmon listed under federal law as endangered. That's $3.85 million per fish.

 

The tribes are bitter about the last time the BPA canceled the summer spill in the name of saving money for electricity users. That was in 2001, during a season of severe drought and soaring power prices. The BPA told the tribes then that it would use some of the electricity revenue to protect salmon. The tribes say they are still waiting to see the money. Many fish scientists, too, are annoyed by the BPA's proposal. "Scientists are all clear on the fact that spill is crucial," said Ed Bowles, chief of the fish division of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "To characterize this issue as dueling science is a stretch."

 

Spilling water over dams is just one part of what the National Marine Fisheries Service has described as the most expensive and complicated federal effort to restore an ecosystem in U.S. history. So far, the total cost is more than $2 billion and running at about $700 million a year. A major portion of that money is spent to breed hundreds of millions of young salmon in federal hatcheries and then to barge them downstream around federal dams.

 

These and other programs were inspired by an alarming absence during the 1990s of wild adult salmon in the Columbia and Snake. The salmon's disappearance triggered the implementation of the Endangered Species Act and brought in federal judges to run the river system.

 

What has changed in the Northwest since then -- in addition to a fizzling economy and soaring electricity rates -- is that salmon are back in the rivers in extraordinary numbers. In the past two years, primarily because of a cyclical improvement in ocean conditions for fish, salmon returns have reached highs not seen in four decades. Excellent returns are also predicted for this year.

 

It has also allowed the federal government to revisit the rationale for spending so much money and for spilling water instead of making electricity, said Lohn, the senior federal official for salmon recovery in the Northwest.

 

The wild card in the river managers' move to scrap the summer spill is U.S. District Judge James A. Redden. Last year, the Portland judge ordered the Bush administration to rethink its plans for saving the endangered salmon. There was no certainty, the judge wrote, that the plan would succeed in time to save them.

 

Federal river managers say they will announce their decision on the summer spill next month. Redden can then accept it or insist on the status quo, which would steer water away from fish-killing turbines.

 


E-mail Spammers Under Siege

New federal law effective Jan. 1 to control garbage e-mail

The U.S. CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) law Went into effect January 1, and it may mean the demise for e-mail spammers. At the very minimum it will uncover their identities, and/or institute big fines. Violators could be subject to fines of as much as $6 million in aggravated cases. Even common e-mailing mistakes can result in penalties of $25 per e-mail sent.

 

A CAN-SPAM requirement that a postal address be included with commercial e-mail.  Most rules of CAN-SPAM are fairly straightforward. They require that businesses offer an opt-out mechanism to cancel e-mail from the company, and require labeling of e-mail and supplying of postal addresses that indicate the mail's origin.

 

CAN-SPAM creates criminal penalties for sending commercial e-mail with false transmission information, for hacking into a computer to send spam, and for using automated methods to harvest e-mail addresses from the Internet. CAN-SPAM also directs the Federal Trade Commission to create a plan for implementing a national "do-not-e-mail" registry within six

 months of the bill becoming law. The registry, modeled after the national do-not-call telemarketing list, is not in effect yet.

 

Under the law, most commercial e-mail must include a message indicating it's an advertisement or solicitation. Except for e-mail sent with the recipient's "affirmative consent," all commercial e-mail must be labeled.

 

"Affirmative consent" means the recipient must grant some kind of active permission to accept the e-mail. Signing up with a company using a pre-checked box on a Web form to receive marketing e-mail may not be an example of affirmative consent. ... and opt instead for boxes that customers can check themselves.

 

To indicate that it is an advertisement or solicitation, the e-mail need not include the "ADV" label in its subject line, as required by some state laws that CAN-SPAM has superceded. But the label must be "clear and conspicuous," according to language in the law. All commercial e-mail must include the sender's "valid postal address."

 


Sport Fish Restoration Act Reauthorization Pass in Senate Bill

The U.S. Senate recently passed its major transportation bill, commonly known as SAFETEA (S. 1072), including provisions that would reauthorize the Sport Fish Restoration Act, or Wallop-Breaux, for another 6 years and recover tens of millions of dollars in these excise tax investments.

 

The Senate legislative measure adopted all the major amendments advocated by the American League of Anglers and Boaters, matching similar measures pending in the House of Representatives.  Formally called the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2004, the Senate bill also included changes to tax levels on certain sportfishing products. 

 

The Senate Bill:

●  Provides an additional $110 million each year for fishing and boating programs by re-directing the full amount of the motorboat and small engine fuel taxes from the U.S. General Fund to the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund (Wallop-Breaux Fund),

●  Continues funding for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, enabling an additional $60 million for the Water Works Wonders Campaign to promote fishing and boating participation,

●  Increases state funding for boating safety, and

●  Ensures equitable distribution of funding between fishing and boating programs.

●  Other amendments included in the bill put a cap on the tax on fishing rods at $10; reduced the tax on portable, aerated bait buckets from 10 percent to 3 percent; and removed the tax on fish flashers using LED technology.

 

The Wallop-Breaux law's reauthorization pathway has been more complicated this year than in past years, requiring the American League of Anglers and Boaters to work with 6 different House and Senate Committees, with the full Senate vote the most significant step thus far in the process.  ASA and many partners also have been working to recover $110 million annually in motorboat fuel excise taxes and channel them to sportfishing and boating programs as the Sport Fish Restoration Act intended.  Several years ago, Congress voted to funnel a portion of these revenues to the U.S. Treasury General Fund to cover federal budget shortfalls.

 

Wallop-Breaux monies and fishing license sales revenue account for the majority of funding for state fisheries management and access programs for anglers and boaters.  The Wallop-Breaux Fund currently provides approximately $450 million per year for fisheries management and research; fishing and boating access facilities such as docks, piers, and boat ramps; and education and safety programs for anglers and boaters. 


Researchers say Virgin Islands' fish population is dangerously low

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands — Fish populations in the underwater national monument around St. John and elsewhere in the U.S. Virgin Islands are so sparse that they may not be sustainable, marine biologists said. U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers concluded two weeks of study last weekend at the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument in St. John and the Buck Island Reef National Monument off St. Croix.

 

They reported finding fish size and population to be about the same as the previous year: dangerously small.

 

"They're so low in the first place, its hard for them to go anywhere," said Mark Monaco, NOAA's chief scientist for the recent expedition. "There's not a lot of fish out there. You seldom see a fish larger than a clipboard."

 

The relatively low number of fish has been caused by overfishing and destruction of habitat, including coral reefs, Monaco said. It was for that reason that President Bill Clinton expanded the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument from 800 acres (320 hectares) to 1,900 acres (760 hectares) in 2001.

 

During the study, the NOAA team saw just one Nassau

grouper, a fish once common to the area which scientists say was nearly fished out of existence in the 1970s and 1980s before receiving federally protection. A candidate for the endangered species list, the Nassau grouper and the similar yellow fin grouper spawn during full winter moons at an area known as the Grammanik Bank, about 3 miles (about 5 kilometers) south of St. Thomas.

 

It is a relatively new spawning ground for the Nassau grouper, and scientists believe that their original spawning sites were so heavily overfished that they lost their memory of where they were and started following the yellow fin.

 

Rick Nemeth, director of the center for marine and environmental studies at the University of the Virgin Islands, said he wants officials to close the Grammanik Bank to fishing during grouping spawning season.  Nemeth has petitioned the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council, which regulates fisheries in this U.S. territory and Puerto Rico. But the group has not agreed to close it during the season, which runs from January through March.

 

Many fishers oppose any measure that limits the areas they can fish.

Source: Associated Press

 


World Walleye Association to Receive Major Web Site Upgrade for 2004
Oshkosh, WI - The World Walleye Association announced plans for a newly redesigned  www.WorldWalleye.com  website to debut prior to the 2004 season.

The new WorldWalleye.com will feature a tournament information center, angler profiles, instant tour point standings, as well as integrated live coverage of featured WWA events. The web site will be produced by OutdoorsFIRST Media of Rhinelander, WI.

Chris Gasser, WWA Media Coordinator, looks forward to the advancements. "OutdoorsFIRST has pioneered many of the online technologies taken for granted by today's fans of tournament fishing events," stated Gasser. Integration of OutdoorsFIRST's tournament coverage platform into the World Walleye Association site will be a win-win for WWA Team Challenge anglers, as well as those who follow the WWA events."

Launch of the new website is slated for March of 2004.

 

For more information on the World Walleye Association:  www.worldwalleye.com   
OutdoorsFIRST Media, visit their website at www.outdoorsfirst.com  

 

World Walleye Association
P.O. Box 212
Fond du Lac, WI 54936
Tel: 920.924.2100
Internet:
info@worldwalleye.com  
 

OutdoorsFIRST Media
3790 Foster Lane
Rhinelander, WI 54501
Tel: 715.362.1760
email: info@outdoorsfirst.com   

contact: Steve Worrall

 


Conservation works: U.S.' water use is holding steady

WASHINGTON — Water use in the United States has been stable since the mid-1980s despite population growth, a sign that conservation works, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey said on March 11.

The country's water use totaled 408 billion gallons per day in 2000, the same as in 1990 and down from 440 billion gallons per day in 1980, the agency reported.  "The message is that humans are adaptable creatures," said Robert M. Hirsch, the Survey's chief hydrologist. "To me that is a very positive message."

Water use climbed steadily along with population from 1950 to the peak in 1980, Hirsch said, but declined to 399 billion gallons per day in 1985. It remained relatively stable since then, despite a population increase of more than 40 million people. Usage of 408 billion gallons per day represents 1,430 gallons per person, Hirsch said, though most of that is for industry and agriculture. Household use is about 100 gallons a day per person.

The biggest use is for cooling water for power plants and agriculture, but each has instituted conservation measures in recent years, Hirsch reported. For example, power plants reuse cooling water several times and some are turning to air

cooling, while irrigation methods have become much more efficient in recent years.

 

Daily use of water for electrical generation declined from 210 billion gallons in 1980 to 195 billion gallons in 2000, the report said. For the same period irrigation use declined from 150 billion gallons per day to 137 billion gallons per day.

 

Moving in the other direction, due to population growth, was the use of water from public water systems, where daily use increased from 34 billion gallons in 1980 to 43 billion gallons in 2000. There also has been an increase in the share of population connected to public water systems, Hirsch noted.

 

Just 10 states account for nearly half the nation's water use: 48 percent. California alone uses 13 percent of the water, followed by Texas at 7 percent and Florida and Idaho at 5 percent each. Rounding out the 10 are Illinois, Colorado, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, and Ohio, with each state using about 3 percent of the water supply.

The survey, a part of the Interior Department, analyzes the nation's water use every five years. Because it takes so long to collect and organize the data, the most recent information available was for 2000.


DOI announces $61 Million in Grants to States for Wildlife and Habitat

Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced last week that the USFWS will award $61.2 million in wildlife grants to state and territorial wildlife agencies.

 

The State Wildlife Grant program is designed to assist states in the development and implementation of programs that benefit wildlife, including species not fished or hunted, and their habitats.  The funds are made available through annual appropriations.

 

"The grant program demonstrates our commitment to conservation partnerships with state wildlife agencies," said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. "This program exemplifies our cooperative conservation approach by helping states to tailor their conservation efforts in a manner that best fits local conditions."

 

To be eligible for State Wildlife Grant funds, each state must complete a Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan or Strategy by October 1, 2005. States may use the funds for project planning or implementation activities. A state may receive no more than 5 percent or less than 1 percent of the available funds.  The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico receive .5 percent and Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the

Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands receive .25 percent. The apportionment is based on a formula that uses the state's land area and population.

 

"Because so many issues related to wildlife conservation are not contained by borders, states and the Service must work together to coordinate efforts to conserve endangered and threatened species, manage migrating birds and ensure that the foundations for wildlife management are good science and habitat," said Service Director Steve Williams.  "These grants continue to allow us to build a future for conservation together."

 

A list of grant $$ for the GL regional states follows.

Illinois 2,084,443 
Indiana 1,076,313
Michigan 1,754,509
Minnesota  1,228,258
New York 2,945,190
Ohio   1,839,503 
Pennsylvania 1,993,755
Wisconsin_______ 1,106,520
   
Total Regional 14,028,491
Total National 61,201,916

 


Regional

Army Corps pressured to create Chicago fish barrier

Action comes as fears of Asian carp intensify

The Army Corps of Engineers is moving ahead with funding for an electric fish barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to keep Asian carp from invading Lake Michigan, despite statements two weeks ago that it lacked funding for the $6 million project.

 

"Largely based on congressional interest, it's been given a high priority," said Chuck Shea, Chicago-based barrier project manager for the corps. "The decision was made that it was a high enough priority that we needed to re-allocate the money to make it happen."

 

A temporary $1.5 million electric barrier has been in place on the canal about 30 miles southwest of Lake Michigan for the past two years, but that barrier is starting to fail.

 

The plan has been to augment that barrier with a more permanent one this summer, but last month the corps said it couldn't find enough money in its budget to move ahead this year. The State of Illinois had agreed to pay about $2 million for the new barrier. The corps agreed to pay the rest, but it backed off in February and said it had other higher priority projects and the new barrier had to be placed on a back burner.

 

Then members of Congress weighed in. All 21 members of the Illinois delegation signed a Feb. 27 letter to the corps

 

calling the decision not to fund the project "unacceptable."  At a

congressional hearing a few days ago, U.S. Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers of Michigan used tougher words for John Paul Woodley Jr., assistant secretary of the U.S. Army for civil works. 

 

He told the general his "head would be on a platter" in the Great Lakes community if the carp make their way into the lakes.  Shea said a formal announcement on the funding will come next week. Construction on the barrier will begin this spring.

 

The existing barrier which is actually a series of  cables strung across the bottom of the canal that links Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River system. Electricity fired through those cables is designed to zap the fish but not kill them. The idea is that carp will get near that area of the canal and turn back, but already two of the 13 cables have corroded. The two-year old system has a design life of three to five years.  The new barrier will be built to last about 20 years.

 

"This is the last line of defense against the onslaught," said Dennis Schornack, U.S. chair of the IJC.  Schornack predicted the Army Corps would come up with the money

 

Asian carp, bigger and more menacing cousins to the common carp that colonized the lakes more than a century ago, thrive on the algae and plankton at the bottom of the lakes' food chain. The concern is that the carp could squeeze out smaller fish that depend on those microorganisms. That could doom the bigger sport fish that, in turn, eat the little fish.

 


Budget Crunch may affect Lake Trout stocking

The Allegheny National Fish Hatchery (ANFH) is facing serious budget cuts as are all field stations in the Fisheries programs.

The ANFH regional fisheries budget has more than a million dollar shortfall and may result in closing some field stations.  In the stack ranking, ANFH did not receive a high ranking and

therefore, is one of the field stations that received the worst cuts.

 

ANFH's operational budget is $96,000 for FY04; last year they received $139,000.  What this means is that some very difficult decisions will have to be made about fish production at ANFH, including shutting down lake trout production in a "few months", which may put the Lake Trout  program in jeopardy.


Study will focus on economic importance of boating

The Recreational Marine Research Center will be conducting an economic impact study on the Great Lakes region using a grant provided by the Great Lakes Commission.

 

The study will determine the economic importance of boating in the eight states that fall in the Great Lakes region: Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and Indiana. The study is targeted for completion by the end of August.

 

“This is a comprehensive study that will determine the economic value of boating to each community, incorporating

salaries, wages, benefits, taxes and ancillary expenditures including service, fuel, repairs, storage and other factors,” Jim Petru, director of market statistics for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, said in a statement.

 

This is the first study of its kind in the Great Lakes and the results are expected to make a compelling argument for elevated federal and congressional attention on the needs of the Great Lakes recreational boating community.

 

The Research Center was created jointly through a partnership between Michigan State University and NMMA to address market research needs in the marine industry.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for March 12, 2004 

Current Lake Levels: 

Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 7, 17, 4 and 4 inches, respectively, below their long-term average.  Lake Ontario is 2 inches above its long-term average.  All of the Great Lakes are currently above last years levels. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 2, 7, 14, 9 and 17 inches above last year’s levels, respectively.


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be below average during the month of March.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also expected to be below average during March, while Niagara and St. Lawrence River flows are expected to be near and above average, respectively.

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

A potent storm system is expected to bring inclement weather

to the Great Lakes basin Sunday.  Depending on the track of the storm, precipitation could fall as heavy rain or significant snow.  There is a chance of precipitation through early next week.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lake Superior’s water level is expected to rise slightly in the next month.   Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie will continue their normal seasonal rises over the next several weeks.  Short-term fluctuations on Lake St. Clair could persist as long as ice exists in the rivers.  Lake Ontario’s level is also expected to rise over the next month.   

 

Alerts:

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.


General

Former Classic Champ Mark Davis wins on Table Rock Lake

Long dry spell since 1995 Classic win

KIMBERLING CITY, Mo. - It's been a long wait for three-time CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year and CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Mark Davis, but on March 7, Davis won the CITGO Bassmaster Tour event presented by Busch Beer on Table Rock Lake, his first BASS victory since claiming the world championship title at the 1995 Classic.

 

The Arkansan brought in a 17-lb, 8-oz limit to claim the

$100,000 victory with a four-day weight of 67-2.  Davis, who fished an antique Wiggle Wart crawfish crankbait during the final round, had his five-bass limit by 8:40 a.m. and was elated to get the victory with hopes that it's a sign of things to come.

 

Florida's Roland Martin, who finished in the lead on Saturday, was close behind with 59-7, but had nothing to complain about considering the $38,000 second-place prize moved him into the BASS Millionaire's Club, something he had been looking forward to for a long time.


Huge Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Retail Store Coming to Clarksville, IN

(Springfield, MO) -- Bass Pro Shops, one of America’s most popular outdoor stores, has signed an agreement with General Growth Properties to be the lead anchor for the redevelopment of River Falls Mall in Clarksville, Indiana.

 

Indiana has two towns called Clarksville, this one is just off I-65, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky. Tentatively scheduled for a fall 2005 opening, the 280,000 sq-ft Bass Pro Shops mega store will serve as a catalyst for a major reinvention of the destination center that draws from three states-Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois.

 

This will be Bass Pro Shops largest store east of the Mississippi and second only in size to their flagship store in Springfield, MO. Equal in size to almost seven football fields, this store will have certain features unlike any other Bass Pro Shops store.

 

Shoppers will be able to enjoy the area's largest selection of quality outdoor gear, clothing and accessories from top industry names and at value prices. More than just a fishing and hunting store, Bass Pro Shops will also offer equipment and clothing for hiking, backpacking, wildlife viewing, camping, outdoor cooking and more. A gift and nature center will also serve up a wide variety of outdoor-related items from lamps and dishes to bird feeders and furniture.

An expansive boat showroom will feature Tracker, Nitro, and Tahoe boats built by Tracker Marine Group-the world’s largest manufacturer of fishing boats.  Bass Pro Shops, known for hiring associates that have a passion for the outdoors, is expected to hire approximately 300 people, many of which will come from the local region. Employment information is available in the career opportunity section of  www.basspro.com .

 

Unequaled in their award-winning concept and design, Bass Pro Shops current 21 destination retail stores across America attract almost 60 million people annually.

 

About Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops, also a major catalog and Internet retailer, is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri. Stores are located in Springfield (also home to an outlet center) and St. Louis, MO, Dallas and Houston, TX, Memphis and Nashville, TN, Atlanta and Savannah, GA, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Destin and Islamorada, FL, Oklahoma City, OK, Hampton, VA, Bossier City, LA, Baltimore, MD, Chicago, IL, Cincinnati, OH, Detroit, MI, and Charlotte, NC. Stores will open this year in Auburn, NY, Myrtle Beach, SC, Columbia, MO, Las Vegas, NV, Harrisburg, PA and Toronto, Canada. For more information on Bass Pro Shops, visit www.basspro.com

 

 


Brunswick to buy Genmar's aluminum brands

Brunswick Corp. has signed an agreement to buy the Crestliner, Lowe and Lund aluminum boat brands from Genmar Holdings Inc. for about $191 million in cash, plus an additional $30 million potential earn-out.  The sale likely will tip the balance and eliminate any debate over which is the largest boatbuilding company.

 

“There’s no doubt that [with this acquisition] we’re the largest boat manufacturer in the world in both dollar sales and units,” Dustan McCoy, president of the Brunswick Boat Group, said this morning in a telephone interview.   McCoy said the acquisition is consistent with Brunswick’s long-expressed strategy of filling in the “white spaces” of the Brunswick product line, providing dealers with a complete range of products and services, and operating in a more integrated fashion.

 

The agreement covers Crestliner Inc. in Little Falls, Minn; Lowe Boats Inc. in Lebanon, Mo.; Lund Boats Inc. in New York Mills, Minn.; and Genmar Boats Canada Inc. (which produces the Lund brand in Canada) of Steinbach, Manitoba. McCoy said Brunswick plans to continuing operating all four plants, and will maintain the existing dealer base.

 

Each of these companies produces aluminum fishing, pontoon, deck and utility boats ranging from 10 feet to 25 feet. Combined, they had sales of $311 million in the year ended June 30, 2003.

 

“Currently, we do not participate in the aluminum segment in  any meaningful way in the U.S.,” McCoy explained.  In addition

 to filling that gap, he said, “This acquisition supports our effort to provide consumers with products that benefit from an integrated approach to boat and engine manufacturing.”

 

Genmar chairman Irwin Jacobs said the sale fits in well with Genmar’s own strategy as well. “Genmar’s board of directors unanimously agreed it would be in the best interests of the company and its shareholders to put all of our efforts and resources towards the future development and expansion of Genmar’s 13 remaining fiberglass boat companies,” Jacobs said in a statement.

 

Genmar last month completed the spin-off of its VEC Technology company into a stand-alone company with the new corporate name of VEC Technology LLC. After the sale of the boat companies is completed, and with the VEC spin-off initially valued at about $350 million, Jacobs said

 

After the sale, Genmar will consist of 13 fiberglass boat companies with total annual sales in excess of $900 million, 5,000 employees, and eight manufacturing locations. The acquisition will give the Brunswick Boat Group — which includes Land ‘N’ Sea and Attwood marine parts and accessories — a total of 13 brands, over $2 million in sales, and 10,500 employees and 24 manufacturing facilities around the world.

 

Subject to governmental approval and other customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed by the beginning of the second quarter.

 


Lake Erie

New Lake Erie Fishing Regs taking effect

A new Ohio Lake Erie walleye regulation kicked in last week. The Ohio daily bag limit on walleye for Lake Erie, its bays and tributaries has been trimmed from four to three walleyes. The daily bag limit will return to six walleyes on May 1.

 

More important to fisheries managers, there is now a year-round 15" minimum size limit on Ohio's Lake Erie walleyes.

State fisheries biologists say these approved regulations will help Ohio meet an anticipated 40 to 60 percent reduction in total allowable catches lakewide for walleye in 2004, set last March by the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

 

"The size limit will have more of an impact in reducing the walleye harvest than the reduction in the daily bag limit in March and April," said Lake Erie manager Roger Knight. "It is important that we work with our Lake Erie partners to reduce the total allowable catch to allow walleye stocks to recover."

 

Ohio isn't alone in protecting walleyes, though.

 

Michigan's new walleye regulations arrive April 1, with a closed spring Lake Erie season from April 1 through May 31, 

which includes the popular Memorial Day weekend. There will be a daily bag limit of five walleyes and a 15" minimum size limit.

 

Ontario sport fishing will see a closed walleye season from March 15 through May 7 and a daily bag limit of six fish.

 

Pennsylvania and New York have closed Lake Erie walleye seasons from March 16 through the first Saturday in May and have established year-round bag limits of four fish. New York has a 15" minimum size limit while Pennsylvania has an 18" minimum size limit.

 

Also coming up is Ohio's new bass season for Lake Erie. "We call it a closed season to possession," said Knight. "Fishermen will be allowed to catch Lake Erie smallmouth bass from April 1 through the last Saturday in June but they can't keep them."

 

It will be illegal to put a bass in a live well, bucket or on a stringer during that time. Fishermen are encouraged to release bass quickly as possible to prevent eggs from being eaten by round gobies, an exotic invader that has quickly dominated shallow-water bass habitat.


Indiana

Boaters paying for improved lakes and increased boating safety

Many Hoosier boaters will pay a little more this year when they register their watercraft, providing increased funding to make Indiana's lakes and streams cleaner and safer.    

           

This year the Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program, which has promoted pollution prevention activities in lakes and streams, is being expanded to make Hoosier lakes and streams cleaner and safer. It now will provide for the removal of sediments, the control exotic plant and animal species, and fund increased boater safety programs.

 

Last year the General Assembly created a sliding scale boat

fee, based upon value of the boat when new, as a way for boaters to pay part of the costs for improvements to Hoosier lakes and increased boating safety. The small boat owner still will pay $5 and the fee will increase in five-dollar increments to a maximum $25 fee for a boat that costs $10,000 or more.

 

Last year the old fee structure provided the LARE program $1.1 million. The new fee schedule, which will cost the average boater only $15 per year, is expected to generate a total of $3.7 million per year. The new funding also will help pay for expanded law enforcement patrols by the DNR's conservation officers on our lakes and rivers, improved boater safety programs and the purchase of new boater safety equipment.


Michigan

Pump failure at hatchery kills 458,000 coho

Michigan DNR lost almost half of this year's coho salmon production last weekend because of a pump failure at the Platte River Fish hatchery.

 

The 458,000 coho, which would have been stocked within a month, died when a pump that recirculates the water in the raceways continued to run but quit pumping water. Because the pump's motor was running, it failed to trigger the alarm that would have alerted DNR personnel at their homes.  No one was on duty when the pump failure occurred, sometime between 4 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday.

 

The hatchery is currently undergoing an $8.5 million renovation. The cohos that died were the first production cycle of the newly renovated raceways.

 

Gary Whelan, DNR hatchery supervisor,  said the Platte River  facility is the only Michigan hatchery dedicated to coho salmon.

The DNR had hoped to raise some 1.2 million coho this year. There are 610,000 fingerlings left at the hatchery, almost all of which will be stocked in the Platte River.

 

The weir on the Platte River is the only place the DNR collects coho eggs. The DNR also collects eggs for Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana hatcheries at the Platte.

 

The cohos were scheduled to be planted in Lake Michigan with 25,000 were slated for Munising Bay, as part of a program to try to alleviate pressure on lake trout there.

 

The accident should not effect fishing this year. Anglers will feel this is in 2005 with a decline in the number of coho available and the catch. DNR managers said this should not have any effect on their egg-taking capabilities, which is of primary importance.

 


Advanced fly fishing workshop for women-May 21-23
The Michigan DNR Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program announced a May 21-23 fly fishing workshop for women, at Twin Pine Lodge near Grayling.

This Beyond BOW workshop focuses on intermediate fly fishing instruction in a private setting on the Au Sable River. Emphasis is geared toward women who already have basic fly fishing skills and their own equipment, although some equipment will be available. Enrollment is limited to ensure a quality experience. The small number of participants allows plenty of time for personal, hands-on instruction. Participants can practice casting in a small, private, stocked pond or fish the Au Sable River, regarded as one of Michigan's premier trout waters.

"We are very pleased that noted fly fisher Dorothy Schramm has agreed to lead this workshop," said DNR BOW Coordinator Lynn Marla. "Dorothy is a founding member of Flygirls of Michigan and has actively supported the BOW program from its very beginning in 1994." 
Schramm also is a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers

and recently won the prestigious Cornelius M. Schrems Trout Unlimited Chapter award in recognition of her outstanding service to fellow fly anglers through extraordinary contributions to the arts, skills and lore of trout fishing.

 

Marla said Schramm will be assisted by Julie Nielsen, an outstanding angler and commercial fly tying expert. "Dorothy and Julie will be helping the participants learn the finer points of the art of fly fishing. It promises to be a great weekend, and the Twin Pine Lodge is a wonderful setting."

 

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman is a DNR-sponsored program. Its workshops focus on learning outdoor skills usually associated with hunting and fishing, but useful for many outdoor pursuits. Designed for women, it helps women 18 or older gain knowledge and confidence in a friendly atmosphere.

For more info on this workshop and other BOW programs, contact Lynn Marla: 517-241-2225; marlal@michigan.gov  , or visit the DNR Web site:  www.michigan.gov/dnr .


Discover wildlife viewing on the web

Michigan DNR officials announced the Mar. 15 launch of the Wildlife Viewing web site.

 

Michigan is the first state in the nation to make the popular Wildlife Viewing guidebook available online. First published in 1994 in cooperation with Michigan State University, it highlights 121 of the best places in Michigan to view wildlife.

 

"The goal of the wildlife viewing program is to assist Michigan residents in finding optimal places to see and enjoy the diversity of wildlife found in Michigan." said Ray Rustem, Supervisor of the Wildlife Division Natural Heritage Unit.

"Placing the guide online makes this information more accessible."

 

Each viewing area description includes information on habitat types, wildlife that can be viewed, the best viewing times, and a map to the viewing site. There also are links provided to help visitors find local lodging and dining destinations and volunteer activities that involve the public.

 

This project was supported with citizen contributions to the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Fund and with funding from the USFWS through the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program.


Port Austin seasonal slips available – Apps due by Mar. 30

State boating officials announced ten seasonal slips are available for lease this summer at the newly-renovated Port Austin State Dock.

 

Available are six 30-ft slips, two 40-ft slips and two 45-ft slips. Interested boat owners may obtain an application by calling 989-856-4411, lauingeg@michigan.gov . A $25 nonrefundable fee must accompany the application, due on Mar. 30. Slips will be distributed in a lottery on Mar. 31. Those not selected will go on a waiting list. Commercial slips are not available.

 

The Port Austin State Dock opens May 14. The harbor was

dredged and the launch ramp extended 12 feet to accommodate lower lake levels. Amenities at the dock include a fueling station, flush toilets, showers, electricity, water, pump outs and newly-added laundry facilities. Upcoming renovations planned include a new registration building and a new parking lot for automobiles and trailers.

 

Boaters interested in transient slips should contact the Central Reservation System: 800-44PARKS.

 

The Port Austin State Dock is located at the tip of Michigan's thumb at the corner of M-25 and M-53. Boating Access Motor Vehicle Permits are required for launching and are available at the dock's fee booth.


Zebra mussels promote growth of lake poisons

Zebra mussels that have disrupted food chains in the Great Lakes also are promoting growth of a powerful poison in inland lakes, according to Michigan State U researchers.

 

 In lakes where zebra mussels are present, studies show a higher level of a blue-green algae called Microcystis, and of microcystin, a toxin produced by the algae, Orlando Sarnelle.  Typically, Michigan lakes that have zebra mussels show three times as much of the blue-green algae and twice as much of the toxin as lakes without mussels. In extreme cases, the algae can clump together along a shoreline and create high levels of the chemical.

 

The study, recently published in the journal "Limnology and Oceanography," found that zebra mussels don't appear to affect the amount of microcystis in lakes with high levels of phosphorus, a nutrient that results from erosion, fertilizer runoff and human waste. "Lakes which are cleaner is where the effect seems to take place," said Stephen Hamilton, one of

the scientists who worked on the study.

 

Lakes like Spring Lake, one of the lakes examined in the study, would have algae blooms with or without zebra mussels, said Hamilton.  Other local lakes with high nutrient levels are Muskegon Lake, Mona Lake and White Lake.

"Nutrients are in such abundance that algae grow very rapidly is summer," said Hamilton.

 

Hamilton said the blue-green blooms can be harmful to people and animals which drink affected water. There are reports of dogs taking a drink and dying, that's been documented.

 

The levels found so far in Michigan lakes should be cause for "concern, but not alarm" in terms of public health.   The effects of the blooms on fish and other aquatic life is not yet clear and requires more study, said Hamilton.

 


New Lake Erie Fishing Regs taking effect

A new Ohio Lake Erie walleye regulation kicked in last week. The Ohio daily bag limit on walleye for Lake Erie, its bays and tributaries has been trimmed from four to three walleyes. The daily bag limit will return to six walleyes on May 1.

 

More important to fisheries managers, there is now a year-round 15" minimum size limit on Ohio's Lake Erie walleyes.

State fisheries biologists say these approved regulations will help Ohio meet an anticipated 40 to 60 percent reduction in total allowable catches lakewide for walleye in 2004, set last March by the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

 

"The size limit will have more of an impact in reducing the walleye harvest than the reduction in the daily bag limit in March and April," said Lake Erie manager Roger Knight. "It is important that we work with our Lake Erie partners to reduce the total allowable catch to allow walleye stocks to recover."

 

Ohio isn't alone in protecting walleyes, though.

 

Michigan's new walleye regulations arrive April 1, with a closed spring Lake Erie season from April 1 through May 31, 

which includes the popular Memorial Day weekend. There will be a daily bag limit of five walleyes and a 15" minimum size limit.

 

Ontario sport fishing will see a closed walleye season from March 15 through May 7 and a daily bag limit of six fish.

 

Pennsylvania and New York have closed Lake Erie walleye seasons from March 16 through the first Saturday in May and have established year-round bag limits of four fish. New York has a 15" minimum size limit while Pennsylvania has an 18" minimum size limit.

 

Also coming up is Ohio's new bass season for Lake Erie. "We call it a closed season to possession," said Knight. "Fishermen will be allowed to catch Lake Erie smallmouth bass from April 1 through the last Saturday in June but they can't keep them."

 

It will be illegal to put a bass in a live well, bucket or on a stringer during that time. Fishermen are encouraged to release bass quickly as possible to prevent eggs from being eaten by round gobies, an exotic invader that has quickly dominated shallow-water bass habitat.


Minnesota

Minnesota sues N.D. over hunting law

In an unusual interstate gun duel -- hunting guns, that is -- Minnesota went to court last Wednesday to overturn North Dakota's restrictions on nonresident hunters. 

 

In the past two years, North Dakota has barred duck and pheasant hunting by nonresidents in the first week of the season and has limited the times and places where nonresidents may hunt. That's an unconstitutional infringement of interstate commerce, Attorney General Mike Hatch said Tuesday.  "This is just discrimination. It looks to me like a number of people in North Dakota just want to keep the birds to themselves," he said.

 

But Minnesota also regulates hunting and fishing in its borders, North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven said in a statement. "It does not make any sense to sue North Dakota for doing what Minnesota itself does," he said.

 

The suit, filed in federal court in Bismarck, says that the state's restrictions affect interstate commerce by limiting the number of Minnesotans who go to North Dakota each year to hunt ducks and geese. The suit also says the rules threaten the portion of North Dakota's economy that relies on money spent by hunters, according to Minnesota's complaint.

 

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., whose Seventh District borders North Dakota and who urged Hatch to take the matter to court, said that federal money helps maintain waterfowl habitats in North Dakota, arguably the most important duck state. "If this starts happening all over the country, it's going to be bad not only for managing wildlife conservation in the country, it's going to be bad for business," Peterson said.

 

The suit says as many as 15,000 Minnesotans hunt waterfowl

in North Dakota each year, about half the total number of nonresident hunters. A recent North Dakota State University study showed that nonresidents spent nearly $21 million on duck hunting in 2001-02, about $7.5 million less than residents. The overall economic impact on the state of nonresident hunters, the study found, was estimated at $78.5 million.

 

It has long been customary for states to charge nonresidents more for hunting than residents. But the North Dakota Legislative Assembly took that a step further in 2002 when it gave resident hunters a week to stake out the fields and potholes free of competition from nonresidents. The restrictions were prompted by complaints from local hunters that nonresidents were crowding them out of the best spots.

 

Minnesota doesn't allow out-of-staters to trap or hunt moose, elk and prairie chickens. South Dakota limits nonresident pheasant and duck hunters and gives residents a head start to hunt pheasants on public land.  Hoeven noted the apparent discrepancy. "It's just not consistent," he said. But Hatch called North Dakota's actions blatant.

 

"We'll sue South Dakota another day," he said, smiling.

 

A federal appeals court, citing the commerce clause, last year struck down an Arizona law that limited the number of permits nonresidents could get for hunting bull elk and deer.

 

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has discussed the issue several times with Hoeven, said in a statement that he supported the suit. He noted that retaliatory bills have been introduced restricting Minnesota fishing to North Dakotans. "It's not healthy or productive for either of our states," Pawlenty said.


Minnesota and Australian researchers unite against carp

"Carp's our worst pest fish,'' said Tony Peacock, who is leading Australia's program to control or eliminate the carp and other exotic species. ``We're not yet at the point where we believe the carp is there forever.''

 

Peacock and his Australian colleagues are working with U of Minnesota professor Peter Sorenson to come up with solutions.  Sorenson is studying how odorless molecules called pheromones that trigger basic instincts that animals rely on for survival might be used to repel carp or attract them to trap them. A $100,000 grant from the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources last year is paying for the ground work.

 

Carp were brought from Europe to Minnesota in the 1890s

and to Australia in the 1960s. For a time, they went largely unnoticed.  Over the years, however, they've destroyed aquatic habitat for other fish and birds in both areas as they disrupt shallowly rooted plants and stir up sediment in their search for food.

 

The Minnesota DNR has set goals of its own: prevent the spread of carp into waters where they don't live now and remove carp from shallow lakes and wetlands heavily used by waterfowl. Meanwhile, a study about how Minnesota and Wisconsin might best deal with preventing an infestation Asian carp is expected to be released soon.

 

Long term, if Peacock's or Sorenson's research is successful in controlling common carp, they said it might eventually be adapted to Asian carp, as well.


Birds Fouling Lake Superior Waters

Dumping 3 times the contaminants as humans

DNA fingerprinting finds that the majority of E. coli bacteria found in Lake Superior and rivers comes primarily from birds and animals. New information suggests human E. coli is just a small percentage of the bacteria load in our waters.

 

 When pollution regulators found high levels of bacteria in north shore waters several times last year, many assumed it came from failing sewer systems.  That may still the case with some of the bacteria. But most contaminants originate from animals and birds. In six North Shore streams studied recently by Minnesota Sea Grant researchers, humans were responsible for between zero and 9% waste. By contrast, E. coli from dogs, wolves, foxes and coyotes accounted for up to 26 %.

 

Highest on the list; ducks, gulls and terns followed by dogs, wolves and fox.   The research areas included St. Louis Bay (known for its high summer population of geese), the area along Minnesota Point between the Duluth, MN harbor entry and the Superior, Wis harbor entry (also known for the high summer populations of cormorant waterbirds by fisherpersons and watercraft operators) and Minnesota's spectacular  and scenic north shore drive. the six rivers

included the Amity, Kingsbury and Miller Creeks and the French, Split Rock and Gooseberry rivers.

 

"Terns, ducks, geese and gulls contribute the most.," said UMD biology professor Randall Hicks.  Sometimes, bacteria levels in North Shore streams were high enough to be warrant closure to human contact, Hicks noted, had they been monitored by any official program. The findings support reports of large quantities of goose feces and seagull activity during water testing at beaches that subsequently were closed.

 

Hicks is conducting research using DNA fingerprinting to determine the source of E. coli. He has also looked briefly at the Duluth harbor and has a proposal for 2005 to more closely study areas where beaches were closed last summer because of elevated E. coli levels.  "I think people will be surprised" when they learn about the E. coli sources, Hicks said.

 

His summer 2003 test of E. coli in the Duluth harbor was not conducted over a long enough period to be considered scientifically conclusive, but findings showed little E. coli from humans -- only 2 of 100 colonies.


Wild turkey leftover licenses available March 15

Applicants who were unsuccessful in the 2004 Minnesota spring wild turkey lottery have another opportunity to secure a license. Leftover wild turkey hunting licenses, which remained after landowner and regular lottery drawings were held, will be offered to unsuccessful applicants at 1,800 Electronic Licensing System (ELS) agents on Monday, March 15. All hunters successful in the lottery should have received their notification by now.

 

A total of 3,146 permits remain from the 27,600 initially offered, according to the Minnesota DNR. The leftover permits will be

available on a first-come, first-sold basis at any ELS point-of-sale license agent beginning at 5 p.m. on March 15, until all are sold.

 

Only applicants who were unsuccessful in the spring 2004 turkey hunt lottery may obtain these licenses. A person who obtains a leftover permit does not lose any existing preference for future lottery drawings. There is no additional application fee, but hunters obtaining leftover permits must pay the regular turkey hunting license and stamp fees. All license sales are final; there will be no refunds.


New York

New Lake Erie Fishing Regs taking effect

A new Ohio Lake Erie walleye regulation kicked in last week. The Ohio daily bag limit on walleye for Lake Erie, its bays and tributaries has been trimmed from four to three walleyes. The daily bag limit will return to six walleyes on May 1.

 

More important to fisheries managers, there is now a year-round 15" minimum size limit on Ohio's Lake Erie walleyes.

State fisheries biologists say these approved regulations will help Ohio meet an anticipated 40 to 60 percent reduction in total allowable catches lakewide for walleye in 2004, set last March by the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

 

"The size limit will have more of an impact in reducing the walleye harvest than the reduction in the daily bag limit in March and April," said Lake Erie manager Roger Knight. "It is important that we work with our Lake Erie partners to reduce the total allowable catch to allow walleye stocks to recover."

 

Ohio isn't alone in protecting walleyes, though.

 

Michigan's new walleye regulations arrive April 1, with a closed spring Lake Erie season from April 1 through May 31, 

which includes the popular Memorial Day weekend. There will be a daily bag limit of five walleyes and a 15" minimum size limit.

 

Ontario sport fishing will see a closed walleye season from March 15 through May 7 and a daily bag limit of six fish.

 

Pennsylvania and New York have closed Lake Erie walleye seasons from March 16 through the first Saturday in May and have established year-round bag limits of four fish. New York has a 15" minimum size limit while Pennsylvania has an 18" minimum size limit.

 

Also coming up is Ohio's new bass season for Lake Erie. "We call it a closed season to possession," said Knight. "Fishermen will be allowed to catch Lake Erie smallmouth bass from April 1 through the last Saturday in June but they can't keep them."

 

It will be illegal to put a bass in a live well, bucket or on a stringer during that time. Fishermen are encouraged to release bass quickly as possible to prevent eggs from being eaten by round gobies, an exotic invader that has quickly dominated shallow-water bass habitat.


DEC announced proposed freshwater fishing regulations for 2004-2006

Public Input Encouraged to Help Further Protect Fish Populations

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty today announced proposed freshwater fishing regulations for 2004-2006 to help enhance fishing opportunities statewide. DEC will be accepting public comments on the proposals until April 12, 2004.

 

The proposed regulations are the result of careful observations and studies by DEC staff and have been discussed with various angling interest groups over the past year. DEC is now seeking additional feedback from a wider audience regarding the proposed changes. A listing of the proposed new freshwater fishing regulation changes is available on DEC’s website at  www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/fish/ .  Once finalized, the new regulations would go into effect October 1, 2004.

           

All New York anglers are encouraged to visit DEC’s website to review and comment on the proposed regulation changes. To request copies of the proposals and submit comments by mail, contact: NYSDEC Attn: Shaun Keeler, 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-4753, or by e-mail to sxkeeler@gw.dec.state.ny.us . All comments will be reviewed and incorporated into a “Summary Assessment of Public Comment Regarding Fishing Regulations,” which will be posted on the DEC website when completed.

Highlights of proposed changes:

•  Expand trout fishing opportunities in DEC’s Region 9

•  Extend the open season for muskellunge and tiger muskellunge on the St. Lawrence River,

•  Change the starting date for the black bass season on the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries

•  Broaden current one fish per day creel limit for rainbow trout and steelhead in Jefferson County to include all waters that are tributaries to Lake Ontario

•  Adopt new special regs that allow for a year-round catch-and-release trout season, artificial lures only, for Ischua Creek in the area of Franklinville, Cattaraugus County;

•  Institute a catch-and-release regulation for American shad in the Susquehanna River

Increase the minimum size from statewide regulations to 18" for walleye and reduce the daily limit from five fish to three fish for specific lakes;

•  Change all "New York City Parks" waters to regulate all species under a year-round catch-and-release only season, and eliminate the special regs for largemouth and smallmouth bass                 

•  Establish a catch-and-release only section on a number of waters

•  Prohibit all fishing in the Beaver Kill (Delaware County) from the Iron Bridge at Horton downstream to the first Rt. 17 overpass from July 1-August 31 

•  Adopt special regs for a year-round catch-and-release bass season in Artist and Belmont lakes

•  Expand regs for Wiscoy Creek to include an October 16-March 31 catch-and-release, artificial lures only, trout season.


Applications for summer environmental camps available

Camps Offer Unique Educational, Outdoor Experiences For Youth

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty announced that applications for DEC’s 2004 Summer Environmental Education Camps are available and encouraged families to consider enrolling their children in this exciting program.

 

The DEC Summer Camp Program is in its 57th year of operation, offering week-long adventures in conservation education to State residents ages 12-17.  DEC operates three residential camps over an eight-week period for children ages 12-14: Camp Colby in Saranac Lake, Franklin County; Camp DeBruce in Livingston Manor, Sullivan County; and Camp Rushford in Caneadea, Allegany County. 

 

A fourth residential camp, Pack Forest in Warrensburg, Warren County, will run for five weeks and features a special program of environmental study - The Teenage Ecology Workshop - which is specifically targeted to campers 15-17 years of age.

 

The DEC Camp sessions begin June 27, 2004.  DEC has a “Returnee Week” at Pack Forest for campers ages 12-14. 

This program is offered during the sixth week of the camp season, August 1 - 7, 2004, and no first-year campers are eligible.

 

Under the guidance of experienced DEC education camp staff, these programs provide a week of activities that will acquaint campers with fields and forests, streams and ponds, helping them to uncover the interconnected aspects of our natural world.  Campers will observe wildlife, discuss and debate environmental issues, sample streams for microscopic life and explore the brilliance of the night sky, while meeting new friends from across the State.

 

Campers also will have time to pursue and improve their skills in a wide variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, birdwatching, fly-tying, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering, and hunter safety education.

 

The cost per camper for a one-week stay is $225.  Applications and an up-to-date number of “open slots” for each camp may be obtained via the DEC website at: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/education/edcamps.html  or by contacting DEC by mail at: DEC Camps, 2nd Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-4500; (518) 402-8014.  Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.


Ohio

Get your Ohio fishing Licenses the easy way - finally

Ohio sportsmen can get fishing, hunting licenses over Internet

Seven Great Lakes states are now offering fishing licenses online, Ohio being the most recent convert. 

 

That's right, Ohio just began offering fishing and hunting licenses for sale online.  Resident and non-resident fishing licenses are now available on the Ohio DNR's web site, and as usual there are a few pages to browse to  get there . But e have made it easy for you .

 

Just Go here:  http://www.great-lakes.org/licenses.html  Bookmark this page, it your gateway to all Great Lakes states resident or non-resident fishing licenses.  Easy browsing!!

 

One catch: The downloaded license must be printed out. No other license will be mailed to you, and you need Adobe Acrobat and a printer to do it.

There is a 3 percent charge for using the service, or 57 cents added to a $19 license. Licenses still will be sold at local outlets, including major discount stores and hunting and fishing tackle shops.

 

Resident fishing and hunting licenses increased from $15 to $19 this year, and the non-resident annual fishing licenses are now $24.  A 3-Day Nonresident Tourist's License is $15.00.  A One-Day Fishing License is $ 7.00

 

For the first time, resident senior sportsmen who turn 66 in 2004 will not get a free license. They will pay $11 for fishing or hunting licenses and $12 for deer and turkey permits, half the normal cost. Senior sportsmen who turned 66 before Jan. 1 will continue to get free hunting and fishing licenses and permits.

 

 


New Lake Erie Fishing Regs taking effect

A new Ohio Lake Erie walleye regulation kicked in last week. The Ohio daily bag limit on walleye for Lake Erie, its bays and tributaries has been trimmed from four to three walleyes. The daily bag limit will return to six walleyes on May 1.

 

More important to fisheries managers, there is now a year-round 15" minimum size limit on Ohio's Lake Erie walleyes.

State fisheries biologists say these approved regulations will help Ohio meet an anticipated 40 to 60 percent reduction in total allowable catches lakewide for walleye in 2004, set last March by the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

 

"The size limit will have more of an impact in reducing the walleye harvest than the reduction in the daily bag limit in March and April," said Lake Erie manager Roger Knight. "It is important that we work with our Lake Erie partners to reduce the total allowable catch to allow walleye stocks to recover."

 

Ohio isn't alone in protecting walleyes, though.

 

Michigan's new walleye regulations arrive April 1, with a closed spring Lake Erie season from April 1 through May 31, 

which includes the popular Memorial Day weekend. There will be a daily bag limit of five walleyes and a 15" minimum size limit.

 

Ontario sport fishing will see a closed walleye season from March 15 through May 7 and a daily bag limit of six fish.

 

Pennsylvania and New York have closed Lake Erie walleye seasons from March 16 through the first Saturday in May and have established year-round bag limits of four fish. New York has a 15" minimum size limit while Pennsylvania has an 18" minimum size limit.

 

Also coming up is Ohio's new bass season for Lake Erie. "We call it a closed season to possession," said Knight. "Fishermen will be allowed to catch Lake Erie smallmouth bass from April 1 through the last Saturday in June but they can't keep them."

 

It will be illegal to put a bass in a live well, bucket or on a stringer during that time. Fishermen are encouraged to release bass quickly as possible to prevent eggs from being eaten by round gobies, an exotic invader that has quickly dominated shallow-water bass habitat.


Pennsylvania

New Lake Erie Fishing Regs taking effect

A new Ohio Lake Erie walleye regulation kicked in last week. The Ohio daily bag limit on walleye for Lake Erie, its bays and tributaries has been trimmed from four to three walleyes. The daily bag limit will return to six walleyes on May 1.

 

More important to fisheries managers, there is now a year-round 15" minimum size limit on Ohio's Lake Erie walleyes.

State fisheries biologists say these approved regulations will help Ohio meet an anticipated 40 to 60 percent reduction in total allowable catches lakewide for walleye in 2004, set last March by the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

 

"The size limit will have more of an impact in reducing the walleye harvest than the reduction in the daily bag limit in March and April," said Lake Erie manager Roger Knight. "It is important that we work with our Lake Erie partners to reduce the total allowable catch to allow walleye stocks to recover."

 

Ohio isn't alone in protecting walleyes, though.

 

Michigan's new walleye regulations arrive April 1, with a closed spring Lake Erie season from April 1 through May 31, 

which includes the popular Memorial Day weekend. There will be a daily bag limit of five walleyes and a 15" minimum size limit.

 

Ontario sport fishing will see a closed walleye season from March 15 through May 7 and a daily bag limit of six fish.

 

Pennsylvania and New York have closed Lake Erie walleye seasons from March 16 through the first Saturday in May and have established year-round bag limits of four fish. New York has a 15" minimum size limit while Pennsylvania has an 18" minimum size limit.

 

Also coming up is Ohio's new bass season for Lake Erie. "We call it a closed season to possession," said Knight. "Fishermen will be allowed to catch Lake Erie smallmouth bass from April 1 through the last Saturday in June but they can't keep them."

 

It will be illegal to put a bass in a live well, bucket or on a stringer during that time. Fishermen are encouraged to release bass quickly as possible to prevent eggs from being eaten by round gobies, an exotic invader that has quickly dominated shallow-water bass habitat.


Game Commission presents budget to legislature

Tell Senate Committee "Agency has zero-growth budget"

HARRISBURG - In a rare appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross said that the agency is again

holding the line on spending at $68 million - which is the third year in a row that the agency has had a zero-growth budget.

 

For more info: www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/cwp/view.asp?a=11&Q=161199


Three Southeast PA Boat Access Areas Slated for Improvements

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will be making upgrades and improvements to three popular public boat launches in southeastern Pennsylvania.

 

Work on the Yardley Access Area on the Delaware River in Bucks County has already begun.  A Commission construction crew will be removing and replacing the existing boat launch ramp at the site.  Work is expected to be completed by month’s end.  The site will be closed to all public use while under construction.

 

The PFBC will close the Phoenixville Access Area in Chester County on March 22 to rebuild the site.  Improvements scheduled as part of the project include relocating the launch ramp access road, replacing the existing launch ramp with a cast-in-place concrete ramp, raising the parking lot to improve drainage and repaving.

The Commission hopes to have the project completed so that the site can reopen in mid-May.  The Phoenixville Access provides for public fishing and boating on the Schuylkill River.

 

Work on the Limerick Access Area on the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County is tentatively planned to begin in late-April or early May.  Rehabilitation work there will involve replacing the existing boat launch ramp with a new concrete ramp. The site will be closed to public use during renovations.

 

In all, the Commission will spend an estimated $92,000 on improvements between the three sites. As with any construction work, the timelines for the projects are weather dependant. Boaters and anglers looking for alternative launch sites can visit the “County Guides” section of the PFBC’s web site at www.fish.state.pa.us

 

 


Wisconsin

Seagulls return to Manitowoc Marinas

Manitowoc requesting permit to shoot some of the birds

MANITOWOC — Manitowoc's infamous feathered foes have returned. Huge flocks of seagulls again have again arrived in  the Manitowoc Marina  area, fouling the popular recreational area and shoreline with their droppings.

 

Beginning in 2001, seagulls began to swarm over the harbor. By the following spring, the city knew it had to take action against the invading birds, which threatened public health and the economic vitality of the marina by their incessant noise and droppings.  During the peak of the infestation, as many as 20,000 gulls are present at the impound area along the Lake Michigan marina.

City Harbormaster Bill Handlos began shooting to scare the birds last week, and is hoping to avoid a long wait for a permit to kill some of the birds. The city’s most recent permit to shoot up to 100 seagulls a month expired in August. Handlos has said shooting the birds is the only effective technique.

 

Last year, there weren’t any gulls born on the containment vessel, largely because city staff destroyed thousands of eggs. Handlos is hoping the city gets lucky, and the gulls born last year return to their birthplace.  The city is requesting a permit from the DNRS to shoot 200 birds, along with a quick extension of the permit if needed, Handlos said.

 


Ontario

Ontario - Controlling Cormorants

The Toronto Sun reports the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is poised to take its first step at lethal control of cormorants on the Great Lakes. In what the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters calls "an important first step," the ministry is proposing that staff at Presqu'ile Provincial Park on eastern Lake Ontario should cull cormorants at nesting sites on two of the park's islands.

 

Anyone who has attempted to get near the cormorant colonies at Tommy Thompson Park, a.k.a. the Leslie Street Spit, in Toronto knows what a stink they make and has witnessed the destruction of vegetation and trees.

The same is happening at Presqu'ile, as well as displacement of other birds that nest there, such as Black-crowned Night-Herons, Great Blue Herons, and Great Egrets. Cormorant numbers have soared on the Great Lakes and spread to Ontario's inland lakes. The fish-eating birds are being blamed for decimating some fish populations.

 

So far, control options have been limited to oiling eggs so that they do not hatch (only works for nest grounds, but most cormorants nest in trees). The Presqu'ile cull, if it flies, might be the start of controlling cormorant numbers across Ontario. Expect lots of protest, though.

 


Third toxics spill in St. Clair River
A
nother chemical has spill shut down water intakes in the St. Clair River. The most recent spill -- about 15,000 litres of contaminated water that leaked  from a ruptured discharge line at Ontario Power Generation's Lambton station -- was the third incident in about five weeks.

 

Only about 250 litres of the leaked material was thought to have excessive alkaline levels, Environment Ministry officials

said yesterday.   Meanwhile, the ministry issued warnings for Walpole Island and Wallaceburg, which shut down water intake systems as a precaution.   Dow Chemical Canada and Imperial Oil both reported spills in February.

 

Last month, the Environment Ministry sent a SWAT team into the Chemical Valley to do random checks and test whether firms are complying with environmental laws.


New Lake Erie Fishing Regs taking effect

A new Ohio Lake Erie walleye regulation kicked in last week. The Ohio daily bag limit on walleye for Lake Erie, its bays and tributaries has been trimmed from four to three walleyes. The daily bag limit will return to six walleyes on May 1.

 

More important to fisheries managers, there is now a year-round 15" minimum size limit on Ohio's Lake Erie walleyes.

State fisheries biologists say these approved regulations will help Ohio meet an anticipated 40 to 60 percent reduction in total allowable catches lakewide for walleye in 2004, set last March by the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

 

"The size limit will have more of an impact in reducing the walleye harvest than the reduction in the daily bag limit in March and April," said Lake Erie manager Roger Knight. "It is important that we work with our Lake Erie partners to reduce the total allowable catch to allow walleye stocks to recover."

 

Ohio isn't alone in protecting walleyes, though.

 

Michigan's new walleye regulations arrive April 1, with a closed spring Lake Erie season from April 1 through May 31, 

which includes the popular Memorial Day weekend. There will be a daily bag limit of five walleyes and a 15" minimum size limit.

 

Ontario sport fishing will see a closed walleye season from March 15 through May 7 and a daily bag limit of six fish.

 

Pennsylvania and New York have closed Lake Erie walleye seasons from March 16 through the first Saturday in May and have established year-round bag limits of four fish. New York has a 15" minimum size limit while Pennsylvania has an 18" minimum size limit.

 

Also coming up is Ohio's new bass season for Lake Erie. "We call it a closed season to possession," said Knight. "Fishermen will be allowed to catch Lake Erie smallmouth bass from April 1 through the last Saturday in June but they can't keep them."

 

It will be illegal to put a bass in a live well, bucket or on a stringer during that time. Fishermen are encouraged to release bass quickly as possible to prevent eggs from being eaten by round gobies, an exotic invader that has quickly dominated shallow-water bass habitat.


Ontario - Lake Erie commercial fisher fined $6161 for over quota walleye

Fishing Boat Captain deliberately overfished walleye

WINDSOR - A Wheatley commercial fisherman has been fined $6161 after pleading guilty to exceeding his 2003 walleye quota by 581 kilograms.

 

John Liddle, 44, of Wheatley, captain of the 'Josh II', had caught the walleye, or yellow pickerel, quota on a commercial fishing licence by October 23, 2003.  He continued to harvest and sell walleye for four more days. The owner of the commercial fishing licence has since paid $2935.35 in restitution for value of the fish caught.

 

When a commercial fisher goes over quota, the extra fish

must be separated from the rest of the catch, recorded on the Daily Catch Report and turned over to a fishery officer during inspection. If an inspector is not there, the extra fish must not be landed until an officer has been contacted for direction on their disposal. Over quota fish still alive are returned to the lake.

 

Exceeding the licence quota is a serious concern to Lake Erie fishery managers. When a quota is caught, all fishing for that species is to stop. Any additional harvest is to be surrendered to ensure no profit comes from over-harvesting.

 

The case was heard by Justice of the Peace DeBacker on March 3, 2004 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor.


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