Week of March 29 , 2004

 

National

Regional

General

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

New York

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

       Weekly News Archives

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National

Freedom to Fish Act gains support

Seven members of Congress have agreed to co-sponsor legislation that would make it tougher to establish no-fishing areas off the nation’s coastlines, according to the Recreational Fishing Alliance.

 

New Jersey-based RFA has been leading the lobbying effort on behalf of the Freedom to Fish Act (H.R. 2890). The legislation would establish what RFA calls “reasonable, scientifically based standards” that must be met before an area can be designated a “marine protected area,” in which angling is prohibited. 

 

The legislation is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J.

The seven who have signed on as co-sponsors are U.S. Reps. Rob Andrews, D-N.J.; Allen Boyd, D-Fla.; Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo.; Jim Marshall, D-Ga.; George Nethercutt, R-Wash.; Mike Simpson, R-Idaho; and Dave Vitter, R-La.

 

“History has shown us that marine fisheries problems need to be addressed on a gear-by-gear basis — not by creating blanket no-fishing MPAs, as some radical environmental groups would like to do,” said RFA executive director Jim Donofrio, in a statement.  “The Freedom to Fish Act recognizes this and would allow fisheries managers to get to the real sources of overfishing.

 


Turnout at Boat Shows up 7%

If winter boat show attendance is any indicator, the marine industry appears headed toward a solid year.

 

The National Marine Manufacturers Association, the nation’s largest boat show producer, says 739,000 people turned out for its 16 winter shows — an increase of 7 %over the 2003 total. Executive vice president Ben Wold, who oversees NMMA show operations, credits “enhanced and better targeted marketing plans, a better economy and exceptional weather for most of our shows.”

 

Leading the way was the Nashville Boat & Sports Show, which

attracted 21,163 people in January — up a whopping 44% over last year. Another big winner was the St. Louis Boat & Sports Show, which drew 53,983 — a 31 % increase.

 

Those two shows were among eight posting double-digit increases. The others included: the Atlantic City, 58,018 people (up 27 %); Vancouver, 37,481 (up 24 %); New York, 83,311 (up 14 %); the Atlanta, 40,233 (up 12 %); Chicago , 54,180 (up 12 %); and San Diego, 28,639 (up 10 %).

 

NMMA doesn’t formally track sales figures, but says feedback from exhibitors reflects a heightened sense of consumer optimism and a greater volume of business.


USFWS email back (for now)

On March 24 the U.S. Court of Appeals granted the Department of the Interior and all affected bureaus temporary  authority to reconnect its Information Technology (IT) Systems to the Internet.  This order by the Appeals Court allows the

Department to reconnect its IT systems while that Court evaluates the merits of the earlier District Court order that initially shut down the Internet.   It's too early to tell how long the Department and the Service may continue to stay connected, but for now they're back online.


U.S. Hearing Examines Invasive Species & Ballast Water Issues

Washington, D.C. - Two Congressional Subcommittees conducted a joint hearing on March 25 on new ballast water management standards adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and on reauthorization of the ballast water management provisions of the National Invasive Species Act (NIASA), in light of the new IMO standards.

 

The U.S. House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee and the House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee heard testimony from the Coast Guard, the shipping industry, an environmental group, a scientist, and other stakeholders on the new IMO standards and approaches the U.S. could take in the future to minimize the risk of invasions of non-indigenous aquatic species into our nation's waters.

 

Dennis Schornack, chairman of the IJC U.S. section, said not

doing anything means running the risk that another species as destructive as the zebra mussel will end up in the Great Lakes.  "The economic and ecologic risk is just too great," Schornack said

 

On February 13, 2004, the IMO agreed to the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water & Sediments.  If the Convention is ratified, it will be the first time international law has attempted to minimize the spread of nonindigenous, aquatic organisms by requiring ballast water management.  This Convention also would establish the first performance standards applicable to ballast water treatment.  Under the Convention, all new and existing vessels with ballast tanks would be required to implement ballast water management procedures and meet specific standards when on voyages entering a nation's waters from beyond its Exclusive Economic Zone (200 miles).

 


Regional

Great Lakes Rip Currents Conference April 29

Organizations Target Deadly Great Lakes Rip Currents

Rip currents have been involved in several drowning deaths in the Great Lakes region in recent years, including one in Duluth last summer.  Preventing deaths from drowning at beaches and piers is the focus of a Sea Grant-organized Great Lakes Rip Current Conference, Thursday, April 29, at Little Bear Arena in St. Ignace, MI. 

 

Conference organizer Ron Kinnunen, Michigan Sea Grant Extension agent in the Upper Peninsula, says it’s important that conference participants learn about the forces and conditions involved in rip currents and about educational strategies designed to prevent drowning deaths.

 

Guy Meadows, Sea Grant-funded researcher at the University of Michigan, will present what is and is not known about the mechanics of rip current generation in the Great Lakes.  Meadows has found that rip currents in the Great Lakes can be particularly treacherous because Great Lakes storms and waves can build with alarming speed.  He says that now is a particularly dangerous time because of recent low water levels.

 

Dave Guenther of the National Weather Service will describe wind and wave conditions associated with Great Lakes rip current drowning deaths.  The rapidly increasing wave heights of Great Lakes storms catch unsuspecting swimmers by surprise.  Guenther says it's vital that beachgoers learn about

across four Great Lakes, will talk about his experiences in the waves and winds of the freshwater seas.

 

Representatives of the Mackinac County Water Safety Review Team will describe their efforts to educate the public, including the life saving stations they have developed along U.S. Highway 2 at the northern end of Lake Michigan.

 

The registration fee for the conference is $15 before April 25, $25 after, and includes lunch, breaks, and conference materials.  To request a disability accommodation, contact Ron Kinnunen by April 15 at (906) 226-3687.

 

Organized by Michigan Sea Grant, the event is sponsored by other NOAA/Sea Grant programs in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Minnesota, the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Forest Service, Michigan State University Extension, the Mackinac County Water Safety Review Team, the Great Lakes Beach and Pier Safety Task Force, the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering-Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratories-College of Engineering, and Upper Peninsula Emergency Medical Services.

 

For more conference info:  www.miseagrant.umich.edu/workshops/rip_conference04.html

Ron Kinnunen, Michigan Sea Grant, (906) 226-3687  kinnunen@msue.msu.edu


Regional - Great Lakes water levels edging up

Although water levels remain below their long-term averages in the Great Lakes region, they are expected to inch higher this year, providing some relief from the 30-year lows experienced since the late 1990s.  The predictions are based on a number of factors, including more precipitation in the Great Lakes basin and a better ice cover, which has held down evaporation, according to reports in several regional newspapers.

 

“Practically all of the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair will be above last year’s levels, ”said Cynthia Sellinger, a hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich. Officials from NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers

say any rise this summer won’t be great, however.

 

“Water levels on Michigan and Huron are improved … but they’re still significantly below average,” said Marie Strum, chief of the watershed hydrology branch for the Corps of Engineers’ Detroit District.

 

Sellinger said levels would rise 4 to 6 inches on Huron and Michigan, but will still be 17 inches below the long-term average, the newspapers reported. Lake St. Clair will be 2 inches higher than last year, but 5 inches below average.

 

Lake Erie will be 3 to 4 inches higher, but still 4 inches below average. Lake Superior will stay about the same level as last year, which is 7 inches below average.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for March 26, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 8, 17, 5 and 3", respectively, below their long-term average.  Lake Ontario is 2" above its long-term average.  Lake Superior is at the same level as last year, while the remaining lakes are above last year’s levels.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 7, 4, 5 and 11" 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: 

Heavy rain is possible this weekend and early next as a slow moving cold front pushes through the Great Lakes region.  Conditions should dry out and average temperatures return by midweek.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes are into their normal seasonal rise.  Levels are expected to increase 2" on Lake Superior and 4-5 inches on Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario 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.

 


the hazards of rip currents.  Jim Dreyer, who has swam

General

Tips for cooking smelt

The secret to lip-smacking smelt is to not overcook the fish. Smelt is done when the flesh inside is opaque, yet still moist.  Smelt can be pan-fried, baked, broiled or grilled.

 

Pan-fried

This is the easiest way to cook smelt. Pound smelt fillets to flatten them, then pat dry with paper towel. Dredge fish in flour. Fry the smelt just a few at a time, in a small amount of hot butter or oil, turning once halfway through the cooking time. Cook until golden brown and crisp on the outside, usually 2 to 3 minutes.

 

Deep fried

Pour room temperature oil into a wok or deep fryer until the oil is at least 1 1/2 inches deep. Temperature should be 375 degrees.  Use a thermometer made to monitor high temperatures. Dip each smelt fillet in the batter, drain, and then carefully put into the hot oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until brown.

Baked

Place the smelt fillets in a greased baking dish and place on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter or oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Smelt can also be wrapped in lightly oiled foil. Cook at 450 degrees until the flesh is opaque, but still moist.

 

 

Broiled

Place the seasoned and/or marinated smelt fillets on a greased broiler pan. Broil under a preheated broiler about 4 to 5 inches away from the heat. Cook until brown and crispy on the outside, 4 to 6 minutes.

 

Grilled

Place smelt fillet on perforated, greased foil, grill between 4 to 6 inches above fire. Cook smelt until brown and crispy, 3 to 7 minutes.

Courtesy: Indiana DNR


Illinois

House, Senate OK gun ID Card for 18 yr olds

SPRINGFIELD --The House and Senate voted separately on March 25 to lower from 21 to 18 the age at which a person may apply for a firearm owner's identification card (FOID) without a parent's permission.

 

"If you can go off and fight a war without mom and dad's permission, you certainly ought to be able to go out and shoot a few ducks without mom or dad's permission," said Rep. Ron Stephens (R-Mulberry Grove), a veteran.

 

The House and Senate voted on separate but similar bills on

firearm owner's identification cards. Thus the two bills simply exchanged chambers, with the House voting 65-38 and the Senate voting 30-26. Both houses must vote on the same piece of legislation before it can go to the governor.

 

Currently, anyone under 21 can get a firearm owner's identification card with a parent's permission. The bill does not change the legal age of 21 to buy a handgun or ammunition for a handgun and 18 to buy a rifle or shotgun or ammo for them.

 


Indiana

Shooting facility ground breaking near Huntington March 31

Shoot the breeze with firearms enthusiasts at the Roush Lake (Huntington Reservoir) shooting sports facility ground breaking.  The Department of Natural Resources is beginning construction of a $1.4 million ultra-safe, modern shooting facility on March 31.

DNR Director John Goss will fire off a few words at 4 p.m. at the old Roush Lake shooting range located at intersection of Division Road and County Road 100 East, one mile east of State Road 5.  Lock and load a few refreshments following the ceremony.  All are invited to attend.  For more information, contact Roush Lake at (260) 468-2165.


Learn the art of smelting at Indiana Dunes April 17

On early spring nights a couple decades ago, Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline was dotted with fires.  Wader-clad smelters huddled around the warmth and waited for their nets to fill.

 

Rainbow smelt, a small relative of the rainbow trout, teemed in southern Lake Michigan waters until the late 1980s.  Today, smelt still make their annual shoreline spawning runs, but the schools are fewer and smaller -- and only the most dedicated smelters wade into the cold water to set their nets.

 

Smelt populations are down, possibly due to drops in mysis shrimp, one of the smelt's primary food sources. "The smelt runs aren't what they were, but it's still great to be out on the dunes and net a few fish," said Ryan Koepke, park ranger with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

 

Koepke is inviting prospective smelters to gather around his shoreline campfire for a three-hour "Smelt School."  He will talk about smelting techniques, regulations and fishing access. "There are a lot of anglers out there who think that you have to either live in Beverly Shores or know someone who does to get access to smelt fishing waters.  This is not true.  There are miles of beach open to the public," said Koepke.

The program takes place at Lake View Beach in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Saturday, April 17, 6 to 9 p.m.  Parking is available in the Lake View parking lot.  Lake View is located north of the Dunes Visitor Center on Lake Shore Drive between Kemil Beach and Broadway Avenue.

 

Participants are invited to bring their own smelting equipment or observe  others.  Chest waders are recommended if you plan to venture into the water. For more information, call Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at (219) 926-7561, extension 225.

 

Rainbow smelt may be taken in Indiana from March 1 through May 30 with a single net. The net may not exceed 12 feet in length and six feet in depth nor have a stretch mesh larger than 1-1/2 inches. Dip nets may not exceed 12 feet in diameter.  A fishing license is required to net smelt.

 

Smelt typically run when water temperature reaches 40 degrees, beginning in April through the first half of May.  Peak catches occur in mid-April. Smelt are usually 6 to 9" long when caught, though they can grow as large as 15".  Smelt are an Atlantic Ocean species that have adapted to the fresh waters of the Great Lakes.

 

 


Michigan

DNR and Ag meet with public over cormorants March 25

Agencies got 125,000.00 for cormorant research in the Les Cheneaux Islands

Michigan DNR and the U.S. Dept of Agriculture Wildlife Services (APHIS) will be presenting what they are going to do on March 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Cedarville LesCheneaux Community Center over the Les Cheneaux double crested cormorant problem in the island area.

 

(APHIS and the DNR received $125,000 for cormorant research in the Les Cheneaux Islands of the Upper Peninsula.  The Michigan DNR, who just completed a 20 year creel study in the Cedarville/Hessel area, will be presenting their data which shows the cormorant is the major problem in the destruction of the perch population. 

The LesCheneaux area use to be known as the PERCH CAPITAL of the world but after 15 years of heavy cormorant predation, now numbering 12,000 of these black marauders in an ll.5 mile area, the perch have almost become extinct along with the other game fish. Qualified data shows the stomach contents of over 1,000 cormorants over a 3 year period indicate a 54% perch intake. 

 

Anglers, other conservationists and the locals alike, are very concerned the thousands of cormorants diving through the spawning areas in the spring breaking up perch egg masses.  Not only are cormorants eating the spawning fish, but destroying the reproductive cycle of perch eggs.

 

Results of the meeting will be posted here as soon as received.


Minnesota

MN - DNR to buy more walleye for stocking

The Minnesota DNR is contacting operators of large and small private aquaculture facilities in hopes of purchasing about 40,000 additional pounds of walleye fingerlings this fall to help increase stocking in the state's lakes. 

 

"We are glad to be able to partner with the private sector to help meet our stocking goals," said DNR Fisheries Chief Ron Payer. "We have been very pleased with the quality of fish obtained from the private sector."

 

Since the Accelerated Walleye Program, designed to increase walleye stocking efforts, was fully funded in 2000, the DNR has stocked an average of about 134,000 pounds of fingerlings each year, including 113,000 pounds in 2000, 161,000 pounds in 2001, 98,000 pounds in 2002 and 165,000 pounds in 2003. An average of 2.3 million walleye were

stocked per year during this period.

 

Beginning this year, the goal for walleye fingerling stocking will be increased to 160,000 lb r approximately 3 to 3.5 million fish per year as part of the Accelerated Walleye Program. To provide opportunities for smaller hatcheries to submit bids, the DNR will break the 40,000-lb walleye order into 16 smaller bids. Walleye fingerlings will need to be 4 to 10" long and be delivered from Sept. 20 through Dec. 20.

 

The DNR will also purchase 8,000 muskie fingerlings, 2,000 tiger muskie fingerlings and 5,000 sturgeon fingerlings. Only private fish hatcheries or aquatic farms licensed by the Minnesota DNR are eligible to bid. Persons interested in bidding on DNR fish purchases should contact Roy Johannes at (651) 296-3325.


New York

State increasing control efforts that target Cormorants

Court Injunction not affecting agency plans

ALBANY (AP) -- Empowered by new federal rules, the Pataki administration said last week it will be more aggressive beginning this spring at controlling New York's cormorants. The state will step up the "oiling" of cormorant eggs to prevent their hatching, destroy more cormorant nests and increase "hazing" of nesting areas in spring and fall to try to prevent the birds from feeding on fish. The state will kill up to 600 of the birds where other methods fail to reduce overpopulations, said state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Erin Crotty.

GLFC Commissioner and NY Director for Fish & Wildlife Gerald Barnhart said the Federal Court Injunction filed against the USFWS and their new cormorant management plan will not affect the plans of New York State.  "We've been managing cormorants in the state for years" Barnhart told this writer who was covering the upper lakes annual committee meetings of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in Ann Arbor, MI last week.  Barnhart is a commissioner of the GLFC appointed by Bush last year for a six year term. 

 

The full statement, including implementation plans of the NYSDEC is below.


DEC Announces Cormorant Management Plans

Program Seeks to Reduce Conflicts with Fish and Other Wildlife

DEC, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services program, will use a variety of measures to help reduce conflicts between double-crested cormorants and natural resources in the State.  A new federal rule, adopted in October 2003, gave New York and other states greater authority to manage cormorants when needed to protect important natural resources.

 

DEC is committed to curbing the negative impacts of large populations of cormorants," Commissioner Crotty said. "DEC staff have developed a comprehensive plan that takes into consideration the diverse viewpoints about these birds, while protecting New York’s fish, wildlife, and habitat."

 

Cormorants are large, fish-eating birds that nest “colonially” in areas with high fish abundance, often in the same habitats used by other colonial-nesting bird species, often with as many as several thousand pairs nesting side-by-side.  Nesting in colonies rather than in widely spaced territories allows birds to exploit an abundant food source and avoid predators, especially if suitable habitat exists on islands far from land.  Cormorant populations have increased dramatically over the past 30 years to the point where they are now threatening other waterbird species and impacting important fisheries in several areas of New York. 

 

Double-crested cormorants are native to North America, but were not known to nest in New York until 1945, when 14 nests were found on Gull Island in eastern Lake Ontario.  The population has grown to more than 10,000 nesting pairs statewide, with an estimated summer population of more than 40,000 birds.  The recent population growth is due to a combination of factors, including water quality improvements, an abundance of forage fish, and increased protection by an amendment to the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1972. 

 

DEC has been involved in cormorant management for nearly a decade.  Techniques such as egg-oiling, nest destruction, hazing, habitat modification, exclusion techniques, and occasional removal of cormorants have helped to reduce the impacts of these birds. However, additional efforts are needed to protect and restore important fish populations in eastern Lake Ontario and Oneida Lake, and to protect important bird populations, including the common tern, which is designated as a threatened species in New York State.  Based on input received by DEC from public meetings, letters, and citizen task forces dealing with this issue, there is strong public support for expanded cormorant management in New York.                       

 

In response to growing concerns about impacts of cormorants on fish, other wildlife, and the habitats they utilize, DEC developed plans to expand cormorant management in affected areas of New York beginning in spring 2004.  The four areas are: eastern Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake, Buffalo Harbor/Niagara River, and Lake Champlain.  The goal of these management actions is to reduce the impact of cormorants on other natural resources by limiting cormorant numbers and productivity in areas where conflicts are occurring.  Over the long term, these efforts should lead to a gradual reduction in cormorant populations to desired levels as determined by DEC and public input.  

 

DEC, in cooperation with USDA, will carry out more extensive cormorant management activities including: egg-oiling and nest destruction in all four areas; spring and fall hazing programs to reduce cormorant predation on fish in Oneida

Lake and other Central New York lakes; and taking no more than 600 cormorants by direct lethal means.  Direct removal of cormorants will be done primarily either to prevent the pioneering of new nesting sites to eliminate birds that resist hazing techniques, especially in trees that are too high for nest destruction techniques, or to evaluate impacts of lethal controls on cormorant populations and other colonial waterbirds nesting nearby.

 

Under this plan, cormorants will not be eliminated from any areas and there will still be ample viewing opportunities for people who enjoy seeing these interesting birds.  Based on formal public involvement processes, specific population goals have been set for eastern Lake Ontario (1,500 nesting pairs) and Oneida Lake (a minimum of 20 nesting pairs, but no more than 100 birds.)  In other areas, cormorant numbers will be limited to levels judged by DEC staff to be compatible with other nesting waterbird populations.

 

DEC’s efforts in Central New York will be focused on protecting important recreational fisheries for smallmouth bass in eastern Lake Ontario and for yellow perch and walleye in Oneida Lake.  Long-term studies by DEC and Cornell University have shown a strong connection between the dramatic increase in cormorant populations and declining fish populations in these areas.  Other factors, including water quality changes and introduction of zebra mussels, have also been considered as contributors to certain declining fish populations.

 

Results of DEC’s cormorant management efforts in 2004 will be evaluated to determine plans for cormorant management in future years.  DEC will continue a variety of survey and research programs, in cooperation with USDA, researchers from Cornell University, and others to evaluate the effectiveness of management efforts.  Research efforts include long-term studies of cormorant ecology, population dynamics, movements, food habits, and the response to management activities, as well as fish stock assessments, and monitoring colonial waterbird populations in managed areas.

 

DEC will coordinate management and research efforts with colleagues in Ontario, Canada, and Vermont to ensure a cooperative regional approach.  One area being considered for cormorant management in the future is the St. Lawrence River, where a growing population of 114 cormorant pairs are nesting on three New York islands and another 2,380 pairs are nesting on nearby islands in Ontario, Canada. If this population continues to expand, potential conflicts with Common Terns and important warm water fish populations in the River may warrant cormorant control measures.

 

DEC has prepared a document titled: “Management of Double-crested Cormorants to Protect Public Resources in New York - Statement of Findings.”  This document describes the actions planned for specific areas of New York State and discusses issues identified in a recent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for cormorant management in the U.S. 

 

The EIS was completed by the USFWS in 2003, and frequently cites research findings and management issues in New York.  Many organizations and individuals from New York State, including DEC, provided input to USFWS during public meetings and comment periods while the EIS was being developed.  For more information about DEC’s cormorant management plans and to view the cormorant management document, go to the DEC website at: www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/cormorant/index.html


State Trout Fishing Season opens April 1

Optimistic Successful Season of Fishing New York’s Waters              

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty today encouraged anglers to begin gearing up for trout season opening day on April 1, 2004. Anglers can again look forward to a great year of fishing, thanks to the natural diversity of angling opportunities within New York and the ongoing management of the State's fisheries by DEC.

 

“Throughout New York State, world-class trout fishing experiences await anglers each spring,” Commissioner Crotty said. “Legendary streams in the Catskills, lakes and rivers in the Adirondacks, Great Lakes tributaries, and the Finger Lakes all provide excellent trout opportunities for New Yorkers and visitors. Now is the time to get ready for another great fishing season by renewing licenses, reviewing the regulations, and making plans to get the first big catch of the season.”

 

Due to the existing snowpack and high flow in many of the State’s rivers and streams, anglers are urged to use extreme caution along slippery stream banks and while wading in high water.  The early season is a great time to try some of the smaller tributaries.  Smaller streams will have more manageable flows and are also more likely to hold larger populations of wild trout.  Although many of the larger, more popular streams are more reliant on stocked fish, last year’s relatively cool, wet summer promises plenty of holdover fish from last year’s stocking.

 

For tactics, it is well known that early season anglers can improve their success by fishing deep and slow, and by using natural baits such as worms and minnows where permitted.  Fly-fishing purists should consider heavily weighted, large, flashy streamers and nymphs, possibly coupled with a sinking line.  Pond fishing is often best immediately after the winter ice melts.  Since most Adirondack and Catskill ponds are likely to remain frozen for the April 1st opener,  anglers should scout out areas beforehand where the possibility of frozen waters may exist.  Prime areas to fish are those that warm the earliest, including tributary mouths and near surface and shallow shoreline areas.  It should also be noted that ice fishing is prohibited in trout waters, except as noted in the Fishing Regulations Guide.

 

Anglers and New York fishing tackle retailers are reminded that effective May 7, 2004, the sale of small lead sinkers weighing ½ ounce or less will be prohibited in New York State.  Sale of jig heads, weighted flies, artificial lures, or weighted line are not included in this prohibition.  Although the law does not prohibit the use of lead sinkers of this size, anglers are encouraged to use non-lead alternatives which are readily available in tackle stores.  Ingestion of lead sinkers can result in the death of loons and waterfowl.

 

Trout stocking of catchable-size fish generally commences in late March and early April in the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island, and Western New York, and then proceeds to the Catskills and Adirondacks.  This year, DEC plans to stock 2.27 million catchable-size brook, brown, and rainbow trout in almost 300 lakes and ponds and roughly 3,000 miles of streams across the state.  Spring stockings include 1.7 million brown trout, 420,000 rainbow trout and 130,000 brook trout.  DEC will again include two-year-old brown trout in the spring stocking program. These fish average 12-13 inches in length, with some as large as 15 inches. Approximately 97,000 of these larger fish will be placed in lakes and streams statewide.

 

DEC will also stock New York waters with more than two million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake and coho salmon this spring to provide exciting fishing opportunities over the next several years.  For those who prefer a quieter, more remote setting, more than 350,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in over 330 lakes and ponds this fall, mostly by helicopter, providing unique angling opportunities for future years.

 

For a complete listing of stocked waters in NY: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/fish/foe4clst.html  .

 

In addition to stocked waters, New York State has thousands of miles of wild trout streams that provide excellent fishing opportunities. Regional fisheries offices, which are listed in the Fishing Regulations Guide, can offer specific details about these streams.  DEC also remains committed to increasing public access to New York’s coldwater streams.  Since 1995, DEC has acquired over 25 miles of easements and associated parking areas and footpaths to provide additional access for anglers in New York State.  This brings the total to over 1,300 miles since the inception of the public fishing rights program in 1935.  Public fishing rights (PFR) easements are marked by Public Fishing Rights signs, but anglers are reminded that landowners maintain the right to post these parcels against activities other than fishing.  Anglers are encouraged to contact their regional office for maps or directions to PFR holdings.

 

The general creel limit for brook, brown and rainbow trout is five fish.  The open season for trout in most New York State waters runs from April 1 through October 15, but there are exceptions in all DEC regions, so anglers should check the Fishing Regulations Guide prior to heading out on the water. Anglers are also reminded again that there are new procedures for fishing New York City reservoirs. Updated information and permit applications can be obtained at nyc.gov/html/dep/html/watershed.html or by calling 800-575-LAND.

 

When purchasing a fishing license, anglers should also consider purchasing a Habitat Stamp.  This new stamp is available to anyone for $5 from any sporting license issuing agent.  Proceeds from the sale of the stamps will be deposited in a newly created Habitat Account, part of which will be used to increase and improve angler access to coldwater streams.

 

Regional opening day highlights:

 

Long Island (DEC Region 1)

Long Island lakes, ponds and streams typically provide excellent early season trout angling.  By the end of April, nearly 20,000 trout, including 5,000 two-year-old brown trout in the 12- to 15-inch range, will have been stocked into Long Island lakes, ponds and streams.  For premier early season fly fishing action, the Carmans, Connetquot and Nissequogue rivers in Suffolk County are highly recommended. Tidal sections of these waters also provide excellent fishing opportunities and include trophy-size fish.

 

For anglers who prefer to fish stillwaters, Laurel Lake, Upper Lake, Lower Lake, East Lake, West Lake and Argyle Lake are recommended in Suffolk County. In Nassau County, Upper Twin Pond, Oyster Bay Mill Pond and Massapequa Reservoir are good bets.  Many of these waters hold over a good number of fish from one year to the next, increasing the opportunity to catch a lunker.  Anglers are also reminded that the trout season in Nassau and Suffolk counties is now open year round.  In addition to the fish to be stocked this spring, 7,500 12-inch or larger brown trout were stocked during the fall of 2003.  These fish have provided fast fishing action which continues to this day.  Please remember that there is a three trout daily limit on Long Island and that brook trout are catch-and-release only in all streams except the Connetquot and Nissequogue in the State Parks.

 

Long Island trout anglers are encouraged to participate in the region's Coldwater Angler Diary Cooperator Program.  Cooperating anglers are asked to keep a diary of the species, length, and location and number of trout caught during their fishing trips on Long Island.  In return, cooperators  receive periodic summaries of the results of the program and the satisfaction of knowing that they are making a significant contribution towards the effective management of  Long Island's coldwater resources. For more information on this program please contact the regional office at (631) 444-0280.

 

For a complete list of Long Island trout stocked waters, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Trout Stocking List, Bureau of Fisheries, SUNY Building 40, Stony Brook, NY, 11790-2356 or check out the Region 1 Fisheries Web Site at: www.dec.state.ny.us/website/reg1/reg1bof.html.

 

Hudson Valley/Catskills (DEC Region 3)

Many of the Hudson River Valley’s streams are stocked early, and as such, provide excellent early-season fishing. Among the most popular early season waters are Wappinger Creek, Fishkill Creek, Peekskill Hollow Brook, Sawmill River, East Branch Croton River, Tenmile River, and the Ramapo River.

 

In the Catskills, stocking is delayed until later in April to allow flows to recede and water temperatures to rise. In these streams, which include such nationally-renowned waters as the Beaver Kill, Willowemoc, Neversink and Esopus, wild trout and hatchery-holdovers from previous years provide the opportunity for good early season fishing.  On the Delaware River, which forms the boundary between New York and Pennsylvania, trout season doesn't begin until April 17.  All trout in the Delaware are wild fish, primarily browns and rainbows, spawned in the tributaries. The spawning tributaries in New York have the same delayed season opener as the Delaware to provide added protection for spawning rainbows.

 

Other notable trout resources in the area include 17 New York City reservoirs totaling more than 23,000 acres. Large brown trout, including occasional fish more than 20 pounds, may be found in many of these waters. Ashokan Reservoir is famous for large rainbow trout. Sometime this spring, the West Branch Croton Reservoir will join Neversink Reservoir as a landlocked salmon fishery, as the 2002 stocking of 1,500 salmon yearlings begin to grow to catchable size.  All New York City watershed lands require a free permit for recreation access.  The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has updated and improved the permit system.  Check the DEP web site at nyc.gov/html/dep/html/watershed.html to obtain information and application forms for the new permits.

 

During the spring and early summer, DEC hatchery staff will deliver nearly 300,000 trout to 85 streams and 30 lakes and ponds within Region 3.  Included in this total will be nearly 17,000 of the larger (12-15 inch) 2-year-old brown trout, which will be distributed in about 40 of the larger and more accessible streams.  This year's stocking information can be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Fisheries Office, DEC Region 3, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY, 12561.

 

Northern Catskills/Hudson Valley/Capital District (DEC Region 4)

Because of the wet, cool weather last summer, early season fishing should be good in all wild and stocked trout streams this year.  Trout stocking in Region 4 could begin as early as late March and most streams throughout the region should be stocked by late April, weather permitting.  Waters to be stocked with two-year-old brown trout along with yearling fish include both branches of the Delaware River, Catskill Creek, Beaver Kill, Schenevus Creek, Poesten Kill, Roeliff Jansen Kill, Walloomsac River, Hannacrois Creek, Kinderhook Creek,  Onesquethaw Creek, Claverack Creek, Taghkanic Creek, Charlotte Creek, Ouleout Creek, Schoharie Creek, Batavia Kill, Canajoharie Creek, Otsquago Creek, Butternut Creek, Oaks Creek, Otego Creek, Wharton Creek, and Tackawasick Creek.

 

DEC is in the fifth year of study on the Beaver Kill/Willowemoc system in Delaware, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties.  Again this year, radio transmitters will be surgically implanted in  approximately 90 yearling hatchery brown trout and 45 two-year-old brown trout.  These fish will be placed in the upper “no kill” reach of the Beaver Kill and the “no kill” reach of the Willowemoc. The purpose of this work is to monitor the movement of these trout.  Some of these radio-tagged trout might move outside of the “no kill” regulation areas so anglers are asked to release all fish with external antennas and report the fish location to the regional fisheries office in Stamford.  Should any of these radio-tagged trout be creeled, the anglers are asked to contact the fisheries office in Stamford and make arrangements to return the tag. 

 

Angler diary cooperators continue to be needed again this year. Fishermen who routinely fish on the East Branch, the West Branch, and the main Delaware River are asked to sign up for the Diary Cooperator Program this season.  The diary program is being established to monitor the trout fishery on both the rivers and in the reservoirs.

 

Anglers should remember that the “border water” reach on the  

West Branch of the Delaware River, where New York and Pennsylvania share a common boundary, has a delayed season which does not open until April 17 this year.  This delayed season also applies to all tributaries to the Delaware River located in Delaware County and to the East Branch tributaries between Hancock and the Hamlet of East Branch.

 

Additional anglers are also needed as cooperators for the Otsego Lake Angler Diary program and the post card survey.  These two programs are intended to collect fishery data and catch information on lake trout, brown trout and landlocked salmon. While angler diary cooperators will be issued a diary to be used all season, participation in the post card survey will be on a “per trip” basis as cards are distributed to anglers at the launching ramp in Cooperstown.  The completed card can then be returned to DEC by regular mail, pre-paid postage included.  Data collected from these two surveys will be very important in making fisheries management decisions for Otsego Lake. 

 

Angler Diary Cooperators for all waters will be issued a diary where all trip and catch information can be recorded.  All diaries will be returned to the cooperator along with an annual summary of results prior to the start of the 2005 fishing season.  In order to participate in the East Branch, West Branch, main Delaware River,  Pepacton Reservoir, Cannonsville Reservoir and  Otsego Lake Angler Diary Programs, please contact  NYSDEC, Fisheries Unit, by mail at Route 10, Stamford, NY, 12167, or by phone at (607) 652-7366.

 

Four new fishing parking areas have been developed in the region; three on Catskill Creek and one on the upper West Branch of the Delaware River.  The northern-most parking area on Catskill Creek is located on State Route 145 in Schoharie County, just south of Livingstonville,  near the Albany County line.  The second parking area is south of the junction of State Route 145 and State Route 81.  The third area is further downstream, adjacent to the Town of Durham office and garage on County Route 27, in Greene County.  The West Branch, Delaware River, fishing parking area is located upstream of the Village of Delhi in Delaware County.  The sign marking this area is scheduled to be installed prior to April 1.

 

Looking for a new fishing spot?  Many of the smaller, less well-known streams are identified in brochures such as Capital District Fishing, Fishing Delaware County, and Catskill Fishing.  Stocking lists are also available.  These can all be obtained by writing the Stamford Fisheries Unit at the address given above.  Anglers with access to the internet can find a great deal of information from the DEC website at: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/fish/index.html  . Other websites, such as the one operated by the USGS (http://www.usgs.gov), can provide up-to-date flow information for a number of the larger streams. Finally, West Branch anglers wanting to know current releases can call 1-845-295-1006.

 

Adirondacks (DEC Region 5)

Snow pack has been only moderate except in the higher elevations of Region 5.   Lower elevation streams may have reasonable flows, depending on rainfall as opening day approaches.  Higher elevation streams are more likely to have runoff from snow melt.  High flows combined with cold temperatures generally make opening day challenging in those higher elevation streams.

 

Best bets for early season angling in the southern part of the region are the Batten Kill, Kayaderosseras and Mettawee rivers.  The Chateaugay River offers good fishing in the northern part of Region 5.

 

Many regional streams and rivers will be stocked in April and May.  However, it is likely that few, if any, streams in the northern part of the region will be accessible or warm enough for stocking prior to opening day.  If possible, yearling brook trout will be stocked in the Chateaugay River in Franklin County before the season begins.

 

Hundreds of smaller streams contain wild brook or brown trout. Try fishing deep pools and riffle areas with live bait where it is allowed.  Fish slowly, especially if the water is cold, high, and swift.

 

Ice-out may not occur until later on many northern lakes. During the beginning stages of ice-out, excellent trout fishing should be available in open water areas near the shoreline. Once waters are ice free and temperatures rise, surface trolling for salmon and lake trout is a good bet on the larger lakes. Brook trout pond fishing is good from ice-out through May.

 

Anglers are reminded that in many Adirondack ponds, the use of fish as bait is prohibited. For waters where the use of fish as bait is prohibited, check the “Special Regulations by County” section in the Fishing Regulations Guide, or contact the DEC’s Region 5 Fisheries Office in Ray Brook at (518) 897-1333.  A variety of leaflets are also available from the regional office including stocking lists for Region 5, top fishing waters in Region 5, a list of reclaimed trout ponds, and others.

 

For up-to-date information on fishing conditions in the region, anglers can call these DEC fishing hotlines:(518) 623-3682 for the southern Adirondacks and (518) 891-5413 for the northern and central Adirondacks.

 

North Country (DEC Region 6)

The opening of trout season should be good on most of the area's waters.  West Canada Creek, the Mohawk River below Delta Lake, Oriskany Creek, St. Regis River, and Sauquoit Creek should all provide good fishing.  The relatively cool, wet summer and fall of 2003 should provide a substantial number of holdover fish. With the above average snowfall in southern Region 6 anglers should use extreme caution on streams with high snow banks and ice covering flowing water.  Personal flotation devices, polarized sunglasses, and felt or other gripping soled

 waders should be worn at all times. Fishing will improve when the water temperature reaches 50

degrees.  This usually occurs in mid to late April in the Mohawk River Valley and early to mid May in the Tug Hill and Western Adirondack Regions.

 

The only stream that receives a preseason stocking is the Oswegatchie River, below Cranberry Lake.  Stocking proceeds from the Mohawk Valley in mid-April, north to St. Lawrence County throughout the month of May.  The popular two-year-old brown trout stocking occurs in early May on some of the region's larger, more accessible streams. Worms usually produce the best catches this time of year, when the water temperatures are colder and the fish are more sluggish.  Spinners and salted minnows are also popular lures.  For best results, fish the pools and slow, deep riffles.  Fishing in the late afternoon after the water has been warmed by the sun is also productive.

 

Lake Ontario tributaries should offer good fishing conditions for steelhead. Try Stony Creek, North and South Sandy Creeks, Lindsey Creek, Skinner Creek and the Black River in Watertown, from the Mill Street dam down to the Village of Dexter. Use egg sacs, single hook spinners, wet flies and streamers.

 

Central New York (DEC Region 7)

Steelhead anglers heading for tributaries to Lake Ontario do not have to wait until April 1, because there is no closed season for trout and salmon in waters up to the first barrier impassable to fish.  The peak of this run generally occurs in mid- to late-March with steelhead averaging eight to ten pounds, and some as large as 20 pounds.  The Salmon River at Pulaski is the best steelhead stream in the area.  Other productive waters are Little Sandy Creek, Grindstone Creek, and the Oswego River.

 

Lake Ontario shoreline fishing is expected to be productive. Hot spots will be at Fair Haven, Oswego Harbor, and Mexico Bay.

 

Trout fishing on the Finger Lakes also should be productive. Good fishing is already occurring and is expected to carry through to mid-April on Cayuga and Owasco Lakes. Both offer fishing for brown trout, rainbow trout and lake trout, with Cayuga also having landlocked salmon. Skaneateles Lake offers good fishing for lake trout and rainbow trout as well as landlocked salmon.

 

For good fishing on Finger Lake tributaries (which open to trout fishing on April 1) try Salmon Creek, Cayuga Inlet, Yawgers Creek and Fall Creek on Cayuga Lake; Hemlock Creek and Owasco Inlet on Owasco Lake; and Grout Brook on Skaneateles Lake.

 

Other streams providing excellent early trout fishing include: Nine Mile, Limestone and Butternut creeks in Onondaga County; Oquaga Creek in Broome County; the Otselic River in Chenango and Cortland counties; Genegantslet Creek in Chenango County; Chittenango Creek in Madison County; the west branch of Tioughnioga River in Cortland County; Fall and Virgil creeks in Tompkins County and the east and west branches of Owego Creek in Tioga County.

 

Anglers are reminded that most waters in Region 7 are managed under a five trout daily creel limit, with no more than two fish being longer than 12 inches.  Anglers may keep five additional brook trout less than eight inches in most Region 7 waters. Be sure to check the Fishing Regulations Guide for exceptions to these regulations.

 

Finger Lakes (DEC Region 8)

Early season Finger Lake tributary rainbow trout fishing should be good.  For opening day, try fishing for rainbows throughout all reaches of tributaries such as Naples Creek and Catharine Creek.  Stocked and wild brown trout can also be caught in a number of the region’s streams.  Quality fishing can be found at Oatka and Spring Creeks near Caledonia (Livingston and Monroe counties), throughout the Cohocton River from Cohocton to Bath (Steuben County), and Cayuta Creek near Odessa (Schuyler and Chemung counties).

 

Anglers are reminded that a new regulation for Region 8 trout streams went into effect on October 1, 2002.  The general limit on trout is now five fish per day of any size, with no more than two longer than 12 inches.  Check the Fishing Regulations Guide for other special regulations in the region.

 

Lake Ontario tributaries such as Oak Orchard Creek, Genesee River and Irondequoit Creek should provide good steelhead fishing prior to the traditional April 1 opener. Most Lake Ontario tributaries are open for fishing year round.

 

Early April should offer opportunities for near-shore fishing on Lake Ontario.  Brown trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon and a few chinooks should be available near shore.  Pier fishing and shallow water trolling in mid- to late-April should be very productive.  Look for trout and salmon "hot spots" in warm water pockets from Rochester to Sodus and vicinity.  Even small reaches having only two or three degree warmer surface temperatures attract these fish.

 

Western New York (DEC Region 9)

Best bets for opening day stream fishing include the Genesee River, Ischua Creek, Goose Creek, East Koy Creek and Upper Cattaraugus Creek.  Each of these local favorites is heavily stocked with yearling trout and a “salting”of larger two-year-olds.  An added bonus to anglers plying these waters is the capture of an occasional wild trout.  When high water in streams makes fishing difficult, anglers may prefer to try the six inland trout lakes (Allen, Case, Harwood, New Albion, Quaker, and Red House) that are heavily stocked and provide good access for shore or boat fishing. In the Buffalo/Niagara metropolitan area, Ellicott Creek in Amherst State Park and Oppenheim Park in the Town of Wheatfield will be stocked for the second consecutive year, providing particularly good fishing opportunities for young anglers.

           

Great Lakes waters, open year-round for salmon and trout, should continue to provide excellent angling. Steelhead and rainbow trout will be available in Twelve Mile Creek, Keg Creek, Eighteen Mile Creek and the Lower Niagara River in Niagara County. Lake Erie tributaries that will have steelhead and rainbow runs are Chautauqua Creek, Canadaway Creek, Cattaraugus Creek Eighteen Mile Creek, Cazenovia Creek and the Buffalo River. Brown trout and coho salmon will be nearshore in Lake Ontario and in the harbors at Fort Niagara, Wilson and Olcott.

 

To assist anglers in finding public fishing access on regional trout streams, color brochures of those streams that can be found at the following DEC website:   www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/fish/pfr


Mohawk Tribe sues to stop St. Lawrence Icebreaking

ALBANY, N.Y. - The St. Regis Mohawk tribe has filed suit in federal court to stop icebreaking on the St. Lawrence River, claiming the practice could cause spills, harm fish, disrupt the shoreline and release contaminants.

 

The tribe claims that the St. Lawrence Seaway Development

Corp. violated federal environmental law and a treaty by not consulting tribal leaders, scientists and fisheries experts before it began icebreaking. Tribal officials say they must be included in decisions to clear commercial shipping lanes by using powerful boats to break through ice that is often several feet thick.


Ohio

Conceal Carry law goes into effect April 8

A quick reminder that Ohio's new Conceal Carry law goes into effect April 8. Requirements include applicant s complete 10 hours of classroom training and two hours of live-fire training, pay a fee, and pass an exam. Classes offered by gun clubs, sporting goods outlets and some local government agencies are filling up fast. 

The popular law does have some restrictions:  Under the new law, a gun must be concealed -- under clothing, for example. If you're driving, it must be in a holster in plain sight or locked in a case or the glove box. Carrying a weapon in places such as schools, police stations, and courthouses is prohibited. It's also prohibited to carry in the Toledo-Lucas County Library facilities.


Pennsylvania

New Elk Population Survey on horizon

New approach will save tens of thousands of dollars

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Game Commission is overhauling its elk surveying program to improve its ability to monitor population changes throughout the 835-square-mile elk range and save the agency tens of thousands of dollars annually.

 

The ongoing effort, which began in early 2003, is switching the former aerial survey into a ground operation for the first time since America celebrated its bicentennial. In 1992, after about 15 years of winter surveys involving a helicopter and ground crews of up to 60 people, the agency went to an aerial elk survey, to reduce manpower needs and provide scheduling flexibility. Now change is once again in the winds over the Allegheny Mountains.

 

Biologists have developed a more efficient survey than what was in place. It will eliminate dependency on snow cover to survey elk, provide uniform survey coverage of the entire elk range - not just the primary range - and won't require employees to take as many job-related risks on snowy roads and while in flight.

 

Equally important is the money the Game Commission will save by converting to the ground survey. Right now, the agency is spending more than $30,000 annually to contract for aircraft to survey a quarter of the elk range and count groups of elk containing radio-collared elk on the rest. Using the current aerial method, it would cost more than $100,000 each year to survey our entire elk range. And the results wouldn't be anymore scientifically valid than what the new ground survey will provide. Making this move is a necessity and it will immediately improve the management of Pennsylvania's elk.

 

The new ground survey will be conducted in the fall and aims to use mostly agency employees while they perform their regularly-assigned duties. The switch from a winter to fall survey will provide an accurate distribution of Pennsylvania's elk herd closest to the elk hunting season, which is the wildlife agency's chief management tool.  That will help the Game Commission direct hunting pressure where it is most needed.

 

The fall survey will occur at a time when elk groups are more representative of  the population.  Antlered bulls are not off in small, less visible bachelor groups, separated from groups of adult females and calves. With the fall breeding season approaching, adult females and bulls are more tolerant of one another and tend to be in more open areas. That creates perfect surveying conditions and strongly supports the timing

change being implemented.

 

Game Commission biologists are using a surveying technique called "Bowden's estimator" to measure the elk herd's size and distribution.  Originally developed for Colorado moose, the process takes place over several weeks and involves counting the number of elk marked with radio collars and the number of elk without radio collars.  Because individual identification of marked elk is needed for this method, radio collars have large, visible numbers on them.

 

Work to collar elk for the new survey began in January 2003. About 40 elk have been collared to date and field crews will work to have more collared elk spread across the state's elk range, which covers parts of Elk, Cameron, Clinton, Clearfield and Potter counties, in future surveys. Biologists will dart and collar adult females until mid-March; bulls, anytime, except during the fall breeding season.

 

Field researchers collaring elk for the new survey also are making a heightened effort to dart and collar spike bulls. Recent elk population modeling efforts indicate that spikes are either being undercounted in the current survey or are experiencing significant mortality.

 

The Game Commission has been using a team of biologists, biologist aides and Wildlife Conservation Officers to dart and collar elk. In the process, four-wheel drive vehicles are used to get a shooter close to elk. Elk are darted in a hind quarter with a drug-loaded, two- to three-inch dart shot from a dart rifle powered by a .22-caliber rifle charge from distances of 30 to 50 yards.

 

Right now, Pennsylvania's elk population numbers between 500 and 600 elk, based upon a pilot survey last fall and historical data collection.  About 100 calves are expected to be born this spring. 

 

Elk were found throughout Pennsylvania prior to its colonization.  Their numbers declined as civilization advanced, mostly as a result of unregulated hunting and deforestation.  Elk disappeared by the late 1800s.  The wild elk inhabiting Pennsylvania today are descendents of elk released in Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk and Potter counties from 1913 to 1926.  A total of 177 elk - mostly from Yellowstone National Park - were released in the Commonwealth to serve as a breeding base for what was hoped would develop into a population that could sustain hunting.  Elk were hunted from 1923 to 1931, and then received closed-season protection from 1932 through 2000.


Wisconsin

State trout stocking program suspended

The State of Wisconsin has suspended its trout stocking program this year and next, which will save $400,000 over the two years, said Al Kaas, statewide fish propagation coordinator. The move will cut trout production by 880,000.

 

"This is a result of the budget cuts, and things don't look good in the near future," said Matt Coffaro, DNR fisheries supervisor with the state DNR. "We're really feeling the pinch. A lot of the stocking has been curtailed."

The DNR will not stock more than 100 lakes and streams statewide. The exception is in southwestern Wisconsin, where sportsmen's clubs raise DNR-donated fingerlings and place them in waterways when they become yearlings, Kaas said.

 

The state fish hatchery program, with an annual budget of $2 million, cut 10 % from its expenditures by reducing trout production. The spending cuts are part of the DNR's efforts to curb the state's projected budget deficit of $3.2 billion.

 


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