Week of April 4, 2005

World

National

Regional

General

Lake Michigan

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

New York

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

       Weekly News Archives

                         or

       New Product  Archives

World

Commercial Fishing “Unsustainable” Says New UN Report

The United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report released last week calls capture fisheries “unsustainable” and calls for the expansion in Marine Protected Areas with flexible no-take zones that contribute to the economy.

These conclusions echo the efforts of 3 nations, more than 800 scientists from 83 countries and 230 non-governmental organizations from 54 countries calling on the UN to implement a moratorium on industrial longline fishing in the Pacific and implement a network of high seas MPAs to protect both fish stocks and species endangered by longlines.

National

Ballast water discharge loophole closed

Applaud Court Decision

The U.S. District Court late last week handed down a decision that will protect the Great Lakes from aquatic nuisance species. The court order involved a lawsuit filed by Northwest Environmental Advocates, The Ocean Conservancy and other conservation groups against the USEPA for the federal regulation that exempts ballast water discharges from federal water pollution rules.  The court granted summary judgment to

the plaintiffs in the case, and EPA has been ordered to repeal the exemption.

 

The EPA exemption for ballast water violated the Clean Water Act and created a loophole that allowed invasive species to enter our Great Lakes waters.  That loophole is now closed.  The EPA has estimated that aquatic nuisance species cost the Great Lakes region $5 billion per year in damages.


Sportsmen Ask Judge to Dismiss Refuge Lawsuit
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund (SLDF) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have filed a joint motion for a partial dismissal of a lawsuit brought to ban hunting on the National Wildlife Refuge System. 

Anti-hunting plaintiffs, including the Fund for Animals, claim that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) goals to increase wildlife dependent recreation, including hunting, on National Wildlife Refuge land require an Environmental Impact Statement. Defendants want the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss this baseless challenge.

 

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is required to set forth a strategic plan that outlines goals for the agency,” said Bill Horn, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation Legal Counsel.  “These goals are not ‘final’ agency actions and do not mandate an Environmental Impact Statement.”

 

The motion also explains that the law mandating the 

development of the strategic plan, by its terms, does not provide for a plaintiff’s legal action.

 

In March 2003, the Fund for Animals and twenty individual plaintiffs challenged the USFWS’s opening of hunting on 39 National Wildlife Refuges since 1997.  The SLDF joined the case to ensure that hunters’ interests are directly represented before the court.

 

“In 1997, Congress passed the National Refuge System Improvement Act to ensure that the refuge system is managed for wildlife conservation and that hunting and fishing are priority public uses on refuge units,” said Horn.    “The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance lobbied intensively for the passage of the landmark act and its SLDF will battle in court to protect the integrity of this act.”

 

Joining the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation’s SLDF and the DOJ in the suit is Safari Club International.


Cultivating Hunting Traditions in 25 States

More States to Join NSSF Effort in Coming Months

NEWTOWN, Conn.—Twenty-Five states have launched programs to recruit new hunters, and more states will be following suit in coming months, with help from a special granting program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The trade association for the firearm industry recently approved another $500,000 for its 2005 Hunting Heritage Partnership grants, bringing its three-year total allocation to state conservation agencies to nearly $1.5 million.

 

Administered jointly with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership funds projects to develop and enhance hunting opportunities and participation. Past grants helped develop print and radio campaigns, hands-on educational workshops, hunting opportunities for disabled residents, Web-based hunter access mapping systems, and more.

The 2005 grants will be awarded to state agencies following a formal review process conducted by NSSF. The deadline for new grant proposals is April 27.

 

“Knowing that each state faces its own unique challenges, the Hunting Heritage Partnership is designed to help agencies focus directly on issues relating to their states,” said Jodi Valenta, NSSF’s director of recruitment and retention. “From establishing youth hunting programs to confronting access issues, these grants are helping states increase hunting opportunities across the country.”

 

Detailed state-by-state news releases as well as a general roundup of projects are available by visiting www.nssf.org and clicking on the photo of President Theodore Roosevelt. One of America's most famous hunters, Roosevelt was also an ardent conservationist. His story, posted at the Web site, will help visitors understand hunters' vital role in conservation, historically, presently and in the future.

 

Here's a condensed roundup of state projects funded through NSSF's Hunting Heritage Partnership in the Great Lakes 

Region:

 

Indiana
Indiana used its grant to fund two youth pheasant hunts and workshops in northern and southern Indiana in 2004. At the events, young hunter education graduates were paired with a mentor who guided them on their first pheasant hunt.

Michigan
Thomas Oliver, hired recently as the agency’s first hunting heritage program coordinator, is overseeing three separate efforts designed to strengthen Michigan’s hunting traditions. These efforts include revitalizing a hunter access program, evaluating Michigan’s youth hunt programs and spearheading an effort to develop a new strategic plan to protect the state’s hunting heritage over the long term.
Minnesota
A public service announcement radio campaign is being aimed at increasing hunter participation. The campaign has not only been aimed at retaining hunters whose licenses may lapse, but it also focuses on inviting newcomers to take part in the state’s fall deer season.

Ohio
A direct-mail marketing campaign is targeting hunters with inconsistent license buying patterns. About 30,000 “Ohio Hunting Guide” brochures were mailed to hunters around the state. The brochures focused on deer hunting opportunities in Ohio, highlighting public lands and how to get permission to use private lands.

Pennsylvania
A mapping program is helping hunters overcome access issues. The Pennsylvania Game Commission invested in the latest computerized mapping software to create detailed maps showing public hunting access points in all 67 counties.

Wisconsin
Wisconsin used its grant to fund leased public hunting access and special youth pheasant hunting programs. Through the access program, willing landowners were paid to open private grounds for public hunting access. In all, 44,000 acres were opened statewide.


Arsenal of Democracy Pays Tribute to Veterans

National Firearms Museum Exhibit Opens May 18

 (Fairfax, VA--) NRA’s connection with the military can be traced back to its founding in 1871 by two Union Army veterans of the Civil War, Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate. Over the next century, NRA’s unyielding commitment to freedom and patriotism would be especially evident during World War II, when the association offered its ranges to the government, developed pre-induction marksmanship training programs, and encouraged members to serve as Home Guards, which states were organizing to replace National Guard units.

 

Today, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of victory in the Second World War, NRA has found two new ways to pay special tribute to the American servicemen and women who fought in that conflict-with a new museum exhibit and the creation of a veterans’ endowment.

 

On May 18th, at an invitation-only reception, the NRA’s National Firearms Museum will open The Arsenal of Democracy, an extraordinary new exhibit created to honor WW II veterans. The title of the exhibit is based on a comment made by President Franklin Roosevelt as America drew closer to entering the war. Roosevelt said: “We must have more ships, more guns, more planes-more of everything…We must be the great arsenal of democracy. For us this is an emergency as serious as war itself.”

 

In the exhibit, visitors will see arms, memorabilia, uniforms and equipment used by 40 individuals who fought in World War II. Moreover, photographs of the person who actually used each object will accompany it. A few highlights of the exhibit include:

•       General Joe Foss’s .45 1911 A1

•       A Marine uniform worn by one of four brothers who fought at Iwo Jima

•       Silk invasion maps

•       John Garand’s M1 Rifle, SN 1,000,000

•       General Douglas MacArthur’s 1911 A1

•       Benito Mussolini’s silver cigar humidor

•       A 1942 staff car

•       A watch, worn by a paratrooper of the 101st Airborne, which stopped the moment he landed in Normandy on D-Day

More,

 

The May 18th reception will also mark the creation of The NRA Foundation’s U.S. Veterans’ Endowment, a permanent source of support for the gun safety and marksmanship training programs that started with NRA’s founding and continue to benefit millions of Americans today.

 

Commenting on the display and the endowment, NRA Executive Director of General Operations Craig D. Sandler said, “One cannot view this exhibit without a profound sense of pride in our military and gratitude for the sacrifices made by American servicemen and women who helped win the Second World War. And I can think of no better way to protect the freedoms they fought for than through the U.S. Veterans’ Endowment, which will permanently support NRA’s important training programs.”

 

The Arsenal of Democracy will open to the general public on May 19 and remain on display until December 31, 2006.

The National Firearms Museum displays more than 2,000 firearms, divided by historical periods and housed in 14 specially designed galleries with unique architectural features. The museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except major holidays, and is located off Interstate 66 (Exit 57-A) on the first floor of NRA Headquarters, at 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, Virginia. Admission to the Museum is free. To learn more about the NRA’s National Firearms Museum visit http://nra.nationalfirearms.museum .

 

The NRA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that raises tax-deductible contributions in support of a wide range of firearms-related public interest activities of the NRA and other organizations that defend and foster the Second Amendment rights of law abiding Americans. For more information on the foundation visit www.nrafoundation.org   or call 800-423-6894.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for April 1, 2005

Current Lake Levels:

All of the Great Lakes are 2 to 9 inches above last year’s levels.   Lake Superior is 4 inches below its long-term average, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 12 inches below its long-term average. Lake St. Clair is 1 inch below its long-term average and Lake Ontario is 2 inches below its long-term average.  Lake Erie is 4 inches above its long-term average.

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

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

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook:

A chance of rain and snow will arrive in the Great Lakes basin

for Friday, as a storm system advances into the region.  The remainder of the weekend and early next week looks dry, with near average temperatures.

 

Forecasted Water Levels:

Lake Superior is beginning its seasonal rise and should increase 4 inches during the next month.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario will continue their seasonal rises and should increase 2-7 inches during the next month.  Note that ice conditions on Lake St. Clair may create rapid fluctuations in the levels over short periods.

 

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.


TRCP - Anti Conservation, Anti Sportsmen?

The TRCP (Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership) has overstepped its purpose. It has taken many positions not supported by the NWTF (National Wild Turkey Federation). The NWTF served on the TRCP's Policy Advisory Board but left in November 2004 because of these positions the TRCP was taking.

As we have said all along, The TRCP is ANTI- Access, Conservation, Wise Use, Forest Management, Habitat Improvement, and Outdoor Recreation. All real sportsmen organizations need to drop and withdraw from this group. Don Sage, Adirondack Conservation Council, Life Member.

 


General

Ice Conditions Change Quickly in the Spring

There is nothing more fascinating to kids than breaking up ice at the edges of lakes, ponds, rivers and creeks.  But, this activity can be dangerous. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urges parents to be especially careful of kids playing near water and ice, even the water and ice in ditches.  What was safe yesterday may not be safe today.

"Ice melts quickly when the temperature stays above freezing at night," said Ken Soring, DNR Enforcement.   Ice may seem thick enough to support a person, but it is not strong ice at this time of the year.   And, water levels are likely to change rapidly, too. Be on the safe side; keep kids away from water and ice.

 


Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Stocking Conference – April 9

The four Lake Michigan Management Agencies (ILL, IN, MI and WI) are sponsoring a chinook stocking conference April 9 in

Benton Harbor Michigan. To read the announcement, view the agenda or download the registration form click here:

 


Illinois

State announces $25.3 million in Parks Grants                  

Funds for land acquisition and development of local parks throughout Illinois

SPRINGFIELD –Illinois residents will have greater opportunities for recreation and relaxation as Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced $25.3 million in grants for 77 local park projects throughout Illinois. The grants fund an array of enhancements, including new land to be developed into parks, funding for new projects in existing parks, and protection of natural areas.

 

“Developing parks is good for the Illinois economy. When people choose where they will raise their families, parks are part of the equation of evaluating quality of life in a community,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold. “As we make communities attractive to families by

developing parks, we make the communities attractive to businesses looking for places to locate or expand where their employees will be happy.”

 

Funding for the grants derives from two sources established specifically to provide money for local park projects - the state Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program ($21.2 million) and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund program ($4.1 million). The two matching grant programs provide up to one-half the funding for local park land acquisition and development projects.

 

Today’s grants will pay for a wide gamut of recreational opportunities. The new development projects include funds for new playgrounds, ball diamonds, basketball courts, soccer fields, walking and jogging paths, and skating facilities.


Turkey Hunting Season to Open in Coming Days

Hunters Urged to Use Care to Maximize Safety, Fun

Springfield—As turkey hunters take to the timber in the coming days, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is issuing a reminder to put safety first. Some Illinois State Parks, where a high concentration of turkey hunters are anticipated will be closed to mushroom hunting until 1 p.m. daily.  IDNR estimates approximately 50,000 people will turkey hunt during the next six weeks.

 

Most properties under the jurisdiction of the IDNR that offer Spring Turkey hunting will not be open for morel hunting until after 1:00 pm daily.  This restriction will be in place through May 5 in the south turkey hunting zones and through May 12 in the north zone.   However, some sites with low turkey hunter densities may remain open all day, so morel seekers are advised to call ahead before planning a morning morel hunt.    Some sites may also close equestrian and popular hiking trails where turkey hunting is allowed.   

 

“We’re taking these extra precautions because harvesting turkeys requires a different strategy than hunting many other species,” said Galen Westerfield, Conservation Police Chief. 

 

Unlike many other animals, turkeys can distinguish colors, and the fowl is very alert to the slightest movement by humans.  As a result, the turkey hunter wears camouflage, rather than the blaze orange worn during other types of hunting season.

IDNR offers the following turkey hunting safety guidelines:

•           Know your target is legitimate game and a legal animal before firing.

•           Make sure you have the appropriate hunting license and permit, as well as a habitat stamp unless exempted."

•           If hunting on private property, secure the permission of the landowner in advance.

•           Be respectful and aware of other hunters.

•           Turkey hunting is allowed from 30 minutes before sunrise, until 1 p.m.

 

IDNR estimates approximately 50,000 people will turkey hunt during the next six weeks. Permits are issued for five different turkey seasons, varying between the north and south zones of the state.  The south zone includes Crawford, Jasper, Effingham, Fayette, Bond, and Madison counties, and all counties south of those.  The fives turkey seasons in the south zone are April 4-8, 9-14, 15-20, 21-27, and April 28-May 5th.  The five turkey seasons in the north zone are April 11-15, 16-21, 22-27, April 28-May 4, and May 5-12.  A hunter is allowed up to three permits for the spring turkey season with an allowable harvest of one turkey per permit.

 

The wild turkey population in Illinois now tops 100,000, after dropping to near extinction in the middle part of the last century.  Rules that are in place as needed for public safety, as spring is a time when Illinois State Parks are popular for a variety of activities.  The rules have been crafted to maximize enjoyment for the largest number and variety of park visitors.


Spring Trout Season opened April 2

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – It’s easier than it’s ever been to get your fishing or hunting license.  As the new spring trout season begins this weekend, fishing licenses are available online, and can be obtained within a matter of minutes.

 

To order your license online, go to http://www.great-lakes.org/lkstates.html .  The icon labeled “on-line licenses for Illinois fishing and hunting” makes the process of obtaining a license simple, with clear directions.  The fee for an online license is just 49 cents.

 

“With the cost of gasoline these days, the online option is ideal,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold.  “You don’t have to drive anywhere to get your fishing license, and you can get your trout stamp at the same time, so you are ready to go first thing Saturday morning.  There’s no waiting.  You print the license out for yourself right away.”

 

The 2005 spring trout fishing season in Illinois opened last Saturday, April 2.  More than 60,000 trout are stocked in 40 bodies of water state-wide. Stocking for the rainbow trout fishing program in Illinois is made possible through the sale of inland trout stamps to those anglers who participate.  The

stamps are available for $6.50 each.

 

To legally participate in the trout fishing program, anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp.  Annual fishing licenses for the 2005 season will be valid through March 31, 2006.  Illinois’ 24-hour fishing license includes trout fishing privileges for the 24-hour period the license is valid.  A license is required unless the angler is under age 16, blind or disabled, or is an Illinoisan on active military service home on leave.

 

Anglers may not take trout from any of the stocked sites from March 15 until the opening of the season on April 2 at 5 a.m.  Anyone attempting to take trout before the legal opening will be issued citations.  Once the season opens, the daily possession limit for the spring trout season is five fish.   Anglers are reminded to check in advance for any site-specific regulations and the opening time of their favorite trout fishing location.  While the statewide spring trout season opens at 5 a.m. on April 2, some locations may have a later opening time.

 

For more information about the trout stocking program, contact the IDNR Division of Fisheries at 217/782-6424 or check the web site at www.ifishillinois.org.


Indiana

Spring trout fishing prospects

Inland trout stream season opens April 30

The Indiana DNR is expanding trout fishing opportunities in eastern Indiana.  Nineteen rivers and streams across Indiana will be stocked with rainbow trout for the opening of Inland Stream Trout Season.

 

The Mississinewa River in the Randolph County Wildlife Management Area will be a new stocking spot this spring. The river reach in the wildlife area will be stocked with 400 rainbow trout for the opening of the trout season on April 30.

 

DNR Biologists found cool water temperatures and good trout

habitat in the river at Randolph County WMA during a fisheries survey in Aug. 1998.  Biologists recorded water temperatures and dissolved oxygen levels monthly, April through June, in 2002 and 2003 to make sure water quality would support rainbow trout during those months.

 

The Mississinewa River will be under the state-wide inland trout rules.  Trout anglers may start fishing at 5 a.m. on April 30. The season runs through Dec. 31, 2005. The creel limit is five per day and the minimum size limit is seven inches long.

More trout fishing opportunities and rules:   www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/fish/trout/trout_regs.htm


2005 turkey season forecast

Indiana DNR wildlife research biologist Steve Backs expects more than 50,000 hunters for this spring's Indiana turkey hunting season. The season runs from April 27 to May 15. Backs also expects about one-in-four hunters will bring a bearded bird home, resulting in a record harvest of roughly 11,500 turkeys.

 

Data collected by Backs also points to a bigger Indiana turkey flock this spring. Hens observed last summer had significantly more poults than in an average year. Backs says last spring's warm weather and lots of insects for food helped baby turkeys grow and survive.

Backs also noted that more and larger turkey broods were seen in areas with substantial cicada hatches.   "The profuse amount of insect biomass provided by the hatching of the Brood X 17-year cicadas provided an easy food source. Wild turkeys, their poults, and other wildlife were seen aggressively feeding on newly hatched cicadas," said Backs.

 

Last summer, some areas of Indiana bore an estimated 1.5 million cicadas per acre.

 

More Indiana wild turkey information: www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/hunt/turkey/turkeydata.htm


Michigan

Harbor Construction Begins in Mackinaw City

First phase of Construction begins this spring

Construction is scheduled to begin this spring on the first phase of a $9.5 million new state harbor of refuge in Mackinaw City with the installation of two breakwaters.

 

Durocher Marine of Cheboygan, a division of Kokosing Construction Company, was awarded a $1,473,600 contract to install 73,800 tons of stone to create 850 linear ft of breakwater and two navigation lights that will form a calm water area. Future phases of the project will develop harbor buildings and floating piers.

 

The new Mackinaw State Harbor will add up to 125 transient slips and creatively redevelop the state's former car ferry dock within the city. DNR Parks and Recreation's waterways planning staff and the State Waterways Commission are reviewing surrounding existing harbors to create a slip  

configuration that will accommodate boaters' greatest needs.

 

The breakwater construction is expected to be completed by January 2006. The finished harbor will serve as harbor of refuge for boaters to find a calm spot to moor during inclement weather. A completion date for additional phases of the project has not been determined.

 

Michigan leads the nation with more one million registered watercrafts. Boaters enjoy more than 11,000 inland lakes, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams and 3,000 miles of freshwater shoreline - more than any other state. The State Waterways Commission and the DNR, often in partnerships with local communities, have developed a string of protective harbors for the convenience of Great Lakes boaters.

 

This project is funded by the State Waterways Fund, created by boaters' registration fees and marine fuel sales tax.


Gladwin Off-Road Vehicle Trail to Remain Closed for Repairs

Michigan DNR officials today announced the Gladwin off-road vehicle (ORV) trail north of M-61 will continue to remain closed for damage assessment and repair following the severe flooding that hit the area last May. The trail will remain open south of M-61, however.

 

Last May, the trail north of M-61 was closed due to severe flooding and trail degradation. Approximately 14 miles of trail just north of M-61 has been evaluated and scheduled for repair. Most repairs will begin in the spring as weather conditions allow, and are scheduled for completion by the end of September 2005. The repairs include installation of culverts and improvements to the trail surface in places where seasonally wet conditions exist. This portion of the trail will remain closed until all repairs are completed.

The portion of trail that lies farthest north of M-61, approximately 18 miles, is still under evaluation and is not scheduled to reopen at this time. A thorough assessment of soil types, trail conditions and possible repairs for this area are currently being conducted. A list of options and alternatives based on the results of the assessment will be developed for review and implementation.

 

The entire trail south of M-61 will remain open for use.

For information regarding the status of this trail, contact Gladwin Unit Manager Courtney Borgondy at 989-426-9205, Ext. 7640. For a map of the trail or information regarding the ORV program, contact ORV Program Manager Steve Kubisiak at 517-373-1665, or visit the DNR's Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr .

 


Minnesota

Fishing regulation changes open for comment thru July 18

The Minnesota DNR is inviting public comments and suggestions for recreational and commercial fishing regulations currently under consideration for change.  Public comments will be considered for inclusion in a package of rules that will be drafted after the July 18 deadline. The final rules package will be made available for public review and comment through the State Register.

 

A complete listing of the proposed changes under consideration can be found in the March 14 edition of the State Register

www.comm.media.state.mn.us .

 

Among the changes to be considered are:

- add and clarify conditions for fishing contest operations and permits, including off-site weigh-ins, disposal of fish, and live

release tournaments,

- open Taylor and Townline (Loon) lakes in Aitkin County and Blue Lake in Hubbard County to winter trout fishing

 

- close fishing on Lake Christina in Grant and Douglas counties to accommodate waterfowl management goals for this area  

 

- close whitefish/tullibee netting on 13 lakes in Crow Wing, Douglas, Itasca and Todd counties and open it on Elbow Lake St. Louis County and Devil's Track Lake in Cook County.

 

Comments may be submitted through July 18 in writing to: Linda Erickson-Eastwood, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020; by calling (651) 296-3325 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367), or by sending an e-mail from the DNR's online regulation page www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/rules/index.html .]

 


Minnesota angler faces nearly $4,500 in fines and restitution

A Minnesota man faces nearly $4,500 in fines and restitution resulting from a Turn in Poacher (TIP) call. The call provided information about an overlimit of fish in a garage and apartment freezer, vehicle information, and times when the suspect usually went fishing on Medicine Lake in Plymouth. 

 

On March 17, Minnesota DNR conservation officers Thephong Le and Jackie Glaser responded to the call. When they arrived at the suspect's apartment, the officers inadvertently met James Louis Bernier, 48, New Hope, driving in the parking lot. 

 

"Bernier had been fishing on Medicine Lake in Plymouth and admitted to having an overlimit of sunfish in his vehicle, including 51 sunfish in the back seat," Glaser said. "Bernier said he knew he had an overlimit of sunfish and gave us

permission to look in a freezer in his garage as well as the freezer in his apartment."

 

The officers discovered a total of 173 sunfish, 81 crappies and four bass. The sunfish daily possession limit is 20 while the crappie possession limit is 10. The bass season closed on Feb. 20. Charges of a gross overlimit of sunfish, overlimit of crappies, and taking bass in a closed season have been filed in Hennepin County District Court. The suspect's angling license was also seized. If convicted, Bernier faces a fine of $3,000 and restitution of $1,330.

 

Le said time is the most important factor when reporting poaching activity. "If you see or hear something, call right away, it is so critical," he said. "If you wait until morning, it may be too late to catch the person responsible. Timing is everything."


New York

Cape Vincent Hatchery Update

Ponds progress since the January meeting

Frank Cean, President Lake Ontario Fisheries Coalition (a GLSFC member) informs us the water pump and base have been re-built and are in great shape.  The motor has been ordered.  Pat Crump, Knowlton Maintenance Supervisor, would be contacted before the pump pad is poured so Pat can be on-site to insure the proper pump/pad fit.

 

NYSDEC Cape Vincent Supervisor Steve LaPan noted that they were putting the pressure on to get Niagara Mohawk to re-activate the electric service pole.  There has always been 1 phase to the pole, now 3 phase is needed as well.  Two separate meters are needed.

 

The group approved the monies needed to purchase new gate valves. The six ponds that were contiguous cannot be used because some of the valves cannot be accessed, therefore different ponds will be selected to keep the number at six.  The village will run a new pipeline to the pump. LaPan advised that the screens are all in good shape and ready to  

go.

 

Tom Hughes will be devoting 100% of his studies to the walleye project.  Once the fish are in the water, the survival rate and where they are going in summer and fall will be monitored.  OTC will determine stocked as opposed to naturally reproduced fish.

 

The LOFC has made application for additional funds to include walleye and the Eastern Basin.  The funds would ensure sufficient resources to cover Hughes' work.  Hughes will be looking at tributaries of Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River that would provide natural habitat for walleye.

 

Gov. Pataki still hasn’t modified the employment freeze to hire the sorely needed staff to operate the Cape Vincent hatchery.  Even though assurances were made the freeze would be lifted if the license fee increase were approved – which it was, the freeze is still in place.  Another GLSFC member group, the Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon & Trout Assn has offered manpower assistance with the Cape Vincent project


Pennsylvania

Fishing Club for kids turns 25 years old       

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s premiere fishing club for youth is no longer a kid itself.  March 2005 marks the 25th anniversary for PLAY – the Pennsylvania League of Angling Youth.

      

 In 1980, the then-Pennsylvania Fish Commission was exploring ideas to get children excited about fishing and educating youth on aquatic resources.  The agency often received letters from educators, parents and even children themselves looking for materials and ideas aimed at youth.  While lots of magazines and books existed on subjects like fishing, boating, and aquatics, most were aimed at adults.  Even materials designed for kids were somewhat generic.  So PLAY was born to fill the void. 

       

Those who paid a small fee received a membership card and a subscription to a quarterly newsletter designed for 8- to 12-year-olds focusing on aquatic life and recreational opportunities in Pennsylvania.  Many times, new members received “goodies” like a lure or lucky fishing hook.  Perhaps the most prized item was an annual patch featuring one of the state’s many fish.  The tradition of issuing PLAY patches continues to this day and patches from the early years of the program are highly sought by collectors.

       

The club concept was immediately well received and soon PLAY boasted over 10,000 members.  A mentoring aspect also grew in conjunction with PLAY.  Waterways Conservation Officers and trained volunteers conducted PLAY fishing skills classes and fishing derbies.  Sportsmen’s clubs and cooperative nurseries stock fish in small ponds and invite youngsters out for a day.  Attendees would earn PLAY memberships and received other publications.

       

One of the most important developments for PLAY came in

1985 with legislation that allowed federal funding to be used by state agencies for aquatic education.  One of the best benefits of the new funding was the Commission was able to expand upon PLAY to send the newsletter to Pennsylvania schools for use by teachers.  With educators requesting PLAY for their classrooms, membership grew to reach 40,000 to 60,000 youth annually.

 

PLAY also received boosts for other areas as well.  Star catcher Ed Ott of the Pittsburgh Pirates – a Muncy native – served as honorary spokesperson/chairman for the program.  Outdoor writers in particular were instrumental in promoting the program.  For many years, the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association sponsored free memberships for children who responded to articles on the program. 

      

In 2001, another evolution in PLAY opened the program for even more interested participants.  In honor of the late Commissioner Enoch “Inky” Moore and his tireless work on youth programs, the Commission dropped the membership fee for PLAY.  Today, PLAY membership is free for all youngsters.  The quarterly newsletters are also included as an “extra” for subscribers to the Fish and Boat Commission’s Pennsylvania Angler & Boater Magazine. 

       

Parents interested in signing a child age 8-12 up for an annual PLAY membership may print out a subscription request from the Commission’s web site at www.fish.state.pa.us  (select “Kids-PLAY” from the left-hand navigation bar).  Information on purchasing PLAY patches is also available online.  Memberships may also be requested in writing by providing the recipient’s name and address to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Educational Media Section, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000.

 


Wisconsin

Chinook stocking cuts weighed to prevent collapse of forage base

STURGEON BAY – A Lake Michigan-wide conference April 9 in Benton Harbor, Mich., offers anglers and concerned citizens an opportunity to learn more about stocking of chinook in Lake Michigan and weigh in on how to address a growing mismatch between “kings” and their available food supply.

 

Wisconsin anglers have hauled in near-record catches of Lake Michigan chinook for the past three years, but have reported that the fish they've been catching have been running smaller and in poorer condition.

 

Fish biologists believe they're seeing the warning signs that chinook are again outstripping their food supply, and setting up a situation similar to the late 1980s, when low forage base levels helped trigger a collapse in the chinook population, says Paul Peeters, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ lead fish biologist for Lake Michigan chinook

 

“You can have too much of a good thing -- we already demonstrated that in the late 1980s,” Peeters says. “We encourage anglers to attend the meeting to understand the situation facing the chinook fishery and help us decide how to proceed.”

 

The April 9 conference is being organized by the Lake Michigan committee and is being hosted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Wisconsin DNR also plans to schedule a meeting in Wisconsin at a later date to provide anglers with information and solicit comment.

 

Peeters and some other Wisconsin biologists believe the Great Lakes states should cut back on chinook stocking to bring the number of "kings" in line with alewife populations and continue to provide a healthy Lake Michigan chinook fishery.

 

They note that after Great Lakes states, following consultation with the fishing public, agreed to significantly cut stocking of chinook in Lake Michigan in 1999, the chinook population started to recover and has provided phenomenal fishing in 2002, 2003, and 2004. “We believe we can sustain the fishery best by stocking less,” Peeters says.

 

Failure to act in time may cause a repeat of what happened in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the chinook population crashed and angler harvests dropped to less than one-third the 2004 harvest of 360,991 chinook. Chinook stocked as 4-inch fingerlings take two years to grow in the lake before they prey in a big way on alewives, Peeters says. “If we continue to stock too many chinook and collapse the forage base, it’s a

huge risk for the Lake Michigan fishery," Peeters says. "If we don’t stock enough chinook, it’s not nearly as risky."

 

In addition to smaller chinook size -- the average 30-inch chinook now weighs 8.5 pounds instead of 10.5 pounds, as in 1976 -- there are other warning signs that there are already too many chinook in Lake Michigan. The average amount of food in the chinook’s stomach, known as “the ration,” is going down, and U.S. Geological Survey's fall trawling surveys show the alewife population, the chinook’s main prey, is down precipitously, Peeters says.

 

The mismatch in chinook numbers and forage base reflects a number of factors, according to Bill Horns, DNR Lake Michigan specialist. For starters, natural reproduction of chinook in Michigan tributaries has increased dramatically; while Wisconsin’s tributaries are generally regarded as too warm for significant natural reproduction, Michigan’s groundwater-fed tributaries are more than suitable and are producing up to an estimated 4 million fish annually.

 

Increasing numbers of stray chinook from Lake Huron are making their way into Lake Michigan, based on the tag returns from fish captured in Lake Michigan by anglers or during agency fish surveys. The chinook stocked in Lake Michigan are a Pacific Coast strain that are used to ranging thousands of miles for their foraging.

 

And perhaps most importantly, the steps taken after the late 1980s chinook population crash has resulted in more healthy fish being stocked and surviving longer and in greater numbers. Wisconsin, for instance, now screens fish for signs of bacterial kidney disease to reduce the risk that the fish they collect eggs from for hatching don’t have disease, and treats hatched fish with antibiotics while they are in the hatchery, Horns says.

 

At the same time, Lake Michigan’s food web may be affected by variables the states can't control, including zebra mussels, which were first discovered in Lake Michigan in 1989 and have since proliferated and are suspected of filtering out an important link in the food chain, he says.

 

Horns and Peeters encourage anglers and others to come to the conference to listen to presentations on the agencies’ findings and recommendations. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m., April 9 at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor. People interested in attending the conference or in obtaining additional information should contact Chuck Pistis of Michigan Sea Grant at (616) 846-8250 or pistis@msu.edu . Advance registration is recommended. A small registration fee ($5 in advance or $8 at the door) will be charged to help cover a lunch.


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