Week of April 30, 2012

Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
National

Regional

General
Lake Michigan

Indiana
Michigan
Minnesota
Ohio

Pennsylvania
Wisconsin
Other Breaking News Items

 

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Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

Federal Ammunition celebrates its

90th birthday

ANOKA, Minn. – April 27, 2012––Federal Premium Ammunition celebrated its 90th birthday on April 27th. On this historic occasion, the company reflects on the past nine decades, while keeping an eye on the future. From its humble beginnings nestled among the lakes and woods of Minnesota, Federal Premium has evolved into one of the world’s major producers of sporting ammunition and a trusted partner to shooters around the world.

What began as Federal Cartridge Company has a well documented rise to the top. But from the beginning, it hasn’t been about just trying to sell more ammo. An impressive list of notable accomplishments is topped by helping to create a self-imposed excise tax to preserve habitat and providing leadership in the advent of steel and non-toxic shot for waterfowl. Federal has also been a staunch supporter of the shooting sports and conservation. Meanwhile, it has remained the leader in technical advancements, producing award-winning ammunition shooters expect and deserve.


National

Trail Creek lamprey barrier dedicated

Designed to protect Lake Michigan from sea lamprey

INDIANAPOLIS -- One of the newest sea lamprey control tools, a barrier on Indiana’s Trail Creek, was dedicated Friday, April 20 near Michigan City.  

 

A tributary to Lake Michigan, Trail Creek produces tens of thousands of sea lamprey larvae annually, contributing to Lake Michigan’s sea lamprey population and the destruction it brings to the fishery.  Trail Creek is also a world class creek producing large angler-desired steelhead, Coho, Brown Trout and Chinook salmon.

 

With the barrier in place, lampricides will no longer be used in Trail Creek above the barrier, resulting in cost savings. The new barrier will deny sea lampreys access to their spawning grounds and thus reduce their numbers before they have a chance to destroy Great Lakes fish.

The Trail Creek barrier was constructed through a partnership between the Indiana DNR, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the USFWS and the USACE.

 

On hand was Bill James, chief of fisheries for the Indiana DNR and a member of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission; Charlie Wooley, deputy regional director of the USFWS Midwest region; Lt. Col. John Richards of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and various anglers representing local and regional conservation & angling organizations..

 

Sea lampreys invaded Lake Michigan more than 75 years ago and have been a blight on the fishery. The average sea lamprey destroys more than 40 pounds of Great Lakes fish during the predacious phase of its life.

The Trail Creek sea lamprey barrier is a fixed crest lowhead barrier fitted with stop logs in the center. Jumping fish species may pass at any time. The barrier also is equipped with a fishway and a sea lamprey trap that will be operated by the USFWS. The fishway and trap are designed to remove spawning sea lampreys but allow passage of desirable fish above the barrier. Trail Creek has been treated with lampricides eight times since 1966. Each treatment costs approximately $150,000.

 

“The barrier at Trail Creek is the newest weapon in the sea lamprey control arsenal,” Bill James said. “It will prevent tens of thousands of sea lamprey larvae from migrating to Lake Michigan to destroy Great Lakes fish and it will save the Great Lakes Fishery Commission millions of dollars in treatment costs.”

 

Mike Ryan, a board member for the Northwest Indiana Steelheaders and Hoosier Coho Club and advisor to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, said: “Sea lamprey control is essential to Lake Michigan and to the Great Lakes fishery. Without it, the millions of people who fish the lakes would have far fewer fish in their creels and we would revert to the days when alewives died on our beaches by the millions. The Great Lakes are a far healthier place today than they were 20 or 30 years ago. The sea lamprey control program has contributed to the remarkable recovery of these lakes.”

 

For a map with directions to the site, see www.in.gov/dnr/news/co-LampreyBarrierDedication.pdf.  The barrier is located on Springland Ave, across from the Pottawamie Country Club

 


Trail Creek Sea Lamprey Barrier Facts

Barriers are constructed on streams in strategic locations throughout the Great Lakes basin to prevent sea lampreys from spawning.  This will effectively reduce the number of streams that need chemical treatment to control recruitment of sea lampreys. 

 

The benefits of barriers include savings in lampricide costs, decreased application costs, and more efficient sea lamprey control.  Ecologically, a sea lamprey barrier has the added benefit of reducing chemical exposure to the biological community.  However, barriers do reduce the stream connectivity as related to upstream fish passage and recreational use. 

 

Treatment frequency:   Trail Creek has been treated eight times during 1966-2010.

Treatment cost:  $142,000

Stream miles treated: 26 miles (Trail Creek and Willow Creek)

Larvae removed during treatment:  17,000

Project location:  Springland Avenue, Michigan City, Indiana

Project start: 2000

Projected project end:  2012

Barrier operation:  The barrier is a fixed crest low-head barrier fitted with stop logs in the center, which remain in place year round to

prevent the migration of spawning-phase sea lampreys.  

Fishway operation:  The fishway and sea lamprey trap will be operated by USFWS personnel from April 1-15 each year.

Designated non-target species will be passed above the barrier, or through the Fish Ladder, a passage specially built to allow desired

species to safely pass beyond the barrier.

 


Regional

Bighead caught in St. Croix underscores urgency of Asian carp

The discovery late last week of another Asian carp at the mouth of the St. Croix River underscores the need to move ahead with efforts to stop their spread, according to officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

 

On Thursday, April 19, commercial fishermen working near Prescott, Wis., netted a 30 lb bighead carp from the St. Croix River where it flows into the Mississippi. One of several nonnative species of Asian carp that can cause serious ecological problems, bighead carp have been working their way north in the Mississippi River.

 

Thursday’s catch was the second time this year Asian carp have been found by commercial fishermen in Minnesota waters. In March, a bighead and a silver carp were netted on the Mississippi River near Winona. Last April, another bighead was taken from the St. Croix near Prescott. While no established populations of bighead or silver carp are known to exist in Minnesota, environmental DNA (eDNA) testing last year suggests the fish may be more common in Twin Cities segments of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers than either agency or commercial netting have been able to confirm.

 

“This latest discovery – the third in the last year – underscores the urgency surrounding Asian carp,” said Steve Hirsch, director of DNR’s Division of Ecological and Water Resources. “These invaders have huge potential to wreak havoc on Minnesota’s fisheries and aquatic ecosystems, so we need to do everything we can to stop them from spreading, and we need to do it now.”

Hirsch said the highest priority action now is for Congress to authorize closure of the lock at Upper St. Anthony Falls. Bills to that effect have been introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Keith Ellison, with other members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation as co-sponsors. Those bills also would increase federal support for Asian carp control efforts in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, which has until now been limited to the Great Lakes.

 

As part of an Asian carp control plan, the DNR also is working on several other measures to halt or slow their spread:

  • Obtain funds for a carp barrier at Lock and Dam #1 in Minneapolis

  • Continue eDNA monitoring and increase contract netting by commercial fishing operators

  • Do a vulnerability assessment to evaluate the risk Asian carp pose to Minnesota waters statewide

  • Support research to develop control techniques

  • Restore habitat for native fish species to increase ecosystem resiliency to resist invaers

 

Populations of bighead and silver carp are established in the Mississippi River and its tributaries downstream of Dubuque, Iowa. Bighead and silver carp are voracious eaters, capable of consuming 5 to 20 % of their body weight each day. They feed on algae and other microscopic organisms, often outcompeting native fish for food. Scientists believe Asian carp could severely disrupt the aquatic ecosystems of Minnesota waters. For more info: www.dnr.state.mn.us/asian-carp/index.html

 


Great Lakes Water Levels for April 27

WEATHER CONDITIONS

The western Great Lakes basin saw limited precipitation this past week while the Lake Ontario basin received significant amounts midweek. High winds and seasonal temperatures were the norm across much of the region. Cool temperatures are expected to settle into the area for the weekend with a slight warm up as the new week begins. Precipitation will be held to a minimum across much of the basin with the most likely chance of rain occurring within the southern portion of the Lake Michigan Basin this next week.

LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS

Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 2 and 1 inches, respectively, higher than they were last year. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 1, 2, and 4 inches, respectively, lower than a year ago. Over the next month, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are both forecasted to rise 3 inches from their current levels. The water levels of Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie are expected to remain steady while the level of Lake Ontario is expected to increase 2 inches over the next thirty days.

FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS

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

outflow through the Niagara River and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River are both predicted to be above average in April.

ALERTS

The water level of Lake Superior is below chart datum and is forecasted to remain below chart datum until July. Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels. Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for April 27

600.46

577.53

574.08

571.72

245.73

Datum, in ft

601.10

577.50

572.30

569.20

243.30

Diff in inches

-8

0

+21

+30

+29

Diff last month

+2

0

-2

-4

-3

Diff from last yr

+2

+1

-1

-2

-4


Asian Carp Sampling Summary

A sampling summary from the Illinois DNR for the week of April 23, 2012 is included below.

Bottom Line: Monitoring occurred in the CAWS and upper Illinois Waterway upstream and downstream of the Dispersal Barrier. NO BIGHEAD OR SILVER CARP were reported captured or observed upstream of the Barrier, nor were any found in new locations downstream of the Barrier.

 

Fixed and Random Site Sampling Upstream of the Dispersal Barrier Site 1: Lake Calumet Area 1: Lake Calumet Connecting Channel and

Site 2: Little Calumet River Calumet River above O’Brien Lock

Site 3: Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Area 2: Calumet-Sag Channel

Western Ave. and South Branch Chicago River Area 3: Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal,

Site 4: North Branch Chicago River and Western Ave. to Dispersal Barrier

North Shore Channel Area 4: North Shore Channel, North Branch

Site 5: North Shore Channel Chicago River and Chicago River

 

A crew from the USFWS-La Crosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office completed 30 15-minute electrofishing runs at five fixed sites and 12 15-minutes runs at randomly selected locations in the four random site areas upstream of the Dispersal Barrier. In addition, two contracted commercial fishing crews and assisting IDNR biologists set 3.6 miles of net (24 sets) at the five fixed sites and set 0.7 miles of net (6 sets) at random sites upstream of the Barrier. No bighead or silver carp were reported captured or seen above the Barrier.

Additional Netting Downstream of the Dispersal Barrier Two contracted commercial fishing crews and

assisting IDNR biologists set 1.6 miles of net in Dresden

Island Pool >15 miles downstream from the Dispersal Barrier. No Asian carp were captured or observed during this netting operation.

 

Fish Behavior Study at the Barrier

Crews from USFWS-Carterville and Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation offices recorded behavior of gizzard shad held in a cage alongside a boat passing through the Dispersal Barrier and a control site in the CSSC away from the barrier. A total of 20 passes were made through the barrier and 10 passes were made through the control site.

 

Telemetry Monitoring Project

A crew from USACE successfully re-deployed two VR4 receivers in the CSSC downstream of Barrier 2A.

 

Unconventional Gear Development Study

A crew from the INHS and a consulting commercial fisher examined locations to evaluate Lake Michigan style pound (trap) nets for sampling Asian carp and surrogate species (e.g., Buffalo spp. and common carp) in the CAWS (Lake Calumet) and an Illinois River backwater area near Morris, Illinois. Pending necessary approvals, evaluations of pound nets are scheduled to begin in late May or June 2012.

 

Contracted commercial net sampling will take place the week of April 30.

 

Water Gun Development and Testing

A crew from USGS- Rocky Mountain Science Center and an assisting IDNR crew prepared and tested equipment and worked through logistics for upcoming experiments evaluating the effects of water guns on Asian carp behavior. The experiments are scheduled to take place in an Illinois River backwater near Morris, Illinois from May 7-26, 2012.


General

Free seminars, giveaways and fun at

Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops is dedicated to ensuring outdoorsman and women continue to learn and advance their skills through exciting and educational events such as the ‘Set Your Sights Event’ being held in 50 Bass Pro Shops store locations (excludes Destin, FL; Branson, MO; Miami, FL; Islamorada, FL; and Canadian locations).  And, it’s at a price everyone can afford—free.

 

The ‘Set Your Sights Event’ features free need-to-know seminars May 4th through the 6th.  Participants can enter the drawing to win a $25 Bass Pro Shops gift card at each seminar throughout the event.   Saturday, May 5th the first 50 customers to attend seminars will receive a FREE gun lock.   Also, register for a chance to win a Remington® 700™ ADL™ rifle (valued at $449.97USD) or an Otis Technology Elite Gun Cleaning System (valued at $139.99USD). 

 

Free Need-To-Know Seminars topics and times (Seminar topics vary by location and subject to change, check local store listing or www.basspro.com for specific availability):

 

Friday, May 4th:
• 6pm:  Guns and Accessories for Your Modern Sporting Rifle Project
• 7pm:  Gun Accessories and latest trends or Conceal-Carry, discussion of laws, permits and equipment. Check local store listing for seminar choice availability.
• 8pm:  Reloading Basics.  Why Should You Reload?  Learn about selecting equipment, proper reloading techniques and tips and tricks to ensure success or Proper Gun Care, learn how to properly clean and store your gun to keep it safe and dry.  Check local store listing for seminar choice availability.

 

Saturday, May 5th:
• 1pm:  Guns and Accessories for Your Modern Sporting

Rifle Project
• 2pm:  Conceal-Carry, a discussion of laws, permits and equipment or learn about ‘Gun Accessories’ and latest trends.  Check local store listing for seminar choice availability.
• 3pm:  Reloading Basics.  Why Should You Reload?  Learn about selecting equipment, proper reloading techniques and tips and tricks to ensure success or ‘Proper Gun Care’ and learn how to properly clean and store your gun to keep it safe and dry.  Check local store listing for seminar choice availability.
• 4pm:  What is CCW?  Learn what you should expect from a Conceal and Carry Weapons class, what it costs, who is eligible to get a CCW permit, and how to sign up for a class or ‘Proper Gun Care’ and learn how to properly clean and store your gun to keep it safe and dry. Check local store listing for seminar choice availability.

 

Sunday, May 6th:
• 1pm:  Guns and Accessories for Your Modern Sporting Rifle Project
• 2pm:  Conceal-Carry, a discussion of laws, permits and equipment or ‘Gun Accessories’ and latest trends.  Check local store listing for seminar choice availability.
• 3pm:  Reloading Basics.  Why Should You Reload?  Learn about selecting equipment, proper reloading techniques and tips and tricks to ensure success or ‘Proper Gun Care’, learn how to properly clean and store your gun to keep it safe and dry. Check local store listing for seminar choice availability.
• 4pm:  What is CCW?  Learn what you should expect from a Conceal and Carry Weapons class, what it costs, who is eligible to get a CCW permit, and how to sign up for a class or ‘Proper Gun Care’, learn how to properly clean and store your gun to keep it safe and dry. Check local store listing for seminar choice availability.

 

Visit www.basspro.com or your local store for additional details, rules and exclusions. 

 


Most Anglers Not Deterred by Lost Access

One in five anglers surveyed by www.AnglerSurvey.com  reported having to cancel or quit fishing a particular location last year because they had lost access to a favorite fishing spot. While most were able to shift their fishing to a different location, about a third of the affected anglers - or seven percent of all survey respondents - said it caused them to quit fishing altogether.

 

Access issues occur almost evenly across fresh and saltwater bodies of water. In fact, with three out of four anglers fishing freshwater, three out of four access problems affected freshwater anglers. Twenty-one percent

affected saltwater anglers and less than five percent affected anglers fishing brackish waters.

 

While lost or reduced fishing access to prime fishing areas is a concern to all anglers, many anglers were able to find another place to fish. Of those who lost access to a lake, stream or other body of water, nearly 60 percent said they were able to continue fishing. Besides the seven percent who said it caused them to quit, 35 percent admitted they fished a little less frequently.

 

For full report, click on title here: Most Anglers Not Deterred by Lost Access


Participation in Outdoor Recreation reaches highest level in five years
Almost Half of All Americans Participated in Outdoor Activities in 2011

Washington, DC (April 24, 2012) — In 2011, more Americans participated in outdoor recreation activities than in the past five years – perhaps signaling a move toward healthier, active lifestyles. More than 141 million Americans, or 49.4 % of the U.S. population, participated in outdoor activities last year – reflecting an increase of three million people compared to 2010 and continuing a five-year trend. In addition, Americans made a total of 11.6 billion outdoor outings in 2011, which is 1.5 billion more than the previous year. Annually, participants averaged 82 outdoor outings – from hiking to biking, skiing to paddling. The findings are part of the 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report, the leading report tracking outdoor participation trends in United States published by The Outdoor Foundation.


“This report shows that Americans are getting up and getting outside – a great trend for the outdoor community and the country,” said Christine Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. “We are encouraged by the growing population of active young people, which reflects recent efforts to re-engage and re-inspire America’s youth to get outdoors.”


The research shows increases in youth and young adult participation – continuing an encouraging, yet modest, trend over the last few years. The study found that outdoor participation increased by one-percentage in every age bracket, six to 12, 13 to 17 and 18 to 24 respectively. This

accounted for more than four billion outdoor outings for the
younger generation with an annual average of nearly 90 outdoor outings. While encouraging, these rates are significantly lower than those recorded in 2006. For example, 63 percent of youth ages six to 12 participated in outdoor recreation in 2011, compared to 78 % in 2006.

 

The most popular activities among young people, in terms of overall participation, continued to be running, biking, camping, fishing and hiking. Skateboarding, triathlons and bird-watching were among their top five favorite activities as measured by frequency. Interestingly, adults share a passion for similar recreational pursuits.

 

“We are seeing promising outdoor participation trends among traditional audiences across many recreation activities,” continued Fanning. “However, our preliminary data analysis shows that we are losing ground among minority populations and other important emerging markets. We will provide detailed information on all the trends in our signature 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, which will be released soon.”

Published annually by The Outdoor Foundation with research support from the Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, the 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report is derived from almost 40,000 online interviews conducted in January 2012/early February 2012. Respondents came from a nationwide sample of individuals and households from the U.S. Online Panel operated by Synovate. Over-sampling of ethnic groups took place to boost response from typically under-responding groups.


Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Stocking Conference Highlights

Post conference surveys – and new options – still open for comment

On Saturday, April 14, Michigan Sea Grant hosted a meeting on the future of stocking in Lake Michigan. The meeting was sponsored by the four Lake Michigan DNRs and Tribes.

 

For those who attended the 2005 meeting, a decision analysis tool was developed to "flag" a host of indicators of Chinook and alewife health as it relates to the Lake Michigan Fishery. This tool was comprised of 17 indices, such as fish size, catch rate, ration (the mean weight of a 30” Chinook), alewife population, etc. These indicators were tracked on a yearly basis for 5 years. If a given indicator was low in a given year, it received a yellow flag. If an indicator received a yellow flag for 3 years out of the 5 year period, then it received a red flag.

 

Over the previous 5 year period, enough red flags have been tripped to trigger discussion of altering stocking practices. A summary of the meeting, compiled by Michigan Sea Grant can be found here:

www.miseagrant.umich.edu/downloads/fisheries/stocking/

Lake_Michigan_Salmon_Stocking_Strategies_Briefing

_Final.pdf

 

Besides the information already available, here were a couple of take home points for us:

 

►While previously looked at as separate entities, similarities in the environment of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are enough to be looked at as parallel systems. Moreover, due to the connection between the two and resulting still largely unknown passage of biota between the two, that paradigm is evolving into looking at Lake Michigan/Huron as one ecologic entity.

 

► The Georgian Bay tributaries produce up to 14 million Chinook smolts annually. For many of us it was the first time hearing that figure.

► While it's been known for some time that some Lake Huron Kings have been coming into Lake Michigan to forage, it is uncertain just how many make their way over here. But, when you consider the number above (and add a healthy question mark of uncertainty), combine it with what's going into the lake already (stocked + wild LM Chinook smolts, plus lakers, cohoes, steel, browns), then consider forage base observations; the whole equation can be understated as sobering.

 

► A wealth of information was presented by USGS scientist Chuck Madenjian. Madenjian added that fisheries biologists have observed several years of a "flattening effect" with the alewife population. This effect was recently seen in Lake Huron immediately preceding the crash of alewife there. Other effects previously seen in Lake Huron are loss of whole year classes, especially as it pertains to adult alewife (no 7 to9-year-old alewife, as previously seen and as found comparatively in Lake Ontario), the predominance of age 0-age 2 alewife making up the vast majority of alewife biomass.

 

► This has been discussed, but it adds to the picture laid out above: due to the loss in alewife ration, it takes 22% more alewives to produce a 15-pound Chinook than it did decades earlier. Moreover, when compared to 1996 data, the diet of Chinook salmon has changed from one that included other diet items such as bloater chubs, rainbow smelt and alewives to one that is virtually 100% alewife.

 

The sponsoring agencies are looking for stakeholder input as to the future of stocking Lake Michigan. As you read in the Strategies brief above, besides maintaining status quo on stocking, there are four options that were proposed at the Benton Harbor meeting on April 14. If you would like your opinion considered relative to voting for one of the four stocking strategies, please link here to vote on an option and to provide comments.

 

Although the State of Wisconsin announced dates for two meetings in their community, no additional meetings have been scheduled by the other three states.


Third highest Coho harvest on record, best since 1982

MILWAUKEE -- Lake Michigan anglers in 2011 recorded the highest harvest of Coho salmon in three decades and the third highest on record since the state started stocking salmon and trout in the 1960s, according to recently released results from angler surveys.

 

"Coho fishing for Wisconsin anglers on Lake Michigan last year was the best it's been since 1982," says Brad Eggold, DNR fisheries supervisor for Southern Lake Michigan. "Boaters were fishing hard for Coho from April to early August and focused on these abundant and easily catchable fish."

 

The 2011 season for Coho salmon ran much longer than previous years and the fish were close to shore and easily accessible by most boat anglers, Eggold says. Those factors helped propel this year's estimated harvest to 157,367 Coho, more than triple the 42,445 Coho harvested the previous year. 

 

The Coho harvest total also was the third highest ever recorded in Wisconsin since DNR started stocking Pacific strain salmon and trout in the 1960s to control populations of alewife, a nonnative species that was washing ashore and collecting in huge, rotting piles on Lake Michigan beaches.

Angler harvests of rainbow trout and lake trout were also up in 2011, while chinook and brown trout harvests were down from 2010. Wisconsin anglers in 2011 harvested 75,442 rainbow trout, up from 49,121 in 2010, and 17,788 lake trout, up slightly from 17,483.

The chinook harvest was down with 169,752 fish caught in 2011, about half of the previous year's harvest of 315,294 and lower than the 10-year-average of 300,000 fish, Eggold says.

 

"Since the Coho salmon fishery was so successful in 2011, many anglers opted to fish for them instead of for Chinook salmon, which were found in deeper water farther offshore," he says. "Once anglers located the chinook in mid-August, most of the summer fishing season was over and that contributed to the lower harvest."

 

Eggold says that the number of chinook returning to the weir DNR operates on Strawberry Creek in Door County was above average, and in fact was up almost 100 % from the previous year, which indicates that fewer fish were harvested by anglers. The lower harvest also reflected in part that there are fewer Chinook in the lake. Stocking reductions lakewide were implemented in 1999 and 2006 to better match the number of chinook in the lake with available forage.

 


Lake Michigan Stocking Survey

The initial survey following the conference is located here and will only be available until May 15: Take the survey.

 

Here is an additional survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/HYJ2VPL

 

Included in these surveys are options not offered at the physical conference as they were offered in the all-day conferences in 2006 and 1999. One option offers the viewer to offer his own opinion on what he feels is the best direction fisheries managers should go in trying to manage Lake Michigan.

 

I suggest we suspend all stocking of Chinook salmon immediately. My rationale follows:

 

It is the considered opinion of this editor (and president of the GSLFC) that we are at a major crossroads in Lake Michigan, and there is a distinct possibility that whatever we do may still be too little, too late. However, rather than chance a similar consequence as what occurred in Lake Huron, we should suspend all stocking of Chinook salmon for two years (or other time period).

With a 50+ percent of natural reproduction of Chinook in Lake Michigan, plus untold numbers of other Chinook salmon coming over from Lake Huron, there will be plenty available for the anglers of Lake Michigan for the foreseeable future.

 

Our thanks to Dan O'Keefe, PhD, and Michigan Sea Grant for hosting the meeting - and to the biologists/ scientists who offered us their best information available.

 

Article credit: Bob Gaik, Ill. director, Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, & Dan Thomas, president, GLSFC

 

Additional Resources

Revisiting Stocking Policy for Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Salmon Stocking Cuts Being Considered

Status of Pelagic Prey Fishes in Lake Michigan, 2011 (PDF)

Status and Trends of Prey Fish Populations in Lake Michigan, 2011 (PDF)

Status of Lake Michigan Salmonines in 2011 (PDF)

 

 


Indiana

Free Fishing Day May 19 in South Bend

A free youth fishing day in South Bend, IN on May 19 will offer plenty activities for both children and adults.  The all-day event at Pinhook Park is a partnership between the Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife, the DNR Division of Law Enforcement, the South Bend Parks and Recreation Department, local conservation organizations and local businesses.

 

Youth anglers will receive basic instruction on casting and angling, fish cleaning, water safety, and fish identification. They will then fish at Pinhook Lagoon with coaches. Fishing poles, bait, and tackle will be provided. The event will end with an awards ceremony for all anglers who complete the clinic. There will also be a DNR electrofishing shock boat demonstration.

 

To encourage participation, the DNR will stock 400 keeper-size rainbow trout into Pinhook Lagoon.

 

While the youth anglers receive instruction, presentations on local fishing opportunities will take place for adults. The presentations will include information on Lake Michigan fishing, St. Joseph River trout and salmon production, and

fishing laws. Area conservation organizations also will have information booths. The Michiana Steelheaders will provide a fish boil to all participants and their families for lunch.

 

The event is open to the first 100 youths, ages 4-17, who register. Registration begins May 1 online at www.sbpark.org  or by phone at (574) 299-4765. For more information, call Keilah Ehrman, South Bend Parks and Recreation Department, at (574) 235-9504. You can also register below using the online forms

 

All state fishing regulations will be in effect, and anglers 18 years and older must possess a current Indiana fishing license. During this event, anyone 18 years or older assisting youth while they fish must have a fishing license. Sponsoring members include: Zebco, Plano and South Bend.  Location Information: St. Joseph County, Contact Info: Robert Bell, 574-255-4199, dnrnews@dnr.in.gov

 

Regisdtration begins May 1, and  you must fill out the following two forms, and bring them with you the day of the event:

Participant Registration Form and Liability Form


Michigan

Fishing season kicks into high gear with multiple openers 

The Michigan DNR says three fishing seasons open on Saturday, April 28. The statewide trout season; the Lower Peninsula inland walleye, pike and muskellunge seasons; and the catch-and-immediate-release bass season for all Lower Peninsula waters (including the Great Lakes) all open that day.

 

Angler are reminded that in Upper Peninsula waters, the walleye, pike and muskellunge seasons open May 15 – which is the same date the catch-and-immediate-release season for bass in the same waters also opens.

Possession season for bass opens statewide on Saturday, May 26, except for Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River and the Detroit River, which open on Saturday, June 16.

 

The new license season began on April 1, so anglers need to be sure they have purchased a new fishing license for this fishing season. The 2012 fishing licenses remain valid until March 31, 2013. Licenses may be purchased at a local retailer or online at www.mdnr-elicense.com

 

The 2012 Michigan Fishing Guide and Inland Trout & Salmon Maps are available online. Visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/fishingguide for more information.


Survey provides insight on Michigan walleye

Northern Michigan’s inland waterway survey got help from anglers

 The Michigan DNR is in the middle of the second year of a three-year tag-and-recapture study on the walleye population in the inland waterway in Northern Michigan. Researchers now need help from anglers to move the study forward.

 

The tag-and-recapture study consists of jaw tagging walleye to determine movement and seasonal distribution of the species in the inland waterway, which consists of Burt, Crooked, Mullet and Pickerel lakes and the Black, Cheboygan, Crooked, Indian, Maple, Pigeon and Sturgeon rivers.  In addition to the tag-and-recapture study, Michigan State University is also evaluating larval walleye distribution, the forage community of the waterway and walleye diets.

 

Angler participation is a critical component of the diet analysis. Anglers who catch tagged walleye in the inland waterway are asked to provide to the DNR the tag information on the fish, as well as the stomachs from any fish harvested. If an angler catches a walleye, he or she should simply freeze the fish’s internal organs in a bag marked with the date and the approximate depth at which the fish was caught, and bring it to the nearest DNR

service center.

 

“Tag and stomach returns are so critical to the success of this study,” said Patrick Hanchin, DNR fisheries biologist. “We appreciate any angler participation we can get because it provides us with a better understanding of this particular species.”  For detailed instructions on both of these activities, visit www.michigan.gov/taggedfish.

 

There is a new element to the inland waterway walleye survey this year – an acoustic telemetry study on the species in the lower Black and Cheboygan rivers. Ten males and 10 females have been implanted with acoustic transmitters to allow their movements to be tracked with passive receivers stationed throughout the river system, as well as through active tracking from a boat.

 

This portion of the study helps to determine the extent of walleye movement between the Black and Cheboygan rivers and Mullett Lake, as well as possibly Lake Huron. The project is a cooperative effort between the DNR, Michigan State University and the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians. 

 

For more information on walleye in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.

 


DNR to survey anglers, collect fishing experience data 

As fishing season begins, the Michigan DNR is reminding anglers that department personnel will be out collecting data at lakes, rivers and Great Lakes ports – seeking information about anglers' fishing experiences this year.  DNR creel clerks will ask anglers how long they fished, what species they were targeting and how many fish were harvested and/or released. In some cases, clerks may ask to measure or weigh fish and take scale samples.

 

The efforts are part of the department’s Statewide Angler Survey Program, a long-term monitoring program designed

to track recreational fisheries across the Great Lakes.

 

"The point of the whole program is to characterize how many fish are harvested, how many hours anglers spend fishing, and what fish they're targeting," said DNR fisheries biologist Tracy Kolb. "We use this information to manage fisheries across the state."  Kolb said it usually only takes a few minutes to answer the creel clerks’ questions and that the DNR appreciates anglers' cooperation.

 

Anglers interested in seeing  results of previous years surveys: www.dnr.state.mi.us/chartercreel.

 


Minnesota

Bighead caught in St. Croix underscores urgency of Asian carp

The discovery late last week of another Asian carp at the mouth of the St. Croix River underscores the need to move ahead with efforts to stop their spread, according to officials with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

 

On Thursday, April 19, commercial fishermen working near Prescott, Wis., netted a 30 lb bighead carp from the St. Croix River where it flows into the Mississippi. One of several nonnative species of Asian carp that can cause serious ecological problems, bighead carp have been working their way north in the Mississippi River.

 

Thursday’s catch was the second time this year Asian carp have been found by commercial fishermen in Minnesota waters. In March, a bighead and a silver carp were netted on the Mississippi River near Winona. Last April, another bighead was taken from the St. Croix near Prescott. While no established populations of bighead or silver carp are known to exist in Minnesota, environmental DNA (eDNA) testing last year suggests the fish may be more common in Twin Cities segments of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers than either agency or commercial netting have been able to confirm.

 

“This latest discovery – the third in the last year – underscores the urgency surrounding Asian carp,” said Steve Hirsch, director of DNR’s Division of Ecological and Water Resources. “These invaders have huge potential to wreak havoc on Minnesota’s fisheries and aquatic ecosystems, so we need to do everything we can to stop them from spreading, and we need to do it now.”

 

Hirsch said the highest priority action now is for Congress to authorize closure of the lock at Upper St. Anthony Falls. Bills to that effect have been introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Keith Ellison, with other members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation as co-sponsors. Those bills also would increase federal support for Asian carp control efforts in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, which has until now been limited to the Great Lakes.

 

As part of an Asian carp control plan, the DNR also is working on several other measures to halt or slow their spread:

  • Obtain funds for a carp barrier at Lock and Dam #1 in Minneapolis

  • Continue eDNA monitoring and increase contract netting by commercial fishing operators

  • Do a vulnerability assessment to evaluate the risk Asian carp pose to Minnesota waters statewide

  • Support research to develop control techniques

  • Restore habitat for native fish species to increase ecosystem resiliency to resist invaers

 

Populations of bighead and silver carp are established in the Mississippi River and its tributaries downstream of Dubuque, Iowa. Bighead and silver carp are voracious eaters, capable of consuming 5 to 20 % of their body weight each day. They feed on algae and other microscopic organisms, often outcompeting native fish for food. Scientists believe Asian carp could severely disrupt the aquatic ecosystems of Minnesota waters. For more info: www.dnr.state.mn.us/asian-carp/index.html

 


DNR offers 12 parcels of land for sale

The Minnesota DNR will offer 12 parcels of land for sale at public auction May 30 at 11 a.m. in the DNR's Central office, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155. Registration begins at 10:30 am.

 

Parcels are located in the northern portion of the state

including Aitkin, Crow Wing, Cook, Hubbard and St. Louis

counties. While some parcels have been offered before, values are reflecting the change in the real estate market and may be at lower prices than previously offered.  More info regarding land sales and terms and conditions: www.dnr.state.mn.us/lands_minerals/landsale/index.html

 


Lake Sturgeon making comeback on Lake of the Woods and Rainy River

The Minnesota DNR is celebrating a major milestone in the recovery efforts of the lake sturgeon population on Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River. According to DNR fisheries biologists, short-term population recovery goals have been met, which is a big step toward full recovery.

 

"The population is recovering nicely and it's a testament to a how successful long-term cooperative efforts on international and border waters can be when coupled with strong clean water legislation," said Phil Talmage, DNR area fisheries supervisor in Baudette.

 

The lake sturgeon recovery has been a cooperative effort between the Minnesota-Ontario Borders Waters Fisheries Mgmt Committee, which includes fisheries biologists from the DNR northwest and northeast regions and Canada Ministry of Natural Resources. Since the early 1980s, fisheries biologists in Minnesota and Canada have engaged in cooperative research and management of the fisheries resources along the U.S.-Canada border. Cooperatively, the Border Waters Lake Sturgeon Committee drafted short- and long-term goals for the lake sturgeon population.

 

The underlying objective was to re-establish and then maintain a self-sustaining sturgeon stock in all suitable habitats within the Minnesota–Ontario border waters. The population goals were based on what would be expected from a lightly exploited population. All of the goals were based on age, size, abundance and brook stock characteristics.

 

To monitor the recovery, DNR and Canada Ministry of Natural Resources biologists have aggressively surveyed the population. Early efforts included tagging studies to determine lake sturgeon movement. More recently biologists have conducted population estimates and annually monitored spawning locations. Through this cooperative effort, there are now almost 5,000 tagged lake sturgeon that are used to monitor the sustainability of the fishery and ensure this great recovery continues. As a result of this monitoring program, biologists have determined the short-term goals of the plan have been met.

 

The Lake of the Woods/Rainy River population, like other lake sturgeon populations in Minnesota, has been threatened by the combined effects of past overharvesting, decades of industrial water pollution, and habitat degradation caused by dams that have changed water flows and short-stopped fish migration routes to breeding waters.

Lake sturgeon recovery efforts on Lake of the Woods

began in the 1960s when pollution controls were put in

place through the U.S. Clean Water Act and reciprocal legislation in Ontario. However, recovery has been gradual because of the low reproductive capacity of this species. The lake sturgeon, sometimes called the living dinosaur of the fish world, can live to more than 100 years of age and weigh more than 200 pounds. It is a long-lived, slow-growing, late-maturing fish. In Lake of the Woods, males do not reach sexual maturity until 17 years old and females until 26 years old. Unlike most fish species, they do not spawn annually.

 

Due its slow growth and late maturing characteristics, the lake sturgeon is highly susceptible to over harvest. Only under low levels of harvest will a depleted population be able to fully recover.

 

According to DNR fisheries biologists, during the recovery phase the allowable harvest on this population has been conservative and held to a level that would provide some harvest opportunities while allowing the population to recover at an accelerated pace. The DNR is not anticipating any adjustments in lake sturgeon fishing regulations at this time.

 

"While our short-term recovery goals have been met, this does not trigger any changes in the management framework," said Kevin Peterson, DNR area fisheries supervisor in International Falls. "This framework will still include an innovative harvest management tag system, a defined harvest, catch-and-release seasons and a closed season to protect spawning fish."

 

Lake sturgeon fishing regulations on the Minnesota side of Lake of the Woods and on all other state waters will remain the same. Anglers can purchase a tag to harvest one lake sturgeon between 45 and 50 inches, or one more than 75 inches per calendar year. Mail-in registration cards are required for anyone wanting to harvest and possess a lake sturgeon. Party fishing for lake sturgeon is illegal. Gaffs may not be used to assist in landing sturgeon.

 

The spring harvest season on the Rainy River runs from April 24 – May 7. From May 8 to May 15, anglers can fish for lake sturgeon, but must release all fish they catch. The fishing season for lake sturgeon is closed May 16 – June 30. There is a second harvest season that runs July 1 – Sept. 30.

 

Lake sturgeon fishing regulations are detailed in the Fishing Regulations guide or online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/fishing.

For more information on the lake sturgeon, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/minnaqua/speciesprofile/lake_sturgeon

 


Apply now for the 2012 Minnesota elk hunt

Hunters have until Friday, June 1, to apply for one of 23 elk licenses offered this year by the Minnesota DNR.  Elk licenses will be available in the traditional Grygla area. Licenses also will be available in Kittson County, which offers its traditional zone and a new zone in the northeast. Maps of all three hunt zones are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/elk.

 

"A larger number of licenses are being offered this year to manage for the goal population levels identified in our elk management plan," said Erik Thorson, acting DNR big game program coordinator. "A conservative bulls-only hunt is also being offered for the first time this year in a new area of northeastern Kittson County to target a population that also spends time in Manitoba. This limited hunt is designed to maintain this population's wild behavior while still allowing the herd to grow."

 

All applications must be filed electronically at any DNR license agent, the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul, online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense or by telephone at (888) 665-4236. Hunters may apply individually or in parties of two. There is a non-refundable application fee of $10 per hunter.

 

Successful applicants will be notified by mail. An elk license costs $250. Each party will be authorized to harvest one elk. Applicants must choose one zone in which to apply; they cannot apply to hunt in more than one zone. One license in the Grygla area and up to three in the Kittson County Central Elk Zone may be issued to qualified landowners in a preferential drawing. Licenses in the new Kittson County Northeast Elk Zone are only available through the general drawing this year. Unsuccessful landowner applications will be added to the general drawing, from which the remaining applicants will be selected. Alternates will be selected in case successful parties opt not to purchase a license.

 

Three seasons will be conducted in this year's elk hunt. 

The first season in each zone runs from Saturday, Sept. 15, to Sunday, Sept. 23. The second season in the Grygla and Kittson County Central Elk Zones runs from Saturday, Dec. 1, to Sunday, Dec. 9. The third season in just the Kittson County Central Elk Zones runs from Saturday, Dec. 15, to Sunday, Dec. 23.

 

During the first season, two either-sex licenses will be available in Grygla (Zone 10), one either-sex license and five antlerless licenses will be available in Kittson County Central (Zone 20), and two bull-only licenses will be available in Kittson County Northeast (Zone 30). In the second season, three antlerless licenses will be available in Grygla, while one either-sex license and four antlerless licenses will be available in Kittson County Central. In the third season, one either-sex license and four antlerless licenses will be available in Kittson County Central.

If no qualified landowners apply, all licenses will be drawn from the general pool of applicants. Minnesota elk hunts are considered once-in-a-lifetime opportunities - which means parties who choose to purchase a license will not be eligible to apply for future elk hunts.

 

DNR expects bull elk to be the preference of most hunters. To accommodate this, the first drawing will select hunters for each zone. A second drawing among selected hunters will determine what license a hunter may purchase and the season in which they can participate.

All successful applicants will be required to attend an orientation session prior to the hunt. Hunters also will be required to register their elk in their hunt area.

 

Some biological information relative to elk physical condition will be collected at the check station. Elk will be tested for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis as part of Minnesota's wild cervid disease surveillance program. Hunters should be aware that all zones contain private land, so permission to hunt these lands should be obtained prior to purchasing a license.

 

 


Ohio

Ohio Offers Free Fishing Days May 5-6

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohioans are encouraged to take advantage of "Free Fishing Days" on May 5-6 and experience the great fishing Ohio has to offer. For these two days only, Ohio anglers may fish in any of the state's public waters without having to buy a fishing license.

During the rest of the year, anglers 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters. An Ohio fishing license is one of the best recreation bargains available, costing only $19 a year for residents.

 

Ohio residents born on or before Dec. 31, 1937, can obtain a free fishing license at any license vendor. Residents age 66 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1938, are eligible to obtain a reduced cost senior fishing license for $10. A one-day fishing license is also available for $11, an amount that later can be applied toward the cost of an annual fishing license. Fishing licenses are available at bait and tackle stores, outdoor outfitters, major department stores, as well as www.wildohio.com.

 

Ohio's Free Fishing Days were established in 1993 to promote fishing and allow Ohioans to experience fishing before buying a license. The offer is open to all Ohio residents and extends to all of Ohio’s public waters including Lake Erie and the Ohio River. Great fishing exists around the state and throughout the year. An estimated 1.3 million people fish each year in Ohio. In late winter and early spring, anglers reel in excellent catches of steelhead trout and walleye from northern Ohio streams. Spring also

means great saugeye and crappie fishing. During the

summer months, the fishing heats up on Lake Erie for yellow perch, walleye and smallmouth bass, while anglers on the Ohio River enjoy excellent striped bass fishing.

 

The “Free Fishing Days” weekend offers Ohioans of all ages the chance to experience the fun of fishing. For anyone taking a young angler, there's nothing more rewarding than teaching a kid to fish.

 

Here are some helpful tips:

• Keep it simple. Consider the child's age and skill level. If this is their first time, shore fishing is recommended

• Kids like to catch fish; the size of fish doesn't matter but catching a fish—any fish—does.

• Choose a pond, lake or stream where they will easily be able to catch a few fish

• Use simple tackle. A good rod and reel for kids costs between $15 and $30. A spin-cast reel is easy to use

• Bring along a camera. Children love to show off pictures of their "big catch."

• Keep the trip fun and short. Let the child have a good time, even if it means taking a break. 

• Take time out to enjoy the time together.

• Be patient; plan on spending some time untangling lines, baiting hooks, landing fish and taking pictures of big smiles and wiggling fish. 

 

When people concentrate all of their attention on their young angler, they will likely be developing a fishing buddy for a lifetime.


Ohio's Spring Turkey Season Underway

Ashtabula County leads harvest on opening day

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio hunters harvested a preliminary total of 2,227 bearded wild turkeys on the first day of the spring turkey-hunting season, which is open statewide through May 20. In 2011, a preliminary total of 2,646 wild turkeys were killed on opening day.

 

Top counties for wild turkeys killed on Monday were: Ashtabula-93, Coshocton-79, Tuscarawas-78, Muskingum-74, Guernsey-69, Adams-62, Highland-57, Knox-56, Brown-55 and Clermont-54.

 

The Division of Wildlife estimates that more than 70,000 people will hunt turkeys during the four-week season. Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 23 to May 6. Hunting hours May 7-20 will be a half hour before sunrise to sunset. Ohio's wild turkey population was estimated at 180,000 prior to the start of the spring season.

Only bearded wild turkeys may be taken during the spring hunting season. A hunter is required to check in their turkey by 11:30 p.m. on the day of harvest. Hunters with the proper permits may take a limit of two bearded gobblers during the four-week season, but not more than one wild turkey per day.

 

Hunters must report their turkey harvest, but they are no longer required to take their turkey to a check station for physical inspection. Instead, hunters have three options to complete the new automated game check:

• Online at www.wildohio.com  or www.ohiogamecheck.com

• 877-TAG-ITOH (877-824-4864). This option is only available to those who are required to have a turkey permit to hunt turkeys

• At all license agents. A list of these agents can be found at www.wildohio.com

 


Ohio's young hunters productive during Two-Day Turkey Hunt

Ashtabula youth lead state with 73 wild turkeys checked

COLUMBUS, OH - Young hunters across Ohio again experienced success during the annual youth spring turkey season, held Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22.

 

Hunters age 17 and under harvested 1,632 wild turkeys during the special two-day season, compared to 1,490 wild turkeys last year.

Counties reporting the greatest number of wild turkeys checked were Ashtabula-73, Muskingum-60, Tuscarawas-53, Carroll and Monroe-49, Highland-48, Washington-46, Jackson-42, Harrison-41 and Knox and Trumbull-39.

 

All participants were required to possess a valid Ohio

youth hunting license and youth spring turkey permit, as

well as be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years of age or older. The young hunters’ turkey season was open statewide with the exception of Lake La Su An State Wildlife Area in Williams County, which required a special hunting permit.

 

The youth spring turkey season is one of four special youth-only hunting seasons designed to offer a safe and productive early hunting experience for young hunters. Special seasons are also set aside for upland game, white-tailed deer and waterfowl hunting opportunities.

Details on youth hunting opportunities and hunting seasons can be found in the 2011-2012 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where licenses are sold. It can also be viewed online at www.wildohio.com.

 


Pennsylvania

Board expands use of Crossbows

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners Tuesday gave final approval to a regulatory change that makes permanent the lawful use of crossbows in archery deer and bear seasons.

The specific action taken by the Board was removing the sunset date provision inserted into the regulatory changes that permitted crossbows in 2009. The sunset provision required the Board and agency staff to review the impact of

expanded use of crossbows on the deer and bear resource before June 30, 2012.

 

Based on staff input to the Board, while there were increases in the archery harvests of deer and bear that could be attributed to the inclusion of the crossbow, the agency staff did not view the increase as unsustainable and the increased recreational opportunity was an added benefit.

 


Wisconsin

Wisconsin Inland fishing season opens

May 5

Early warm-up means many fish done spawning and ready to feed

MADISON -- The early ice-out across Wisconsin lakes and rivers is good news for anglers venturing out for the May 5 inland fishing season opener: many game fish are done spawning or wrapping up and ready to take the bait, state fisheries biologists say.

 

“This has been the most extended spawning season I've experienced in nearly 30 years as a fish biologist,” says Terry Margenau, Department of Natural Resources fish supervisor based in Spooner. “This year the water temperatures hit 45 degrees and went backward. The result was a greatly protracted spawning period for fish in many lakes. Regardless, I expect that by the season opener fish will be active and feeding and we'll see a very good opener.”

 

The 2012 Wisconsin Fishing Report gives anglers a line on the size and numbers of fish populations in many of their favorite waters, but anglers may need to change tactics and where in that water body they fish.

 

Anglers may need to look in deeper water for walleye and in shallower water for bass than normal at this time of year, says Bob Hujik, fisheries supervisor for west central Wisconsin. “We got so warm and then everything stabilized and spawning dragged on,” he says. “But my gut is telling me our fish are still two weeks earlier than normal. "The walleye are done spawning so they'll be feeding heavily and the bass waters warmed up and the fish are moving around in the shallows,” Hujik says.

 

Mike Vogelsang, fisheries supervisor based in Woodruff, agrees that anglers may have to change up tactics and look for fish in a little deeper water and near newly emerging weeds.  “Given that everything is about three weeks ahead, it would not be surprising if crappies are already in spawning mode so they may be an alternative fish to target if the walleye don't cooperate,” he says. “They will be found in shallow bays with weeds, or in areas of rushes which provide spawning habitat.”

Scot Stewart, district fisheries supervisor for southern Wisconsin, says that “fish populations are terrific in most waters.” Anglers should plan on fishing in the exact same waters they would normally fish in, but to expect fish to be advanced compared to a normal season.

Randy Schumacher, district fisheries supervisor for northeastern and southeastern Wisconsin reports that walleyes and northern pike are through spawning in northeastern Wisconsin. Muskellunge have just begun their spawning cycle. Musky anglers fishing southern zone waters may still find some muskellunge in spawning condition.

 

Largemouth bass fishing should be excellent as abundant sunny days have increased their metabolism, Schumacher says. Look for largemouth on the northern ends of lakes especially over dark-bottomed weedy areas, he says. Bluegills and crappies should be taking advantage of these early spring zones of warmer water temperatures and early food production as well.

 

Trout anglers in northeastern Wisconsin will find a mixed bag of water levels with the Northwoods streams of Marinette and Oconto counties exhibiting flows below normal while streams in the central sands of Waupaca, Waushara and Marquette counties are closer to water levels expected for the spring opener, Schumacher says.

 

Lower water levels in the north may make some smaller trout streams harder to fish by concentrating trout in deeper pools and increasing their awareness of angler movement along stream banks. Trout anglers may want to check out recent trout stamp habitat projects on the Mecan River downstream of Highway 21 and the Waupaca River in the City of Waupaca.

 

In southeastern Wisconsin, the early ice out has contributed to vegetation growing early which gets insects growing early, Schumacher says. “The bass have been drawn into the shallows earlier, especially when the sun is high in the sky. The bluegills and bass are feeding so it should be a really good opening day if anglers can find these patches of early growing vegetation.”

 


WI Governor’s Fishing Opener in Washburn County

The 47th Wisconsin Governor’s Fishing Opener, officially kicking off Wisconsin’s big game fishing season, takes place May 5 at Trego Flowage.

 

Trego Flowage is a 450- acre impoundment of the Namekagon River in Washburn County that is famous for its walleyes, northern pike, smallmouth bass, musky and

 

panfish. Gov. Scott Walker has been invited to see if he can reel in a fish and break what's been mostly a string of tales about the fish that got away since Gov. Warren Knowles started the event in 1965. The angling event is held at various locations in western and northern Wisconsin each year and is sponsored by the Wisconsin Indianhead Country Tourism group. This event is also by invitation only to media and state and local government officials.


Dates and new regulations affecting WI musky anglers

The hook-and-line game fish season opens May 5 on inland waters for walleye, sauger, and northern pike statewide.  The largemouth and smallmouth bass southern zone opens May 5, while the northern bass zone opens for catch and release only from May 5 through June 15, with the harvest season opening June 16. Statewide, the harvest seasons for bass have a minimum length limit of 14 inches with a daily bag limit of five fish in total.
 

Musky season opens May 5 in the southern zone and May 26 in the northern zone. The northern zone is the area north of highways 77, 64 and 29, with Highway 10 as the dividing line. New this year is that the statewide minimum length limit for musky has increased to 40 inches from 34 in order to help boost natural reproduction. Research suggests muskellunge are more successful at producing

young after their second or third year of maturity (up to 40

inches in length). The greater protection afforded by a higher length limit will allow more muskellunge to spawn more than once before they are vulnerable to harvest.

 

Also new this year, anglers must use a quick strike rig or a non-offset circle hook if they are fishing a minnow 8 inches or longer. When using a quick strike rig and a minnow 8 inches or longer for bait, anglers must immediately attempt to set the hook upon indication of a bite to avoid deep hooking the target fish.

 

The seasons for rock, yellow and white bass, panfish, bullheads and rough fish, catfish, cisco and whitefish are open all year. Check the “2012-2013 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations” for special regulations listed by county, for regulations on the Great Lakes and boundary waters, and for tributary streams to Green Bay and Lake Michigan. The complete guide is also available at DNR offices and license agents.


Green Bay sturgeon go high-tech

PESHTIGO, Wis. -- Nearly two dozen sturgeon are now equipped with high-tech transmitters as biologists continue to try and learn more about the prehistoric fish.  Technology used in fish finders and submarines is now being applied to tracking sturgeon movements.

Biologists implanting a transmitter 

State fisheries staff performed a surgery of sorts, while on the banks of the Peshtigo River on some of the larger sturgeon netted below the dam.

 

Biologists hope it will help them better understand spawning patterns and whether the fish always return to spawn in the same river or vary their patterns, explained Mike Donofrio, DNR fisheries supervisor in Peshtigo.  “We’re using transmitters that are about the size of a magic marker, so it’s based on the weight of the fish as to whether we can put the transmitter in,” Donofrio said.

The tube-shaped device is about 4 inches long by about three quarters inches wide. Sonar stations set up along the Fox, Oconto, Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers detect the sounds emanating from the transmitters. From 2005 to 2009 roughly 60 fish were given the transmitters but those only lasted three years. The new transmitters are expected to last eight years.

 

“We’re hoping to get two spawning cycles from these transmitters so four years from now we can find out if that fish spawning in the Peshtigo or is it going to spawn the Oconto or another river?” explained Donofrio. A grant from the USFWS will enable DNR staff to implant transmitters into 105 fish over the course of the next two years and continue to monitor their movements in the four Green Bay rivers.

 

For more info about Wisconsin sturgeon: lake sturgeon

 

 


Wisconsin's Six-Month Old CCW Laws Prove Wildly Popular

Wisconsin’s rate of CPL adoption has seen extraordinary growth since the state became the 49th in the union to adopt concealed carry laws. Whereas predictions had placed initial numbers somewhere near 125,000 for the first year, Wisconsinites seem on track to nearly double that, hitting the 100,000 mark only six months after the introduction of the law.

 

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says there have been no problems with the system or CPL holders that should raise any ire.  Hollen noted “There were doomsday people out there, before concealed carry was passed, who were predicting, of course, the doom and gloom that when we put more guns on the street, that we’re going to have more problems.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.”

In fact, the law has been lauded as a boon to the economy, spiking handgun sales across the state, and demand for permits was so high that the Department of Justice had to hire additional staff to deal with the influx of excited gun owners, though numbers have settled to a more reasonable level, “from thousands a day to hundreds.”

 

As of February, CPL holders from 32 other states can carry in Wisconsin and Wisconsinites can carry in 22 other states due to CPL reciprocity. This certainly allows the associated economic gains from more relaxed interstate travel. This fact coupled with skyrocketing gun sales and CPL registrations, the state is clearly seeing the benefits of welcoming of gun owners and CPL holders across the nation.

 

 


Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)

 

EDITORIAL: Our view: Action, not options, needed in carp fight
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is floating so many ideas of how to keep the voracious Asian carp out of the Great Lakes that we wonder if the federal agency is committed to any of them

 

Cut salmon stocking to prevent something shocking
Based on a Lake Michigan stakeholders meeting in Benton Harbor, Mich., a lot of anglers, including some charter boat captains, would support an end - or major reduction - to stocking Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan, in an effort to prevent the kind of collapse that happened in Lake Huron.

 

Corps expands list of options for stopping carp
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has added three options to list of possible measures for preventing Asian carp and other invasive species from migrating between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.

 

70 mystery barrels to be lifted from Lake Superior this summer
Almost two decades after nine U.S. Department of Defense mystery barrels were recovered from Lake Superior, 10 times that number will be pulled up this summer. The recovery operation will also sample lake water and sediment next to the barrels.

 

EDITORIAL: Offshore wind farms have great potential for states
Putting wind farms in the Great Lakes could provide new jobs and a reliable source of renewable power. What's not to like about this

 

Lake Huron Ecosystem continues to change

The food web in Lake Huron has undergone a drastic change, the major reason for this directly attributed to invasive species. I recently attended a meeting between local and regional MNR representatives and sportsmen who make up the local Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program (CFWIP)

 

 

 

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

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

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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