Week of May 30, 2005

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

 

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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

World’s Largest Blue Catfish Caught

Fish Landed in Illinois Waters near Alton

ALTON, ILL. –After living more than thirty years in the Mississippi River, the world’s largest catfish is now being transported to Kansas City.  Illinois Fisherman Tim Pruitt caught the blue catfish at around midnight on Saturday, May 21st.

 

The blue catfish weighs 124 pounds. It is 58 inches long, and has a girth of 44 inches.  It is the largest catfish ever caught in Illinois, and the largest blue catfish ever caught in the world.  The previous Illinois record catfish was 85 lbs, and the previous world record blue catfish was 121 lbs, 8 oz.

 

“The catfish and Tim are about the same age—in their

thirties,” said Mike Conlin, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director of Resource Conservation.  “Tim fought the fish for about forty minutes, and it dragged him more than three miles downstream in his boat before he was able to haul it in.”

 

Conlin says Pruitt was fishing with 30 lb test line, using moon eye fish for bait, below the Melvin Price Lock and Dam at Alton. Conlin describes Pruitt as a long-time hobby fisherman.

 

The fish was kept alive, and plans were to put it on display in a tank at the Cabela’s Outfitter store in Kansas City however the fish died en route to Cabela’s.

 


Rainy River gives up 122 lb Sturgeon

Dave Grashorn (right) and fishing partner Cory Miggins, both of International Falls, cradle the 71-inch sturgeon that Grashorn caught May 4 on the Rainy River near the mouth of the Bigfork River. The fish, which had a 34-inch girth, was estimated by a Department of Natural Resources fisheries official to weigh 122 pounds.

It is believed to be the largest sturgeon taken in several years in the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods sturgeon fishery. This was the location of last year’s Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener which also produced many sturgeon during the walleye opener. Grashorn caught the fish using nightcrawlers. The men released the fish, as regulations requiredThe Minnesota DNR documented four fish over 100 lbs this spring.


World

International Cooperation Needed To Manage Resources, Prevent Overfishing

The U.S. State Dept reports in a letter delivered to the U.S. Senate May 16, President Bush urged lawmakers to ratify the Convention on the Conservation and Management of the Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, with Annexes -- known as the WCPF Convention.

 

Signed by the U.S. in September 2000, the WCPF Convention establishes legal obligations and cooperative mechanisms to ensure the long-term conservation and "sustainable use" of migratory fish stocks such as tuna, swordfish and marlin.

The WCPF Convention builds upon the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1995 United Nations Agreement on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.

 

According to the president, the United States "has direct and important interests" in the WCPF Convention because it takes the fourth-largest catch in the Pacific region and is an important coastal nation with significant Exclusive Economic Zone waters in the region, including the waters around Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

 


UN Urged to Ban Pacific Longlining

 A recent petition to the United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan urging the UN to ban Pacific longlining has been signed by RFA, UASC, AFTCO and IGFA. During June 6-10, the

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will consider a proposal by Costa Rica, supported by 3 other countries, to implement a moratorium on industrial high seas longline fishing.


UK doctors say ban long kitchen knives

Medical journal report claims they serve no good purpose

It's time to ban long kitchen knives because they serve no good purpose except as weapons, write doctors in the British Medical Journal. The doctors, as part of their research into ways to reduce violence, say they consulted with leading chefs who said long knives were not needed for cooking.

 

Dr. Emma Hern, a specialist registrar, and D. Mike Beckett, an emergency medicine consultant, contend in their paper that a short knife may cause a substantial superficial wound if used in an assault, but is unlikely to penetrate to inner organs. But a long blade pierces the body like "cutting into a ripe melon."

 

"Many assaults are impulsive, often triggered by alcohol or misuse of other drugs, and the long pointed kitchen knife is an easily available, potentially lethal weapon, particularly in the

domestic setting," wrote Hern. The doctors say long knives are used in as many as half of all stabbings in the United Kingdom.  "Government action to ban the sale of such knives would drastically reduce their availability over the course of a few years," wrote Hern.

 

The restaurant industry reacted with horror to the report.   "Kitchen knives are designed for a purpose," said Malcolm Duck, chairman of the Edinburgh Restaurateurs Association. "It would be like asking a surgeon to perform an operation with a bread knife instead of a scalpel. Anything in the house like a cricket bat could be used as weapon in the hands of an idiot."

 

Chief Superintendent Tom Buchan, president of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, said although a ban on sharp, pointed kitchen knives would be welcome, it could be difficult to enforce.


National

Cabela’s cache of weapons stolen

There are 76 stolen firearms worth almost $100,000 missing from the storage facility housing materials destined for the Cabela's store nearing completion outside Ft. Worth, Texas.  Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and

Explosives have opened a tip line at (817) 862-280 for anyone with information about the missing firearms, which include some high-quality items among the handguns, rifles and shotguns Cabela's reported missing.


 

 

National Free Fishing/Boating Week June 4-14

Super’ sendoff for Fishing/Boating Week

Actor Dean Cain has been named honorary chairman of National Fishing and Boating Week, June 4-12. That’s the period during which communities across the country will host events designed to give families an opportunity to enjoy boating and fishing. Fishing and Boating Week, part of Great Outdoors Month, was created to address declining

participation in fishing since 1991, according to the nonprofit Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation.

 

Cain is best known for his role as Superman in “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” He says he grew up fishing with his father and is now teaching the sport to his son, Christopher


Free-Fishing Days Mean There’s No Excuse Not to Go Fishing

To provide families an opportunity to try recreational fishing without the commitment of purchasing a fishing license, most states now sponsor free-fishing days when no license is required. Many states have scheduled these days during NFBW, providing an additional incentive for people to get out on the water. A complete state-by-state listing of free-fishing days can be found at takemefishing.org.

 

Since 1991, fishing participation rates have been in a slow decline. In response to this trend, organizations like RBFF have launched a variety of efforts and events such as NFBW aimed at stemming the tide and ensuring a strong future for 

one of America’s favorite recreational activities. NFBW is

also part of Great Outdoors Month, designated by presidential decree as the month of June. During Great Outdoors Month, state and federal agencies, conservation groups, service providers and related businesses are holding family events in communities across the country.

 

According to RBFF, more than 50 million Americans participate in fishing and boating every year; that’s more than play golf and tennis combined. Additionally, 83 percent of state funding for managing and conserving aquatic resources comes from the sale of fishing licenses, and from excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat fuel. These funds ensure that fishery resources are well-managed, accessible and conserved for future generations to enjoy.


National Fishing & Boating Week, June 4-12, aims to hook kids on angling

Fishing is more than just catching fish; it gets kids off the couch and  outdoors, where they can build a lasting appreciation for nature.

 

ALEXANDRIA, VA (May 24, 2005) — Research from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that kids spend an astounding 44 hours a week with TV, computers and video games. Perhaps that’s why Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods,” says that kids today suffer from “nature-deficit disorder.” The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) suggests that parents seeking a cure should try family fishing.

 

National Fishing & Boating Week (NFBW), June 4-12, was created to get families moving in the right direction. From California to Florida, and in most states in between, more than 700 on-water events are planned, including fishing derbies, regattas and festivals. The aim is to help kids connect to nature and build a foundation to stay connected into adulthood.

 

To make it easy to find scheduled events, times and locations 

all across the U.S., the nonprofit Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation has posted a comprehensive listing on its public-service website, takemefishing.org. Events can be searched by state, town and zip code to identify family-oriented fishing and boating activities close to home.

 

At a time when many parents are concerned that their kids spend far too much time indoors, fishing is a good way to motivate them to get off the couch. “I’ve interviewed many parents across the country who want to get their kids outside, but they don’t necessarily know where to go or how to do it,” said author Louv. “Because it’s so easy to do and so widely accessible, fishing is a great solution for many parents.”

 

 “Fishing differs from many other forms of outdoor recreation because it not only gives kids a lasting way to connect to nature, it improves family communication in ways few activities can,” says Bruce Matthews, president of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. “National Fishing & Boating Week gets things headed in the right direction by getting kids interested in fishing and boating early.”

 


Quality Angling Tied To Conservation

Fishing is more than just catching fish; it gets kids off the couch and outdoors, where they can build a lasting appreciation for nature. Over 40 million Americans call themselves anglers and their hopes and passions for the outdoors power an enormous economic engine, spending over $41 billion a year.

 

National Fishing and Boating Week (June 4-12, 2005) is a reminder that stewardship is important - being good stewards of our families, and our natural resources. You can steward your family by spending quality time with them in a boat or under a creek-side tree. This special week reminds us that without conservation, quality angling wouldn't be possible.

 

Fisheries conservation in the U.S. dates back 134 years to when President Grant created the U.S. Fish Commission, the forerunner of the USFWS.   The Service's Fisheries Program had its beginnings essentially in the Smithsonian Institution with its Secretary, Spencer Baird, a consummate scientist concerned about the decline of fisheries. Baird and fellow scientists encouraged the Congress to create the Fish Commission; in 1871, President Grant agreed it was necessary.

 

Today's Fisheries Program has evolved through time, always seeking to employ leading-edge science and technology. The Service today employs fish health pathologists, geneticists, veterinary doctors, and contaminant specialists. Fish biologists trained in hydrology and watershed management and other natural sciences know the vagaries of habitat conservation. Our scientists know how to manage habitats and culture sport fishes and fishes so rare and imperiled, they would otherwise squarely stare extinction in the face.

Conserving fishes and their habitats has everything to do with people. People and fish need clean water. A habitat intact is the first protection in fisheries conservation. Ben Franklin's adage about an ounce of prevention couldn't ring more true in habitat conservation. Franklin also said that "necessity never struck a bargain," and it is simply a necessity to conserve habitats that people and fish rely upon - for the benefit of both.

 

Though today's Fisheries Program is well into its second century, time doesn't distance us from conservation problems. Whirling disease and largemouth bass virus, insidious ailments, could threaten the well being of native trouts and important warm water sport fisheries. Invasive species, like Asian carp march up the Mississippi River and tributaries, breeding profusely, threatening to monopolize the nutrients needed by other animals. The round goby invasion in the Great Lakes could damage smallmouth bass and walleye fishing and affect human health. Contaminants that degrade habitat continue to demand serious attention. Urbanization and poor land use practices degrade lakes and streams.

 

As the American population grows, the demand, and the very need for nature will increase. And this underscores the need to conserve habitats. In the long term, habitat conservation and ensuring the well being of aquatic species in general will benefit people.

 

Healthy fish and healthy habitats mean healthy people and a healthy economy. In the end, that means better fishing. When that top-water lure hits the glassy water, the concentric rings ripple through the economy, through tills and treasuries, contributing to the quality of life even for people who have no inclination to venture lakeside.


Fishing/Boating Week goal: Get kids outdoors

National Fishing & Boating Week June 4-12 will be an effort to get families moving away from the TV and back to nature, its sponsors say.

 

“I’ve interviewed many parents across the country who want to get their kids outside, but they don’t necessarily know where to go or how to do it,” says Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. “Because it’s so easy to do and so widely accessible, fishing is a great solution for many parents.”

 

More than 700 on-water events are planned throughout the country — including fishing derbies, regattas and festivals — to help kids connect to nature and build a foundation to stay connected into adulthood, says RBFF, which is promoting the

individual events on its www.takemefishing.org .

 

“Fishing differs from many other forms of outdoor recreation because it not only gives kids a lasting way to connect to nature, it improves family communication in ways few activities can,” said RBFF president Bruce Matthews. “National Fishing & Boating Week gets things headed in the right direction by getting kids interested in fishing and boating early.”

 

Actor Dean Cain is this year’s honorary chairperson of National Fishing & Boating Week. Best known for his lead role in “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” Cain is an avid angler who enjoys fishing with his 4-year-old son. He will be in New York City June 2 and 3 doing media interviews to promote NFBW and discuss how fishing benefits kids.


Atterbury hosts Kid's Fishing Derby on June 11

Hoosiers do not need a fishing license on June 11 and 12

Catch a smile this June 11 at Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area's 12th annual Kids' Fishing Derby. The festivities at Stone Arch Lake will include a free morning fishing derby, fly tying and casting demonstrations and more.  Programs run from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Fishing tackle prizes will be awarded in a fishing contest for kids between two and 16 years old.

 

Children who have rods and tackle should bring their own equipment. A limited amount of loaner equipment will be available. Bait and snacks will be provided. Fishing will be from the bank. An adult should accompany all children.

 

The Kids' Fishing Derby celebrates Indiana's Free Fishing Weekend. Hoosier adults do not need a license to fish Indiana public waters on June 11 and 12. (Children under the age of

17 do not need a license at any time.) Although no license is needed, all other fishing regulations are still in effect. For more information, call the Atterbury property office at 812/526-2051.

 

Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area is west of Edinburgh. Stone Arch Lake is on the west side of Atterbury FWA along Stone Arch Road. To reach the site from US Highway 31, turn west on Hospital Road and north on Stone Arch Road. From Nineveh, travel east on Hospital Road and north on Stone Arch Road. Property maps are available at the office on Hospital Road.

 

Atterbury FWA map and information: www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/publications/att.htm

Fun tips on getting kids interested in fishing: www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/fish/fishing/bobber.htm


Free Fishing Days - 2005

There is still time for fishing clubs community groups, scouts and other organizations to help promote fishing by publicizing events planned for the 2005 Illinois Free Fishing Days, June 10-13. Organizations interested in receiving educational and promotional materials to be used as part of a Free Fishing Days event, or for more information, can contact Gary Watson, IDNR Free Fishing Days event coordinator, One Natural

Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702, phone 217/782-9990.

 

Free Fishing Days provides anglers with the opportunity to fish without first purchasing a fishing license, salmon stamp or inland trout stamp. Free Fishing Days is co-sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Plano Molding Co., the world's largest manufacturer of fishing tackle boxes.


Michigan's Free Fishing Weekend, June 11-12  a Great Time to Try Fishing

State recreation officials today announced Michigan's annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend, June 11-12. For these two days, residents and nonresidents can fish without purchasing a fishing license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.

 

Michigan has offered Free Fishing Weekends since 1986 as a way to promote the state's diverse natural resources. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 11,037 inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, Michigan's freshwater angling opportunities are among the best in the nation.

 

"Fishing is a great way to connect with nature, whether you enjoy the solitude of a wooded stream or a day on a lake or pier with friends and family," said Department of Natural

Resources Director Rebecca Humphries. "I encourage all Michigan residents to get out and try 'casting a line' and discover the many rewards that Michigan fishing has to offer."

 

The DNR and a host of federal, state and local partners offer educational Free Fishing events throughout the state. Most are designed for families and children.

 

"Avid anglers tend to have a stronger understanding of our aquatic resources and ecosystems," Humphries said. "Many seasoned anglers view Free Fishing Weekend as a time to introduce friends or young people to angling. Mentoring others helps ensure Michigan's conservation heritage is passed along to future generations."

 

A complete list of Michigan Summer Free Fishing Weekend events is available on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr .


Free Fishing Weekend in Wisconsin June 4-5

MADISON - Resident and nonresident anglers of all ages can fish without a fishing license on June 4-5, as Wisconsin celebrates Free Fishing Weekend.

 

They also can join in dozens of special fishing events, many of them at state parks, over the weekend, or enjoy touring one of the state’s fish hatcheries on June 4, also marked as fish hatchery open house day.  Trout stamps are not needed during the two days, however, all other fishing regulations such as length and limits apply.

 

“Many of us spend so much time cheering for our kids from the sidelines – Free Fishing Weekend offers us the chance to jump in and actually participate with them,” says Theresa Stabo, the Department of Natural Resources’ aquatic resources educator and the mother of two teenagers. “You can fish for free, and people will be offering instruction to get you started. So get out and enjoy Wisconsin’s lakes and streams!”

 

People who don’t have their own fishing equipment can borrow basic equipment from one of DNR’s 42 tackle loaner sites, most of which are located at state parks, forests and recreation areas. Many are offering introductory fishing clinics on Sunday, June 5, when admission to state parks is free. People may also call (608) 266-2272 for a listing of sites with loaner equipment.

Novice anglers, people who haven’t fished for some time, or anglers looking for a new water can visit www.fishingwisconsin.org  to view the 2005 Fishing Report, or click on “where to fish” to find lists of waters to try for certain fish species or fishing experiences.

 

Wisconsin offers some of the country’s best fishing and 48 percent of the state’s residents take advantage of the opportunity, although not necessarily every year. Nonresident anglers spend more days fishing in Wisconsin than any other state but Florida.

 

Wisconsin has 15,081 lakes, more than 40,000 miles of perennially flowing streams, including 10,000 miles of trout streams, 260 miles of the Mississippi River, and portions of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. About 90 percent of Wisconsin’s waters support naturally, self-sustaining fish populations; DNR hatchery personnel give a helping hand to the rest.

 

State fish hatcheries raise and stock up to 50 million days-old fish, or fry, and about 12 million larger fish. Every year, anglers catch about 69 million fish, keeping 31 million of them and releasing about 38 million to challenge anglers on another day. Panfish are the most frequently caught fish, followed by walleye and largemouth bass.

 


Free Fishing Weekend in Indiana is June 11-12

It's reel fun with a catch

Load up the car with friends, family and fishing poles this June 11-12 and enjoy a free weekend of fishing.

 

Hoosier adults do not need a license to fish Indiana's public waters during Free Fishing Weekend. Children under the age of 17 do not need a fishing license at any time.  To help kids and adults celebrate Free Fishing Weekend, recreation areas located across Indiana are planning fun fishing derbies, casting clinics, fish printing demonstrations and fish cleaning and cooking classes.

 

Check out a new lake or river, or introduce friends and family to a favorite fishing spot. Some properties require pre-registration. Call your favorite property for details.

 

Free Fishing Weekend event locations:

- Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area, Edinburgh, 812-526-2051

- Cagles Mill Lake (Lieber SRA), Cloverdale, 765-795-3552

- Cecil M. Harden Lake (Raccoon SRA), Rockville, 765-344-1412

- Chain O' Lakes State Park, Albion, 260-636-2654

- Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis, 317-327-7110

- Ferdinand State Forest, Ferdinand, 812-367-1524

- Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park, Oceola, 574-674-9765

- Fort Harrison State Park, Indianapolis, 317-591-0904

- Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area, Montgomery, 812-644-7711

- Hardy Lake, Scottsburg, 812-794-3800

- Hoosier National Forest at Rainbow Lake, Derby, 812-547-7051

- Hot Pond Park, Lebanon, 765-482-8860

- J. Edward Roush Lake, Huntington, 260-468-2127

- Mansfield Mill, Mansfield, 765-344-1412 (Raccoon SRA)

- Mississinewa Lake, Peru, 260-468-2127

- Monroe Lake, Bloomington, 812-837-9546

- O'Bannon Woods State Park, Corydon, 812-738-8234

- Ouabache State Park, Bluffton 260-824-0926

- Patoka Lake, Birdseye, 812-685-2447

- Potato Creek State Park, North Liberty, 574-656-8186

- River Preserve County Park, Elkhart County, 574-535-6458

- Salamonie Lake, Andrews, 260-468-2127

- Shakamak State Park, Jasonville, 812-665-2158

- Starve Hollow State Recreation Area, Vallonia, 812-358-3464

- Summit Lake State Park, New Castle, 765-766-5873

- Versailles State Park, Versailles, 812-689-6424

- Whitewater Memorial State Park, Liberty, 765-458-5565

- Williams Dam Public Fishing Area, Williams, 812-388-5562

 

More 2005 Spring Fishing Festivities

- Hoosier National Forest at Camp Maumee, June 4, 812-275-5987

- Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, June 4, 812-522-4352

- Cedar Lake, Lake County, June 18, 219-374-6157

 

Although no fishing license is needed to fish public waters on Free Fishing Weekend, all other fishing regulations are still in effect.

 

Individuals who need reasonable modifications for effective participation in Free Fishing Weekend events at DNR properties should contact the property at least 72 hours before the event. Or, call the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife ADA Coordinator at 317-232-4080 (voice and TDD).   DNR property information: http://www.in.gov/dnr/destinations/list.html


 

Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 27, 2005

Current Lake Levels:

Compared to this time last year, Lakes St. Clair and Ontario are 4 and 1 inch lower, respectively. Lake Michigan-Huron is at the same water level and Lakes Superior and Erie remain 2 inches higher than last year. May of 2005 has been drier than average. Conversely, May of 2004 was extremely wet across the Great Lakes region. This difference in precipitation is the primary reason that water levels appear lower when compared to water levels on this date last year.  Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair are below their long-term averages by 2, 12, and 2 inches, respectively.  Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are both 3 inches above their long-term averages.

 

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 May.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated to be below average during May, while flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are both expected to be above average in May.

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook:

A chance of showers exists throughout the weekend in the Great Lakes basin.  Temperatures will top out in 60s.  Next week looks dry with near normal temperatures.

 

Forecasted Water Levels:

 Looking ahead, the water levels of Lake Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to rise 3 inches over the next month and remain similar to last year’s conditions through the summer.   Lake St. Clair is expected to remain steady, while Lakes Erie and Ontario are expected to fall up to inch in the next 30 days. This summer, levels on St. Clair, Erie and Ontario will also be similar to those of 2004.

 

Alerts:

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels. Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 


General

Simple Tips for Selecting a Life Jacket For Children

With the Memorial Day weekend upon us, boaters across Pennsylvania are reading their watercraft for another summer of fun.  The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is encouraging all boaters to check their equipment thoroughly before heading out on the water, with a special emphasis on one type of gear in particular:  life jackets.

              

The PFBC estimates that at least 80% of the 112 recreational boating fatalities in the Commonwealth over the last 10 years would have survived the accident had they been wearing a properly fitting life jacket.  That makes life jackets the single most important piece of safety equipment on board any boat. But even the best ones don’t work if they’re not being worn.  In that regard, putting on a life jacket is a lot like wearing a seat belt in an automobile.  And just like seatbelt and car seat laws for children, there are special regulations for kids and lifejackets.

             

In Pennsylvania, all children 12 years of age or younger are required to wear a life jacket when underway on a boat that is 20 feet in length or less and all canoes and kayaks. Beyond being a statewide regulation, however, ensuring youngsters are wearing a properly fitting life jacket is also common sense.

       

With the vast array of sizes, shapes and makes available, selecting the right life jacket for a child can seem like a

daunting task. The wide variety of life jackets is a bonus; however, increasing the odds you'll find a proper fit. Consider fit first when selecting a life jacket for youngsters.

 

When selecting a life jacket for a child, bear in mind the following guidelines:

• At home, be sure to measure the child's chest (underneath the arms.) Many manufacturers include a chest size. Be sure the chest measurement is accommodated by the life jacket when selecting a purchase.

• If the child has a fear of the water or does not know how to swim, a Type II Child or Infant life jacket is recommended.

• While at the store, have the child try on the life jacket and make sure it fits snugly. To determine fit, lift the shoulders of the life jacket to make sure it does not slip over the chin or ears. The life jacket is too big if there is more than three inches between the child's shoulders and the device.

• Choose brightly colored life jackets. Children are more likely to wear devices that are attractive to them. And bright colors are also more readily visible on the water.

• Crotch straps are an important feature on life jackets for young infants. For the child's protection, be sure the crotch straps are used at all times.

• A parent or other adult should assist the child in testing their life jacket in the water. Adjust the life jacket so that its optimum performance is achieved. Let the child indicate when the device needs to be tightened or loosened.


 

Illinois

DNR Seeks Input on Developing Coastal Management Program

Springfield—Those with an interest in the future development of the Illinois portion of the Lake Michigan shoreline are invited to submit their vision as input is gathered to develop long-range plans.  The Illinois DNR, in conjunction with The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, is developing the state’s coastal management plan.  That plan will then be submitted in application form to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 

The purpose of the Illinois Lake Michigan Coastal Program (CMP) will be to enhance the State’s role in planning for and managing natural and cultural resources in the coastal region and to support partnerships among federal, state and local agencies and organizations.  Upon program approval, Illinois will be eligible to receive nearly $2 million of federal funds annually to enhance and protect the Illinois Lake Michigan shoreline.

 

The IDNR has informational packets and a questionnaire, which seeks input and comment on several key areas of program development.  The responses received from questionnaires will be collated for use in workshops as a framework for program development.

The State is now in the preliminary phase of the program development and outreach process.  In January, State officials met with governmental representatives from the shoreline communities and Cook and Lake counties.  Workshop meetings are being planned for this summer and fall.  IDNR wishes to provide the opportunity for all stakeholders and interested parties to provide input on areas of concerns and considerations on how to develop a coastal management plan for Illinois.

 

To provide input, answer a questionnaire, or obtain information about workshops, contact:

Tammy Kwiatkoski at 312-814-3164, or by e-mail at tkwiatkoski@dnrmail.state.il.us

 

Grants may be made available for resource management improvements such as for: the preservation or restoration of designated areas due to certain conservation, recreational, ecological or esthetic values; resources of national significance; redevelopment of deteriorating and underutilized urban waterfronts and ports; provision of access to public beaches or other public coastal areas; for land acquisition; low cost construction projects; engineering designs/reports; educational, interpretive and management costs.


DuPage Forest Preserve "Just For Kids Fishing Derby"

Anglers 15 and under are invited to join the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's "cast" for a "reel" good time at the 19th-annual Just for Kids Fishing Derby on Sunday, June 12 from 8 a.m. to noon at Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

 

Derby participants should register at the preserve the morning of this free event, which will take place rain or shine, and should bring their own gear. Bait will be provided while supplies last.

 

In addition to fishing, festivities will include a casting contest, fishing instruction, a souvenir-photo booth and free promotional items, while supplies last. Prizes will be awarded

to derby winners in four age groups and three fish-species categories - bass, bluegill and miscellaneous - as well as to winners of the casting contest.

 

The goal of the Just for Kids Fishing Derby is to promote fishing and celebrate water resources. This event coincides with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Free Fishing Days, when anyone may fish without a license. The derby provides a great opportunity for adults to teach children the ins and outs of fishing and for the whole family to enjoy a wholesome day of fun.

 

Blackwell Forest Preserve is located on the north side of Butterfield Road, one-quarter mile west of Winfield Road and one mile east of Route 59. For more info call weekdays at (630) 933-7248.


Indiana

Fenced deer hunting meetings

Public forums span the state during June

The Department of Natural Resources will conduct five public fenced deer hunting meetings during June.

 

"Hunting deer behind fences in Indiana is a topic that has been debated and discussed for a number of years," said DNR Director Kyle Hupfer. "It is time the DNR took a more assertive role and a decision is made once and for all whether fenced hunting is something that Hoosiers want in their state, and if allowed, what rules will govern such hunting."

 

 (Times listed are local times)

-June 7, Kankakee FWA, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. (Starke County)

-June 14, Salamonie Lake, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. (Huntington County)

-June 16, Clifty Falls State Park, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. (Jefferson County)

-June 23, Sugar Ridge FWA, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. (Pike County)

 -June 30, Fort Harrison State Parts, The Garrison, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. (Marion County)

 

The Citizens Advisory Council on Captive Cervids, an advisory group created by the DNR two years ago, held a series of meetings on fenced deer hunting rules between August 2003 and April 2004. The council was unable to reach consensus and no rules were created as a result of the council's efforts.

 

This year the Indiana General Assembly briefly visited the issue of fenced hunting but left it to the DNR to examine the state's options to regulate the practice through rule rather than a change in statute.

 

 


Michigan

Whitefish study will pay anglers $5 for each tag

CHEBOYGAN - Local anglers have been asked to help collect data for a three-year study of whitefish in Lake Huron.  The Cheboygan Daily Tribune reports according to Jennifer Dale, spokeswoman for the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, anglers who catch tagged whitefish in Lake Huron are asked to recover the tags to help researchers study the whitefish population.

 

Researchers for the project are offering a reward of $5 for each tag recovered by fishermen and women, she said.

 

In 2003, the group tagged 3,238 Lake Whitefish in the Cedarville-Detour and Cheboygan areas. In 2004, a total of 12,638 whitefish were tagged in the main basin of Lake Huron, said Dale.  "Researchers will use the information from these tags to determine the spatial distribution and movements of Lake Whitefish stocks in Lake Huron," she said.

 

Information from the recovered tags will help determine mortality rates and the sex ratio of spawning fish.

 

Fish Assessment Biologist Mark Ebener said that the study is important because of the way whitefish are managed is on a

"stock" basis.  Ebener explained that a stock is a group of fish that is spatially distinct from other groups, but not necessarily isolated. His job is to identify what spawning stocks are contributing to the southern Lake Huron fish habitat.

 

He said that two hypotheses are being studied in the project that would affect how whitefish are managed.

"Researchers think that most of the whitefish in central and southern Lake Huron are produced by whitefish that spawn in the Alpena and Fishing Island regions," he said.

 

The other hypothesis is that Lake Whitefish stocks in northern Lake Huron, from Cheboygan east to Manitoulin Island, tend to stray less than fish from the rest of the lake. He said that another aspect of the project is to determine any at-risk whitefish stocks, which may be subject to over-fishing.

 

The tags will have a direct phone number to Ebener's office and are either red or yellow. He said that if fishers can not call him at the time of capture, they are asked to note the GPS coordinates if possible.

 

For more information on the project go to www.1836cora.org or call 906-632-0043.


2005-06 Off-Road Vehicle Grant Applications Available

State officials announced off-road vehicle (ORV) grant applications are available to public agencies, nonprofit and incorporated clubs and organizations.

 

Applications are available for grants to maintain existing designated ORV trails, routes and use areas; repair public lands damaged by inappropriate ORV use; and develop new ORV trails, routes and use areas. Grant funds also are available to pay for liability insurance, leases or easements.

 

"We currently maintain more than 3,100 miles of designated ORV trails and routes statewide," said Steve Kubisiak, DNR recreation and trails program coordinator. "We encourage participation from all user organizations and other public agencies to help us maintain Michigan's great ORV trail system."

 

Grant applications are prioritized to address existing trail maintenance and restoration needs on public land. Grant applicants are encouraged to identify all trails, routes and areas they wish to maintain. Requests may include more trail, route, or area maintenance than previously has been assigned to a sponsor organization.

Applications must be submitted by August 1, 2005. Any public agency, nonprofit, incorporated club or organization seeking an application should contact DNR Grants, Contracts and Customer Systems, P.O. Box 30425, Lansing, MI 48909. Applications also may be requested by using Grants, Contracts and Customer Systems' 24-hour voice mail at (517) 373-2724. The forms also are listed under Forms and Publications on the Grants Administration page on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr . Click on Inside DNR and then go to Grants Administration.

 

Questions about the ORV program and application requirements should be directed to ORV program staff in the DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management Division at (517) 373-1665.

 

A separate application is available for grants to eligible county sheriff departments to enforce ORV regulations. Counties that have either designated ORV trails or abandoned railroad rights-of-way that are being converted into Michigan Trailways are eligible for law enforcement funding. For more information on ORV enforcement grant opportunities, contact Maureen Kay Houghton at (517) 373-2965, or visit the DNR Web site.

 


Boaters Are Reminded of Lock Fees at Crooked River Lock

With the weekday opening of the Crooked River Lock beginning Memorial Day, May 30, state recreation officials remind boaters of the new fee implemented in April 2005.

 

Fees have been collected since Saturday, April 23 from watercraft that pass through the Crooked River Lock on northern Michigan's Inland Waterway. All recreational watercraft, including jet skis, will pay $4 to pass through the locks and commercial vessels will be charged $8. A $30 annual pass is available for recreational watercraft and $60 for commercial watercraft. Law enforcement craft are exempt from paying the fee.

The same fees are charged at the Cheboygan River Lock, also operated by the Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Division.

 

"Collecting the same fee at both locations will make it consistent for boaters along the Inland Waterway and raise revenue to cover the lock's cost of operation and make necessary future repairs to keep this popular recreation opportunity available," said DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson.

 

The fees were supported by the state Waterways Commission as part of the 2005 fiscal year budget including transient slip rates, access fees and lock rates.


Black River Lake Dam Slated for Repair

The Black River Lake Dam, located in southern Gogebic County, will undergo needed repairs in the near future, according to state recreation officials.

 

George Madison, fisheries supervisor for the Western U.P. Management Unit for the Department of Natural Resources, said that an agreement has been reached to repair the dam, after an inspection by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) led to the determination that the structure was in need of significant work. The lake behind the dam was drawn down during the summer of 2004 to allow for better access to the dam in order to facilitate the repairs.

 

"The DEQ inspection was routine, but did reveal some structural problems that needed to be addressed," said Madison. "Our intent is to fill cracks and holes in the cement box drain and spillway, and then allow the lake to fill again, re-establishing that fishing resource for the community."

 

Gogebic County Director of Forestry and Parks Dick Bolen said that once the dam repairs have been completed, the county intends to establish a small park for local residents at the dam site, which already features a DNR-maintained boating access. Bolen said the road to the location, known as

the Underwood Road, will be improved by the county.

 

"We intend to make this location one that will serve the community as a recreational destination, complete with picnic facilities, in a beautiful setting," Bolen said.

 

Black River Lake is the headwaters of the Black River. The 105-acre shallow impoundment is a popular destination for anglers, and is located about 10 miles south of Bessemer. The lake was created by the construction of an earthen embankment across the Black River in 1931. The dam was reconstructed in 1947 and again in 1966 after washouts occurred.

 

Madison said that once the lake has reached its historic levels, it will be planted with rainbow trout.   "This is good news for our community, "Bolen said.” We are appreciative of the efforts by the DNR in what has been a very pro-active approach to resolving this issue."

           

The repairs are expected to commence in early summer, 2005. For more information, contact Madison at 906-353-6651 or Bolen at 906-667-4687.

 


Accident rate mirrors Michigan boating dip

Boating registrations in Michigan are on the decline, but so are boat-related accidents and fatalities, according to the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents.

 

Fatalities dropped from 29 in 2003 to 26 in 2004, the lowest number in years, according to a report by the association released Monday. The number of reported accidents also declined from 226 in 2003 to 170 last year.

Despite the decline, Michigan leads the nation in the number of registered boats.  The number of boat registrations in 2004 dropped to 944,800 from 957,454 the previous year, according to the report. A sluggish economy is cited for the dip in annual registrations, which have dropped nearly 6 % since 2002. The number of registrations peaked in 2002, with 1,004,836 boats registered.

 


Leave Wildlife in the Wild

Citizens Urged to Not Handle or Adopt Young Wildlife

As summer beckons and Michigan wild birds and animals begin to produce the next generation of the state's living natural resources, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources remind outdoor enthusiasts to resist handling or adopting what appear to be orphaned baby animals.

 

Wild animals are protected by state regulations and may only be kept by those who possess wildlife rehabilitation permits.

 

"Often people find fledgling birds or fawns, and having the best of intentions, believe they are rescuing the animal," said DNR Wildlife Biologist Kelly Siciliano Carter. "Many people do not realize that most of the time, the mother is nearby. We want everyone to enjoy their time in the outdoors in Michigan, but leave the animals in the wild."

 

Carter added that many biological and disease problems are associated with handling wild animals including rabies, 

distemper, parasites and mange. Raccoons, for example, are known to host a roundworm that can cause blindness and death in people.

 

It is normal for many wild animal species to leave their young unattended for hours at a time. Deer, for instance, leave their fawns for up to eight hours before returning to nurse. Taking a fawn home is illegal, and usually results in death of the animal.

 

"Every day a wild animal is kept as a pet its chances of survival decline," Carter said, adding there are other ways that the public can help if they find evidence, such as a dead carcass, that the baby animal is truly abandoned.

 

Citizens who have evidence a baby animal is abandoned should call the nearest DNR office. The information they provide will be investigated by the DNR, and if the animal was abandoned, it will be taken by the DNR to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator.


Minnesota

Handgun Bill signed by Governor

Minnesota Legislature does it again

A bill allowing more law-abiding Minnesotans to legally carry a handgun easily passed the House and went to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who signed it last Tuesday.   The law, which restores an identical 2003 measure that was struck down by the courts, took effect immediately.

 

The Republican-controlled House voted 86-47 to reinstate the so-called conceal-carry law, which had been overturned by the courts. The 2003 law allowed adults with a clean record, no mental illness and proper training to get a permit to carry a gun. After the courts struck down the law, citing the procedure by which it was passed, the state reverted to a more restrictive system where sheriffs and police chiefs had more authority to refuse a permit application.

 

Earlier, the DFL-controlled Senate voted 44-21 for identical legislation reinstating the law. That meant the House and Senate versions didn’t have to be reconciled.  More than

25,000 people got five-year handgun permits after the 2003 law took effect in May of that year and before it was suspended by a Ramsey County judge's ruling in July 2004.  Officials said the increase in permits didn't lead to significant problems.

 

Opponents predicted the gun legislation will face more court challenges because it doesn't ban weapons in churches and other religious buildings. Instead, those institutions would have to post signs prohibiting guns or verbally tell visitors that guns aren't allowed.   Lawmakers also defeated attempts to ban guns from sports stadiums and movie theaters and to allow schools to banish guns kept in the trunk of a vehicle from their property. State law bans guns on school grounds, but not if they're stored in a trunk.

 

The bill passed is close to the original 2003 law, but it allows establishments to ban guns by putting up signs or telling visitors guns aren't allowed. Under the old law, they had to do both.


DNR Schedules Summer Test Netting

The Duluth Fisheries Management Area of the DNR has scheduled lake surveys and population assessments on area lakes for the 2005 field season.  Field crews are preparing to work on 14 lake and 13 stream surveys or assessments throughout the management area in 2005, including lakes and streams in Carlton, St. Louis and Lake Counties.  In addition, 32 streams and rivers will be continuously monitored for temperature throughout the summer.

 

Surveys and assessments are done on a regular basis to monitor changes in fish populations, and to determine whether management strategies (such as stocking) have been effective.  Survey frequency varies on each lake based on ongoing management evaluations and a priority system.

 

Lake survey and population assessment data are used to evaluate management activities and provide an update on the status of the fish community.  Data are reviewed and then incorporated into an individual fisheries lake management plan.  The plan identifies goals for the key species in the lake and outlines specific management activities.  The information collected in 2005 will be available as a lake survey report in the summer of 2006, on the DNR website www.dnr.state.mn.us , or from the Area Fisheries office.

 

Starting dates for surveys and assessments planned over the rest of the summer are tentative, and waters could still be added or dropped from the list.  Lakes to be surveyed or assessed this year include:

 

Starting date                                          Lake or Stream 

June Bass Electrofishing                        Caribou Lake, Cole

Lake, Fish Lake Reservoir, Prairie Lake

June-September                         St. Louis River

June 28-July 1                                       Graham Lake

July-August       Blackhoof River, Captain Jacobson Creek, French River, Knife River, West Branch Knife River, Little Knife River, Little West, Miller Creek, Spider Creek, Stewart River, Sucker River, Talmadge River

July 5-8                                                 West Twin Lake

July 5-15                                               St. Louis Estuary                      

July 11-15                                             Aerie Lake                                                                    

July 18-22                                             Hanging Horn Lake

July 18-27                                             Caribou Lake    

August 1-4                                            Cole Lake                     

August 8-17                                           Grand Lake                                          

August 15-26                                         Fish Lake Reservoir

August 22-31                                         Prairie Lake      

August 29-Sept. 1                                 Spring Lake    

September Walleye Electrofishing           Bassett Lake, Boulder Reservoir, Fish Lake Reservoir, Leora Lake

September 6-9                                       Mirror Lake

September 12-15                                   Sand Lake

September 19-22                                   Clearwater Lake

 

If you have any questions please contact the Area Fisheries Office in Duluth at 218-525-0853 or in writing at MN DNR, Duluth Area Fisheries, 5351 North Shore Drive, Duluth, MN 55804.

 


Wisconsin

Walleye bag limits will increase on some northern lakes

MADISON – Daily walleye bag limits will increase May 28 on 90 lakes in the ceded territory of northern Wisconsin to reflect spearing harvest results by Wisconsin’s bands of Chippewa Indians.

 

Forty-two lakes are increasing from a daily bag limit of one or two to three walleye per day. In addition, Forty-nine lakes will go from an initial bag limit of two or three walleyes per day to the bag limit specified in the Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations 2005-2006, which in most cases is the state daily bag limit of five, according to Patrick Schmalz, who coordinates the treaty fisheries for the Department of Natural Resources.

 

According to DNR Secretary Scott Hassett, “This is good news for sport anglers and for local and state economies. Increasing bag limits after the spring spearing season – the time when Chippewa bands make most of their yearly harvest – gives sport anglers more opportunities and more reasons to head north for a great day of fishing on Wisconsin waters while assuring that the tribes maintain their rights to set quotas and harvest the resource.”

 

The complete revised walleye bag limit is available at DNR license vendors as an insert to the current fishing regulations

and is also available on the www.fishingwisconsin.org page of the DNR Web site.

 

As part of a 1983 federal Appellate Court decision affirming Chippewa off-reservation hunting, fishing, and gathering rights, the six bands of Wisconsin Chippewa set annual harvest quotas for off-reservation lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory. To assure the combined tribal and recreational angler harvest does not exceed a sustainable level, the state sets recreational bag limits in lakes declared for harvest by the Chippewa bands. In April, angler daily bag limits for walleye were set at one, two, or three fish per day for sport anglers in order to accommodate Chippewa spearing harvest goals. The bag limits on these lakes will be adjusted, starting May 28, to reflect actual Chippewa spring spearing harvest totals.

 

An administrative rule passed by the state Natural Resources Board in 1998 allows the department to adjust initial bag limits annually to reflect actual spring spearing harvests and projected summer harvests.

 

Of the 240 lakes still with reduced bag limits, 3 lakes will have a bag limit of one walleye per day, 71 lakes will have a bag limit of two walleye per day, and 166 lakes will have a daily bag of three.


State weighs rules in wake of boating deaths

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (AP). -- Five people have already died in boating accidents on Wisconsin waters this year, after a record 24 people died in the 2004 season.  Now, the Wisconsin Legislature is considering a bill that would require life jackets for children when they are boating on state waters, as well as a mandatory boating safety course for operators, starting with those who are now 16.

 

A federal law already requires life jackets on federal waters for

those who are 12 or younger. The North American Safe Boating Campaign has started a national campaign to make 2005 a safe season on the water. National boating fatality rates have dropped steadily in the last few years.

 

Wisconsin would be one of the last states to adopt both the life-jacket law and the safety training law. Both were motivated by boating deaths in the Wisconsin Dells area, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.


Ontario

Weekend bear scare in suburbia

Doesn't surprise Ontario Federation of Anglers/Hunters

Six years after politics killed the spring bear hunt, a major public safety issue has come sauntering into town. This past weekend in Newmarket, a costly operation involving a helicopter, several police officers, fire equipment and a tranquilizer gun resulted in a 10-hour suburban bear hunt. Just a couple of days before, a black bear was killed by police near an elementary school in the heart of Peterborough.

 

"These two incidents are only the beginning of another season of nuisance bear hysteria in both northern and southern Ontario," said Robert Pye, communications coordinator for the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (O.F.A.H.) As the O.F.A.H. predicted, bears are expanding their range into parts of southern Ontario, including Newmarket and Peterborough – an obvious result of the government's cancellation of the spring bear hunt.

 

Pye said "The O.F.A.H. continues to warn that a record number of bears wandering into residential areas means there's an increased probability of people encountering bears. It's just a matter of time before someone, perhaps a child, gets seriously injured or killed. The O.F.A.H. is adamant that the return of the spring bear hunt is the best solution for black bear management."

 

Recently, the O.F.A.H. obtained the results of last year's M.N.R.

Bear Wise program, a $5.3 million public awareness campaign developed to help handle all of the complaints that the government now receives about nuisance bears. The results show that in the months that bears weren't hibernating, the Bear Wise Hotline received 14,550 calls, from as far north as Red Lake and as far south as the Greater Toronto Area.

 

Until recently, few M.N.R. offices maintained nuisance bear records. The records that do exist for the 1995 to 1998 period (before the hunt was canned) showed that the M.N.R. received a total of 2,600 nuisance bear complaints. From 1999 to 2002 (years without a spring bear hunt) these same offices received 12,426 nuisance bear calls. That's a whopping 500 percent increase in nuisance bear complaints since the cancellation of the spring bear hunt. Meanwhile, the province of Manitoba, which has an annual spring bear hunt, experienced no change in nuisance bear calls over the same time period.

 

This summer, hundreds of bears will be shot and wasted (and not reported) by frustrated property owners worried about protecting their family, pets and livestock.

 

"It's a sad commentary about how a once properly managed and highly valued big game species has quickly become a significant public liability and an easily expendable pest," said Pye.

 


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