Week of June 28, 2010
|Fishing beyond the Great Lakes|
|Other Breaking News Items|
Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
But saltwater license will be free
The license for Florida residents to catch saltwater fish from shore or a structure affixed to shore cost $9 last year, but beginning July 1, it's free. Other license and permit fees will increase on that date.
The Florida Legislature repealed the shoreline license fee during the past
session. However, legislators retained the license requirement to prevent a
more-costly federal registration fee from taking effect in Florida.
for phone sales at 888-FISH FLORIDA (888-347-4356).
The Florida Legislature, during the 2009 session, increased permit fees
effective July 1, 2010. The cost of a turkey permit will go up from $5 to
$10 for Florida residents and from $100 to $125 for nonresidents. In
addition, Florida waterfowl permits will increase from $3 to $5.
A 20 lb, 35" Bighead was netted in Lake Calumet, 6 miles from Lake Michigan
One Bighead Asian carp was found on June 23, in Lake Calumet along the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS). This is the first physical specimen that has been found in the waterway system above the Electric Barrier System.
Cooperating Asian Carp Regional Committee agencies (RCC) have announced they will enact immediate measures to remove any additional Asian carp found during sampling efforts, including but not limited to electrofishing and netting. “We set out on a fact finding mission and we have found what we were looking for,” said John Rogner, Assistant Director of the Illinois DNR. “This is important evidence and the more information we have about where Asian carp are, the better chance we have of keeping them out of the Great Lakes.”
The Bighead carp was found in Lake Calumet which sits between T. J. O’Brien Lock/Dam and Lake Michigan. The find was made in the northwest corner of the lake, approximately six miles downstream of Lake Michigan by a commercial fisherman under contract to the I DNR during routine sampling efforts in the area. The fish was measured to be 34.6" long and weighed 19.6 lbs.
To enlarge, click on image and pull any border
Fisheries experts stated it was not known how the Bighead got there. Referencing former finds in the Lincoln Park and McKinley Park Lagoons, both closed systems, biologists plan to take DNA and otolith samples to determine its exact origin; did it get to Lake Calumet on its own or was it dumped there possibly in a cultural release or by more devious means.
This capture represents the first Asian carp discovered above the electric barrier system and just the second in the Chicago Area Waterway System. The first Asian carp was found on December 3 in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal below the electric barrier system and just above the Lockport Lock and Dam.
Intensive sampling operations on the waterway system by the IL DNR and USFWS first began on February 17 in an attempt to locate either Silver or Bighead Asian carp above the Electric Fish Barrier System. Previous sampling actions throughout the last four months above the barrier did not produce any Silver or Bighead carp.
Additional sampling actions on Lake Calumet above T.J O’Brien Lock and Dam will include IDNR and FWS fishery biologists supported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and commercial fishermen. Commercial fishing nets and electrofishing gear will continue to be used in Lake Calumet and additional resources will be deployed to begin sampling up the Calumet River leading to Lake Michigan. Electrofishing and sampling efforts in Lake Calumet and the Calumet River will continue throughout the next several weeks.
Sampling and monitoring will also continue at five fixed sampling stations throughout the Chicago Area Waterway System as detailed in the RCC’s Sampling and Monitoring plan to search for Asian carp. Commercial fishing operations will also continue to remove Silver or Bighead carp in downstate waters where the fish are known to be present.
The Army Corps of Engineers has no plans to close the locks; they will continue to operate the locks and dams in the Chicago Area Waterway System for Congressionally authorized purposes of navigation, water diversion, and flood control.
For more info: www.asiancarp.org
Last week I
spoke to you about a major donation we received- a laptop that will be used
to analyze the data. The laptop was provided by the Grand Rapids
Steelheaders Foundation, and I repaid their kindness and hard work by
referring to them as "The Michigan Steelheaders". Please accept my apology
for this mistake. I did not understand the organizational structure at all,
and should have given the amount of time we spend working together. The
Grand Rapids Steelheaders Foundation provided all funds for that purchase.
I do not
know much about the scum lines. Do they tend to form in the same places at
the same times each year, or is it completely random? Do you actually plan
trips to fish them, or do you switch lures and techniques when you encounter
one? Can they be predicted reliably? Perhaps you could share some stories.
The reason I am asking is that insects appear be a major component of fish
diets. If that is the case, we want to know about the prey base. We do prey
fish surveys, so it my be good to sample the insect prey as well. While some
samples this summer would not be the definitive study, we need to understand
more about this phenomenon- how, when, and where it occurs, and what insects
end up in the lake. And most importantly, it may be possible to estimate
almost see us passing out the bug nets at the 2011 spring workshops. I will
look forward to hearing your perspectives on this.
Above average temperatures were felt across the entire Great Lakes region this week, with some areas experiencing temperatures in the upper 80s. Almost the entire region saw significant precipitation on Tuesday and Wednesday. Several rounds of severe thunderstorms blasted through southern Michigan and northern Indiana on Wednesday, bringing heavy rain, wind gusts up to 72 miles an hour, and a few tornadoes. Temperatures in the Great Lakes region will generally remain above average this weekend. In addition, more showers are expected throughout much of the Great Lakes basin this weekend. Although the region is expected to be dry early next workweek, all of the Great Lakes have experienced well above average precipitation this month.
Lake Level Conditions
Due to the very wet weather this month across the Great Lakes basin, each Great Lake is higher than they were at the beginning of the month. Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron, in particular, have risen significantly in June compared to their rises in April and May. However, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 6 and 8 inches, respectively, lower than their levels of a year ago. Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 7 to 11 inches below last year's levels. Over the 30 days, Lake Superior is forecasted to climb 3 inches, while Lake Michigan-Huron will rise 1 inch. Lakes St. Clair and Erie are expected to fall 1 and 3 inches, respectively, but Lake Ontario will rise an inch in the next month.
Forecasted June Outflows/Channel Conditions
The outflows from both Lake Superior into the St. Mary's River and Lake Huron into the St. Clair are forecasted to be below average during the month. Near average outflow is expected from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River and Lake Erie into the Niagara River. The flow in the St. Lawrence River is forecasted to be below average throughout the month of June.
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.
Independence Day not only marks our nation’s birth, it coincides with the start of summer steelhead fishing, and the second day of the Skamania Mania fishing tournament in northwest Indiana.
“Skamania” is the unique strain of summer-migrating steelhead trout that Indiana has developed in southern Lake Michigan. Steelhead that migrate up tributary streams in the fall and winter are also stocked by Indiana but the Skamania is special.
“Since these magnificent fish enter Indiana tributaries during the summer months, we are right on the cusp of this year’s migration,” said Indiana DNR Lake Michigan biologist Brian Breidert of the upcoming peak time for such fishing.
Indiana has been in the Skamania steelhead business for well over 35 years, becoming the mainstay for Indiana’s Lake Michigan stocking program.
Trail Creek, Salt Creek, the East Branch of the Little Calumet River, and the St. Joseph River have summer and fall returns of Skamania as a result of annual stockings. Once these fish enter the rivers, they become accessible to local anglers until the following spring, when they spawn and migrate back into the lake. This unique fish provides a nearly 12-month steelhead fishery. Northwest Indiana tributaries receive 180,000 fish annually, while the St. Joseph River receives 240,000 fish.
During the 2009 creel survey season, northwest Indiana
stream anglers caught 5,473 steelhead from July through December. More than 3,300 were caught in summer months alone. Shore anglers fishing the harbor mouths accounted for an additional 400 fish. Stream angler catch rates of seven-steelhead-per-100-hours-fished were the highest of the past decade. Average size was 8 pounds, with fish measuring an average of 28 inches.
“Indiana is the home of the Skamania steelhead in the Great Lakes,” Breidert said. “Our hatchery staff continues to work diligently each summer, collecting adult Skamania steelhead to ensure our hatcheries have an ample supply of adults to produce eggs each winter for Indiana’s stocking programs.
“Steelhead fishing during the summer has become one of our biggest draws for those in pursuit of tackle-busting trophies, with anglers from over half of Indiana’s counties and throughout the Midwest pursuing these fish.”
The Skamania Mania fishing tournament, sponsored by the Northwest Indiana Steelheaders, is July 3 and 4. Boat, shore and stream anglers can participate at no cost. Weigh-ins will run throughout each day at the DNR public access site next to the DNR building in Michigan City.
The best stream angling opportunities during summer occur directly after rainfall or when sustained south winds bring cold water near shore. With the 4th of July right around the corner, it’s time to prep your gear in anticipation of these summer stream-fishing opportunities.
MILFORD –Indiana DNR biologists netted a 14.7-inch white bass in Waubee Lake in mid-June, adding it to the growing list of lakes where the fish has apparently been illegally stocked by anglers. Biologist Jed Pearson with the Indiana DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife captured the white bass in a routine fishery survey of the 187-acre natural lake in northern Kosciusko County. He suspects an angler caught it elsewhere and released it into the lake without a permit.
According to state law (IC 14-22-9-8), anyone who stocks fish in public water must first get a permit from the DNR. Doing so without a permit is a Class C misdemeanor. “We are finding more and more white bass in lakes where they should not be,” Pearson said.
White bass do not naturally occur in Waubee Lake, nor are they native to other Indiana lakes in the Great Lakes watershed. They are also not native to upper reaches of the Tippecanoe River watershed.
In 2003, white bass were found in Lake Wawasee, Indiana’s largest natural lake, located not far from Waubee. Since then, white bass have been found at Big Lake in Noble County and Lake-of-the-Woods in Marshall County. An angler also caught a white bass at Loon Lake in Whitley County last summer and reported it to fisheries officials. Numbers of white bass in Wawasee and Lake-of-the-Woods are increasing.
Pearson said he thinks these populations originated from fish
taken from lakes that naturally contain white bass. “White bass have always been present in several Kosciusko County lakes, including the Barbee Chain, Tippecanoe, and Winona,” Pearson said. “Today’s boats now have built-in livewells and aerators, making it easy to move fish from one lake to another and very hard for conservation officers to detect.”
White bass, which are actually silver in color, are considered sport fish and are popular with anglers. But they are also predatory fish and can feed on small bluegills and largemouth bass.
Where white bass occur naturally, they typically eat gizzard shad, a forage fish of little interest to anglers. Shad, meanwhile, cause other problems by competing with bluegills and largemouth bass. Waubee, like Wawasee, Big, and Loon, does not contain shad, so biologists don’t know what long-term impacts the species may have on the native fish community.
Pearson’s nightmare, however, is someday also finding gizzard shad in these lakes. “We understand why anglers may want to stock white bass, but they need to realize white bass can harm fishing,” he said. “An even bigger problem would result if fishermen now think these lakes need shad to feed the white bass.”
“If you’re going to take a fish from a lake, take it home to eat,” he said.
Women interested in learning more about the sport of salmon fishing are invited to register for an advanced-level Becoming an Outdoors-Woman "Beyond BOW" Great Lakes salmon fishing workshop, held on Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula, Aug. 20-22.
Salmon fishing on the Great Lakes requires some special knowledge and skills, but once mastered, it can be one of the most exciting fishing experiences Michigan has to offer. Participants will leave from the Fairport Marina, located at the tip of the Garden Peninsula in Delta County, and will experience trolling for salmon in the waters of northern Lake Michigan. Guidance will be provided by several experienced salmon anglers.
The workshop will include multiple fishing trips departing from the marina, the first on Friday evening with others planned during the day Saturday and on Sunday morning. All fishing and safety equipment will be provided. However, all anglers will need a valid Michigan all-species fishing license and should bring clothing and outerwear for a variety of weather conditions, including non-slip footwear. The $200 registration fee also includes two nights lodging and Saturday evening dinner.
Enrollment for this Beyond BOW workshop is limited to six participants, and the registration deadline is Aug. 6. A registration form, maps and other event information can be found online at www.michigan.gov/bow. For more information, contact Upper Peninsula BOW chairperson Sharon Pitz at 906-228-6561.
Results of the license drawing for the 2010 elk hunting seasons have been posted on the Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s website at www.michigan.gov/dnrdrawings.
Three elk seasons will be held in 2010: Aug. 31 - Sept. 3 and Sept 24-27, Oct. 16-20, and Dec. 4-12. An additional season may be held Jan. 12-16, 2011 if the DNRE determines the
harvest is insufficient to meet management goals. A total of 75 any-elk and 155 antlerless-only elk licenses will be issued.
Hunters are reminded of a new tool available to help them find public lands for hunting. Mi-HUNT allows hunters to select lands based on a number of criteria, including vegetative types and topography. To use Mi-HUNT, visit the website at www.michigan.gov/mihunt.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environment today announced it has reviewed a Menominee County trail camera picture of an animal thought to be a cougar. Although the image is blurred, the photo is consistent with a cougar.
On June 11, DNRE Wildlife Technician Bill Rollo received a call reporting a trail camera picture that appeared to show a cougar. The photo was taken on May 26 near Wallace in the Upper Peninsula.
Rollo immediately went to the area to conduct a field investigation and verify the photograph location. The information Rollo collected was shared with the DNRE's trained cougar team, and the consensus was reached that the photo and supporting documentation indicated the animal was a cougar. The image is blurry, especially around the head, but other characteristics of the animal are consistent with a cougar.
"This is the first confirmed cougar picture in Menominee County. We appreciate the cooperation of the caller who shared the photograph and contacted the DNRE," said DNRE wildlife biologist Kristie Sitar, who is a member of the DNRE’s cougar team. "Other landowners who believe they have evidence of a cougar on their property, such as tracks or a kill site, are encouraged to contact their local DNRE field office as soon as possible, which allows staff to investigate before the evidence is compromised. Without good evidence, such as verifiable photographs or tracks, confirmation becomes increasingly difficult."
Cougars, also known as mountain lions, originally were native to Michigan but were thought to have been extirpated around the turn of the last century. The last known wild cougar taken in Michigan was killed near Newberry in 1906. The Menominee County photograph represents the latest in a series of track and photo verifications of cougars in the Upper Peninsula. Since March 2008, five sets of tracks and two trail camera
pictures have been verified in Delta, Chippewa, Marquette, and now Menominee counties. The origin of the animal or animals is unknown. There have been no confirmations of breeding activity of cougars in Michigan in recent years.
Established cougar populations are found as close to Michigan as North and South Dakota, and transient cougars dispersing from these areas have been known to travel hundreds of miles in search of new territory.
Characteristic evidence of cougars include tracks, which are about three inches long by three and a half inches wide and typically show no claw marks, or suspicious kill sites, such as deer carcasses that are largely intact and have been buried with sticks and debris.
Reports of cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNRE office or by calling the department's 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800. If a citizen comes into contact with a cougar, the following behavior is recommended:
► Stop, stand tall, pick up small children and do not run. A cougar's instinct is to chase.
► Do not approach the animal.
► Try to appear larger than the cougar. Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
► If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
► If a cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet. Do not play dead. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back.
Cougars are classified as an endangered species in Michigan. It is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm a cougar except in the immediate defense of human life. For more information about the recent cougar photo, call Kristie Sitar at 906-293-5131 or Adam Bump at 517-373-9336. To learn more about cougars and how to identify their tracks, go online to www.michigan.gov/dnrcougars
The Michigan DNRE will hold a series of meetings to review proposed changes to Lake Michigan lake trout regulations. Meetings are scheduled for:
-July 12, Northwestern Michigan College University Center, 2200 Dendrinos, Traverse City, and –
July 14, Charlevoix DNRE Fisheries Research Station, 96 Grant St., Charlevoix
All meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are scheduled for two hours.
The proposed changes are meant to maximize recreational opportunity while meeting management objectives and simplifying regulations. To review the proposals, visit the DNRE website at www.michigan.gov/fishing. Comments may be submitted by email to DNRE-Lake-Trout-Regulations@michigan.gov.
In addition to discussing lake trout seasons lake-wide, fisheries personnel will take comments on possible changes to lake trout size and creel limits for northern Lake Michigan (MM-3, 4 and 5).
The Michigan DNRE announced that, due to administrative efficiencies, its field offices in Atlanta and Baldwin will close to the public effective Monday, June 28.
The Atlanta Field Office, located at 13501 M-33, will be closed to the public except for Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to noon, when it will reopen to issue fuelwood permits only. If you require
assistance as of Monday, June 28, please contact the Gaylord Operations Service Center, 1732 W. M-32, Gaylord, at 989-732-3541.
The Baldwin Field Office, located at 2468 W. 24th St., will be closed to the public until further notice. If you require assistance as of Monday, June 28, please contact the Cadillac Operations Service Center, 8015 Mackinaw Trail, Cadillac, at 231-775-9727.
The Michigan DNRE reminds hunters that individuals who are selected for an elk or bear hunting license may donate their drawing success to a youth or to a hunter with an advanced illness. The DNRE maintains a waiting list of eligible hunters who are interested in participating in a donated hunt. To register online for the waiting list, go to: www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings by July 1.
To be eligible for a donated hunt, youths must be unsuccessful applicants for 2010 bear or elk licenses. Youths
must be between 10 and 16 years of age to hunt bear, 12 and 16 to hunt elk. Individuals with advanced illnesses, as defined by the Public Health Code, need not have applied for the licenses to be eligible to receive the transferred license rights. However, they must complete the Physician Certification of Advanced Illness form, available at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings.
After July 1, eligible individuals may contact the DNRE Wildlife Division at 517-241-1971 to see if additional opportunities exist.
Preliminary Monthly Summary for April and May 2010
The Lake Ontario fishing boat survey began on April 15, 2010. Prior to the survey start, angler reports indicated good brown trout fishing, and better than typical catches of Atlantic salmon. Creel survey data collected April 15 – April 30 indicated relatively good brown trout fishing, and Atlantic salmon catch rates similar to April 2009, which were well above average.
May Trout and salmon fishing effort and quality were good during early May; however, both declined after the second week and remained low through the remainder of the month. During May 2010, there were an estimated 11,111 fishing boat trips, which was a 27.7% decrease compared to 2009 but was comparable to (-2.7%) the previous 5-year average (2005-09; Table 1, Fig. 1).
Fig 1 - May fishing effort, 1985-2010
Boats targeting trout and salmon accounted for 9,401 boat trips (84.6% of the total May effort and the lowest percentage among all years surveyed). This is the fourth year of the pre-season smallmouth bass catch and release period covered by the creel survey. During May 2010 there were an estimated 237 boat trips targeting smallmouth bass which was within the range of estimates observed since the regulation change (43 trips in May 2007 - 319 trips in May 2009). Estimated total numbers of trout and salmon caught (20,573 fish) and harvested 11,638 fish) during May 2010 were 54.8% and 46.3% decreases compared to previous 5-year averages, respectively (Table 1, Fig. 2).
Fig 2 - Total trout/salmon catch and catch rate during May
For the third consecutive year Chinook salmon was the most commonly caught and harvested species (5,866 and 3,932 fish, respectively; Fig. 3). For the first May since 1993, lake trout was the second most commonly caught species.
Fig 3 - Chinook salmon catch/catch rate, during May
Estimated catch (5,660 fish) was the highest since 1998 (Table 1). This increase is primarily attributed to an increase in the number of anglers targeting lake trout in the east/central and eastern portion of the lake during the second half of the month. Typically, during May many eastern anglers specifically target brown trout; however, this May many of those anglers began targeting lake trout when brown trout fishing slowed mid-month. For the second consecutive year, numerous anecdotal reports from anglers indicated that Atlantic salmon catch was higher than is typically observed. May creel survey data confirmed these reports with the highest May 2009 and 2010 Atlantic salmon catch estimates since 1994 (2009: 430 fish; 2010: 223 fish; Table 1).
The quality of trout and salmon fishing during May 2010, as measured by catch rate, declined from the highs observed in recent years to an estimated 2.2 fish per boat trip (Table 1, Fig. 2). May catch rate was a 46.1% decrease compared to the previous 5-year average. May 2010 catch rates were above their respective 2005-09 averages for lake trout (+158.7%, highest since 1998) and Atlantic salmon (+137.3%, the highest since 1994), and were below their respective averages for coho salmon (- 63.1%, but comparable to the long-term average; Chinook salmon (-62.0%, lowest since 2002), brown trout (-59.0%, lowest since 1992; and rainbow trout (- 45.8%). Nearly 57% of all trout and salmon caught were harvested, resulting in an estimated total trout and salmon harvest rate of 1.2 fish per boat trip. This was the fifth lowest harvest rate among the 26 years surveyed and a 37.4% decrease compared to the previous 5-year average.
May 2010 harvest rates were above their respective 2005- 09 averages for lake trout (+345.5%, highest since 1998)
and Atlantic salmon (+122.0%), and were below their respective averages for brown trout (-64.3%), coho salmon (-55.2%), Chinook salmon (-41.1%), and rainbow trout (-20.1%).
Table 1 - May fishing boat trips, fish caught and harvested, and catch rates and harvest rates per boat trip for trout and salmon among boats seeking these species, from the 1985-2010 New York Lake Ontario fishing boat survey
Other Breaking News Items
(Click on title or URL to read full article)
Lawmakers called again Wednesday for closure of locks and canals connecting the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan after officials announced the catch of a bighead carp in Chicago's Lake Calumet.
It’s always a comforting feeling when the fascists tell you to relax. That’s what Senator Joe Leiberman told everyone to do Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. The President will never take over the Internet, Leiberman—with a warm smile—assured the audience
building Asian carp barrier
experts huddle to discuss Asian carp
drilling ban opposed
changes Kamloops stocking to prevent the spread of VHS
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