Week of July 19, 2010
|Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues|
|Other Breaking News Items|
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
Overland Park, KS. - Bushnell introduces the Legend® Ultra HD 15-45x60 spotting scope.
This spotter fits easily into a backpack making it perfect for backcountry hunting trips, and is light enough to use on car window mounts. It has twin dual speed focus controls which provide both rapid focus for moving subjects or low power use, and the ability to slowly fine tune focus when viewing at higher power or closer distances. The mid size spotter has a wide field of view, and a straight eyepiece with a zoom range from 15-45 power.
The new Legend 60mm scope features the patented Bushnell RainGuard®HD lens coating for better moisture dispersion and easier cleaning. Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass is employed on the Legend Ultra HD spotting scope to give the sharpest and clearest image available by ensuring that all colors in the light spectrum are focused to the same plane. The 15-45x60mm Legend Ultra-HD spotting scope also features a retractable sun shade, twist-up eyecup, and rotating tripod mounting collar. A soft case and table-top tripod are included.
After a week of temperatures in the 90's the Great Lakes basin saw a return to more seasonable temperatures this week. Many accounts of severe weather were reported Wednesday evening as portions of the western basin saw over 3 inches of rain. More severe weather and scattered showers are expected Thursday and into Friday as the system moves to the east. High pressure is expected for much of the weekend, but some locations in the Great Lakes basin may see a shower or thunderstorm late Saturday night. Near seasonal average temperatures can continue to be expected over the next few days.
Lake Level Conditions
All of the Great Lakes continue to be below their levels of a year ago. The lakes range from 5 to 7 inches below last year's levels. Over the next month, the water level of Lake Superior is expected to rise 2 inches, while Lake Michigan-Huron is forecasted to remain near the same level over the next 30 days. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are expected to decline 3, 4, and 2 inches, respectively, over the next month.
The outflows from Lake Superior into the St. Mary's River, Lake Huron into the St. Clair River, and Lake St. Clair into the Detroit
River are forecasted to be below average during the month. Near average outflow is expected from Lake Erie into the Niagara River. The flow in the St. Lawrence River is forecasted to be below average throughout the month of 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.
DULUTH -- Researchers at the Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) of the University of Minnesota Duluth predict that the surface of the open waters of Lake Superior will be exceptionally warm this summer. They suspect that water temperatures may exceed the high recorded during the strong El Niño summer of 1998, 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). The average water temperature of Lake Superior’s surface waters in August is about 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). (It is already about 59 degrees at NOAA’s Western Lake Superior buoy.)
Jay Austin, associate professor of physics, and his collaborator Steve Colman, professor of geology, report that this past winter’s low ice coverage led to an early spring turnover and an early onset of summer stratification in the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area. Early stratification will allow the lake’s surface waters to warm for a longer time. This year, the lake began forming a warm surface layer in early- to mid-June rather than the normal mid-July. From now until autumn, the surface waters will continue to warm and blanket the colder waters. When Austin noticed that the lake was headed for early stratification, he said that this “typically means that it's going to be a very warm year in Lake Superior.”
Lake turnover happens as the winds “turn over” the lake, mixing the water column until the water reaches about 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). At that temperature,
the water column begins to “stratify,” where warmer water forms a layer over the colder waters below.
Austin and Colman grabbed headlines in 2007 for showing that summer water temperatures were warming twice as fast as air temperatures over the last 30 years, based on data from NOAA buoys in Lake Superior. The reason for the warming was partly due to increasing air temperatures, but also strikingly related to winter ice cover. The less winter ice, the earlier the summer stratification begins, and the longer the summer heating season for the surface waters. Austin said, “After watching last winter’s ice cover, I suspected that Lake Superior was in for warm summer surface water temperatures as much as five months ago. The early stratification date this year adds weight to my suspicions.”
Lake Superior’s warming waters could alter the productivity of microbes and algae, affect commercial and sport fishing, and create a longer recreational summer season. Swimmers might rejoice but lake trout may have to move deeper or further offshore.
To learn more about how a changing climate is affecting Lake Superior, visit Minnesota Sea Grant’s climate portal at: www.seagrant.umn.edu/climate/. For access to the University of Minnesota Duluth’s meteorological buoy data, including real-time water column temperature, see: www.d.umn.edu/~jaustin/buoy_2010.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources will take a lead role in implementing a short-term step to address the advance of Asian carp up the Wabash River system and their potential movement into the Maumee River, a tributary to Lake Erie. The focal point is Eagle Marsh, a 705-acre restored wetland near Fort Wayne that DNR staff identified as a possible pathway for Asian carp passage under certain flood conditions. The marsh is just north of Fox Island County Park near the intersection of Interstate 69 and U.S. 24.
A permanent solution to prevent Asian carp from being able to pass through this area during flooding conditions will take more time to develop, design and construct. Therefore, as an immediate preventive measure, the DNR will install mesh fencing across a section of the marsh, creating a barrier against passage of Asian carp between the Wabash and Maumee drainage basins.
The DNR convened a recent meeting in Fort Wayne to address the potential carp movement and explore solutions, and the consensus was the mesh barrier is the best short-term option to pursue. The USEPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USGS, U.S. Dept of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Little River Wetlands Project that manages Eagle Marsh, were represented at the meeting.
The fencing will be substantial enough to withstand floodwaters but will be designed so it does not increase flood elevations and cause property damage. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will provide design guidance on the fencing. The goal is to have the fencing installed this summer. Additional monitoring will be conducted and more aggressive action taken if the threat warrants.
Although Chicago waterways remain the likeliest entry point for Asian carp into the Great Lakes, the Corps of Engineers is tasked with finding other potential pathways throughout the Great Lakes basin. Corps officials have identified several
sites they are investigating to determine the risk of Asian carp advancement, including the Eagle Marsh area.
Although the Wabash and Maumee basins drain in opposite directions and have no direct connection under normal conditions, their waters do comingle under certain flood conditions.
Eagle Marsh straddles a natural geographic divide created by glacial movement during the ice age. The broad wetland marsh extends across the divide into two key drainage ditches – McCulloch Ditch and Junk Ditch. McCulloch drains west into the Little River and eventually the Wabash River near Huntington, while Junk Ditch drains northeast into the St. Marys River and then the Maumee River.
If Asian carp cross the divide at Eagle Marsh and reach the Maumee, they would be in the Lake Erie drainage basin and additional more costly and invasive steps would be required to protect the Great Lakes from the threat.
The DNR and the Corps of Engineers are working with U.S. Geological Survey to analyze historic flood data and determine the depth and duration of flooding in the Eagle Marsh area.
Asian carp, a generic term for four species of non-native carp, were first detected in Indiana in 1996 at Hovey Lake Fish & Wildlife Area in the southwest corner of the state. Subsequent DNR surveys located bighead carp and silver carp in low abundance in the Wabash River or its tributaries, but the location of those findings show the fish moving upstream. A 2008 survey collected a total of 25 silver carp and two bighead carp over a 105-mile stretch of the Wabash River.
Adult bighead carp have been found below the dam at Roush Lake near Huntington, and silver carp have advanced to the Mississinewa River near Peru. In late May, a DNR biologist found evidence of silver carp spawning near Lafayette, 105 river miles downstream from the mouth of the Little River.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment will host the 15th annual Saginaw Bay Waterfowl Festival on Aug. 7 and 8 at Bay City State Recreation Area. Festival activities begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and run through 4 p.m. on Sunday. Festival activities focus on the ducks and geese, which depend upon the wetlands of the Saginaw Bay Watershed for staging, nesting and breeding habitat. Visitors are invited to participate in a wide range of activities and programs. The event is co-sponsored by the Michigan Duck Hunter’s Association, the Friends of Bay City State Recreation Area and the Frank N. Andersen Foundation. Last year over 11,000 visitors attended this popular event.
The festival’s main events include the Michigan Championship Duck Calling Contest (Sunday, 2 p.m.), the Michigan Goose Calling Competition (Sunday 12:30 p.m.) and the 2011 Michigan Waterfowl Stamp Competition.
The calling competitions include Master and Novice divisions. There will also be Junior Duck Calling Competition on Saturday and a Junior Goose Calling Contest on Sunday for youth ages 16 and under.
The event features over 170 exhibitors in the Duck Hunter and Outdoor Recreation Expo, providing waterfowl enthusiasts with hunting, archery, camping, boating, wildlife watching and habitat-enhancement products and wares. The festival includes a special Wildlife Art and Craft Show with fine art originals, prints, photos, carvings and crafts all inspired by the wonder and beauty of nature. Exhibitors interested in participating should contact the park at the phone number below.
Bring your retriever to participate in the Dog Fun Hunt Trial. Learn tips from trainers on dog handling or find a new hunting buddy in "Puppy Alley." Other events include a Youth/Adult Canoe Race, Live Animal Wildlife Conservation programs,
Waterfowl ID Trail, Decorative Decoy Carving Contest and Waterfowl Photography Contest.
The sixth annual "Quack-Athalon" is a unique contest of skill and timing in three events: canoeing, air-rifle marksmanship and duck identification.
"Our event is known for being unique from other outdoor shows because of the wide array of opportunities, activities and programs it provides families to enjoy," said Park Interpreter Valerie Blaschka. "I hear over and over again from visitors that there is something fun for everyone in their family, hunters and non-hunters, young and old!"
Admission is free to festival events, but a state park motor vehicle permit is required for all vehicles entering the park. Permits are $6 for a daily, and $24 ($6 for senior citizens) for an annual permit. For advance registration information, a complete schedule of festival activities or more information on the event, please stop by or call the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center, located within Bay City State Recreation Area, 3582 State Park Drive, Bay City, (989) 667-0717. Advanced registrations and applications are available at the Michigan Duck Hunters Association website at www.midha.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Effective Oct. 1, 2010, the Recreation Passport will be available to Michigan residents for $10 per registered vehicle, or $5 per registered motorcycle. This will replace the resident annual state park and boating access site permits. By checking “Yes” on your vehicle registration form, Michigan residents will realize a 58 percent savings in exchange for unlimited access to all Michigan state parks and boating access sites. This money will also help support Michigan state parks, boating access sites, state forests and local parks. For more information about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport
Four waters stocked to open new era in restoration
WILD ROSE – Wisconsin’s efforts to restore lake sturgeon to inland waters took a leap forward last week as the renovated Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery sent its first sturgeon out the door to new homes in four Wisconsin waters.
On July 7, DNR fisheries crews stocked more than 6,100 tiny sturgeon in the Baraboo River in Baraboo, returning the prehistoric species to that water for the first time since the 1800s, when dams built on the river, along with overfishing and water pollution, helped doom their populations. An audio slide show recording this historic return is available on the Department of Natural Resources website.
On July 9, another 7,400 sturgeon, spawned from fish from the Yellow River in northwest Wisconsin and raised at Wild Rose, were returned to that river, to the Clam River Flowage in Burnett County, and to Minong Flowage in Douglas County.
“This is really good news,” says Ron Bruch, DNR senior sturgeon biologist and co-leader of the agency’s statewide sturgeon team. “We have the Wild Rose facility online and staff have shown they can produce the quality and quantity of lake sturgeon we need to really look well into the future for our population restoration needs.”
The second phase of renovating Wild Rose State Hatchery is about complete, giving anglers and the Wisconsin’s fisheries program state-of-the-art facilities for raising cool-water fish including lake sturgeon, northern pike, walleye and musky.
Now, the sturgeon can be raised entirely inside tanks in a climate controlled building where water temperatures, dissolved oxygen, food and others aspects are carefully monitored by staff and by computers.
“It’s like going from the stone age to the space age,” Bruch says. “Before, we had little tanks outside, and little ability to control water temperatures and other factors. It was terrible. Those guys did a really good job considering what they had to work with, but this renovated facility really is state of the art and we expect it will let us stock more waters with more fish.”
The renovated hatchery and the staff who run it are already having an impact. Sturgeon weren’t scheduled to be stocked out of the facility until this fall, but so many sturgeon hatched and survived that some needed to be removed from the tanks to allow the remaining fish more room to grow, says Steve Fajfer, hatchery supervisor.
“The staff has done a fantastic job learning a whole new system and producing more fish, bigger fish and healthier fish,” Fajfer says. About 60,000 lake sturgeon remain at the hatchery and will be raised to the more normal sizes for
stocking, about 6 to 9 inches for fingerlings, and 10 to 14 inches for yearlings. The fingerlings will be planted this fall, and the yearlings next spring, Fajfer says.
Waters planned for stocking from Wild Rose are the Menominee River in Marinette County, the Wisconsin River in Marathon County, the Wisconsin River flowage at Stevens Point in Portage County, Upper St. Croix Lake, Eau Claire River, and St. Croix Flowage, all in Douglas County, and the Namekagon River and Trego Lake, both in Washburn County.
Other waters being stocked with sturgeon in 2010-2011 include the Milwaukee and Kewaunee rivers, which will receive fish raised at streamside rearing facilities along those waters, and the Fox River in Marquette County from the UW-Milwaukee Water Institute, and the Manitowish River, which will receive fish from DNR’s Woodruff Hatchery.
Lake sturgeon are living fossils, relics from the Upper Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era, and they rank as Wisconsin's largest and oldest fish, confirmed again this winter when an Appleton man speared a 212-pound, 3.2 ounce lake sturgeon that stretched 84.25 inches on opening day of the 2010 Lake Winnebago lake sturgeon spearing seasons.
Historically, lake sturgeon were found throughout the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basin. They flourished in Wisconsin's boundary waters including the Mississippi, Wisconsin and Menomonee rivers, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Green Bay. Dams, pollution, habitat degradation and overharvest dramatically reduced lake sturgeon populations in some Wisconsin waters over the past 100 years, and eliminated them entirely from other stretches of water. Because female fish don't reproduce until they are 20 to 25, and then spawn only once every three to five years, lake sturgeon populations are very vulnerable to overexploitation and slow to rebuild.
“Wisconsin’s Lake Sturgeon Management Plan” calls for restoring lake sturgeon to many waters in its historic range. DNR will be updating the plan this year and seeking input from people outside the agency interested in sturgeon management. Wild Rose Fish Hatchery will play a key role in that plan, along with protective regulations, research, dedicated funding for sturgeon restoration, and other factors, says Karl Scheidegger, a DNR rivers biologist and co-leader to the state sturgeon team.
“The new Wild Rose cool water propagation facility will give the fisheries program the ability to restore multiple sturgeon populations for many years to come,” Scheidegger says. “And that, we hope, means that down the road more people will be able to experience these remarkable fish.”
RACINE--Roger Hellen entered a potential world-record brown trout July 16 in the Lake Michigan Salmon-A-Rama contest in Racine, Wis.
If the weight of that 41.8 lb brown trout holds up, it would be a new world mark. Hellen's trout was nearly 5 lbs heavier than the Wisconsin record and could nudge past the current world record brown of 41.7 lb), recognized by the International Game Fish Association. That one was caught by Tom Healy on Sept. 9, 2009, from the Manistee River in Michigan.
The lure was a blue-and-green spoon trolled about 10 feet below the surface, the fish was 40.6 inches long and had a 27-inch girth.
Hellen's brown was weighed on a certified scale at
Brossman's Meat Market while being witnessed by three butchers with at least 23 years of experience each, Hellen and a Salmon-A-Rama official. ''They [first] went to a meat market down the road,'' butcher Jeff Luzich said. ''They didn't have a scale big enough.''
After a phone call, Hellen and the official ''came in with a big cooler,'' Luzich said. ''We asked, 'How big a fish do you got?' They said, 'Oh, about 41 pounds.' They pulled it out. It was beautiful.'' The scale's certification is up to date, and everything from that side seems OK.
''I've fished out on Lake Michigan and caught browns of 10-15 pounds, [but nothing like that],'' Luzich said. ''It was a beautiful fish.'' "This is great for the lake, great for the club, great for the fishery," said Tom Pietila, president of Salmon Unlimited of Wisconsin.
Roger Hellen holds up the 41.5 lb brown trout he caught
Friday, July 16 in the Salmon-A-Rama contest
Other Breaking News Items
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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed an agreement with China to export as much as 30 million lbs of Asian carp a year from the Illinois River, a move aimed at reducing the population of the invasive species downstate. Flanked by state lawmakers and business leaders from Illinois and China,
Ten years ago, Great Lakes scientists discovered Lake Michigan’s “doughnut in the desert,” a huge ring-shaped bloom of tiny aquatic plants circling southern Lake Michigan’s frigid offshore winter waters. The phytoplankton bloom that circles southern in
It might not take an act of Congress to keep the invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes after all. That's the word from Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who said she's working with fellow lawmakers on "several strategies," including pushing the Army Corps of Engineers to accelerate its study on
news: Next weapon against carp: Annoying noise
Obama plans to name an Asian carp czar within a month to oversee state and federal efforts to keep the fish from invading the Great Lakes. U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin announced the plan after meeting with Nancy Sutley, who chairs the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
64-pound Asian carp caught in Chicago lagoon
What’s the difference between a single 20-pound Asian carp caught on the watery outskirts of Lake Michigan and millions of barrels of oil fouling the Gulf of Mexico? On the Gulf Coast, wildlife, habitat, fishing and tourism industries have sustained months of daily assault. Here, such damage is merely pending.
The phrasing was a bit inelegant but accurate. "It looks like a big toilet has flushed," John Giuliani said, staring at a 3' swirl on the St. Marys River where a fish had sucked in a floating mayfly. "They're just full of mayflies, and that's making it tough for us to interest them in anything we're offering."
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