Week of August 16 , 2004

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Fishing Missouri’s Lake Pomme de Terre

Angling beyond the Great Lakes for fun, fishing and recreation

Targeting bass, muskie and great recreation –near Springfield, MO

Lake Pomme de Terre, another of Missouri’s flood control engineering feats that doubles as a recreation mecca, is nestled in the state’s Ozark Lakes region, a beautiful, peaceful, rural area embraced by other lakes, rolling hills and timber. Although the lake’s primary function is flood control with recreation being secondary, state and federal agencies in the early ‘40s designed another cooperative effort that benefits the recreational community, tourism and landowners alike.

 

Although not as well known as some of the state’s other brand lakes like Mark Twain, Truman, Ozarks or Table Rock, Pomme de Terre nevertheless has a reputation among recreational and tournament anglers as one of the best bass and crappie lakes in the Ozarks. It also has the distinction of being singled out to be the showcase of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) as the state’s premier stocked muskie lake. 

 

According to legend, the French explorer La Salle gave the Pomme de Terre River its name when he crossed the Ozarks in 1682. The phrase “pomme de terre” is French for “apple of the earth,” or potato.

 

Pomme de Terre Lake covers 7,820 acres and can expand to as much as 16,100 acres during periods of heavy rain as excess runoff is impounded to prevent downstream flooding. With 113 miles of shoreline and hundreds of coves for likely bass cover, the lake lazily winds its way through the Pomme de Terre and Lindley Creek valleys on its way north to the headwaters of Truman Lake. Pomme de Terre Lake was constructed as part of a flood control project which also encompasses Stockton and Truman Lakes. Both Pomme de Terre and Stockton Lakes flow into Truman Lake.

 

Its construction fostered economic growth in the tourism industry and now the area boasts 18 resorts, lodges and inns, 5 marinas, several RV parks and secondary services, all supporting the rural and tourist trade.

 

Surrounded by and equidistant from some of those better known lakes such as Stockton Lake, Harry S. Truman reservoir and Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Pomme de Terre is just 45 miles north of Springfield, MO – Bass Pro Shop country.  Johnny Morris’ toy shop for young and old alike is always a must see destination when you’re in the area.

 

Pomme de Terre State Park offers all the usual amenities offered in most state parks including:  boat ramps, picnic facilities & picnic shelters, campgrounds with most offering water, electrical hookups, trailer dump station, toilets, showers, playgrounds, swimming beaches and trails to enjoy Ozark beauty.  Marinas offer bait, rental boats & motors, and marine dump stations.

 

Missouri is home to 206 species of fish, more than most other states, ranging in size from the pygmy sunfish that matures at one inch or less to the paddlefish that reaches a weight of more than 100 pounds.  But by far, the most popular, and the most abundant, is the largemouth bass.

 

Pomme de Terre has an excellent fishery. Whether beginner or experienced angler, you’re sure to catch fish.  Good stringers of crappie, black bass, white bass, bluegill, and channel cat are commonly taken from the lake. Pomme de Terre lake is also noted for its muskie fishing. Muskellunge have been stocked in the lake regularly since 1966 and fishermen have an opportunity to catch trophy-sized muskie.

 

The largemouth bass is the largest member of the sunfish family and the most abundant bass in Missouri’s lakes and slow moving streams. Although bass feed on insects, crayfish and fish, these bigmouth bass are almost always targeted and caught with crank-baits, top-waters or plastics. Adults weigh in at about 2 lbs. and about 15” long at 5 years of age.

 

The Pomme de Terre reservoir is rated by sportswriters and the MDC as one of the prime sport fisheries in Missouri – especially for largemouth bass, crappie, white bass and the newest addition to its family, the muskie. Co-managed by the Corps for water levels and flood control, the MDC manages the lake’s resource. Conservation and Corp folks have made it easy to navigate and fish this lake.

 

My guide for the weekend was Missouri Tourism Outdoor Marketing Specialist, Scott Pauley, who also has 23 years of tournament experience with the BASS circuit.  Pauley told me the Corps of Engineers and MDC, for the past ten years have set out a significant number of fish attractor locations constructed around the lake, using GPS technology. They also have placed large cedar tree fish attractor beds that provide cover – and a good place to catch fish. Fish attractor signs are easily located around the lake to help you locate the beds.

 

The lake also has a heated enclosed fishing dock.

 

A new fish attractor map is now available on the MDC’s website – www.conservation.state.mo.us. Pauley, who also is a sergeant and 24 year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and a Special Service Supervisor, says the Corps is attempting to control the water levels during critical spawning periods.  The agencies want to encourage shore line development of willow trees and shrubs at the water’s edge to prevent erosion and provide fish cover.

 

Recent MDC sampling studies show an excellent largemouth bass population exists. Bass are abundant and anglers can expect to catch many 13-16” bass. Anglers will also have a good change to catch bass 3-5 lbs and 8 lb bass are present. The white bass population has recovered from a die-off in 1995. White bass angling should be very good for 12-14” fish. Black and white crappie will be good during spring with fair numbers of 9-12” present.  

               

Lake Pomme de Terre is one of Missouri’s premier muskellunge fisheries and is the state’s largest “muskie” lake. During the past 27 years, it has been the highest priority lake for MDC muskie stocking programs.   The MDC annually stocks muskellunge fingerlings to maintain the fishery. The agency stocks 8,000 muskie (12-16”) annually, however, the larger than normal annual stocking of 10,611 fingerlings in 2000 will provide an added boost to the fishery this year.

Muskies in the 35 lb – 48+” class are caught here. Muskellunge anglers will find Pomme de Terre contains an excellent muskellunge population. Spring sampling shows the lake contains excellent numbers of muskellunge in the 36-45” size range and fish over 47” are present.

 

The best muskie angling occurs from mid-September through mid-October as water temperatures approach 70ºF, however, good fishing continues until the water temperatures lower to about 50ºF. Good muskie fishing also occurs from April to June as waters warm to about 70ºF. Fishing large bucktails or plugs over shallow water points near stumps and vegetation can be good all day during cloudy weather. The best times to fish during clear weather are early morning or late evening.   MDC recommends muskie angling be discontinued when water temperatures are above 80ºF due to an increased mortality rate of released fish.

 

The practice of releasing fish immediately after they are caught contributes to an increase in the fish population. The MDC tag reporting programs on large fish show many of the large trophy size fish have been caught several times by different anglers.  Catch and careful release of large muskie is very important. A 48” fish will probably be 16-19 years old and with careful handling will probably live another 10 or more years.

 

They also stocked 49,900 walleye fingerlings (6-8”) in 2002. MDC plans are to continue stocking walleye in Pomme de Terre so the walleye population will continue to grow. Blue gill are plentiful as well as good numbers of channel, blue and flathead catfish.

 

A half hour’s drive east is Bennett Springs. Bennett Springs State Park boasts the state’s third largest spring with nearly 100 million gallons of water gushing daily through Bennett Springs. The bubbling emerald colored pool feeds a stream that runs through the 3,099  acre park. The stream is stocked daily through the March 1 – October 31 trout season and provides excellent fishing for rainbow trout, and the park has its own trout hatchery Bennett Springs is an awesome site and worthy of an article by itself. We will do that later this summer but for now enjoy some of the views available to an angler fishing Bennett Springs streams or a bystander just enjoying the beauty and excitement. 

 

If Missouri is on your radar screen as a destination area, keep the Missouri Ozarks and Lake Pomme de Terre in mind.  For some serious fishing or for a leisure family vacation, this lake area which is less than an hour’s drive from the town of Springfield is the place to consider.

 

Contacts/Information

Missouri Division of Tourism
P.O. Box 1055, Jefferson City, MO  65102
800-810-5500 or 800-877-1234

573-751-4133
E-mail: tourism@ded.mo.gov  
Web site: www.VisitMO.com   
 

Missouri Department of Conservation

2901 W. Truman Blvd., P.O. Box 180
Jefferson City, MO  65102
573-751-4115   Ph
573-751-4467   Fax
www.conservation.state.mo.us  
 

Missouri Department of Conservation

Southwest Regional Office
2630 N. Mayfair
Springfield, MO  65803
417-895-6880
 

Missouri Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 176
Jefferson City, MO  65102
800-361-4827; 573-751-3443
E-mail: oac@dnr.mo.gov   
www.dnr.state.mo.us/

 

Missouri Division of State Parks
www.mostateparks.com  
800-334-6946
 

Bennett Springs State Park

26250 Highway 64A

Lebanon, MO  65536

800-334-6946, 417-532-4338 or                                                           

E-mail: moparks@dnr.mo.gov

www.mostateparks.com/bennett.htm

 

Pomme de Terre Lake Area Chamber of Commerce

800-235-9519; 417-745-2299

www.lakepommedeterre.com

 

Pomme de Terre Project Office
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Rt. 2, Box 2160
Hermitage, MO  65668-9509
Tel: 417-745-6411
www.nwk.usace.army.mil/pommedeterre/pomme_home.htm 
Pomme.De-Terre@nwk02.usace.army.mil

 

Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

3315 E Battlefield Rd

Springfield, MO  65804

800-678-8767

www.SpringfieldAdventures.com

cvb@springfieldmo.org

 

Bass Pro Shops

2500 E. Kearney,

Springfield, MO 65898

www.basspro.com

800-227-7776 (800-BASSPRO )

 

Scott Pauley
Missouri State Highway Patrol
Sergeant - Special Service Supervisor
24 Years of Service

 

Scott Pauley
Missouri Division of Tourism
Outdoor Marketing Specialist   
Email:  mofishing@aol.com    
www.VisitMO.com  
573-443-3598
Twenty-three years of tournament experience


 

 

World

UN report says dead zones global problem

Lake Erie one of 150 low-oxygen spots around world

Fisheries worldwide are increasingly under threat from growing areas of very low oxygen in the world's rivers, oceans and seas, according to a recent United Nations Environmental Program report, and Lake Erie is not alone when it comes to this concern.

           

The report states there are now nearly 150 marine "dead zones" around the world. Robert Diaz, report co-author and marine science professor at the College of William and Mary's Virginia Institute of marine Science, says fish stocks will face increasing challenges in the zones.

           

"The question turns to how much area will the fish stocks lose in feeding grounds, effort spent in escaping the dead zone,

and how will they adapt?" Diaz says. "I don't think they will be able to adapt very well. If this doesn't change we will see major fish kills."

 

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone, which grows and shrinks seasonally, now encompasses 22,000 sq miles of water. The Baltic Sea has the largest area at 27,000 sq miles and experiences fish kills. Low-oxygen dead zones like those in the Gulf of Mexico could suffocate fisheries and keep gulf fishing boats tied up at the docks.

           

The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network reports, and the UN concurs Great Lakes and other world dead zones are caused by runoff from too many nutrients such as agricultural fertilizers, including nitrogen, as well as vehicle and factory emissions, and sewage wastes.


 

National

Your help is needed

We need your financial help to fund the operations of the Illinois Waterway electronic barrier – to prevent Asian carp and other nasty critters from entering our lakes

 

A second larger, longer-life barrier is now under construction, but the cost of the design exceeds available funds by $1.8 million.

 

Illinois has contributed $2 million to the project, but the other Great Lakes Governors say they are not able to contribute the balance – $1.8 million. Their states do not have the money. The need for the additional $1.8 million is critical.

 

Contributions from any non-federal source will help. That’s where clubs, individuals and corporate America can help

 

Use of Contributed Funds

Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC.

All contributions are tax deductible and will only be used to:

 

1)     Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)     Improve or operate Barrier I

3)     Construct and operate Barrier II

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations. 

Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp

 

For more information and photos go to: 

www.great-lakes.org/carp

 

Thanks for your help in preventing the invasion

of these harmful critters into our lakes.

 


Large Electric Utilities placed on notice – stop killing fish

Water intake cooling systems chewing up millions of bait, recreational and commercial fish annually

Reminiscent of the Ludington, MI Pump Storage Plant lawsuit and subsequent settlement, the USEPA, back on July 7, 1998 first issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing standards for cooling water intake structures in the Great Lakes and around the country.  These proposed regulations would dramatically limit the number of fish power plant turbines and their cooling towers would kill.

           

On April 9, 2002, USEPA published proposed standards for cooling water intake structures at Phase II existing facilities as part of implementing section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act.

           

Now, EPA has advanced the rulemaking process governing these industrial facilities – those with cooling-water capacities of 50 million gallons a day or more.  All 551 of them were placed on notice, that among other things they were needlessly killing fish. USEPA, in their most recent rulemaking document dated July 9, 2004 stated there are 124 facilities that are withdrawing water from the nation’s estuaries and oceans, 372 facilities in the Interior region of the U.S. and 55 electric power-generating facilities in the Great Lakes Region.

           

Facilities in the Great Lakes region include all those that withdraw water from Lakes Ontario, Erie, Michigan, Huron, and Superior or are located on a waterway with open passage of Great Lakes fishery species to a Great Lake and within 30 miles of the lake.

           

The Great Lakes Fishery Trust was created in 1996 as a part of a court settlement for fish losses at the Ludington Pumped Storage Project (LPSP) hydroelectric facility jointly owned by Consumers Energy and the Detroit Edison Company.  As compensation for past damages to the Great Lakes fishery, Consumers Energy acres. All of the latter property was sold to generate funds for GLFT grant projects.

           

The Settlement Agreement creates continued protection for Great Lakes fish ,and a barrier net is installed each April and is removed in October. It protects fish over four inches in length from entrainment in the LPSP, and also provides for the development of angler access at several Detroit Edison facilities.

In rules published in the July 9 Federal Register - Vol. 69, No. 131, the agency said power plants have until the fall of 2007 to make the kind of adjustments necessary to reduce the number of fish pinned against intake screens by 80 to 95%, whether that means installing expensive cooling towers or simply readdressing their long-standing flow regimes and plant screens. Cooling towers lessen the impact because the intake need is not nearly as great.

 

The proposed rules constitutes Phase gave 15,600 acres to the Michigan DNR, and the Great Lakes Fishery Trust received approximately 10,800 II in EPA’s development of section 316(b) regulations and would establish national requirements applicable to the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures at these facilities. The proposed national requirements, which would be implemented through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, would minimize the adverse environmental impact associated with the use of these structures.

           

Certain facilities also will have to make improvements so that the number of tiny organisms passing through their screens is reduced by 60 to 90 %, the agency said.  U.S. EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt said in February that such improvements could enhance the nation's recreational and commercial fishing industries by some $80 million a year, by annually protecting more than 200 million lbs of fish.

 

The USEPA, in responding to a court order brought on by those hoping to minimize losses, announced earlier this year, that it will use the Clean Water Act as its legal muscle for protecting fish. EPA states the direct use benefits for implementing the proposed rules include: increased benefits to recreational anglers from improved fishing opportunities and estimating benefits from improved commercial fishery yield.

           

The Agency believes restoration projects have the potential to mitigate harm to fish and shellfish from cooling water intake structures. 

 

The public comment period closed  August 9, 2004.

 

 


Coast Guard Establishes Mandatory Ballast Water Program
The U.S. Coast Guard published regulations in the Federal Register on July 28, and a fact sheet titled “New Ballast Water Management Regulations” on their web site, establishing a national mandatory ballast water management program for all vessels equipped with ballast water tanks that enter or operate within U.S. waters. 

 

These regulations also require vessels to maintain a ballast water management plan that is specific for that vessel and allows any master or appropriate official to understand and execute the ballast water management strategy for that vessel. These regulations increase the Coast Guard’s ability to prevent the introduction of non-indigenous species via ballast

water as required by the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act and the National Invasive Species Act.

 

"The establishment of a nationwide mandatory ballast water management program is a major step by the Coast Guard in protecting our environment, food supply, economy, health and overall biodiversity from the impacts of non-indigenous species," said Capt. David Scott, chief of the Coast Guard’s office of operating and environmental standards. 

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy recently stated support for a national ballast water management program in its preliminary report. Future Coast Guard regulations may outline specific ballast water discharge standards, and approval procedures for ballast water treatment systems.


Administration adds 10 new hunting/fishing programs on federal lands

The Bush Administration plans to open new hunting and fishing programs on 10 national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina and South Dakota as part of its annual Refuge-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations.  With the changes in this proposed rule, there will be 325 public hunting programs and 283 public fishing programs on national wildlife refuges.

           

The feds will be providing greater recreational access through over 60 new hunting and fishing programs on national wildlife refuges, expanding the number of citizen stewards--hikers, anglers, bird-watchers and hunters-- who will visit, enjoy, and help care for these public resources.

           

The Service is proposing to add the following refuges and wetland management districts (WMD) to the list open to hunting and/or fishing: Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge 

(NWR) in South Carolina; Mountain Longleaf NWR in Alabama; Red River NWR in Louisiana; Cypress Creek NWR in Illinois; Huron, Lake Andes, Madison, Sand Lake, Waubay WMDs in South Dakota; and Devils Lake WMD in North Dakota.

 

In addition, the Service is also proposing to expand recreational hunting and fishing opportunities on seven refuges in Nebraska, Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina.

           

In 2003, there were 2.2 million hunting visits to national wildlife refuges and 6.6 million fishing visits.  By law, hunting and fishing are two of the six priority wildlife-dependent recreational uses on national wildlife refuges, and individual refuges are encouraged to provide opportunities to hunt and fish whenever they are compatible with the refuge's conservation goals.  The Service annually reviews hunting and fishing programs on national wildlife refuges to determine whether to add, modify or remove them.


Bass Pro Shops to Reward Snakehead Killers
Tackle seller begins bounty program
The recent discoveries of snakeheads in waters around the Washington, D.C. area has conservation officials looking to the law for help. But just in case that doesn’t work, Bass Pro Shops has offered to place a bounty on the exotic fish.

           

A top-level predator, the voracious snakehead has no natural enemies outside of its natural, fresh-water habitat in Asia and Africa, and it is known to consume anything. The fish is often sold at Asian markets or kept as a pet, and biologists say the snakehead could have harmful effects on future fish populations. However, the containment of the fish is easier said than done. A snakehead can survive on land up to four days and, with the use of its fins, is able to crawl into different bodies of water. In the U.S., fisheries scientists have found four species of snakeheads in seven states.

           

Late last month the Maryland DNR released a draft regulation

that would prohibit residents from possessing 29 types of non-native fish or their eggs, including the northern snakehead.

 

Bass Pro Shops is offering gift certificates for every snakehead taken on a line and hook in Maryland. The gift certificates, which range from $10 to $50 depending on the size of the fish, will be awarded to fishermen after the catch is reported to the DNR and the snakehead is turned into the Bass Pro Shop’s store in Hanover.

           

The reward for catching and killing the fish comes one week after the discovery of a 6-year-old snakehead in the Potomac River. The mature fish has scientists worried that breeding has already begun and that snakeheads are here to stay. Some scientists are even under the impression that the worst is yet to come.

 


FBI warns of ‘debris’ near marinas
The Marina Operators Association is advising boaters not to panic in the wake of an FBI warning to law enforcement officials last month that explosive devices could be disguised as floating debris. The warning, reported by CNN and some newspapers, was sent to police departments around the country, urging them to be on the alert for floating trash near marinas that could contain explosives.

“These kinds of booby traps can be found anywhere, not just among floating debris,” said one association representative. Marina operators and boaters should add this concern to the vigilance that they are keeping already in all aspects of their waterfront experiences.   Anything suspicious should be reported to the appropriate authorities — either the Coast Guard or local law enforcement.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for August 13, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

Currently, all of the Great Lakes are higher than the levels of a year ago.  Lake Michigan-Huron is 12 inches higher than a year ago.  Lakes Superior and St. Clair are 5-7 inches higher than last year.  Lake Erie is currently 3 inches above and Lake Ontario is 1 inch above last year’s levels.  Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair, however, are still below their long-time averages by 6, 10, and 1 inches, respectively.  Presently, Lake Erie is 2 inches above its average level and Lake Ontario is 7 inches above average.


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:  T

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

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook:  

A dome of high pressure will push into the Great Lakes basin this weekend, leading to sunny skies but cooler than average temperatures.  The chance for rain returns for Tuesday, but the rest of the workweek looks dry.  Temperatures are expected  to rebound to near normal by Tuesday.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lake Superior is approaching the end of its seasonal rise and is expected to remain steady over the next month.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are near their seasonal peak and will drop 1 and 4 inches, respectively, over the next month.  Lakes Erie and Ontario will continue their seasonal decline, dropping 4 and 7 inches, respectively, over the next month.

 

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.

 


Electronic system clips & tags fingerlings

Commission says it's more efficient and cheaper

Ann Arbor -- The Michigan DNR, through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission is experimenting with a 30 year old, high-tech method of marking young fish that makes fin clipping obsolete.

           

Long desired as the preferred fish marking tool by many of the western states and for years promoted by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council to maximize the survival of marked fish,  the GLFC and Northwest Marine Technology, Inc joined forces to promote the sophisticated that will enhance our fishery, give us more and healthier stocked fry/fingerlings and save money.

           

Northwest Marine Technology, Inc. has developed an automated mass-marking device capable of coded-wire tagging and adipose clipping between 4,000 and 6,000 hatchery fish per hour. This technology has been successfully implemented by the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, who collectively coded-wire tag and fin clip approximately 100 million hatchery-reared salmon each year.

           

The CWT is a length of magnetized stainless steel wire 0.25 mm in diameter. The tag is marked with rows of numbers denoting specific batch or individual codes. Tags are cut from rolls of wire by an injector that hypodermically implants them into suitable tissue. The standard length of a tag is 1.1 mm. For very small animals half-length (0.5 mm) are used. For larger specimens or improved magnetic detection, one and a half  (1.6 mm) or double length (2.2 mm) may be utilized.

           

Salmonids are usually tagged in the snout, but "cheek" muscle and certain other tissue offers superior sites for many other species.

           

One has to wonder why the system in existance for over 30 years, hasn''t been implemented in the Great Lakes region long before this. NMT has on many occasions been called upon by the Commission to make presentations to the GLFC annual meetings and to the annual lake committee meetings. This is the first concerted effort by any Great Lake State to implement this high-tech system.

 

Michigan is using the equipment trailer, on loan from

Washington State, to clip the adipose fins and insert coded wire tags into the noses of 350,000 coho salmon fingerlings here. The machine, which is capable of handling up to 6,000 fish per hour, eliminates man-power demand, excessive handling of the small fish and reduces fish mortality.

 

The machine is self-contained in a 32 ft trailer. The machine automatically sorts fingerlings by size, clips the fatty adipose fins on their backs and inserts the coded-wire tags. Any fish that slip through the system untagged or unclipped are sent to a holding area so they can be re-run through the system or handled by hand.

           

The system handles fish with less trauma to them thus affording a greater percentage of survival, has a 99%+  success rate in fin clips, and reduces mortality to the fingerlings to less than 0.1 percent. Because of the speed of the mechanical process, anesthesia is unnecessary, and the cost pe fish is reduced by up to 40 %.

 

The machines, which can be run by two people -- one technician, one laborer -- cost $750,000. But state fisheries officials are hopeful that the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, can secure federal funding for the equipment. Because the units are mobile, biologists believe a total of six machines could be used to handle all the trout and salmon stocked in the entire Great Lakes basin.

           

Not only would the system provide better marking and tagging, but it would help fisheries agencies develop better data on length-frequency of the fingerlings they produce, as the machine collects data on every fish handled.

           

The DNR says clipping and tagging all fish could produce a wealth of data to agencies about how well stocked fish survive, where they roam, whether they stray to different streams to spawn and numerous other questions. In addition, it could help to develop harvest management techniques. Some steelhead anglers, for instance, have proposed that anglers be allowed to keep only clipped fish so that naturally produced fish could be released to spawn. Such a strategy would be fruitful only if all fish are clipped.

 


Cost Guard targets drunken boating
Armed with guns, Breathalyzers, tough new laws and fast boats, Coast Guard officers are determined to catch more boozing boaters this summer.

 

From Washington Island, Wis., to Calumet Harbor, IL the Coast Guard has cited at least 65 people so far this season for boating under the influence on Lake Michigan, just shy of the 68 they cited all last season. 

 

As of last month, four people had been turned over to Chicago police to be prosecuted under a new law that stiffens penalties for boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Last year, the Coast Guard turned just one drunken-boating case over to police, officials said. 

 

Last month, while boating in Indiana, Mark Craig, 45, of Lemont backed his 34-footer into a 10-year-old Alsip girl, killing her with the propeller. The Coast Guard cited Craig for intoxicated operation of a vessel and gross negligence.  "You have to be much more careful about [drinking]," said Lt. Jerry Shepherd of the Indiana DNR, who is investigating the fatality. "You are out in the climate itself. The heat is bearing down on

you. The wave action; the wind in your face. It affects ... your physical condition and your judgment." 

 

Last year in Illinois, there were 84 boating accidents, resulting in 13 deaths, 63 injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, according to an Illinois Natural Resources Department report. Alcohol or drug use was a main factor in 38 % of the fatal accidents and 25 percent of the injury accidents, the report stated.

Over the years, laws regarding drunken boaters have become tougher. On Jan. 1, an Illinois law went into effect that increases to a Class 4 felony the charge for operating a boat while under the influence if the individual's operating privileges are already suspended for previous violations.  Refusing a Breathalyzer may result in a loss of boating privileges for two years.

 

The USCG launched Operation Midnight Badger--named for the late-night nature of many patrols and Wisconsin's state animal--after Coast Guard stations from Washington Island to Calumet Harbor wrote 350 % more citations for drunken boating in 2003 than in 2002.


Regional Cormorant Control updates

Ontario

Ontario is culling Cormorants.  Canada is now involved in cormorant control by being allowed to shoot 6,000 birds.  3199 were shot in the first 10 days on High Bluff.  Canada will also oil eggs. 

 

New York

NYSDEC Biologists killed 20 Adult Cormorants on Little Galloo Island. McCullough, Region 6 biologist stated more

could be killed next year depending on what is allowed.  Birds on Calf Island had to be shot because the trees are so high.

 

Henderson Fish and Game Protective Association hosted the First Annual “Cormorant Clay Target Shoot” on July 31.  The twofold purpose of the event was to raise money for conservation in general and to keep fishing and the devastation done by cormorants in people’s minds. The all-day event will began at 8 AM, and there was a fee to shoot clay targets, one of them being black.


States want Regulations on Ballast

Call on Feds Protect the Great Lakes from Invasive Species

Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm last month announced that Michigan and six other states are asking the federal government to protect the waters of the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species.

           

Michigan, along with New York, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are calling on the United States Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency for stronger action to control discharges of ballast water from oceangoing vessels, a practice identified as the chief cause of the spread of invasive species.

           

Although Congress has mandated that the Coast Guard ensure that all ships with ballast tanks manage the ballast waters so that viable invasive species are not discharged, current Coast Guard rules exempt most ships from such requirements.  The petition asks the Coast Guard to close this loophole.

           

In addition to signing the petition, states have filed a "friend of

the court" brief in a key court case challenging the federal EPA's decision to exempt ballast water discharges from federal water pollution rules.  The states maintain that the EPA's exemption violates the Clean Water's Act prohibition on discharge of pollution from vessels and creates another loophole.

 

"The DEQ has joined with the other Great Lakes States to send the Coast Guard a message that they must be a partner in protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species," said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester.

           

The harm caused by invasive species such as the zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil, round goby, and spiny water flea in the Great Lakes is widespread.  Utilities annually spend tens of millions of dollars to combat zebra mussel infestations, which clog water intake valves.  Milfoil chokes many waterways, requiring either expensive "mowing" of the weed or chemical treatment that has unintended consequences.

 


FWS targets St. Marys’ lamprey hot spots again

SAULT STE. MARIE -- Armed with Bayluscide Granular, the USFWS sent a hit squad of biologists to the St. Marys River System to resume the battle against lamprey.

           

While the USFWS was busy treating various small streams throughout the Great Lakes, the region’s primary breeding ground -- the St. Marys River -- had been virtually impossible to treat with traditional methods until a couple years ago. The chemical TFM has been the effective weapon in many small streams, but  ineffective in the large water system, depths and currents of the St. Marys River.

           

Each lamprey eel kills 40 or more lbs of fish in its adult life. Lampreys prefer to feed on trout, salmon and whitefish, but they have been known to feed on virtually everything including carp and lake sturgeon. Even in cases where the parasitic eels do not cause the death of a fish, they leave it in a 

weakened state with telltale scarring.

 

It has only been in the last few years that a successful plan had been developed to target the St. Marys. Using GPS and helicopters dropping Bayluscide Granular into targeted areas of the rivers in the late ‘90s, marked the first successful treatment of that large system.

 

The time released Bayluscide allows the chemical to stay on target as it drops through the water onto the silt laden lamprey beds.. The time-release Bayluscide then dissolves at the river bottom releasing the lampricide at the specifically targeted area.

           

The latest treatment took place late last month, but this time all of the work was done from boatside and did not require any aerial treatment. Bayluscide is non-toxic to humans, pets, livestock, mammals and birds, according to the USFWS.


Illinois

Illinois  sets early Waterfowl season
The IL Natural Resources Advisory Board has approved dates for the early waterfowl seasons. The statewide September Canada goose hunting season is set for Sept. 1-15 and a statewide teal hunting season will be Sept. 11-19.

 

The September Canada goose season includes a daily bag limit of five geese in the state’s northeast zone and two geese in the remainder of the state (possession limits are double the daily bag limit). The daily bag limit of five geese is allowed in northeast Illinois because of the large resident giant Canada goose population in the region. The September 

season allows hunters to harvest resident giant Canada geese before migrant geese arrive in the state. Canada geese taken during the September season do not count toward the state’s regular goose season harvest quota. A 2004 population estimate indicates that there may be more than 100,000 giant Canada geese in Illinois, an increase of more than 26 % compared with last year.

 

For the 9-day September teal hunting season a daily bag limit of four teal and a possession limit of eight teal will be allowed. The season dates are based on aerial duck surveys and hunter preferences expressed in statewide surveys.


Indiana

Dumped goldfish blamed for killing bass in Indiana

Goldfish -- the kind given as prizes at county fairs and elsewhere -- are thriving and killing off game fish such as bass in a lake near Gary.  

           

Bob Robertson, a biologist for the Indiana DNR, said the agency faced a similar problem 15 years ago and conducted a controlled kill-off to rid Spectacle Lake of the unwanted

goldfish.  Somehow, the fish were reintroduced to the lake

about 15 miles southeast of Gary, probably by people who didn't want to keep them as pets but did not want to flush them away, either.

 

Now, the goldfish make up about 90 % of the lake's fish population.  The alien fish swim in and kick up the mud and destroy bass nests in the ground.  The goldfish also produce large amounts of mucus and can reduce oxygen to a level that can make bass sick.

 


Michigan

Big Stink Continues in Hudson

Hudson, a small south central town in Michigan is the location of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) that are stinking up the community and fouling local waterways.

           

The Michigan Land Use Institute reports Hudson is the scene of recent developments in the effort to control pollution from Michigan’s factory farms, but without much success. The town and its citizens have struggled for four years to bring badly needed regulation to these CAFOs. So far, the state’s

enforcement of new federal rules meant to stop CAFO manure from polluting local waterways is having little effect.  What else is new?  More CAFOs are on the way.

 

MLUI says the owners of two of the area’s largest CAFOs operate another, separate business that recruits dairy farmers from the Netherlands, where CAFOs are very strictly regulated, and helps them set up new CAFOs in this country, where regulations are, comparatively speaking, still very weak.


Endangered Species better off without legal protection

Dave Borgeson, who heads up the northern Lake Huron management unit for the Michigan DNR maintains that many listed endangered species would "get along fine" without special protection.  He believes that the Endangered Species

Act needs to focus on species that are most important to humans and should be interpreted or amended to give priority to those species whose loss would most threaten us and recommended that list be reviewed.  Every two years the Legislature reviews the list.

 


Koch named DNR Deputy

Michigan DNR Director Rebecca Humphries announced Mindy Koch has been tapped to be the next DNR Resource Management Deputy.  Koch, who was chief of the DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management Division, was among five candidates vying for the post. She replaced George Burgoyne.

           

Koch joined the DNR in 1978 as a Resource Specialist in the

Land Resource Programs Division. She has since served in various divisions including: Acting Chief of the Waste Management Division, Deputy Director for DNR Region III, and the  dept’s  Legislative Liaison.  Koch, a Grand Ledge native, holds a bachelor's degree in resource development from Michigan State University. She lives in Lake Odessa and has two children.


Stewart and Stokes Rejoin the DNR Team

Michigan DNR Director Rebecca Humphries announced the appointment of two former DNR employees.  Patricia Stewart will rejoin the DNR as its chief communications officer and Rodney Stokes will return as the Department’s legislative liaison.   Stewart will head up DNR’s newly formed Office of Communications.

           

The new office combines communication functions formerly housed in the three offices of Education and Outreach, Press Secretary, and Legal Services Coordinator.

Stewart, who worked for the DNR for more than 20 years in a number of positions, retired as its press secretary in 1992 and is currently director of communications for the Dept of Fisheries/Wildlife for Michigan Sea Grant at Michigan State U.

 

Stokes retired from the department in 2002 as chief of the Parks and Recreation Bureau with 25 years of service. He will leave his position as Director of Recreation and Parks for the City of Gainesville in Florida to return to Michigan.

 


Hartig Selected Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Manager

John Hartig began his new job July 10. As refuge manager, he will oversee operations on North America's only international wildlife refuge which will conserve, protect and restore habitat for 29 species of waterfowl, 65 kinds of fish and 300 species of migratory birds on more than 5,000 acres along the lower Detroit River in southeast Michigan. Hartig replaces Doug Brewer who was on temporary assignment from Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Ohio.

 

Hartig brings more than 25 years of experience in environmental science and natural resource management to his new position. For the past five years, he has served as River Navigator for the Greater Detroit American Heritage River Initiative. As River Navigator he worked with Detroit River communities and businesses to identify and implement high priority projects that foster environmental stewardship, promote environmentally sustainable economic development,

and celebrate history and culture. Prior to becoming River Navigator, he spent 14 years working for the IJC on the Canada - U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

 

The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge was established in December 2001. The refuge is the result of an unprecedented partnership of government agencies, businesses, conservation groups, landowners and private citizens on both sides of the border. Located at the intersection of the Atlantic and Mississippi flyways, an estimated three million ducks, geese, swans and coots migrate annually through the region.

 
More than 300,000 diving ducks stop each year to feed on 
wild celery beds in the river. Despite being a heavily traveled 
corridor for Great Lakes' shipping, the Detroit River is also 
known for its duck hunting and fishing, activities the Service 
plans to continue on parts of the refuge.
 

State sets waterfowl dates

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission, approved the 2004-05 waterfowl hunting regulations. The proposed wildlife order allows hunters in six Southwest Michigan Counties (Berrien, Branch, Cass, Hillsdale, Lenawee, and St. Joseph) to hunt mourning doves Sept. 10 to Oct. 30. Each hunter’s bag limit is 15 birds, and the possession limit is 30 birds. Michigan becomes the 41st state in the nation to allow mourning dove hunting. The season will be the first in a three-year trial hunt, after which the DNR will review impacts to the species, for setting future season regulations. .

           

Early goose hunting season will be the same as last year (Sept. 1-10 in the North Zone and Huron, Tuscola, and Saginaw counties and Sept. 1‑15 in the Middle and South Zones). Daily bag limits for early goose hunting season in Huron, Tuscola and Saginaw counties are increased to five

birds. The late goose season in southern Michigan is Jan. 1-30.

 

Regular Canada goose season dates for the entire state are set for Sept. 20-Oct. 10 and Dec. 4-12.

The 2004-2005 hunting dates for ducks (except pintails and canvasbacks), mergansers, coots, and moorhens are:

* Upper Peninsula (North Zone): Sept. 25-Nov. 21 and Nov. 27-28

* Lower Peninsula (Middle Zone): Oct. 2-Nov.28 and Jan. 1-2

* Lower Peninsula (South Zone): Oct. 9-Dec.5 and Jan. 1-2

           

Pintail season dates are Sept. 25-Oct. 24 (North Zone), Oct. 2-31 (Middle Zone), and Oct.9-Nov.7 (South Zone). Canvasback season is Oct. 25-Nov. 21 and Nov. 27-28 (North Zone), Nov. 1-Nov. 28 and Jan. 1-2 (Middle Zone), and Nov.8-Dec. 5 and Jan.1-2 (South Zone).


Top state cop files suit over exotics

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has action taken by bringing the power of the State of Michigan to bear on the problem of Aquatic invasive (nuisance) species. 

           

On July 14, 2004, Cox announced that he joined a regional effort to halt the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species into the Great Lakes from oceangoing commercial ships. Cox, as part of this effort, filed an amicus brief in federal district court in San Francisco to compel the regulation of ballast water discharge from oceangoing ships under the Clean

Water Act. The discharge of contaminated ballast water is one of the primary methods by which aquatic invasive species enter the Great Lakes.

 

Possible solutions, which are still being researched, are methods of on board filtration for the ocean going vessels (either on the uptake or upon disposing of the water within the Great Lakes), a development of some sort of seaport outside of the Great Lakes watershed (i.e. not allowing them to enter the Great Lakes), and many more.


Anglers grouping to fight tribes on inland hunting & fishing rights

Sportsmen offensive to seek “friend of Court” status

Although all is quiet on the public front concerning the pending court action on Indian inland hunting and fishing rights, sportsmen are quietly going on the offensive to make sure they're heard.

           

The Michigan Fisheries Resources Conservation Coalition (MFRCC), which has friend of the court status in the suit, is asking the court to upgrade its status to make it a party to the case. MFRCC says its members have issues in this case that the Michigan DNR might not consider as it strives for a settlement. The MFRCC is made up a handful of local/regional fishing associations (Grand Traverse Bay, Walloon Lake, Burt Lake, etc.), the state Chamber of Commerce, Trout Unlimited and the Federation Fly Fishers. Recently, the Michigan Bear Hunters Association voted to join, too.

           

The issue is the Treaty of 1837, which preserves Indian rights to hunt, fish and gather in an area that follows the Grand River from Lake Michigan to midstate, then runs on a diagonal to Alpena, and includes most of the eastern Upper Peninsula. The Great Lakes portion of the dispute has been settled (twice, in fact) through negotiation. But the inland portion of the argument is still up in the air, because of the way the two camps interpret the treaty.

           

Unlike most Indian treaties, 1837 contains a clause that says the tribal rights exist "until the land is required for settlement." That's the crux of the case: The state maintains the land has been settled and those rights are extinguished.

           

MFRCC, which agrees with the state's position, wants active status in the negotiations largely because it says private property rights are involved. If the Indians claim hunting/gathering rights on lands that are open to the public, does that include, say, Commercial Forest Act land, which is open to the public for hunting and fishing purposes but remains private property? Or could tribal members, under the

claim of fishing rights on an inland lake, stake nets out in front of someone's cottage?

 

These concerns will disappear if the state's position prevails. Virtually all the state lands in Michigan have, at one time or another, been settled. The state took title to much of it because of tax reversion and it has purchased much more. (Federal land is another matter entirely.)  But if a settlement is negotiated between the state and the tribes (as it was for Great Lakes fishing), then MFRCC wants to be at the table.

           

There is precedent for MFRCC's wish to be included. MFRCC was a "participating amicus" in the Great Lakes settlement. And, in what should come as no surprise, the amici objected strenuously to the DNR's first proposed settlement during 2000 Great Lakes negotiations. Further negotiations resulted in a better situation for sportsmen, almost all agree. "If we had not been participating amici, that deal would have been done and signed and we would have all been stuck with it," said Rich Bowman, executive director of Trout Unlimited.

 

Steve Schultz, MFRCC's attorney, says that if the Indians acknowledge all the concerns about private property rights, his group might be satisfied to turn the reigns back over to the DNR to handle the resource negotiations. But there are many thorny issues, he says.  If the Indians are ultimately allowed to set their own hunting and fishing regulations on public land, what happens to limited-access species (bear and elk, for instance)? Could the tribes set seasons that allow them to harvest the entire surplus before the sportsmen get a chance? What about public safety issues if a tribal season is going on when ordinary citizens might be out and about, oblivious to it?

           

The case is in the early stages and isn't expected to go before the judge (Federal District Court in Kalamazoo) until 2006 at the soonest. In the meantime, depositions are beginning. Sportsmen will be pleased that their representatives are seeking a place at the negotiating table. The way of life of Michigan residents is very much at stake.


Minnesota

Poachers pay fine exceeding $5,000

Officers seize 438 sunfish

Minnesota conservation officers recovered 438 sunfish, 338 over the legal limit from four Michigan anglers. Conservation officers from Pelican Rapids followed their vehicle to a motel in Battle Lake where the anglers were under surveillance for a week. They then confronted the owner of the vehicle and his friend who later admitted they were among four people who had fish stored in a refrigerator/freezer in a shed at the motel.

Wayne T. Allen, 73, Plainwell, Mich.; Raymond J. Otten, 79, Gobles, Mich.; Barbara E. Verploegh, 75, Parchment, Mich.; and Betty J. Allen, 68, Galesburg, Mich., were each charged with taking/possession of 84.5 sunfish over the limit. Twenty is the sunfish possession limit in Minnesota. Wayne Allen, Betty Allen and Barbara Verploegh were also charged with angling with an extra line. The group paid $5,098 in fines and restitution.

 


Ruling Muddles Minnesota Right-to-Carry Law

In a controversial July 13 decision, Ramsey County District Judge John Finley ruled that Minnesota’s concealed carry law was unconstitutional. At issue was the constitutionality of the common practice of "bundling" different types of legislation. The ruling seems to parallel the increasingly common trend of

activist judges who exploit their position to forward a political agenda. In this case, the gun-banners tracked down the most anti-gun judge they could find and filed in his jurisdiction, banking on a favorable decision. At present, however, permits are still being issued and Minnesota Attorney General Michael Hatch has said he will appeal Finley’s ruling.


DNR extends ’04 pheasant season

Minnesota's pheasant hunters will have additional hunting opportunities this year, thanks to a DNR decision to extend the 2004 season through Dec. 31. Under the previous season framework, the 2004 season would have closed Dec. 19.

 

Based on the best scientific information available, the extension should slightly increase harvest without affecting pheasant numbers during the following year, according to Kurt Haroldson, DNR wildlife biologist in Madelia. Although Haroldson said hen pheasants flushed by hunters from prime winter cover could experience some increased mortality, such mortality should be compensated by reduced winter mortality 

and increased nest success for the surviving hens.  Both sexes of other small game species, such as grouse, are harvested and all small game populations can withstand some hunting mortality of females.

 

Studies of pheasant mortality from the 1940s, when hen pheasants were part of the legal bag, showed that pre-hunting season hen abundance declined when the previous year's hen harvest exceeded 45 %. Hen numbers increased when the previous year's hen harvest was less than 20 %. Although hen pheasants cannot be legally harvested in Minnesota, the DNR estimates that 11 % of hen pheasants are killed -accidentally or deliberately shot - during the hunting season.


Bemidji State Game Refuge will be open to firearms deer hunting in 2004

Responding to public concerns over a high white-tailed deer population in and around the Bemidji State Game Refuge, the Minnesota DNR will open the entire refuge this November to firearms deer hunting.        

 

A 6½-sq-mile portion of the refuge was open to firearms hunting during the 2003 season. This resulted in an estimated deer harvest of 61 deer, more than 70% of which were antlerless. More than nine deer were harvested per sq.

mile. "We need to maintain that same harvest level, or higher, in order to effectively reduce deer numbers throughout the refuge," said Steve Caron, DNR area wildlife supervisor in Bemidji. 

 

Hunters who choose to hunt the refuge would not need a special permit. Up to four intensive harvest permits may also be purchased for the refuge, which is part of firearms zone 2, deer permit area 284. The refuge is located in southern Beltrami County.


New York

2004-05 Sporting Licenses now available

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that 2004-05 hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses and Deer Management Permits (DMPs) are now available for purchase.  Licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC’s 1,600 license sales outlets statewide. They can also be ordered by mail and by phone.  All sporting licenses are valid beginning October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005.

 

The Department of Environmental Conservation Automated Licensing System (DECALS) is New York State’s program for issuing sporting licenses and is also used to track sales and revenues. Since last year, DEC has improved sporting license and carcass tag sets to make them easier to distinguish from preceding years.  The year designation on the tags now matches the license year 04-05 for 2004-05.

 

Beginning August 16, 2004, individuals were able to purchase 2004-05 licenses and permits through DECALS at all license issuing outlets across the State, including during the  2004 New York State Fair in Syracuse. License applications can also be mailed in, with applications available for download from DEC’s website http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/license/decals.html or by calling 1-866-472-4332.  If the applicant has previously

purchased a license through DECALS, they can also purchase licenses by phone by calling 1-866-NY-DECALS (1-866-933-2257).  Hours of operation for the call center are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

Have the following items ready: complete name and address information; proof of residency information (driver’s license number or non-driver’s ID number to qualify for a resident license); and, if purchasing by phone, credit card and card expiration date. Hunting license purchases require individuals to show proof of hunting education certification or a copy of last year’s license, or this information must already be contained in their DECALS file.

 

DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp when they purchase their license. The Habitat/Access Stamp is an optional stamp that is available to people who want to support  the DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife related recreation.  Buying a $5.00 habitat stamp is the perfect way for young or old, angler or hunter, birder or photographer to help conserve New York’s fabulous wildlife heritage. 

 

More information is available at: www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/license/habstamp.html


New York Mayor and Council Raise Gun License Fees

As expected, Mayor Bloomberg recently approved the fee hikes

for gun licenses. The City Council overwhelmingly agreed to the increases on a vote of 47-3. This increases pistol licenses to $340 and long gun licenses to $140 for three years.


Ohio

Challenge to Ohio Carry Law Is Rejected

On July 13, the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously, and without comment, dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the state’s new Right-to-Carry law.  The suit, filed by the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, was based on the implausible claim that county sheriffs do not have the resources to conduct thorough background checks of permit applicants.

Representative Bill Seitz (R-30), a member of the House Criminal Justice Committee, was pleased with the court’s dismissal. "I am satisfied that Ohio took the constitutional and lawful first steps toward joining 44 other states [that have some type of carry laws]."

 

 


Pennsylvania

Another Exotic Species Confirmed in PA Waters

Officials with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) have confirmed the presence of northern snakeheads in Meadow Lake within FDR Park.

 

The first report of snakeheads in the 17-acre Meadow Lake came late last month when an angler caught two snakeheads, preserved them and contacted the Fish and Boat Commission.  A total of six northern snakeheads have now been taken from the lake, including three captured by PFBC biologists. The lake is part of a maze of interconnected embayments and tidal sloughs and the Commission believes additional snakeheads are likely present elsewhere in the system.

             

Commission biologists have concluded that there is no practical method for eradicating snakeheads from Meadow Lake and that, given the nature of the system, snakeheads may have already accessed adjoining waters like the nearby lower Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.  As a result, the PFBC has decided that it will monitor the pond and surrounding waters, it will take no concerted effort to eliminate the species.

Anglers catching snakeheads should dispose of them properly.  It is against Fish and Boat Commission regulations to possess any variety of live snakeheads.  Anglers certain they have caught a snakehead are encouraged to not release it, but report it to the Commission by calling 610-847-2442 or via e-mail to mkaufmann@state.pa.us .  Northern snakeheads are considered good table fare and were introduced to this country via fish markets, where they were often sold live.  The Commission will produce and distribute literature designed to help area anglers identify northern snakeheads.  Snakeheads are sometimes confused with native Pennsylvania species bowfin and eels.

      

While the northern snakehead may have established itself as among the most famous aquatic invasive species, it is merely another on a growing list of such species.  Foreign imports, such as the round goby found in Lake Erie, can have negative impacts on ecosystems. In addition to gobies in Lake Erie, there are serious concerns about another fish species thought to have been originally transported via freighters, like the Ruffe.  Zebra mussels are another non-indigenous species impacting Lake Erie and spreading to inland waters.


PFBC Public Meeting Planned for August 26

Options for Young Woman's Creek to be discussed

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will hold a public meeting August 26 to discuss management options for a 5.5-mile reach of Young Woman’s Creek in Clinton County. The meeting will be held 7 to 9 p.m. at the Chapman Township Volunteer Fire Company.

    

The Commission is considering changing fishing regulations for the stream section in question from the current Selective Harvest program (artificial lures only, a 12-inch minimum length limit for brown trout and a 9-inch limit for brook and rainbow trout and a 2 trout daily creel limit from opening day of trout season through Labor Day) to Delayed Harvest (artificial  

lures only, a 9-inch minimum for all trout and a 3 trout daily creel limit from mid-June through Labor Day). 

 

The section is also currently listed as a “Class A Wild Trout Water,” meaning the PFBC manages it specifically for naturally reproducing trout.  However, a series of fisheries inventories has revealed the trout population no longer meets Class A standards and the Commission is considering reclassifying it as “Class B.”

           

Public comment received at the meeting will be provided to Commissioners prior to the fall Commission meeting in Harrisburg on October 4-5.


Wisconsin

Advisory group to help develop pier rules

Goal to identify standards that speed permitting and protect environment

MADISON – An advisory group including waterfront property owners, anglers, realtors, conservationists and marina operators has been convened to evaluate the proposed state rules regulating piers, and propose final standards for governing the size and placement of piers and related structures in Wisconsin’s public lakes and rivers.

 

The advisory group has already had its first meeting , with a task of recommending revisions to the proposed permanent pier rules which will help the DNR carry out 2003 Wisconsin Act 118’s goals of streamlining permitting without weakening protections for those valuable public resources. The meeting has not been set at this time. Time, locations and dates will be announced when the meeting is set and posted to the DNR Web site.

The proposed rule revisions and the advisory group’s recommendations will then be brought to the public for their input and comments during public hearings in early September. The goal is to have the final permanent rules in place in time for the 2005 boating season.

 

The proposed permanent pier rules exempt all traditional piers -- those six feet or less in width, without a wide deck, and with room for boats in proportion to shoreline ownership -- from needing a permit. The only exceptions would be for piers in areas of high value waters where critical habitat has been documented and could be harmed.

           

Under the proposed permanent rules, existing piers above those limits require a one-time general permit that has a 30-day review period to ensure protection of fish habitat or other public interests in the water. New super-sized piers on all waters required the more detailed individual permit review.


Anglers caught nearly 1.2 million walleye in 2003

MADISON – Anglers in northern Wisconsin in 2003 enjoyed some of the best walleye fishing in the past 15 years, catching nearly 1.2 million fish in the Ceded Territory, more than doubling the previous year’s total, according to thousands of recently compiled angler interviews.

 

Total angler catch was 1,195,268 walleye, exceeding 1 million fish for the first time since 1997, and well above the 530,458 walleye anglers reported catching in the Ceded Territory in 2002. Anglers kept 263,496 walleye, or 22 % of the total they caught.

 

Catch rates also were the second best in 15 years, with anglers taking an average of three hours to catch one walleye, compared to the long-term average of four hours for one walleye.

 

The total catch – which exceeded by hundreds of thousands the total in each of the previous five years -- illustrates the boom and bust cycle of walleye populations.  Another striking statistic to emerge from the more than 5,000 angler interviews, was how much the excellent fishing was due to natural reproduction, not stocking. Of the 1.2 million fish caught in 2003, just over 1 million of them came from lakes sustained by natural reproduction.

A 1983 ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed that the Chippewa maintained their right to hunt, fish and gather on all or portions of 30 Wisconsin counties covered by treaties six Chippewa bands signed with the U.S. Government in 1837 or 1842. Starting in 1985, the Chippewa have exercised their rights in the spring of each year under a highly regulated system that sets the number of fish they can spear.

 

In 2003, the tribes harvested 27,502 walleye, in line with their long-term average of harvesting 25,000 to 30,000 fish.

Sport catch averaged 950,000 walleye between 1980 and 1987 and catch rates averaged 1 fish for every 5.9 hours for anglers specifically targeting walleye during that time, the years before tribal harvest began in earnest. Since 1990, the sport angler catch has varied from a low of 530,458 in 2002, to a high of 2,206,372 in 1996. The sport harvest has varied from a low of 132,067 in 2002 to a high of 385,144 in 1997, and it has actually been better overall in the 14 years since 1990.

 

Sixty-four percent of walleye lakes are sustained by natural reproduction, and catch rates are much lower in stocked lakes. It typically takes about 10 hours of effort for an angler to catch a walleye in a lake with a population sustained primarily by stocked fish.


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