Week of August 29, 2011
|Fishing beyond the Great Lakes|
|Beyond the Great Lakes|
|Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues|
|Other Breaking News Items|
Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
OLYMPIA – Anglers must release any chinook salmon they catch in ocean waters off Washington’s coast beginning Aug. 29, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced.
Anglers’ total catch of chinook salmon this summer is nearing the overall harvest quota for chinook in Washington’s ocean waters, requiring the change in fishing rules for marine areas 1-4, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for WDFW. The requirement to release chinook salmon in those waters does not affect fishing for hatchery Coho or other salmon species.
“Catch rates in the ocean for chinook salmon have been strong throughout much of the season, but we still have substantial numbers of Coho remaining under the quota,” Pattillo said. "This change allows anglers to continue catching Coho, while ensuring catch limits for chinook will
not be exceeded.”
As of Aug. 21, coastwide catch totals for the recreational salmon fishery had reached 90 % of the overall chinook guideline of 30,100 fish, said Pattillo. Until the change takes effect Aug. 29, anglers can continue to keep one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport). Anglers fishing marine areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) can continue to catch and keep two chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit. Anglers fishing marine areas 3 and 4 are also allowed one additional pink salmon each day.
Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery, and announce any other changes on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/. Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum-size limits, is available in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.
Beyond the Great Lakes
Lake Mary has repealed several local gun ordinances as many other municipalities across Florida scramble to fall in line with new gun laws. Last week, Lake Mary leaders voted unanimously to repeal the city's ordinances in order to avoid a $5,000 fine from the state as part of a new bill that goes into effect October 1.
The state bill requires all guns laws be the same across the state, and that state gun laws supersede local rules. The new law was passed so that legal gun owners and concealed carry permit holders can cross city limits and county lines without becoming criminals.
New state law makes it a crime for local officials to keep more stringent gun laws on the books. Those local gun laws have been null, void and unenforceable since 1987. The new law simply imposes penalties on those local governments (and, laudably, on their elected officials) who have been ignoring state law for more than twenty years by passing local ordinances. Last spring, the Florida Legislature passed HB 45, a law that prohibits local governments from regulating firearms and ammunition in their communities. And if they attempt to do so, they'll face severe penalties.
Soon, with a concealed weapons permit, gun owners will be able to take guns into a park, but concealed weapons will still not be allowed in courthouses, police stations, schools, polling places or buildings such as City Halls where legislative bodies meet.
Lake Mary is not alone in changing its ordinances. Lake County recently repealed its ordinance and Seminole and
Orange counties are looking into which ordinances they will need to repeal. John Dailey, Leon County Commissioner says, "We can be removed from office, we can be fined, or technically, we could be put in jail. Pundits statewide are saying, "…well, obey the law, like you expect everyone else to do."
Marion Hammer, who lobbied for the new state law on behalf of the National Rifle Association, said local governments need to simply follow the laws that are already on the books.
"Local officials are not above the law and they have been willfully and knowingly violating and thumbing their nose at state law," said Hammer, a former NRA president. "In the past, there were not penalties in the law, but this law has been on the books since 1987 that prohibited the adoption of ordinances regulating firearms or ammunition in any manner. The Legislature finally said enough is enough."
In 1987, lawmakers passed Florida Statute 790.33, in which the state preempted "the whole field of regulation of firearms and ammunition." But local governments continued to enforce stiffer gun and ammunition laws in an attempt to further regulate gunplay in their cities.
With HB 45, city officials who willfully and knowingly violate the preemption will be personally liable with a fine up to $5,000. A violation also would be grounds for termination or removal from office by the governor. No public funds could be used to defend or reimburse the person for violating the preemption.
A local regulation that violates the state's preemption will be ruled invalid, and a government could be liable for actual damages up to $100,000 and for a plaintiff's attorney fees.
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues
Morgan, Utah - Browning is proud to announce that its 1911-22 pistol has been selected as the best new handgun by Field & Stream magazine when it announced top honors to the best new hunting, shooting and related outdoor products for 2011. Best of the Best Award winners are featured in Field & Stream's September issue now on newsstands.
"Browning is honored to receive such a prestigious award recognizing Browning's 1911-22 pistol as the best new handgun for 2011," said Travis Hall, Chief Operating Officer for Browning. Slaton White, Deputy Editor of Field & Stream said, "The winning products not only withstood our tough testing, but they stood head and shoulders above the rest. The Best of the Best is the highest honor Field & Stream bestows on gear, and the winning products are the
best of the year; worth your time, worth your money"
Browning introduced it's scaled down, 22LR version of the classic 1911 pistol designed by John M. Browning in celebration of the 100th anniversary of this great firearm. The new pistol is almost an exact replica of the original 1911 but 85% the size. The smaller size makes it very light and easy to handle, especially for smaller shooters.
The frame and slide of the Browning 1911-22 are machined from aluminum alloy with a matte blued finish. The barrel has a stainless steel block and target crown. The new 1911-22 has a single action trigger and straight blow back action for enhanced simplicity and reliability. Other features include fixed sights, detachable 10-round magazine, manual thumb safety and grip safety. An A-1 and Compact model will be offered.
About $600.00 www.browning.com
The Recreational Fishing Alliance says angler and business response to the group's call for a nationwide Wal-Mart boycott have been overwhelming.
The RFA called for a boycott of Wal-Mart after learning that the Walton Family Foundation had awarded more than $36 million to groups such as Ocean Conservancy, the Conservation International Foundation, the Marine Stewardship Council, the World Wildlife Fund and the Environmental Defense Fund in support of marine protected areas and catch-share programs.
We've had calls of support from both coasts, even from a few Midwest bass fishermen. Our nation's anglers are
extremely agitated by the Walton Family Foundation's“ actions,” RFA executive director Jim Donofrio said. “When you spend your hard-earned money on fishing tackle only to learn that the profits are being used to close down fishing access, it gets folks justifiably upset.
“The fishing community supports conservation, but we're not willing to accept preservation, exclusion or privatization,” he added. The alliance is reminding anglers who want to organize grassroots protests outside their local Wal-Mart store to consult with local authorities first.
“We encourage peaceful protest, but every municipality has its own rules and regulations regarding active protest,” Donofrio said.
Only A Month Away, Sept 24
Only a month away, National Hunting and Fishing Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the conservation efforts
of outdoorsman across the nation. For more information and events that are taking place near you, visit www.nhfday.org
Showers and thunderstorms moved through the Great Lakes basin Tuesday and Wednesday bringing heavy rain to some localized areas. Temperatures across the region have been near seasonal averages. To date in August, all of the Great Lakes have seen above average rainfall. This weekend, fair weather is expected to dominate as high pressure builds across the region. Temperatures will remain stable while a chance of rain returns on Monday.
LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS
Currently, Lake Superior is 2 inches above its level of a year ago and Lake Michigan-Huron is near last year's level. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 2, 7, and 2 inches, respectively, higher than they were at this time last year. Over the next thirty days, Lake Superior is projected stay near its current level, and Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to fall 2 inches. The water levels of Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are forecasted to decline 6, 5, and 6 inches, respectively, over the next month.
FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS
Lake Superior's outflow through the St. Mary's River is projected to be below average for the month of August. The outflows from Lake Huron into the St. Clair River, and from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River, are expected to be below average throughout the month of August. Lake Erie's
outflow through the Niagara River is predicted to be above
average and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River is predicted to be above average.
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.
It seems that the most dangerous and well-funded group within the animal rights lobby, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is again trying to reposition itself to seem mainstream. That transformation is a new “Faith Outreach” effort. Yes, HSUS is attempting to align itself with religions. This path closely follows the animal rights group’s programs that have thrust its tentacles into school systems and young student minds around the nation. Churches should definitely beware.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance reports the programs championed by HSUS outreach efforts include articles promoting a connection between animal rights and the congregations of the Unitarian Universalists and the United Church of Christ. And the HSUS furthers the connecting efforts by pushing pro-animal-rights statements attributed to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Episcopal Church and others religious affiliations. Seems nearly any sermon can be twisted as promoting animal rights. These twists could
have been far from the intent of the speaker or presenter when the materials were spoken or presented. This doesn’t matter to HSUS.
Real eyebrows are raised, however, when you discover the HSUS’s St. Francis Day in a Box project. A $15 toolkit promoting the animal rights philosophy includes: the Chronicles of Narnia; Animal Protection Ministries: A Guide for Churches; Eating Mercifully; the CAFO Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories (a stab at farming); and many others. These animal rights agenda packets are sold to churches, or congregation members, to raise funds for HSUS.
While this propaganda intertwines religion and animal rights as connected crusading causes, there is an obvious lack of religious tolerance in the missing mention of St. Hubertus, the patron Saint of Hunters. And of course the “toolkit” includes envelopes and instructions on how to collect funds in the names of pets, animals and wildlife, and then send those funds directly to HSUS.
Peoria store grand opening set for Sept 22
While you’ll find a huge selection of outdoor gear for hunting, fishing, boating, camping, hiking, outdoor cooking, bird watching or whatever your outdoor pleasures may be, Bass Pro Shops stores are also part museum, art gallery, antique store, aquarium, education, conservation and entertainment center.
The Peoria facility Grand Opening is set for Thursday, September 22nd but a special “Evening for Conservation” to help benefit area conservation groups will be held Wednesday night, September 21st beginning at 6 PM. This exciting, celebrity-packed event is free and open to the public.
The entire store is a tribute to the vast diversity of the Illinois landscape, its history and the culture of its people and, like other Bass Pro Shops stores, takes on the flavor and atmosphere of the region in which it is located. The East Peoria store incorporates two main themes-that of the Illinois River Central Flyway and the area’s vast agricultural and industrial heritage.
The store includes a White River Fly Shop, 750-gallon saltwater aquarium, casual family dining available in the Grill, a bar that seats 20, a gift and nature center that offers a variety of items from artwork to lamps, bird feeders and furniture, home decorating items and gifts for the holidays. Cooking accessories include cookbooks, spices, grills and jerky making items. The store also features a General Store and a Fudge Shop.
Museum quality wildlife exhibits and dioramas are seen throughout the store. Bass Pro Shops presently has 57 retail stores in 26 states and Canada
Special event salutes heroes, troops and includes free family activities
Springfield, Missouri—Labor Day Weekend typically signals the last hurrah of summer as families finish vacations and kids get ready to head back to school. It’s also a great time to recognize the everyday heroes around us, the achievements of those in the workplace and our military personnel. That’s why Bass Pro Shops retail locations across the U.S. will host the Honoring Our Heroes Event during Labor Day weekend September 3rd –4th and again September 10th –11th.
Bass Pro Shops retail locations will offer free family activities from 1-5pm each of those days and free crafts from 2-4pm (while supplies last) Labor Day weekend, September 3rd and 4th and again Saturday and Sunday, September 10th and 11th and it’s all free!
You can also help show your appreciation for our troops, most of whom won’t be able to get home for the holiday, by bringing in new or gently used DVDs, video games or books. All donated items will be sent to our troops through the AMVETS organization. The first 50 people at each store to donate, beginning at 10am each day, will receive a Sportsman’s Racing Team poster.
Kids can challenge mom or dad to a radio remote control car race Saturdays and Sundays or take part in any of the other free activities such as the bean bag toss or tire roll. If you complete all three activities you will receive a free stars and stripes band (while supplies last.) (Check out www.basspro.com/laborday for complete Honoring Our Heroes Event weekend activities for your local store)
Families can also register to win one of two exciting prizes being given away. One winner will be selected nationally to win the Grand Prize of a trip to Charlotte, NC and meet NASCAR® driver of the #1 Bass Pro Shops car Jamie McMurray. The Grand Prize Package includes two tickets to the May 2012 Sprint Cup All-Star race in Charlotte, three-night hotel accommodations, special meet-n-greet with Jamie McMurray, a Bass Pro Shops® themed go-cart, one pair of Oakley® sunglasses, a tour of Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and a $300 Bass Pro Shops gift card to spend at the Charlotte store. You may enter to win at the store or online at www.basspro.com/winatrip.
There will also be prize drawings each day September 3-4 and 10-11 at 2:30pm, 3:30pm and 4:30pm for great prizes like a patriotic flag chair, Oakley® PIT BULL™ sunglasses, Bass Pro Shops® oversized sleeping bags, Bass Pro Shops® Dome tent or a Brinkmann® 3-burner grill.
This Labor Day, help show your appreciation for all the everyday heroes plus our troops and squeeze the last drop out of summer fun without putting any pressure on your budget, by bringing the family to Bass Pro Shops Honoring Our Heroes Event.
**Bass Pro Shops retail locations in Miami, FL and Branson, MO will not have the event but will honor sale prices.
***Bass Pro Shops Canadian locations will hold Labour Day events with varied times, dates and details. Click here for Canadian location details
MADISON -- Recent test results show that healthy-looking yellow perch in Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan were infected with VHS virus even though there was no fish kill.
That positive VHS result comes four months after the deadly fish virus was confirmed as the cause of a fish kill that left thousands of gizzard shad floating in the Milwaukee harbor ship canals. Together, those 2011 findings show that VHS persists in Lake Michigan and remains an active threat to fish in the big lake and in nearby inland waters and fish farms, and that anglers and other boaters need to continue to follow the rules to prevent spreading VHS and other aquatic invasive species, Wisconsin fish health experts say.
Fish health specialists also say VHS seems to be following a common path that infectious disease takes in fish. "We expect that VHS will periodically recur in the Great Lakes, much the same as other animal and human diseases cycle over time," says Sue Marcquenski, the DNR fish health specialist.
Michigan test results show that VHS returned in 2011 to an inland lake, Budd Lake (exit DNR) after three years of looking for, but not finding the virus. VHS caused a die off in that lake in late April and early May 2011 of largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegills, and pumpkinseed sunfish.
VHS, or viral hemorrhagic septicemia, does not affect people or pets, but can infect several dozen species of fish and cause them to bleed to death. Dr. Tony Goldberg, a UW-Madison veterinary epidemiologist conducting a VHS study in Lake Winnebago says, "I often get asked, ‘Why do we have to worry about VHS any more -- it's gone?’ The answer is that infectious disease can cycle. You can get peaks of infection every few years, and then valleys. Just because we don't see a disease for a few years doesn't mean it's gone. We may simply be in one of these down cycles and we could be on the verge of an upcycle.
"It's also important to realize that we shouldn't expect VHS
to simply disappear. Invasive viruses are like other invasive
species -- zebra mussels or Asian carp, for instance. Once they're here, they are almost certainly here forever and we're not going to be able to go back to the way things were," he says. "It would be a mistake to let our guard down."
Goldberg is one of the principal investigators in a multi-year study underway in the Lake Winnebago system to see whether the fish virus is still a threat there and to develop a faster, cheaper test to detect its presence. VHS was first detected in Wisconsin in Winnebago System waters in 2007.
VHS found in yellow perch during annual spawning assessment
The yellow perch tested for VHS were collected in June from the Green Can spawning reef offshore of Milwaukee. DNR was conducting its annual spawning assessment and wanted to test the fish for VHS because "we were observing low numbers of male yellow perch in the survey and those males were not sexually mature," says Brad Eggold, DNR southern Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor.
VHS work was done in conjunction with other tests. The Wisconsin Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory in Madison notified DNR of the positive VHS result earlier this month.
The finding marks the second time VHS has been found in spawning yellow perch at the Green Can reef. The first detection was from fish sampled June 5, 2008.
VHS testing was not done in the intervening years of yellow perch from Lake Michigan; once the virus has been confirmed in a particular fish species from Lake Michigan, DNR directs its limited surveillance testing dollars to monitoring other waters to see if VHS has spread.
The yellow perch lab results show that VHS virus is still present and being shed by yellow perch during spawning. The prolonged spring and cooler early summer water temperatures may have created an extended window for VHS to infect fish in 2011, Marcquenski says.
Despite the yellow perch testing positive for VHS, DNR received no reports of dead or dying fish from anglers, Eggold says. "So at this time it's hard to speculate on the impacts of VHS on the yellow perch population although having a continued threat from an invasive like VHS is not good for the fisheries in Lake Michigan," he says.
Alewives test negative for VHS
Alewives that washed ashore Lake Michigan beaches earlier this summer do not have VHS, test results show. It may be a seasonal pattern, Eggold says.
Register for this free event at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis, Sept. 17-18. Your whole family can try more than 50 outdoor activities in a laid-back atmosphere that’s
a blast. Watch for a special MyDNR preview in mid-September. If you’re already an outdoor enthusiast and want to share your passion, they’re asking for your help. Please volunteer.
Indiana’s reciprocal agreement with the state of Ohio that allowed people who live in the Buckeye state and own land in Indiana to hunt and fish in the Hoosier state without an Indiana license, has ended.
The change is in reaction to the Ohio legislature’s recent passage of a bill that eliminates the ability of Indiana residents who own property in the Buckeye state to hunt
or fish that Ohio property without a license
With the law change in Ohio, Buckeye state residents who own land in Indiana and want to hunt or fish on that or any other land in the Hoosier state must now purchase a nonresident license before they can hunt or fish on that or any other Indiana property. Similarly, Indiana residents who own land in Ohio will need to buy a nonresident Ohio hunting or fishing license to hunt or fish on that or other land in the Buckeye State.
Learn about youth free hunting days, which are Sept. 3-4 and Nov. 26-27, when youth hunters do not have to possess a hunting license, HIP number or any state stamp
but must comply with all other hunting regulations. Plan for youth deer hunting season, too. Youth need to buy a license for that. It’s Sept. 24 and 25.
DNR Teams Up With Educators
The Department of Natural Resources invites educators to take advantage of the variety of high-quality programs and resources offered by the department year-round. The following DNR programs are available to formal educators working in the classroom, as well as non-formal educators working in local parks and youth-oriented organizations, and home school parents.
DNR Education Services Manager Kevin Frailey called the department’s outreach programs “a terrific way for teachers of all age groups to incorporate important science, natural resources and history lessons into their classrooms – lessons that match up very nicely with the state’s curriculum guidelines.”
Portage Northern Middle School teacher Andy Blackman agreed, citing the real-world classroom benefits and valuable impact of programs like Salmon in the Classroom. “My students love this project,” he said. “The first stop when they come into the room is to check on [the salmon] development!”
Most programs are correlated to the appropriate Grade Level Content Expectations and some include teacher resource kits. Scholarships and equipment grants are available for some programs. Be sure to check each program’s Web page for more details, including program dates, registration and fees.
National Archery in the Schools: Physical education teachers become basic archery instructors and introduce target archery in physical education classes.
Explore Bowhunting: Educators learn how to implement an outdoor conservation education program in which students learn to interact with the natural world by developing basic skills used to bowhunt.
Field Trip Ideas
Visitor Centers, Fish Hatcheries, Historic Sites and Museums: More than a dozen locations throughout the state offer educational programs for teachers and students. Each location offers topics designed to educate visitors
about that specific site’s features and history.
Salmon in the Classroom: Teachers attend a one-day workshop in the fall to learn how to raise Chinook salmon in their classroom. Students release the salmon into a nearby river in the spring.
Big History Lesson: Teachers learn about the Michigan Historical Museum and its resources to develop a unit of study, including activities, resources and museum support needed to bring their students back to the museum for their own Big History Lesson week. The workshop emphasizes object-based learning, thematic study and the use of community resources as teaching and learning tools.
Explore Mackinac’s History and Nature: Mackinac State Historic Parks offers lesson plans, online educational opportunities for children and teachers, artifact box loans, in-classroom program visits, on-site overnight and evening programs and historic site tours.
Project Learning Tree: A program of the American Forest Foundation, PLT provides environmental and outdoor education materials and training designed around hands-on activities for pre-K through 12th grade.
Project WILD: Teachers attend a one-day workshop to learn how to involve youth in environmental and conservation awareness, appreciation and understanding of wildlife and natural resources.
A Healthy Variety of Topics
Academy of Natural Resources: Educators attend a five-day workshop during the summer to learn about Michigan's diverse natural resources, discover current trends in their management and experience activities that bring this knowledge to the classroom.
For more info on all workshops and programs, or to join the DNR Educators mailing list, visit www.michigan.gov/dnrteachers.
At Rifle River State Recreation Area
The DNR is offering two classes suitable for both the novice and experienced hunter. Bear Hunting 101 and Coyote Hunting 101 are taking place starting at noon Saturday, Sept.10, at the Rifle River State Recreation Area, 2550 E. Rose City in Lupton in Ogemaw County.
Participants in the Bear Hunting class that begins at noon Saturday will hear a lecture on black bear hunting, with an emphasis on bow hunting, from Randy Raymond. Raymond has 50 years of hunting experience, is the Safari Club International Bowhunter of the Year and is president of Midland County Whitetails Unlimited. He also has guided elk, deer and bear hunts in New Mexico, Colorado, Canada and Michigan.
The Coyote Hunting 101 class will begin at approximately 1 p.m., directly following the Bear Hunting 101 presentation. Blaine Bailer will lecture on coyote hunting and a wide range of game calls. Bailer, who has been hunting predators for 38 years, is the manager of game calls at Jay’s Sporting Goods and is on the board of Midland County Whitetails Unlimited. He also teaches hunter safety.
The classes, which are free of charge, are part of the DNR’s Recreation 101 Program. Recreation 101 offers year-round programs that recruit top instructors and sports
equipment vendors to provide free or inexpensive hands-on lessons with the goal of giving the novice sportsman enough skill and knowledge to begin a new activity. For details or to register, call Rifle River Recreation Area at 989-473-2258.
The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.
Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore.
For more info about the Recreation Passport: www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.
Trapping 101 Clinic at Brimley State Park
If the sport of trapping has always sounded interesting, the Department of Natural Resources is offering the opportunity to learn more. Join certified instructors at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, for a Trapping 101 course at Brimley State Park in Chippewa County.
The class will cover trapping history, safety, rules and regulations, techniques and conservation. Participants must be a minimum of 8 years old to attend, and an adult must accompany those who are 8 to 10 years of age.
There is no charge to attend, however, an optional starter
kit is being offered for $10. Sponsors of the class have contributed to the kits, which contain more than $10 worth of supplies.
The DNR’s Recreation 101 program offers year-round clinics that recruit top instructors and sports equipment vendors to provide free or inexpensive hands-on lessons with the goal of giving the novice sportsman enough skill and knowledge to begin a new activity.
Brimley State Park is located at 9200 West 6 Mile Rd. in Brimley. Pre-registration is required as class size is limited. To register, call Mike Anderson at 906-440-6133.
COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio DNR clarified how its officers enforce a state boating law with regard to fishing from the forward deck (bow) of a pontoon boat while it is being operated with an electric trolling motor. The agency said it continues to promote sport fishing and safe boating practices and is encouraging its marine patrol partners and other local marine patrol officers statewide to follow its waterways enforcement guideline with regard to fishing from pontoon boats.
Under current state law, no occupant of any vessel underway on Ohio waterways may sit, stand or walk upon any portion of the vessel not specifically designed for that movement, unless it is immediately necessary for safe and reasonable vessel navigation or operation. This law, for example, could prohibit a vessel occupant from fishing from the bow of a pontoon boat outside its forward deck rail
when it is in operation and the trolling motor is operated by
a remote control device.
“We have directed our officers to permit fishing and the operation of a boat in a non-approved area of the boat, such as outside the main gated deck area of pontoon boats, regardless of the type of trolling motor used,” said Todd Doncyson, law enforcement administrator for the Division of Watercraft. “We are aware that technology allows for remote control of a trolling motor from behind a pontoon deck railing, but our officers will not treat them any different than an operator of a regular tiller and foot pedal trolling motor and this only applies to the vessel operator. “
The clarification from the Division of Watercraft comes in response to concerns from boaters who may not have a clear understanding of the current boating law with regard to the illegal and unsafe practice of riding upon the bow of a boat while it is underway.
Third zone for duck hunting added; new option offered by the USFWS
COLUMBUS, OH - The 2011-2012 waterfowl hunting season dates have been approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council, according to the Ohio DNR.
Ohio duck hunters can now take advantage of three zones for hunting. Based on comments received from waterfowl hunters in recent years and recent survey results, there was a need to separate the Lake Erie Marsh Region from the rest of the North Zone so that season dates would better maximize hunting opportunities when waterfowl are most abundant in different regions of Ohio. Also, the border between the North Zone and the South Zone has moved south to Interstate 70. This move attempts to maximize hunting opportunities.
The newly created Lake Erie Marsh Zone encompasses portions of Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Erie counties. The duck hunting season in the Lake Erie Marsh Zone is October 15-30 followed by a second segment that opens November 12 through December 25.
The duck hunting season in the North Zone is October 15-30, followed by a second segment that opens November 19 through January 1. In the South Zone, duck season is open October 22 through November 6, followed by a second segment that opens December 17 and runs through January 29, 2012.
The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may not include more than four mallards (no more than one may be female), three wood ducks, one black duck, two redheads, two scaup, one canvasback, two pintails, and one mottled duck. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, of which no more than two may be hooded mergansers. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. Possession limits after the first day are twice the daily bag limit.
In the Lake Erie Canada Goose Zone, the goose season is October 15 through October 30 followed by a second segment that opens November 12 and runs through
January 8, 2012. The goose season for the remainder of the North Zone is October 15 through October 30, with a second segment that runs from November 19 through January 1, 2012 and a third segment from January 9-22, 2012. In the South Zone, goose season is October 22 through November 20 followed by a second segment that opens December 17 and runs through January 29, 2012.
The daily bag limit for Canada geese is two. Light geese (snows, blues, Ross') have a daily bag limit of 10, white-fronted geese have a daily bag limit of two and brant have a daily bag limit of one. The possession limit for brant and geese is twice the daily bag limit after the first day.
Hunters 15 years of age and younger will have the opportunity to enjoy a special statewide waterfowl season October 1-2.
Licensed falconers may hunt in the Lake Erie Marsh, North, South and Lake Erie Canada Goose zones whenever these zones are open to waterfowl hunting; in addition properly licensed falconers may hunt ducks and coots statewide from February 4, 2012 through March 3, 2012 and geese from February 4 - 18, 2012.
Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification is required of all waterfowl hunters prior to hunting. New this year, migratory game bird hunters must call 1-800-HIPOHIO (447-6446) and answer a few survey questions to complete the HIP certification requirement. Once the survey has been completed, hunters will be provided a certification number to write on their Ohio hunting license. Waterfowl hunters age 18 and older will also need a state wetland habitat stamp which may be purchased at any hunting license agent or at wildohio.com.
In addition, all waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must posses a signed federal duck stamp which can be purchased at most U.S. post offices. Copies of this season's waterfowl hunting regulations, which include maps of the zones (Publication 295, Waterfowl Hunting Seasons), will be available online at www.wildohio.com or by late September to hunters at all license agent outlets.
Changes will also impact Ohio residents that own land in Indiana
COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio DNR is reminding nonresident landowners that they are legally required to purchase nonresident licenses to hunt, trap or fish in Ohio.
The new law went into effect on July 1, 2011 and requires a nonresident owner of land in Ohio and the owner’s children and grandchildren, if applicable, to purchase a nonresident hunting license, deer or wild turkey permit, fur taker permit, or nonresident fishing license.
Prior to July 1, Ohio landowners with residency status somewhere other than Ohio did not have to purchase licenses or permits to hunt, trap or fish on land they own. Landowner license exemptions will only apply to Ohio residents.
This change in Ohio law nullifies a reciprocal agreement with Indiana, which means that Ohio residents with land holdings in Indiana are required to purchase a nonresident hunting license, deer or wild turkey permit, fur taker permit, or nonresident fishing license. Similarly, children and grandchildren of a nonresident landowner must purchase hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses and permits.
In Ohio, a resident is considered, by law, a person who has resided in the state of Ohio for the past six consecutive months. In Indiana, a resident is considered, by law, a person whose true fixed and permanent home and principal residence has been in Indiana for 60 consecutive days prior to purchasing a license or permit and who does not claim residency for hunting, trapping or fishing in another state or country other than the U.S. All others are nonresidents.
"Excellent" fishing forecast for some waters
MADISON -- Anglers looking for a unique fishing opportunity don't have to look far. The 2011 hook and line season for sturgeon season opens Sept. 3 on about a dozen waters statewide and gives anglers the chance to reel in one of Wisconsin's largest and oldest fish.
The opening date is wrong in the Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations 2011-2012, anglers should note, and Sept. 3 is the correct opening day.
Lake sturgeon can grow to more than 200 pounds and live more than 100 years. The 2011 season marks the fifth year that the minimum length for harvesting sturgeon is set at 60 inches, with a one-fish limit per season. The season runs through Sept. 30, 2011.There is a catch and release season only on a stretch of the Menominee River downstream from the Hattie Street dam to Green Bay from Sept. 3-30.
And anglers will find an extra catch-and-release opportunity on the lower St. Croix River from St. Croix Falls Dam downstream to the Mississippi River from Oct. 1 through Oct. 15. This catch-and-release season allows Wisconsin and Minnesota to have the same regulations for the same species.
There are signs that the 60-inch length limit Wisconsin put in place is working to increase fish size and protect the vulnerable female population on some waters, fisheries biologists say.
"Sturgeon fishing on the Chippewa River in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties should be good to excellent," says Heath Benike, fisheries biologist for those counties. "Sturgeon surveys conducted this field season on the Chippewa River in Eau Claire and Chippewa counties showed that 10 percent of the lake sturgeon captured were over 60 inches in length." The largest lake sturgeon was just over 67 inches and weighed almost 60 pounds. There also are a good number of mid- to upper-50 inch fish that will be available for anglers who prefer catch and release angling, Benike says.
The length limit is also helping boost the sturgeon population in the upper Menominee River, according to Mike Donofrio, fisheries supervisor in Peshtigo. "Our assessment indicates likely very few sturgeon over 60 inches in the upper Menominee river but for those anglers interested in catch and release, the population estimate of sturgeon over 50 inches from the White Rapids dam to the Upper Scott dam is more than 1,000."
Sturgeon fishing on Lake Superior's Chequamegon Bay should be good this fall and into the ice fishing season consistent with previous years, according to Peter Stevens, Lake Superior fisheries team supervisor. Stevens says 30 percent of sturgeon captured in spring surveys were larger than 50 inches with the largest fish coming in at a little over 64 inches and about 68 pounds. Surveys continue to show good recruitment with the bulk of the fish in the 30 to 40 inch range.
“Catch per hours of effort continues to show a steady upward trend, indicating that the best days of fishing may still be in front of us,” Stevens said. The Lower Wisconsin River and Lake Wisconsin both support healthy populations of lake sturgeon. Previous to the implementation of the 60 inch size limit the harvest would often exceed 30 percent of the estimated adult population, according to David Rowe, DNR fisheries biologist at Poynette.
“With the higher size limit harvest has been maintained below the 5 percent safe harvest limit except for 2010 when harvest was estimated at 6 percent,” Rowe said. “There appear to be many fish between 50 and 60 inches as observed in spring and fall gillnet surveys and fishing should continue to be good for these big river wanderers. There are several radio tagged lake sturgeon in the Lower Wisconsin River and we continue to follow their movements from the Mississippi River and deep water habitat where they spend the summer, through their long swim back up the river this fall and begin to stage for spawning next spring.”
The 60-inch limit was enacted because harvest rates on some waters were significantly above 5 percent, the level of harvest DNR considers safe. Lake sturgeon are slow-growing, late maturing fish, with females spawning for the first time when they are 20 to 25 years old and then only every four to five years thereafter. Because females are larger than males, they are often targeted by anglers, and their overharvest can cause population declines that may take years to recover.
Remember to buy a harvest tag
If anglers do plan to harvest a sturgeon this season, they must purchase a harvest tag before they fish. The sturgeon harvest tag was implemented for the first time in the 2006 hook and line season. All revenues from the harvest tag sales go directly to projects dedicated to the improvement of sturgeon populations and habitats and therefore, better fishing opportunities. No tag is needed if anglers are catch and release fishing only.
The harvest tag is available throughout the season and costs $20 for residents and $50 for nonresidents. It can be purchased: over the Internet through the Online Licensing Center; by calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236); at license sales locations; or DNR service centers during their regular business hours.
Anglers who harvest a legal-size fish must immediately attach the harvest tag to the fish and take it to a registration station by 6 p.m. the next day for registration.
All anglers must have a Wisconsin general inland fishing license unless they are under 16 years old, or were born before Jan. 1, 1927. Military personnel who are Wisconsin residents and in active service but on furlough or leave are eligible to receive a free annual fishing license. They still need to purchase the $20 lake sturgeon harvest tag if they plan to keep a lake sturgeon.
Rules helping contain disease, keep other invasives out
MADISON - VHS fish disease has not spread to new waters in 2011, a result state fisheries and invasive species officials credit to anglers and others following rules to prevent spreading the virus. And they say those rules also will help protect against other aquatic invasive species and diseases, including the Asian carp recently caught in the Lower Wisconsin River and DNA detected in water samples in the St. Croix River.
VHS does not affect people or pets, but can infect several dozen species of fish and cause them to bleed to death. DNR collected fish from 19 waterbodies throughout Wisconsin between April 12 and June 1 as part of its surveillance efforts to detect VHS. Tissue samples from 2,773 fish were submitted to three laboratories for the tests, which take a month. None of the fish were positive for VHS, according to Eric Eikenberry, a DNR microbiologist/fish biologist who coordinated the sampling.
Also, fish sampled from three lakes that supply DNR hatcheries with water were negative for VHS, as were DNR hatchery-raised fish tested before they were stocked or moved to other facilities.
While VHS was found in 2011 in waters where it's been found in the past and remains a serious threat, "we're pleased it hasn't spread to new waters," says Mike Staggs, DNR's fisheries director.
"We appreciate the efforts that anglers and boaters have made to keep Wisconsin’s fish healthy and we think it's absolutely helping contain VHS and will help prevent the spread of other aquatic invasive diseases and species.”
That includes two other aquatic invasive species recently in the headlines, Asian carp and spiny water fleas. DNR announced last week that a bighead carp had been caught
in the Lower Wisconsin River and the Minnesota DNR announced that silver carp DNA -- the fish known for its jumping behavior -- had been detected in the St. Croix River. Bighead and silver carp eat plankton and can potentially decrease populations of native fish that rely on plankton for food, including all larval fishes, some adult fishes, and native mussels, says Bob Wakeman, who coordinates DNR efforts to prevent and control aquatic invasive species.
For example, VHS rules that prohibit the harvest of bait from waters known or suspected to have the fish virus will help keep Asian carp out of Wisconsin waters. Without the ban, bait harvesters might accidentally catch a young Asian carp, which looks similar to gizzard shad and many minnows, and take it to another lake or river where it might escape, says Bob Wakeman, who coordinates DNR's efforts to prevent and control aquatic invasive species.
And rules to drain water from boats, live wells, fishing equipment and containers before leaving a boat landing will help keep spiny water fleas from being moved elsewhere. These microscopic aquatic animals compete for the same food as small native fish and have been documented in three Wisconsin lakes so far. Lake Mendota, the site of the most recent discovery, was in the news recently when lake experts predicted worsening problems with toxic blue-green algae as the fleas decimate populations of a zooplankton that helped keep the algae in check.
"These are potentially serious threats to our lakes and rivers and fishing," says Wakeman. "All of the preventative steps will help, and they're all needed. If you just do one thing, you're missing the boat. All of these steps together can help protect our lakes and rivers and keep our fishing healthy."
More information on rules to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and VHS can be found on the DNR website.
Other Breaking News Items
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