December 2 , 2002

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Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw;

Brings trees to Chicago for needy families

   CHICAGO-The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, the Christmas Tree Ship, is scheduled to arrive at the Navy Pier in downtown Chicago, IL at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, December 6, loaded with 250 Christmas trees for underprivileged families. The Mackinaw, a 290-foot icebreaker, will offer free tours to the public on Saturday and Sunday from 1:30pm -5:00pm.  In addition to the 250 trees brought by the Mackinaw, over 500 trees will be given to local families through the Community Resource Network, a partner agency of United Way. 

   The Mackinaw's arrival is a culmination of efforts by many individuals and the marine community working to help make Christmas special for underprivileged Chicago families by reviving the Christmas Tree Ship tradition, a fascinating part of marine history.

 

Friday, December 6th

8:00 AM - CGC MACKINAW arrives at Navy Pier, Chicago Military Band Plays

9:00 AM - Decorating commences

 

Saturday, December 7th

9:00 AM - Start unloading trees, Navy Brass band (quartet) plays, carolers sing 

9:15 AM - Program begins

Coast Guard Helicopter drops wreath 50 yards from the CGC MACKINAW in memory of the Christmas Tree Ship that perished in 1912, and all the ships and crews that have been lost at sea.  Three representative families chosen by Community Resource Network, a partner agency of United Way, will receive trees.

1:30 PM - 5:00 PM - Tours on CGC MACKINAW - Various Caroler groups will sing

 

Sunday, December 8th

1:30 PM- 5:00 PM - Tours on CGC MACKINAW - Various Caroler groups will sing

 

Christmas Tree Ship History

   Back in the early 1900's, many ships brought Christmas trees to Chicago from Michigan and Wisconsin and sold them to local merchants and grocers.  Captain Hermann Schuenemann sold his trees directly to the public from the deck of his ship, the Rouse Simmons.  Low prices and novelty of buying trees from the deck helped business boom over the next 16 years.

 

   In 1912, Captain Schuenemann and his ship never arrived. The men on United States Lifesaving Station Two Rivers reported seeing the three-masted schooner struggling to stay afloat with her distress flags flying, decks completely iced over, and her sails and rigging tattered or gone.  The station's surfmen attempted a rescue, getting within a couple hundred yards of the ship before a blinding snow squall swallowed the ship and it's crew. In the spirit of Captain Schuenemann and his men, the tradition of the Christmas Tree ship is being rekindled by the Coast Guard and the marine community.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Laurie Fried, NMMA, 312-946-6204

Petty Officer Paul Roszkowski, USCG, 847-256-3572 (Available after 12 /4)

Commodore Fred W Poppe, 708-409-0280

Minnesota Fishing Report - Fishing Hot Spots for the week of Dec 2, 2002

LEECH LAKE

   We have fishable ice! There are plenty of smaller lakes in the Walker Area that have 3 to 5" of walkable ice. Ice fishermen have been out fishing the last few days and the early ice bite is good. Reports of bluegill, crappie and perch action on many lakes. Ice conditions change daily so it is always in your best interest to proceed on ice with caution. Check with bait shops, resorts or guides for daily updates on ice.

 

ALEXANDRIA

   No ice on any of the larger lakes yet, in fact some fisherman are still getting their boats out. Those that are, have reported good walleye fishing. Some of the small lakes in the area are frozen and a few people are inching out on the ice.

 

BATTLE LAKE

   Battle and Ottertail are just freezing over; hopes are high that they could have 4" by the weekend. Molly and Blanch have fishable ice but be careful.

 

BEMIDJI

   The Ice season is just beginning. High winds broke many of the big waters open over the weekend, but the small lakes are starting to see tentative traffic. By this weekend some fishing should be taking place.

 

BIG STONE

   Big Stone froze over last weekend. Some anglers might be hitting the bays as early as this weekend. Some pheasants taken to the south. Not much going on, just waiting for ice.

 

BLACKDUCK

   There is ice on the smaller lakes. Just starting to see some fisherman. The shallow bay on the south end of Blackduck has enough ice, and the few guys who made it out reported good northern bites. There should be plenty of ice by the weekend.

 

CROSSLAKE

   Ice conditions on area lakes changed over the past week, with small lakes freezing over with two to four inches in places. The bigger lakes like Gull, Crosslake and Whitefish are still open. Edward and Mission are partially ice covered. Check before venturing out, but it shouldn't be long!

 

DULUTH

   WE ARE ICE FISHING!!! Area lakes have up to 6" of ice. There are permanent houses on Grand, Fish, and Pike. The St. Louis is frozen, but ice conditions are not safe yet. Lake Superior deepwater trollers are still pulling in good numbers of rainbows, a few lakers & salmon. Small pink or purple spoons are producing best. Shore fishing on the big lake is off and on, but some anglers are doing well floating crawlers and spawn off bottom.

 

GRAND RAPIDS

   Some small lakes in the area have up to 5" of ice and are already producing fish. Split Hand has yielded some nice crappies along with Cowhorn but you have to be careful of springs on the latter. Mckinnie also has enough ice to fish, but again be careful and check the ice regularly.

 

KABETOGAMA-NAMAKAN

   No fishing activity to report this week. Some anglers on ice using tip-ups, but strong winds and moderate temps opened up the main lake. Freeze-up has again started with very cool temperatures in the forecast. The typical bays for the Dec 1st spearing season are expected to be froze up and we expect to have 4 to 6" of ice.

 

LAKE OF THE WOODS

   The early ice fishing season has begun on Lake of the Woods this week as temperatures dropped drastically. Although ice has formed on most of the bays, conditions vary. Fishing is only suggested with the help of a local guide. Ice thickness on Four Mile Bay varies from 3 to 6" where fishermen are catching limits of walleye. Gold and Chartreuse jigs are being used. At Zippel Bay ice anglers are taking Northerns. The northwest angle is showing from 3 to 12" of ice in spots. Fishermen have begun to hit the bays in that area.

 

MANKATO

   Fishing on the river was good in the St. Peter area until big ice chunks started coming down on Tuesday. Check conditions before you head out. No fishable ice to report yet.

MAPLEWOOD

   The Mississippi is producing some nice walleyes and smallies by the Ford Dam and the bar by Prescott. A few St. Croix anglers are also boating some eyes near Osceola. Almost all the area lakes are completely shut down.

 

MONTEVIDEO

   The lake froze over on Sunday. If the cold continues we should have fishable ice in a week or so. The river was hot, but a thin layer of ice formed over the weekend.

 

NISSWA

   Ice season is here for some of the smaller area lakes. North Long was yielding tip-up pike and panfish. Some of the larger lakes like Round and Nisswa are not fishable yet but it's coming. Be careful if you're heading out.

 

PARK RAPIDS

   Ice is just coming. Some smaller lakes have up to 4" of ice and anglers are beginning to get their shelter licenses. This weekend should see a fair amount of early season action.

 

PELICAN RAPIDS

 Some people have been out on Prairie and are reporting 2-5" of ice. Some fish are also coming from the river just below the pelican.

 

SAINT CLOUD

   Some area lakes have 4" of ice. Anglers are inching out and reporting some good crappie bites. The key is to take it slow and careful.

 

SAINT CROIX

   The Pool 4 Mississippi River walleye and sauger bite continues to be good. The majority of the anglers are catching eaters in the 20 to 28 ft. depth range especially for saugers. Daytime eyes are holding characteristically shallower in ranges from 15 to 21ft. It's hard to pin a set "go to technique" as many presentations are catching fish but casting 1/16 to 1/4 oz jigs to rock and current and drifting 1/4 to 3/8 oz jigs along the edges of deeper holes are likely the best, but a trolled three way rigged crankbait set up is close behind. Water clarity is looking good as the lack of rains/snows have been absent for some time, so natural colors are becoming favored.

 

STARBUCK

   Minnewaska is iced over the whole lake. Some small lakes are fishable but be very cautious, as some spots have only an inch or two.

 

UPPER RED LAKE

   The ice on Upper Red is still Iffy. Some anglers have ventured out up to a mile, to the eight foot depth range. Patches of two inch ice make this very dangerous however. The wind did not do a lot to the ice; it just blew the snow around. The cold weather this week should be a plus, but the ice was still thin in places. Maybe next week!

 

LAKE VERMILION AREA

   Lake Vermilion in the bays has about 3 to 5" of ice. McKinnley Park on the Tower-Soudan end of the lake has 3 to 4" and fishermen who are brave enough to fish are getting their limits of walleyes ranging from 13 to 17" and a few nicer ones. Glow or gold jigs tipped with minnows or just a plain hook and minnow seems to work best. Minnows are tough to get, but most bait shops should be stocked by the weekend. This is the best time to fish on hard water for Lake Vermilion walleyes. Stay away from areas that have current. Places such as Everett Narrows are good walleye holes but can be very dangerous this time of year. Use your head, there is no safe ice this time of year. Other area lakes such as Pelican Lake in Orr, Ely Lake outside Eveleth, have an inch or two more ice, but the crappie action so far is fair and small fish. Not worth the risk yet.

 

WABASHA

   Fishing has slowed up on the river some eyes and saugers are being taken near the dam. Ice fishing may start up by the end of the weekend.

 

WATSON

   Walleye fishing has come to a screeching halt on LQP Lake. With the cold temps fishermen are waiting for the ice to get thick enough. A few walleyes are still coming out of the open water below the dam.

 

For further assistance contact:  curt.johnson@state.mn.us  651-297-3488

Leamington Commercial fined $2,500

   WINDSOR — A Leamington commercial fisherman has been fined $2,500 after pleading guilty to fishing violations. Karl Krause, 71, of Leamington, has been fined $1,500 for contravening the conditions of his licence and $1,000 for selling illegally harvested fish.

 

   On June 22, 2002, OMNR Conservation Officers, conducting roadside checks of vehicles crossing the Ambassador Bridge, found two Michigan residents with smallmouth bass, Chinook salmon, brown trout and a muskie. The fish had been purchased from Krause Fisheries Inc. in Leamington.

   Krause’s commercial fishing licences do not allow the harvesting of sport fish such as the species sold to the Michigan residents.  The investigation determined that these fish had been caught on June 21 and the harvest was not recorded as required by one of the conditions of his licences. The sale of fish in Ontario is restricted to the legal harvest of fish caught by licensed commercial fishers.  Justice of the Peace Hoffman heard the case in Windsor Provincial Court on October 7, 2002.

 

   The public is encouraged to help protect its natural resources by reporting violations to the local Ministry office or to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

Waste treatment plants exceeding EPA pollution permits, study finds

   WASHINGTON — The AP reports four of five wastewater treatment plants and chemical and industrial facilities in the United States pollute waterways beyond what their federal permits allow, according to government data.    

 

   More than 90% of the plants and facilities in OH, NH, RI, IN, IA PR, ME, W VA, DE, NY, and CT exceeded permit limits between 1999 and 2001. The average excess was 10 times what the permit called for, according to USEPA

records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

 

   Releases of the worst toxic chemicals, those known or suspected to cause cancer and other serious health effects, averaged eight times more than is permitted under the Clean Water Act, the report said. The report found: 81%, or 5,116 of 6,332 major facilities, exceeded their permits at least once between 1999 and 2001, and 262 major facilities exceeded their permits at least 10 reporting periods during that time.

Invasive Plants—Global Issues, Local Challenges

   The Chicago Botanic Garden hosted a Midwest invasive plants conference October 27 - 30 in Chicago.  The conference, sponsored by the School of the Chicago Botanic Garden was attended by local, regional, national and international scientists, agency members and concerned individuals, reflecting the growing concern of invasive species. Participants had the opportunity to discuss the issues, develop strategies for improvement

and debate the methodology for reducing the threat of invasive plants.

 

   Invasive species are an enormous threat to native plants, animals and ecosystems all around the world. In the United States, invasive plants and animals are costing the country more than $125 billion per year.

           

   The conference was funded by the USEPA, USFWS, US Forest Service, and private foundations.

Environmental Estrogens May Threaten Minnesota Walleye Fishery

   Some male fish that dwell in Minnesota waters are developing female characteristics, according to a study by Sea Grant researchers. Smaller sex organs, female proteins and sterility were some of the characteristics found among populations of walleye, fathead minnow and carp.

 

   The mix-up is caused when chemicals get into waterways and then interferes with the fishes' development and reproductive systems. The chemicals, known as environmental estrogens, act the same as natural estrogen, a female hormone. Trace amounts of the chemicals are enough to change the male fish. If too many fish lose their male traits, a drop in the fish population could lead to major ecological problems and impact the economically important recreational walleye fishing industry.

 

   U. of Minnesota Sea Grant researcher Deb Swackhamer and her team are studying two MN waterways (Duluth-Superior Harbor and the Mississippi River near St. Paul) to learn more about the source of the estrogens, as well as their effects on fish. Considered endocrine disruptors, the chemicals can reach the environment through sewage

systems, paper mills, feed lots or industrial waste. Environmental estrogens can come

from the natural hormone estrogen (found in animals, including humans), or from synthetic hormones like those found in birth control pills and industrial products such as detergents, packaging plastics and insecticides.

 

   So far, researchers have been unable to pinpoint a specific chemical as the cause of the sexual changes. The team has found that some wild male walleye taken from waters near a sewage outflow of the Mississippi River had high levels of the female egg protein vitellogenin, decreased gonad size and no sperm. But laboratory goldfish exposed to the same water experienced much lesser effects. "Even these subtle effects may have an impact on wild fish, where reproductive opportunities are limited and competition is severe" says Swackhamer." Further study of fish in Duluth, and eventually the entire Great Lakes, should give her team a better idea of what causes the fish to develop female characteristics.
           

CONTACT: Deb Swackhamer, MN Sea Grant Researcher and University of Minnesota Professor, School of Public Health (O) 612-626-0435, Email: dswack@umn.edu

IRBA Court hearing on Isle Royale suit

Fed Judge to hear oral arguments Dec 13

   The Isle Royale Boaters Association has received official notice that oral argument in the United States

Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will be held in

Cincinnati, Ohio on December 13, 2002. Oral argument will be presented at the United States Courthouse in Cincinnati at 9 A.M. and will be limited to fifteen minutes per side.

PFBC ends Coho program in Lake Erie

Opts to enhance its steelhead program instead

   The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission had curtailed its coho salmon stocking program in Lake Erie, opting to enhance its steelhead program instead.  Rick Hoopes, the new chief of the PFBC Bureau of Fisheries, has ended the already limited coho-stocking program.

           

   Eggs will continue to be taken from returning fish whenever possible to maintain stock at the hatchery, but there are no immediate plans to initiate any coho program for Lake Erie in the near future. There have been relatively few cohos released into Lake Erie for a number of years.

Although the coho program was once the pride and joy

of the PFBC, returns of mature fish into the tributaries began to decrease as early as the late 1970s.

 

   Previously, the PFBC annually released approximately one million coho and 100,000 steelhead smolts into the tributaries each spring. As year class after year class of cohos failed to return as mature fish, the PFBC switched priorities, since steelhead appeared to be surviving well. That still left a token stocking of cohos, but as survival and return rates for the salmon worsened, the PFBC determined money allocated to hatching and raising cohos could better be utilized in the steelhead program.

 

Three Charged with poaching Erie Steelhead

   Three Ohio men have been charged with 22 violations of the Fish and Boat Code for allegedly illegally netting more than 300 lbs of steelhead from Walnut Creek, in Erie County, PA.  Forty-year-old Anatoliy Zozulya, 43-year-old Eugeniusz Sroka and 48-year-old Vladimir Yewtukh - all of Parma, Ohio – face possible total fines of $5,097, for poaching 53 steelhead from "the Manchester Hole" of Walnut Creek.

 

   Among the 22 charges filed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission are violations for allegedly fishing without proper licenses, using illegal devices (landing nets) to take fish, being over the legal daily limit, attempting to flee/elude law enforcement officers, misuse of property, failure to  

produce required identification, making fraudulent statements to enforcement officers and littering.

Conservation Officers Mark Kerr and Mike McSkimming were on a night patrol October 21 when they heard unusual noises along the stream.  Observing the three men from a distance, Kerr and McSkimming saw the trio netting steelhead and approached them.  The three fled; one was captured immediately.  WCO John Bowser and DWCOs Duane English and Randy Leighton located the suspects’ vehicle at a nearby nursing home and apprehended the other two individuals shortly afterward.

   Officers initially found 23 steelhead in the men’s possession.  A daylight search of the area the next morning uncovered an additional 28 fish.

Information sought in wolf deaths

   Michigan DNR law enforcement officials are seeking information in connection with the death of four wolves in the Upper Peninsula. Officers believe that all four of the animals died as the result of illegal human activity.

 

   In the most recent cases, two female wolves were found dead in Iron County.  Both animals had died from gunshot wounds.

 

   Two wolf death cases remain under investigation in the eastern Upper Peninsula. On Sept. 17, a wolf was found dead from a gunshot in Mackinac County. Earlier, the radio collar of another wolf was located in the Munuscong River, near Pickford. While the collar clearly was cut from the animal with a knife or other sharp instrument, the animal's remains have not been located to determine the exact

cause of death.

 

   The Grey Wolf is listed as an endangered species by the federal government. The taking of a wolf is a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000, as well as restitution of $1,500 to the state for the loss of the animal. Federal penalties could also be imposed.

 

   The introduction of the Grey Wolf and other long gone species has proven to be a controversial and at times contentious issue with sides being drawn with environmentalists, biologists and out-of-state types on one side pitted against property owners, other local citizens, sportsmen and members of the general public on the other side.

           

   The issues will not go away or be resolved any time soon with property rights being a major thorn of contention.

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