Saturday, February 28, 2009

Quantum pros "hair" it out in online contest

Taking a hat off after a grueling day of fishing is no big deal, right? Well, not necessarily. It seems that even the country's most successful anglers sometimes have difficulty in baring the tangles, snags, flat spots or curls that lie underneath, assuming there's hair in the first place, when asked to do so.

But "show us your hat hair" is exactly what Quantum asked of its seven pros - Greg Hackney, Kevin VanDam, Shaw Grigsby, Gary Klein, Randy Howell, Dean Rojas and Mike McClelland - during their fishing days at the recent Bassmaster Classic.

"No, I don't take my hat off," said VanDam with his usual grin, even before asking "why?" Upon finding out the reason, he hesitated even more, but finally gave in to the peer pressure of knowing his fellow teammates had obliged. Rojas and McClelland both responded with an identical, "this is just wrong," although approached at different times and different places.

Howell said, "Oh man, it's all squashed down," then quickly took a swipe atop his crew cut with his hand as if it would make a difference.Hackney, Grigsby and Klein, were others with similar responses. First there was the "what?" from each. And then that was followed by "oooooo-kaaay," before doing so with a grin.

In fact, all anglers were able to muster a smile while topless, and it is a tribute to the good nature of these seven Elite Series anglers. Now the question remains of the group: "Who has the best hat hair?"

All fishing fans are invited to see for themselves and cast their votes by visiting, and clicking on "Classic '09." The voting ends on March 15, 2009.

One hundred of the voters will be selected by random drawing to receive a free Quantum camo cap.

Perhaps, our next contest will be asking to see YOUR hat hair. After all, having hat hair is part of "Fishing at a Quantum level."


Frankfort, Kentucky - For years, anglers at Kentucky and Barkley lakes sought crappie in spring by jigging baits around drop-offs, fishing with minnows in shallow brush and probing stake beds with grubs. While these traditional methods worked well for white crappie, they are not nearly as effective nowadays because of the growing population of black crappie in both lakes.

Anglers who want to catch more fish from Kentucky's most popular crappie fishing lakes this spring need to change their techniques.

"People are still looking for white crappie," said Gerry Buynak, assistant director of fisheries for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "According to our data, there are more 10-inch crappie in Kentucky Lake right now than we've seen since 1985. But 97 percent of the ones we collected in our trap nets are black crappie."

While white crappie still dominate Lake Barkley, black crappie now make up nearly 40 percent of the population. Buynak says anglers will find fish if they put away their white crappie techniques and target the many black crappie the lakes have to offer.

"Black and white crappie differ quite a bit overall," he explained. "Black crappie move shallow earlier and stay longer. They also prefer clearer water. People don't usually cast to rocky shorelines when fishing for crappie, and this is where the black crappie are in the spring."

Western District Fishery Biologist Paul Rister says fishing for black crappie is starting to heat up as the days turn warmer.

"On warm, sunny days in late February and early March, black crappie are up on those rocky shorelines taking advantage of clear water and warmer temperatures," he said. "You've got to key in on the western shorelines that get sun early in the morning."

Anglers should try curly-tailed jigs with 1/16-ounce jigheads, Rooster Tails and other small in-line spinners. Good jig colors include white, white with chartreuse, white with red, lime-green, chartreuse, blue and pink.

"You need something really light," said Rister. "The old standard is a minnow fished underneath a bobber, using a slow retrieve. Let it sit for several seconds, give it a bump, let it sit there, and continue to work it slowly."

Anglers fishing from boats should cast toward shallow, rocky shorelines. Both lakes possess this type of shoreline on the sides bordering Land Between the Lakes, although Barkley Lake is less rocky than Kentucky Lake overall. The lakes' shorelines are rockier towards the mouths of embayments.

Bank fishing in these areas is also productive. However, anglers must be careful not to spook fish in the shallow, clear water. "If you are fishing from a boat, you must stay back away from the bank and cast," Buynak said. "If you get too close to the bank, you're going to spook the fish."

As cold winter days give way to early spring, the time is right to target black crappie at Kentucky's two largest lakes. Anglers willing to update their fishing methods will find good prospects this year.

Kentucky and Barkley lakes have a 20-fish daily creel limit, 10-inch minimum size limit for both species of crappie. For complete fishing regulations, pick up a copy of the 2009-10 Kentucky Fishing and Boating Guide, available wherever fishing licenses are sold.

Author Hayley Lynch is an award-winning writer for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. She is an avid hunter and shotgun shooter.

[The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, has an economic impact to the state of $4.5 billion annually. For more information about the department, visit our web site at ]


The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Fisheries Section need helps from Alabama anglers in its quest to gain information about the southern walleye.

Numbers of this distinct strain of walleye have diminished to the point that Fisheries biologists have initiated a plan to try to locate fish and establish a brood stock at Marion Fish Hatchery.

Fisheries biologists have attempted to collect southern walleye for the project with only limited success.

Only eight males were collected in the latest sampling effort at Hatchet Creek, a Coosa River tributary that runs into Lake Mitchell. The southern walleye strain is limited to Alabama and Mississippi, and populations have significantly declined in the last decade, likely because of changes to flowing waters and siltation.

"We're asking anglers to let us know if they catch a walleye," said Steve Rider, aquatic resources coordinator with Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

"If they could take a fin clip about the size of a thumbnail, we can take the tissue and determine if it is the southern walleye strain. We are looking for any information that would help us concentrate our collection efforts."

If they catch a walleye and want to keep it alive to donate to the hatchery that would be the best-case scenario."Anglers who wish to donate a live fish or a fin clipping should contact the Fisheries Section at 334-242-3471.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit

Source: Fishing Wire

Dave Matuka gives a seminar on very custom tackle rigs

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd
2009 - Our 43rd year.

March 9th- Custom tackle maker not normally used for the spring walleye run. He has a reputation for landing numerous large walleyes using unconventional tactics known only by him and his fishing partner. He'll let the “cat out of the bag.” $3.00, 7 p.m. meeting; 8 p.m. speaker. Calhoun Station, 1849 So. Calhoun Rd., New Berlin. Contact Dan Freiherr, treasurer, (414) 464-9316. Fishing reports, fishing equipment raffle plus hot pizza is available.

“Big Dave” Matuka fishes for various species, and he is especially adept at catching lunker walleye. Attend this meeting to attend to learn the secrets of his success. The walleye run is about to start, and his methods can have you landing fish you only dreamed of. Matuka is willing to share his knowledge with all who attend. This is a must attend meeting to learn about rigs not yet covered in the fishing magazines. Bring your angling friends and relatives. Make it a fun night with your fishing buddies.

President Recommends $12 Billion for Interior in Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The President’s 2010 Budget includes $12 billion for the Department of the Interior to undertake initiatives to promote energy security with a focus on clean renewable sources and strategies to address climate change, protect and preserve America’s national parks and public lands, strengthen Native American communities, enhance outdoor opportunities for young people, and conserve wetlands and wildlife habitat.

“President Obama has laid out a fiscally responsible blueprint for 2010,” Secretary Salazar said. “He has made tough choices, underscored his priorities and stressed the need for federal agencies to carry out their missions with transparency and accountability to the American taxpayer.”

Highlights of the proposed funding for Interior include the following:
  • Invests more than $50 million to promote renewable energy projects on Federal lands and waters.
  • Assists state and federal land management agencies with more than $130 million in additional funding to monitor, adaptively manage and assess the impacts of climate change on the Nation’s lands, fish and wildlife.
  • Protects national parks with $100 million in additional funds to operate and maintain park facilities and resources and $25 million to leverage private donations for park projects.
  • Conserves new federal and state lands and protects endangered species with appropriations of about $420 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Interior and the U.S. Forest Service, with annual increases to reach full funding of $900 million by 2014.
  • Creates educational and job opportunities for young people through expanded environmental education activities and new programs to encourage them to hunt and fish responsibly.
  • Strengthens Native American communities through an increase of more than $100 million for enhanced law enforcement and education.
  • Anticipates future costs for catastrophic wildfires with a new contingent funding reserve of $75 million for the Department of the Interior.
  • Encourages responsible development of oil and gas resources and closes loopholes that have given oil companies excessive royalty relief for offshore leases.

More information on the President’s FY2010 Budget for the Department of the Interior is online at

Caviar Dealer Sentenced for Smuggling Paddlefish Roe

A Florida caviar dealer will spend 18 months in Federal prison and he and his company must pay $300,000 in fines for illegally exporting American paddlefish caviar from the United States to Belgium. The defendants, who were convicted on felony conspiracy and wildlife charges stemming from a Service investigation, must also forfeit $122,000 worth of roe.


Atlanta, GA - TORU SHIMOJI, 49, of Smyrna, Georgia, was sentenced today by United States Magistrate Judge E. Clayton Scofield III on multiple misdemeanor charges involving the illegal possession of wildlife skulls, a violation of the Endangered Species Act, the Lacey Act, and the Migratory Bird Act.

United States Attorney David E. Nahmias said, “This defendant was a collector and had acquired a number of illegal skulls of birds and the carcass of a snow leopard, all of which are endangered and therefore protected by federal wildlife law. Unfortunately there continues to be a market for such illegal activity and collectors should be on notice that they take a chance on being convicted on federal charges. We continue working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers and will continue to bring federal cases where appropriate to stop these violations of laws to protect endangered and rare animals.”

James Gale, Special Agent in Charge, Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement said of today’s sentencing “This case is an excellent example of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's commitment to investigate and interdict the commercialization of endangered and other protected wildlife species, Our agents will continue to concentrate and aggressively pursue individuals who purchase and trade in protected species of wildlife.”

SHIMOJI was sentenced to pay a fine of $15,000 to the Lacey Act Reward Account, was placed on probation for two years, and forfeited all wildlife seized.

According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court: In December 2007, SHIMOJI purchased over the internet and received in interstate commerce the carcass of an endangered snow leopard, a violation of the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act. The “seller” was in fact a United States Fish & Wildlife Service Special Agent working in an undercover capacity. Less than one week later, a search warrant was executed at SHIMOJI's home in Smyrna, where agents discovered over 45 skulls of endangered and other protected animals in his private collection.

The Lacey Act, enacted in 1900, is the first national wildlife law, and was passed to assist states in enforcing wildlife laws. It provides additional protection to fish, wildlife, and plants that were taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of state, tribal, foreign, or U.S. law. The Endangered Species Act, enacted in 1973, provides protection to fish, wildlife, and plants listed as endangered or threatened and identify critical habitat. Unless permitted by regulation, it is unlawful to import, export, take, sell, purchase, or receive, in interstate or foreign commerce any species listed as endangered or threatened.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement. Assistance in this case was provided by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Division of Law Enforcement.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary C. Roemer. For further information please contact David E. Nahmias (pronounced NAH-me-us), United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

What does the Great Lakes Compact mean for water conservation?

By Jennifer Yauck

Seven years in the making, the Great Lakes Compact went into effect last December after successfully passing through the legislatures of the eight Great Lakes states and Congress. This historic, multistate agreement outlines a regional approach for sustainably managing the waters of the Great Lakes.

A central component of the compact is its ban-with limited exceptions-on diversions of Great Lakes water to points outside the Great Lakes basin, an area defined by the lakes and land that drains into them. This piece of the compact has received considerable attention, particularly in Wisconsin, where the city of Waukesha is on track to become the region’s first out-of-basin community to apply for an exception to the diversion ban. [Full Story]

Source: The Bay View Compass

Assembly pushes to ban phosphorus in fertilizers

By Joe Knight
Leader-Telegram staff

Farm and Fleet stores said a bill to ban phosphorous lawn fertilizer would create extra work for retailers, but the bill's sponsor, Rep. Spencer Black, D-Madison, said Dane County and Minnesota bans haven't hurt lawns, parks or golf courses. [Full Story]

Source: Leader-Telegram

Great Lakes fishermen less contaminated than a decade ago

PCBs and DDT have declined substantially in Great Lakes anglers and boat captains over the past decade, largely because they switched the fish they eat. [Full Story]

Source: Environmental Health Sciences

Land Acquisition and Recreation Grants Deadline is May 1, 2009

SPOONER - May 1, 2009 is the deadline for land acquisition and outdoor recreation area grants administered by the Department of Natural Resources. Grant application booklets are available for Department of Natural Resources’ Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Local Assistance Grants, Federal Recreational Trail grants, and the Federal Land and Water Conservation fund.

Through these programs local units of government and nonprofit conservation organizations can receive funds to acquire land and land rights, and develop public outdoor recreation areas. Project selection and grant awards will be made after July 2009. Grants are available for up to 50% of eligible project costs. A copy of the booklets or application assistance can be obtained by contacting either Ed Slaminski, DNR Regional Community Services Specialist, at 715/635-4130 (e-mail) at for Ashland, Bayfield, Barron, Burnett, Douglas, Rusk, Polk, Sawyer, and Washburn counties, or Pat Zatopa, DNR Regional Community Services Specialist, at 715-365-8928 (e-mail) for Oneida, Vilas, Taylor, Lincoln, Forest, Florence, Price, Iron, and Langlade counties.

Application information is available at the DNR’s website under the Community Financial Assistance page.

It's official: Closed parks to reopen

Governor Quinn Calls on IDNR to Reopen State Parks

Action fully reopens seven state sites closed last year; restores 12 full time jobs to agency

SPRINGFIELD - In another important step towards returning Illinois back to the people, Governor Pat Quinn today announced the reopening of seven state parks closed last year by the Blagojevich administration. The move is another sign pointing toward the state's renewed focus on natural resources and recreational opportunities for its citizens especially in tough economic times. [Full Story]

Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gobies up, alewives down in Lake Michigan

By Paul A. Smith of the Journal Sentinel

I attended a meeting of the Lake Michigan Fisheries Forum last night in Cleveland, Wis. I've been at four of these in the last three years or so and last night's, held at the Lakeshore Technical College, was the best attended of the bunch.

In addition to the panel members (a representation of sport and commercial fishers, DNR fisheries managers and university researchers) about 20 citizens showed up. The forum is led by Phil Moy of Wisconsin Sea Grant. [Full Story]

Source: JSOnline

Proposed state ballast water permit open for public comment

The public gets a change to weigh in on a proposed state ballast water permit.

The proposal requires commercial ocean-going ships and those transporting cargo between Great Lakes ports to take steps to reduce aquatic invasive species in the ballast water they release into Wisconsin waters. [Full Story]

Source: The Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram

Editorial: State right to set tough rules on invasives

"The best solution to this problem is a federal one, but we cannot wait for Congress to act."

That's what Wisconsin Department of Natural Recourses Secretary Matt Frank said last week about the new, tough rules the DNR adopted to stem the flow of invasive species into the Great Lakes. [Full Story]

Source: Sheboygan Press

EPA Administrator on YouTube Discussing Great Lakes

See the EPA Administrator on YouTube Discussing Great Lakes

Click Here


The Oconto Wisconsin area and its walleyes will be featured on the Fishing the Midwest television show this weekend, February 28 and March 1, in most markets throughout the Midwest. The show was taped late last August. Bob Jensen, host of Fishing the Midwest, fished with walleye pros Bruce DeShano and Dean Arnoldussen.

Oconto lies on the shores of Green Bay. Bruce, Dean, and Bob have taped several shows through the years on this walleye-infested body of water. On this trip, the bay was rough, but the walleyes were biting. At one point, the trio had four walleyes bending their rods. Bob Jensen commented that "The Oconto area of Green Bay is one of my favorite walleye fisheries. The fish are numerous, and the size average is outstanding. This is a world class fishery".

Bruce DeShano will introduce the walleye world to his latest creation on this episode of Fishing the Midwest. Bruce is the owner of Off Shore Tackle, makers of the most popular planer boards available. The Off Shore Mini-Board is the most recent addition to the Off Shore line-up and will debut on Fishing the Midwest this week.

Fishing the Midwest with Bob Jensen is an award-winning television series that features Midwest fishing hotspots and techniques. The theme of each episode is that Midwest anglers don't need to travel long distances to experience outstanding fishing success. Each show reveals Midwest fishing locations and the techniques that will enable anglers to experience fishing success at those locations.

The episode featuring Oconto Wisconsin walleyes will be seen on Midwest-based network affiliates and cable carriers and over satellite systems nationwide the weekend of February 28th and March 1st. For a complete listing of times/stations for Fishing the Midwest, visit

Media Contact
Bob Jensen


8th Annual Muskie School brought to you by the Capital City Chapter of Muskies Inc.
Date: March 21, 2009
Time: 7:30 am - 3:30 pm
Place: Waunakee High School
100 School Drive
Waunakee, WI
Admission: Adults - $29 ($39 if you register after March 15, 2009)
Kids (18 and under) - $5

Join us for this fun annual event and learn everything you need to know about Muskies. The school is designed to provide in-depth knowledge on key topics such as:

• The latest technology and techniques
• Fishing basics for youth and beginners
• Lures, rods, and reels
• Muskie fishing in Wisconsin and Minnesota

Enjoy lure demonstrations, hands-on workshops, "How to" classes, panel discussions, and much, much, more. You won't be disappointed!

For more info go to, email, or call 608-831-6020 (evenings)

Source: The Fishing Wire

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Finnegan Lake Walleye Club - Ice Fishing Derby "09"

February 28th 8:00 AM till 4:00 PM

Headquarters located in Zippel Park, Gillett WI

Fishing Contest from 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Food and Refreshments at Zippel Park & Finnegan Lake

Raffle tickets available - Main Drawing will be held at Zipple Park at 4:00 PM

1st Prize - Mirrocraft 1400 series Striker Boat w/Trailer - donated by FLWC

Inland game fish season closes March 1

MADISON – Anglers should be aware that the game fish season on most inland Wisconsin waters closes at the end of the day on Sunday, March 1.

The panfish seasons remain open year-round as does the season for certain game fish on select lakes and rivers, including much of the Wisconsin River and its impoundments. Waters that remain open are listed in the “Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations” and on the Department of Natural Resources Web site.

In addition, an early trout season opens 5 a.m. on March 7 and continues until Sunday, April 27 at midnight. The early season is catch-and-release only, and only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used while fishing for any species of fish on trout streams.

Most trout streams are open to early fishing with the exception of most Lake Superior tributaries and most streams in northeast Wisconsin. Check the “2008-09 Trout Fishing Regulations and Guide” to verify which waters are open during the early season and visit the early trout fishing page of the DNR Web site for tips on the flies and techniques to use – as well as other information – to help make your early trout season more enjoyable and successful.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Joe Hennessy - (608) 267-9427; Larry Claggett – (608) 267-9658

Deadlines approach for ice fishing shelter removal

MADISON – Deadlines are approaching for ice anglers to remove ice fishing shelters from inland and boundary waters. The regulations for removing ice shanties changed last year, and state conservation wardens report the change has resulted in some confusion as to when shanties must be removed from water south of Highway 64.

The new law requires that for waters south of Highway 64 ice fishing shelters must be removed daily and when not occupied after the first Sunday following March 1 and after the first Sunday following March 12 north of Highway 64.

“March 1 is a Sunday this year, that's probably why it's not as clear,” says Barb Wolf, Regional Conservation Warden for the Department of Natural Resources South Central Region. “But because the law says the Sunday following March 1, this year that means beginning on Monday, March 9, shelters must be removed daily and when not occupied or in active use.”

Shelters north of Highway 64 will need to be removed daily when not in use by Monday March 16 this year.

However, Wolf emphasized that is just the legal deadline for daily removal, and that anglers should consider removing their semi-permanent shelters before then if it appears that lake ice conditions are deteriorating. If not removed, shelters, also known as shanties, can sink or be carried away, creating a danger to boaters. If a shelter should break through the ice and sink, the owner is responsible for recovering the shelter.

All ice fishing shelters must be removed by the end of the day on the following dates for other waters around the state:

  • March 1 – Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters.
  • March 15 - Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Lake Superior and Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters.
  • Feb. 20 - Wisconsin-Iowa boundary waters. This earlier date, affecting the Mississippi River south of the Minnesota-Iowa border, is set to correspond with Iowa regulations.

After these dates for removing ice fishing shelters from a frozen lake or river, an angler may continue to use a portable shelter but must remove it when it is not occupied or actively being used.

Failure to remove a shanty or ice fishing shelter by these deadlines could result in a forfeiture of $248.60. Additional costs may be incurred if the DNR must arrange to have the shanty removed or if the shanty or ice fishing shelter breaks through the ice and must be recovered and disposed of.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bureau of Law Enforcement - (608) 266-2141

2009 Lake Winnebago sturgeon spear season one for the record books

OSHKOSHThe lunker’s still out there.

The 230-pound behemoth lake sturgeon netted by state fish crews in the fall eluded the record 10,239 licensed spearers who took to the ice for the 77th consecutive 2009 Lake Winnebago system sturgeon spearing season.

But the separate seasons on the big lake and the Upriver Lakes were still fit for the record books. Sturgeon history was made on day 2 of the season when Amy Van Beek of Menasha threw an 80.8 inch, 168.8 pound female sturgeon out of her shack on Lake Poygan. It was the largest fish ever harvested by a woman spearer, the largest fish ever registered from the Upriver Lakes, the fourth largest fish by weight on record and the sixth longest fish on record.

Van Beek’s fish was one of 32 sturgeon harvested that weighed more than 100 pounds; in all, spearers took 1,512 fish during the 2009 sturgeon spearing season on the combined lakes of the Winnebago pool which includes Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes -- Poygan, Winneconne, and Butte des Morts.

Last year, spearers registered 42 sturgeon that weighed between 100 and 172 pounds, the highest percentage of trophy-size fish ever recorded in the history of the fishery. A 100-pound sturgeon can be anywhere from 65 to 80 years old; heavier sturgeon are proportionally older.

“The number of these trophy-size fish has been increasing significantly over the last decade,” said Ron Bruch, DNR senior sturgeon biologist. “This is due to the distribution of age classes currently present in the population and due to the impact of harvest regulation implemented over the last 17 years designed to increase survival of these large fish.”

The 2009 season opened on a partly sunny day with light wind that didn’t chill the excitement in the record 6,853 shanties on the lakes for the first day of the spearing season. “The season ended with a snowstorm and strong winds that created white-out conditions on Lake Winnebago, but that didn’t stop large numbers of dedicated sturgeon spearers from driving out on the ice to their shacks in an attempt to get their sturgeon on the 8th and last day of the 2009 season,” Bruch said.

The Upriver Lakes season, which is limited to 500 licenses and is controlled by a lottery, was open five days, closing Wednesday, Feb. 18. The focus then shifted attention to the big lake, where the season ran another three days. “The average season length on Lake Winnebago since we've gone to the 6-hour spearing days in 2002 is 11 days,” said Bruch.

“We are always glad to see the season go longer than be very short -- at least into or through two weekends -- to give the spearers ample opportunity to get out on the ice, and to give the local establishments an opportunity to take advantage of the extra patrons that sturgeon spearing produces while the season is going on,” he said.

Of the 1,512 fish speared, 301 were juveniles (86% of quota), 615 adult females (97.6% of quota), and 596 males (59.6% of quota). Harvest caps for the 2009 season were set at 350 juvenile females, 630 adult females, or 1,000 males.

“At this point, it does not appear that we exceeded our 5 percent exploitation limit for any of the three harvest categories (juvenile females, adult females, or males) but we won't know for sure until all the data are entered,” Bruch said.

Wisconsin has the world’s largest lake sturgeon population. The DNR has been intensively managing the lake sturgeon population and fishery for more than 60 years, conducting annual surveys and working closely with the public to maintain safe harvest levels, Bruch says.

The current lake sturgeon population in the Winnebago System is estimated at about 60,000 fish ages 1 to 80, including 25,000 males and 13,000 females in the adult spawning stock.

This season, 4,031 people applied for the Upriver lottery; 500 licenses were authorized and 490 Upriver licenses were sold. The DNR also sold 9,749 licenses for Lake Winnebago. In all, 10,239 licenses for spearing on both Winnebago and Upriver lakes.

“We have seen a 20 percent increase in sturgeon spearing license sales in the last two years,” said Bruch. “I believe the success of our management program in producing and sustaining this high quality fishery with a high success rate has caused interest to grow around the region, state and Midwest.”

The average success rate on the Upriver Lakes is 56 percent. The success rate on Lake Winnebago averages about 13 percent, which means that if regular sturgeon spearers apply every year, they may be able to experience spearing success six to eight times in their lifetime.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron Bruch, (920) 424-3059; Tom Turner, DNR Public Affairs Manager, (920) 662-5122

$740 Million Goes to States for Fish and Wildlife Projects

Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today more than $740.9 million will be distributed to the fish and wildlife agencies of the 50 states, commonwealths, the District of Columbia, and territories to fund fish and wildlife conservation, boater access to public waters, and hunter and aquatic education. These Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program funds come from excise taxes and import duties on sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, sportfishing equipment, electric outboard motors, and fuel taxes attributable to motorboats and small engines.

"The funds raised under the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs have helped conserve our fish and wildlife resources and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation for more than half a century. These investments, which help create jobs while protecting our nation's natural treasures, are particularly important in these tough economic times," Salazar said. "All those who pay into this program -- the hunting and fishing industries, boaters, hunters, anglers, and recreational shooters -- should take pride in helping to conserve our land and its fish and wildlife and provide benefits to all Americans who cherish the natural world and outdoor recreation."

The Wildlife Restoration apportionment for 2009 totals nearly $336 million, with more than $64.7 million marked for hunter education and firearm and archery range programs. The Sport Fish Restoration apportionment for 2009 totals more than $404 million.

Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act funding is available to states, commonwealths, and territories through a formula based on land area, including inland waters and the number of paid hunting license holders in each state, commonwealth, and territory. State, commonwealth, and territorial fish and wildlife agencies use the money to manage wildlife populations, conduct habitat research, acquire wildlife lands and public access, carry out surveys and inventories, administer hunter education, and construct and maintain shooting ranges.

"State fish and wildlife agencies are proud to be funded by the hunting, fishing and boating community through this American system of conservation funding, which has been a successful model for many years," said Rex Amack, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. "This year's record Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration apportionment is vital in order for state agencies to continue their work to sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations and provide opportunities for all to connect with nature."

Sport Fish Restoration is funded by the collection of excise taxes and import duties on sport fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, and pleasure boats. Sport Fish Restoration funds are apportioned to the states based on a formula that includes the land and water area, inland waters and the Great Lakes and marine coastal areas where applicable, and the number of paid fishing license holders. States, the District of Columbia, commonwealths, and territories use the funds to pay for stocking fish; acquiring and improving sport fish habitat; providing aquatic resource education opportunities; conducting fisheries research; maintaining public access, and the construction at boat ramps, fishing piers, and other facilities for recreational boating access.

More than 62 percent of Wildlife Restoration funds are used to buy, develop, maintain, and operate wildlife management areas. Since the program began, state, commonwealth, and territorial fish and wildlife agencies have acquired 68 million acres through fee simple, leases, or easements, and operated and maintained more than 390 million acres for hunting since the program began. In addition, agencies certified over 9 million participants in hunter education.

"This source of conservation funding is important not only measured by its dollar amount, but also by legislative safeguards preventing its diversion away from state fish and wildlife agencies," said Rowan Gould, acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "For states working to ensure a future for fish and wildlife -- and opportunities for people to enjoy them -- precious few programs offer this level of support and reliability."

Numerous species including the wild turkey, white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, American elk, and black bears have increased in population due to improved research and habitat management funded by Wildlife Restoration. In the program's history, fish and wildlife agencies have assisted more than 9.2 million landowners on fish and wildlife management. States, commonwealth, and territorial fish and wildlife agencies have improved more than 35 million acres of habitat and developed more than 44,000 acres of waterfowl impoundments.

Since the inception of the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act, states, commonwealth, and territorial fish and wildlife agencies have acquired 360,000 acres through fee simple, leases, or easements. They have operated and maintained more than 1.5 million acres annually and they stocked over 6.8 billion fish and restored more than 1.7 billion fish throughout the country; renovated or improved 6,400-boat access sites; and had over 11.9 million participants in the aquatic resource education program.

DNR seeks comments on Finland area lake management plans

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking comments on individual fisheries lake and stream management plans for several lakes in the Finland area. Fisheries managers use the plans to describe the past, present, and future conditions of the lake. The plans identify goals and objectives for the fish community and identify specific management activities planned for the lake in the next 5 to 20 years.

The management plans available for review at this time are:
Cramer Homestead, Dyers, Fourmile, Fourth McDougal, Hare, Organ, Polly, Rat, South McDougal, Swallow, Tee, Trappers, Unnamed (Two Fifty-Four).

Current plans for these lakes and the most recent fish population assessments are available for review at the DNR Fisheries Office, 6686 Hwy 1, Finland. For information, stop in or call 218-353-7591 between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. M-F.

Public comments will be taken through March 15, 2009.

DNR seeks comments on Grand Rapids area lake and stream plans

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking comments on individual fisheries lake and stream management plans for 36 lakes and two streams in Itasca County and west-central St. Louis County. Fisheries managers use the plans to describe the past, present, and future conditions of the lake. The plans identify goals and objectives for the fish community and identify specific management activities planned for the lake or stream in the next 10 to 20 years.The management plans available for review at this time are:

Lakes: Balsam, Big Dick, Big McCarthy, Bowstring, Busties, Clear (St. Louis County), Clear (near Wirt), Cottonwood, Crooked, Dinner Pail, East, Erskine, Floodwood, Gale, Grant Mine Pit, Haskell, Horseshoe, Johnson (N of Pughole), Kremer, Little Bowstring, Little Jay Gould, Little Bass (near Togo), Long (near Cohasset), Lost Moose, Moose (near Northome), No-ta-she-bun (Willow), North Twin, Nose, Owen, Poplar (near Togo), Scrapper, South Twin, Splithand, Trestle, Whitefish.

Streams: Dark River, Pickerel Creek

To comment, please contact the DNR Area Fisheries Office, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744, 218-327-4430. Comments will be accepted until March 6, 2009.

Hobie Introduces Pro Angler Fishing Boat

First-In-Class. No-Gas Required. 100% Fishing Machine.

Oceanside, California – February 19, 2009 - Long known for their expertise in building watercraft, Hobie Cat® introduces the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler fishing boat. Hobie has taken the defining feature used in their kayak line, the patented MirageDrive™ pedal system, and combined it with their proven boat-designing capabilities to build a first-in-class, no-gas required, 100-percent fishing machine… all at the affordable price of $2199, suggested retail. “The Pro Angler is small enough to let you access your favorite skinny water with unbelievable stability,” commented Hobie spokesperson and legendary bass fisherman, Hank Parker, “plus… it is large enough to provide plenty of room for multiple rods and tackle.”

The 13’ 8” Pro Angler is designed to facilitate the fishing experience for those who want the amenities of a large boat including stability and spacious storage combined with the user-friendly benefits of a smaller fishing boat such as light weight, maneuverability, and economic advantage. Anglers will be comfortable in all bodies of water, from narrow inland waterways to ocean coastlines. It also offers an affordable, human-powered, environmentally-friendly alternative to fishing from the shore. The Pro Angler boasts a weight capacity of over 600 pounds despite weighing in at only 138 pounds, fully rigged. The high quality, ergonomically-designed Cool Ride seat is wide, ventilated, and easily adjustable. The boat is both wide enough to allow ample freedom of movement and stable enough for anglers to stand up and cast, giving them the advantage of a better view of the water.

The defining feature of the Pro Angler is its patented MirageDrive™ that has pedals connected to two underwater flippers, much like penguin wings, that are instantly locked and unlocked from the boat with an easy Click and Go system. Finger tip steering is controlled via a small lever conveniently located adjacent to the seat. The combination of the rudder system and the hull design leaves the gunnels clean so that there is no issue with lines getting caught. Jackie Smith, NFL Hall of Fame member and avid fisherman, has been instrumental in the development of this new Hobie fishing boat. “Because of the MirageDrive, the quietness, comfort, and stealth qualities of the Pro Angler are unsurpassed,” stated Jackie. “Anglers will have the ability to quietly power the boat all day long with very minimum effort.” The MirageDrive™ is adjustable for any leg length, so it is easy to share the boat with family or friends.

There are other key benefits of the MirageDrive™ for anglers. Its rudder is positioned to provide a very tight turning radius resulting in easy maneuvering in and around obstacles and along shorelines, but will automatically retract under the hull when obstacles are unavoidable. The boat can be held in position while casting to a specific spot…the same advantage offered by an electric motor.

The Pro Angler has room for up to six horizontal and two vertical rods and the potential for 13 Plano® tackle boxes. A retractable Bungee® system is designed to hold rods and tackle boxes in place. There is ample capacity and accessory mounting boards on each rail to outfit the boat with a whole gamut of optional equipment including fish finders, GPS units, lights, downriggers, or additional rod holders. It is designed with a large forward hatch with liner, as well as a stern storage compartment for an optional livewell or cooler. The center hatch is equipped with a state-of-the-art work area/cutting board, drop-in tackle bucket, and a Hobie lure hanger.

Midship handles are shaped and positioned to work as braces getting in and out of the cockpit. Ergonomically designed bow and stern handles are well thought-out making it easy to move the boat. The Pro Angler can be transported on top of a car with the help of two built-in skids, in the back of a truck, in an SUV, or on a trailer. An optional Hobie Plug-in Cart can also be used to get the boat from a vehicle to the water.

Click on the following link to check out Video highlights of the Pro Angler:

Since 1950, Hobie has been in the business of shaping a unique lifestyle based around fun, water, and quality products. From their headquarters in Oceanside, California, Hobie Cat® Company manufactures, distributes, and markets an impressive collection of watercraft worldwide. These include an ever-expanding line of recreation and racing sailboats, pedal-driven and paddle sit-on-top recreation and fishing kayaks, inflatable kayaks, fishing boats, and float cats, plus a complementary array of parts and accessories.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Great Lakes, Great Peril: The Invasion Spreads

Quagga mussels are clogging Hoover Dam, colonizing lakes, rivers
By Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel

Lake Mead, Nev. - It took some of America's best engineers, thousands of laborers and two years of around-the-clock concrete pouring to build the 726-foot-high Hoover Dam back in the 1930s. It took less time than that for the tiny, brainless quagga mussel to bring operators of this modern wonder of the world to their knees.

While federal lawmakers continue to squabble over how to stop overseas ships from dumping unwanted organisms into the world's largest freshwater system, the Great Lakes' most vexing invasive-species problem has gone national. [Full Story]

Source: JSOnline

Update to 2008 fishing regulations handbook: Ice anglers get some extra fishing opportunities

Minnesota ice anglers will have extra fishing opportunities in March because of some changes that were made late in the 2008 Legislative session but not included in the regulations handbook.

“These changes will allow anglers to enjoy some late season ice fishing,” said Capt. Ken Soring, acting Department of Natural Resources Enforcement chief.
The updated regulations are available online.

The fish house/shelter removal deadline for the southern part of the state is March 2, rather than March 1 as originally printed in the 2008 Fishing Regulations handbook. The deadline for shelter removal in the northern part of the state, March 16, remains the same. Shelters must be removed from the ice by these dates.

The other important change is that fish houses/shelters statewide can be on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise when occupied or attended after the March 2 and the March 16 deadlines.

This exception had previously applied only to fish houses/shelters north of the east-west line formed by U.S. Hwy 10, east along Hwy 34 to Minnesota Hwy 200, east along Hwy 200 to U.S. Hwy 2, and east along Hwy 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

The walleye and northern pike seasons on inland waters closed Feb. 22.

2009 Sturgeon season ends with snow and wind; 1,512 final harvest total

Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearers harvest 89 Saturday

OSHKOSH – The 2009 sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago ended at 12:30 p.m. Saturday with a total of 1,512 fish taken from the combined lakes of Winnebago, Poygan, Winneconne, and Butte des Morts.

Sturgeon Biologist Ron Bruch said, “The registration tally on Friday popped the 90% trigger for adult female sturgeon which gave spearers one more day to harvest their fish on Lake Winnebago before that season closed. That day was Saturday.” The Upriver Lakes season closed on Wednesday.

Spearers took a day’s total of 89 sturgeon on Saturday including 44 female sturgeon (14 juvenile females and 40 adult females) and 35 males.

The final count for this season for both Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes is 1,512. A breakdown tally is 301 juveniles (86% of quota), 615 adult females (97.6% of quota), and 596 males (59.6% of quota). Harvest caps for the 2009 season were set at 350 juvenile females, 630 adult females, or 1,000 males.

“A snowstorm and strong winds created white-out conditions on Lake Winnebago today,” said Bruch. “But that didn’t stop large numbers of dedicated sturgeon spearers from driving out on the ice to their shacks this morning in an attempt to get their sturgeon on the last day of the 2009 season.”

Bruch reported several statistics on past and current sturgeon seasons on Lake Winnebago. More regular Lake Winnebago licenses were sold in 2009 than any other year (9,596), more shanties on the ice than any other year (6,213), and the second highest sturgeon harvest (1,237) since 2004, when spearers took 1,854 sturgeon from the big lake.

The Upriver Lakes had an opening day shanty count of 640. Sturgeon taken from Upriver lakes numbered 275. There were 4,031 lottery applications and 490 Upriver licenses sold.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Brandy Lake Ice Fishing Contest

Fourth Annual Brandy Lake Ice Fishing Contest

Date: 2/28/09
Event Type: Fishing Tournament/Fisheree
Location: Brandy Lake (Cecilia)
State: Wisconsin
Details: Contest will start at 7:00 a.m. at the Brandy Lake Boat Landing and end at 3:00 p.m. at the Boat Landing. Five classes - 1st, 2nd & 3rd prizes for each class. Prizes include: Ice Augers, Portable Ice Shacks, Vexlars, Underwater Cameras, Cash and much more. Lunch will be provided at noon for all participants. Entry fee $25.00

Contact: Brad Schillinger (715) 614-6961

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wisconsin Coastal Management Program Soliciting Land Conservation Acquisition Projects

The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program is soliciting land conservation acquisition projects that seek to protect important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values, or that are threatened by conversion from their natural or recreational state to other uses. The full funding opportunity announcement and application materials can be viewed here. Applications must be submitted to the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program by March 9, 2009.

For further information about the Wisconsin application process, applicants should contact Travis Olson at the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program: 608-266-3687 or

Fly-Fishing Movie: DRIFT

On Wednesday, March 4, the Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited (SWTU) will sponsor a showing of the fly-fishing movie Drift at 7:00 pm at the Orpheum Theatre in Madison. Tickets are $25 and are available at Fontana Sports, Orvis, and the theater the day of the show. Funds from this event will be used to establish permanent conservation easements on trout streams in Dane County.

Friday, February 20, 2009

CALL TODAY and Ask Your Legislators to Support the Independent DNR Secretary bill!

In Wisconsin, we're passionate about the outdoors, from family farms to secret fishing spots to the woods where we hunt or hike. There are literally millions of Wisconsinites who spend their free time fishing, swimming, boating, camping, and more! And it's these citizens--like YOU--who understand the importance of managing, enjoying, and preserving the outdoors for future generations.

But, since 1995 when the Department of Natural Resources Secretary became a political appointee of the Governor, Wisconsinites have been questioning the integrity of natural resource decisions. Whether you're a hunter, an angler, or just like to enjoy time outdoors, a DNR Secretary that best represents your interests is one that bases natural resource decisions on science, not on the winds of political change.

Fortunately, YOU have a chance to make sure we restore conservation integrity and independence to natural resource management.

Today, Representatives Black, Kaufert, and Hubler and Senators Cowles and Wirch introduced LRB 0132/2 which will return the appointment of the DNR Secretary to the Natural Resources Board. The bill is now circulating for co-sponsorship and will only circulate for a FEW DAYS, so PLEASE CALL TODAY and ask your legislators to sign-on in support of LRB 0132/2.

After 15 years, it's time to take politics out of natural resource management! CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY and ask them to Co-Sponsor LRB 0132/2, the Independent DNR Secretary Bill.

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd. Meeting

Feb. 23 – Jake Lupine, owner of Dutch’s Trading Post, in Fond du Lac, and a tournament fisherman, discusses “Ice Fishing on Lake Winnebago” plus Lupine will cover “Panfish Hotspots" in the Fond du Lac Area.” $3.00, 7 p.m. meeting; 8 p.m. speaker. Calhoun Station, 1849 So. Calhoun Rd., New Berlin. Contact Dan Freiherr, treasurer, (414) 464-9316. Fishing reports, fishing equipment raffle plus hot pizza is available.

Jake Lupine tournament fishes for various species, and he is knowledgeable regarding the fishing techniques and locations in the Fond du Lac area. Lupine is willing to share his knowledge with all who attend. This is a must attend meeting to learn about great fishing holes within 100 miles of Milwaukee. Gas prices will skyrocket this summer. It’s time to enjoy our near home waters. Bring your angling friends and relatives. Make it a fun night with your fishing buddies. Hot pizza is available.

New regulation changes game fishing on Wisconsin River between Rhinelander and Kings Dam

RHINELANDER - A 22-mile stretch of the Wisconsin River from Rhinelander to Kings Dam will now be closed to game fish angling starting April 1, 2009 and reopen with the statewide opener on May 2. That section of the river -- which had been open in the past to fishing year ‘round -- is being closed to protect spawning game fish.

“This part of the river was once one of the most polluted in the state,” said Fisheries Manager Dave Seibel, “and closed seasons were not needed to protect fish that people did not want and weren’t plentiful. Since the passage of laws like the Clean Water Act in 1972 and other regulations, however, the river has made a dramatic comeback and the abundance of bass and walleye have increased along with fishing pressure.”

The regulation change now makes the section of the river consistent with most inland waters in northern Wisconsin. After April 1 and in the future, game fishing on the river will open the first Saturday in May and run through the first Sunday in March. Also applicable this year and in the future is a catch and release only season on bass from the first Saturday in May through the Friday before the third Saturday in June. After that the daily bag limit is five with a minimum of 14 inches.

The river portion included in the change begins at the Rhinelander Paper Mill (St. Regis) Dam down river to Kings Dam including Hat Rapids Flowage and Lake Alice.

Proposed State Ballast Water Permit Open for Public Comment

MADISON - Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matt Frank today announced that a proposed state ballast water permit is now open for public comment. The proposed permit requires commercial ocean-going ships and those transporting cargo between Great Lakes ports to take steps to reduce aquatic invasive species in the ballast water they release into Wisconsin waters.

“This state permit will help protect our waterways from aquatic invasive species while maintaining a robust shipping industry in Wisconsin,” Frank said. “We believe this permit provides strong protections without damaging the shipping industry. We will continue to see strong national legislation as the best solution to address this problem.”

The permit would be valid for five years. Ocean-going ships would have to meet strict standards for the number of living organisms allowed in the ballast water they discharge in Wisconsin ports.
  • Beginning in 2012, assuming commercially viable technology is available, existing ocean-going ships would have to meet a standard for living organisms in the ballast water they discharge that is 100 times more protective than the standard proposed by the International Maritime Organization. New York State uses the same standard.
  • Beginning in 2013, assuming commercially viable technology is available, new ocean-going ships would be required to meet a standard that is 1,000 times more protective than the proposed international standards, and the same as California’s.
  • Commercial vessels that move only among Great Lakes ports, known as “lakers,” would not have to meet a ballast discharge standard in this general permit, which would be effective through 2014. However, they would be required to immediately take steps to prevent spreading aquatic invasive species around the Great Lakes. These steps, or best management practices, are required upon coverage of the permit. A sediment management plan shall be maintained and conform to the U.S. Coast Guard standards.
A treatment standard for lakers may be included in the next general permit that DNR would issue. In the meantime, Wisconsin will be working with Minnesota to evaluate the various treatment systems available to commercial shippers.

“The best solution to this problem is a federal one but we cannot wait for Congress to act,” said Secretary Frank. “This permit will help stop the spread of these invasive species that take a steep toll on our Great Lakes, inland waterways and $13 billion dollar tourism industry.”

More than 180 nonnative fish, plants, insects and organisms have entered the Great Lakes since the early 1800s, disrupting the food chain, fouling beaches, clogging infrastructure and costing citizens, industry and businesses more than $200 million a year. Research has shown the primary way aquatic invasive species enter the Great Lakes is when ocean-going vessels discharge the ballast water they’ve carried on the ship to provide balance.

“Governor Doyle has been a leader in fighting aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin and under his administration funding has increased to help stop their spread on inland waters,” said Secretary Frank. “Under Governor Doyle’s leadership, we will continue to work with Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to achieve strong federal regulations and more federal funding to fight aquatic invasive species on the Great Lakes.”

The DNR has prepared an environmental assessment of the proposed general permit and does not anticipate the permit will result in significant environmental impacts. The department has made a preliminary determination that an environmental impact statement is not needed.

The EA is available for public review and can be found online at Ballast Water Discharge General Permit or obtained from the permit drafter, Paul Luebke. Public comments on the proposed permit will be accepted from Feb. 20, 2009, through March 23, 2009 and should be sent to Mr. Luebke. He can be reach by phone at (608) 266-0234, by e-mail at, or by mail at P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI.

The hearing on the general permit is set for 10 a.m., March 23 at the DNR Southeast Regional Headquarters Room 140, 2300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr., Milwaukee.

Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearers harvest 53 Thursday

Contact(s): Ron Bruch, DNR Senior Fisheries Biologist, 920-424-3059
Tom Turner, DNR Public Affairs Manager, 920-662-5122

OSHKOSH – “Lake Winnebago spearers were happy to learn that the season on the big lake will likely go on for a couple of more days,” said Ron Bruch, Winnebago Sturgeon Biologist. Harvest caps on Lake Winnebago haven’t been reached with only 53 sturgeon taken on Thursday. According to Bruch, the slow harvest pace guarantees an open season on Friday, February 20 and he projects that the fishery may be open for the weekend crowd on Saturday.

“The best water clarity and success still remains in the northern half of the lake, especially off the Stockbridge and Quinney areas,” said Bruch.

Thursday’s numbers include 41 female sturgeon (10 juvenile females and 31 adult females) and 12 males. Harvest caps for the 2009 season are set at 350 juvenile females, 630 adult females, or 1,000 males. Currently, juvenile females are at 77.7% of quota, adult sturgeon are at 88.9% and males are at 76.5% of quota. Spearers need to harvest 27 more adult females to pop the 90% trigger closure, or 90 adult females to hit the 100% closure trigger on Lake Winnebago.

The largest fish registered Thursday was a 132.1 pound, 74.9 inch female registered at Jerry’s Bar Registration Station by Brett Ellis of Omro. The system-wide grand total now stands at 1,346.

The DNR’s sturgeon registration crew said spearers were grateful for the low temperatures during the past two days which improved the ice thickness and reduced the runoff into the lake. Earlier runoff, following nearly a week of moderate weather, reduced the water clarity, particularly at the southern end of Lake Winnebago.

Spearing continues on Lake Winnebago. The Upriver Lakes closed on Wednesday.

Total Harvest for the Day: 53
Total Harvest thus far for the Season: 1,346

Division change means managing for cleaner water, land (February 20, 2009)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that it will align the responsibilities of two existing divisions into a new division focused on watershed management.

“This new division will approach conservation work differently,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten. “Minnesotans value clean water and abundant habitat. We need to do all we can to manage our natural resources in the most comprehensive and efficient way.”

“In the end, it’s all about outcomes - including healthy, habitat-rich lands and fishable, swimable water for our children and grandchildren,” Holsten said.

Assistant Commissioner Larry Kramka will lead the effort to create the new division with staff from the existing divisions of Waters and Ecological Resources. Kramka will work closely with Division of Waters Director Kent Lokkesmoe and Division of Ecological Resources Director Steve Hirsch throughout the process.

“We’ll be doing much more than integrating two divisions,” Kramka said. “We’ll take a careful look at how we can further progress toward our conservation goals in the areas of clean water, productive lands and high-quality habitat.”

Among those goals will be building the agency’s working relationship with private landowners, communities, watershed organizations and others.

The new division eventually will incorporate Division of Waters responsibilities, such as public waters protection, water supply management, and water levels measurement, with the Division of Ecological Resources functions of protecting and restoring ecosystems and providing support for land use decisions.

Waters has a staff of about 145 and a 2008-2009 budget of approximately $30.9 million. Ecological Resources has about 166 staff and a budget of $50.7 million

Lab-on-a-Chip the Latest Weapon Against Pollution

WASHINGTON, DC, February 18, 2009 (ENS) - Israeli scientists have developed a tiny laboratory, complete with a microscopic workbench, to measure water quality in real time. This lab-on-a-chip can detect pollutants and pathogens, and the Pentagon hopes it may detect the intrusion of a biological weapon into a U.S. water supply.

Funded by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Projects Agency, this new lab-on-a-chip could become a defensive weapon that protects America from biological warfare. [Full Story]

Source: Environment News Service

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Season 2009

Thursday, February 19. -Although the Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing season closed yesterday, the season on Lake Winnebago continues on. Lake Winnebago spearers were happy to hear the season on the big lake will likely go on for a couple more days before harvest caps are reached. The slow harvest pace guarantees an open season tomorrow (Friday February 20) and the current harvest rate projects the fishery being open for the weekend crowd on Saturday. The best water clarity and success still remains in the northern half of the lake, especially off the Stockbridge and Quinney areas. Four more fish 100 pounds or larger were registered today bringing the season total of these trophy sized fish to 29. The largest today was a 132.1 pound, 74.9 inch female registered at Jerry's Bar Registration Station by Brett Ellis of Omro.

Click Here - to go to WDNR website for more information on the 2009 Spearing Season

Wisconsin Outdoor Report as of February 19, 2009

GENERAL Northern Region Northeast Region Southeast Region South Central Region West Central Region

Mussels destroying link in Lake Michigan food web

By JOHN FLESHER , Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - A tiny, shrimplike creature that forms a crucial link in the Great Lakes food web has all but disappeared from Lake Michigan because of competition from invasive foreign mussels, scientists reported Wednesday.

Observations over a decade have documented a 96-percent drop-off of the amphipod species known as diporeia, according to scientists with NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. [Full Story]


Invasive species threaten Erie life

Stricter rules on ballast water sought to block stowaways, protect Great Lakes tourism

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 3:22 AM
By Spencer Hunt

John Hageman knows too well the threats that foreign invasive fish, mussels and plants pose to Lake Erie's ecology and its $1 billion-a-year tourism industry.

The round goby, for example, gobbles smallmouth bass eggs and out-hustles other native fish for food, said Hageman, fisheries biologist and manager of Ohio State University's Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island. [Full Story]


Upriver Lakes sturgeon season closed Wednesday; Winnebago open

Contact(s): Ron Bruch, DNR Senior Sturgeon Biologist, 920-424-3059
Tom Turner, DNR Public Affairs Manager, 920-662-5122

1,293 sturgeon taken so far in the 2009 season; only 55 registered today

OSHKOSH – Only 55 sturgeon were taken from the Winnebago lakes as snow, poor visibility and a mid-week slump of spearers coming out to their shanties combined to make Wednesday a very slow day. In addition to a lackluster day on the ice, the 2009 spearing season on the Upriver Lakes came to a close. The season on Lake Winnebago has not reached a closure trigger yet and remains open to those with a Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing license.

According to Ron Bruch, DNR’s chief sturgeon biologist, “Spearers need to harvest only 58 more adult females to pop the 90% trigger that would mean that the season would close at 12:30 the following day. Of course, if spearers take 121 more adult females, the season ends that same day.”

On Wednesday, the DNR’s sturgeon registration team reported that 47 fish were speared on Lake Winnebago including 35 female sturgeon (11 juvenile females and 24 adult females) and 12 males.

On the Upriver Lakes, Wednesday’s take was 8 including 4 females (2 juvenile and 2 adult females) and 4 males. To date, there have been 1,293 sturgeon speared this season on both Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes.

“With the Upriver lakes closed, the attention through the end of the season falls on the big lake,” said Bruch. “At the current harvest rate, the season on Lake Winnebago could remain open for several more days and may go into the upcoming weekend.”

This season, 4,031 people applied for the Upriver lottery. Five hundred Upriver licenses were sold. The DNR sold 10,239 licenses for spearing on both Winnebago and Upriver lakes. The department reported 6,853 shanties set up on the Winnebago pool of lakes on opening day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Proposed Incidental Take authorization for the I94 North South Freeway reconstruction

Editor’s Note: Wisconsin’s endangered species law (s. 29.604, Wis. Stats.) requires the Department of Natural Resources to notify the public when it proposes to authorize the incidental taking of a state Endangered or Threatened species.

MADISON - The Department of Natural Resources proposes to authorize the "incidental taking" of the Seaside crowfoot (Ranunculus cymbalaria) and Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), both state-Threatened species, resulting from the reconstruction of the I-94 North South Freeway in Kenosha and Racine counties.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation proposes to reconstruct the existing I94 corridor from the Mitchell Interchange to the Illinois State Line. The reconstruction includes new interchanges and reconstruction of frontage roads within the project corridor. The work will be accomplished in stages by location and over time. The frontage roads and interchanges in Kenosha and Racine counties are scheduled for construction in 2009.

Surveys for rare plants along the project corridor resulted in finding populations of the state threatened Seaside crowfoot in proximity to the CTH C interchange in Kenosha County. A mitigation plan was developed that included conservation strategies for the long-term survival of the species through relocation and monitoring. Six colonies were identified in 2006 and an additional colony was found in 2008. A habitat assessment was conducted to identify a potential Transplant Site based on hydrologic and soil characteristics, plant community, and ownership of the site for future protection. Colonies with few individuals to efficiently transplant or high number of invasive species were not relocated to prevent the spread of invasive species.

A habitat assessment was conducted for reptiles along the project corridor in Kenosha and Racine counties and habitat for Blanding’s turtles occurred along the Root River in Racine County and in six locations in Kenosha County from the DesPlaines River south to the state line. Exclusionary fencing for turtles is required at each of these areas to avoid impacts to Blanding’s turtles.

Through the incidental take consultation process, avoidance measures were incorporated for the two species through initial project design and modification. Development of conservation measure to minimize impacts to the Seaside crowfoot involved development of a relocation plan to translocate plants out of the project disturbance area and both shot-term and long-term monitoring fro conservation of the species. Conservation measure for Blanding’s turtles include the use of exclusionary turtle fencing in areas of suitable habitat.

The department has determined that the proposed project will minimize impacts to the Seaside crowfoot and Blanding’s turtle by adhering to the conservation measures described within the Jeopardy Assessment, and is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of Seaside crowfoot or Blandings turtles or the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the actions.

Copies of the jeopardy assessment and conservation measures are available on the Incidental Take page of the DNR Web site or upon request from Rori Paloski at the above address. Public comments will be taken through March 6, 2009.

Voluntary outdoor recreation guidelines aim at preventing spread of invasive species

Online survey seeks public views on draft best management practices

MADISON – People who enjoy hiking, camping, biking, trail riding or hunting or who own or manage land for recreational use can learn more about and comment on draft recommendations for how people can help prevent the spread of invasive species while engaging in outdoor recreation in Wisconsin.

“Invasive species may present the greatest threat to the long-term health and sustainability of Wisconsin’s forests.” That is a consensus that was reached at the 2004 Governor’s Conference on Forestry, says Bernie Williams, an invasive species coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry.

Williams says participants at the conference agreed on the need for voluntary best management practices (BMP) to guard against the spread of invasives species and the Wisconsin Council on Forestry has been working on them.

The council previously developed BMPs for other forestry activities, and now a recreation advisory committee spent two years gathering input from more than 70 recreation organizations, environmental groups, and agencies to develop comprehensive BMPs to help prevent the introduction and/or further spread of invasive plants, insects, and diseases on private and public lands while recreating outdoors.

“If you enjoy and value Wisconsin’s outdoors, you should be interested in these practices,” says Kimberly Currie, a manager with the DNR Bureau of Park and Recreation who helped guide the process. “They can help us all hold the line against the introduction and further spread of invasives in Wisconsin.”

The BMPs provide general as well as activity-specific guidelines and focus on recommendations affecting animal-based activities, such as hunting and trapping, as well as bicycling and camping, and motorized and pedestrian-based activities. The BMPs include suggestions such as: making sure clothing, shoes, and equipment are free of invasive residue; avoiding areas that appear to be infested with invasive species; encouraging individuals to report invasive species to the appropriate land manager/property owner; including invasive species prevention into event planning; and taking care to stay on trails. The BMPs also encourage individuals to help educate others about invasive species and their environmental, economic, and recreational impacts.

The groups involved with developing the guidance are now seeking public input on the document through an online survey . The survey includes specific and open-ended questions about the BMPs.

“The stakeholders involved in drafting these BMPs have come up with common-sense recommendations that will benefit everyone in the state, including people who enjoy the wealth of public recreation land in Wisconsin, as well as private property owners who open up their land to various organizations,” says Luana Schneider, state trails coordinator for the Wisconsin Four-Wheel Drive Association and a participant in the discussions. “The BMPs raise awareness about invasives and educate folks on actions we can all take without placing blame. I think these are worth supporting. And I encourage everyone to participate in the survey and provide their input on the BMPs.”

Additional information about the voluntary BMPs for invasive species can be found on the Wisconsin Council on Forestry Web site at (exit DNR). Anyone not having access to a computer can send their comments on the BMPs to Ms. Bernie Williams, Invasive Species BMP Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-FR/4, P.O. Box 7921, Madison WI 53707-7921. The deadline for both online and written comments is Friday March 20.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Bernie Williams, 608.266-0624.

Try these 15 trout waters this early season

MADISON – Figuring out where to go fishing in a state boasting more than 10,000 miles of trout streams is half the battle – and half the fun.

If you’re in the market for a new adventure, try some of these waters that Department of Natural Resources fish biologists, supervisors, technicians and hatchery personnel identify as their favorites for the early catch and release trout season that opens March 7.

These 15 trout waters range from the “tried and true,” popular waters that deliver a satisfying experience year-in and year-out to a wide variety of anglers, to the hidden gems that shine in a season filled with solitude and stunning wintry scenery.

Bearskin Creek, Oneida County
Bearskin Creek is probably the most popular trout stream in Oneida County because Bearskin State Trail offers easy access. It has a good population of brook trout along with a few browns, and the early season is the best time to have it all to yourself. - John Kubisiak, fisheries biologist, Rhinelander

Blue River, Grant and Iowa counties
The Blue River in Grant and Iowa counties has had recent habitat work done, and it sits in a beautiful “coulee” in the driftless area. Access is available from road crossings and DNR easements upstream and downstream of Snow Bottom Road. - Larry Claggett, coldwater ecologist, Madison

Little Willow Creek, Price and Oneida counties
Little Willow Creek in Price and Oneida counties is a small stream with a moderate-density, naturally reproducing brook trout population. It is off the beaten path and doesn't get fished overly hard, so it harbors an occasional nice-sized trout. - John Kubisiak, fisheries biologist, Rhinelander

Namekagon River, Sawyer County
The Namekagon River above Hayward is a tried and true water. The diamond in the rough is the Namekagon below Hayward, which you don't have to wait for--it is open right now. - Frank Pratt, fisheries biologist, Hayward

North Branch Pemebonwon River, Marinette County
If the early season trout angler wants to catch and release some nice brook trout, they may want to fish the North Branch Pemebonwon River downstream from State Highway 141. The river can be accessed overland by way of Marinette County land or one of the road crossings. Most of the river may be better suited for spinning gear as it is typically too narrow for the fly fishers. - Ronald Rohde, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Peshtigo River, Marinette County
Anglers that desire an opportunity to fish a reach of river that has miles of scenic, undeveloped shoreline may want to direct their attention to the Peshtigo River upstream from County Highway C. Access can be achieved along areas of Benson Lake Road or Goodman and McClintock county parks. Although anglers may have to work for their catch, they'll certainly be able to fish one of Wisconsin's more beautiful rivers. - Ronald Rohde, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Pike River, Marinette County
The Pike River between County Highway V and County Highway K is a wild river that has the width and character to provide opportunities for fly fishermen and women. An angler could fish below Dave's Falls in hopes of hooking a brown trout stacked below it. Recent electrofishing visits have produced some nice catches of brown trout. – Ronald Rohde, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Pine River, Waushara County
This river gets a nice hatch of blue quill mayflies around the same time as the stoneflies. This hatch is matched with a slate colored, size 14, dry fly. The river contains a healthy population of forage minnows and sculpins. Spin fishers should do well using spinners to mimic these. For fly anglers, if nothing is hatching try sculpin or dace patterns sub-surface as well. A large stonefly nymph, size 6-8, with a small nymph trailing behind it works well also. Anglers should fish during the warmest part of the day. No need to get out at the crack of dawn! The water is warmest after 10 or 11 a.m. If there is a lot of snow melt this will keep the water temps low so fish will be less active. - Shawn P. Sullivan, operations supervisor, Wild Rose Fisheries Habitat Station

Pine Creek, Pierce County
Pine Creek near Maiden Rock is becoming one of the premier brook trout streams in Western Wisconsin. Trout habitat improvement activities over the past two years by the DNR, various Trout Unlimited Chapters and many other conservation organizations have restored more than 2.5 miles of the fast-flowing stream. Brook trout have responded with numbers ranging from 2,000-3,400 trout per mile. The stream is incredibly clear so anglers need to take a stealthy approach to their fishing. The beauty of the valley and stream make this fishing destination a must for any angler. - Bob Hujik, fisheries supervisor, Eau Claire

Prairie River, Lincoln County
The early season in headwaters can be grueling...lots of cold, snow, and ice to deal with during March. That can be a good thing for anglers wanting to fish entire stretches of streams with little, to no, company. Generally fishing pressure is very light. That being said anglers could give the Prairie River (Lincoln County) downstream of County Highway J a shot. There are Category 4 regulations normally in place there, which afford some protection during the regular season. These regulations, along with a healthy trout population could make for some great early season fishing. Again, snow and ice will potentially be a problem early on. – Mike Vogelsang, fisheries supervisor, Woodruff

South Branch Oconto River, Oconto County
The South Branch, Oconto River downstream from County Highway AA offers the angler an opportunity to catch brook and brown trout. Summer and fall surveys (weir and electrofishing) have observed quality fish of both species. This reach includes access for the angler via road crossings and public lands. The South Branch Oconto Fishery Area and Oconto County forest land are both within the boundary of the early catch and release season. There is anecdotal evidence that brown trout winter in the North Branch Oconto River downstream from State Highway 64 (Oconto County). Anglers may want to try fishing the early season in hopes of catching a large brown trout before warming water temperatures cause these fish to vacate the area. The river can be accessed from areas of Oconto County forest land or a number of road crossings. - Ronald Rhode, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Trempealeau River, Trempealeau County
The North, South and Main branches of the Trempealeau River offer both brook and brown trout, plenty of public accessible frontage, and trout habitat restoration work. – Dan Hatleli, fisheries biologist, Black River Falls

Upper Coon Creek system, La Crosse, Monroe, Vernon counties
Our premier waters have been the upper Coon Creek system (above Coon Valley) for many years. The major streams are Timber Coulee, Rullands Coulee, Spring Coulee, Bohemian Valley and the Coon Creek. Trout numbers in these streams exceed 2,000 trout per mile with good numbers of adult trout (greater than 13 inches). Because this system has been a priority for angler access acquisition, there are more than 23 miles of streams that are open to the public. Anglers can go to the DNR Web site (Bureau of Facilities and Lands) and click on DNR Managed Lands for maps and aerial photos of public fishing areas. Individual properties are also marked with green and white "Public Fishing" signs. – Dave Vetrano, fisheries supervisor, La Crosse

Waupaca River, Waupaca County
Anglers should try the Waupaca River around County Highways Q or T. If the stream temperatures get above 45 degrees, little black stoneflies will hatch. A dark-colored, trude-style dry fly, size 14-16, works well. Both of these areas have had habitat improvement work done and contain good populations of fish. - Shawn P. Sullivan, Operations Supervisor, Wild Rose Fisheries Habitat Station

Wolf River, Langlade County
The early season and the month of May just may be the best time to trout fish on the Wolf River in Langlade County. That is because the river gets quite warm for trout during the months of June through August. Fingerling brown trout are stocked in the Wolf River in the fall. Our studies have shown that fall, winter, and spring Wolf River water temperatures are more within the range of what trout prefer. This means that the fall stocked fish are more spread throughout the river at these times offering anglers more opportunities at good fishing. - Dave Seibel, fisheries biologist, Antigo

Early catch-and-release trout season opens March 7

MADISON – The March 7 opening day of the early catch and release trout season is the latest date it can be by law -- and that may well benefit Wisconsin anglers.

The early February warm-up erased what had been record snow accumulations in some parts of the state. “That means less snow so it will be easier to access the streams – at least until it snows again,” says Larry Claggett, the Department of Natural Resources coldwater ecologist.

“The cold, snowy winter we’ve had so far should leave trout streams in good shape. The groundwater recharge means they have a good amount of water and it’s cold and clean and the trout are happy,” he says.

The season opens at 5 a.m. on March 7 and runs until midnight April 26, when there is a week “rest” before the regular season. The season is catch-and-release, and only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used while fishing for any species of fish on trout streams. Most trout streams are open to early fishing with the exception of most Lake Superior tributaries and most streams in northeast Wisconsin; check the 2008-2009 Trout Fishing Regulations pamphlet for specific waters.

Some of the best fishing conditions -- no bugs, weeds, or summer distractions -- are found in the early season, according to Claggett. “What a great way to get your mind off the economy, or other problems.”

Any damage from last year’s flooding should be healed, Claggett says, but major changes may still be evident in some streams. Scouring should have cleaned out some holes and improved things for fishing deep holes in the early season.

Tips for fishing techniques during the early season and information on the fish populations in some popular early season waters are available on the early trout season page of the Wisconsin Fishing pages of the DNR Web site.

An estimated 230,000 anglers fish for trout, based on sales of inland license stamps, with a smaller proportion fishing the early season, Claggett says. Across both the early season and the regular inland season, trout anglers caught an estimated 1.6 million trout in 2006-07, according to results from a mail survey of anglers during that calendar year.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Claggett (608) 267-9658

Grants planned for nine northeastern Wisconsin counties

Calumet, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Waushara and Winnebago

GREEN BAY – The Department of Natural Resources plans to award more than $900,000 to local governments for recreation projects in northeastern Wisconsin. The funding comes from the Knowles-Nelson State Stewardship Program, federal Land and Water Conservation Program, federal Sport Fish Restoration Program, and federal Recreational Trails Act Program.

These projects are tentatively selected for grant awards, subject to additional reviews that may include the Wisconsin State Historical Society, various First Nation groups, Environmental permit administrators, and approval by the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources or the National Park Service. The applications approved are:
  • Calumet County: Funding for the county to develop and improve the harbor of refuge and public boat launch facility at Brothertown Harbor.
  • Door County: Funding for the county to purchase an additional 2.5 acres to be added to Olde Stone Quarry Park.
  • Kewaunee County: Funding for a trail and fishing pier at Blahnik Park.
  • Manitowoc County: Funding for the city to rehabilitate the beach and boardwalk trail at Red Arrow Park.
  • Marinette County: Funding for the Town of Pembine to rehabilitate restrooms and parking, and to add a new trail segment at the American Legion Park.
  • Oconto County: Funding for the rehabilitation of a trail access road to the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest.
  • Outagamie County: Funding for the Village of Little Chute to develop a new trail and observation deck along the Fox River in Heesakker park.
    Waushara County: Funding for the City of Wautoma to install a fishing pier at Library Park.
  • Winnebago County: Funding for the Town of Menasha to continue their redevelopment of Fritse Park.

Projects of these types normally do not involve significant environmental effects. The department has made a preliminary determination that neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement will be required. The department is seeking public comments, either written or oral, on any of these projects. Comments should be directed to Chris Halbur, DNR Northeast Region Grant Manager by mail at 2984 Shawano Avenue, Green Bay, WI, 54313; by phone at 920-662-5121; or by email at The deadline for comments is Friday, February 27, 2009.

Winnebago sturgeon spearers harvest 231 on Monday; 3-day total 1,105

Winnebago & Up River Lakes Report for Monday, February 16, 2009

OSHKOSH – The lake sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago and its Upriver Lakes will continue to remain open tomorrow, February 17th.

According to Ron Bruch, DNR sturgeon biologist the season on Lake Winnebago could remain open for several more days. “On the Upriver Lakes, there is a good chance that one of the season-closing triggers will pop tomorrow,” he said. “That would close the season on those Upriver Lakes at the end of spearing on Tuesday or Wednesday.”

The DNR’s sturgeon registration team reported 184 fish were speared Monday on Lake Winnebago including 114 female sturgeon (41 juvenile females and 73 adult females) and 70 males.

On the Upriver Lakes, Monday’s take was 47 including 18 females (10 juvenile and 8 adult females) and 29 males.

To date, there have been 1,105 sturgeon speared this season on both Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes.

According to Bruch, Monday is typically the slowest harvest day during the spearing season on the Winnebago Pool Lakes. “People return to work after the opening weekend,” he said. “This was true on this Monday, February 16.”

The 2009 season began on Saturday, February 14 and is scheduled to close on March 1 or when pre-set harvest caps are hit. Currently, spearing on Lake Winnebago is at 54.4% of the cap for juvenile females, 69.1% for adult females and 39.1% for males. On the Upriver Lakes juvenile females are at 87.1% of the cap, 79.4% of adult females and 65.5% of males.

Monday, February 16, 2009

No-wake bill expected to protect shorelines, make lakes safer

By Kevin Murphy/For the Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram

MADISON — Legislation that would restrict motor boats to no-wake speeds within 100 feet of lake shorelines would make lakes safer and healthier, State Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, told the Senate Environment Committee on Wednesday.

Under current law motor boats are limited to slow, no-wake operation within 100 feet of piers, or buoyed restricted areas. Jet skis are restricted to slow, no-wake operation within 200 feet of shoreline, but no such restriction exists for motor boats, said Jauch. [Full Story]

Source: Superior Telegram

Thursday, February 12, 2009

DNR issues ice safety reminder

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) water safety officials have issued an ice safety reminder now that temperatures have surpassed 40 degrees in many areas of the state.

“Even with the relatively thick ice produced by our cold January, it doesn’t take very long for ice conditions to become hazardous when it warms up,” said Tim Smalley, DNR water safety specialist. “That’s especially true for vehicles.”

The usual safety guidelines for cars (8-12 inches of new, clear ice) don’t apply under this week’s melting conditions. The slush created on the ice’s surface adds weight. The ice also softens farther down and may have less than half the strength of the same thickness of ice earlier in the season.

“A good rule of thumb is that when the temperature rises above freezing for six of the last 24 hours, multiply the recommended minimum thickness by two,” Smalley said.

The ice becomes unsafe if temperatures remain above freezing for 24 hours or more. Contact your local bait shop or resort to ask about the conditions of any lake you are planning to visit.
Ice thickness guidelines, videos and other safety information is available online.

Ice safety pamphlets can be ordered from the DNR’s information center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

Village of Pleasant Prairie seeks grant for acquisition of park land

KENOSHA – The Village of Pleasant Prairie has applied for a 50 percent matching grant from the Acquisition and Development of Local Parks sub-program of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program to assist with the purchase of 0.19 acres of land with approximately 150 feet of Lake Michigan frontage in the Village of Pleasant Prairie in Kenosha County. Pleasant Prairie will provide match to the grant award.

The property is being acquired to expand existing Village-owned parkland in the Chiwaukee Prairie-Carol Beach area and improve public access to Lake Michigan. The additional lakeshore property will provide expanded opportunity for public hiking, fishing, trapping, cross country skiing, swimming, picnicking, and non-motorized boating access.

The DNR has made a preliminary determination that the proposed acquisition will not involve significant adverse environmental impacts and neither an environmental assessment nor environmental impact statement will be required for this action. Address public comments on the proposed acquisition to Vance Rayburn, Administrator, Customer and Employee Services Division, care of Tom Blotz, SER Government Outreach Supervisor, at 414-263-8610, or e-mail to Comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 26, 2009.

Bag, size and possession limits lifted from Lake Tomah

TOMAH – As part of an ambitious plan to restore Lake Tomah, the impoundment will be drawn down later this year and any fish remaining in the lake will be eliminated with a chemical treatment.

In the meantime, to minimize waste, fishermen will be allowed to catch, spear or net as many fish as they can clean and stuff in their freezers, subject to state regulations.

The state Department of Natural Resources opened the liberal harvest season Tuesday on Lake Tomah in Monroe County. It will run until the chemical treatment begins, probably in October, or until further notice.

During the open season all species of fish of any size may be taken with no bag or possession limit. Other regulations remain in effect. Anglers must still abide by the “three hooks, lines or lures” restriction described in the "Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations".

“Dip net" means a piece of netting suspended from a round or square frame that does not exceed 8 feet in diameter or 8 feet square. "Minnow seine" means a seine less than 35 feet in length with mesh that does not exceed one-half-inch stretch measure. Please note this is a minnow seine, not a drag seine such as a trawling vessel would use.

"Spear" means a pole or shaft with an attached sharp barbed point or points designed for the purpose of impaling a fish. It does not include a snag line, snag pole, snaghook or cluster of hooks that might be used for snagging, which is prohibited by state law.

"Spearing" means fishing with a device consisting of a shaft with an attached sharp point or points and includes devices such as spears, bows and arrows, spear guns or similar devices.
In spring 2010 the lake will be restocked. New size and bag limits will allow various species of game fish to re-establish sustainable populations.

Contact(s): Mark Little, DNR conservation warden, Tomah, 608-372-6379

Wisconsin Outdoor Report as of February 12, 2009

GENERAL Northern Region Northeast Region Southeast Region South Central Region West Central Region