Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sunfish with small mouths

A late friend used to enjoy telling women a joke ending with the punch line, “The smallmouth bass is the male, and the largemouth bass is the female.”

Not true, of course, but some sunfish family members have smaller mouths than do other family members.

The bluegill has a smaller mouth than does the green sunfish, and this is a major clue as to the size morsels bluegills want both in natural forage and in fishing baits.

Bluegills, Lepomis machrochirus machrochirus, whereby Lepomis is Latin for scaled operculum, or ear flap, and machrochirus means large hand, either in reference to the size of the pectoral fin or that a keeper bluegill is often the size of a large hand.

The bluegill is the panfish of summer and of brisk ice fishing outings. Many people earned their fishing chevrons by seeking bluegills. A large angling portion remains hooked on ‘gill fishing for life.

The #1 panfish in popularity in Wisconsin, bluegills are called bluegill sunfish, northern bluegills, sunfish, common bluegill, strawberry bass, blue sunfish, sunfish, pale sunfish, chainsided sunfish, roach, dollardee, sun perch bream, blue bream, bluegill bream, coppernosed bream, and blackear bream.

True bream, Abramis brama, are not bluegills, since they are a deep-bodied, but thin, yellowish gray fish found in Europe and Asia.

Bluegills dine on plankton and aquatic insects. Minnows, if small enough, fool some ‘gills into biting, but red worms, pieces of night crawlers, garden worms, various grubs including those from acorns and blackeye Susans, are effective.

Find healthy, green aquatic plants; expect bluegill action.

Pumpkinseeds, Lipomis gibbosus, with Lipomis being the scaled operculum, and gibbosus referring to the nearly full moon body shape, are snail crushers preferring cool ponds and lakes, at least for warm water loving sunfish, and shade. The males are aggressive nest protectors.

Smaller than bluegills, pumpkinseeds provide countless fine fish fries.

Nicknames for these colorful sunfish consist of pumpkinseed sunfish, yellow sunfish, common sunfish, sunfish, round sunfish, punky, sunny, sun bass, pond perch and bream.

Orange spotted sunfish are more numerous in southeast Wisconsin than is commonly known by anglers. These orange bellied sunfish that are not as gaudy as are pumpkinseeds, but they do have red or orange tips on their “ears.” They look like bluegills having a more rakish forehead. See flank view--above.

Nicknames for this tasty sunfish include orangespot, redspotted sunfish, dwarf sunfish, pigmy sunfish, and erroneously, a pumpkinseed.

These fish reach keeper size in southeast Wisconsin, and they provide variety in any panfishing outing.

Often being smaller than bluegills, with many welcomed exceptions, “orange spots” feed on insects and were once thought by biologists Barney and Anson, in 1923, to be excellent in controlling the mosquito population.

Orange spotted sunfish are ideal as forage fish for their larger centrachid (sunfish) relatives

The northern longear sunfish isn’t a popular sunfish with anglers because of its small size. These sunnies prefer warm spawning temperatures of 74 – 77°F, and anytime from June to early August is fine with these rascals. They are active on warm afternoons.

The main difference between the central longear sunfish, Lepomis megalotis megalotis (Rasfinesque), which inhabit Ohio south of Lake Erie ­­– Ohio River divide down to Louisiana, is that our northern longear sunfish, Lepomis megalotis megalotis (Cope), has its ear flap extending upward at a nice, rakish 45ยบ angle, a large red spot within the white border, in place of several red polka dots, and by being the smaller of the two subspecies.

Our northern longear sunfish is widely scattered throughout Wisconsin but not in the Superior drainage basin. These fish were more abundant, but they do not tolerate siltation. Like pumpkinseeds, snails form a large portion of their diets. They grab the snail’s foot and crack-the-whip sideways to fling off the snail’s shell.

Common names for the northern longear sunfish include northern longear, Great Lakes longear, longear, blue and orange sunfish, and erroneously, a pumpkinseed.

Many of the sunfish family hybridize, so identification is sometimes difficult.

Watch for part four in this series. It’ll be Crappie Time!!!


First in the Sunfish Series: Meet-Mr--Mrs-Centrarchidae-aka-the-sunfish-family
Second in the Sunfish Series: Sunfish-with-big-mouths

Milwaukee Fishing Examiner
L.A. Van Veghel

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Richfield artist wins walleye stamp contest

A painting of two walleye, one chasing a jointed lure, has been selected as the image for the 2010 Minnesota walleye stamp.

The painting, by Tim Turenne of Richfield, Minn., was selected from 17 designs submitted to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“It’s a great image,” said Neil Vanderbosch of the DNR. “We encourage anglers to buy the new stamp when it goes on sale this spring.”

This is the second time Turenne has won a Minnesota DNR-sponsored stamp contest. His painting was selected for the 2010 turkey stamp contest earlier this fall, and he was a finalist in the 2009 walleye stamp contest.

Vanderbosch said seven entries made it to the second stage of judging, from which five finalists were selected. Contest judges were Joe Albert, Outdoor News; Peter Sorenson, University of Minnesota; Lisa Belak, ARTpartner Services, LLC; Dick Grzywinski, fishing guide; and Conrad Schmidt, DNR.

Minnesota’s first walleye stamp was issued last year. Funds generated from the $5 voluntary contribution are dedicated for walleye stocking activities. For $2 more, the DNR will mail the actual stamp to purchasers as a collector’s item. A walleye stamp is not necessary to catch or keep walleye. The 2009 walleye stamp is still available for purchase at all license vendors.

“It’s never too late to buy a walleye stamp,” said Vanderbosch. “They are available year-round. In fact, people still have time to purchase the first-ever walleye stamp as a collector’s item for themselves or a holiday gift for someone else.”

An artist whose work is selected for a Minnesota fish or wildlife stamp receives no compensation from the DNR, but does retain reproduction and marketing rights.
(Webmeister note: I can't even draw a straight line - what a gift.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Carp barrier maintenance not just Corps' problem, official says

By Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel

A lot of noise has been made in recent weeks about President Barack Obama's $5 billion Great Lakes restoration plan, but nobody in the federal government right now is willing to spend a penny so necessary maintenance can be done on the Asian carp barrier built to keep the jumbo jumping fish from spilling into Lake Michigan.

The electric barrier, located about 20 miles south of the Lake Michigan shoreline on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, was turned on last April but requires regular maintenance every six months. Biologists liken it to an oil change in a car, and to do the work the barrier needs to be shut down for a day or two. [Full Story]

Source: JSOnline

Editorial: Great Lakes a step closer to recovery

The Great Lakes got a huge shot in the arm last week when President Obama signed the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

This measure commits $475 million to a restoration and recovery program for the largest source of freshwater in the world. It also makes the federal government and the eight states that border Lakes Michigan, Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario partners in the effort. [Full Story]

Source: The Sheboygan Press

WCSFO MEETING MINUTES (October 17, 2009)

Vice-president John Durben began our meeting at 9:20 a.m. President Ted Lind had to step down due to not being able to devote enough time to WCSFO since his wife is ill. Also retiring is our Treasurer and Historian Chuck Plotz. Thank you to both Walleyes Unlimited USA gentlemen for your many years of fine service in WCSFO, in helping to improve fishing in our state, and in working toward providing better fish habitat.

Secretary and media director, Larry Van Veghel, of the Wisconsin Fishing Club Ltd., read the minutes from our statewide spring meeting. The minutes were approved as read.

Ted Lind will remain as a WCSFO member, and he read the Treasurer’s report as Chuck Plotz was unable to attend. Lind said we have $5343.05 in our checking account, and we have $3,059.13 in our savings account. The money from our offshoot organization C.A.S.T. has been added to our accounts. The Treasurer’s report was approved as read.

Elections were held, since this is the meeting normally scheduled for elections. Here are the results:

President: John E. Durben, Green Bay Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen (GBAGLSF); Vice President: Jim Schommer, Walleyes For Tomorrow (W.F.T.); Secretary: Lawrence A. Van Veghel, Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd. (WFT) &Treasurer: Cornell Stroik, Wisconsin, The BASS Federation (WTBF).

We discussed the change in officers and the transference of material. Committee Chairs remain the same. John Durben is the Webmaster. L.A. Van Veghel (Larry) continues as the Media Director, and Wayne Avery is the Kids Fishing Coordinator. Bass are represented by Cornell Stroik, and Walleyes are represented by Jim Schommer. John Durben represents the Great Lakes species. We currently have vacancies for Muskies, Panfish, Inland Trout and other species.

Ted Lind stated that we must get more people to show up. Our mailing and dues lists will be updated. Dues forms for 2010 will go out at the beginning of the year. Clubs that are behind in paying are urged to “catch up.”

We talked about doing sport shows like we did in the past. It was decided that this didn’t seem to help WCSFO membership grow, although member clubs volunteering their time to man our booth did have some membership growth.

Lind said the new Friess Lake access in open. Sheboygan has extended ramps 20’ due to low Lake Michigan water. The DNR got a favorable ruling from the judge regarding getting a public launch on North Lake, in Waukesha County. For now, the launch building is scheduled to start in spring of 2010. The lake association has been against the DNR’s launch choice even though it is much better regarding launch depth and the lack of it filling in with silt.

Per George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation (WWF), there is now a ban on phosphorous being in fertilizers. Phosphorous can only be in fertilizers used in emergencies.

WWF is pushing to reduce dish washing detergents that contain water polluting phosphorous, and they are continuing to push for a ban on using Mercury, a heavy metal, in components.

Meyer said that a new slow, no wake law is in effect within 100 feet of shore. Personal watercraft must maintain slow, no wakes within 200 feet of shore.

Mike Staggs, Director Bureau of Fisheries Management, WDNR, was unable to attend.

From new Treasurer Cornell Stroik, our Bass specie rep., the Wisconsin Bass Federation clubs have not and are not actively pushing for culling in their tournaments this year. Also representing C.A.S.T., he said that C.A.S.T. should continue working toward the education of people holding tournaments.

Meyer added that “…WCSFO work together with WWF and other interested groups to get together possibly in September or October of 2010 for learning how to run a fishing tournament.” This was discussed and unanimously passed.

Our 2010 statewide spring meeting will again be held at Gander Mountain in Franklin, WI. The date for the meeting is on March 20, and this is the third Saturday.

For representation, member clubs must send their delegates. New member clubs are always welcome as are new individual and business members.

Respectively submitted,
L.A. Van Veghel
WCSFO Secretary & Media Director

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd. - Meeting Notice

Dec. 14, 2009 - Brian Moe, Ice Team PowerStick Tournament Angler and Little Atom Pro-Staff member discusses Early season ice fishing, lakes, tackle, ice conditions and techniques, 7 p.m. meeting & 8 p.m. speaker.

Yester Years Pub and Grill, 9427 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, 414-476-9055.

Contact: Dan Freiherr, treasurer, (414) 464-9316.

Fishing reports, fishing equipment raffle, special membership drive plus hot food is available.

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd. Nov. 9, 2009 Minutes
2009 - Our 43rd year as an all species club.
President Cliff Schulz opened our meeting by welcoming new member Jeff who fishes Big Green for pike and bass plus he bow hunts for carp. Cliff then introduced the officers. He followed this with the fishing reports which I’ve posted on our website.

Okauchee and Oconomowoc are not active. Wayne Avery successfully continues fly fishing the Milwaukee River in the Kletch Park and downstream areas. He has taken some nice Chinook salmon. The Rock River is slow, but one member did catch five walleyes to 20 inches long.

Secretary Larry Van Veghel and his fishing partner fished Waubeesee Lake. His partner kept 12 bluegills while Larry caught and released three northerns. The ‘gills hit nightcrawler pieces on a plain hook; Larry used a black spinnerbait for the pike. He released all three pike.

Ray fished with guide Kevin Moore on Oconomowoc Lake, and Ray caught two muskies while using red tail chubs. The suckers were not producing fish. Ray’s largest musky was a nice 47 inch fish.

Dale caught a dozen crappies in the Kettle on Lake Nagawicka.

Sturgeon Bay produced a 28 inch northern. Little Sturgeon Bay was more active, as it gave up a super, 36 inch northern, a 19 inch smallmouth and an 18-1/2 inch walleye.

Lake Michigan is slow for perch. One member only caught one perch.

The secretary’s and treasurer’s reports were read and approved without any changes. Per Treasurer Dan, we have $638.00 in our account.

Our third and final nominations were held. No new names were added to the list, and the existing officer were elected unopposed.

Our logo contest will be decided at the beginning of next year, per Vice president George.
We will have a December 14th meeting. It will be on the Monday after our December 12th Christmas banquet. The meeting’s guest speaker Brian Moe will discuss season ice fishing, including information on lakes, tackle, ice conditions and more.

Cliff is working on getting 10” x 14” wide signs for the various teaching stations conducted at our Kids Fishing Clinics.

Both the secretary’s and treasurer’s reports were read and approved as read. We have $411.00 in our treasury. New members are welcome, and they should see Dan to join our club.

We had our second in a series of three meeting nominations for officers. No new nominations were made and currently only the incumbents have been nominated. During our next meeting, the third and final nominations will be made, followed by the elections.

Wayne Avery said that the House of Correction fish hatchery is on the chopping block. Members should contact their county supervisors to voice their support of this program. This hatchery contributes a large portion of the fish to our annual Kids Fishing Clinics.

We discussed our upcoming December 12, 2009 Christmas banquet. November 20, 2009 is the deadline for paying for the banquet. There will be door prizes and a raffle. Costs are $30.00 per person and $15.00 for children up to 16 years of age.

On November 9th, our speaker is from M&W Marine. He will discuss winterizing your boat.

We will have a meeting on December 14th.

Members voted for their favorite logo design. We will find out at the next meeting as to which were the most popular.

Our guest speaker Kevin Moore gave a terrific talk on late fall musky fishing for beginners. He included numerous tips for advanced anglers too.

Moore said that fall is the best time for musky fishing. The fish are aggressively feeding in preparation for winter. Look for green weeds, plus look for rocks that warm in the sunlight.

Suckers take most of the fall muskies, but lures such as the Bulldog also catch fish. The Hellhound is an excellent glide bait.

Kevin said the clear lakes should be fished on gray, cloudy days.

Regarding line weights, Moore uses 30# monofilament for suckers. He combines this with an 80# leader. For casting line, he uses 65# Tough Line XP.

Respectfully submitted,
Larry Van Veghel
WFC Secretary & Media Director