Anyone who catches tagged walleye asked to report it to MI DNR

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently jaw tagged 3,000 walleyes in a number of Saginaw Bay tributary rivers. Anglers who catch any tagged fish are asked to collect information from the fish and report it to the DNR.

The DNR has tagged more than 100,000 walleyes in the Saginaw Bay area since 1981. Jaw tagging is part of a long-term research project to monitor survival and harvest rates and to learn about walleye movement. The program depends on anglers to report when they catch a tagged walleye, catch location, as well as the fish’s length, weight (if known) and tag identification number. Once reported, anglers will receive a letter back detailing the history of their fish.

This year about 20 percent of the tags include a $100 reward for reporting the tag. Read more

CBD Files Suit to Challenge the Congressional Review Act and Undermine Alaska’s Wildlife Management

This from Safari Club International

On April 20, 2017, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act (CRA).  The CRA gives Congress authority to review and nullify federal regulations with which Congress does not agree within a 60-day period after the rules are finalized.    CBD’s suit focuses on a component of the CRA that prohibits federal agencies from issuing rules that are “substantially the same” as regulations previously nullified by a congressional joint resolution.  CBD claims that this prohibition interferes with the constitutional separation of powers between Congress and the executive branch.

The purpose of CBD’s suit is to invalidate House Joint Resolution 69 (H.J. 69), which was signed by the President on April 3.  H.J. 69 nullified a regulation adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at the end of the Obama administration that prohibited forms of hunting on all National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.    SCI and its two Alaska chapters have long opposed the FWS regulations that were the subject of H.J. 69.

In January 2017, just before the new Administration took office, SCI filed suit to challenge those hunting restrictions.  SCI’s suit also challenges similar National Park Service (NPS) regulations that prohibit forms of hunting on all National Preserves in Alaska and challenges regulations regarding hunting and access on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.  The State of Alaska also filed a similar suit as did the Alaska Professional Hunters Association and the Sportsmen’s Alliance.   SCI also worked hard to help win passage of H.J. 69 by both houses of Congress and its approval by the President.  Read more

MI DNR investigating citizen reports of dead fish in Lake St. Clair

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is investigating several fish mortalities – particularly of gizzard shad – that have been reported by citizens around Lake St. Clair. A number of samples have been collected to determine the cause. Some of the fish may have been affected by viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSv), a very contagious pathogen, but the DNR is still waiting on confirmation.

“Thanks to the public’s vigilance we are able to get timely samples from these fish mortalities, and it is very likely VHSv is involved,” said Gary Whelan, research program manager for the DNR’s Fisheries Division. “VHSv has been detected in these waters since at least 2003, and when conditions are right the pathogen will cause disease events like this one.”

Many of the collected fish showed the classic external signs of VHSv: bloody patches on the skin. VHSv first caused fish mortalities in the St. Clair-Detroit River corridor in 2006 and occasionally has been detected in these waters since that time. Read more

Fish stocking creates numerous fishing opportunities throughout Michigan


DNR employee manning fish stocking truck as it unloads cargoThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced it is in the middle of its new fish stocking season. This spring you’ll find DNR fish stocking trucks releasing their prized recreational cargo at hundreds of lakes and streams throughout the state.Fish stocking is a valuable tool used by fisheries managers to restore, enhance and create new fishing opportunities in Michigan’s inland lakes and streams and the Great Lakes. The DNR’s Fisheries Division accomplishes this task by rearing fish at its six fish production facilities located throughout the state, cooperatively managing up to 46 rearing ponds and eight Great Lakes imprinting net pen locations, and maintaining a fleet of 18 specialized fish stocking vehicles. Read more

New Zealand Mudsnail Invades Michigan Rivers

New Zealand mudsnail: New Zealand mudsnails are brown to black, about 1/8 inch long and have five to eight whorls.

Au Sable: Parts of the Au Sable River experience heavy use by boaters and anglers throughout the summer. Since the New Zealand mudsnail, an invasive species, has been detected there, it’s critical for river users to practice quality recreational hygiene.

Small snail, big problem: Researchers track invasive New Zealand mudsnail in Michigan rivers

New video illustrates key identification points of this invader

A tiny invader is threatening prized trout streams in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. A mere 1/8-inch long, the New Zealand mudsnail is barely distinguishable from a grain of sand, but over time its invasive habits can affect the quality and quantity of trout and other fish in the Au Sable, Pere Marquette and Boardman rivers where it has been found.

New Zealand mudsnails were first discovered in the United States in Idaho’s Snake River in 1987. Since then, infestations have spread throughout the western states and into areas of the Great Lakes. The discovery of New Zealand mudsnails in the Pere Marquette River in August 2015 signaled the first detection in a Michigan inland waterway. Within the next year, populations were confirmed in the Boardman and Au Sable rivers. The U.S. Geological Survey has developed an animated map illustrating the New Zealand mudsnail’s movement through the states.

What harm can a snail do?

This brown to black mudsnail, a native of New Zealand, is considered invasive and is prohibited in Michigan due to the environmental harm it can cause to rivers, streams and lakes. Because the snail reproduces by cloning (females a close-up view of the New Zealand mudsnaildevelop complete embryos without fertilization), just one snail can start a population. Read more

Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Members Introduce Bill to Enhance Recreational Fisheries Management

On April 6, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member Congressman Garret Graves, along with CSC Co-Chair Congressman Gene Green, CSC Member Congressman Rob Wittman and Congressman Daniel Webster introduced essential legislation that offers a solution to many of the challenges facing recreational anglers from federal fisheries management in our coastal waters.
The “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017” will provide much-needed modifications to the way the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) approaches management of the recreational sector and the nation’s 11 million saltwater anglers.
“Private citizens who like to fish are on the losing end of the federal government’s failure to bring the way it manages our nation’s waters up to speed with the information age.
Our bill is designed to fix that. By leveraging technology and data collection capabilities that already exist, we can use real-time information to improve fisheries management decision-making and enjoy the flexibility that comes with being informed by accurate numbers,” said Rep. Graves. “By modernizing federal fisheries policy, the Modern Fish Act will let us practice data-driven sustainability, get more people out to enjoy recreational fishing and unlock economic growth for coastal communities that rely so heavily on fishing activities.”

Read more

Small snail, big problem: Researchers track invasive New Zealand mudsnail in Michigan rivers


New video illustrates key identification points of this invaderA tiny invader is threatening prized trout streams in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. A mere 1/8-inch long, the New Zealand mudsnail is barely distinguishable from a grain of sand, but over time its invasive habits can affect the quality and quantity of trout and other fish in the Au Sable, Pere Marquette and Boardman rivers where it has been found.New Zealand mudsnails were first discovered in the United States in Idaho’s Snake River in 1987. Since then, infestations have spread throughout the western states and into areas of the Great Lakes. The discovery of New Zealand mudsnails in the Pere Marquette River in August 2015 signaled the first detection in a Michigan inland waterway. Within the next year, populations were confirmed in the Boardman and Au Sable rivers. The U.S. Geological Survey has developed an animated map illustrating the New Zealand mudsnail’s movement through the states.What harm can a snail do? Read more

The Sportsmen’s Act of 2017 on the Move

By Glen Wunderlich

Americans deserve, have asked for, and were promised transparency in government.  Yet, over the past decade our government has purposely thwarted any legitimate attempts to uncover the whereabouts of millions of excise-tax dollars cleverly extracted from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) by extremist groups under the guise of environmentalism.   At long last, however, the U.S. Senate’s reintroduction of S. 733, the Sportsmen’s Act of 2017, would shed light on the issue, while providing access to federal lands by being “open unless closed” for fishing, hunting, recreational shooting, and other outdoor experiences.

The Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) was enacted in 1980 and required an annual report of the number of cases processed and total attorney fees reimbursed.  EAJA allows plaintiffs to recover attorney fees and other expenses from the federal government when they prevail–average citizens who need help finding and paying for a lawyer to correct errors in earned benefits or to remedy mistaken penalties imposed by federal agencies.  That reporting ended in 1995.

Studies released independently by Notre Dame Law School and the Government Accountability Office show that environmental groups pad their claims for reimbursed legal fees using the EAJA.

A Notre Dame law review article shows that the law intended for seniors, veterans, and small businesses is utilized by environmental groups to get pay-backs for their lawsuits, as well. A GAO study shows that no one really knows how much money has been spent.  However, what we do know is that the original intent of the EAJA has been perverted to the extent that it threatens the financial foundation of genuine wildlife conservation as we’ve known it.

Adding agency reporting requirements to the Equal Access for Justice Act for monies spent in litigation settlements and awards are only one aspect of S 733, which should make it to the President Trump’s desk.  Here are other key provisions of the bill:

  • Specifically declaring the policy of the United States to include the enhancement of hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting opportunities on federal lands;
  • Continuing to recognize the States’ authority and responsibility for wildlife within their borders;
  • Establishing that Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service lands are open to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting unless specifically closed to those activities;
  • Placing limits on such closures and imposing requirements for the process for closing lands;
  • Requiring the creation of a list of federal public lands that allow hunting but for which access is a problem;  
  • Exempting commercial filming permits for film crews of three or fewer, or for news gathering purposes;
  • Amending the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to allocate funds for construction and expansion of public target ranges on BLM and Forest Service lands;
  • Establishing a statutory Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council to advise the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture on wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting, and recreational shooting;
  • Allowing the transport across National Park Service (NPS) land of bows or crossbows that are “not ready for immediate use”; and
  • Confirming it is proper to use qualified volunteers from the hunting community to cull wildlife on NPS land.

Additionally, this legislation would create an online public database of information on court cases against the U.S. government and would ultimately free up financial resources for conservation measures entitled to those Americans, who in good faith, provide the funding.

Time has come to deliver the transparency in government we were all promised and rightfully deserve.

Volunteers Needed to Guard Michigan Sturgeon

Lake sturgeon are one of Michigan’s most valuable natural resources. These fish can weigh over 200 pounds and live for 100 years.

A Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries worker holds a lake sturgeon. Volunteers are being sought to guard these important Michigan fish in their spawning run on the Black River in Cheboygan County./

The Black Lake Chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow in Cheboygan County is seeking volunteers to join in its effort, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement and Fisheries Divisions, to help protect lake sturgeon from illegal harvest during the annual spawning run.

Every spring, mature lake sturgeon, a fish species that is threatened in Michigan and rare throughout the United States, become vulnerable to poaching as they briefly leave Black Lake for spawning sites upstream in the Black River.

Hundreds of volunteers are needed to stand guard along the Black River during the spawning season, from mid-April through early June, to report any suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this iconic fish. Read more

Large trout stocked in southeast Michigan’s Huron River and Spring Mill Pond create fishing opportunities

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently stocked 3,350 adult trout in the Huron River at Proud Lake Recreation Area (Oakland County) and Spring Mill Pond at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County).

The Huron River was stocked with 900 brown trout and 1,650 rainbow trout, both sized 15 to 21 inches. Spring Mill Pond was stocked with 200 brown trout and 600 rainbow trout, also measuring 15 to 21 inches long.

This annual stocking activity uses unneeded brown and rainbow trout broodstock from Michigan’s state fish hatcheries. Every year there are surplus adult trout in the hatchery system, which then are stocked in special regulation areas. Read more

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