The Ultimate Ice Fishing Line

Seaguar AbrazX Ice: the crystal clear choice for the severities of hardwater anglingNew York, NY – Your bucket-list ice fishing trip is underway. A bait is sent down, and a thick red line appears on the sonar. Two quick jigs and the monster strikes, creating a terrifying bend in a short, stout rod. The behemoth runs, twirls, tumbles, and dives for the bottom. But, ultimately, she is drawn toward the frozen surface. One last valiant effort at the hole, and in an instant, elation is replaced with heartache…

That was your chance, and all you have to show for it is a frayed, broken line. Read more

USFWS Expands Hunting and Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges

Lake Darling, a main focal point of Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge, was named after political cartoonist Jay N. “Ding” Darling. Photo Credit: Jennifer Jewett / USFWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Expands Hunting and Fishing Opportunities on North Dakota National Wildlife Refuges

DENVER – In a continuing effort to increase access to hunting and fishing on public lands, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a final rule to open or expand opportunities across 132,000 acres on 10national wildlife refuges. This will bring the number of refuges where the public may hunt up to 373 and up to 311 where fishing is permitted. Read more

Harvey and Irma Damage or Destroy More Than 63,000 Recreational Boats

“It could have been much worse”

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety group for recreational boaters, estimates that more than 63,000 recreational boats were damaged or destroyed as a result of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, with a combined dollar damage estimate of $655 million (boats only). These numbers are strikingly close to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which remains the single-largest industry loss with more than 65,000 boats damaged and more than $650 million in estimated losses.

Breaking down the 2017 season storms, Hurricane Irma damaged or destroyed 50,000 vessels with approximately $500 million in recreational boat damage. About 13,500 boats were damaged or lost costing $155 million in boat damage as the result of Hurricane Harvey. Read more

Michigan Increases Opportunities for Kayak Anglers

Many parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula have seen a recent increase in kayak sport recreation, whether it’s for leisure paddling, wildlife watching or casting a line. When it comes to fishing, this type of activity offers local fisheries managers unique opportunities to entice kayakers to visit smaller lakes throughout the region.

You only need to look at several retailers – whether they’re official sporting goods stores or not – to see the increase in the kayak’s popularity. At some grocery stores you can even buy one! As those who recreate turn to low-key, casual outings, kayaking really draws them in.

“Folks are seeking more ‘quiet sports’ and secluded places to get away from people,” said George Madison, a DNR fisheries manager in the western Upper Peninsula. “Our unit is responding to these desires by creating more fishing opportunities in these quiet spots.”

The DNR’s Western Lake Superior Management Unit has been conducting bluegill transfers to small potholes lakes in its area as kayak anglers have indicated they’re happy to target panfish while out on the water. Read more

Michigan’s Gun and Gull Lakes Offer Angling Opportunities

Gull Lake access siteThere are two large inland lakes in southwest Michigan, both of which are profiled in this month’s edition of Reel in Michigan’s Fisheries. Gun Lake is featured first, or keep reading for Gull Lake.

Located in both Barry and Allegan counties and spanning 2,680 acres with a maximum depth of 68 feet, Gun Lake features two basins, east and west, separated by a large point on the northeast side of the lake. It is very popular with anglers who take advantage of bass fishing opportunities there and its good access.

“The lake is next to the Yankee Springs State Recreation Area,” explained local fisheries biologist Matt Diana. “There is a public access site there for boats and shore fishing opportunities. There’s also a County Park ramp on the southwest shore of the west basin that offers additional access.” Read more

Tips on Michigan’s Best Brown Trout Waters

Native to Europe and parts of Asia, brown trout were introduced to Michigan – one of the first states to import them into North America – in 1883 and they now thrive statewide. Though they are often thought of as denizens of Up North, brown trout are more tolerant of warmer water temperatures than other trout species. As a result, browns have become the principle target of anglers in many rivers across the state, ranging from Michigan’s best-known trophy waters to small, marginal trout streams in southern Michigan.

Brown trout provide good fishing in many, mostly northern Michigan, inland lakes. Anglers use a wide variety of methods, from fishing with live bait on the bottom to trolling with minnows or artificial baits. In the Great Lakes, brown trout can offer outstanding sports in the early spring – often before other species begin to bite – to anglers who wade, fish from piers with live bait or artificial lures, or who troll in largely inshore water with imitation minnows or other plugs. Browns are often taken in conjunction with coho in the spring or incidentally with other salmon during the summer.

Brown trout in streams – especially large specimens – seem to be photo-sensitive and are usually more cooperative on rainy or overcast days. Though they will take all manner of live bait as well as spinners or artificial minnows, brown trout are a favorite of fly fishermen, many of whom pursue them after dark during notable insect hatches, especially the giant Michigan mayfly (Hexagenia limbata). But large streamers and big splashy surface flies, such as mouse patterns, produce well, too.

Some of Michigan’s best known trout streams – such as the Au Sable, the Pere Marquette and the Manistee Rivers – are noted for their brown trout fisheries. Inland brown trout lakes include Higgins, Burt, Mullet, McCormick (near Atlanta) and Bear (Kalkaska County). Read more

Michigan DNR announces new state-record cisco caught on Lake Ottawa

state record lake herring held by Michael Lemanski
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wednesday confirmed a new state-record fish for cisco (formerly known as lake herring). This marks the second state-record fish caught in 2017.The fish was caught Friday, June 9, at 10 a.m. by Michael Lemanski of Florence, Wisconsin, on Lake Ottawa in Iron County in the western Upper Peninsula. Lemanski was still-fishing with a homemade jig. The fish weighed 6.36 pounds and measured 21.8 inches. Read more

NMMA Sees Win for Boaters, Industry as E15 Bill is Defeated

NMMA saw a win for the recreational boating industry last week as a bill that would have allowed for year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol was defeated and won’t get a vote in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this year. This is good news for the industry and follows countless meetings and discussions NMMA had with with key Senate offices to ensure they knew of the damaging impacts of E15 on marine engines. NMMA also activated the industry’s grassroots platform, Boating United, resulting in thousands of boaters throughout the country adding their voice to the issue.

Politico reported on Thursday that both Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Sen.Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), author of the bill (S. 517 (115)), said it lacked the votes to get out of committee despite having five members as co-sponsors. Read more

Michigan DNR Releases Nearly 6,000 juvenile Lake Sturgeon

Several waterbodies throughout Michigan were stocked with juvenile lake sturgeon this spring and summer in an effort to rehabilitate the state’s population. Statewide, nearly 6,000 sturgeon were added to these waters.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and several partners released nearly 6,000 juvenile lake sturgeon into various public waters across the state this summer and fall in an effort to rehabilitate this culturally significant fish species.

The table below shows which agencies stocked fish, how many were stocked, and the date and location of each stocking effort.

 AgenciesNumber of Stocked FishDate StockedLocation Stocked
Michigan DNR & Michigan State University549Aug. 19Black Lake (Cheboygan County)
Michigan DNR & Michigan State University2,261May 26Lower Black River (Cheboygan County)
Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians601Sept. 7Burt Lake/Sturgeon River (Cheboygan County)
Michigan DNR & Michigan State University740Sept. 19Mullet Lake (Cheboygan County)
Michigan DNR302Sept. 8Cedar River (Menominee County)
Michigan DNR, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Gun Lake Tribe2July 25Kalamazoo River (Allegan County)
Michigan DNR72Sept. 11Whitefish River (Delta County)
Michigan DNR & U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service1,261Sept. 19Ontonagon River (Ontonagon County)
Michigan DNR & Michigan State University193Aug. 21Tittabawassee River (Midland County)
Total Lake Sturgeon Stocked:5,981

Juvenile lake sturgeon were collected from the wild during April and May and reared in streamside facilities until they were large enough to tag. Most fish were tagged prior to being released into their respective rivers to allow future evaluations of stocked fish. Read more

Michigan DNR Fish Survey on Lake Huron

The DNR’s Research Vessel Tanner approaches a buoy for lifting a survey net in this photo from the 2016 Les Cheneaux Islands fish community survey

RV Tanner conducting fish community surveyThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources this week will survey the channels and embayments of the Les Cheneaux Islands, along the Lake Huron shoreline on the Upper Peninsula’s southeastern tip. Survey nets will be fished at sampling stations throughout the island chain to collect specimens representative of the overall fish community. The DNR has performed this survey every year since 1969; it is one of the longest continuous surveys in the Great Lakes.

“We’ll count each fish by species and weigh and measure them,” said Dave Fielder, DNR fisheries research biologist out of Alpena. “We’ll also collect spines from some species to allow us to age the fish.”

The data collected will be used to describe the health of the different fish populations and to compare to past years to determine trends. Read more

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