Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maine Anadromous Brook Trout Angler Survey

Although the behavior is not well known, brook trout that reside in coastal streams may spend part of their lives in salt water. Eventually these fish come back to fresh water to spawn, completing a life cycle called "anadromy".

Anadromous brook trout may leave fresh water streams and move into saltwater estuaries for a few months to more than a year. Typically, brookies migrate from fresh to saltwater as juvenile fish, feeding on abundant prey that is found in saltwater estuaries.

Research in two Maine streams with anadromous brook trout found that their migration from fresh to salt water occurred mainly from April through June. Their return to fresh water starts in May and can last until early August. When saltwater brook trout return to streams they are silvery in color. The unique coloration begins to fades after a few weeks in freshwater.

Populations of anadromous brook trout appear to be declining throughout their range. This decline is believed to be due to over fishing, habitat degradation and loss, in-stream barriers or predation. There has never been an intensive survey of Maine's anadromous brook trout populations, so their current status in Maine is uncertain.

According to Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, a lack of information about these unique fish has prompted the agency to start a volunteer angling survey of coastal brook trout waters. Recruiting anglers to aid in this effort greatly increases our ability to gather data over a wide area. By taking a small sample of scales from brook trout caught in coastal rivers, chemical analysis will be able to tell scientists whether a trout is anadromous or "resident" (non-anadromous).

This information, when combined with a simple volunteer logbook detailing the amount of time spent fishing and the number of fish caught, will give MDIF&W valuable data for an initial assessment of anadromous brook trout populations in Maine.

Anglers that are interested in participating in Maine's Anadromous Brook Trout Angler Survey can contact Maine IF&W Fisheries Research Section: Merry Gallagher at (207) 941-4381, or merry.gallagher@maine.gov

source: Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011 Idaho Chinook - King Salmon Runs

Idaho Fish and Game is drafting proposals for the 2011 spring Chinook salmon fishing season, which typically begins in April.

Although fishing may not be as good as last year, the 2011 Chinook salmon season could be one of the best since 1980. Numbers of returning fish are expected to be similar to 2008 and 2009.

It is estimated that approximately 2,000 Chinook will be available for non-tribal recreational anglers in the Clearwater; 4,200 in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon; and about 800 in the Snake River below the Hells Canyon dams.

source: Idaho Fish and Game

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Kinds of Freshwater Fish Can Be Caught During Spring?

Beginning anglers often ask which species of freshwater fish can be caught during Spring. Fortunately, the list of springtime fishing opportunities is a long one. Each region has a unique array of fish species, although a few types of fish are found in almost every state.

Among the best known fish to be caught during the spring are fish that make early season spawning migrations. These include species such as yellow perch, American shad, river herring and others.

Yellow perch are found throughout much of North America. These hardy fish are actually caught all winter, even in the coldest weather. As the waters warm in spring, yellow perch move up rivers and creeks to spawn. During these migrations, they can sometimes be caught in large numbers.

Unlike perch, that reside in lakes, rivers or brackish estuaries for most of the year, herring and shad are fish of the open ocean. Adults make annual migrations from saltwater, up tidal rivers, ultimately reaching freshwater creeks and streams. These acrobatic fish are highly sought after during their spring migrations. Although herring and shad populations are greatly reduced from historical highs, catch and release fisheries still exist in most coastal states.

Chain pickerel are best known as cold weather fish. These ruthless predators increase their feeding sprees in spring, often startling unwary anglers. They eagerly take lures intended for largemouth bass and do not hesitate to attack panfish that are being brought in by anglers.

Although largemouth bass are generally associated with warm weather, they are actually quite active in early spring. These gluttonous fish can be caught as soon as water temperatures begin to rise, often being found in the same locations where summer catches occur.

In early spring, black crappie begin to alter their behavior. Freshwater crappie seek out traditional spawning areas within their lakes or ponds, while coastal river fish may travel some distance to special creeks or other nursery areas.

Another member of the sunfish family that is known as a springtime catch is the bluegill, or bream sunfish. These colorful panfish bite well as soon as insects and invertebrates start to become active near farm ponds, lake edges or other near shore habitats.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Will The Clean Boating Act Help Stop Invasive Species?

The 2008 Clean Boating Act requires that the EPA draft regulations to reduce water pollution and the spread of invasive species in the nation’s rivers, lakes and other water bodies.

As an alternative to permits required for commercial vessels, the act directs EPA to develop and promulgate management practices for recreational vessels.

To address the issue, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun seeking public comment from boaters and other stakeholders to help develop proposed regulations.

EPA is also seeking information from states that already enact standards to limit the impacts of boat discharges on waterways. According to scientists, boat discharges can cause the spread of several aquatic invasive species.

Across the USA, the EPA is holding listening sessions and conducting webinars to inform interested parties about the Clean Boating Act and receive public input.

More information about the Clean Boating Act: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/vessel/CBA/about.cfm

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring Rainbow Trout Stocking Programs

Rainbow trout are among the most sought after of all freshwater fish. Many states offer trout stocking programs and some biologists are already busy releasing fish for 2011.

The following list includes a sampling of 2011 state trout stocking programs which provide anglers with opportunities to catch rainbow trout during late-winter and early-spring:


In Maryland, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has begun its MD trout stocking season, releasing approximately 327,000 rainbows and brown trout across the State.

Trout stocking in Lake Thompson is underway in Virginia with more trout to be added thru May.

West Virginia has announced its 2011 trout stocking program.

Central USA

The 2011 Ohio fish stocking program will release more than 80,700 rainbow trout into 48 Ohio lakes and ponds.

Rainbow trout fishing will also be available in Missouri trout parks. Anglers can fish for trout at Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon and Montauk State Park near Salem.

In Indiana, rainbow trout stocked in Fort Harrison State Park should be in the wild by in late March.

Pacific Coast

The annual trout stocking of Oregon’s north coast lakes will resume in early March. A number of lakes are scheduled to be stocked with legal size (about 8-10”) rainbow trout.

Gulf Coast

In Texas, anglers can catch rainbows at the Tyler Nature Center Trout Fest, a spring break fishing event for kids.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2011 West Virginia Fishing Regulations

According the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, several new fishing regulations will be in effect in for 2011.

New fishing regulations will include:

A new regulation on walleye in the New River provides a two-fold approach to walleye management.  First, a 20-inch to 30-inch slot regulation with a two walleye limit, one of which may be over 30 inches, is in effect on the New River from the Hawks Nest Dam extending upstream to the West Virginia/Virginia state line.  Second, within this section is a catch-and-release regulation for all walleye from the Meadow Creek public access site extending upstream five miles to the base of Sandstone Falls.  “These regulations are intended to protect walleye during our efforts to restore the fishery in the New River,” said Jezioro.

For Hybrid Striped Bass, Striped Bass and White Bass, there is a statewide daily limit of 30 fish in aggregate with no more than four fish greater than 15 inches in length, except in the designated special regulation waters: East Lynn, Mt. Storm and Rollins lakes.

A Children and Class Q fishing area is established on Mash Fork within Camp Creek State Park and State Forest in Mercer County.  This area is approximately 100 yards long and provides trout fishing opportunities for children under 10 years of age and physically challenged persons from March through May.

Several new regulations pertain to trout fishing:

A new catch-and-release area for trout took effect January 1, 2011.  The new area is approximately a 1-mile section of Shavers Fork River encompassing much of the Stuart Park Recreation Area, just east of Elkins.  “The area is a popular family destination and is a great addition to the existing catch-and-release areas.  We expect it to be popular with trout anglers who like to practice catch-and-release,” noted Director Jezioro. Shavers Fork is a popular trout fishery and attracts many anglers and tourists.  The new catch-and-release area can be accessed by foot from county Route 6 on the River Loop Trail, or by driving into the Stuart Recreation Area to the river. A locked gate is located at the road entrance, and a U.S. Forest Service day-use fee is charged from mid-April through September.

Rich Creek in Monroe County will be back on the DNR’s stocking schedule. Rich Creek had been removed from the schedule in 2000 due to land posting. Through the efforts of the local Rotary Club and its members, landowners along Rich Creek have agreed to allow anglers access across their property to the stream. Trout will be placed in Rich Creek at many of the locations previously stocked. Rich Creek will be stocked on a monthly schedule beginning in February.

Blaney Hollow and Morgan Run in Monongalia County have been removed from the 2011 trout stocking schedule. Poundage had been reduced over the years as places to stock trout were lost. Only three locations were available for both streams in 2010.

 Mill Run, a tributary of the South Branch of the Potomac River in Hampshire County, has been removed from the 2011 trout stocking schedule.  Most of the stocked stream flows through private property and has limited access. The upper reaches of Mill Run, primarily above a natural falls, supports native brook trout, but conflicts between some anglers and the principle landowner have occurred for many years.

 Mountwood Park Lake in Wood County will not be stocked until the lake level returns to normal. Repairs to the water control gates must be made before the lake can be refilled.  Additionally, maintenance work is being performed around the boat launching ramp area.

 New Creek Lake, Site 14, in Grant County, will not be stocked in 2011. The lake has been drained to facilitate repairs to the water-release structure. It is anticipated that New Creek Lake will return to the 2012 trout stocking schedule.

Fitzpatrick Lake in Raleigh County will not be stocked again until repairs to the dam can be made. The lake received its January stocking, but the low water level has significantly reduced the surface acreage of the lake. Stockings will resume as soon as the lake is full.

 Anglers can call the Fishing Hotline at 304-558-3399 or visit the website at www.wvdnr.gov to find out which streams and lakes have been stocked each day.

The 2011 Fishing Regulations Summary is available at all West Virginia hunting and fishing license agents, DNR District Offices, Elkins Operation Center and South Charleston Headquarters.

The 2011 Fishing Regulations Summary Regulations is also available online at www.wvdnr.gov.

source: West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2011 Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program

The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program apportionment for 2011 totals nearly $365 million, of which nearly $55 million is for recreational boating access facilities. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program reimburses up to 75 percent of the cost of each eligible project while State fish and wildlife agencies contribute a minimum of  25 percent, generally using hunting and fishing license revenues as the required non-Federal match.

The Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program funding is available to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. States receive funds through a formula based on the land and water area of the state or territory and its total number of paid fishing license holders.

Sport Fish Restoration funds come from excise taxes and import duties on sport fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, and pleasure boats. No State may receive more than 5 percent or less than one-third of 1 percent of the total apportionment.

Fish and Wildlife agencies use the funds to pay for stocking sport fish; acquiring and improving sport fish habitat; providing aquatic resource education opportunities; conducting fisheries research; maintaining public fishing access, administering the  aquatic resource education program, and constructing boat ramps, fishing piers, and other facilities for recreational boating access.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs have generated a total of more than $13.7 billion since their inception (in 1937 in the case of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program, and 1950 for the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program) to conserve fish and wildlife resources. The recipient fish and wildlife agencies have matched these program funds with more than $3.4 billion. This funding is critical to continue sustaining healthy fish and wildlife populations and provide opportunities for all to connect with nature.

For more information, visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/