Lake Erie Walleye and Perch Fishing Charter Trips Luna Pier, Monroe Michigan & Ohio
Always use extreme caution when venturing on ice for that first ice fishing trip of the yearMonday, 24 December 2012 01:13
Some knowledge of ice formation and safety precautions could help keep you safe when venturing out on the ice this coming winter season.
As ice forms on the inland lakes in Michigan, recreational fishers get excited about making that first trip out on the ice-covered lake to go fishing. This is the time of year when many accidents occur as people fall through the ice if the conditions are not safe. As a rule, no one should venture out on any ice when it is less than 2 inches thick.
When traveling out on the ice for the first time, only do so after a hard freeze that forms clear solid ice. Four inches of this type of ice will support a person on foot, but it will take approximately six inches of ice to support someone on a snowmobile or ATV. As the winter progresses and the ice thickens, small cars and pickups may be driven out on the ice when the ice thickness reaches 8 to 12 inches. For taking larger vehicles out on the ice, you should wait until the ice cover is well over a foot thick.
Other conditions can also affect the safety of the ice cover. These include inflowing rivers or streams that can delay ice formation along the shore areas where this warmer inflowing water enters the lake. These are dangerous areas that should be avoided. In addition, there are inflowing springs in many lakes where warmer water flows in and can weaken the ice.
For safety purposes, anyone venturing out on the ice should always carry ice picks that can be used to pull yourself out of the water in case you fall through the ice. These can be made by using 4 to 5 inch long wooden doweling pins of about an inch in diameter. Drive a heavy duty hardened nail into one end of the doweling pin so that its point projects out the other end. The nail points sticking out of the doweling pins should be sharpened to help penetrate the ice easily. By using wooden doweling pins, they will float in the water in case you happen to lose them from your hands in the water. It is also a good idea to drill a small hole through the doweling pins at the opposite end from where the nail points project and attach several feet of strong cord.
If you fall through the ice, you can dig the points of the ice pick into the surrounding ice while kicking vigorously and pulling yourself out of the water by sliding forward. Once out on the surface of the ice, you should not stand up; but roll away to distribute your weight evenly until you are away from the entry hole.
If you happen to be in a situation where you have fallen through the ice, try to get out as soon as possible because cold water conditions can cause acute hypothermia. The longer a person is in the water, the sooner the loss of coordination and manual dexterity can occur. Cold water conducts heat away from the body 25 times faster than air. Once out of the water, seek shelter immediately. In acute hypothermia, the trunk area of the body is warmed first and the limbs last. In no case should anyone be given alcohol as means to warm up because alcohol dilates the blood vessels allowing cold blood from the extremities to move toward the heart. Also, just covering an acute hypothermia victim with a blanket will not generate heat, as the trunk area will have to be actively heated.
If you are not sure about the safety of ice conditions on any body of water, it is best to stay off the ice.
Keeping an eye on the Great Lakes 'canary'Saturday, 15 December 2012 13:04
December 15, 2012
Karen Schaefer | Great Lakes Echo
Amy Jo Klei grew up on Lake Erie and has been bringing her daughters here for years. But these days, she’s worried about the changes she’s seeing in the lake.
” When my daughters were little, the water was clear, and I said, oh, isn’t this great,” Klei said. “And the last few summers I’ve been up here, my heart is aching and I’m like, I’ve gotta fix this,” she said.
Klei is the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Lake Erie manager. It’s her job to oversee a new three-year monitoring program to update conditions in the lake, funded by the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. She’s out on the Black River, a Lake Erie tributary to take part in the latest sampling.
One of those changes has been massive harmful algae blooms, last seen in Lake Erie in the 1970′s. Those blooms have hurt water quality and cost lake users – from water treatment plants to charter boat captains – tens of thousands of dollars a year. Klei says the algae issue, along with other emerging challenges to Lake Erie’s health, have re-focused bi-national cooperation on lake monitoring in a way that’s never been seen before. She cites a recent water quality agreement signed this fall between the US and Canada.
“One of those, under the near shore annex of the new agreement, is the requirement to develop a comprehensive monitoring framework for Lake Erie,” Klei said. “And I’m sure our work here and our monitoring will certainly be a key piece of that, along with our other state and Ontario partners. ”
Ohio EPA biologist Scott Winkler is checking on wildlife quality on the bottom of the Black River, a Lake Erie tributary.
Among those partners are the US EPA, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, state Departments of Natural Resources from Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, Ohio Sea Grant, and research institutions like Heidelberg University of Ohio, Ohio State University’s Stone Lab, and the Universityof Toledo. Canada is also a new partner. At the fall Great Lakes Week conference in Cleveland, Michael Goffin, regional director for Environment Canada in Ontario, said his government is now committed to new algae testing on Lake Erie.
”It’s in place this year and the funding continues for the next four years,” Goffin said. ” That’ll allow us to achieve the commitment within the amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to have new targets in place within three years of entry into force of that agreement, ” he said.
"Quite often, at water intakes, where they’re drawing water from the lakes, the level where they’re drawing water intakes, even when we don’t see anything at the surface, we do see the toxin produced by this algae, microcystin, is in the water sample,” Winkler said. “Yet when you look at the water, it looks clear, it looks nice, everything looks fine. Through this sampling, we’re seeing that one of the potential reasons for this increase is that all of the algae is down there, at the level where this intake is drawing it in,” he said.
Scott Winkler is an Ohio EPA biologist who’s been monitoring the Black River, a Lake Erie tributary, for the last 3 years.
Winkler and Klei say that new state and federal water quality monitoring on Lake Erie will likely continue beyond current federal funding, set to expire next year. In the meantime, Klei says all eyes are on Lake Erie. She’s even got charter captains testing for signs of algae.
“These guys live on the lake, they’ve been on it their whole lives,” Klei said. “They know when change is happening, they know when something unusual is going on. It’s just been really helpful. ”
Michigan "Catch and Cook" ProgramTuesday, 21 August 2012 20:50
New Catch And Cook progran in Michigan
Luna Pier is a small Michigan port on Lake Erie just north of the Ohio border. The fact is, Michigan anglers fishing in these waters might have to have an Ohio fishing license as well, because it doesn’t take long for a boat in this area to cross over state jurisdictions. That’s when having a skilled guide can pay dividends in not only finding fish, but keeping you out of trouble. In this case it was Captain John Giszczak, owner of Stray Cat Charter Fishing, LLC. (The name “Stray Cat” for his business and boat relates to the time Giszczak found an abandoned kitten near his home. Not knowing how to care for cats, he put it in the kennel with his beagle pups, where it fared quite well and grew up thinking it was a dog. The cat obviously made its mark as a family pet and lived to the ripe old age of 17, and outliving the beagles it thought of as family).
Although Lake Erie is well known for its walleye fishing, we were after yellow perch which seem to be taking a front seat these days and in blossoming numbers, as I was about to find out recently. My fishing companions were DNR Director Keith Creagh, NRC Chair Tim Nichols, outdoor writer Bill Parker and DNR Communications Representative (and outdoor writer) Bob Gwizdz. Our perch charter was put together to promote “Catch and Cook” which I believe is a wonderful concept that allows anglers to take their freshly caught (and cleaned) fish to a designated restaurant and have it cooked up. It is win-win situation for both lucky anglers and the local restaurants, and the fish don’t end up being items long forgotten in the freezer.
The DNR worked in close partnership with the MDA to resolve any health safety issues and a common sense approach that recognized charter boat captains know how to properly clean and handle fish was applied. The first Catch And Cook event was held last May in Grand Haven for Lake Michigan salmon, and proved to be highly popular with all involved. There is also something to be said about eating something you have caught yourself. Folks today tend to be a bit removed from the reality of where food actually comes from, especially when it is presented in a sanitized fashion behind a glass counter of a grocery store.
It turns out the Michigan charter boat captains in Lake Erie have a new Catch And Cook program in cooperation with some local restaurants that is really catching on with folks. Needless to say I was eager to give it a try and hoping all of us caught enough fish for everyone, which would be the first step in the process. It was shortly after dawn when the “Stray Cat” carried us out into Lake Erie under a nearly cloudless sky and on relatively calm waters. We couldn’t have asked for better fishing weather.
Captain Giszczak’s technique for yellow perch is to anchor at likely locations and cast from the boat. The fishing equipment was lightweight “Ugly Stick” poles using open-face reels and rigged with the typical two hooks on a weighted leader and baited with live minnows. The first fish we caught were several drum and an endless supply of white perch (some of which were surprisingly big and plump and put up a good fight), so the action was always consistent, but with yellow perch being our target, we threw the other fish back. Personally, when fish of any specie are biting and I’m reeling them in, often two at a time as was the case here, I’m certainly not bored or disappointed (and getting white perch off the hook without getting poked by their sharp and spiny dorsal fin is an interesting proposition that will keep you focused). On occasion we would get a yellow perch, but they were far and few between, and Captain Giszczak would pull anchor and try another spot. It was clear that he knew the water well, and I instinctively felt that he would locate the perch, which he did, in spades.
To say the action was fast and furious would be an understatement because everyone was hooking into yellow perch, and often catching two fish at a time. No sooner than my lead sinker touched bottom and I could feel a fish hitting, and then taking the bait, and I actually began to work up a sweat cranking in fish. What was even more amazing was the size of the fish being landed including some obvious 12 inch “Jumbos”, with the average length overall being about 10 inches. The perch were definitely in a feeding frenzy, and due to our minnow supply eventually running low, I had started baiting just the bottom hook, and even caught perch on the empty second hook (my guess is that the bare hook flashed when the baited hook was hit). All I can say is that it was a most memorable fishing experience (Bill Parker even hooked into a very remarkable small mouth bass, but it broke the leader before it could be boated).
In a short while we had a pretty full cooler of plump, yellow perch, enough to feed the whole lot of us, and it was time to motor back in and make ready for lunch. The place we would be heading for to eat was Trapperz (yes, with a “z”) Tavern in LaSalle, which is just a short drive from the marina at Luna Pier. By reeling in my own “main course”, I must admit I had worked up quite an appetite.
The beauty about having a restaurant cooking up the fish you have caught is the “sides” you can order with it, as well as the goodies beforehand like smoked whitefish sausage and mussels in the shell. Trapperz Tavern did a fine job with the perch as well, which was lightly battered (I need to get their recipe) and deep-fried just right. I do plan on eating there again, and yes I left stuffed to the gills, so to speak. Catch And Cook works for me.
Perch fishing has become quite popular in Lake Erie in recent years and John Giszczak stated that he was starting to do more perch fishing charters than walleye charters. Needless to say, the perch are there, and according to Bob Gwizdz, our group’s August timeframe was just the start of better times to come with September being a prime month to go perch fishing in Lake Erie (the perch action can be hot as well in October as long as the fall weather holds).
When I returned home and described my fishing (and eating) adventure to my wife Ginny, she let me know she wouldn’t mind trying the Catch And Cook herself, so it appears we’ll be heading down to Lake Erie together. With September creeping in fast, I’m already looking forward to it.
Of course I’ll be contacting Captain John Giszczak of Stray Cat Charter Fishing (for more information go to www.fishstraycat.com or call (734) 787-0030).
Catch and Cook w/Tom Lounsbury radio interviewWednesday, 15 August 2012 14:16 A radio interview about the new Michigan Catch and Cook program
With the new DNR Director Keith Creagh and Captain John
Tom Lounsbury Outdoors - Luna Pier
Click the green arrow to play the entire program.
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