Archives for January 2014

State record White Perch caught on Muskegon Lake, MI

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed the catch of a new state-record white perch on Friday, Jan. 24.

Aaron with a giant White Perch

Aaron with a giant White Perch

The white perch was caught by Aaron Slagh of Holland, Mich., on Tuesday, Jan. 21, on Muskegon Lake in Muskegon County at 11 a.m. The fish weighed 1.93 pounds and measured 13.25 inches. Slagh was ice fishing with a spoon when he landed the record fish.

The record was verified by Rich O’Neal, a DNR fisheries biologist, at the Muskegon field office.

The previous state-record white perch was caught by Kyle Ryan of Reese on Lake Huron in Tuscola County on July 13, 2002. That fish weighed 1.88 pounds and measured 13.25 inches.

“It was just another normal day on the ice for me, as I get out as much as I can,” said Slagh. “We were actually targeting yellow perch and I thought I had a walleye. When we pulled it up we thought ‘Holy cow – that’s a big white perch!’”

State records are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state-record weight and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist.

“This winter, despite the extreme weather most of Michigan has been experiencing, is shaping up to be a great time for many anglers,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “This latest state record once again showcases the quality of the state’s fisheries.”

Live the life of a Victorian-era light keeper at Tawas Point Lighthouse

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering a fresh idea in vacation destinations. The DNR seeks volunteers to spend a week or two between March 1 and Dec. 20 acting as lighthouse keepers for the Tawas Point Lighthouse, located on the grounds of Tawas Point State Park along the shores of Lake Huron in East Tawas.
Volunteer duties include studying the lighthouse’s rich maritime history, leading guests on lighthouse tours and other miscellaneous duties. In exchange for their work contribution, volunteers are able to stay in the newly renovated keeper’s quarters for a cost of $250 per person, per week. The living quarters include two bedrooms, a modern kitchen and bath.

Tawas Point Lighthouse

Tawas Point Lighthouse

Serving as a lighthouse keeper allows vacationers to enjoy a unique lodging experience with spectacular views, while supporting and preserving a historical landmark.

“I feel blessed to have many memories of folks I met this week,” former keeper Robert Ulrich wrote in the Lighthouse Keeper Journal. “Wonderful program, wonderful facility and wonderful memories.”

The lighthouse keeper program is open to singles and couples 18 years and older. Chuck Allen, supervisor at Tawas Point State Park, suggests that volunteers should be physically able to lead tours through the lighthouse and tower and perform housekeeping duties such as light maintenance or yard work. Applications and detailed information are available at www.michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse.

Dates and prices are effective through 2014. For details, call 989-362-5041 or 989-362-5658.

Tawas Point Lighthouse is one of 11 nationally accredited museums administered by the Michigan Historical Center, an agency within the Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. Located in Tawas Point State Park, off U.S. 23, 2.5 miles southeast of East Tawas, the lighthouse is open for tours from early May to mid-October, every day except Tuesdays.

Federal officials continue feedback sessions on Asian Carp

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan — The federal government could more quickly implement a plan to keep the Great Lakes free of Asian carp if the region’s citizens and elected officials agreed on the best approach to take, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official said Thursday.

The Corps has been accused of dragging its feet since releasing a report this month listing eight options for preventing the voracious carp and other invasive species from moving between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River watershed through Chicago-area rivers and canals. Several of the alternatives carry price tags exceeding $15 billion and would require 25 years to complete.

Dozens of speakers, from U.S. senators to sport fishermen, endorsed that approach during a public meeting in Traverse City — the fifth of nine gatherings the Corps is hosting with the White House Council on Environmental Quality to explain the report and get feedback.

Corps project manager Dave Wethington said such a massive reworking of Chicago’s waterway network would take a long time and carry a hefty price tag, requiring the construction of extensive tunnels and reservoirs to prevent flooding.

But he said the pace would be determined partly by how soon the region settles on one alternative, which would enable the Corps to do further planning while supporters seek funding from Congress and the states.

“Our organization is looking to have … at least that consensus voice on the path forward prior to studying anything further, just to ensure that there is an interest in actually moving forward,” Wethington said in an interview.

Wethington said the agency has been meeting with state officials and members of Congress in addition to conducting the public meetings to get a feel for which option could gain the most backing.

The Corps has been impressed by the overwhelming support for physical separation and quick action at all the meetings, he said, although the first one in Chicago also featured impassioned pleas not to shut down waterways used by freight barges and tour boats. Illinois and Indiana business groups and elected officials also have spoken against physical separation and closing shipping locks, although Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn acknowledged last year that separation was “the ultimate solution.”

People who spoke in Traverse City were virtually unanimous in support of complete separation.

“These fish are terrorists,” said Charles Weaver, a river fishing guide. “They don’t wear ski masks and they don’t carry AK-47s, but they have just as much potential to disrupt our society, our culture, economy. When you have terrorists on the radar, you don’t study it for 18 months and you don’t come up with 25-year plans. You take care of the problem now.”

Warren Fuller of nearby Leelanau County added, “We’re in an emergency. Inaction is going to kill us.”

Catfish State Record Broken in Michigan

The Department of Natural Resources confirmed the catch of a new state record flathead catfish on Monday, Jan. 13.

The catfish was caught by Dale Blakley of Niles, Mich., on Sunday, Jan. 12, on Barron Lake in Cass County at 3 p.m. The fish weighed 52.0 pounds and measured 46.02 inches. Blakley was ice fishing for crappies when he landed the record fish.

The record was verified by Brian Gunderman, a DNR fisheries biologist, at the Plainwell office.

The previous state record flathead catfish was caught by Rodney Akey of Niles on the St. Joseph River in Berrien County on May 22, 2012. That fish weighed 49.8 pounds and measured 45.7 inches. Prior to that, the record hadn’t been broken since 1943.

State record catfish Jan 12, 2014

 

Lake Erie Fishing Report Monroe, Michigan 1-18-2014

Brest Bay, lake Erie Michigan fishing report: Didn’t mark a sizable schools of perch. The bite was slow to non-existent in some of the spots. Didn’t seem as though the fish were moving. Perch were caught on chartreuse and orange jigs tipped with a small shiner. Never saw a walleye caught.  Way to windy to fish on Sunday. 

Corps criticized at meeting for slow pace on carp issue

CLEVELAND — U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) got a round of applause on Thursday when she criticized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the time it took reporting to Congress the most viable ways to fend off Asian carp from the Great Lakes.

“I wish I could say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers understands the importance and urgency of the situation, but — alas — that does not seem to be the case,” said Miss Kaptur, the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Water Committee that oversees the Corps’ budget.

“Indeed, the Corps of Engineers was negligent in addressing this issue. It took a bill in Congress to wake up the Corps from its hibernation. The Corps has done this region a disservice in failing to make a firm recommendation about the best course of action to prevent an Asian carp invasion. When the going got tough, the Corps — for whatever reason — punted,” she said at a public meeting inside the Cleveland Public Library auditorium.

The meeting drew about 125 people. Those who attended — a combination of fishermen, businessmen, and public officials — fought rush-hour traffic and icy roads to get there.

Miss Kaptur and several other members of the Great Lakes congressional delegation have said they favor a complete hydrologic separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds by rerouting the Chicago Area Waterway System that connects them.

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Restoring Lake Erie’s Largest Wetland

A four-phase, five-year process is underway to restore one of the largest coastal wetlands in Lake Erie.

Erie Marsh contains 2,217 acres of wetlands that are home to 65 species of fish and 300 species of migratory birds. That’s according to The Nature Conservancy, the organization tasked with cleaning up the marsh.

Only around 5 percent of the wetlands in western Lake Erie remain from the mid-1900s, when pollution and dike construction harmed the quality and flow of the water, according to the director of the operation to restore the marsh in southeast Michigan near the Ohio border.

Dikes built more than a half-century ago to control water flowing into the wetlands cut the marsh off from the lake, said Chris May, the conservancy’s program director in Michigan. These dikes are large, long embankments of earth built to block water flow to certain areas, which is what caused the marsh to be separated from Lake Erie.

Last June the conservancy began building underwater passageways to reconnect Erie Marsh back to the lake and return fish to the wetlands. They’ll finish that next summer, May said.

“There’s about 250 acres of potential fish habitat inside the dike, but it’s been segregated from the lakes for about sixty years,” he said. “So we’re going to re-establish the water connection to the lake and allow fish to come into the site for spawning and foraging.”

The project includes digging canals and installing a two-way pump capable of moving 12,000 gallons of water per minute to and from the marsh. That will help workers manage specific areas within Erie Marsh, according to the conservancy’s website.

When the conservancy opened its first passageway, fish started using it on day one, said May.

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