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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Purchase Michigan Fishing License Online

Did you know you can purchase your Michigan Fishing License online?  Save yourself a trip to the bait shop.  Michigan DNR

Lake Erie Fishing Report Monroe, MI 07/24/2013

Fishing has been good all week between the Michigan and Ohio dump in
18 to 20 feet of water despite the oppressive heat. Wiggle warts,
little rippers, and thunder stick jrs have all taken fish. The best
lure colors seem to be any chrome colors with a few yellow and pink
painted baits thrown in. 70 to 90 feet back seem to be the best line
length. High divers set at 31/2 back 20 feet with pink color spoons
have also taken fish. Trolling speed ranges from 1.9 kts to 2.1 kts.
Be careful when fishing on or near the dumps, to
deep and your tackle is gone. East winds have changed the trolling
patterns so you will have to experiment with the angle of your troll
for the most consistent bite. The fish seem to bite all day with some
dry spells during midday. Fishing in the Ohio dump has been very
productive this past week, but make sure you have a valid Ohio fishing
license – the “boy’s” have been out checking the boarder and passing
out tickets like Halloween candy.

Lakeport men discover 1876 schooner wreck in Lake Huron

bildePaul Schmitt, Dave Losiniski and Drew Losinksi are filling in Lake Huron’s blanks. The Lakeport men look for shipwrecks — and they’re going public with one of their latest discoveries.

The Charles H. Walker, a 136-foot, two-masted schooner, lies in about 35 feet of water about four miles east of Lakeport State Park. The men, said Schmitt, found the vessel in August 2010.

His meticulous research revealed the ship sank in rough seas on Sept. 26, 1876 — the year of the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and about three months after the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana.

The Charles H. Walker was carrying a load of iron ore from L’Anse in the Upper Peninsula to the smelters of Pennsylvania, according to a story in the Port Huron Times.

“It’s still heaped on the cargo deck,” Schmitt said.

The crew members safely evacuated the ship. Its location was marked by its masts sticking above the surface, so in August 1877, a wrecking tug was reported to have salvaged some of its fittings and cargo.

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Lake Erie battle, 200 years later

Attention history buffs, those who love tall ships or a good battle re-enactment: From Aug. 29 through Sept. 2 the celebration and re-enactment of the historic battle of Lake Erie will take place near Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

It was here that 557 brave patriots, under the direction of U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, defeated the British. The battle in September 1813 played an important role in the history of the U.S.

Now, 200 years later, the area will come together to celebrate the victory.

The bicentennial celebration event began Sept. 8, 2012, with a concert by the Toledo Symphony and a harbor illumination. This yearlong celebration honors the 200 years of peace with Canada and Great Britain. The culmination of the events comes on Sept. 2 with the re-enactment of the battle.

Put-in-Bay was the turning point of the War of 1812. Not many school history lessons dwell on the importance of the battle. The celebration will not only be a great history lesson for the family, but a fun time. The area offers plenty of things to do and see.

Become a part of the celebration and sign on to be one of the crew. Stand in the footprints of the brave men who fought for our country, and be on board a tall ship during the re-enactment. If being on a ship is not your forte, be a part of the foot militia.

Event timeline

Aug. 29: Ships will reach port in Amherstburg, Kingsville, Leaminton, Port Clinton, Pelee Island, Put-in-Bay and Kelly’s Island. Tours and reception.

Aug. 30 through Sep. 2: Tall Ships Festival with entertainment, re-enactors, arts, crafts and food at each of the ports.

Sept. 1: Parade of boaters will be sailing around Put-in-Bay in conjunction with the Navy and Coast Guard. The Ohio State University Marching Band will perform. Fireworks.

Sept. 2: Re-enactment of the battle on the lake. Planned events will include national speakers, concerts, an International Freedom Celebration, entertainment, food, arts, crafts, ceremonies to honor the fallen and historical activities.


Lake trout struggling to rebound in Lake Erie

Anglers chasing transplanted Pacific Ocean salmon on lakes such as Ontario, Huron and Michigan occasionally tie up with a native lake trout and generally are happy about it.

Rarely is the linkup made on Lake Erie, although Tom Harbison’s Ohio record, a 201/2-pound, 34-incher caught in April 2000, proves that such a thing is done. Shallow and temperate Lake Erie, being the southernmost outpost for the cold-water lakers in North America, produces neither numerous nor especially large specimens.

The biggest lake trout caught on a rod and reel weighed 72 pounds and came out of Great Bear Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories. A lake trout weighing 102 pounds has been taken with a net.

Lake trout in the Great Lakes have survived hard times brought by commercial overfishing, pollution and the sea lamprey — an invasive, eel-like parasite that clamps its teeth on a fish’s side and sucks out the life.

Sea lampreys, unleashed from Lake Ontario into the upper lakes by way of an overhauled Welland Canal more than 90 years ago, hit Lake Erie’s relatively tiny lake trout population hard. Though lampreys have been slowed by poisons released in their spawning streams, they have yet to be stopped.

In fact, in recent years, sea lamprey numbers on Lake Erie “have been out of control,” said Kevin Kayle, aquatic biology supervisor at the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Fairport Fisheries Research Station. Things have gotten so bad that the wildlife division invited a team from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to go after spawning lampreys in the Chagrin River and in Conneaut Creek this spring.

The same federal agency is in the process of trying to find out whether young lake trout placed in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie, which hasn’t been the previous practice, might boost the species’ reproductive capacity.

“It’s an experiment on the road to recovery for lake trout in Lake Erie,” Kayle said. “It should be a pretty interesting experiment.”

An estimated 100,000 to 200,000 lake trout roam Lake Erie, virtually all of them residing in the deeper eastern basin off Pennsylvania and New York, though none appears to be a product of unaided nature. The population is mostly the result of hatchery fish released at eastern points of the lake.

No evidence suggests that lake trout are reproducing in Lake Erie, though they did in the past. Sea lampreys aside, the troubles that befell lake trout — and which also befell species including lake whitefish, herring and the extinct blue pike — can be traced to a period of low water, high temperature and pollution that occurred during the 1950s and ’60s.

The combination of negative factors produced large “dead zones” — areas of water deplete of the oxygen required to sustain many fish species and other forms of life. The low-oxygen zones mostly formed in the shallow central and western basins, off the Ohio shore.

A remnant of lake trout survived that period by living in the deeper, cooler and oxygen-sufficient waters of eastern Erie. However, those fish might have lost the wherewithal to spawn successfully. Natural spawning, which takes place in late fall and early winter, is thought to have occurred when trout migrated toward the shallow end of the lake to make use of its nursery-friendly bottom and structure.

Even though the dead zones largely disappear during autumn, eliminating that hurdle, the eastern population of lake trout appears to have little inclination to migrate west, Kayle said.

The young, hatchery-raised lake trout released in the western and central basins might wander east to grow up, but the hope is that those fish will be imprinted with a need to return to their release area, where spawning success is at least possible when they reach maturity.

Releases of 40,000 yearling lake trout raised at the federal hatchery in Warren, Pa., took place over two days last week both at Catawba Island State Park and at Fairport Harbor in Ohio waters. That follows a November release of about 120,000 surplus lake trout fingerlings at the same sites.

What happens next is up to the trout, the lake and probably the sea lampreys.