Fishing Wire Ranger Boats ICAST
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2019

BIG CATCHES
The catfish bite at Lake Overcup in Conway County is reportedly slow these days, but one blue catfish made up for all the waiting for one fisherman in recent days.
COLLEGIATE FISHING
Eagle Claw Trokar and the Association of Collegiate Anglers have announced their continued partnership of the 2019 Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series.
CONSERVATION
The Buffalo Reef Task Force has released a Draft Preliminary Alternatives Analysis for protecting important reef fish spawning habitat from copper mine tailings (stamp sands) dumped into Lake Superior at Gay, Michigan 100 years ago.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is inviting public comments on nine land conservation projects for potential funding that would protect fish, wildlife, and public access to the great outdoors.
EVENTS
The Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center will be hosting a free, couples-only fishing derby from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9.
FISHERIES
The Council heard a summary of comments received during public hearings and reviewed draft amendments for establishing state management programs for recreational red snapper.

After more than 30 years of sampling lake sediments and fish, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) have lifted the fish consumption advisory for Sibley Lake as of Dec. 21, 2018.
The Federal Register Notice referencing Final Action on Reef Fish Amendment 50 did not post as anticipated so, the Council is not able to take final action on Reef Fish Amendment 50 as planned.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will hold a public meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, February 28, at the Heber Springs Community Center to gather public input for the new Greers Ferry Lake Fisheries Management Plan.

INDUSTRY
Included in the president’s speech was a commitment to bipartisanship, infrastructure, and ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which NMMA welcomed.
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are celebrating the return of fishing season and inviting customers to trade in used gear to be donated to local charities in exchange for big savings
This month, Florida Representative Jayer Williamson (District 3) and Senator Ed Hooper (District 16) introduced companion legislation in the state legislature to add powerful consumer protections to Florida’s existing boat titling requirements – improvements that were welcomed by the recreational boating industry.

INTERNATIONAL
The East Riding of Yorkshire coast will once again welcome anglers from the UK and abroad as they take their place at the 26th Paul Roggeman European Open Beach Championship (EOBC) from Friday, 15 February to Sunday, 17 February.
PRO TEAMS
Michael Neal, a former and successful FLW Tour angler moved to the Major League Fishing/Bass Pro Tour this season and began the season last week with a 7th place finish, all while utilizing Lure Lock Cases to store and protect his tackle.
RADIO
This week, Outdoors Radio features Range of Richfield president Jim Babiasz; Slither Muskie Tackle owner Jeff Frick; walleye pro Jason Pzrekurat; fishing guides Jim O’Brien and Doug Wegner; and bait and tackle retailer Gene Dellinger.

SPONSORSHIPS
Rapala, the world's largest manufacturer of fishing lures and other fishing related products, will join Major League Fishing (MLF) as an official sponsor of the 2019 Bass Pro Tour.
STATES
February’s Free Fishing Weekend on New York's fresh waters is a great opportunity to try ice fishing for the first time or for experienced anglers to introduce their friends to ice fishing.
The 2019 red snapper fishing season for anglers fishing from a private vessel or state-licensed guide boat will be three-day weekends (Friday-Sunday) from June 1 through July 28, 2019, including Thursday, July 4.
The new colonel of the North Carolina Marine Patrol was pinned with his gold eagle wings during a ceremony Monday at the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.
Boaters and anglers now have improved access to Phillips Reservoir, with the recent completion of the Mason Dam boat ramp.
A construction project on the Wapsipinicon River in Buchanan County to replace the Littleton Dam with a rapids, may create hazardous ice conditions on the river upstream.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special “A Conversation with Commissioners” town hall-style meeting from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19 in the AGFC auditorium at 2 Natural Resources Drive in Little Rock.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) added an additional date, Feb. 19, to a series of public meetings to gather community input about the agency’s aquatic plant herbicide treatment program.
TECHNOLOGY
Greatly expanding the capability and compatibility of its wireless remote-control system, Dockmate now supports an unparalleled number of accessories and offers an unprecedented level of customization.
YOUTH EVENTS
Kids 15-years-old and younger can discover the fun of ice fishing at the 28th annual Kids’ Ice Fishing Clinic on Saturday, Feb. 9, at five park ponds and lagoons in Milwaukee County: Brown Deer, Dineen, Humboldt, McCarty, and Scout Lake parks.

By Ron Wilson, North Dakota GFD

Erica Sevigny has heard her share of fishing stories this winter.

As a winter creel clerk for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department on Lake Audubon, Sevigny knocks on ice house doors to ask ice anglers a few simple questions about their fishing trip.

“I haven’t run into anyone who wouldn’t answer my questions,” said Sevigny, a North Dakota State University graduate who has worked with the Department’s wildlife division in summers past. “Some of them, especially if they catch a fish when I’m there, don’t want me to leave because they think I’m good luck.”

As luck would have it, at least for those anglers who consider Sevigny a lucky charm, Game and Fish will continue its winter creel survey on the popular fishery in central North Dakota until the end of March, or whenever anglers can no longer venture onto the ice safely to fish.

The Game and Fish Department conducts a creel survey in summer and winter on Lake Audubon every three years. During the open water months, creel clerks interview anglers at the boat ramps as they are leaving after a day of fishing.

When the lake is iced-over, creel clerks take a different approach.

“In winter, the creel clerks travel out on the ice to talk to anglers because there are just so many places to fish on the lake, including Lake Audubon refuge, which is closed to open water fishing,” said Jason Lee, Department district fisheries supervisor in Riverdale. “They’ll work a certain area on a certain day, or a couple areas on a certain day. What they’re trying to get is complete trip information, rather than just interviewing someone who has been fishing for 15 minutes or a half-hour.”

Scott Gangl, Department fisheries management section leader, said there are three components – fish, habitat and anglers – to a North Dakota fishery, Lake Audubon included.

“As anglers are one of the main components of a fisheries management plan, we on occasion want to sample these people to gather information on fishing pressure, the number of fish caught, released and total harvest,” Gangl said. “Creel surveys are another monitoring tool that allows us to gather information that helps in the management of a fishery.”

The angler interviews are short, simple and to the point. Sevigny asks anglers what species they are primarily fishing for, how long they’ve been fishing, zip code and what they’ve caught.

“If those anglers interviewed have fish that they’ve caught, the creel clerks ask if they can measure them, which is information that we’ll compile at the end of the year,” Lee said. “This information tells us, for example, the biggest fish they catch and keep, or the smallest fish they catch and keep.

“During the open water creel survey on Audubon, for example, we learned that 88 percent of the northern pike and smallmouth bass caught were released,” Lee added. “And with walleye, 50 percent were released, I suspect because they were smaller fish they didn’t want to keep. This kind of information is interesting to fisheries biologists managing the fishery.”

With the promise of several more weeks of winter and little idea how things will unfold weatherwise, Lee said Mother Nature has so far made it easy for anglers and creel clerks to access Lake Audubon.

“The more interviews the creel clerks can conduct, the better our catch-rate information,” Lee said. “We try to randomize to some degree when we’re out checking on anglers to get a look at the entire fishing day, rather than just focusing on the sundown walleye bite.”

Anglers, no matter the time of day their ice fishing outing started, are also asked to rank the quality of their trip.

“This gives us an overall idea of how well they’re enjoying their fishing experience,” Lee said. “Without their help in the creel survey, we wouldn’t have any of this valuable information. In general, anglers have been great about taking a few minutes out of their trip, or at the end of their trip, to talk to creel clerks about what they caught, their experiences and if they harvested any fish.”

While North Dakota’s more popular waters, such as the Missouri River System, Lake Audubon and Devils Lake, are surveyed routinely, but not every year, Gangl said the Game and Fish Department will survey other smaller waters when questions need to be answered.

In 2015, for example, a winter creel survey was initiated in the south central part of the state to learn, among other things, who was fishing, where they were from, and what they were catching.

Instead of a lake specific survey, the survey was based in a region where biologists could travel from lake to lake, depending on where the hot bite was happening, to interview anglers.

At the time of the survey, Gangl said: “What we’re after is the size, catch rates, species and the quality of the fishing experience. Are anglers keeping medium-sized fish, small fish, only big fish, and what is their preference?”

No matter the location of the creel survey, or time of year, Gangl said the opportunity to simply talk with anglers, to put a face with the agency managing the fisheries, is important.

“A big benefit is that we, as an agency, get to interact with the angling population on things other than biology,” he said. “We learn how far anglers are traveling to fish certain waters and we get to gauge their satisfaction. We don’t have a lot of control over what makes people happy, but they are generally happy when they are catching fish.”

FISHING CALENDAR
February 2-10
Great American Outdoor Show

The annual Great American Outdoor Show will be held at the PA Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA.

February 7
South Shore Anglers Club meets at Sunset Grill

Ruskin, Florida—clinic by Captain Travis Yaeckel on catching big spotted sea trout, all anglers welcome; www.southshoreanglers.com.

February 9-10
Battle of the Bay

Tampa Bay to support military veterans’ organizations, $25 entry; www.mywarriorsplace.org/fishing-tournament.

February 12
Captain Mike Anderson of REEL ANIMALS radio and TV hosts the free monthly Fishing Clinic

Gator Ford off I-4 east of Tampa, featured speaker is Dave Blanchard of Pumpkin Jigs, free food and drink

February 16-17
Fly Fishing Show

Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196 th St. S.W., Lynnwood, Wash.; www.flyfishingshow.com.

March 22-24
Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic

State Fairgrounds in Columbia, S.C.; www.psc@dnr.sc.gov

 
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