Adirondack Almanack provides this weekly Hunting and Fishing Report each Thursday afternoon, year round. The Almanack also provides weekly backcountry recreation conditions reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters.
SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND
** indicates new or revised items.
** HIGH WATERS
Some waters have returned to normal levels, but Lake Champlain is still above flood stage (see below) and the Hudson and Raquette Rivers remain very high, and the Indian, Sacandaga, Bouquet, Ausable, Salmon, Saranac, Independence, and Oswegatchie Rivers remain above normal. Water temperatures is still low throughout much of the park. Cold waters increase the risk of hypothermia and drowning if you should fall into the water. Caution should be used when crossing streams without foot bridges. Trails and campsites adjacent to river than continue to be high may still be flooded. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards such as boulders, rock shelves, docks and other structures that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data and use extreme caution.
** LAKE CHAMPLAIN FLOODING
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded on the USGS gauge at Burlington; the lake remains just above flood stage as of Thursday afternoon (6/16). A Flood Warning remains in effect and facilities and businesses near low-lying shorelines continue to be heavily impacted by high waters. The Ausable Point Campground remains closed, as is the campground access road. Conditions are improving at Valcour Island as water levels in Lake Champlain recede, however some campsites, access points and portions of trails may be flooded or at the least very wet. Due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Port Henry, Westport and Willsboro Bay (Plattsburgh Dock is operational). Vermont closed all access to Lake Champlain except for Tabor Point, Malletts Bay, Lamoille River, Converse Bay, and Larabee’s Point. Quebec closed all access and shut down boating to prevent further shoreline erosion due to wakes. Launching and retrieving boats will be difficult, especially for boaters not familiar with the location of ramps, walkways, docks, posts, etc. that are now underwater. The latest Lake Champlain Flood information can be found here. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.
** ROAD CLOSURES
Many secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to flooding and/or mud season including some in the Lake George and Moose River Plains Wild Forests. Rock Dam Road, the Cedar River Gate and the Wakely Dam camping area at the eastern end of the main road of the Moose River Plains Road remain closed at this time. Other closed roads include Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest; Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake, preventing motor vehicle access to the trailhead; Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake; Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area; Dacy Clearing Road. Elk Lake Road the unpaved section of Coreys Road have reopened as has Connery Pond Road between Lake Placid and Wilmington. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant.
** DEC BOAT LAUNCHES ON CHAZY AND UPPER CHATEAGUY LAKES
The floating dock has not been installed at the Chazy Boat Launchor at the Upper Chateaugay Boat Launch.
LEAVE YOUNG WILDLIFE ALONE
Spring is the best time to remember that wild animals belong in the wild. All too often, well-meaning people pick up animals, particularly white-tailed deer fawns and young birds, mistakenly believing that these animals have been orphaned or abandoned. This is almost never the case. The parent animals are nearby, waiting for the human threat to leave, so that they may resume caring for their offspring. The best advice is: “If you care, leave them there.”
INCREASED INVASIVE SPECIES BOAT INSPECTIONS
Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year. Watershed stewards will stationed at Long Lake, Raquette Lake, Fulton Chain of Lakes, Cranberry Lake, Meacham Lake, St. Regis Canoe Area, Lake Flower, Upper St. Regis Lake, Lake Placid, Rainbow Lake, Osgood Pond, Second Pond, Tupper Lake, Lake George, and Saratoga Lake. Stewards inspect boats, canoes, kayaks and other craft entering and exiting the water for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Aquatic invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making such inspections increasingly important to combating their spread. At least 80 waters in the Adirondack Park have one or more aquatic invasive species, but more than 220 waters recently surveyed remain free of invasives. The inspections are currently voluntary. More than a half dozen local municipalities have passed or are considering aquatic invasive species transport laws.
It is “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks so Black Flies, Mosquitos, Deer Flies and/or Midges will be present. To minimize the nuisance wear light colored clothing, pack a head net and use an insect repellent.
FIREWOOD BAN IN EFFECT
Due to the possibility of spreading invasive species that could devastate northern New York forests (such as Emerald Ash Borer, Hemlock Wooly Adeljid and Asian Longhorn Beetle), DEC prohibits moving untreated firewood more than 50 miles from its source. Forest Rangers will ticket violators of this firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.
** EXPECT BLOWDOWN
A number of high wind events have occurred this spring and combined with saturated soils have resulted in considerable blowdown in some areas, particularly the Western High Peaks Wilderness and in the Sentinel and Seward Ranges. Trees may be toppled on and over tails and campsites, especially in lesser used areas and side trails. A hiker had to be rescued by helicopter this week from Mount Emmons in the Seward Range after losing his way while negotiating blowdown [LINK].
Know The Latest Weather
Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods.
Fire Danger: LOW
** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather
Friday: Showers, thunderstorms; partly sunny, high near 76.
Friday Night: Showers likely, thunderstorms possible; low around 53.
Saturday: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, high near 75.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 44.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 71.
ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS
** Current Seasons
Open seasons include Trout, Landlock Salmon, Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Crappie and Sunfish. Muskellenge and Black Bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) seasons are closed, they reopen June 18. Catch-and-release fishing for bass is allowed in the following Region 5 Counties; Clinton, Essex, Warren, Washington, Saratoga, and Fulton. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.
** Trout Season Report
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season opened April 1st, but the season suffered from high and cold waters which delayed stocking and high heat last year could be contributing to the reported lower trout numbers in the Southeast part of the Adirondacks. With the exception of the Hudson, the level in streams in southern Warren, Washington, and Saratoga county has fallen to low levels for this time of year (fish the shade, and deep holes). A better bet for trout will be in Northern Warren, Essex, and Franklin counties where waters are approaching normal and about 60 degrees. Papa Bear’s Outdoors provides regular trout conditions for the AuSable here.
Annual 2011 Coldwater Season Forecast
Stocking was late with high cold waters into early June. The prospects for catching holdover trout are low due to drought and high temperature episodes last summer. In particular, trout kills or stressed trout were reported in the main stem of the Ausable River near Ausable Forks, the Saranac River, the St. Regis River, and in the Batten Kill. Trout anglers should look to small streams and upland headwaters for wild brook or brown trout. Use drifting worms or salted minnows when streams are high and cold and focus on eddies or back waters where fish congregate to escape fast water. Brook trout pond fishing may still be viable as waters are still cold. Unlike the rivers, most area lakes and ponds provided good fishing last year with no reports of trout die offs.
Annual 2011 Warmwater Season Forecast
Adirondack waters include some of the most productive walleye fisheries in the state, including Tupper Lake, Union Falls Flow on the Saranac River, Saratoga Lake, Great Sacandaga Lake, and the Oswegatchie River. High quality pike waters include Tupper Lake, Schroon Lake, Lake George, the Saranac Lakes, Cranberry Lake, First through Fourth Lakes in the Fulton Chain, Long Lake, Upper Chateaugay and the St. Regis Chain of Lakes. A number of 20 lb+ pike have been caught on Great Sacandaga Lake in recent years. Look for tiger muskie in First through Fourth Lakes in the Fulton Chain, Horseshoe Lake and Hyde Lake. Pickerel hot spots include Lake George, Brant Lake, Saratoga Lake, Lake Champlain and the Black River. Look to Lake Champlain for Black Bass and Lake Champlain, Great Sacandaga Lake, and Brant Lake for crappie. Surface trolling for salmon and lake trout is a good bet on the larger lakes as the water warms up. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.
Thirteenth Lake Proposed Regulation
A proposed regulation that would limit motorized boating on Thirteenth Lake to electric motors only has been released for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Interested parties have until July 2 to provide comments. read more about the proposal here.
The gate for the road to Lake Clear Girl Scout Camp is open, but due to the condition of the road until further notice it should only be used by pickup trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with high clearance. This road is used to access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds.
Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area
The gate to access Catfish Bay has been closed. Road improvement work and logging to improve habitat are underway.
Freshwater Fish Regulation Changes
DEC is considering changes to current freshwater fishing regulations. The proposed changes are available for public review and feedback. Changes being considered include modifications to the current seasons, size limits, and creel limits on certain waters for popular game fish species such as trout, salmon, walleye, black bass, pickerel, muskellunge, and tiger muskellunge. Additional suggested changes pertain to ice fishing on certain waters, as well as for establishing specific gear requirements for certain angling practices. The proposed changes are on the DEC website which provides instructions on how to submit input and quick email links to easily submit comments online. Comments will be accepted through June 24, 2011, regulation changes would become effective on October 1, 2012.
2011 Local Stocking Lists
The list of 2011 Spring Stocking Targets are now available online. Some recent stockings were in the North Branch of the Saranac River, Saranac River, Moose Pond (Town of St. Armand), Salmon River (Franklin County), Canada Lake, Lake Eaton, East and West Branch of the Ausable River, 13th Lake, and the Batten Kill.
2010 Fish Stocking Numbers Available
The 2010 Fish Stocking List which provide the numbers of freshwater fish stocked by county for last year’s fishing season is now available online. The fish are stocked to enhance recreational fishing and to restore native species to waters they formerly occupied. Each year, DEC releases over one million pounds of fish into more than 1,200 public streams, rivers, lakes and ponds across the state.
Use Baitfish Wisely
Anglers using fish for bait are reminded to be careful with how these fish are used and disposed of. Careless use of baitfish is one of the primary means by which non-native species and fish diseases are spread from water to water. Unused baitfish should be discarded in an appropriate location on dry land. A “Green List” of commercially available baitfish species that are approved for use in New York State has now been established in regulation. A discussion of these regulations and how to identify approved baitfish species is available online. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the “Green List” is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. Anglers are reminded that new regulations for transportation of baitfish are currently under consideration, and these proposed regulations can be viewed online.
Preventing Invasive Species and Fish Diseases
Anglers are reminded to be sure to dry or disinfect their fishing and boating equipment, including waders and boots, before entering a new body of water. This is the only way to prevent the spread of potentially damaging invasive plant and animal species (didymo and zebra mussels) and fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and whirling disease). Methods to clean and disinfect fishing gear can be found online.
Lake Champlain Anglers
Warmwater anglers on Lake Champlain are requested to report any catches of sauger to Emily Zollweg at the DEC Region 5 office in Warrensburg at (518) 623-1264. The status of sauger, a close relative of the walleye, has been unknown in the lake for a quite some time, until a single sauger was caught in a DEC survey last spring. Sauger can be distinguished from walleye by the three to four saddle-shaped dark brown blotches on their sides, the distinct black spots on the first dorsal (back) fin and the lack of a white tip on the lower lobe of the tail fin.
Health Advisories on Fish
The NYSDOH has issued the 2010-2011 advisories on eating sportfish and game. Some of fish and game contain chemicals at levels that may be harmful to human health. See the DEC webpage on Fish Health Advisories for more information and links to the Department of Health information.
ADIRONDACK HUNTING REPORTS
All waterfowl, turkey, big and small game seasons are closed. All trapping seasons are closed.
** Draft Deer Management Plan Released
DEC’s proposed five-year deer management plan is now available for public review and comment. The plan is available online and DEC will be accepting public comment on the draft through Thursday, July 28. The plan includes a number of specific management proposals that have been under discussion with the public for several years. Among the recommendations included in the plan, and related to the Adirondack region are: Include an index of deer impact on forests when setting deer population objectives; Establish deer management focus areas with liberalized antlerless harvest rules in areas with overabundant deer; Establish a special youth deer hunting weekend in early October for junior hunters to aid in the recruitment of new deer hunters; Comments may be submitted in writing through July 28 to DEC Deer Management Plan, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by email to email@example.com using “Deer plan” in the subject line.
** Tentative 2011-12 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons
DEC has announced the tentative schedule for many of New York’s 2011-2012 migratory game bird seasons, allowing sportsmen and sportswomen to plan outdoor activities well in advance. Tentative season dates for ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe and rails can now be found on the DEC website. Tentative dates for the Lake Champlain Zone will be determined by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board following public meetings likely to be held in August in Whitehall, NY and Burlington, Vermont. DEC encourages New York waterfowl hunters who frequent the Champlain Zone to attend one of these meetings; details will be announced later this summer. Comments and suggestions about the Lake Champlain Zone may also be submitted to any DEC season-setting team member or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
** Waterfowl Hunting Zone Boundary Changes
DEC has announced a minor change to the boundaries of two of New York’s five waterfowl hunting zones. A portion of the boundary line between the Northeastern Zone and Southeastern Zone will be modified from Saratoga Springs through Washington County to the Vermont State Line to allow season dates to better reflect hunting conditions typically found in that area. Descriptions of New York’s waterfowl hunting zones can be found on the DEC website.
** DEC to Prepare Tug Hill North UMP
DEC will begin developing a unit management plan (UMP) for the 42,408-acre unit called Tug Hill North. The Unit is located in the Lewis County towns of Harrisburg, Martinsburg, Montague and Pinckney and the Jefferson County towns of Lorraine, Rodman, Rutland and Worth. An open house meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, from 7-9 p.m. at the Copenhagen Central School. Before the meeting, from 6 to 7 p.m., the public will have an opportunity to meet one on one with DEC planning staff and offer comments regarding the future management of the area. Additional opportunities for public review and comments will be available after a draft is prepared. The Tug Hill North Management Area is comprised of 8 state forests (SF) and one wildlife management area. The unit is a patchwork of state owned parcels located west of Lowville, South of Copenhagen and east of Adams and includes Sears Pond, Grant Powell Memorial State Forest, Cobb Creek SF, Lookout SF, Granger SF, Pinckney SF, Tug Hill SF, Gould’s Corners SF, and the Tug Hill Wildlife Management Area. Any individual or organization interested in providing comments or receiving additional information about the development of the management plan can contact Andrea Mercurio at NYSDEC 7327 State Hwy 812, Lowville, New York 13367or call (315) 376-3521 or e-mail email@example.com. Comments received by August 31 can assist in the preparation of the draft UMP.
Annual St. Lawrence County Goose Drive.
The Annual goose drive will be held at the Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area in St. Lawrence County on June 29th. DEC staff and volunteers use canoes and walk along the shore to “herd” an average of one thousand geese into holding pens. In late June and early July, geese lose (molt) their feathers and cannot fly, which provides a great opportunity to round up these birds for banding and to obtain biological data on resident Canada geese. Everyone that assists is treated to a lunch by the local Rod and Gun Club. If interested in participating, contact Blanche Town at 315-265-3090 or firstname.lastname@example.org by June 23. For more information, visit the Wilson Hill Goose Drive webpage.
DEC Proposes Opening New Areas for Bear Hunters
The New York State Department has announced proposed changes that would open new areas east of the Hudson River to black bear hunting and establish uniform bear hunting season dates across the Southern Zone beginning in the 2011 hunting season. If the changes are approved, Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 5S and 5T in Washington and Saratoga counties would be open to black bear hunting for the archery, regular and muzzleloading seasons (in addition to others outside the Adirondack Region). Black bears have been thriving in New York and have expanded their range considerably in recent years. A detailed description of the proposal, including instructions for providing comments, is on the DEC website. DEC will be accepting public comments on the proposal through July 5, 2011.
DEC Proposes Allowing Crossbows For Big Game
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced proposed regulation changes that will allow the use of crossbows for big game hunting and eliminate a permit requirement for certain physically disabled hunters to use special archery equipment during any big game or small game hunting season. The proposed regulations implement new legislation authorizing DEC to allow hunters to take big game (deer and bear) with the use of a crossbow during regular big game hunting seasons in areas where a shotgun or muzzleloader is permitted, and during all late muzzleloader seasons. In accordance with the new legislation, crossbows cannot be used during the early bear or archery seasons or in any of the “archery only” wildlife management units. Furthermore, hunters may use a crossbow only after they have completed required training in the safe use of hunting with a crossbow and responsible crossbow hunting practices. DEC has proposed implementing the training requirement via on-line education tools, and in the upcoming 2011-2012 New York State Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide. Hunters would be required to carry afield a certificate verifying that they have completed this training. Details of the proposal and instructions for providing comments are available online. DEC will be accepting public comments on the proposal through July 11, 2011.
Warnings and announcements drawn from DEC, NWS, NOAA, USGS, and other sources. Detailed Adirondack Park hunting, fishing, and trapping information can be found at DEC’s webpages. A DEC map of the Adirondack Park can also be found online [pdf].
The DEC Habitat/Access Stamp is available for $5 at all outlets where sporting licenses are sold, on-line and via telephone at 1-866-933-2257. Stamp proceeds support the DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife related recreation. A Habitat/Access Stamp is not required to hunt, fish or trap, nor do you have to purchase a sporting license to buy a habitat stamp.