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.
** SNOW AND ICE ON SUMMITS, HIGHER ELEVATIONS
** COLD, WET WEATHER, SNOW AND ICE PRESENT
Snow is present at elevations above 2500 feet. Rocks and bedrock are icy. Stablicers or other similar equipment should be packed and used when conditions warrant. Night-time and morning temperatures in the 10s and 20s or colder can be expected. Temperatures in the single digits have been recorded in higher elevations. Be prepared by wearing appropriate footwear and outer wear and packing extra non-cotton clothes, including a hat and gloves or mittens, in addition to your usual equipment. Take off and put on layers of clothing to regulate body heat.
** WATERS GENERALLY ABOVE NORMAL
The level of the rivers and streams across the region is currently above normal for this time of year, especially larger rivers such as the Saranac, Sacandaga, West Canada Creek and the Raquette. Low water crossings, even on smaller streams, may not be accessible. Boaters and paddlers should be aware that high waters may contain logs, limbs and other debris and conceal navigation hazards that normally are easily seen and avoided. Consult the latest streamgage data if you our venturing onto the region’s waters.
** WET AND MUDDY TRAILS AND ACCESS POINTS
Trails continue to have mud and/or puddles in many locations. Hikers are advised to wear appropriate footwear and to stay on the trail – hike through muddy areas and puddles to avoid widening the trails or creating “herd paths” around those areas. The rains have also raised the water levels of many streams. Low water crossings may not be accessible.
Remember the sun sets earlier this time of year. Plan trips accordingly and carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.
** ALL LOCAL STATE CAMPGROUNDS HAVE CLOSED
All DEC campgrounds in the Adirondack Region have now closed until next season. A list of phone numbers, opening and closing dates, and other information for all campgrounds and their associated Regional Offices can be found online.
BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed with no current timetable for reopening (though it is likely to reopen next year). A few roads in the Hudson River Recreation area are open but have significant washouts and should only be accessed by 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles, these include: River Road; Buttermilk Road north of the Town line; and Gay Pond Road before Campsite #13. The following roads or sections of roads remain closed to motor vehicles due to damage caused by Hurrican Irene, they are passable on foot: Buttermilk Road Extension north of the Gay Pond Road; Gay Pond Road past Campsite #13; and the access road to Darlings Ford Waterway Access Site. In the Moose River Plains all roads designated for public motor vehicle use are open and in good shape. The public should use caution as the road is also being used by log trucks to haul forest products from League Club property. The Otter Brook – Indian Lake Road is open to Squaw Lake which is the permanent termination point for motor vehicle usage in accordance with the approved Moose River Plains Complex Unit Management Plan. A temporary barrier has been placed just past the Squaw Lake Trailhead, a gate will be installed in the future. DEC Region 5 has updated the Moose River Plains Wild Forest map.
NUISANCE BLACK BEARS
DEC has received complaints of nuisance bears getting into garbage and destroying bird feeds. Homeowners should take down all bird feeders and take steps to secure garbage to prevent problems with bears. New regulation prohibits feeding bears, people that leave out bird food, garbage, pet food and other substances that bears may feed upon can be ticketed after a warning.
MOTORIST ALERT: WHITETAIL DEER
The peak period for deer-vehicle collisions is October through December, with the highest incidences occurring in November. This corresponds with the peak of the annual deer breeding cycle when deer are more active and less cautious in their movements. Approximately 65,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur throughout NYS each year and two-thirds of the annual collisions occur during this three month period. Most of the collisions occur between 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Motorists are advised that the best way to avoid a collision with a deer is to reduce speed and be alert for their presence on or near the highway.
MOTORIST ALERT: MOOSE
There are upwards of 800 Moose in the Adirondack region, up from 500 in 2007. Motorists should be alert for moose on the roadways at this time of year especially at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility when Moose are most active. Much larger than deer, moose-car collisions can be very dangerous. Last year ten accidents involving moose were reported. DEC is working to identify areas where moose are present and post warning signs.
** KNOW THE LATEST WEATHER
Check the weather before entering the woods or heading onto the waters and be aware of weather conditions at all times. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region.
** Fire Danger: LOW
Tropical Storm Irene contributed considerable blowdown. Trees may be toppled on and over backcountry roads, trails and campsites.
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 have been ticketing violators of the firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.
ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS
** Water Temperatures
Water temperatures in many of the Adirondack waters have dropped into the lower 40s, colder water temperatures can be expected in higher elevation waters.
** Special Fishing Seasons Remain Open
The statewide trout season is closed as of October 15th. There are some exceptions to this regulation. The catch-and-release areas on the West Branch of the Ausable River, Saranac River and the Battenkill remain open as well as a few ponds such as Mountain Pond, Lake Clear & Lake Colby in Franklin County; and Connery Pond in Essex County. Lake Champlain and sections of its tributaries are open all year for trout and salmon fishing. To find out which waters near you still have trout fishing opportunities, check the special fishing regulations by County.
** Currently Open Fishing Seasons
Open seasons include Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Crappie, Sunfish, Muskellenge and Black Bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass). For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.
** Salmon Run Over
The Salmon run in both the Saranac River and Boquet River is over. Stream temperatures have been running in the lower 40’s and will continue to drop as temperatures become more seasonable. This year there were about 70 salmon counted in the Willsboro fishway so far, the highest number in more than years. Between 2001 and 2009, fewer than 14 salmon made the top of the ladder. In 2010, that number jumped to 51. Salmon spawn in the fall in areas with gravelly river bottoms. Salmon that do not make it through the ladder, spawn below the dam where the habitat is not as conducive to raising young.
** Lake Champlain Sea Lamprey Control
Three tributaries and one delta were successfully treated in 2011, these were the Boquet River and the Ausable delta complex in New York and the Hubbardton River in Vermont and the Poultney River in both Vermont and New York. Due to high water levels, treatments of Mount Hope Brook and Putnam Creek, both in New York, were unable to be completed. See the DEC’s Lake Champlain Sea Lamprey Control webpages for more information.
Milfoil Infestation in South Bay
Variable-leaf watermilfoil, an aquatic invasive plant, has been found in the South Bay of Lake Champlain. Watermilfoil crowds out beneficial native aquatic plants and can impair recreational uses including boating, fishing and swimming. Boaters, anglers and other recreational enthusiasts should take precautions to avoid transporting this and other invasive species to other waters or other parts of Lake Champlain. More information on the infestation and the responsibility of recreationists to limit its spread can be found here.
Chazy Lake Boat Launch
The Chazy Lake Boat Launch is essentially unusable due to the water level draw down by the Town of Dannemora. The concrete ramp ends several yards from the water’s edge.
New Warren County Invasive Species Transport Law
The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted almost unanimously to pass an invasive species transport law following a public hearing. The law makes the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Warren County waterbodies illegal. It is the first county law of its kind to pass in New York State. The law imposes a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail for violators. Some marina owners opposed the law; Chestertown Supervisor and Executive Director of the Local Government Review Board Fred Monroe was the only no vote.
Ausable and Boquet River Changes
Due to the recent Tropical Storm Irene anglers should be advised that there was significant debris washed into both the Ausable and Boquet Rivers. Anglers should be aware of new hazards underwater. Also some changes in the river course and topography may be present. New pools may formed where there was previously riffles and riffles may be found where there was previously pools.
West Lake Boat Launch
The West Lake Boat Launch in Fulton County is presently not suitable for launching of trailered boats. Storm runoff resulting from Irene deposited a large quantity of gravel in the area of the ramp. Car top boats can still be launched.
Hudson River Rogers Island Pool Boat Launch
The floating dock has not been installed Rogers Island Pool.
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.
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
Deer Management Plan Now Available
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that it has adopted a five-year deer management plan. The final plan, which has been revised based on public comment on a previously released draft version, is now available online.
** Assessment of Public Comment on Deer Management Plan
DEC has prepared an Assessment of Public Comment as a brief overview of what seemed to be the principal issues identified with the draft plan, and including their responses to those issues.
** Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands
Public access to and use of the easement lands is prohibited during the regular big game hunting season which is currently open. The big game hunting season closes on Sunday, December 4. Public use will once again be allowed beginning Monday, December 5. Also public hunting is prohibited until the end of the year. Public hunting will once again be allowed on January 1, 2012.
Lewis Preserve WMA
The Brandy Brook has jumped its bank creating a braided stream channel across the main foot trail adjacent to the existing foot bridge. Users should use caution while attempting to cross this new stream channel as it is very deep and swift moving.
Kings Bay WMA
A section of the access road to the parking area off Point Au Fer Road has washed out. The damaged road is still passable but very narrow. The washed out section is marked with an orange barrel at each end.
Ausable Marsh WMA:
Lake Champlain is at near spring time lake levels resulting in an abundance of water behind the dikes. Users will find the pools are much deeper than they typically are this time of the year and they may not be able to wade to places they normally can. Also, portions of the dike are extremely wet or partially underwater.
DEC 2011 Deer Hunting Forecasts Now Available
The DEC’s 2011 deer hunting season forecasts are now on their website. They include brief descriptions of the landscape and deer population trends within each Wildlife Management Unit.
** Some Small Game Seasons Open
A number of small game seasons are now open including: Grey, Black and Fox Squirrel, Crow, Snipe, Rail, Gallinule, Ruffed Grouse, Cottontail Rabbit, Pheasant, Woodcock, Coyote, and Varying Hare (Varying Hare in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens December 12). Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel seasons are now open. Bobcat season is open in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R which does not have a season. See the DEC Small Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.
** Some Fall Wild Turkey Season Closed
The fall Turkey season closed Friday 21 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where the season closes November 18. See the DEC’s Turkey Hunting webpage for more information on rules, regulations, safety and hunting tips.
** Canada Goose Hunting Seasons
Canada Goose hunting seasons in the Northeast Hunting Area has reopened (it will close there December 5); the season is open in the Lake Champlain Hunting Area until December 3. DEC Canada Goose hunting info is online. Note that the boundary between the Northeastern and the Southeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zones now runs east along Route 29 to Route 22, north along Route 22 to Route 153, east along Route 153 to the New York – Vermont boundary.
** Regular Bear Season Open (WMUs 5A,5C,5F,5G,5H & 5J)
Early bear, and bear bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons have closed; Regular season has opened and closes December 4. See the DEC’s Big Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.
** Northern Zone Deer Seasons
Bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons are now closed; Regular season is open and closes December 4; Late Muzzleloading season opens December 5 and closes December 11 in Region 5 WMUs 5A, 5G and 5J. See the DEC’s Big Game webpage for more information on seasons and regulations.
** Waterfowl Seasons
In the Lake Champlain Waterfowl Hunting Zone Snow Goose season closes December 29; Brant season is now open until November 30; Duck season reopens October 29 and closes December 22. In the Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone Duck season reopened October 22 and closes again December 10; Snow Goose season is open until December 31, then reopens February 24 and closes April 15; Brant season is open until November 19. Note that the boundary between the Northeastern and the Southeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zones now runs east along Route 29 to Route 22, north along Route 22 to Route 153, east along Route 153 to the New York – Vermont boundary.
2011 Duck Season Outlook
Most duck populations in New York are doing well this year due to excellent habitat conditions across the continent for waterfowl nesting and brood-rearing. However, breeding populations of eastern mallards and wood ducks – the two most commonly harvested ducks in New York – were lower this spring than in 2009, and Atlantic Flyway biologists are concerned about a long-term decline in eastern mallards that became more apparent in recent years. Sixty-day duck seasons were approved by federal and state authorities for another year, but this situation will be closely monitored in the future. Bag limits for all duck species will be the same as in 2010-11 and can be seen at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28888.html.
2011 Goose Season Outlook
September Canada goose seasons have just ended, but hunters can look forward to another 45 days or more (depending on area) to pursue these popular game birds later this fall and winter. Resident geese remain abundant in many areas of the state, and migratory populations that pass through New York were estimated to be higher last spring. Hunters are reminded that Canada goose seasons are set for different geographic areas of the state than other waterfowl seasons; therefore maps should be closely reviewed. A special spring season for snow geese will continue for the fourth year in all of upstate New York. These birds have become so abundant that they are causing harm to wetland habitats throughout their range. Special spring seasons have been established in many eastern states and provinces to increase hunter harvest and help reduce this population. The daily limit for snow geese is 25 per day.
Migratory Bird Hunting Requirements
Hunters 16 or older must have a 2011 federal duck stamp to hunt during any of the 2011-2012 seasons. Federal duck stamps cost $15 and are available at most post offices and some sporting goods stores. They are also available by calling toll-free 1-800-852-4897 or at www.duckstamp.com. Stamps must be signed across the face by the hunter before they become valid, but they do not have to be attached to the hunting license. All migratory game bird (waterfowl, woodcock, snipe, rails and gallinules) hunters, including junior hunters (age 12-15), must register with New York’s Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) prior to hunting in any of the 2011-2012 seasons. Hunters must register every year and for each state in which they plan to hunt migratory game birds, and also must carry proof of compliance whenever going afield. To register in HIP, call toll-free 1-888-427-5447 (1-888-4 ASK HIP) or visit www.NY-HIP.com.
Waterfowl Consumption Advisory
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) periodically evaluates data on chemicals in wild waterfowl to ensure that hunter harvested birds can be eaten without concerns about adverse effects on human health. The current advisory states that “Mergansers are the most heavily contaminated waterfowl species and should not be eaten. Eat no more than two meals per month of other wild waterfowl; you should skin them and remove all fat before cooking, and discard stuffing after cooking. Wood ducks and Canada geese are less contaminated than other wild waterfowl species and diving ducks are more contaminated than dabbler ducks. The latest DOH advice on consumption of waterfowl and other game can be found online.
Upcoming Trapping Seasons
Fisher season opens October 25 and closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs; Marten season opens October 25 and closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5R, 5S & 5T where there is no trapping season; Bobcat season opens October 25 in all Regkion 5 WMUs except 5R where there is no trapping season; The season closes December 10 in all Region 5 WMUs, except 5S & 5T where it closes February 15; Mink and Muskrat season opens October 25 and closes April 15 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 and closes April 7; Coyote, Red Fox, Gray Fox, Raccoon, Skunk, Opossum and Weasel season opens October 25 and closes February 15 in all Region 5 WMUS. The use of bait or lure is prohibited with body gripping traps set on land between December 11 and February 15 in all Region 5 WMUs, except in WMUs 5R, 5S & 5T. Otter season opens November 1 and closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 and closes February 28. There is no trapping season in 5R. Beaver season opens November 1 and closes April 7 in all Region 5 WMUs except 5R, 5S & 5T where it opens November 10 but still closes April 7.
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.