Thursday, June 9, 2011

Adirondack Hunting and Fishing Report (June 9)

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.

Listen for the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Recreation Report Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and the stations of North Country Public Radio.

SPECIAL NOTICES FOR THIS WEEKEND

** indicates new or revised items.

** HEAVY SHARED ROADWAY USE
Expect to encounter bicyclists, runners, and motorcycles on area roads, sometimes in large numbers. Americade and Warrensburg Bike week will fill Warren County roads, especially those near Lake George with motorcycles. Communities hosting foot and bike races that use local roads include Lake Placid, Wilmington, Saranac Lake, Inlet and Indian Lake including the Moose River Plains.

** HIGH WATERS
Larger rivers in the Western Adirondacks have returned to normal levels for this time of year, with the exception of the those in the St. Lawrence watershed where the Raquette River remains high, and in the Hudson and Champlain watersheds where the Hudson, Indian, Sacandaga, Bouquet, Ausable, Salmon and Saranac Rivers. In the eastern Adirondacks water levels are high, but water temperatures is still low throughout 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 waters may be flooded in the Eastern Adirondacks. 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. 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. Many Valcour Island campsites and access points are still flooded and due to the high waters, floating docks have not been installed and bathrooms are closed at Peru Dock, Port Douglas, Willsboro Bay and other boat launches. 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; The Town of Lake Pleasant has opened the Perkins Clearing Road and the Old Military Road from Perkins Clearing to Sled Harbor is open; 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; Jabe Pond Road near Hague; 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.

** 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.

BITING INSECTS
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.

BLOWDOWN
A number of high wind events and very windy days have occurred over the past week. Saturated soils have resulted in additional trees being toppled on and over tails and campsites. Blowdown may be present, especially on lesser used side trails.

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: Mostly sunny, high near 70.
Friday Night: Increasing clouds, low around 41.
Saturday: Showers likely, cloudy, with a high near 63.
Saturday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, low around 50.
Sunday: Showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 68.

FISHING REPORTS

** Current Seasons
Open seasons include Trout, Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, and Walleye; Muskellenge and Black 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.

** DEC Region 6 Wildlife Management Board Meeting
Thursday, June 16, the Fish and Wildlife Management Board Meeting will be held at the NYSDEC Lowville/Dadville Office Conference/Training Room, located at: 7327 State Route 812. The meeting begins at 12:00 PM (noon) with lunch for board members. Any interested embers of the public are welcome to attend.

** 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.

** 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.

** 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.

** Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area
The gate to access Catfish Bay has been closed. Road improvement work and logging to improve habitat are underway.

Essex County Fish Hatchery Plan Offered
Essex County officials are considering a water system upgrade that would allow the county owned Fish Hatchery to sell excess fish, a plan opposed by the privately owned Aqua-Arbor Fish Hatchery in Chateaugay. The improvements, if they are made, are not expected until 2013. The hatchery already has DEC approval to sell fish. The Essex County hatchery raises trout that is stocked in local streams and lakes. [Press Republican Report]

St. Lawrence River Town Voted #2 Fishing Spot
Waddington, along the St. Lawrence River, has come in second place in an online contest to be named the “Ultimate Fishing Town USA”. The St. Lawrence County town finished second to Roscoe, NY in the World Fishing Network contest that promised $25,000 to the winner to support local fishing. Waddington has a multitude of species, four season fishing, and over 35 miles of waterfront. The town is recognized for its outstanding carp fishing.

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.

Trout Season Open
Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon season opened April 1st, but the season is still suffering from high and cold waters. With large lakes like Lake Champlain and Lake George at record levels, smaller lakes and ponds are your best bet. Papa Bear’s Outdoors provides regular trout conditions for the AuSable here. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.

Warmwater Sportfishing Season
The fishing season for many popular warmwater sportfish species, including walleye, northern pike, pickerel, tiger muskellunge, and catch and release fishing for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth bass) is open in many waters across the state. Muskellunge fishing season and the regular (harvest) season for black bass open on the 3rd Saturday in June (June 18). Spring also provides outstanding fishing opportunities for yellow perch, sunfish and crappie. A complete listing of 2011 warmwater fishing hotspots recommended by DEC biologists can be found online.

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.

HUNTING REPORTS

** DEC Region 6 Wildlife Management Board Meeting
Thursday, June 16, the Fish and Wildlife Management Board Meeting will be held at the NYSDEC Lowville/Dadville Office Conference/Training Room, located at: 7327 State Route 812. The meeting begins at 12:00 PM (noon) with lunch for board members. Any interested embers of the public are welcome to attend.

** Current Seasons
All waterfowl, turkey, big and small game seasons are closed. All trapping seasons are closed.

** Annual 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 [email protected] by June 23. For more information, visit the Wilson Hill Goose Drive webpage.

Spring Turkey Season Has Ended
The Spring Turkey Hunting Season ended Tuesday, May 31st. DEC biologists expect the spring turkey harvest to be well below the state’s 10-year average of about 34,000 birds, and likely below last year take of 25,807. This is likely to be a third year of poor production in the Adirondacks. 2009 was one of the worst poult production years on record and as a result there will be fewer 2-year-olds, last year’s poor production means fewer yearlings (jakes). Because those birds make up most of the spring turkey harvest, it will likely be considerably lower than average.

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.

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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.

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