Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (July 28)

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.

** MAIN MOOSE RIVER PLAINS ROAD REOPENS
The main Moose River Plains Road between Inlet and Indian Lake (the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road), will be fully open to motor vehicles beginning Friday, July 29. The area was hit hard during the historic flooding which occurred across the Adirondack Park this spring, with the eastern portion receiving significantly more damage. Rock Dam Road, Indian River Road and Otter Brook Road beyond the bridge over the South Branch Moose River remain closed at this time. Also campsites near Wakely Dam remain closed due to ongoing repair work on the dam..

** REMAINING BACKCOUNTRY ROAD CLOSURES
The Haskell-West River Road along the West Canada Creek from Route 8 into the Black River Wild Forest is closed. Old Farm Road near Thirteenth Lake is open to the snowplow turn-around. Parking there will ad about a quarter-mile walk to the trailhead. In the Eastern Lake George Wild Forest The Dacy Clearing Parking Area and Dacy Clearing Road remain closed due to washouts; Work continues to reopen the road and parking area in the near future. In the Hudson River Recreation Area Gay Pond Road, River Road and Buttermilk Road remain heavily rutted. It is recommended that only high clearance vehicles use the roads at this time. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. There is no time table for the needed bridge and road repair work on Haskell-West River Road; DEC Region 6 is currently awaiting construction funds. The Jessup River Road in the Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement Lands north of the Village of Speculator, Hamilton County, which was recently opened, will be closed Perkins Clearing Conservation Easement will be closed to the public starting Monday August 1st. The Jessup and Miami River bridge project will kickoff on Wednesday, August 3rd. The road will remain closed from Sled Harbor to the Spruce Lake Trailhead from August 1st through September 6th. Access to the Pillsbury Mountain Trailhead will remain open to the public during this project.

** SPORTSMEN EDUCATION WEEKEND PLANNED
Cornell Cooperative Extension will be working in cooperation with Sportsmen Education Instructors and the Warren County Conservation Council to host various sportsmen education classes on Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th. Three classes are being offered each day; Sportsman Education, Bow Hunter Education, or Trapper Education (you may choose ONLY ONE class per day). These Sportsman and Bowhunter Education classes are being offered as home study course and all materials need to be picked up at Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center. All classes are FREE and will be held from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm at PACK FOREST in Warrensburg. Lunch will be available at the site for a fee of $6 and will include hamburgers or hotdogs; a drink; and a chips. The proceeds of the lunch are going to support the Warren County Conservation Council’s efforts in education and advocacy. This fee can be paid when you pick up the course materials; PLEASE BRING EXACT CHANGE. Registration is required and classes will fill quickly. For more information, please contact the CCE Education Center at (518) 623-3291 or 668-4881 or e-mail [email protected]

** WATERS AT NORMAL LEVELS
Most rivers in the region are running at normal levels for this time of year. Occasional storms can quickly raise the level of rivers so consult the latest streamgage data in the event of storms and use caution when crossing swollen rivers after storms.

** ADIRONDACK WATERFEST
Lake Placid: Adirondack Waterfest, a free family event, will be held Friday July 29, 2011 at the Lake Placid Town Beach from 10 am – 4pm. Held in partnership with the Mirror Lake Watershed Association, the Lake Placid Shoreowners’ Association and the Mill Pond Neighborhood Association, Adirondack Waterfest will include an array of exhibitors including The Wild Center, the Nature Conservancy, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and local River and Lake Associations. Individuals can learn about local water resources, recreation, water quality, water monitoring, shoreline management and more. Fiddlehead Creek Native Plant Nursery will be selling an array of native plants for your garden. A Kids Area will be offered with activities, games, prizes, t-shirt printing and a bouncy house. There will also be live music throughout the day supplied by local radio station WSLP.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN BORDER INSPECTIONS
Each weekend through August 14, boaters entering the United States from Canada at Rouses Point can expect to be inspected by U.S. Border Patrol. The New York Naval Militia is helping the Border Patrol by making contact with vessels that don’t report at the Customs and Border Protection inspection station, just north of the Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge between Rouses Point and Alburg, Vermont, and directing them there.

** 2011 YEAR OF THE TURTLE
Because nearly half of all turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction around the world, the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) along with other Conservation groups have designated 2011 as the Year of the Turtle. Despite their long evolutionary history, turtles are now in danger of disappearing due to a variety of threats including habitat loss, exploitation, pet trade, hunting for use in traditional medicine, by-catch, invasive species, disease, and climate change. The 2011 Year of the Turtle is an opportunity to raise awareness of these threats and to increase conservation actions to help reduce problems turtles face. To get more details and identify ways to help in conservation efforts, visit the PARC Year of the Turtle website.

NEW BOB MARSHALL WILD LANDS COMPLEX MAP
Local and state officials have announced a cooperative effort among 24 villages and hamlets in the western Adirondacks to promote the half million acre Bob Marshall Wild Lands Complex. “The Bob”, as it is also known, is a mix of public and private land larger than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and almost as large as Yosemite. The Bob includes more than 100,000 acres of Old Growth forests; More than 1,400 lakes and ponds; hundreds of miles of flat and white-water paddling including portions of the Moose, Independence and Oswagacthie rivers; More than 400 miles of hiking trails; and blocks of private land, including remote interior communities like Big Moose, Conifer, Stillwater and Beaver River. The Bob is named after Robert Marshall, who first proposed special protection for the area in the 1930s. The only travel corridor that bisects the entire Bob is the former Adirondack Railroad line that stretches from Remsen (north of Utica) to Lake Placid. Most of the public lands are open to hunting and fishing. More information can be found online.

** INDEPENDENCE RIVER WILD FOREST CHANGES
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced its plans to amend the Independence River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). The Independence River Wild Forest includes over 79,000 acres in Lewis and Herkimer counties. The draft amendment proposes the rerouting of several trails or trail segments to reduce environmental impacts and the designation of several old roads as new snowmobile trails. Additionally, the amendment will classify all snowmobile trails as Class I, Secondary Trails or Class II, Community Connector Trails, as defined in Adirondack Park Snowmobile Management Guidance [pdf]. Comments will be received until August 3, 2011. The proposed amendment can be found by visiting the DEC website and navigate to the UMP webpage.

DEC PREPARING TUG HILL NORTH PLAN
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. 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 protected] Comments received by August 31 can assist in the preparation of the draft UMP.

BE AWARE OF INVASIVE SPECIES
Boaters on Adirondack waterways should expect to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches. Watershed stewards will stationed throughout the region to 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, but 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 have begun ticketing violators of this firewood ban. More details and frequently asked questions at the DEC website.

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: MODERATE

Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Stir to make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. If you do not have water, use dirt not duff. Do not bury coals as they can smolder and break out into a fire at a later time.

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Cloudy, high near 75.
Friday Night: Chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, low around 54.
Saturday: Mostly sunny, high near 79.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 52.
Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 81.

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

** Stocking
Annual spring stocking has been completed.

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 reopened June 18. 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. Papa Bear’s Outdoors provides regular trout conditions for the AuSable here.

** New State Record Brook Trout Caught
An angler from Forestport, in Oneida County, is the new holder of the state record brook trout according to DEC. Dan Germain reeled in the record-breaking fish on June 15, while fishing South Lake in Herkimer County in the southwest corner of the Adirondack Park. Caught on a Lake Clear Wobbler and worm, the brook trout weighed in at 5 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 22 inches, surpassing the previous state record set in 2009 by 3.5 ounces. Germain submitted details of his winning fish as part of DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program. Through this program, anglers enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and a distinctive lapel pin commemorating their achievement. The three categories that make up the program are: Catch & Release, Annual Award and State Record. More information about the Angler Achievement Awards Program, including a downloadable application form, can be found online

** Round Whitefish in Little Green Pond, Franklin County
In mid-May, DEC Fisheries staff set up offshore nets at three sites and conducted night electrofishing surveys around half the shoreline of Little Green Pond in Franklin County. Little Green Pond is closed to fishing as it is a broodstock water that has been stocked three times from 2004-2006 with endangered round whitefish species to help promote breeding. The three offshore nets captured 30 adult round whitefish. These fish were sent to the DEC Rome Fish Disease Control Unit for disease testing. Electrofishing efforts revealed an equal number of adult round whitefish located in the nearshore areas of the pond. Unfortunately, no young round whitefish were seen or captured. Other species seen during the survey included an abundance of rainbow smelt nearshore, as well as brook trout, golden shiner, and one white sucker. Round whitefish otoliths (inner ear bones), were sent to Dr. Geoff Steinhart to determine the age of the captured fish.

Lake Champlain Bass Tournament Dispersal Study
Growing interest of Lake Champlain’s bass fishery has led to a new study that will analyze bass dispersal after release during tournaments held in Plattsburgh. Scientists from the Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh are tagging bass during 2011 and 2012 tournaments with external plastic tags and internal radio transmitters. Researchers will be tracking tagged bass in the lake to assess fish movement patterns. Anglers who recover tagged fish are encouraged to send an e-mail to the address on the tag, and indicate the date, tag number, and approximate location of recovery (i.e., Main Lake, Missisquoi Bay, Northeast Arm, etc.). Please release any tagged fish back to the lake if possible. Questions about the study may be directed to Mark Malchoff at SUNY Plattsburgh ([email protected]; 518-564-3037).

Revised Baitfish Regulations
DEC regulations that formerly banned the overland transport of uncertified baitfish by anglers, including baitfish that were personally collected have been revised effective June 29th. The new rules allow for the overland transport of personally-collected baitfish within three specified transportation corridors, provided the baitfish are used in the same water body from which they are collected. The three transportation corridors include: the Lake Erie-Upper Niagara River; the Lower Niagara River-Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River; and the Hudson River from the Federal Dam at Troy downstream to the Tappan Zee Bridge. While overland transport is allowed within these defined areas, the use of uncertified baitfish is restricted to the same water body from which it is collected. Only certified disease-free baitfish may be transported in motorized vehicles outside of the transportation corridors specified in the amended regulations. A prohibition on transport of baitfish remains in effect outside the designated transportation corridors. Details of the modifications may be viewed on DEC’s website.

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.

Great Sacandaga Lake – Broadalbin Boat Launch Site
The town swimming beach is now closed by decision of the town. DEC will now manage the parking area of the former beach for fishing access and car-top boat launching and retrieval only. Boaters without trailers are encouraged to launch their boats in the former beach area and park in the nearby parking area rather than using the main section of the Broadalbin Boat Launch Site. The area will be open from 5 am to 10 pm to reduce littering, vandalism and other illegal activities at the site. The change in operation is expected to reduce congestion in the main section of the popular Broadalbin Boat Launch Site.

Hudson River Rogers Island Pool Boat Launch
The floating dock has not been installed Rogers Island Pool.

Saranac River System
Both the Lower Locks, between Oseetah Lake and First Pond, and the Upper Locks, between Lower Saranac Lake and Middle Saranac Lake, are open for public usage.

Lake Clear
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.

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

Current Seasons
All waterfowl, turkey, big and small game seasons (with the exception of Snapping Turtle) are closed. All trapping seasons are closed.

** Snapping Turtle Hunting Opens Statewide
Hunters will need a Small Game Hunting License (http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/365.html) and may harvest snapping turtles by means of a firearm or bow beginning July 15th. The season remains open through September 30, 2011. For details on size and bag limits during the season, please check the Reptile Hunting page online.

Public Meetings Scheduled on Champlain Waterfowl Zone
Two public meetings on the status of waterfowl populations and waterfowl hunting seasons for Lake Champlain in New York and Vermont will be held by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. A meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 9, will be held at Skenesborough Rescue Squad building in Whitehall, Washington County, NY. A meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 10, will be held at the University of Vermont’s Billings Lecture Hall in Burlington, VT. Both meetings will run from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Those attending the Burlington meeting should park off Colchester Avenue. Topics to be discussed include the status of waterfowl populations and fall waterfowl flight forecasts, federal frameworks and proposed 2011-2012 Lake Champlain Zone waterfowl hunting season options, among other items. The current Lake Champlain Waterfowl Zone, established in 1988, includes all of Lake Champlain and an additional narrow strip of shoreline in both Vermont and New York. Under federal regulations, waterfowl seasons, bag limits, and shooting hours in the Lake Champlain Zone must be uniform throughout the entire zone. Therefore, waterfowl seasons in New York’s portion of the Lake Champlain Zone must be identical to the waterfowl season in Vermont’s portion of the Zone. Comments received at the August meetings, as well as input and recommendations from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and New York DEC will be reviewed by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board. To provide comments or obtain additional information about waterfowl management and seasons in the Lake Champlain Zone, contact: Lance Durfey, Region 5 Wildlife Manager, NYSDEC, PO Box 296, Route 86, Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296 or call (518-897-1291). Comments must be received by close of business August 19. Waterfowl seasons and bag limits for New York’s waterfowl zones, including the Lake Champlain Zone, will be posted on DEC’s website.

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 [email protected]

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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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