Thursday, July 7, 2011

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (July 7)

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.

** HIGH WATERS
Although additional rain this week was somewhat limited, waters in the region remain mostly above normal with Sacandaga and Raquette rivers running well above normal. 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.

** LAKE CHAMPLAIN FLOODING IMPACTS CONTINUE
During the recent flooding Lake Champlain reached the highest level ever recorded, but the lake has begun returning to near normal levels. The Ausable Point Day Use Area, which includes a large swimming beach and picnic pavilion, is now open to the public but the adjoining campground remains closed as DEC continues repair work. DEC plans to have the campground at least partially opened by Friday, July 15. The Peru Dock pump station remains closed. Conditions continue to improve at Valcour Island, however some campsites, access points and portions of trails remain wet and/or damaged by flooding. The cumulative impacts of the Lake Champlain flooding on the watershed’s ecosystems can be found online.

ROAD CLOSURES
A number of secondary roads and backcountry roads remain closed due to spring 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 The Jessup River Road in Hamilton County; 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; and Lily Pond Road near Brant Lake. The Wolf Lake Landing Road from McKeever on Route 28 east toward Woodhull Lake is passable only with high clearance vehicles. Gates on roads designated for motor vehicle traffic will be reopened when conditions warrant. 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.

** INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS WEEK
Advocates of combating invasive species in the Adirondacks are hoping local residents and visitors will become familiar with invasive species during the 6th annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week, July 10-16. Look for events highlighting the threat of invasive plants and animals, ways to prevent their spread and management options. Interpretive walks and paddles, identification support, invasive species talks, workshops for all ages and more are planned throughout the Adirondacks [calendar of events. Invasive species are a growing threat in the Adirondacks, making their early detection increasingly important to combating their spread. Adirondack Almanack regularly covers the issue of invasive species in the Adirondacks [link].

** 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.

** TUPPER LAKE WOODMEN’S DAYS
The annual Tupper Lake Woodsmen’s Days will be held this weekend July 8-July 10, at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park. The traditional welcome event on Friday night will be an informal family friendly BBQ at the park with live music by the band Movin’ On. This year’s parade will kick off Saturday’s events at 10:00 am with the theme “Dreams, Wishes & Imagination.” In addition to the traditional lumberjack competitions, chainsaw carving, equipment contests and the area’s largest horse pull, there will be live music playing throughout Saturday afternoon by Winter Camp, led by local musician Jamie Savage. Kids’ games will also be scheduled throughout the entire weekend with a grand finale magic show on Sunday afternoon. Anyone interested in participating in the parade or wanting more information should contact the Tupper Lake Woodsmen’s Association at 518.359.9444 or email [email protected] or [email protected]

** 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]. A public meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 19, 2011, from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Lowville DEC sub-office located at 7327 State Route 812. The public will have an opportunity to offer comments regarding the draft amendment. 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 will ticket 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: LOW

** Central Adirondacks LOWER Elevation Weather

Friday: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly sunny, high near 79.
Friday Night: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; mostly cloudy, low around 53.
Saturday: Chance of showers, thunderstorms; partly sunny, high near 75.
Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 54.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 82.

ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS

Stocking
The majority of the annual spring stocking has taken place at this time.

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.

** DEC Free South Bay Fishing Event Sat., July 16th
A “Free Fishing Event” will be held on Saturday, July 16, from 9 am to 1 pm at the John A. Brooks Memorial Fishing Pier at South Bay on Lake Champlain. Participants will not need a fishing license in order to fish during the event. The South Bay Fishing Pier is a 300-foot-long universally accessible designed fishing pier located on Lake Champlain off State Route 22, near Whitehall, Washington County. Accessible parking is also available at the site. Bait, tackle, and adaptive fishing equipment will be made available to participants. However, the amount is limited so participants are encouraged to bring their own gear if possible. DEC Fish Biologists, Environmental Conservation Officers and members of the Washington County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs will provide instructions on the use of gear, fishing techniques, and information on aquatic biology, fish identification and habitat protection. For more information about the event, contact event organizer Joelle Ernst at 518-402-8891. Visit the DEC website for a listing of currently posted events, and be sure to check back periodically in the future as events may be added.

** 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.

Hudson River Recreation Area
Gay Pond Road in the Hudson River Recreation Area is open, but the road is still in rough condition. 4-wheel drive and other high clearance vehicles are recommended.

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.

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.

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.

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

Current Seasons
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 protected] 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 [email protected]

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 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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