Adirondack Almanack provides this weekly Hunting and Fishing Report each Thursday evening, 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.
** DRY SUMMER CONDITIONS
Water levels remain low and fire danger remains HIGH despite some heavy storms that impacted the central and northern Adirondacks and dropped two inches of rain on some locations. Expect daytime temperatures in the 80-90s, and avoid the occasional afternoon thunderstorm that rolls across the Adirondacks at this time of year. The Park’s busiest areas, such as the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness will be crowded on fair weather weekends through Labor Day so plan accordingly. Remember that conditions can change suddenly with weather so be prepared and carry a flashlight, first aid kit, food, water and extra clothing. Conditions on summits are always more extreme; avoid lightening and make sure campfires are completely out.
** HIGH FIRE DANGER
The Adirondacks and the surrounding region are at High Fire Danger Levels, a condition that allows wildfires to start easily and spread quickly with devastating effects. There have been more than 15 wildfires in the Adirondacks since July 1st that have burned some 30 acres. The U.S. Drought Monitor is also reporting abnormally dry conditions throughout the Adirondacks and a moderate drought in the Southwestern Adirondacks. Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. More about the region’s high fire danger can be found here.
** DROUGHT CONDITIONS
Despite this week’s thunderstorms, the US Drought Monitor is reporting abnormally dry conditions throughout the Adirondacks and moderate drought conditions in the Southwestern Adirondacks. The fire danger remains elevated and waters are lower than normal.
** 90-DAY BURN BAN IN EFFECT
The governor’s office has issued a 90-day burn ban after wildfires swept through the Adirondacks. The ban is in effect until October 10. Wildfires can start easily from many types of causes and can spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. Take extra caution and do the following: Refrain from starting any type of outdoor fire and in cases where a fire must be started, take extreme caution; Be watchful and keep a close eye when grilling outdoors; For those who smoke, make sure a lit cigarette is completely extinguished; When camping, use existing campfire rings when possible and keep fires small; Scrape away litter, duff, and any burnable material within a 10 foot diameter circle. This will keep the campfire from spreading; Never leave a campfire unattended; Drown the fire with water (make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again); and use a cooking stove instead of a campfire to prepare meals.
** WATERS RUNNING BELOW OR WELL BELOW NORMAL LEVELS
The levels of rivers and streams throughout the region are below normal, especially in the south western Adirondacks where the waters are running or well-below normal including the Oswegatchie, Independence, and West Canada Creek. The Rivers and streams elsewhere are running below normal levels. Water levels on lakes and ponds are also generally below normal. Motors boaters in particular should be aware that some normally navigatable shallow areas may no longer be safe to travel in larger motor boats. Consult the latest streamgage data if you are venturing onto the region’s waters.
** BEAR ENCOUNTERS ON THE RISE
Bear sightings and encounters have been occurring more frequently than usual this summer leading to a a spike in bear-related calls to DEC this month. Wildlife biologists say the increased encounters may be the result of dry conditions that have reduced natural food sources such as skunk cabbage and berries. Higher reports of encounters with bears have been coming from the High Peaks. Black bears will take advantage of readily available food sources, including bird feeders and garbage. To prevent encounters with bears, you should never intentionally feed them, and you should discourage them from seeking food from sources near your home or camp. The use of bear canisters is required by campers in the Eastern High Peaks from April 1 to November 30 and recommended throughout the Adirondacks. Pack all food, toiletries and garbage in canisters. DEC has issued a Guidance to Discourage Black Bear Encounters.
POTENTIAL FOR TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS ON LAKE CHAMPLAIN
Conditions currently favor the growth of blue-green algae. Boaters, swimmers, water-skiers, waders, parents, pet-owners and residents should become familiar with the appearance of blue-green algae. Algae accumulations or “blooms” may move around the lake with with changing winds and weather fronts. Watch for dense accumulations of algae and avoid those areas. If you believe that someone has become ill because of blue-green algae, contact the Health Department at 1-800-439-8550. Weekly algae reports are posted online.
The possibility of encountering thunderstorms is raised at this time of year. There is NO safe place outside in a thunderstorm, follow local weather closely and avoid storms. Hundreds of people are killed or permanently injured each year by being struck by lightening. If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance so seek safe shelter immediately. If you are caught outdoors away from the safety of cars or buildings, then avoid open fields, hill-tops, and isolated trees, and stay away from water. You should never be above treeline or on water when there is lightning.
** ROUTE 86 ROAD CONSTRUCTION
NYS Department of Transportation is in the midst of a project to repave Route 86 between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. Expect long delays and plan accordingly.
** LAKE PLACID IRONMAN SUNDAY
The 14th Annual Lake Placid IRONMAN, the oldest IRONMAN in the continental U.S., is being held this Sunday, July 22, 2012. More than 2,800 athletes are expected to compete from 45 states and 23 countries, ranging in age from 18 to 75. Mirror Lake and downtown Lake Placid will be crowded and many roads will be temporarily closed to accommodate participants and spectators. In addition to several closures in the Village fo Lake Placid, other affected routes will include: Route 86, Route 73, Route 9N, and Hasleton Road. Detailed road closure information can be found online [pdf].
It’s “Bug Season” in the Adirondacks. Now until the end of summer Black Flies, Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) will be present. Wear light colored clothing, long sleeves and long pants; rap a rubber band around sleeves at the wrist; tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks; pack a headnet to wear when insects are thick and use an insect repellant.
** 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: MODERATE
Be sure campfires are out by drowning them with water.
** INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS WEEK
Groups across the region are hoping local residents and visitors alike will become familiar with invasive species during the 7th annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week, July 8-14. Look for events highlighting the threat of invasive plants and animals, ways to prevent their spread and management options. Activities geared to fun and education 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].
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.
FOREST PRESERVE AND EASEMENT ROADS
The following roads or road systems remain closed. Users on foot can still travel past gates and on muddy roads. The roads will be reopened for motor vehicle use as soon as possible:
Santa Clara Tract Conservation Easement Lands
Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands – all roads except the Fishhole Pond Access Road and town roads
Darling Ford Road (Hudson River Recreation Area, Lake George Wild Forest)
Buttermilk Road Extension (Hudson River Recreation Area, Lake George Wild Forest)
MOOSE RIVER PLAINS
The Otter Brook Road is open over the South Branch of the Moose River to the Indian Lake Road and the Indian Lake Road is open to the new Squaw Lake/Indian Lake Trailhead. The Town of Inlet Highway department has installed a new rock barrier on the Indian Lake Road about 0.3 miles before the Squaw Lake Trail in accordance with the management plan for Moose River Plains Complex. Parking for the trailhead is located at a pre-existing pull-off just before the new barrier. The new parking area is signed and can hold 5 to 6 vehicles.
DEC DRAFTING ST. LAWRENCE FLATLANDS MANAGEMENT PLAN
DEC Region 6 is preparing a unit management plan (UMP) for ten state forests and seven detached forest preserve parcels in northern St. Lawrence and Franklin counties. This plan for the new St. Lawrence Flatlands management unit is a continuation of the former Brasher UMP which began several years ago. The state forests total 30,810 acres and are located in the Franklin County towns of Bombay and Moira, and the St. Lawrence County towns of Brasher, Madrid, Norfolk and Stockholm. The unit also includes seven widely scattered parcels of detached forest preserve lands located in the towns of Lisbon, Louisville, Massena, Oswegatchie and Waddington in St. Lawrence County. Comments on the future management of this unit should be addressed to Senior Forester Aaron Graves at NYSDEC, 6739 US Highway 11, Potsdam, NY, 13676, e-mail [email protected], or call call (315) 265-3090. The deadline for this round of public comments is August 31, 2012.
ADIRONDACK FISHING REPORTS
** ADIRONDACK WATER TEMPERATURES
Ausable River (West Branch in Wilmington) water temperature is in the lower to mid-70s.
Mirror Lake water temperature is in the mid-70s.
Lake Champlain (at Burlington) water temperature has risen to 68 degrees.
Lake George (at Warner Bay) water temperature is holding steady at about 80 degrees.
LOW WATER ON LAKES AND PONDS
Water levels on lakes and ponds are below normal. Motors boaters in particular should be aware that some normally navigatable shallow areas may no longer be safe to travel in larger motor boats.
** Invasive Spiny Water Flea Found in Champlain, Glens Falls Feeder Canals
Invasive Eurasian spiny water flea, which fouls fishing gear and threatens game fish populations by competing for the same food has spread into the Champlain Canal. The invasive specie first reached Lake Huron in 1984, have been spreading throughout New York waters. They reached Great Sacandaga Lake in 2008, Stewarts Bridge Reservoir near Hadley, Saratoga County in 2009, and Sacandaga Lake near Speculator in 2010. They were found in May in canal water at Lock 9 in Smith’s Basin, Kingbury, Washington County, as well as the Glens Falls Feeder Canal. They are believed to have been transported by fishing equipment, bait bucket or live well, bilge water, or boats or trailers. There are no means to control or eradicate the fleas and the only course of action currently is to prevent their further spread by thoroughly cleaning boats and fishing gear.
** Watermilfoil Management Summit August 16th
“Eurasian Watermilfoil Management Summit: Lessons Learned from the Adirondack Region,” a free event at Horicon Town Hall in Brant Lake (9-5, Thursday, August 16th), will feature presentations on the status of the Eurasian watermilfoil invasion and its management in the Adirondack region, control options, planning considerations, case studies from various lakes, permitting, financing, lake-friendly land-use recommendations and spread prevention. Speakers will include state agency staff, elected officials, not-for-profit representatives, shoreowners and lake managers. Eurasian watermilfoil is one of the most widespread aquatic invasive plants across the country and has invaded over 50 lakes and ponds in the Adirondacks so far. RSVP by Thursday, August 2nd to Allie Smith at [email protected] with “EWM Summit” in the subject heading – include the number of participants attending, names, and organization or association, or call 518-668-5773. More information about the Summit, including a preliminary program, is online.
** POTENTIALLY TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS ON LAKE CHAMPLAIN
Conditions currently favor the growth of blue-green algae and localized algae blooms have been reported around Lake Champlain, including at Shelburne Bay, Red Rocks Point, the Burlington waterfront, Missiquoi Bay, and at Willsboro, Westport, and Essex, NY. Denser blooms are being reported on the Vermont side of the lake in front of Ferrisburg and South Burlington. Boaters, swimmers, water-skiers, waders, parents, pet-owners and residents should become familiar with the appearance of blue-green algae. Algae accumulations or “blooms” may move around the lake with with changing winds and weather fronts. Watch for dense accumulations of algae and avoid those areas. If you believe that someone has become ill because of blue-green algae, contact the Health Department at 1-800-439-8550. Weekly algae reports are posted online.
Fishing Seasons Open
Trout and Landlocked Salmon, Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskie, Walleye, Black Bass, Perch, Sunfish, Eel, Bullhead, Catfish and other panfish seasons are open.
Lake Champlain Sea Lamprey Control
Treatment of five tributaries and two or three deltas are planned for 2012, these include: Great Chazy River, Mill Brook, and Mount Hope Brook, Missisquoi River and Winooski River Delta, the Saranac River delta will be treated Bayluscide in September, the Mill Brook delta will be treated in October, treatment of the Boquet River delta will depend on the findings of this summer’s ammocoetes survey.
Fish Survey Data Added to Online Map
Adirondack DEC Fish Survey data has been added to the Adirondack Regional GIS (ARGIS) interactive map. The data is up to date as of Feb 16, 2012. You can use the identify tool to get the list of species for a lake, or you can filter by species using the quick filter (right click on the layer in the table of contents–>”Properties & Display Options”–>Quick Filter).
Trout Season Report
Trout (lake, brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake) and landlocked Salmon seasons are open. Streams across the area continue to be clear and low. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations online.
2012 Coldwater Fishing Report
Trout season has begun and anglers are concerned this year with the impact of last year’s flooding on local streams. The Ausable and Boquet River watersheds were most severely affected and anglers will find major changes in these areas, particularly in the East Branch of the Ausable. Anglers should be aware of new hazards underwater. Also some changes in the river course and topography may be present. New pools may have formed where there was previously riffles and riffles may be found where there was previously pools. The complete DEC coldwater fishing report for 2012 can be found online.
The gate for the road to Lake Clear is open and access Meadow and St. Germain Ponds is restored.
Kings Bay WMA
The gates for the roadway accessing Catfish Bay on Lake Champlain are closed and locked until next season.
Ausable Marsh WMA
The gate for the access road has been closed. Hikers, birders and others on foot can still travel pass the gate. The gate and road will reopen for motor vehicle use when it has dried and firmed up.
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. Hunters, hikers should use caution while attempting to cross this new stream channel as it is very deep and swift moving.
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.
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
** DEC Adopts State Deer and Bear Hunting Regulations Changes
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has adopted rules affecting deer and bear hunting in New York, to implement certain parts of the state’s Five-Year Deer Management Plan [pdf]. Local changes include: Establishing a late bowhunting season concurrent with the late muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone; Adjusting the Northern Zone season dates by opening the Northern Zone regular season for 44 days, beginning on the 2nd Saturday after Columbus Day; Allowing Deer Management Permits (DMPs, “doe tags”) to be used in all seasons in the Northern Zone; and adjusting bear hunting seasons to remain concurrent with deer seasons. The full text of the adopted regulations is available online.
** 2012 Waterfowl Population Estimates
DEC has been conducting annual waterfowl breeding surveys since 1989 to monitor the status of populations. Survey results are combined with estimates from other states to aid in establishing waterfowl hunting seasons in the Atlantic Flyway. This year, New York’s waterfowl estimates show a declining trend: Mallard duck pairs (74,000) are the second lowest recorded and are well below the 100,000 or more breeding pairs that existed in the late 1990s. A similar trend is occurring across the Atlantic Flyway. If this decline continues, duck hunting seasons may need to be reduced in the future. Black duck pairs (2,400) have declined more than 50 percent since surveys began, whereas wood duck pairs (45,000) remain stable. Canada goose pairs (69,000) are the lowest in nearly a decade, but populations remain above desired levels in most areas. More details on these estimates are available in the May issue of the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Monthly Highlights (link).
New Turkey Virus Detected in New York State
This spring, two wild turkeys in Columbia County tested positive for an emerging disease called Lymphoproliferative Disease Virus (LPDV). Surrounding northeastern states, Maine and Pennsylvania, also had confirmed LPDV cases. Skin lesions sometimes caused by LPDV resemble those caused by avian pox, another viral disease frequently found in wild turkeys. This similarity indicates LPDV in wild turkeys may have been overlooked and misdiagnosed. DEC’s Wildlife Health Unit would like to obtain samples of birds with lesions to understand more about the disease and its occurrence in New York State. For instructions on providing a sample e-mail [email protected] DEC advises against eating any wild animals that appear sick. You can read more about LPDV in the January issue of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study Briefs [PDF].
DEC Announces Tentative 2012-13 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons
The tentative schedule for many of New York’s 2012-13 migratory game bird seasons (including ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe and rails) is now available online. The final season dates, bag limits and other regulations for 2012-13 migratory game bird hunting seasons in New York will be announced once they are approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Tentative season dates for the Lake Champlain Zone were not included because they will be determined by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board following public meetings likely to be held in August in Whitehall, NY and Burlington, VT. 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]
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 may be deep and swift moving.
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.