Thursday, September 13, 2012

Adirondack Fish and Game Report (Sept 13)

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.

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.


** indicates new or revised items.

It looks like it will be a great weekend weather-wise. Remember that conditions can change suddenly with weather and accidents happen 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.

Temperatures are turning considerably cooler now especially in the evenings, morning and overnight. Temperatures have been falling into the 40s overnight and even into the 30s at higher elevations. Pack a non-cotton jacket or sweater. Days are shorter, darkness is arriving earlier. Plan hikes accordingly and always carry a flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.

Bear sightings and encounters have been occurring more frequently than usual this summer throughout the region leading to a spike in bear-related calls to DEC and local law enforcement officials, as many as a dozen per week. Higher reports of encounters with bears have been coming from the Old Forge-Inlet corridor, and in the High Peaks (where bear canisters are required). A dozen nuisance bears have been put down so far this year in the Adirondacks. Wildlife biologists say the increased encounters are the result of reduced natural food sources this year [read more]. 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 [Read More]

Check the weather before entering the woods and be aware of weather conditions at all times — if weather worsens, head out of the woods. The National Weather Service (NWS) at Burlington and Albany cover the Adirondack region. NWS Burlington provides a weather forecast for elevations above 3,000 feet and spot forecasts for the summits of a handful of the highest peaks in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. [LINK]

** Fire Danger: MODERATE
There have been nearly 20 wildfires in the Adirondacks since July 1st that have burned some 30 acres. Half of the Adirondack wildfires this July were started by campfires that were not put out completely. The U.S. Drought Monitor is also reporting abnormally dry conditions throughout the Adirondacks and a moderate drought in the Southwestern Adirondacks, use extreme caution there. 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.

The US Drought Monitor continues to reporting abnormally dry conditions throughout the Adirondacks and moderate drought conditions in the Western and Southwestern Adirondacks. Drought conditions are reported weekly by the National Climatic Data Center.

A ban on open burning remains in effect until October 10.

Rivers and streams have returned to normal, or just below normal for this time of year, but remain at near seasonal lows. Continue to be watchful for sand bars, shoals, rocks, stumps, limbs and other navigation hazards that may be exposed or lying just under the water surface. Consult the latest streamgage data if you are venturing onto the region’s waters.

Freshwater fishing, hunting and trapping licenses go on sale. You can purchase licenses online, by phone or in person at several DEC offices and most sporting good stores and town clerk offices. The 2012-13 licenses are valid through the recreational season, from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013. If you plan to fish, hunt or trap prior to October 1, 2012, you must have a valid 2011-12 license. For details on available licenses and to find out how to purchase a license, visit DEC’s Sporting Licenses webpage.

Thursday, September 20, the Fish and Wildlife Management Board Meeting will be held at the Dadville/Lowville DEC field Office Conference Center. The meeting begins at the new time of 10:00 AM with a lunch break. Any interested public is welcome to attend. The New York State Fish and Wildlife Management Act was passed by the Legislature in 1957 for two major purposes: 1) to encourage the preservation and development of fish and wildlife resources on privately-owned lands and waters, and 2) to improve public recreational access to these resources.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the Invasive Species Prevention Act, legislation designed to help prevent the spread of destructive invasive plants and animals by making it illegal to sell and transport invasive species in the state. [Read More]

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.

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 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)

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.

With hunting and trapping seasons quickly approaching, don’t delay in registering for a sportsman education course. First-time hunters and trappers are required to successfully complete relevant courses before purchasing a sporting license. Hunting with firearms, bowhunting and trapping courses cover safety skills, responsibilities, equipment, laws and regulations and much more. Whether you are new to hunting or trapping or just want a refresher, make sure to register early, as courses fill quickly during September. To find a course near you, visit DEC’s Sportsman Education webpage.

New York State will acquire 69,000 acres of the former Finch Pruyn lands in the Adirondacks in phases over the next five years. The State has not yet purchased any of these lands at this time, so there is no public access currently available. The purchase of the first tract is expected to be completed in late 2012 or early 2013. [More Info]


Ausable River (West Branch in Wilmington) water temperature remains in the lower-60s.
Lake Champlain (at Burlington) water temperature has fallen to about 68 degrees.
Lake George (at Warner Bay) water temperature has fallen to 71 degrees.

The Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative (Cooperative) will be applying lampricides to portions of five tributaries to Lake Champlain and two deltas during the months of September and October. Areas to be treated include the Saranac River delta, Mill Brook delta, Mill Brook, Great Chazy River, and Mount Hope Brook in New York and the Winooski and Missisquoi rivers in Vermont. Treatments are scheduled to begin with the Saranac River delta on September 10th, but weather conditions may affect planned treatment dates. Temporary water use advisories will be in effect for each of the treatments to minimize human exposure to affected waters. Each state’s Department of Health recommends that the treated river and lake water not be used for drinking, swimming, fishing, irrigation, or livestock watering while the advisories are in effect.

Lake George is the latest lake to be infested by spiny water flea, two weeks ago the Hudson River Feeder Canal and the Champlain Canal above Lock 11 were reported to be infested with the invasive plankton. Spiny water flea is a particular concern for anglers as it can foul down-riggers and other fishing gear. It’s believed to have arrived in Lake Huron in 1984 in ship ballast water, and since spread to Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Great Sacandaga Lake, Peck Lake, and Stewarts Bridge Reservoir. Officials from Vermont have requested the New York State Canal Corporation immediately close the Champlain Canal to prevent the spread of the invasive plankton into Lake Champlain. The Canal Corporation has refused.

Changes to freshwater fishing regulations will be in effect starting Oct. 1, 2012, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced including these local changes:

  • Prohibit fishing in the following stream sections from March 16 until the first Saturday in May (opening day for walleye) to protect spawning walleye: Lake Pleasant outlet to the mouth of the Kunjamuk River (Hamilton County).
  • Change the walleye daily limit for Lake Erie and the Upper Niagara River to six per day. Change minimum length for salmonids in the Upper Niagara River to any size.
  • Open Lake Kushaqua and Rollins Pond (Franklin County) to ice fishing for lake trout.
  • Open Blue Mountain Lake, Eagle Lake, Forked Lake, Gilman Lake, South Pond and Utowana Lake (Hamilton County) to ice fishing for landlocked salmon and reduce the daily limit for lake trout in these waters from three per day to two per day.
  • Delete the catch and release trout regulation for Jordan River from Carry Falls Reservoir upstream to Franklin County line (St. Lawrence County).
  • Delete the special trout regulation for Palmer Lake (Saratoga County) to match the statewide regulation.
  • Delete special ice fishing regulation for Square Pond (Franklin County).
  • Allow ice fishing on specific waters currently deemed as trout waters in the counties of Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence Counties.
  • Provide for ice fishing at privately managed water in Hamilton County (Salmon Pond).

The complete list of freshwater sportfish regulation changes can be viewed under ‘Recently Adopted Regulations (Previous Twelve Months)’ on DEC’s website.

New Raquette River Boat Access at Moody Falls
A canoe and cartop boat access trail to the Raquette River at Moody Falls in the Town of Colton, St. Lawrence County is completed. The site, located off State Route 56 north of Seveys Corners on lands owned by Lyme Adirondack Timberlands and subject to a conservation easement held by DEC, has a new trail which leads down to the Raquette River upstream of Moody Falls. There is a four-car parking lot and improved road access. There will also be an access trail along the falls that will provide access from above to below Moody Falls which should be completed later this year or early next year. All of these actions were also proposed in the Raquette-Boreal Unit Management Plan, which was completed in 2006. The official opening will be on Sunday, July 29 at 10 AM as part of the Raquette River Awareness.

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.

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.

Lake Clear
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.


The Early Black Bear Hunting Season in the Northern Zone begins this Saturday, September 15, 2012 in the all Region 5 WMUs except for 5R, 5S, 5T and 6R. Bowhunting season opens September 27 in the Adirondack WMUs During the early bear hunting season, hunters may use a bow (with appropriate bowhunting eligibility), muzzleloader, handgun, shotgun, rifle or crossbow. Last year’s license (2011-2012) is required when hunting prior to October 1, 2012. Successful bear hunters must report the harvest within seven days via DEC’s online reporting system or by calling our toll-free number 1-866-GAME-RPT. See DEC’s map showing which Wildlife Management Units are included in the Early Bear Season. More information can be found in the booklet “Hunting Black Bear in New York“.

DEC has created a 2-page summary sheet of the 2012-13 Hunting Seasons [pdf], which shows dates and bag limits for big game, small game, turkey and furbearer seasons. You can print the season summary along with the 2012-2013 Sunrise-Sunset for convenient reference. For detailed information on regulations, licenses, places to hunt, sportsman education and more, visit DEC’s Hunting Webpage.

Clarification of 2012-2013 Hunting Guide
Some hunters have been confused by a statement on Page 31 of the 2012-13 New York Hunting and Trapping Guide regarding new regulations adopted by DEC. The text refers to “allowing Deer Management Permits (DMPs, “doe tags”) to be used in all seasons in the Northern Zone.” This means that hunters who obtain a DMP for a Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) in the northern zone may use that tag during any open deer hunting season in that WMU. The only WMUs with DMPs available this year are 6C, 6G, 6H, 6K and 6R.

Report Sick or Dead Deer to DEC
DEC needs your help identifying outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), a fatal virus transmitted to deer by biting midges. Infections commonly occur in late summer and early fall. Sick deer have small bruises in the mouth and nose and swelling of the head, neck, tongue and lips. A large number of sick or dead deer may be found in a small area, particularly in or near water sources. Though no outbreaks have been detected in New York yet this year, we previously had limited EHD outbreaks in 2007 in Albany and Niagara counties and in 2011 in Rockland County. The virus is not a problem for humans or domestic animals but can have a locally significant impact on deer populations. If you encounter a sick deer or an unusual number of dead deer, please report it to your nearest DEC regional wildlife office.

** Some Small Game Seasons Open
Gray, Black and Fox Squirrel hunting seasons opened September 1, except in Wildlife Management Units 5R, 5S, 5T & 6R. Crow hunting season opened September 1. Ruffed Grouse hunting season opens September 20.

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.

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