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Friday, April 29, 2011

NJ Publishes Delaware River Fish Survey

For 31 years the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife has been conducting an annual survey of fish species in the Delaware River estuary. This survey provides a valuable insight into the number of and different species of fish in the estuary on a year to year basis. It also aids in the development of fisheries management and harvest objectives.

You can read the latest report from the 2010 survey here: Studying the Delaware River - 2010 Report

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fishing Hurts Rest Area

PETA is looking to sponsor a rest stop on interstate 81.  The current rest stop at Troutville, Virginia along with several others, is up for grabs as the governor is looking for ways to increase revenue.

PETA hopes to take over the rest stop and rename it "Fishing Hurts Rest Area" as part of their animal rights activism against fishing.  They propose to sell their plush sea kitten toys from vending machines.  Sea kitten toys are PETA's way of trying to compare fish to kittens.  These extremists also wish to display an exhibit accusing fisherman of harming the environment and inflicting pain on fish who they claim are the same as mammals.

You can email Governor Bob McDonnell and let him know what a bunch of nuts PETA people are.


April 14, 2011

(Washington, DC) – The National Fish Habitat Board (www.fishhabitat.org ) today released a first-of-its-kind status of fish habitats in the United States report as envisioned in the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, an effort to protect, restore and enhance our nation’s aquatic habitats. The report titled THROUGH A FISH’S EYE: The Status of Fish Habitats In The United States 2010 summarizes the results of an unprecedented, nationwide assessment of the human effects on fish habitat in the rivers and estuaries of the United States.

Through a Fish’s Eye, provides an important picture of the challenges and opportunities facing fish and those engaged in fish habitat conservation efforts. Urbanization, agriculture, dams, culverts, pollution and other human impacts have resulted in specific areas of degraded habitat where restoration is most likely needed to bring back the healthy habitats and fishing opportunities that once existed. Addressing degraded habitat also requires reducing or eliminating the sources of degradation mentioned in this report, through best management practices, land use planning, and engaging landowners, businesses, and local communities in the effort.

The assessment detailed in the report assigns watersheds and estuaries a risk of current habitat degradation ranging from very low to very high. These results allow comparisons of aquatic habitats across the nation and within 14 sub-regions. The results also identify some of the major sources of habitat degradation that plague waterways across the nation.

Overall, 27 percent of the miles of stream in the lower 48 states are at high or very high risk of current habitat degradation and 44 percent are at low or very low risk. Twenty-nine percent of stream miles in the lower 48 states are at moderate risk of current habitat degradation.

Fifty-three percent of estuaries (by area) are at high or very high risk of current habitat degradation, while 23 percent of estuaries are at low or very low risk of current habitat degradation. Marine habitats of the United States tend to be most degraded near the coast, where they are most affected by human activity.

The goal of the national assessment was to estimate disturbance levels to fish habitats in rivers and estuaries from information about human activities occurring in the watersheds and the local areas affecting each aquatic habitat. This approach is supported by a large body of scientific research showing that human disturbances to the land transfer to receiving waters and contribute to disturbance in downstream fish habitats in rivers, estuaries, and the ocean.

While the specific analytical approaches used to assess habitats in the lower-48 states, Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. estuaries differed slightly, the end product of each analysis was similar—an estimate of the risk that discrete habitat units will be degraded due to current human activities on the landscape.

“This report identifies areas where those efforts are most needed and points to areas where fish habitat is most likely still intact and should be protected to maintain its value for fish and other aquatic organisms. Resources for fish habitat conservation are limited, especially for the next few years,” said Kelly Hepler, Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board.

“Fish Habitat partnerships ensure coordinated work around specific habitat challenges,” said Eric Schwaab, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. ”This information will help bring strategic focus to conservation efforts and allow rigorous measurement of results.”

“This report clearly illustrates the need for strategic use of existing resources through partnerships that can identify the most effective use of funds and help the nation as a whole make progress in fish habitat conservation,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould. “There are many major threats to the health of fish habitat and the National Fish Habitat Action plan helps to focus and leverage available funds, pool technical expertise, and enlist new partners to address the challenges to fish habitat."

Key findings from the “Through a Fish’s Eye: Status of Fish Habitats” report include:

Habitats with a very high risk of current habitat degradation include those in or near urban development, livestock grazing, agriculture, point source pollution or areas with high numbers of active mines and dams. Specific locations that stand out as regions at high risk of current habitat degradation include: the urban corridor between Boston and Atlanta; the Central Midwestern states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio; the Mississippi River Basin, including habitats adjacent to the lower Mississippi River in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana; habitats in eastern Texas; and habitats in Central California and along the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington.

Areas that stand out as being at very low risk of current habitat degradation include rural areas in New England and the Great Lakes states; many habitats throughout the Mountain, Southwest and Pacific Coast states; and most of Alaska. It should be noted that not all water and land management issues could be addressed in the assessment, so some of the areas mapped as at low risk of current habitat degradation actually may be at higher risk due to disturbance factors not assessed. For example, most arid regions of the western United States were found to be at low risk of current habitat degradation.

Estuaries in the mid-Atlantic have a very high risk of habitat degradation related to polluted run-off and other effects of the intense urbanization and agriculture in this area. The estuaries of southern California also have a high risk of current habitat degradation for similar reasons. Estuaries in the north Pacific and downeast Maine have a low risk of current habitat degradation.

The release of this report is also accompanied with the release of a map viewer, which offers the maps that are in the report in greater detail. The National Fish Habitat Action Plan map and data web tool (www.nbii.gov/far/nfhap) was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey's Biological Informatics Program under guidance of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan Science and Data Committee. This tool not only enables users to see multiple views depicting the condition of stream and coastal habitats across the country, but also means that users can access more detailed information at finer scales, as well as the option to download data files and map services.

To read the report in its entirety or download a PDF, visit www.fishhabitat.org or go to http://fishhabitat.org/images/documents/fishhabitatreport_012611.pdf to view the PDF.

About the National Fish Habitat Action Plan
The National Fish Habitat Action Plan is the most comprehensive effort ever attempted to voluntarily conserve freshwater, estuarine and marine waterways and habitat across the country. The Action Plan is a science-based investment strategy to conserve waterways and make conservation dollars stretch farther by combining federal and privately raised funds to build regional partnerships. For more information, visit www.fishhabitat.org.

Friday, April 08, 2011

New York Suspends Saltwater Fishing License

Sport Anglers Do Not Need To Purchase Licenses for 2011

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that a recreational marine fishing license is no longer required to fish in the marine district of New York, including fishing for migratory fish from the sea (e.g. striped bass) on the Hudson River below the Troy Dam
The DEC reminds anglers that they should not attempt to purchase licenses through DECALS, the online license sales system. DEC has also notified its 1,500 license sales agents that the saltwater fishing license should no longer be sold.

Legislation included in the final state budget directs DEC to establish a no-fee registry to take the place of the marine license. DEC expects to have the new registry in place in early June. In the interim, saltwater anglers may fish without a marine license and without registering with DEC.

The new law also directs DEC to provide refunds to holders of a lifetime recreational marine fishing license. Refunds are expected to be sent out during this calendar year. Information on how to apply for a refund will be announced at a later date. There are no provisions in the newly enacted legislation to refund other marine license fees.


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Fly Fishing 101

If you've ever thought of picking up a fly rod or if you've just started and would like a jump start, Fly Fishing 101 is just for you.

The brainchild of the Orvis Company, the oldest retailer of fly fishing tackle in the US, this one day primer is designed to get the beginner fly fishier out of the house and into the water.  Orvis is no stranger to teaching fly fishing.  Their famed school near their headquarters in Vermont guides and instructs thousands of new and intermediate anglers each year.  The schools run for either one or two days and are offered at several locations throughout the country.  One thing that sets Fly Fishing 101 apart from the Orvis Fly Fishing School is it's free.  That's right, no cost.

Actually, it's better than free. Upon completing your day you will receive a one year membership to Trout Unlimited, the nations premier cold-water conservation organization (a $35 value).  You'll also receive special offers towards Orvis products, something sure to come in handy if you get hooked!

During your day at Fly Fishing 101 you can expect to get casting lessons from experienced teachers and also learn how to rig your own tackle.  It's a great opportunity for the whole family to get outdoors and embark on a life long sport of fun that's also rich in history.  Fly fishing will also expose you to our natural environment and let you experience the wonders of nature that otherwise you might never see.

Fly Fishing 101 is currently being offered in 37 states on twelve differnt days.  Check on Orvis.com for the date and location best for you.  Once you've completed 101 you'll have the opportunity to enroll in Fly Fishing 201.  Here is where you can take the next step and actually catch a fish using the skills you've learned at Fly Fishing 101. A nominal fee for Fly Fishing 201 may apply for a short outing on local water.  Check with your local Orvis Store for more information on Fly Fishing 201.

Looking forward to seeing you on the water!

Vermont Bans Felt Soles for Wading

Vermont joins several other states in banning felt soles in its battle against aquatic invasive species.  The Ban is effective April 1, 2011.  Vermont's trout season opens on April 9th, so anglers across the state will be wearing alternative waders and wading boots like those offered by Vermont fly fishing tackle company, Orvis

With at least six rivers already infected with didymo and the whirling disease pathogen identified in at least one other, Vermont Fish & Wildlife is taking this invasive species threat seriously and doing what it can to help slow or prevent the spread of these aquatic nuisances.

But it's important to note that banning felt soles alone will not solve the problem.  It's necessary for anglers, boaters and other recreational and commercial waterway users to clean and disinfect theeir equipment each time its exposed to the water.

Vermont's Fish & Wildlife Department provides these directions on their website for cleaning and disinfecting your gear: http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/felt_disinfecting.cfm

Hopefully other states will follow the lead Vermont and others have set in banning felt soles and bringing the danger of invasive species to the forefront.  Cleaning your gear each time you use it is sure to be an inconvenience to many anglers at first, but after a short time will become a needed habit to safeguard and protect the environment.

A minor inconvenience for a major battle.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Coast Guard warns boaters of illegal charter boats

BALTIMORE — Coast Guard Sector Baltimore cautions passengers who pay to go fishing in the Chesapeake Bay during the 2011 fishing season to avoid boats that do not have licensed captains, and in some cases, have not been inspected by the Coast Guard.

According to Coast Guard investigators, the number of vessels reported to be illegally charging to carry people has increased over the last two years and is most frequent in the areas of Kent and Tilghman Islands, Rock Hall, Annapolis and the Potomac River in Charles County.

Illegal charter boats are uninspected vessels or are operated by a captain without a mariner’s license, or in some instances both. The operation of a charter vessel without the required vessel documents and operator license is a violation of federal law, and if caught, the operator could be subject to criminal or civil liability. The regulations are in place to help ensure the safety of passengers. When all regulations are met a Certificate of Inspection is given, showing that a vessel has met the Coast Guard safety standards in regard to fire extinguishing systems, vessel de-watering capabilities, life saving and navigation equipment requirements.

A boat captain must also have a mariner's license in order to legally operate a charter. Coast Guard issued mariner's licenses show that the operator of a commercial vessel has met proficiency requirements in navigation, seamanship as well as steering and sailing rules. A paying passenger cannot be assured of the operator's competency or the soundness of the vessel without a valid license and inspection certificate.

“While it might seem like a great deal, it’s important to remember that illegal charter boats can charge less because they do not have the added expense of complying with safety regulations,” said Cmdr. Kelly Post, chief of prevention at Sector Baltimore. “You get what you pay for, so beware of a deal that seems too good to be true.”

The Coast Guard advises the public to ask the boat’s captain to show them his or her original Coast Guard license. If the boat is carrying more than six passengers, it is required to be inspected by the Coast Guard, and the Certificate of Inspection should be displayed in an area accessible to passengers.

“What’s astonishing is the number of people who knowingly pay to fish aboard illegal vessels just to save a few dollars,” said Post. “People would expect a commercial airline to have a licensed pilot aboard and the plane to meet safety standards, so people should not be willing to put their lives, and the lives of their family and friends, at risk by going out on the water aboard illegal charter vessels. The Coast Guard is dedicated to reducing loss of life, injuries, and property damage that occur on U.S. waterways. We need the public’s help by refusing to go out on vessels unless the captain can produce his original Coast Guard license, and for inspected vessels, the Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection.”

If the public wants to verify a captain’s license or the inspected status of a vessel carrying more than six passengers, or to report an illegal charter operation, they can call Coast Guard Sector Baltimore, Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 410-576-2558.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Museum Honors Women Fly Fishers

This summer The American Museum of Fly Fishing opens a first ever exhibit honoring the historic role women have played in fly fishing.

Titled A Graceful Rise, the exhibit opens on June 11, 2011 and will run through April 2012.  The events planned for the opening weekend, June 11 & 12, include presentations, casting workshops, displays and an opportunity to meet some of the women who are the "Who's Who" in fly fishing.

These noted women include the First Lady of Fly Fishing, Joan Wulff; Diana Rudolph,world record holder; Fanny Krieger, founder of the IWFF and the Golden West Women Flyfishers; and noted guide and instructor Lori-Ann Murphy.

The museum has also paired with the Orvis Company to offer two 2-day women only fly fishing schools to be hosted by Molly Seminik, Master Casting Instructor and member of the Federation of Fly Fisher's Casting Board of Governors.

Established in 1968 in Manchester, Vermont, by a group of interested anglers, the American Museum of Fly Fishing serves as a repository for, and conservator to, the world's largest collection of angling and angling-related items. Visit their website for more information: http://www.amff.com/ or call: (802) 362-4144.