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Post #508 by Rajesh Kumar on April 22nd 2016, 1:13 PM (in topic “Knight Life: Twelve-year-old Fall Creek boy proposes change to fishing rule”)

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Knight Life: Twelve-year-old Fall Creek boy proposes change to fishing rule

- Jack Thomson shows off a bass he caught. The 12-year-old from Fall Creek proposed changes to a fishing regulation at the Conservation Congress hearing on April 11 in Eau Claire.

It was an unusually warm day in late March, and Jack Thomson thought it would be a good time to try out a new bass fishing rod he had received for Christmas on the Fall Creek pond.

Thomson, a 12-year-old who lives in Fall Creek, knew the general fishing opener for game fish was not until early May. But he planned to release any bass he caught immediately so he didn’t think there would be a problem.

Then Jack’s dad, Ken Thomson, seeing what young Jack was up to, explained that it was not legal in Wisconsin to fish for bass between the game fish closing date in early March and the general fishing opener in May — this year on May 7 — even if you immediately released all fish.

Ken Thomson is quite familiar with the state’s fish and game laws. He is the state Department of Natural Resources conservation warden for eastern Eau Claire County. He noted that early catch-and-release fishing is allowed in the state for trout.

“That’s a stupid law,” Jack observed.

In the father-son discussion that followed, Thomson pointed out that there is a mechanism in Wisconsin for any citizen to try and change the conservation laws. Anybody can submit a resolution from the floor at the annual fish and game hearings. To be elected to serve as a county delegate to the Conservation Congress, a person must be at least 18, but there is no age limit for proposing resolutions.

The DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, contains information about how to go about writing a proposed resolution. Jack wrote his on his home computer. 

“My dad said you had to follow a certain template,” Jack said. “We looked it up.” 

Jack discussed his proposal to allow catch-and-release bass fishing with artificial bait between the close of game fish season and the general fishing opener with his fishing friends and found strong support among the 12-year-old demographic.

A couple of days before the April 11 spring hearings, Jack sent his resolution to Dennis Vanden Bloomen, chairman of the Eau Claire County delegates to the Conservation Congress. Local resolutions must be submitted before the hearings begin. 

Vanden Bloomen said he tweaked a few parts of the proposal but he didn’t need to do much. 

“He pretty much wrote it himself,” Vanden Bloomen said of the resolution.

Questions, answers

Jack’s bass resolution was the only one introduced from the floor during this year’s Conservation Congress meeting in Eau Claire County. 

When it came time for his resolution to be discussed, Jack walked to the front of the room in front of those assembled there to answer questions about it. 

He didn’t show any trepidation despite being the youngest person in the room by several decades. But Jack said he felt otherwise.

“Yes, I was nervous,” he acknowledged after the event.

The meeting had been polite, but people attending had not been shy about offering differing opinions regarding Jack’s proposal.

“I knew there would be some questions,” he said.

There were.

Although catch-and-release fishing has been embraced by many anglers as a way of protecting game fish populations in a time of high fishing pressure and improving equipment, it is viewed by some anglers and others as stressing fish for no good reason.

The first person to comment on the resolution said the DNR considers shining deer to be harassing the animals, and catching and releasing bass amounted to the same thing.

Vanden Bloomen helped clarify some questions and said shining and catch-and-release fishing were not exactly parallel comparisons.

Proposal backed

Jerry Merryfield, an Eau Claire County delegate and a member of the Congress’ Warm Water Fish Committee, noted that bass, particularly largemouth bass, are doing well in Wisconsin. 

In some northern lakes the populations have grown to the point where the bass now have stunted growth. Catching and releasing that species of fish in the spring is not going to affect their populations, he said.

Others noted that catch-and-release fishing in spring would not interfere with bass spawning because bass spawn well after the May opener. 

 Current rules prevent anglers from keeping bass in the northern zone — roughly the northern one-fourth of the state — until mid-June this year in order to protect bass on the spawning beds. Catch-and-release bass fishing is allowed in the northern zone from the general opener until June 7.

After more discussion, Jack’s bass resolution was approved by a 34-9 vote. The crowd had dwindled somewhat by the time the vote was taken.

The next step for Jack’s proposal is for it to be considered by the Warm Water Fish Committee. If it is referred on by that group, it likely will be an advisory question statewide at next spring’s Conservation Congress hearings, probably with some additional fine-tuning. 

If the measure is supported statewide, it may come back the following spring as a rule proposal to be voted on. And if the measure garners statewide support, it would have a strong chance of being approved by the Natural Resources Board and becoming a state law.

Spring fishing

Ken Thomson said his son is not the only angler to assume that if they are releasing bass when they catch them out of season, it’s OK to target them them before the May opener. 

If anglers are fishing for crappies with a small jig and occasionally catching and releasing a bass, there is no problem. But if they are using larger baits and clearly targeting bass, they are not complying with the rules.

“You always use discretion. Each situation is a little different,” Ken Thomson said. “But if somebody is fishing and they are throwing a big crankbait, it’s pretty obvious they are not fishing for crappies or perch.”

Until the May 7 opener, Jack is restricting his fishing to panfish. But he strongly believes not being able to catch-and-release bass in the spring is a lost recreational opportunity for anglers.

“These past couple years I’ve been really getting into bass fishing,” he said. “When you’re crappie fishing or something and you catch a bass, it just makes you wish you could be bass fishing.”

Like many serious bass anglers, Jack releases all the bass he catches, regardless of the time of year, so that would not be an adjustment, he said.

“I can’t recall keeping a bass all last summer,” he said.

Knight is a correspondent from the town of Seymour. He can be reached at jmktrout@gmail.com

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Post #508

Post #507 by Rajesh Kumar on April 22nd 2016, 1:06 PM (in topic “Ohioans invited to enjoy a weekend of free fishing”)

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Ohioans invited to enjoy a weekend of free fishing



Ohio is known for its world-class fishing, and on May 7 and 8, state residents are invited to take part in the annual free fishing weekend, according to a press release from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Ohio’s “Free Fishing Days” are open to all Ohio residents and extend to all of Ohio’s public waters, including Lake Erie and the Ohio River. This is the only weekend all year that does not require anyone 16-years-old or older to obtain a fishing license.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife’s six fish hatcheries stocked more than 55 million sport fish in public waters in 2015, including walleye, saugeye, steelhead, rainbow trout, brown trout, muskellunge, channel catfish, blue catfish and hybrid striped bass, which will provide opportunities for more than 1.3 million Ohio anglers.

Ohio State Parks is also offering a camping discount during Ohio’s “Free Fishing Days”. Campers can receive a 20 percent off discount May 6-7 by using the promotion code 16ANGLER.

The “Free Fishing Days” weekend offers Ohioans of all ages the chance to experience the fun of catching a fish. Here are some helpful tips for taking a youngster out fishing:

  • Keep the trip simple by considering a child’s age and skill level.
  • Choose a pond, lake or stream where children will be able to easily catch a few fish.
  • A spin-cast reel is usually the easiest for kids to use.
  • Bring a camera and snacks.
  • Be patient – plan on spending time untangling lines, baiting hooks, landing fish and taking pictures.
  • Most of all, keep the trip fun.

Anglers 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters when not fishing on Ohio’s free fishing weekend. An Ohio resident fishing license is only $19 a year for residents. Fishing licenses are available at participating agents and wildohio.gov.

For more information, call John Windau, ODNR Division of Wildlife, at 614-265-6325 or Matt Eiselstein, ODNR Office of Communications, at 614-265-6860.

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Post #507

Post #506 by Rajesh Kumar on April 22nd 2016, 1:01 PM (in topic “Upgrade your gear for less”)

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Upgrade your gear for less

Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, will hold its annual Nu-2-U used tackle sale event on April 30 and May 1. Rods, reels, combos, gaffs and lures are just some of the equipment you are likely to find. Sell or buy used gear or update your tackle with new equipment. “It’s a great opportunity to sell items and upgrade to some new technology,” said Elisa Cahill of Sung Harbor. The sale works like this: if you sell your used tackle at Snug Harbor, you pay the marina a 20 percent commission, or you can use 100 percent of the sale price toward new equipment purchased from the marina. For information call (401) 783.7766. Snug Harbor Marina is at 410 Gooseberry Road, South Kingstown. Learn how to catch close-to-home cod Learn about tactics, tackle, bait and strategies to catch close-to-home cod form bottom-fishing experts Capt. B.J. Silvia of Flippin’ Out Charters and his fishing partner Greg Vespe at the RI Saltwater Anglers Association meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at the West Valley Inn, West Warwick. Cod fishing was good this past year and is still fairly strong so now is the time to learn how to catch these great eating fish close-to-home. Everyone is welcome, non-members are asked for a $10 donation to the RISAA Scholarship Fund, and members attend free. Optional dinner supplied by the West Valley Inn starting at 5:30 p.m. Narragansett Trout Unlimited meets April 27 The Narragansett Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU225) will meet Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., at the Coventry/West Greenwich Elks Lodge, 42 Nooseneck Hill Road (Rte. 3, Exit 6 off of Rte. 95), West Greenwich. The primary focus of this meeting will be a presentation by The Mayforth Group, a Government Relations and Advocacy firm located in Providence. This group is part of a coalition named The Herring Alliance (http://www.herringalliance.org/ ), an organization committed to promoting an "ecosystem-based" fisheries management policy within the region. Their primary concern is the chronic overfishing of the forage fish that has led to the populations of river herring/shad to drop to dangerous levels. The Group and Alliance’s focus is to protect and restore the forage fish in our waterways. Contact Chapter president Ron Marafioti at (401) 463-6162 with any questions. DEM holds fly fishing workshops Registration is now open for fly fishing workshops being sponsored by the Department of Environmental Management and its partners. Saturday: Kids' Fly Fishing Event, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Burrillville. Hosted by DEM, Trout Unlimited, and United Fly Tyers to provide hands-on, fly-fish instruction to children 8 years and older. The program focuses on equipment needs, fly-tying, fly-casting, and fishing safety. Lunch and equipment provided. A parent or guardian must be present at all times.

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Post #506

Post #505 by Rajesh Kumar on April 22nd 2016, 12:58 PM (in topic “Weather sparks 'crazy' bluefin tuna fishing”)

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Weather sparks 'crazy' bluefin tuna fishing


  They’re closer and earlier and bigger than normal.

The combination constitutes a stunner of a tight-lines jackpot for San Diego-based sports fishing vessels hunting prized bluefin tuna.

No one, it seems, can dream up a reason to feel blue about the unexpected blues.

“Two years ago, we didn’t started running until Memorial Day,” said Drew Card, captain of the Pacific Queen moored at Fisherman’s Landing. “Even then, you didn’t get into fish until about 200 miles out and then it would be slow. Our first tuna trip this year was March 31.

“People were writing all these April Fool’s jokes on our Facebook page about catching bluefin that early.”

For those who prefer their water salty and their work amid the waves, it’s like Major League Baseball bats crackling to life in February or NFL games cropping up in July.

Pockets of early bluefin popped up a year ago, but the combination of size, location and date borders on unprecedented. It’s pumping thousands and thousands of dollars into the industry at a time routinely reserved for maintenance and season prep.

“Normally, you first start hearing the long-range guys on bluefin — the five-day trips, maybe the end of May and into June,” Card said. “A half-day boat (that has to stay closer to San Diego), two or three weeks ago, had 4 or 5 bluefin. I’ve never heard of that. That’s crazy.

“I don’t remember the bluefin being that close. They were only 6 to 12 miles off the coast.”

Mark Gillette, the captain of Eclipse, said one of his recent trips off Ensenada, Mexico, produced 10 schools of bluefin in a single afternoon.

The warming waters of the past two years have tossed the ecosystem in a blender. The fishing calendar finds itself in frenzied acceleration.

“It’s pretty unique — especially the volume we’re seeing,” said Gillette, who has skippered for nearly 17 years. “It’s April, but if feels like summer out there.”

Gillette isn’t a scientist, but Dr. David Checkley is.

The professor at Scripps Institute of Oceanography is the director of CalCOFI, also known by the tongue-testing title California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations. The group has studied and pondered marine happenings since 1949.

Checkley said a phenomena known as “The Blob” developed two years ago when a lack of wind allowed a large volume of water in the north-central Pacific to warm. Powerful gusts normally mix and cool things by bringing deeper water toward the surface.

Two years of The Blob — with apologies to the 1958 drive-in movie staple — were followed by recent El Niño conditions, creating a sustained period and area of warmer water.

Checkley said the temperature at the end of Scripps Pier on Thursday registered at 64.8 degrees. For context, that’s anywhere from 2 to 5 degrees warmer than normal. For context stacked upon context, Checkley said the past century of global warming has raised average water temperature “about 1.1 degrees.”

“So that’s significant,” he said.

The bluefin followed. The boats followed the bluefin. Cause, meet affect.

Card, of Pacific Queen, said word reached his boat that TopGun 80 at H&M Landing steamed on an exploratory trip in late March and caught “limits” — meaning two bluefin per license.

“I heard that and said, ‘We’re going,’ ” he said. “We put a trip online. It filled up immediately. We went out, and we had limits. It was nuts.”

In past years, Card’s boat often made its first tuna trip in early July. This year, the crew already has undertaken “five or six.” The Pacific Queen’s most recent trip to Mexico, about 40 miles down the coast, yielded 40 fish on a short-leash single day trip. The majority of the bluefin, Card said, landed in the 50- to 70-pound range.

The success continued. The financial dominoes tumbled.

“It’s a lot less stress this time of the year,” he said. “Typically, you’re waiting for the season to get going. By the time you get to the end of May, the money’s running kind of thin. The fact that we’ve been running this winter. We’re stoked.”

Checkley, the ocean expert, predicts that waters will cool by season’s end.

A period of La Niña, a phase of the tropical cycle that delivers colder water, is expected. That has the potential to cool down the hectic bluefin fishing, as well.

“I anticipate the water off San Diego will cool in the coming year,” he said. “Now’s the time to go (fishing). My guess, it won’t be nearly as good in six months. It might not be worse, but I wouldn’t put my money on it being as good six months from right now.”

No one needs to tell Gillette twice.

“When they’re here and biting,” the captain of Eclipse reasoned, “you go fishing.”

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Post #505

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