December 07, 2022
By Fly Fisherman Staff
South Dakota Trout Stream in Peril
The flows on Rapid Creek, a small trout stream in the Black Hills of South Dakota, have dropped to dangerous levels for its resident wild brown trout while the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBOR) performs maintenance on Pactola Dam. No notice was given prior to the drop in flows, which could have prompted conversations about the wisdom of when the best time of year to do such work would be.
The creek is reportedly flowing at about 11 or 12 cfs during the maintenance, which is scheduled to be completed within a week. Time will tell how the trout fare.
Sesidents showed up to Monday's city council meeting in Rapid City to express concern and report the impacts they'd observed, including dehydrated trout eggs on exposed gravel bars.
South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks said they were not made aware of the dam repairs in advance, and will share comments at an upcoming commission meeting.
To voice your concern to the Rapid City BOR Office, call 605-394-9757. For the USBOR Regional Office, call 701-250-4242. Or click here to let the USBOR know what you think.
For more information on this story, check the Rapid City Journal's article here.
Michigan DNR Secures Funding for Fish Habitat
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was recently awarded with $5 million from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s America the Beautiful campaign, which will go toward stream-habitat restoration, fish barrier removals, and other projects aimed at improving climate resiliency in the state.
“Michigan’s natural resources are some of the best in the nation, and we will work with anyone to preserve them for future generations,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on the DNR’s website. “These federal grants for our inland waterways will help us protect several at-risk species, reduce risks to public safety and improve climate resiliency. Let’s keep working together to ensure that all our waters, from the Great Lakes that define us to our thousands of inland waterways, are safe for decades to come.”
Nearly 30 barriers are planned for removal, reconnecting around 200 miles of streams for fish passage. The streams slated for rehabilitation include:
- Twin Lakes Creek (Cheboygan County)
- Au Sable River (Crawford County)
- Carr Creek (Delta County)
- Dana Lake (Delta County)
- Little Bay de Noc (Delta County)
- Wycamp Creek (Emmet County)
- Two Mile Creek (Gogebic County)
- Boardman/Ottaway rivers (Grand Traverse County)
- North Branch Cole Creek (Lake County)
- Spring Creek (Luce County)
- McAlpine Creek (Mackinac County)
- Silver Lead Creek (Marquette County)
- Little Muskegon River (Mecosta County)
- Buckhorn Creek (Mecosta County)
- Stony Creek (Oceana County)
- East Branch Big Creek (Oscoda County)
- Au Sable River (Oscoda County)
- Hayden Creek (Van Buren County)
Click here for more information.
New Fishing App for New York State
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the State's new 'Tackle Box' mobile phone feature to enhance fishing-related tourism by making it easier for new and experienced anglers to enjoy the great fishing offered throughout New York. The new Tackle Box feature builds on the State Department of Environmental Conservation's HuntFishNY smartphone app to provide a one-stop location for nearly all State fishing regulations, waterbodies, State-operated fishing access sites, stocking information, and other useful features like photos to help identify fish likely found in a certain river, lake, or stream.
"New York is a world-class fishing destination that offers a wide variety of opportunities to land a keeper from a large list of prized game species," Governor Hochul said. "The release of the unique Tackle Box feature will make fishing even more accessible for our residents and visitors of all experience levels, providing them a one-stop location for all fishing information. I encourage all New Yorkers to use this feature and get out on the water today to take advantage of the great fishing our state has to offer."
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) led the creation of the Tackle Box's map-based interface for displaying fishing information. Unlike any other current mobile fishing smartphone offering for New York State, Tackle Box allows users to search for waterbodies by name or by panning and zooming. Highlighted waters are clickable, providing information on special fishing regulations, fish stocking, and boating/fishing access sites owned by DEC, the State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, New York State Canal Corporation, and New York City Department of Environmental Protection. In addition, the new 'navigate' feature gives users driving directions to the boating access site of their choice. The Tackle Box also includes an offline feature that allows anglers to use it when cell service is not available.
Learn more here.
Western Native Trout Initiative Solicits Projects for Funding
The non-profit Western Native Trout Initiative (WTNI) is seeking proposals for fiscal-year 2024 for native-trout conservation projects. WTNI seeks to partially fund projects that emphasize restoration efforts that will improve recreational fishing opportunities and public use of the resource. Funding is provided via the National Fish Habitat Partnership program.
Successful projects typically see between $25,000 and $50,000 in funding and must be matched by 1:1 non-federal dollars, which may include cash, time, materials, or other services. Typically the applicants exceed the funding, so complete applications and attention to detail are important when applying.
WNTI is a collaborative effort between 12 western states, three federal agencies, sovereign tribes, private businesses and individuals, non-governmental conservation groups, and other organizations that seek to cooperatively conserve (protect, restore, enhance, and recover) 21 western native trout and char species and sub-species across their historic range. WNTI works to achieve this vision by funding locally based efforts that raise awareness for the importance of native trout and focus limited financial and human resources toward the highest-impact, locally led, on-the-ground projects.
Click here for more information and a full list of the criteria.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Approves New Striped Bass Rules
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recently approved new harvest regulations for Gulf striped bass in the lower Ochlockonee River. The new rules are aimed at reducing harvest on spawning-aged stripers to increase natural reproduction, and include removal of the 18-inch harvest minimum and only one fish over 24 inches.
“This rule change is a positive step for Gulf striped bass, an important sport fish in Florida,” said FWC Commissioner Gary Lester in a press release. “We appreciate staff working with stakeholders on these ongoing conservation efforts for the future of this fishery."
For questions about these rules or fishing for Gulf striped bass, email Christopher.Paxton@MyFWC.com or visit the striped bass profile on MyFWC.com for more information about this species. The full release is available here.
Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Exposes Illegal Runoff
A Georgia solar-power farm was held accountable for sediment runoff caused by its 2018 construction thanks to the actions of the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.
As part of routine monitoring, a Riverkeeper employee noticed a large amount of opaque brown water entering the lower Chattahoochee River from Oseligee Creek in Chambers County, Alabama within a mile of the state border. So the river-oversight organization jumped into action reporting its findings to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
“A lot of people don't realize that sediments, dirt that comes off our earth's surface and our construction sites when it comes in large quantities, is one of the most damaging types of pollutants into our river systems,” Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Jason Ulseth said in an article on the Montgomery Advertiser. “Not only does it cause a lot of environmental harm in terms of harming ecosystems, fish and invertebrate reproduction, but it also causes a lot of economic harm.”
Along with harming the river and its inhabitants, the sediment created issues with nearby West Point’s drinking supply.
The solar farm has since paid fines, come into compliance with the law, and voluntarily contributed to support Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s West Point Lake Floating Classroom.
The full story is available here.
Addendum Added to Amendment 7 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass
Addendum 1 to Amdendment 7 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass was recently released, but it's not the update to the problems with Conservation Equivalency that most fly anglers wanted. Instead, Addendum 1 actually proposes to maximize commercial harvest of stripers by allowing the transfer of unused quotas between states. The addendum is now up for public comment.
For the full story, click here. To email your comments to the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, click here.