March Montana News
Click on the link below to read all about the March edition of Hunting and Fishing in Montana
2014 AIS Summit - Followup Summary
COORDINATION AND COLLABORATION
• Develop an Memorandum of Agreement or Understanding between FWP, DNRC, MDA, MDT to clarify authorities as described the draft AIS Blueprint
• The AIS Program, or aspects of the program need more funding and support at all levels, for all 4 agencies and for all invasive species. This message needs to reach the Legislature.
o E.g. MDA needs more support for the Certified Weed Seed Free hay program
• Submit letters of support to the Governor’s Office regarding the Invasive Species Council
• In-state data-sharing: Convene expertise in Montana from DNRC, FWP and NRIS to discuss options for collaboration and data housing to make data available to all partners.
• There is a need for increased communication with counties. Counties also need increased resources.
• What is our ability to contact absentee landowners and increase compliance?
• Incorporate technologies that are available.
EARLY DETECTION AND MONITORING
• Develop standard sampling techniques (monitoring, eDNA, etc)
• Increase volunteer efforts and citizen science opportunities
o Opportunities for routine monitoring
• Develop a statewide monitoring list for all AIS taxa
• Is there an opportunity to work with DEQ to collect water samples?
• MDT Motor Carrier Services needs photos of infested boats and other conveyances
• What are the options to expand/implement MDT inspections at Ports of Entry?
• Review hours of operation for Watercraft Inspection Stations
• How should we address shrink-wrapped boats?
• Reach out to state firefighting (DNRC) efforts to see if there are efforts to minimize AIS Spread during firefighting efforts.
CONTROL AND ERADICATION
• Reach out to the Northwest Power Planning Council to garner support for Flowering Rush research on control
• Develop unified protocols for management and response, including roles in a Rapid Response effort
• Clarify emergency response authority, e.g. who can close a waterbody?
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
• Awareness has increased…how do we change behavior
• Expand outreach to other vectors, e.g. float planes
• Expand outreach to irrigators, watercraft dealers (point of sale), and watercraft manufacturers
• Explore options for consistency in messaging, regionally and in-state
• Consider using focus group testing for messaging
• Outreach to Legislators to increase awareness on AIS
• Invasive Species compliance with invasive species laws.
• What clarifications on authority do counties need?
• Develop a means to delegate authority for watercraft inspection stations
• WY has rigorous (mandatory) stop and inspect authority (by any peace officer). Is this a model for MT?
• WY law states that "any conveyance (of water) must be inspected". Is this a model for MT?
• Legislatively defined roles in a Rapid Response Plan. Is this needed on a legislative level?
• Is there a need for better statutory rules around dredging that take into consideration ALL aquatic habitat and resources?
• There is a need for a dedicated source of stable long-term funding ensuring that there are no funding gaps between legislative years and fiscal years.
• There are more requests for DNRC funds and AG funds than funds that exist.
• Make sure there is AIS funding in the Governor’ base budget?
• Are there options for local mill levies to fund AIS issues?
FWP To Hold Hearings on Unauthorized Fish Placement Rule
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will hold eight public hearings beginning Feb. 24 on a draft rule that outlines how officials will respond to the unauthorized placement of live fish into public waters.
Commonly referred to as "bucket biology," the unauthorized placement of fish is a crime of significant concern and is likely to have adverse impacts on aquatic resources, angling opportunities, and fish management costs.
Eight public hearings are scheduled in February and March to discuss and take comment on the proposed rule. The sessions will begin at 7 p.m. at following locations:
•Feb. 24 Kalispell FWP Region 1 HQ; 490 N. Meridian Rd.
•Feb. 25 Missoula FWP Region 2 HQ; 3201 Spurgin Rd.
•March 3 Helena FWP HQ; 1420 E. Sixth Ave.
•March 3 Bozeman FWP Region 3 HQ; 1400 S. 19th
•March 4 Great Falls FWP Region 4 HQ; 4600 Giant Springs Rd.
•March 11 Glasgow FWP Region 6 HQ; 54078 U.S. Highway 2 W.
•March 11 Billings FWP Region 5 HQ; 2300 Lake Elmo Drive
•March 11 Miles City FWP Region 7 HQ; 325 I-94 Business Loop
The new rule commits FWP to launching investigations within 30 days of learning about an unauthorized placement of fish in streams or lakes, followed by the development of an action plan to remove or suppress the fish. Examples include the illegal dumping of northern pike in the Upper Missouri River near Toston and walleye placed in Noxon Rapids Reservoir in northwestern Montana.
Management actions could include removing unauthorized fish with nets and electrofishing or the use of chemicals that can kill fish. Actions to suppress the fish include changes to fishing regulations, fishing contests, and use of commercial fishing.
An electronic database would be established to catalog unauthorized fish placements and FWP management actions underway.
For more information or to comment on the proposed rule online, visit the FWP website at fwp.mt.gov. Click "Public Notices." Comments, due by March 21, can be emailed to email@example.com; or mailed to: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.
January Fish Tales
January Fish Tales Issue 1 is on its way! Click on the image below to see a preview of the January Issue!
You will receive 4 issues of our magazine by becoming a member. In addition, your dues help fund statewide projects that benefit youth fishing and numerous projects to enhance fishing on Montana’s waters and help protect Montana’s great outdoors. Join today!
Ice Fishing Safety
Weather Eyes and Walleyes Winter 2013-14 Tanja Fransen Jack Frost Nipping on your Nose
The beginning of December brought us a cold snap that had even the hardiest Montanan complaining. Temperatures from Dec 4 through Dec 11, 2013 were 20 to 26 degrees below normal across Big Sky Country with actual air temperatures in the 25 to 40 below zero range. But, it did bring in the first ice cover to many area lakes, allowing anglers to start digging out their ice fishing gear. Are you familiar with the signs and symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia? Did you know that at -40 below it only takes 5 to 10 minutes for frostbite to affect areas of your skin that are not covered? At 15 to 20 below zero temperature or wind chill, it takes about 30 minutes for frostbite to start.
Let’s start by taking a look at frostbite. This is caused by the outer layer of skin being exposed to sub-freezing temperature for too long. It starts with your skin being very red, and the gradually switches to white or grayish-yellow. The skin will feel firm and waxy, and you will have painful itching or prickly sensations and then numbness. Sadly, because of the numbness, the person may not realize they are frostbitten until someone points it out to them. The ears, cheeks, nose, fingers and toes are the most susceptible to frostbite. Frostbite can cause permanent damage to the impacted tissue, and in severe enough cases, lead to amputation.
Hypothermia involves the entire body. Your core body temperature lowers to the point where cognitive thinking is impacted. Extreme shivering, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech and exhaustion are some of the symptoms. The person may not even realize what is happening and can do nothing to help themselves. Hypothermia can take time, or it can come on suddenly if you become wet from falling through ice or into a stream, excessive sweating, or rain/snow penetrating clothing. Hypothermia can occur in a home if people are not adequately dressed and/or without adequate heat. In Montana, hypothermia has killed people who were under the influence of alcohol, or they were outdoors and something happens and they were not prepared to be in the cold for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, hypothermia can be deadly if the person is not found and treated in time.
Hopefully you’ll never encounter frostbite or hypothermia. But if you do, here are the steps to take to help yourself or the person you are with. Frostbite:
* Get to a warm place immediately (vehicle, ice shack with heater, into a building with heat).
* Try not to walk on frostbitten toes/feet. Help carry person to shelter.
* Slowly immerse the affected area in warm water (not hot) or warm the area with body heat (ie. under an armpit for frostbit fingers).
* DO NOT rub the areas or massage them, this can cause damage to the frozen flesh.
* Do not use heating pads or heat from a fireplace, stove or radiator as the areas that are numb could be burned by being too close and not feeling the heat right away.\
* Get medical help ASAP.
* Get to a warm place immediately (vehicle, ice shack with heater, into a building with heat).
* Remove wet clothing
* Warm the body core first (chest, neck, head and groin areas). This could be with an electric blanket, or by skin to skin contact (hugging the person) and layers of blankets, clothing, or towels.
* Give warm broth or water to help warm the body. DO NOT give alcohol or caffeine.
* Get medical help ASAP.
Hopefully your winter ice fishing trips never get to this point. Remember you should check the forecast before you head out (weather.gov), and if your gut does a little drop when you see it, maybe reconsider and go out another day. Happy Fishing!
Fishing Report -
Fishing Report - Mar 5th
Canyon Ferry: Rainbow trout anglers continue to consistently catch fish, in less than 10 feet of water using dark colored jigs or ice flies, throughout south end of the reservoir. The yellow perch bite has slowed, but some anglers continue to catch fish between Hole-in-the-Wall, Duck Creek Bay and Goose Bay, in 40 to 65 feet of water, using standard perch gear tipped with maggots, worms or perch eyes. Some open water has been reported along the shoreline throughout the reservoir, so PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Ice conditions have been reported at more than 20-inches between Pond 4 and Confederate Bay, approximately 18-inches from Confederate to White Earth and more than 8-inches on the north end. Adam Strainer, FWP, Helena
Hauser: Rainbow fishing is good in the Causeway on pink or orange ice jigs tipped with maggots 4 to 6 feet under the ice. A few rainbows are being caught from shore at Riverside and Trout Creek bay on flies or egg sacks. There is 14 inches of ice at the Causeway and 12 to 14 inches at Black Sandy. No report for perch or walleye. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
Holter: Rainbows are being caught at Gates of the Mountains and Holter Lake Ramp on egg sacks or pink jigs with a maggot 4 to 8 feet deep. Log Gulch and Departure Point are producing a lot of small perch on jigs and maggots 30 to 50 feet deep. There is 12 inches of ice around Departure Point and Log Gulch and 8 inches of ice out from the road going to Gates of the Mountains. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
Helena Valley Regulating Reservoir: Kokanee fishing is good while using pink ice jigs and maggots or corn. The kokanee are being caught near the bottom in 25 to 35 feet of water. A lot of small perch are being caught in shallower water. There is 14 to 16 inches of ice. Troy Humphrey, FWP, Helena
Spawning reports will be posted as they come in for 2014
Fishing TipsCutting Edge Boat Rigging – Bow to Stern by Keith Kavajecz & Gary Parsons
This time of year the boat-show season is winding down and anglers are pumped to get past the point of “thinking” about fishing and get out and actually do some fishing. Many of you are especially excited because perhaps you have a new boat to break-in, or maybe some new gear that you can’t wait to try out. Anticipation runs high as spring approaches, and that’s a good thing.
So it should be no surprise that we’re pretty excited for the new season too. Like many of you, we have some awesome new toys and tools that we are sure are going to put more walleyes in the boat this year. Of course, before all the fun begins, there’s some work that needs to be done; mainly rigging the boats. So let’s go over a few of the key accessories we will be rigging up with this season – from bow to stern. You might just get a couple ideas for your boat rigging to help you catch and land more walleyes this year.
Every year it seems we spend more and more time using tactics that have us fishing from the bow of our boats; tactics that require pin-point boat control and positioning. Add to that the fact that we have learned that in some trolling situations, controlling the bow of the boat is every bit as important to successful boat control as running the kicker motor in the back of the boat, and it quickly becomes apparent that the bowmount trolling motor is one of the most important boat control tools an angler can have on his boat. But, not just any trolling motor will have the features to help you in both types of scenarios.
This year the bows of our boats will be rigged with MotorGuide’s new Xi5 Wireless Trolling Motor. The Xi5 has features we have been begging for in a trolling motor for some time, plus a few we never dreamed of but are excited to put to use. Now GPS equipped trolling motors have been around a little while, but the Xi5 takes things to a new level with Pinpoint GPS technology. You can purchase the Xi5 with the Pinpoint feature installed, or purchase the Pinpoint as an add-on. Pinpoint GPS allows such operations as Anchor Mode, which holds the boat position on a fixed GPS coordinate.
We really learned the importance of this feature last summer on a trip to North Dakota’s Devil’s Lake. Gary had located some fish holding tight to a concrete bridge pillar and found the best way to fish them was by vertical jigging tight to the pillar. The problem was it was windy (a common thing in the Dakotas for sure). Now here Gary was, trying to keep his 21 foot boat as close to this concrete bridge pillar as possible while 2 foot waves are knocking him around while he was trying to vertical jig these walleyes; needless to say it was a boat control a nightmare. But Gary was proto-typing this new Xi5 trolling motor equipped with Pinpoint GPS so he thought he’d put it to the test. He set the Anchor Mode to keep his boat just off the pillar and over the fish, and he was able to take his mind off the trolling motor and concentrate on jigging. In fact, the trolling motor did such a good job of keeping him over the fish, he could watch his jig on his locator just as if he were ice fishing, and even was able to watch a fish come in under his boat, he raised the jig off the bottom and he caught the fish as he watched it play out on the locator screen. Without the trolling motor keeping him in place like that, he would never have been able to do that.
Now while the Xi5 can be equipped with the Pinpoint GPS, word is that in the not-too-distant future these motors will be able to be integrated right to your Lowrance network in your boat. More on that when it becomes available, but one thing that is available from Lowrance right now that we feel you really need to look at is their Insight Genesis mapping program. Basically this is a service you can subscribe to that allows you to upload saved sonar and GPS data from an SD card to the Insight Genesis site and get detailed maps you can save back on an SD card and use in your Lowrance unit. This has applications for all anglers, but in particular if you fish a lake or reservoir that has little in the way of mapping cards available for it already. And from our experience, even lakes that do have map cards available, the added detail you will get using Insight genesis makes it more than worthwhile.
Of course we’re talking rigging here, and when it comes to rigging and mounting your electronics, positioning, stability and security are high on the priority list when choosing your electronics mounting options. The Lowrance HDS-10 Gen 2 and the HDS-12 Gen-2 Touch units we mount on our boats are heavy, and in order to safely and securely mount these we searched long and hard and tried several good products. But when we came across the Cisco Fishing System’s electronics mount, we knew we had our winner. The Cisco Sure-Lok Electronics Mount is made of machined aluminum and features a mounting plate that will accommodate a wide range of units and a positive-locking head that can be adjusted to any angle. And when these mounts are locked into place, they are locked! Pounding through rough water is no problem – the position you lock the unit into is where it’s going to stay.
And Cisco doesn’t just make electronics mounts – in fact we love their line of machined aluminum rod holders too. By going with the machine aluminum rod holders over plastic ones, we never have to worry that a rod holder is going to break or give-way if a rod gets snagged while we’re trolling. In fact, we have worked closely with Cisco’s team to help design the new Long Cradle rod holder that works great for walleye and muskie trolling applications. Cisco rod holders allow for a wide range of mounting options from rail mounts, permanent mounts, track-systems and even riser mounts so you can customize your rod holder layout to fit your style fishing and your boat perfectly. Cisco also builds a trolling motor stabilizer mount that is the best we’ve ever used. Now as we look toward the back of the boat, one thing on our boats the past couple seasons that stands out (literally), is our Power-Pole. When these first came out you only saw them on bass boats and in-shore salt water rigs, but walleye fishermen are learning every year, these can be an invaluable tool to help you in so many walleye fishing situations. Not only is the Power-Pole an awesome shallow water anchoring system perfect for keeping you in place for shallow water pitching and casting presentations, but since they introduced the Drift Paddle last year, the applications to walleye fishing increased significantly. For instance, consider a situation where you need to troll really slowly, like 1 to 1.75 mph. With the Mercury Pro-4 Verado mounted on our Nitro ZV-21’s, we can get the boat to troll down to a speed of about 2.8 to 3 mph. By deploying the Power-Pole with the Drift Paddle attachment, we can slow down to 1.7 mph. And by using this set-up, it allows us to operate from the console seat as oppo sed to standing at the kicker motor all day, which in big waves can be a real advantage.
Now obviously there’s a lot to fully equipping the ultimate walleye fishing machine, and we’ve really only touched on a few of the highlights here. But you now have some ideas that you can incorporate when decking out your walleye boat for this coming season so that you’re fully ready to get your Next Bite.