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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 2/7/2002

Maumee bridge not expected to affect spawning runs

Construction of the replacement Maumee-Perrysburg Bridge is not expected to interfere with the spring spawning runs of walleye or white bass in the Maumee River, says a biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Two cofferdams are being constructed to allow access to some of the bridge work, said Larry Goedde, fish-management supervisor for Ohio Wildlife District 2. The dams are to extend about 100 feet from either bank.

“That should not cause any problem with the walleye run as far as the fish go,” he said.

Anglers are advised, however, that the dams and construction area in general are closed to fishing and will be posted. Police will enforce no-trespassing rules, Goedde said. “The big concern is to make sure people don't go down there.

“We've been working with ODOT [Ohio Department of Transportation] to try to minimize the impact of construction. It's not going to interfere with the spawning run the way it's set up.”

The biologist noted that the Maumee has sufficient spawning grounds and that fish running upriver will have at least 400 feet of stream-width between the cofferdams through which to migrate upstream to spawning beds.

He noted that any rock and stone used in constructing the cofferdams are to be removed after construction and that normal river scouring - from high-water runoff to ice breakup - will quickly return the area to normal after the bridgework is completed.

The walleye run normally gets under way in mid-March, though some years a few young males, or jacks, move upstream as early as late February if stream-flow conditions are right. The run normally peaks the first week of April.

A white bass spawning run usually follows the walleye run, in mid to late April.

The $9.12 million bridge replacement was begun last year and is scheduled to open to traffic in November.

In related news, the Ohio Division of Wildlife plans to remove a low-head dam in the Huron River at its Milan State Wildlife Area off State Rt. 113 near Milan in Erie County. Work could begin this week.

Goedde said that the wildlife division built the dam around 1969 in conjunction with its coho salmon stocking plan. The idea was to prevent the salmon from running farther upstream, and to give anglers a fishing-access site.

Coho have not been stocked for years, however, and the dam has outlived its purpose, the biologist noted. “Actually, at this point it probably is detrimental to the river.”

Substantial erosion is occurring around the edges of the dam, even though it is notched to allow water to flow through, Goedde said. He added that no long-term habitat impact is expected from the dam's removal.

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Twenty-eight snowshoe hares have been released in Ashtabula County in northeast Ohio as part of a continuing project to re-establish the species in Ohio.

Snowshoe hares disappeared from Ohio in the early 1900s and several attempts in the 1950s to re-establish them failed. In 2000, the Ohio Division of Wildlife resumed attempts with introduction of 138 hares trapped at a federal wildlife refuge in upper Michigan.

In 2001, 94 more hares were trapped and relocated to an area along the Ashtabula-Geauga county line, said Tom Henry, a biologist with Ohio Wildlife District 3. The area is wooded, swampy, and in a snow belt, all of which make it ideal for snowshoe hares.

The hares also are called varying hares because their brown coats turn white in winter. They are much larger than familiar cottontail rabbits, growing to 20 inches long and three pounds. They can attain 27 mph, propelled by their seven-inch-long, “snowshoe-sized” hind feet.

The hares originally disappeared because of draining of swamps for agriculture, timbering and unregulated hunting.

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DATEBOOK

Saturday-Northwest Ohio Gun Dog Circuit, Elkhorn Lake Hunting Preserve, Bucyrus; for time and details call Steve Thompson, 419-823-9559.

Saturday-Winter tree-identification hike, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hidden Lake Gardens, M-50 west of Tecumseh, Mich.; to register call Bob Bricault at the Gardens, 517-431-2060.

Saturday-Toledo Naturalists' Association, 7:30 p.m., the Andersons' activity center, 1833 South Holland-Sylvania Rd., program on Tanzania by Tom Kemp; call Karen Mitchell, 419-885-3648.

Saturday-Trapshoot, 1 p.m., Izaak Walton League of America, Fremont Chapter, Sandusky County Road 170 directly north of Turnpike Exit 6/92; also, Sunday and Wednesday, basement range, .22 rifle and home-defense pistol shoot, 9 a.m., breakfast available; call Mel Balduf, 419-332-1276.

Sunday-Winter social, 3 p.m., Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Association, at Ottawa refuge, 14000 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor, interpretive walk and chili; call 419-836-8411.

Sunday-Toledo Muzzle Loaders, 11 a.m., Clinton Boothby Memorial Range, 875 Schwamberger Rd., shoot program, Crazy Al's Range Walk; call Al Zielinski, 419-476-5978.

Sunday-SKS, AK, and M-1 Carbine Shoot, noon, Sandusky County Sportsmen's Club, State Rt. 600 east of Gibsonburg; call Bob Caswall, 419-862-2861.

Sunday-Field trip and winter blues blowout party, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Black Swamp Bird Observatory, at Killdeer Plains State Wildlife Area, meet at Sportsmen's Center on the area, Wyandot County Highway 75 near Harpster; call BSBO, 419-898-4070.

Sunday-American Indian beadwork program, 2 to 4 p.m., Sandusky County Park District headquarters, Countryside Drive off U.S. 20 bypass, Fremont; to register call the park district, 419-334-4495 or 1-888-200-5577.

Sunday-Bowshoots: Tomahawk Archery, 2085 Erie Rd., Temperance, Mich., register 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., winter whitetail shoot; call Gil Kollarik, 419-691-5130. Also, Maybee Sportsmen's Club, 11490 Hoffman Rd., Maybee, Mich., register 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 30 3-D targets; call Kevin Addy, 734-529-3384.

Steve Pollick is The Blade's outdoor writer. E-mail him at spollick@theblade.com.



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