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Published: Friday, 6/17/2011

COMMENTARY

New 1-day license helps out-of-town fishermen

BY STEVE POLLICK
OUTDOORS

If you have out-of-town friends coming to Lake Erie for a one-day, charter fishing trip, be sure to advise them of a new $11 one-day fishing license being offered by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Aimed at smoothing out rough spots when getting ready for charter fishing trips, the license is similar to the traditional one-day $11 license, but must be bought in advance and offers the option of filling in the date of the trip.

This comes in handy should a fishing party get to the dock and stormy weather forces a cancellation or postponement to another day.

"If they get blown off the lake, they won't waste a license," said Korey Brown, license sales manager for the division. "Charter boat captains have been helping us a lot and it's starting to catch on," he added.

Obtaining such a license in advance of a fishing day and later being able to fill in the actual date is aimed at relieving fishing day choke-points at marinas and baitshops, where charter customers may be lined up waiting to buy licenses on trip morning.

The division sells about 53,000 one-day tags a year, and about 33,000 three-day nonresident fishing licenses a year, according to Brown.

The new Erie-charter one-day licenses and other fishing licenses all can be bought online at wildohio.com or from license agents.

Speaking of Erie angling, walleye fishing is improving and has been best around West Sister Island, north of West Reef, between North Bass Island and Kelleys Island, and east of Kelleys Island, the wildlife division said.

Fish are being taken by trolling with divers and spoons, in-line weights and worm harnesses, and crankbaits. Fish also are being taken by casting mayfly rigs or drifting with bottom bouncers and worm harnesses.

Casting for walleye on the Canadian-side reefs, such as Wagon Wheel southwest off Pelee Island, has been excellent, said Rick Catley at Rickard's Bait on Catawba Island peninsula. He added that trollers also have done well southwest of Gull Island Shoal in 31 feet, and west of West Reef.

Yellow perch fishing has been best northeast of Ballast Island, Catley said, and west of West Reef in deep water.

The wildlife division also said perching is good east of the Kelleys Island airport, and south of Gull Island Shoal, using minnows fished near the bottom.

Erie anglers should note that the Lake Erie black bass possession season for both largemouth and smallmouth is closed through June 24.

In other fishing news, anglers need to be aware of a typographical error in Publication 84, Ohio Fishing Regulations 2011-12, regarding the opening day of turtle season and the bag limit on frogs.

The wildlife division said that the correct opening date for turtle season is July 1, not the second Friday in June (June 10) as printed in the regulations. Also, the bag limit on frogs should be 15, not 10 as printed.

In related news, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the reappearance of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in Budd Lake in central Michigan.

The 175-acre lake in central Clare County experienced a die-off of largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegills, and pumpkinseed sunfish in late April and early May. A similar die-off involving bluegill, black crappie, largemouth bass, and muskellunge occurred in the spring of 2007, and VHS was identified in the lake from that outbreak. Despite annual monitoring since 2007, VHS was undetected through 2010.

Tests at the Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory at Michigan State University this week indicate that both largemouth and smallmouth bass were positive for VHS; the results for the other species are still pending.

VHS is known to cause widespread deaths in fish populations over short periods of time. Infected fish may exhibit hemorrhaging in the skin including large red patches, pinpoint spots of minor hemorrhaging, or no external signs at all.

Sick fish often appear listless, swim in circles, or hang just below the surface. They don't flee from humans or boats and are easily netted or caught by hand. VHS only infects fish; humans are not susceptible to the virus.

Budd Lake is one of only two inland lakes in Michigan -- Baseline Lake in Washtenaw County is the other -- where the presence of VHS has been confirmed. It was not known if the virus was still present in the lake in the four years since the last mortality.

"It is important that anglers and boaters not move live fish between waters, empty live wells and bilges when leaving a body of water, and disinfect and clean their equipment to prevent the spread of VHS to other waters," said the MDNR's acting-Lake Huron Basin Coordinator Todd Grischke.

Additional information on VHS and on the ways anglers and boaters can prevent the spread of this pathogen and other undesirable organisms and plants is at michigan.gov/dnrfishing.

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The Mudjaw Bowmen have scheduled a bowhunter education course for tomorrow, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the clubhouse at 6240 Benore Rd. The fee is $10 and includes lunch. To register call 734-848-4097. The club's Web site is mudjawbowmen.com.

Contact Steve Pollick at: spollick@theblade.com or 419-724-6068.



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