For the most recent news – click here to be forwarded to the WRR&GC Newsletter. SPF&G now publishes information in this newsletter.
Information previous to July ’04 —–
Star Prairie Fish & Game Association News
Bob Heise and Pete Kling from St Croix County spoke to the group about various projects that could be partnered with the SPF&GA. River access and parking areas could be developed on some county owned land that would increase the recreational use of the area and also protect it. Land trust stipulations placed on the land may add a further layer of protection. Marty Engel, area fish manager, made some potential suggestions for lake and river access and area maintenance to help out the townships and the county.
An update on the Cedar Lake fish crib project indicated 39 cribs were built to specifications and 39 cribs are now sitting on the bottom of Cedar Lake in 12 to 17 feet of water. This project will greatly enhance the fish habitat in the lake and provide the basis for perhaps greater populations of game fish and bait fish. The SPF&GA with Marty’s input are looking for suggestions for future sites to place more of these cribs in Cedar Lake. If anyone had suggestions or questions, they can contact Marty Engel (715-684-2914 – Ex. 110) or Fisheries Committee Chairman Corey Mairs (715-246-2834).
The SPF&GA will sponsor a work group of 40 New Richmond high school students on May 20th for a Community Service Day Outing. They will be involved in various work related activities at the River Island Park in Star Prairie.
There will be a Senior Pontoon Ride outing on Cedar Lake sponsored by the SPF&GA on June 15th. The group will be treated to a pontoon ride on the lake followed by a trout dinner at River Island Park. Those interested or know of someone who might be interested can register for this function via Community Ed.
The River Island park celebration set for August 17th is on schedule according to chairman Jerry Koosman. Two bands will perform with food and beverage available. The theme of this years celebration will be “Those that have come before us”.
Loon nesting platforms have been constructed and placed on Cedar Lake and Middle Pine Lake. This will lead to increased numbers of nesting loons according to Loon Chairman Merle Ommen. .
The final 2004 committee budgets were presented and approved.
Preliminary Cedar Lake Fish Survey.
The DNR under the guidance of Marty Engel is currently involved in a fish survey of Cedar Lake. The Native Americans just spear harvested their maximum quota out of Cedar Lake this Spring. This is only the second time that they have chosen Cedar Lake to spear since the inception of treaty rights back several years ago. Population estimates are made for each species of fish and fish experts have determined that 35% of the adult walleye population of a given lake can be safely harvested each year. Native Americans can opt for 100% of this harvest but have chosen to settle on a 50% cap, leaving the other 50% to anglers. Marty’s crew first set nets to capture, weigh, measure and mark (fin clip) all the adult walleyes possible with a goal of 700. Later, the lake is sampled via electro-shocking to determine the number of adult walleyes that are fin clipped (re-captured) versus the number that aren’t. Using a mathematical formula comparing the numbers lead to a population estimate in the lake. The population of fish is divided by the number of acres in the lake to arrive at fish per acre This information is used to determine the TAC or total allowable catch. All through the summer, fall and winter fishing season, creel census will be taken on anglers on Cedar Lake to determine what impact angling has on the population numbers. The Native American harvest plus the angler harvest could lead to raising or lowering the bag limits on the lake following the analysis of this data.
Marty indicated in a preliminary report to the SPF&GA that there are several very good early year classes of walleyes moving up to adult status but for whatever reason are not recruited into the adult numbers as expected. He will be looking into the reason for this and if this can be corrected, the population of adult sized fish per acre can be increased. Marty also indicated a good healthy population of musky sampled. A 37 pound beauty measuring in at 49 inches was a prime example. Northern pike are also increasing in number and there is an increase in small mouth bass showing up in the lake. The bass increase could be due in part to people releasing fish from other waters into Cedar Lake.
Wood Duck House Report – (2003-2004)
Last year Chuck (Wood Duck) Magoon and myself with the help of Mike Kelly expanded on our wood duck house project. Presently we have 92 houses up and ready to go for the 2004 wood duck rearing season in 20 separate areas. Each of our duck houses is marked with an ID number. We have compiled a database that includes all the activity information on each house. This information will be added to and tracked on into the future. With this many units to maintain it is important that we track on each one. It is too easy to overlook some of the houses because they are spread out south to Casey Lake and north to the Wonderoos area. The final total from the houses up in 2003 produced an 87.2% usage. The vast majority of our houses are set up on poles over water. This has shown to provide excellent wood duck nesting success while preventing predation. The majority of our houses are new but some have been adopted and repairs have been made. Once the houses are out and in good repair, clean out and shaving replacement is all that is needed for the houses to be ready to go the following spring. Plans are also in the works for the local Boy Scouts to build, place and maintain more houses. The fact that the percentage of active houses in our project is so high, leads me to the conclusion that wood ducks probably do not have enough natural nesting habitat to bring forth a successful hatch. More houses will without a doubt lead to more ducks. At one time wood ducks were nearly extinct. In 1938 two biologists, Frank Belrose and Arthur Hawkins while working for the Illinois Natural History Survey, learned that wood ducks would nest in crude boxes placed in trees in the Chautauqua National Refuge. Putting this knowledge to the test Belrose designed the first box made of boards. The widespread use of wood duck boxes by government agencies, conservation groups and private individuals played a vital role in the recovery of the wood duck to its present abundance. Every wood duck house box does make a difference. It’s also fun being a land lord over so many pieces of real estate.
St Croix County Spring Hearing Results
On April 12th, 2004 the Spring Hearings were held in all 72 counties of the state at the same time starting at 7:00 pm with each county addressing the same set of questions. St Croix County held its hearings in New Richmond at the WITC Cashman Center. Over 60 people were in attendance to participate in one of the rites of Spring. While the questions have been much more controversial at times in the past, everyone held their seats until adjournment at 9:45 pm. Having attended numerous hearings over the years this one was one of the more enjoyable in recent memory. It was a fast paced meeting. Paul Nadolski, Conservation Warden, who ran the Department’s portion of the meeting and Ron Roettger, St Croix County’s Conservation Congress County Chairman who abided over the congress questions, kept things on course and at times added a bit of humor. Everyone who wanted to speak on a particular subject had an opportunity and everyone was treated with respect. Lots of good dialog occurred that evening. Jerry Thompson and Mike Reiter were also re-elected for 2 and 3 year terms as county representatives.
Some of the questions that received the most attention were a natural Resource Board advisory question that proposed a 23 day deer season and was voted down 62 to 2 while a local question that proposed electric motor trolling in the Willow River State Park ’s 175 acre lake was voted down by a margin of 31 to 15. An advisory question to increase the trout stamp from $7.25 to $10.00 passed the county 40 to 5 and another that asked to allow access to the public up to the ordinary high water mark by users of streams and ponds was moved on by a vote of 51 to 1. A department question asking to allow dogs for hunting turkeys during the fall turkey season bit the dust on a vote of 23 in favor and 31 opposed. Two bear hunting questions that asked to allow the use of dogs in an expanded area of the state also lost by wide margins due to fear of negative landowner/dog/hunter interactions. For those interested, individual county and total state votes on all the questions can be monitored on the DNR website.
See the entire WRR&GC Newsletter at http://willowriver.org