Friday, February 29, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Skunked on the Heart of Darkness

First time out with a fly rod this year.

The project work ended in the early afternoon Wednesday. So before we stared the 41 hour Thursday morning flight-wait-flight-wait-flight land in Chicago trip home we headed down to the river. The Niger ( pronounced kneejher ) flows about 10K south of Timbuktu, and it’s port village is Koriume. Rented a pirogue with driver for a short river cruise with our work gang.

The pirogue

The pirogue driver

Casting on the river

I of course had no idea what I was fishing for, or where, or anything. The scenery was interesting. The area around the port village was pretty dense with people. My guess is that it is heavily fished, netted, and trapped for the surrounding near kilometers. I didn’t have the time to really explore as the rest of crew were out for a cruise not a fish. Flyfishing: not a spectator sport.

Something sank here.

There was evidence of fish. This guy was throwing a net for the couple hours we were out on the river. His sum total catch.

Figured I’d leave you with this one. This is a fetish stand. I don’t think they eat the heads for bush meat, they use them for juju. Let me know if anyone needs any of this stuff as tying materials.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Wisconsin Spring Hearings

Wisconsin has an interesting populist tradition.
They vote on matters of the environment and conservation.
Every spring they have conservation congress hearings.

Last year, a five year regulation on the Prairie River, which has a five mile section of special catch and release trout regulation, was reversed. This is year, due to lobbying by local conservation and fishing groups they are going to retest the vote.

An email to in support of the Prairie River regs to :

Laurie J. Ross
> Natural Resources Board Liaison
> Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
> (*) phone: (608) 267-7420
> (*) fax: (608) 266-6983
> (*) e-mail:

AS well as showing up at the spring congress is important.
All Wisconsin citizens can vote, or people who own property in Wisconsin.

QUESTION 21 ¡V Prairie River trout regulations

Category 5 trout regulations on a short stretch of the Prairie River in Lincoln County have been the subject of considerable debate since they went into effect on April 1, 2003. The Department would like input on whether to keep these Category 5 regulations to allow for a full evaluation of whether they significantly increase the number of larger trout in that section of the river, or to eliminate these regulations and manage that section of the river as a Category 4 harvest fishery.

The questionnaire presented at the 2002 spring hearings included a proposal for a Category 5 regulation on five miles of the 44 mile long Prairie River among a package of statewide trout regulation revisions. The Category 5 regulation called for a 12-inch minimum size for brook trout, 18-inch minimum for brown trout, an aggregate daily bag limit of one trout, and use of artificial lures only on the stretch of river from R & H Road downstream to State Highway 17 in Lincoln County. The rest of the river retained a Category 4 designation with an 8-inch minimum size for brook trout and 12-inch minimum for brown trout, an aggregate daily bag limit of 3, and no gear restrictions.

The purpose of the Category 5 regulation was to increase opportunity to catch larger trout in a county with few special regulations. This reach of river was considered to be the most likely to be able to produce larger trout because of its forage base. More than 80% of the trout in this reach of the river are brook trout, with the remainder being brown trout. Artificial lures were required because hooking mortality with bait has been shown to be 10 times higher than with spinners or flies. The Category 5 proposal was approved at the 2002 spring hearings (64-18 in Lincoln Co. and 4,662-1,611 Statewide) and by the Natural Resources Board and went into effect for the 2003 season.

The Department routinely evaluates Category 5 trout regulations to determine if they are effective in producing larger trout fisheries. To be definitive, these evaluations must run for at least a generation of the fish species involved, and preferably longer. In the Prairie River that would be 5-7 years for brook trout and 6-8 years for brown trout. In the first 4 years of the regulation, preliminary population data have shown a 135% increase in the numbers of brook trout over 10 inches in the protected reach. There has not been an increase in brown trout, but for both species the regulation has not been in effect long enough to determine whether it is meeting its management objectives.

However, some local landowners and fishermen would prefer to see the fishery managed as a consumptive fishery rather than a fishery managed for larger trout, regardless of the potential positive effects of more restrictive regulations. A resolution requesting a return to Category 4 harvest regulations was approved by a vote of 69-6 at the 2004 Lincoln County spring hearing, and after a series of public meetings Department staff agreed to ask the Natural Resources Board to consider this resolution after allowing for a 5 year evaluation of the Category 5 regulations.

The Department recommends that the Category 5 regulations be retained through the 2010 season to allow for a 5 year evaluation of whether it will meet the management objective of developing a larger trout fishery. At that time the Natural Resources Board can determine whether to permanently institute these Category 5 regulations based on results of the evaluation, or begin an evaluation of the Category 4 alternative.

Action of the Natural Resources Board is required before the 2009 season for the Category 5 regulations to be in effect. If the Category 5 regulations are not approved by the Natural Resources Board, then this stretch of the river will automatically revert to Category 4 regulations (aggregate daily bag limit of 3 trout, 12¡¨ minimum size limit on brown and rainbow trout; 8¡¨ minimum size limit on brook trout, no bait restriction) starting with the 2009 season.

„« Do you favor Category 5 trout regulations (aggregate daily bag limit of 1 trout; 18¡¨ minimum size limit on brown trout; 12¡¨ minimum size limit on brook and rainbow trout; artificial lures only) on the Prairie River in Lincoln County from R & H Road downstream to STH 17 (5 miles) through the 2010 season? At that time the Natural Resources Board can determine whether to permanently institute these Category 5 regulations based on results of the evaluation, or begin an evaluation of the Category 4 alternative. This will allow a full evaluation of the regulation and the capacity of this stretch of river to grow larger trout.

21. Yes ___ No ____ "

So not only will we need people to email in support of the emergency extension, we'll need people to go to the spring hearings.