Based on regular weekly dispatches from SI bureaus and special correspondents in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and overseas; and on reports from fish and game commissions of the 48 states and Alaska
IN THE MIDDLE
Secretary of the Interior and some-time sportsman, Frederick Andrew Seaton, hooked his first political game fish last week and played it with diplomatic dexterity.
He had inherited the White House executive order directing the creation of a Bureau of Fisheries by July 1 (OUTDOOR WEEK, June 18). The new agency would assume all fish functions of the Fish and Wildlife Service and also hearken to the woes of an ailing commercial fishery. Conservationists fearful of, among other things, short shrift for sport fishing have attacked the move. Commercial fishing interests have hailed it as the saving of their industry. At week's end Seaton had conferred with, and favorably impressed, both camps.
June 24, 1956
Said the Secretary: "...I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives of a number of conservationist organizations...members of the group asked that a second look be given the pending reorganization of the fishery functions of the department. This, they were assured, will be done...." No one believes that Businessman Seaton will give in wholly to Sportsman Seaton. A Bureau of Fisheries may come into being. But most Washington observers look for Seaton to recommend that it be concerned with commercial fishing alone, that other fish matters be left where they are, in the Fish and Wildlife Service along with the fur seal, polar bear and sea otter, all originally slated for the new bureau.
Such a compromise, it seems, would meet fairly the problems of both sides and, at the same time, enhance Mr. Secretary's reputation as an angler of finesse in stormy waters.
Wildlife split a wild double-header with man last week.
Near Woodstock, New Brunswick, Clifford Kidney bounced up and down on a pile of brush to flush out a porcupine. To his regret the porcupine turned out to be a bear cub, and he was further unstrung when, with an outraged and authoritative bawl, the cub's mother lumbered on the scene. Kidney swiped at her with an ax and fanned. Mama crossed a snappy right and upended Mr. Kidney in the underbrush. He picked himself out, a bit the worse for wear. Mother with cub flounced off.
A Tennessee bobcat didn't do nearly as well. One Kenneth Dunbar was fishing near Crossville when he heard a sound behind him. "I thought," said Dunbar, "that it was a hog until I saw him." What Dunbar saw was a lean and hungry bobcat about to pounce on his hard-won catch. What Dunbar did was pick up a handy cane-bottomed chair, fetch the flying cat a fatal whack in the neck and return to the peaceful pastime of angling.
ORDEAL BY CRANE
It was all too much for the New Orleans Audubon Park Zoo director, George Douglass. After whooping crane Josephine and husband Crip had dramatically increased the world's whooper population to 31 by hatching two chicks (SI, June 11) and reduced it to 30 by losing one, Douglass retired to a hospital exhausted but happy.
Douglass is now fit and back at the zoo. The chick, as yet unnamed, is now the size of a skinny pheasant (below) and may soon be on public display. But New Orleans, which until last week could boast the only three whooping cranes in captivity, is faced with ominous signs of competition from Texas.
The San Antonio Light called it a "whoo(per) dunit." Speculation raged, rumor was rife. Was there or was there not a newly captured whooping crane in San Antonio's Brackenridge Park Zoo? Curator of Birds James L. Chism coyly denied it until he had consulted the Fish and Wildlife Service. Then came the shattering proclamation. Rosie, a 5-foot female whooper, was indeed at the zoo. Unable to fly because of a damaged wing, she had been roped by Rancher Ed Kirby near Lometa. Rosie, though, didn't take kindly to such rodeo tactics, and Kirby was a patchwork of nasty bites by the time he had the bird tucked in his barn and Chism streaking from San Antonio to take custody.
San Antonio hopes to find a mate for Rosie, but New Orleans is not yet resigned to sharing its place in the ornithological sun. Said George Douglass when he heard the news: "I think the new bird would be better off right here...a single bird is apt to brood and grow sick...." From Texas there is no comment, only joy.
OLD BATTLE NEW WEAPONS
In 15 years the sea lamprey, a sometimes 24-inch eellike parasite which fastens to a fish and slowly sucks its life away, has all but wiped out the Great Lakes' lake trout.
Fisheries biologists have achieved limited success in eliminating the lamprey by installing electric weirs to repel the parasites as they move into tributary streams to spawn. But tributaries are legion and weirs expensive. Recently, however, two unique discoveries have given scientists hope that lamprey days are numbered. Dr. Herman Kleerekoper, a Dutch zoologist, knew that fossils of the sea lampreys' ancestors hinted at organs which might have produced an electrical charge. With that in mind he wired a contemporary lamprey and not entirely to his surprise found that it generated enough current to wink on and off a small neon bulb.
Kleerekoper reasons that the lamprey's electrical field serves as an extrasensory device and believes it possible to interfere with the field and dupe the lamprey into areas where it can be systematically eliminated.
Old warriors in the lamprey campaign, men like Dr. James W. Moffett, Chief of Great Lakes Fisheries Investigations, agree that Kleerekoper's discovery is an important one, but they are properly cautious and at the moment are considerably more cheered by the startling results of tests with a new poison.
Unlike electric weirs which discourage lampreys from spawning but have no effect on lamprey larvae already in the streams, the drug, a phenolated compound, quickly kills larvae with no parallel damage to game fish. Furthermore, it is cheap and two eight-man teams could eliminate all generations of emerging lamprey larvae at the rate of 50 spawning streams a year. Scientists hope fervently that the lamprey is on the way to joining its fossilated ancestors.
SO—season opened (or opens); SC—season closed (or closes).
C—clear water; D—water dirty or roily; M—water muddy.
N—water at normal height; SH—slightly high; H—high; VH—very high; L—low; R—rising; F—falling.
WT50—water temperature 50°.
FG—fishing good; FF—fishing fair; FP—fishing poor; OVG—outlook very good; OG—outlook good; OF—outlook fair; OP—outlook poor
TROUT: PENNSYLVANIA: Streams in central and northern tier counties and Allegheny National Forest are L and C except where local thunderstorms raised levels last week. Most fly hatches are two to three weeks late but FF/G for fly-fishermen. WT62-70 for most streams, and Light Cahill is most productive dry-fly pattern as bigger fish are actively surface feeding.
MICHIGAN: FG and OVG for main branch of Au Sable, Manistee, Pere Marquette and other lower peninsula streams as caddis hatches are heavy and trout are hungry. At Baldwin on Pere Marquette anglers are scoring heavily with gray squirrel-tail patterns while in the Grayling area on the Au Sable deer hair caddis imitations are most productive. Main branch of Black River still producing heavy catches of brook trout above Gaylord Club; Adams and Beaverkill are best dry flies, and OVG.
MONTANA: Madison River is clearing and with salmon flies abundant, FG and OVG in Ennis area. Other large streams H and M; small streams and larger lakes FF/G and OG as high water recedes.
ONTARIO: Two anglers fishing Stoney Creek in North Bay area last week took eight rainbows averaging 5 pounds; largest was 7½. Lake trout FF/G in Temagami district and in lakes east of Sault Ste. Marie.
COLORADO: Green Mountain Reservoir H but C, FF/G from bank and FF trolling. Blue River H but clearing, FG with bait, lures and flies. Arkansas River still H and R, FF with bait and lures. Elk River H and R, FF/G for trout, FG for whitefish. Yampa River F and clearing, FVG for whitefish, FF for trout. Taylor River H but C and FG. Gunnison River still H and R but FG. North Platte River H, C, FG. Roaring Fork Crystal and Frying Pan rivers F and clearing; FF with flies, FG with bait and lures. Near Granby, Colorado and Fraser rivers clearing; FF with bait and lures. Shadow Mountain reservoirs in Grand lakes N, FF from bank and trolling. Williams Ford Reservoir rising, and FF. Inlets to Shadow Mountain and Willow-Creek reservoirs open June 15, inlets to Granby Reservoir closed to July 5. North fork of South Platte River H and It, FP, OF. White River and South Fork of White H, R and FP.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: Most interior lakes producing well. Sussex lakes FVG with flies; Pinantan, Elbow and Mile High lakes FG and OG. Shuswap Lake FP and OP. Vancouver Island lakes fishing well on troll, and FG with flies after sundown. Rivers generally H but some estuary fish reported, especially at Little Qualicum. General OF/G.
MAINE: Last week's heat wave shooed brookies into the spring holes, and result was excellent dry-fly fishing if you knew where to cast. In northern tier hot spots are Haymock Pond, Telos Dam and mouth of Allagash Stream at Chamberlain Lake; OVG when water drops slightly. Moosehead Lake still yielding big lakers; two over 16 pounds reported last week.
MINNESOTA: Rainbows still moving down north-shore streams to Lake Superior and striking freely, with several in 5- to 7½-pound class landed last week. Streams are N and C, best producers are Kadunce and Onion out of Grand Marais and Greenwood lakes on Gunflint Trail. Wet flies and nymphs taking the most fish. Jack Lake yielding good catches of brook trout averaging 2 pounds, and OG for brook trout fishing at beaver dams on smaller streams.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Overdue hot weather has brought fly-fishing to season's peak in upper Connecticut River and ponds and streams of Connecticut lakes and Colebrook and Errol areas, with reports of rainbows to 18 inches and browns to 17 taken on Dark Cahills and other wet patterns. Streams in central section are settling into an "evening rise" proposition, and brook trout have retreated to deep alder runs during the daylight.
VERMONT: Nulhegan River in Essex County producing nice catches of brookies. Black Branch of same river and Talus Stream also worth a visit. Another hot spot is upper Moose River in the Victory area.
IDAHO: In northern Idaho Lake Pend Oreille and Priest Lake are producing fair to good catches of rainbows, mackinaws and Dolly Varden trout, but dry-fly experts favor Kewell, Kelso and Brush lakes. Streams were H and M at presstime but should be fishing well now. In eastern state, Arco area is most promising for stream fishing as Antelope Creek was hot (but only for expert fly-fishers). In Swan Valley area Bear. Elk and McCoy creeks are best.
OREGON: After complete poisoning with rote-none that cleaned out trash fish two years ago, Diamond Lake is open again and producing limit catches of Kamloops rainbow trout to 18 inches; snow going fast and OVG. Upper Deschutes River C, N, FVG for brown trout on dry flies, and OG. Metolius River still offering fine fishing for rainbows to 4 pounds in upper area and OG; wet flies fished deep are best bet here. Detroit Reservoir of North Santiam River coming back to life and producing many limits of rainbows to 20 inches with sprinkling of Kohanee last week on flies at early and late evening; OG. East and Talina lakes fishing well on salmon eggs and spinning lures but fish are small, with few over 12 inches. Remainder of Oregon waters showing signs of improvement but still on FP or FF list. However, general OG.
WASHINGTON: Okanogan and Chelan County lakes FG and OG. Columbia Basin lakes have less fish than earlier but still FG. On west side, trout fishermen report FVG with flies in Mineral, Tanwax, Offut, McIntosh and Ballinger lakes. Most rivers and lakes still S, H and D. Fishermen along upper Wynooche River finding good catches of trout to 14 inches but have to compete with wandering herds of elk for elbow room. Smaller streams high on Cascade slopes producing good catches for hardier outdoor types.
CALIFORNIA: Heavy runoffs throughout Sierra make outlook uncertain through June. Sabrina, Silver and Bridgeport lakes best roadside waters in Inyo-Mono areas. Tuolumne River watershed is best bet in central Sierra region. Over-all picture shows unfavorable water conditions and spotty outlook.
BLUE MARLIN: NORTH CAROLINA: First fish of season, a 425-pounder, was taken last week by Walter R. Carr of Portsmouth, Virginia, southeast of Diamond Lightship. Carr also hooked another but lost it. Local chauvinists claim Dare County coast is hottest and least fished marlin area anywhere; OVG.
ATLANTIC SALMON: NOVA SCOTIA: Medway was top Nova Scotia salmon river last week with total of 31 fish out of 125 for the province; LaHave second with 24; Gold, Nictaux and St. Mary's also ran. Water levels generally normal, and OG.
NEW BRUNSWICK: All rivers H and FP last week but salmon more than normally abundant in trap nets of northwest Miramichi and Dungarvon rivers; FP/F and OF.
STRIPED BASS: MASSACHUSETTS: Striper run in full force all along coast with Cape Cod Canal and north Cape beaches productive; OVG from now on.
RHODE ISLAND: Fishing on upswing as Bill Phelan horsed a 40-pounder from Block Island surf; pick your spot, and OG generally.
NEW JERSEY: Roamer Shoals area near entrance to New York harbor still hot for giant bass on trolled lures. Favorite tempter at moment consists of feather trailed by 10-inch bead chain to which are attached three rubber hula skirts and a pair of 7/0 hooks each decorated with an 8-inch strip of pork rind. Anglers tow about 125 feet of line and jig the whole mess enticingly. No one knows why this thing works, but it certainly bamboozles fish; OVG.
CALIFORNIA: High winds have scattered fish throughout delta area, and most fish taken are small with the exception of 68-pounder landed last week by Mickey Gamaza of Rio Vista off Decker Island in the Sacramento River; OG when wind abates.
New York Conservation Commissioner Louis A. Wehle, severely criticized for his charges of "sabotage" against career biologists in his department (OUTDOOR WEEK, June 18), resigned last week. Justin T. Mahoney, 68-year-old Deputy Commissioner, who has been in the New York Conservation Department since 1911, has been named Acting Commissioner, and Pieter W. Fosburgh has withdrawn his resignation as editor of The New York State Conservationist.
Among last week's notable catches: after a nine-hour battle, for Mrs. Carol Walling of Tauranga, New Zealand, a 536-pound THRESHER SHARK for a new IGFA Woman's All-Tackle record; by Ethan R. Haslage of Montebello, California on borrowed light spinning tackle a 57-pound, 15-ounce SEA BASS on 12-pound test line; a 175-pound TARPON for C. L. Jennings of Sarasota, Florida, caught in Boca Grande Pass; by Bob Getchell of Boise, Idaho, a 21-pound CHINOOK SALMON from the Weiser River on spinning tackle and 6-pound test line after a 45-minute struggle.