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
SMALLER FISH, PLEASE
New Jersey anglers are not over-finicky; some of them, particularly those at Weequahic Park Lake near Newark, simply don't care to catch big fish. Trouble is, until recently the lake produced many a small pumpkinseed or white perch just the right size to go through a meat grinder and emerge tasty fish chowder material. Then, three years ago, state fisheries experts decided that the lake's fish were too small because there were too many of them and have since removed nine tons of stunted pumpkinseed and white perch. Both species are now growing larger and larger, will no longer go through a meat grinder, and chowder-loving anglers are distinctly unhappy.
OF BUGS AND BEAR
Off the Alaskan coast lies Kodiak Island, one of the last remaining ranges of North America's largest carnivorous land mammal, the Brown or Kodiak bear. Yet it is a curious fact that the future of this sometimes three-quarter-ton behemoth may depend on an organism of microscopic dimensions. Kodiak Island for years has been a valuable salmon fishery, but now ranching is becoming increasingly important. Unfortunately, the temptation of a little fresh beef is often more than a bear can bear, and many a cattle grower would be delighted to see the Kodiak a thing of the past. Bear, however, also eat salmon, and that may be their saving on Kodiak Island.
Salmon are peculiarly susceptible to a parasitic water mold called Saprolegnia usually fatal to the host and highly infectious both to fingerlings and adult fish. But, according to Dr. Dow V. Baxter, a professor of forest pathology and botany at the University of Michigan and a man who has 16 times trekked to Kodiak Island, the bears' penchant for salmon, moldy or not, may well be the factor which helps clean the streams of Saprolegnia and prevents it from reaching epidemic proportions with consequent serious effect on the salmon fisheries. If Baxter's thesis proves sound, commercial fishermen could exert enough pressure to save the bear from irate ranchers who have an understandably overriding interest in their stock and none in salmon.
Professor Baxter hopes that a government agency will study the problem and meanwhile admits to personal prejudice. "I don't have any money invested in cows," he explains with refreshing candor. "I just think Kodiak bears are more important than cows."
Perhaps the professor is right. As a big-game trophy the Kodiak is estimated to cost the sportsman between $2,000 and $2,500.
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
BLUE MARLIN: NORTH CAROLINA: Dare Coast waters still showing some fish as last week Fred Hilmer of Baltimore boated a 182-pound specimen on 18-pound test line after a 33-minute tussle; OG.
BRITISH WEST INDIES: Fourth Annual Bimini Blue Marlin Tournament now under way with pleasant results expected as two days before tournament opened Luke Wilson of Delray Beach. Fla., tossed a 506-pounder on the dock; OVG for balance of month and at least part of August.
TEXAS: Fish are being raised about 40 miles off Port Aransas on the 46-Fathom Hump and last week the second blue marlin in Port Aransas history, a 375-pounder, was brought to port. Some local soothsayers, who have also fished in Bahamian waters, claim that Texas may prove a just as productive blue marlin territory; OG for pioneers.
MUSKELLUNGE: ONTARIO: Province boasting best fishing of recent years with FG in all waters. Favorite lures now white, red and yellow jointed plugs or large spoons. But fish don't seem overly choosy as one angler, perched on a log in the Ottawa River near Chat's Falls, dabbled a foot in the water and promptly had it mangled by a cannibalistic muskie; OVG throughout Province.
PENNSYLVANIA: FG on Chautauqua Lake with fish to 26 pounds being taken despite very heavy pressure. Largest catch of week, however, was a something-over-100-pound Naval Air Force pilot whom anglers boated after his plane crashed in lake; OVG for civilian muskies.
WISCONSIN: FG generally but best lake bets are Lost Land, Teal, Island and Rive. Rhinelander area yielding fish to 35 pounds on bucktails. Eagle River area also hot and even, though water SH, agent advises OVG for next week.
MINNESOTA: Lethargic fish now wide awake and FG, especially on Little Fork River and in Leech where C. C. Ayars, of Grand Forks, N.D., last week pacified a 22-pound 8-ouncer; OG.
BLUEFIN TUNA: NORTH CAROLINA: School fish now whacking trolled feathers off Oregon Inlet, Nags Head and Diamond Shoals; OVG.
NEW YORK: Anglers off Montauk, Long Island elated over unprecedented run of fish to 700 pounds, six to 10 miles SSE off Block Island, where all types of tackle are being systematically demolished. Last week over 50 fish hooked and only two boated. No one wants to predict how long this tuna windfall will last, but OVG now.
TROUT: MICHIGAN: Streams H and C, but FG for big brownies on South Boardman, Main and south branches of Au Sable. Jordan, Pere Marquette and the Manistee. Sturgeon River still best midsummer rainbow bargain. FF for brook trout on main and east branches of the Black River and OVG particularly in feeder streams of intermediate interior lake waters such as Cedar River.
MONTANA: Madison River still exciting, but slowing down. Gallatin, Blackfoot and Flathead rivers advertise FG. Yellowstone C but H for easy wading, although in Yellowstone Park, Fire Hole River, Yellowstone Lake and River Canyon Ferry Lake OG on spinning tackle.
COLORADO: Most waters now N and C, with FG on Gunnison. Snake, Rio Grande, Roaring Fork, Crystal and Frying Pan rivers. Lake fishing improving as J. A. Pomsford of Grand Junction tempted a seven-pound, eight-and-a-half ounce rainbow from Blue Lake at 9,800 feet under west rim of Grand Mesa south of Kannah Creek. Take your pick and OVG.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: Jubilant spy reports limit catches from most interior lakes, with fish taking flies readily. Paul Lake offers generous selection of three-pounders but Canim, Peterhope and Nicola fish are all pliable. OVG for interior areas but lower altitude lakes are warming fast and fly fishing falling off.
IDAHO: Silver Creek L and gin-clear, but catches to five pounds reported on size 12 and 14 dries. Northern state lakes FG for Kamloops with those in Cascade and McCall areas best bets. North Fork of Payette below McCall and South Fork below Crouch offer best stream fishing this week; OG.
STRIPED BASS: CALIFORNIA: Trollers limited to 20 pounds in Carquinez Straits between Crockett and Rodeo. Bug-eye jigs and spoons combined on spreaders pet lure at the moment, but Dr. Robert Phillips of Boston, Mass. using standard eastern eel skin took a 38-pounder on spinning tackle from a San Francisco beach; OG.
MASSACHUSETTS: Brewster and Billingsgate Shoals in Cape Cod Bay torrid one day, frigid next, but some catches of 18 fish to 45 pounds have been made on plugs; OVG if you and fish are there at the same time. Cape Cod Canal full of whiting and early morning tides productive from Twin Pipes and eastward. FG at Nauset and other beaches and OVG, particularly during less crowded midweek.
BLUEFISH: NEW JERSEY: Snappers tearing north coast with excellent catches reported from vicinity of Mohawk wreck southeast of Manasquan Inlet by both trollers and chummers. Savages to 10 pounds also hitting about six miles offshore southeast of Beach Haven Inlet; OVG.
MASSACHUSETTS: Last week saw first bluefish yanked from Cape Cod Canal by deep-fishing bass caster. It was a seven-and-a-half-pounder and it gulped an eel skin. OG as Canal is filling with blues, but FG now in Craigville section of Cape Cod, with trollers scoring on various feathered lures; OVG from now until November.
TARPON: LOUISIANA: Hundreds of big tarps rolling in Lake Pontchartrain, but with a few startling exceptions are not hitting. Optimistic snooper, however, advises this is a temporary tarpon neurosis and OG.
FLORIDA: Keys representative reports tarpon action subsiding, but Eileen Woods of New York was attached to an 80-pounder for 45 minutes before it snapped her 18-pound test line. OG with increasing night action under bridges for smaller fish.
Among last week's notable catches: by Dr. John J. Vallone of Cranston, R.I., a 650-pound BLUEFIN TUNA after a three-hour scrap five miles southeast of Block Island; a 43-pound SAILFISH taken by Vernon Lamp of Miami, Fla. on plug-casting tackle and 20-pound test line after an hour-and-a-half squabble; by Leo Garceau of Block Island, R.I., a 61-pound nine-ounce STRIPED BASS taken off Block Island's Sou' west Point for a possible new world's record in the 12-pound test line category; a 13-pound 15-ounce BLACK BASS from Lake Johnston by M. R. Holmes of Jacksonville, Fla.; by Curtis M. Hutchins, president of the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad Company, a 20-pound ATLANTIC SALMON at New Brunswick's Kedgewick Salmon Club.
CONSERVATION AND THE 84th CONGRESS: A BOX SCORE
GAIN OR LOSS
MISSION 66: To improve national park facilities during the next 10 years, the Department of Interior requested $66 million. Congress appropriated 68 million. (OUTDOOR WEEK, March 19.)
Passed by Congress and signed by the President.
A decided GAIN. Present national park facilities cannot cope with either the present or expected number of park visitors.
UPPER COLORADO RIVER STORAGE BILL: This first foresaw inclusion of Echo Park Dam in Dinosaur National Monument. Conservationists objected to encroachment upon national monuments and parks. Bill was amended to delete Echo Park Dam. (OUTDOOR WEEK, March 19.)
Passed by Congress and signed by the President.
Nothing but GAIN. The need for water and power, however, remains great and conservation will have to find a compromise with inevitable progress.
DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT: Two bills were submitted which would elevate Dinosaur National Monument to national park status.
In committee, but poor prospects for passage during the current session.
LOSS through inaction. But future passage is probable.
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE REORGANIZATION: A recent executive order would have split the Fish and Wildlife Service and created a new Bureau of Fisheries to help economically ailing commercial fisheries. Conservationists held that sport fishing would be relegated to a back seat and certain marine mammals threatened. A new bill now offered in the House will leave Fish and Wildlife intact yet allow for more attention to commercial fishing problems. (OUTDOOR WEEK, June 25.)
Committee hearings have been held and a bill acceptable to all factions is before the House. Passage possible by adjournment.
Probable GAIN--and certain victory--in the sense of a restoration of status quo.
OIL, GAS LEASES ON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES: When the granting of leases for oil and gas development on national wildlife refuges was liberalized, conservationists claimed that even under new and more stringent regulations to protect wildlife such development would be harmful. The House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee exacted an agreement from Interior that it would notify the committee 60 days prior to granting a lease. (OUTDOOR WEEK, June 4.)
Issue settled in committee hearings. No legislation foreseen unless oil and gas development is proved harmful to wildlife.
LOSS, because of increased oil and gas leases. But if the new regulations governing such operations on refuges are adequate, as claimed, the loss will be minimized.
KEY DEER REFUGE: Congressman Charles Bennett of Florida has offered a bill calling for the establishment of a 1,000-acre refuge on the Florida Keys to protect the 120 remaining tiny Key deer. (OUTDOOR WEEK, March 19.)
In committee with little hope for action before adjournment.
LOSS through inaction. But here again prospects for the bill are hopeful.
WICHITA MOUNTAINS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: The Department of the Interior has turned down repeated requests by the Army that it be given sole title to 10,700 acres of this refuge (famous for its herds of buffalo and longhorn cattle) adjacent to Fort Sill, Okla. The Army has persisted and a bill has been introduced to award it the land. (OUTDOOR WEEK, June 4.)
Stormy committee hearings have been held. No legislation likely this year as Congressmen hope Army and Interior can reach an understanding.
NO LOSS, since the Army does not yet have the land in question. The Armed Forces, nevertheless, are demanding more and more public land, and until some policy is formulated, the situation for conservationists is somewhat critical.
NATIONAL WILDERNESS PRESERVATION SYSTEM: Senator Hubert Humphrey (D.-Minn.) recently tossed a bill into the senatorial hopper which would give our wilderness areas a legal status in perpetuity. These areas differ from national parks and such, in that many are roadless. (OUTDOOR WEEK, June 4.)
Referred to committee, and it is highly improbable anything will be done this year.
GAIN through congressional recognition of wilderness values. But the bill faces an uphill battle with interests which would like to see wilderness areas eventually open to economic development.
COMPLIANCE WITH STATE GAME LAWS ON MILITARY RESERVATIONS: State officials as well as conservationists have charged the Armed Forces with often ignoring local game laws within reservation boundaries. (OUTDOOR WEEK, July 9.)
Hearings are in progress and Congressmen are urging legislation. Action unlikely before adjournment.
Considerable GAIN. Legislation would make the gain a large one.
QUETICO-SUPERIOR WILDERNESS AREA: Congress has appropriated funds to add 50,000 acres to Quetico-Superior.
Passed and signed by the President.
WALRUS BILL: This bill revises existing regulations and permits sportsmen to shoot one walrus a season, but only when accompanied by an Indian guide to whom the meat, not the hide, must be given.
Passed and signed by the President.
GAIN, because making available a new big-game trophy for sportsmen.