"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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(Updated 03-02-2009)

Federal Funds Coming To DNR Fish And Wildlife   (03-02-2009)

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources will receive more than $11 million from two federal programs that help states fund fish and wildlife conservation, boater access to public waters, and hunter and aquatic education.

"I can't stress enough the importance of this revenue-generating partnership," said Glen Salmon, director of the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. "Along with license sales, these funds are driving the management of Indiana fish and wildlife."

Indiana will get $5,836,724 from the Wildlife Restoration Program, otherwise known as the Pittman-Robertson Fund, and $5,235,357 from the Sport Fish Restoration Program, otherwise known as the Dingell-Johnson Fund. Both funds are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In recent years, the DNR has used allotted funds to stock fish; develop and maintain public boating and fishing access sites; provide hunter education programs; purchase land for public hunting, fishing and wildlife watching; provide aquatic education for youth at its State Fair fishing pond; develop and maintain shooting ranges on fish and wildlife areas for recreational shooting participants; and complete many more fish-and-wildlife-related projects.

The funds are part of the $740.9 million that Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently announced will be distributed to the fish and wildlife agencies of the 50 states, commonwealths, the District of Columbia, and territories. Funding is based on a formula consisting of land area, including inland waters, and the number of paid hunting license-holders in each state, commonwealth, and territory. 

These funds come from excise taxes and import duties on sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, sport fishing equipment, electric outboard motors, and fuel taxes attributable to motorboats and small engines.

DNR Fishing And Recreation Guides Available  (2-18-2009)

The 2009 DNR Fishing Guide is now available, free of charge, at most DNR properties, various sporting goods stores, fishing license vendors and other locations around the state. The 2009 Recreation Guide is at many of the same places or will be shortly. 

Longtime fans of the DNR Fishing and Recreation Guide will notice a change this year. For the past few years, this was one publication. This year, to better serve each interest group, they are separate publications. Those who are interested in both topics should be sure to get both publications. Both are available, free of charge, at most of the same locations around the state.

The 40-page Fishing Guide's cover shows a pair of anglers enjoying success on Steuben County's Clear Lake. In addition to providing fishing rules and regulations, the new Fishing Guide includes articles on Indiana's fisheries program, fishing for walleye, and research on catfish done on the Wabash River.

The 50-page Recreation Guide cover features a scenic stream at Turkey Run State Park. The guide includes everything you want to know about DNR properties, including state parks, lakes, state forests, state park inns, fish and wildlife areas, state museum and historic sites and nature preserves, plus articles on mountain biking, exploring the outdoors with kids, camping for beginners, and more. 

Lovers of the outdoor activities who can't find one, the other or either guide, can obtain a copy by e-mailing DNRGuideRequests@dnr.IN.gov. Both guides also can be viewed in their entirety at dnr.IN.gov by clicking on the appropriate link. Both are musts for those new to the state and fitting additions to any neighborhood welcome package.

Deer Hunters Set State Record In 2008 Season   (2-18-2009)

Indiana deer hunters registered a state record by bagging more than 129,000 deer during the 2008 hunting season.

The 129,748 total surpassed the previous high mark of 125,526 set in 2005 and represented a 4 percent increase over the 2007 season. 

 “That’s a remarkable increase that reflects the skills possessed by Hoosier hunters,” DNR director Robert E. Carter Jr. said. “It’s good to see them continue to help manage deer populations while putting food on the table.”

The taking of antlerless deer--does and fawns of either sex--played a key role in the sharp increase. The 78,903 antlerless deer that were reported were a single-season record and 5 percent higher than 2007. Antlerless totals exceeded 1,000 deer in 29 counties compared to 25 counties in 2007, and antlerless deer constituted half the total harvest in 88 of 92 counties.

The 2008 antlered total of 50,845 was a 3 percent increase over 2007 and was the third highest on record.

Despite bad weather on opening day of the firearm season (Nov. 15-30), that segment still accounted for 67 percent, or 86,454 deer, of the total harvest. That was a 7 percent increase over 2007.

 Early archery season (Oct. 1 to Nov. 30) accounted for 20 percent of the total, with 12 percent coming in the muzzleloader season (Dec. 6-21). The youth (Sept. 27-28) and late archery (Dec. 6 to Jan. 4) seasons each accounted for 1 percent of the total. 

For the fourth straight year, Steuben County, in the state’s northeast corner, was the top county for deer hunting success with 3,672 deer reported, a slight decrease from 2007. Steuben also ranked first in antlered harvest with 1,214 deer. Kosciusko, Noble and Marshall counties ranked 2-3-4, all with record totals above 3,000. Record harvests were established in 33 more counties and tied in one.

It was the fifth straight season in which the total harvest topped 120,000 deer. Approximately 2.59 million deer have been legally taken during the past 57 deer hunting seasons in Indiana.

A complete report of the 2008 season is at in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/fw-2008deerseasonsummary.pdf.

State Forests Open House Dates Set    (2-18-2009)

Interested Hoosiers can share their views on the operation, funding and staffing of Indiana’s state forests during the DNR Division of Forestry 's series of open houses in March and April.

 Meetings at each property will include displays about recreational activities, budget issues, staffing, major projects, the 2008-2013 Division of Forestry Strategic Plan, invasive species control and forest resource management. Attendees can talk directly with DNR personnel or, if they prefer, submit written comments concerning forest and recreation management policies and programs. Light refreshments will be served.

 “These open houses provide Hoosiers with a chance to receive first-hand information about how the state forests are working to provide diverse wildlife habitat, forest products and recreational opportunities,” said State Forester John Seifert. “They also allow us to receive valuable feedback from our neighbors and users about state forest management issues. I encourage everyone who has an interest in the state forests to participate in this year’s open houses.” 

Hoosiers who cannot attend an open house can review and comment on management plans online. The Division of Forestry posts all tract management guides for public inspection and comment at dnr.IN.gov/forestry/. Click on the link to “State Forest Management Guides” to see the current list of guides available. 

The open houses will be held at seven properties. Times listed are Eastern Time.

- Owen-Putnam State Forest, Tuesday, March 17, 7 p.m. Office is 6 miles west of Spencer on Indiana 46 (5 miles west of Spencer on Indiana 46, then north on Fish Creek Road for 1 mile), (812) 829-2462. Staff from Greene-Sullivan State Forest also will be present. 

- Martin State Forest, Tuesday, April 7, 7 p.m. Office is on U.S. 50, approximately 5 miles east of Shoals, (812) 247-3491. 

- Morgan-Monroe State Forest, Thursday, April 9, 7 p.m. The office is 5 miles south of Martinsville on Indiana 37, then 8 miles east on the forest road, (765) 342-4026. Staff from Yellowwood State Forest also will be present. Visitors can tour the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment located on the state forest.

- Harrison-Crawford State Forest, Wednesday, April 15, 7 p.m. Office is 7 miles west of Corydon on Indiana 62, left on Indiana 462 for 3 miles to entrance gate of O'Bannon Woods State Park. Proceed past gate, make first left turn on paved road to the white building on left, (812) 738-7694.

- Starve Hollow State Recreation Area, Saturday, April 18, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. The office is located on County Road 275 W, east of Indiana 135, approximately 6 miles south of Brownstown, (812) 358-3464. Staffs from Jackson-Washington State Forest and Selmier State Forest also will be present. 

- Ferdinand State Forest, Wednesday, April 22, 7 p.m. The office is on Indiana 264, approximately 4 miles northeast of Ferdinand, (812) 367-1524.

- Clark State Forest, Saturday, April 25, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. The office is 1 mile north of Henryville on Indiana 31, (812) 294-4306. Staff from Deam Lake State Recreation Area also will be present. 

For more information or detailed directions, please call the state forest office at the number listed for the property desired.

Campers Need To Heed Firewood Restrictions   (8-20-2008)

Those planning to camp at an Indiana state park, state recreation area or state forest for Labor Day weekend or at any other time should be aware that there are restrictions on the firewood these properties allow through their gates. The reason is to help slow the spread of the invasive insect emerald ash borer.

 Known as EAB for short, this exotic species of beetle has killed more than 20 million ash trees in the Midwest. On its own, EAB can advance about a half-mile to one mile per year. A problem arises when people unknowingly move infested ash wood to new areas, spreading the insect much faster and farther than it can move on its own. 

EAB has been found in 19 Indiana counties, including Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Floyd, Hamilton, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marion, Noble, Porter, Randolph, St. Joseph, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, White and Whitley. 

 Visitors entering state property campgrounds are asked at the gate if they have brought any firewood from quarantined counties in Indiana listed above, or from any federally quarantined states, including all of Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland. The only hardwood firewood that can be brought into state properties is  (1) from non-quarantined Indiana counties, (2)  scrap kiln-dried lumber with no bark attached to it, and (3)  that which was purchased at a commercial store and that has a USDA compliance stamp.

 The recent discovery of EAB in Floyd County brings the impact of this insect sharply into focus for southern Indiana. 

 “Before the emerald ash borer was found in Floyd County, all of the discoveries in the Hoosier state had been north of Indianapolis,” said Ginger Murphy, assistant director for stewardship for Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs. "Most folks from northern Indiana who camp have grown accustomed to our firewood policy. Campers from Floyd County need to know that they are now part of this quarantine, and they need to leave their hardwood firewood at home."

Firewood brought to properties from quarantined Indiana counties or quarantined states that do not meet the above conditions will be confiscated at the gate and burned as soon as possible. Confiscation and burning the firewood quickly eliminates the possibility that any adult EABs in the wood emerge and start a new infestation.

Campers should also be aware of the source of any firewood they purchase to use when camping at non-state properties. Many private campgrounds also restrict firewood brought in to their properties.

Travelers headed out of state from any county in Indiana cannot, under federal law, take hardwood firewood out of the state. Similarly, federal law prohibits travelers from moving hardwood firewood out of Ohio, Illinois or Michigan.

For tips on protecting forests when camping, go to dontmovefirewood.org. More information about EAB, including quarantines and identification materials, can be found online at entm.purdue.edu/eab or by calling (866) NO-EXOTIC (663-9684). Questions regarding EAB should be directed to Purdue University entomologist Jodie Ellis at (765) 494-0822, ellisj@purdue.edu.

Regular Season Waterfowl Season Dates Announced   (8-17-2008)

The regular-season waterfowl dates, as proposed to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) by the Indiana DNR, are as listed below. The dates are not final until approved by the USFWS in mid- to late September. Look for another Wild Bulletin around that time that will either confirm or amend these dates. Historically, they have been accepted as proposed. 

At the end of the dates, there is important information about changes in some regulations for this year. 

- Ducks, coots, and mergansers:

North Zone: 10/18/08 - 12/16/08
South Zone: 10/25/08 - 11/2/08 and 11/26/08 - 1/15/09
Ohio River Zone: 11/1/08 - 11/2/08 and 11/29/08 - 1/25/09

Bag limit of six ducks daily, including no more than 4 mallards (no more than 2 of which may be hens), 3 mottled ducks, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 1 scaup, 1 black duck, and 1 pintail. The season on canvasbacks is closed. Possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

- Canada geese:

North Zone: 10/18/08 - 10/19/08 and 11/8/08 - 1/18/09
South Zone: 10/25/08 - 11/2/08 and 11/26/08 - 1/29/09
Ohio River Zone: 11/1/08 - 11/2/08 and 11/21/08 - 1/31/09

Bag limit of 2 Canada geese daily; possession limit is 4.
Counties that were previously in the SJBP Zone are now in the North Zone. The SJBP Zone no longer exists.

Late Canada Goose Zone: 2/1/09 - 2/15/09

The late Canada Goose Zone includes the following counties: Adams, Allen, Boone, Clay, DeKalb, Elkhart, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Huntington, Johnson, Kosciusko, LaPorte, LaGrange, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Noble, Parke, St. Joseph, Shelby, Steuben, Starke, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo, Wells, and Whitley. Special restrictions apply: a free permit is required, and all geese harvested must be checked at a DNR check station. Details will be available later this winter.

- Light geese and brant:

Statewide: 10/18/08 - 1/30/09

Bag limit of 20 light geese (snow and/or Ross' geese) and 1 brant. Possession limit is 2 brant. There is no possession limit on light geese.

Light goose conservation order: 2/1/09 - 3/31/09

No bag or possession limit. A free permit is required. Details will be available later this winter.

- White fronted geese:

11/7/08 - 1/31/09

Bag limit of 1 white-fronted goose. Possession limit is 2. 

- Youth hunt:

North Zone: 10/11/08 - 10/12/08
South Zone: 10/18/08 - 10/19/08
Ohio River Zone: 10/25/08 - 10/26/08

Bag and possession limits are the same as for the regular seasons.

- Extended Falconry:

Mourning Doves: 10/17/08 - 11/6/ 08 and 1/1/09 - 1/16/09
Woodcock: 9/20/08 - 10/14/08 and 11/29/08 - 1/4/09
Ducks, coots, and mergansers: 
North Zone: 9/27/08 - 9/30/08 and 2/14/09 - 3/10/09
South Zone: 10/18/08 - 10/24/08 and 2/17/09 - 3/10/09
Ohio River Zone: 10/25/08 - 10/31/08 and 2/17/09 - 3/10/09

Waterfowl Hunters To See Changes This Year

While Indiana will enjoy another liberal duck season this year, there are a few changes of which hunters should be aware.

The SJBP Zone Is Gone

For Canada goose hunters, the Southern James Bay Population (SJBP) Zone will no longer exist. These counties will now be incorporated into the North Zone. 

Adam Phelps, waterfowl research biologist for the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife, said, "This zone was established years ago to protect flocks of long-distance migrant SJBP geese. However, we have been able to show through band return data that these birds are now spread out across the state, so the zone no longer works to protect these birds. That, plus the increase of locally breeding giant Canada geese, has caused goose managers in the Mississippi Flyway to shift their thinking. Goose seasons throughout the Flyway have been liberalized experimentally for five years to determine if the number of local geese will 'swamp' the Canadian birds in the harvest."

"Swamping" means there are so many giant Canada geese, in Indiana and in surrounding states, that just by their sheer numbers they will keep the long-distance migrants from being harvested in large numbers. 

The removal of this SJBP Zone means that Canada goose hunters statewide will have the same season length-74 days-for the first time since 1990.

Late Canada Goose Season Will Continue

In addition, the experimental Late Canada Goose Zone season that began last year will continue. This season will be open Feb. 1-15, 2009, in the following counties: Adams, Allen, Boone, Clay, De Kalb, Elkhart, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Huntington, Johnson, Kosciusko, La Porte, Lagrange, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Noble, Parke, St. Joseph, Shelby, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo, Wells and Whitley. During this season, hunters may take five Canada geese per day.

Hunters will still be required to obtain a special permit. The process should be easier this year, with an online permitting application that is in the works.

Hunters will still be required to check in all birds taken at a DNR check station. 

"We definitely feel the frustration of hunters who have to drive a long distance to check birds, especially with the high cost of fuel. But if we want to keep this season past the three-year experimental period, we must collect and measure the heads of adult geese, and there is no other way to do it. Hunters are asked to be patient during the three-year experiment-if all goes as expected, birds will no longer have to be checked and permits will no longer be required after the 2010 season," Phelps said.

An Extra Wood Duck In The Bag

Another bright spot for Indiana hunters this year is that the daily bag limit for wood ducks will increase from two per day to three. Years of work by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has shown that these popular birds are capable of sustaining more harvest than is currently being taken.

"This is great news, especially for early season hunters. A large proportion of the bags of early season duck hunters contain wood ducks. Populations will be monitored closely for the next few years to ensure that the extra harvest is not adversely affecting wood duck populations on a continental scale. This is an experiment, and if wood duck numbers drop, the bag limit could be reduced back to two birds per day," Phelps said. 

Phelps cautions hunters to enjoy this, but not to get used to it.

"I think that everything will be fine and we'll have three woodies in the bag for the foreseeable future, but if things take a bad turn, the bag limit will be reduced," he said.

Diving Duck Bag Limits To Be Reduced

After a record population estimate in 2007, the 2008 count of canvasbacks breeding on the North American prairies dropped 44 percent this year. Because of this rapid drop, the USFWS is recommending a closed season for this prized species this year. 

Last year's record count prodded the USFWS to do something unprecedented: set a two-bird per day canvasback limit during last duck season. Hunters may see that high limit last year, followed by a population drop, and draw the obvious conclusion that canvasbacks were overharvested last year. 

"Not so fast," Phelps said. "Despite the two-bird bag last year, harvest only increased 25 percent in North America, and was 350,000 birds lower than was allowed by the USFWS's model. We're not sure what's going on with canvasbacks, but we know we didn't shoot them all."

There is some suspicion that the birds have spread out this year into more northerly areas, because the southern prairies are so dry. 

"Nothing explains this population drop except missing birds on the survey. We know of no large-scale mortality, we had no overharvest. These birds are apparently alive, but in unsurveyed areas," Phelps said.

There is some evidence for this. The last time canvasback populations dropped so quickly was 1978, and they immediately rebounded in 1979, despite the season remaining open. 

In addition, canvasback populations are strongly correlated with redhead duck populations. Redhead populations hit a record high this year. Why would canvasback populations drop while redhead populations stay strong? 

"That's the big question. There may be a ton of canvasbacks out there that weren't counted this year. Next year's survey should shed some light on this, but in the meantime, we must close the canvasback season," Phelps said.

There are more changes for diving duck hunters. The USFWS is requiring a reduction in scaup (bluebill) harvest this year as well. This is despite the fact that scaup populations have been stable since 2001, have increased 8 percent from last year (and 15 percent from 2006), and remain, at 3.74 million birds, the third most abundant duck species in North America.

Most waterfowl experts will tell you that hunter harvest has nothing to do with the decline in scaup numbers since the 1970s. The decline is likely caused by a complex interaction of factors, including habitat destruction and degradation in the boreal forest of Canada, plus impacts from exotic parasites and pollutants.

"We will have a one bird daily bag for scaup this year. It's too bad that the third most abundant duck on the continent has been relegated to the status of 'mistake duck'." Though Indiana could have a partial season with a two-scaup limit, Phelps said that the extra opportunity is not worth the confusion on differential limits during different days. 

"We don't take enough scaup in Indiana to make that much difference to most hunters. I think it would be more of a headache for hunters to keep one more regulatory complication straight," he said.

The scaup limit is complicated by the bird's close resemblance to other species. 

It's hard to tell scaup from ring-necked ducks a lot of the time, and they often fly together over big water. The limit on ring-necked ducks remains six per day, and the limit on redheads remains at two per day-despite the fact that redheads, at a population of 1.06 million this year, are outnumbered by scaup in North America by more than three to one. 

Many waterfowl conservation groups oppose the reduction in bag limit. Phelps said that further reductions in scaup harvest are unlikely to contribute to the species recovery, and will only serve to drive diving-duck hunters away from the sport.

Phelps said he's worried about the impacts that the reduction will have on conservation. 

"When you remove most of the opportunity to shoot scaup, and close the canvasback season at the same time, those hunters who have the specialized equipment to hunt big water for these birds just aren't going to bother," he said. "That's sad, from a hunting tradition standpoint, and affects northern states like Wisconsin and Minnesota much more than Indiana. But think of the financial impact on habitat programs when those folks don't buy duck stamps this year. We are driving our best partners in diving duck conservation away from hunting."

Commission Prohibits Live Coyote Sales (7-23-08)

PORTAGE -- Coyotes taken outside the regulated trapping and hunting seasons can no longer be sold live as a result of an administrative rule change unanimously adopted by the Indiana Natural Resources Commission on Tuesday [7-22-2008].

The administrative change clarifies gray area that was being interpreted by some to allow live coyotes that were legally trapped in Indiana to be sold across state lines for the purpose of being used to train hunting dogs in penned facilities. 

The decision, which requires approval of the attorney general and Gov. Mitch Daniels, came at the bimonthly meeting of the NRC, which has rule-making authority over the Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR is authorized by the state legislature to set season dates and bag limits for hunting, trapping and fishing. The coyote hunting and trapping season is Oct. 15 through March 15. A separate state law allows landowners to take coyotes at any time on the land they own, or provide written permission for others to take coyotes on that land.

The revision approved Tuesday clarifies that coyotes taken outside the trapping and hunting seasons must be euthanized within 24 hours but will allow the sale of hides and parts. 

Ohio and Kentucky asked the DNR to stop the live trade market to avoid diseases from native Indiana coyotes being spread to other states. Also, the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies recently passed a resolution opposing the practice.

The Indiana commission gave preliminary approval to the amended rule in September. The DNR began accepting public comments in November and received 1,900 comments and more than 1,000 signatures on competing petitions.

In other matters, the commission approved the appointment of Bradley D. Schneck as property manager at Jackson-Washington State Forest/Starve Hollow State Recreation Area, and voted to name a portion of the Grand Kankakee Marsh restoration project after long-time project chair Dick Blythe. 

Paddlefish Poacher Loses Hunting, Fishing Privileges For 5 Years(7-08-08)

BOONVILLE--Randall L. Voorhees Jr., 29, of Evansville lost his fishing and hunting privileges and a lot more when he was sentenced recently in Warrick Superior Court II on a charge of attempted illegal sale of protected wildlife, a Class D felony. 

The sentence stems from a guilty plea entered by Voorhees for illegal fishing activity involving paddlefish. 

Voorhees also received a suspended 18-month jail sentence, 18 months supervised probation and a $10,000 fine. The court suspended his hunting and fishing privileges for a period of five years. In addition, the court ordered Voorhees’ 1991 GMC truck, boat and boat trailer and all fishing gear seized as evidence forfeited to the Department of Natural Resources. 

He was one of 22 people arrested during “Operation Skid Roe” on violations linked to the illegal marketing of protected paddlefish in Indiana waters. Voorhees was charged after an investigation conducted by Indiana Conservation Officers and Detectives along with U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service agents. 

“Operation Skid Roe” was an investigation into the poaching and illegal sale of paddlefish and the valuable eggs carried by pregnant females. Paddlefish are protected in Indiana waters, which led to the stiff penalty levied against Voorhees. 

“This is a clear indication of the court system’s view that poaching is a serious crime, and that the penalties levied by a court can be severe,” DNR Director of Law Enforcement Col. Michael Crider said. 

Criminal charges for attempted sale of protected wildlife are pending against Voorhees in Posey County.

Indiana Smallmouth Alliance  (6-03-08)

Indiana Smallmouth Alliance (INSA) is a growing organization of avid anglers from throughout the state, focusing its attention on the enjoyment and protection of the smallmouth bass and its habitat in Indiana waters. It is part of a growing regional presence for critical smallmouth bass initiatives in Great Lakes states, joining other Alliance chapters in Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri. Our mission:

* Protecting and enhancing quality habitat for smallmouth bass through partnerships with various organizations including funding for cleanups and habitat restorations, and to address siltation, pollution and other issues that impact our waterways. 

* Preserving the smallmouth fishery for future generations. 

* Educating others on the components that contribute to a healthy watershed and the use of ethical fishing practices. 

INSA has been very active in several important areas. We have been working with various state and county entities to support important smallmouth habitat related grant projects across the state. In early summer 2007 our members contributed over $1,000 in in-kind contributions to the Putnam County SWCD Big Walnut Creek watershed grant by documenting land use and critical habitat issues along a 15-mile stretch of the creek. We have also teamed with the Tippecanoe County SWCD by sponsoring and contributing $2,000 toward a Clean Water Indiana (CWI) marketing grant, which will ultimately put into place conservation buffers on 15-25 acres of property bordering the branches of Wildcat Creek.

At present we are party to another CWI grant totaling nearly $1 million currently in review which would put critical research and habitat remediation on stretches of the Eel River in northern Indiana. This grant is being written and supported by Manchester College.

The Indiana Smallmouth Alliance has also been very active in sponsoring various fishery related conferences around the state. We were a 'Gold' level sponsor of the 2006 Indiana Lakes Management Society conference, as well as a sponsor of both the Non-Point Source Pollution Conference and the Indiana Rivers Rally, both hosted by Hanover College. Our Board members have also attended the 2006 North American Lakes Management Society's International Symposium held in Indianapolis, IN., as well as the Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference and the Indiana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society’s spring technical meeting. We currently maintain paid affiliation with Friends of the White River, Indiana Wildlife Federation and the Indiana Lakes Management Society.

For the past 2 years, members of the Indiana Smallmouth Alliance have donated their time to helping kids get their first fishing experience by volunteering at the Indiana State Fair IDNR fishing pond. Members bait hooks, remove fish, repair tackle and assist in many other ways to help nearly 20,000 kids who have participated in the program since the construction of the new pond was completed back in 2006. Stocked with bluegill and catfish, the pond has become one of the premier attractions at the State Fair along with the indoor fish exhibit at the DNR Pavillion. We have also hosted a fishing trade show, a kayak rigging demo day and have plans for a fall rod building workshop. 

 At present, we are working with the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources and the Hoosier Riverwatch group to adopt several sections of Indiana streams for cleanup as well as place smallmouth regulation signs at popular access points across the state.

This fall we will be holding our 1st Annual Smallie Stravaganza. The event will be open to the public and will include dinner, two guest speakers, and lots of fishing related items for raffle.

We maintain our own website at www.indianasmallmouthalliance.org. There you can find more information about the group and how to join, as well as upcoming activities we have planned, purchase smallmouth related logo items and even participate in our own discussion forum. The group welcomes any person with a keen interest in smallmouth fishing and resource protection and encompasses every facet of angling including fly-spin-baitcast anglers, waders, kayakers, and tourney fishermen.

Boating Season   ( 5-23-08)

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is kicking off the boating season with a new safe boating campaign that promotes life jacket use. 

The “Wear IT, Indiana” promotion targets recreational boaters and swimmers by encouraging the use of life jackets through a series of TV commercials featuring messages from Indiana conservation officers. 

The campaign coincides with National Safe Boating Week (May 17-23) but carries a year-round message.

In 2006, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 474 drowning deaths from motorboat accidents.  Ninety percent of those victims were not wearing life jackets. In that same year, Indiana reported six boating fatalities with three victims not wearing life jackets. Indiana had 27 other drowning fatalities in 2006 that were not boating related.

Less bulky, lighter weight materials and affordability have made a difference in life jacket usage by Indiana conservation officers.

Traditional U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are still legal, but a number of manufacturers offer reasonably priced inflatable life jackets and belt packs that are comfortable and non-restricting. They are available in a variety of colors, including camouflage. Prices range from $50-$150. Float coats and jackets that provide more protection from the elements and can act as a life jacket also are available, with prices beginning around $150.

Indiana law requires that all watercraft 17 feet and above in length be equipped with one wearable U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each passenger on board and that the life jacket fits the person who intends to wear it. 

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