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Opening of Florida's Newest Fishery Behind Schedule

2011 construction of Fellsmere. Photo by Treasure Coast NewspapersFlorida's newest bass fishery didn't open to the public as expected this past spring, and when 10,000-acre Fellsmere Water Management Area will be accessible remains uncertain. That's because the ramp's location and rules about public access remain undetermined.

"We are evaluating three sites at this time on district property and continue to consider one location on the Fellsmere Joint Venture property," said Ed Garland, spokesman for the St. Johns Water Management District.

"However, the district is committed to choosing a location that will offer public access. The district continues to hear from the public on this issue at regularly scheduled southern recreation meetings and additionally will hear from the public at a governing board meeting before any plan is final."

East of Stick Marsh-Farm 13, a renowned 6,000-acre bass fishery, Fellsmere was transformed from agricultural lands once owned by Sun-Ag Inc. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) enhanced the marshy area with 2,000 acres of prime fish habitat and spent about $1.4 million on stocking it with bass and bluegill.

In addition to providing bass fishing that should rival its neighbor, Fellsmere also will filter discharges from surrounding farms, reducing the need for discharges into Indian River Lagoon. It's the final piece of the district's upper basin project to restore a more natural flow to the river, lost decades ago when wetlands were drained for agriculture.

The draft recreation plan for the area says that Fellsmere will included a two-lane boat ramp with 24 vehicle/trailer parking spaces, 12 regular parking spaces, restrooms, a boarding dock, and picnic shelters. An overflow parking area will help accommodate small tournaments.

And as the site of the ramp remains undetermined, FWC and the district still are considering what regulations to impose. Options include making the Fellsmere catch-and-release only and prohibiting harvest for five years to establish a quality fishery.


Family Friendly Places to Fish and Boat

Whether they're professional anglers or professional athletes, plenty of people love to fish and boat with their families. So we asked around, and added their family favorites to our list of best places to fish and boat in the country--- Take Me Fishing


"It’s the first place I ever caught a smallmouth bass. Me and my boys love the bass fishing there."


"Nothing better than fishing the lagoons in the summer. I spend a lot of my free time fishing and really cherish any time on the water."


"It’s where I always went as a kid, and now I take my children there. My favorite memory has to be watching my oldest daughter catch her first fish all by herself."

To find out more family friendly locations by region, go here.


BoatUS Offers Safety Tips for Navigating Higher Waters in Great Lakes

With Great Lakes water levels on the rise and expected to continue to increase into summer, recreational boaters could find that deeper water under the keel may open a whole new range of cruising, fishing or sailing grounds to navigation. That same deep water, however, may present unique safety concerns on the water and at the dock, says Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety organization.

According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Ontario is expected to see the largest increase at 17 inches higher over last year and lowland flooding is already hampering the boat-launch season on the lake. The second largest year-over-year increase goes to Lake Superior at 12 inches higher sometime in August, while Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are both predicted to rise 8 inches. Lake Erie is expected to be up 5 inches over last year.

BoatUS offer the following tips for boaters on the Great Lakes in these flooded conditions:

On the water: The good news is that deeper draft vessels may have more options for mooring, anchoring and slip rental, as well as increased access to the water. However, high water shifts sandbars. Traveling at slower speed can reduce the risk of grounding or running gear damage. Transient boaters can contact local TowBoatUS operators on VHF channel 16 for local information. In you’re headed into unfamiliar waters post an extra lookout, and if you’re traveling far, check ahead as locations to tie up may be inaccessible.

On the dock: Many fixed (non-floating), boat docks with electrical service are submerged, potentially compromising wiring and electrical connections. When waters recede and before power gets turned on, inspect the electrical service and consider installing a ground fault protection device if your dock power system does not already have one. Without it, the risk of Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) increases. A dock electrical maintenance check-up is also a good idea to schedule at the beginning of the each season


Great Reviews for Pippa's Journey at Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars If you love dogs, you have to read this book!

I really loved this book. It tells the story of the author deciding to give an adult dog in a shelter a chance rather than adopting a puppy. Their story is heartwarming and although Pippa struggled at times to adapt to her new home, with Robert's patience and guidance, she developed a bond with him and is thriving. It also includes stories of other rescued dogs. People who love dogs and know how many wonderful adult dogs are overlooked in shelters will love this book. And hopefully, it will raise awareness for people who are not aware of their plight. Adopt, don't shop!


5.0 out of 5 stars For Readers Who Enjoyed "A Dog's Purpose"

I’ve read each of Robert Montgomery’s books, but this book of dog stories is my favorite. The rescued dogs in this book touched my heart and inspired me to always look first at the local shelter before I get a dog. As one of the writers says, “We rescue dogs, and they rescue us.”
Each story in the book celebrates the tangible and intangible blessings of loving lost, abandoned, and homeless dogs who want to share unconditional love, loyalty, and compassion with their humans. Plus, the book contains great information about shelters, adopting dogs, and how to bond with a new canine friend. I highly recommend this book for all animal lovers.