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Entries in Keep America Fishing (59)


Corps Finalizes Plans to Close Access to Cumberland Fisheries

If you fish the Cumberland River and/or its tributaries, you should know that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finalized plans to close access around 10 dam facilities.

Keep America Fishing says this:

“These closures would affect tailwaters, both upstream and downstream of all ACOE owned facilities along the Cumberland River and its tributaries. Included would be Cheatham Dam, Old Hickory, Percy Priest and Center Hill fishing areas, which are popular with Tennessee’s almost one million anglers.

“Enforcement of these plans and closures are set to take effect in April of 2013. Failure to comply with these closures could result in fines, court dates and collateral forfeiture citations. The areas to be closed will have signs, buoys and potentially physical barriers to enforce the no-fishing areas. The Corps is prepared to spend $2 million dollars on these potential physical barriers which could potentially hamper future rescue efforts in these areas.”

The final public meeting is planned for Feb. 5 in Nashville. Go here to learn more.


Your Help Needed Now to Save Sportsmen's Act of 2012

The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 isn’t dead yet. But your help is needed if it is to be enacted. Right now, go to this link at Keep America Fishing (KAF) and voice your support for the legislation.

As I reported yesterday, the Senate failed to move the bill because of the dysfunctional government that we now have in Washington, D.C.  But KAF says there’s still a chance that we can save this legislation:

“The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 may yet again come up for vote in the U.S. Senate as members are working hard to craft a solution to the procedural problem that stopped the bill from passing the Senate. A diverse coalition of angling, hunting and conservation organizations is working hard to support this effort and eventual passage, but time is running out.

“On Nov. 26, in a surprise upset, the U.S. Senate failed to advance the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). The bill failed to pass over a party-line vote on a procedural motion, following months of discussion with Senate members by a large and diverse coalition of angling, hunting and conservation organizations who worked to create a historic bill containing 17 key provisions for anglers, hunters and fish and wildlife conservation.

“You can still make an impact and Keep America Fishing provides an easy way to send an effective message to Senate members. We need everyone’s support to help pass this essential piece of legislation.

“This link takes you to a Take Action Now page.

“Please help us convince the Senate to bring this bill back to the floor and vote YES for fish and wildlife conservation!”


Follow the Shad for Bass Fishing Success in Fall

Mike Iaconelli and Pete Gluszek share insights into how and where to catch bass in fall at Keep America Fishing.

Here’s an excerpt:

“In order to understand the bass migration, you must first understand the bait migration. In most lakes across the country, shad are the main forage for the bass. After summer, the colder water brings the baitfish out in search of food of their own. The main source of food for the shad is plankton, and this brings them out of the main lake and into channels and creeks.

“The most important part of bass fishing in the fall is knowing where to find these schools of bait. If you can find the schools, you can also find the bass.”

Read the full story here.

But Don't Forget . . .

Secret: Many pros believe that most of our reservoirs have two distinct populations of bass. One population stays offshore except to spawn, relating more to deep-water structure and feeding primarily on shad. The other might migrate into deeper water during summer and winter, but prefers to feed in shallow water during spring and fall. What this means is that you almost always can find fish deep, and deep fish receive far less pressure from anglers than do those in the shallows.

--- From my book, Better Bass Fishing, available here or at Amazon.


Action Alert! Urge Your Senators to Support Sportsmen's Act

Your help is needed now.

During the next few days, U.S. Senators are expected to vote on the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). Designed to benefit sportfishing as well as recreational shooting and hunting, it’s the most comprehensive package of legislation related to the outdoors community in recent years.

The Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act, and the Making Public Land Public Act are some its most important provisions.

“From improving habitat conservation to increasing public access to protecting the use of traditional fishing tackle, this bill would have monumental impacts on anglers and hunters and maintain our conservation heritage,” says Keep America Fishing.

Go here to learn more and to send a message to your senators, urging them to support the proposed legislation.


Feds Set to Steal Fisheries Funding

As if we needed another reminder that our federal government is broken, the Office of Management and Budget came up with this:

Cut $34 million from the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) and Boating Trust Fund to help reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion, as required by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Now, I’m one who believes that virtually every program, including those related to conservation and natural resources, should be on the table to help us get the massive federal debt under control.

But the problem with this recommendation is that the SFR fund is not financed by taxpayers, as are all those other federal expenditures. Anglers pay for this one themselves with excise taxes paid on fishing tackle and motorboat fuel.

To deny any of that money to the states for fisheries management, as it was intended, is theft.

“The angling and boating community was shocked to learn that for the first time in its 62-year history, the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund – the backbone of fisheries conservation in the United States - is recommended for a cut under sequestration totaling $34 million,” said Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA).

 Established in 1950 with the support of industry, anglers, and state conservation agencies, SFR “is an outstanding example of what good government should be and is the backbone of the user-pay model of funding conservation in this nation. It is essential that it remain untouched,” Robertson added.

The Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950 placed a federal excise tax on all recreational fishing equipment, which manufacturers pay and is then incorporated into the cost of the equipment that anglers purchase. In 1984 the Act was amended to include that part of the federal gasoline fuel tax attributable to motor boat use. The total annual value of the Trust Fund is approximately $650 million. The monies from the fund are apportioned to state conservation agencies for sport fish restoration, boating safety, angler and boater access and other fishing and boating programs.

“When anglers and boaters pay the equipment tax or the fuel tax they are doing so with the understanding that this money is going to a trust fund dedicated - by law - to the resources they enjoy,” said Robertson.

“Withholding funds from this essential program at a time when state fishery programs are already struggling to ensure the best quality service to anglers and resource management will only cause fishery resources to suffer even more and cause job losses associated with the loss of recreation fishing boating programs.

“The sportfishing and boating industries, as well as anglers and boaters themselves, fail to understand how cutting a user-pay trust fund helps the economy.”

Recreational fishing adds $125 billion each year to the nation’s economy and supports more than one million jobs. Since its inception, SFR has pumped $7 billion into habitat restoration, access and boating safety programs.

SFR’s hunting counterpart, the Wildlife Restoration Act of 1936, is slated for a $31 million freeze. That program is funded by hunters and men and women who engage in the shooting sports and archery, who pay a similar tax to support wildlife restoration.

“This level of cuts to conservation programs that pay their own way is unprecedented and all anglers, hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts must speak up to prevent these cuts,” Robertson concluded.

Along with these two cornerstone conservation acts, many other critical conservation funds are also listed for significant cuts. Congress, with the cooperation of the Administration, must address the sequestration schedule and this will not occur until after the elections and possibly not until early 2013 and with a new Congress.

Visit Keep America Fishing regularly to keep current about when Congress may act on the SFR recommendation and other fisheries programs and when you should speak up.

And keep this in mind: Many in Washington consider fisheries and conservation “easy marks” for budget cuts. Some don’t recognize their importance. Others believe that anglers simply are not a constituency to be feared or even respected, for that matter.

The only way that the latter will change is for us to show them otherwise.