GFP News - June 15, 2012
- No Boating Zone Enacted for Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls
- Funding Available for Outdoor Recreation
- GFP Missouri River Fisheries Updates
No Boating zone enacted for big sioux river in sioux falls
PIERRE, S.D. - To protect the public during a city construction project, Gov. Dennis Daugaard has enacted a No-Boating Zone, effective at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 18, on a portion of the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls.
No boating will be allowed from the Minnesota Avenue bridge downstream to the Cliff Avenue bridge.
The order will be in effect until rescinded by the Governor.
The city of Sioux Falls is repairing its sanitary sewer system between Minnesota Avenue and Cliff Avenue. The construction may result in hazardous boating conditions on that stretch of the Big Sioux River. As a precaution, city officials have requested temporary closure of boating on that stretch of the river.
State law gives the Governor authority to prohibit or restrict recreational use or navigation on any portion of a river, lake or stream in order to protect the public peace, health, or safety, according to Jeff Vonk, Secretary of the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks.
A violation of the public waterway restriction is a Class 2 Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of $500, or both.
Funding Available for Outdoor Recreation
PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota State Parks and Recreation Director Doug Hofer announced today that applications are being accepted for grants from the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
Outdoor recreation projects sponsored by city, county, township and tribal governments are eligible to receive the grant money.
"Outdoor recreation is important to a healthy community," Hofer said. "The variety of recreational activities that local parks have to offer allows families to spend time together close to home."
The Land & Water Conservation Fund provides up to 50 percent reimbursement for approved outdoor recreation projects.
"Grants will be awarded for development or renovation of outdoor recreation facilities or the acquisition of park land," Hofer said. "The minimum grant will be for projects needing a minimum of $10,000 in federal funds. The maximum grant awarded will be $50,000 in federal funds."
Examples of eligible projects include new playground equipment, ball diamonds and swimming pool renovation. The application deadline is Aug. 10, 2012.
LWCF funds are federal dollars that are apportioned to states by Congress to fund public outdoor recreation projects. Application packets are available online at www.gfp.sd.gov
For more information contact Grants Coordinator Randy Kittle at 605-773-5490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
GFP missouri river fisheries updates
Walleye fishing should remain good on Lake Oahe through the spring of 2012 and into the summer. With the good fishing, questions remain on the status and health of the food supply in Lake Oahe. South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) staff began their annual monitoring of the rainbow smelt population in Lake Oahe during April. This includes monitoring spawning adults and growth and distribution of young fish produced this year, losses of fish from the system to predators and reservoir releases during the summer months, and most importantly, population estimates at the end of the summer.
Fisheries Program Administrator Geno Adams said, "Monitoring through lake surveys and angler creel surveys over the next year will help paint a clearer picture of impacts of high water releases in 2011 on reservoir fisheries. We know fish moved through these systems, but to what extent it will affect the sport fisheries remains to be seen."
GF&P staff began netting for spawning adult rainbow smelt at the beginning of April and finished in early May. Although adult rainbow smelt were caught, the numbers of fish and the length of the spawning run were lower than most previous years. Comparing catches in 2012 to the last ten years suggests that the 2012 spawn was in the lower 1/3rd in terms of the length of the spawning season. Hatching conditions during the egg incubation time frame were mixed. The US Army Corps of Engineers provided a slow increase in the Lake Oahe water level during April. This increase is necessary to keep eggs in shallow water submerged. However, Lake Oahe experienced many high wind events during April. Waves created by wind stir up the bottom in shallow areas, which can damage fragile smelt eggs or deposit silt on top of the eggs, suffocating them. Knowing these factors play a large role in the success of the smelt spawn, GF&P staff will continue to sample for young smelt in Oahe in an effort to determine spawning success.
In addition, a Lake Oahe gizzard shad stocking project is underway. GF&P staff are attempting to bolster Lake Oahe prey fish numbers by stocking adult, pre-spawn gizzard shad this spring. The objective is for these fish to spawn in Oahe, providing sport fish with young gizzard shad as a food resource in localized areas. Past studies have revealed that when abundant, shad are readily eaten by walleye and other Lake Oahe fishes. GF&P staff reached their goal of stocking approximately 1,700 shad early in May. As with rainbow smelt monitoring, GF&P staff will use various tools to monitor the success of the gizzard shad stocking project.
Fishing has remained good on Lake Sharpe through the spring of 2012. However, numerous reports of â€œskinnyâ€ fish have been fielded by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) staff. Although most of the walleye in Lake Sharpe appear healthy, there are some skinny fish in the system. This is largely due to low gizzard shad production in 2011 caused by the 2011 flood.
During the flood of 2011, water releases through Oahe dam were the highest ever recorded. Because the water intake structures for Oahe Dam are deep below the surface, water released into Lake Sharpe was very cold. In fact, water temperatures last year were10-16oF below normal summer water temperatures. These cool water conditions likely delayed gizzard shad spawning in 2011. Thus, fewer shad were available as food for sport fish through the winter and spring. Because of the high number of rainbow smelt passing through Oahe Dam in 2011, Lake Sharpe sport fish remained healthy through the summer and fall months despite few available gizzard shad. Now that the supply of rainbow smelt from Oahe Dam has been curtailed, the sport fish in Lake Sharpe are beginning to feel the effects of a lower food supply than most years.
However, the effects of low gizzard shad reproduction in 2011 should be short lived. GF&P staff have spent time on Lake Sharpe looking for evidence of gizzard shad spawning, with much success. Initial sampling efforts indicate a strong gizzard shad spawn is taking place on Lake Sharpe. Gizzard shad spawn in shallow water areas close to shore. They are frequently observed at Farm Island in Hipple Lake spawning.
Senior Fisheries Biologist Mark Fincel said, "I have seen firsthand gizzard shad spawning on Lake Sharpe and we have begun to catch the larval fish in our surveys. Current weather conditions will likely favor the gizzard shad spawn (warm and sunny) so it is likely the spawn will last a couple more weeks at least. It is only a matter of time before we see those fish in the diets of Lake Sharpe sport fish."
With a successful gizzard shad spawn on Lake Sharpe, it is likely these fish will become available as food for sport fish by late June. Until the food supply increases and water temperatures warm substantially, we expect fishing to continue to be good on Lake Sharpe.