Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 27, 2002 · Page 25
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 25

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Sunday, October 27, 2002
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<3fnhhnw (gazette OUTDOORS Sunday, October 27, 2002 — C-7'' Great time for vacation Bits and pieces of a vacationing outdoors writer's mind. • Cabelas is coming to Pennsylvania. The Sydney, Neb., outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear has announced plans to build a 225,000-square-foot store between Harrisburg and Allen town in Hamburg. With construction slated to begin immediately, a fall 2003 completion date is anticipated. The store will be one of the largest of the nine oudets GabeJas operates, having floor space equal to four football fields. Currently, the nearest Cabelas retail location for Pennsylvania residents is in Dundee, Mich. Detailed information about the Hamburg location can be found at www.cabelas.com. • I was recently forwarded an e-mail containing a Buckmasters magazine tip of the week concerning the shooting of mature does. Because of the game commission's move to increase the doe harvest this year, the tip is very interesting. Following is an excerpt from the e-mail. "Some biologists are taking a new approach to thinning herds, and are recommending taking the very youngest deer. Their reasoning is that it is much better for the habitat to harvest a yearling because it requires more food and nutrients to grow to maturity. And mature does are valuable because they are much more likely to produce healthy twin fawns and almost always breed in the normal rut window — both good things for the health of the herd." The e-mail goes on to say, "If buck/doe ratios are your big problem, it might be best for you to preserve al! bucks and go with taking only mature, long-faced does." The game commission has said that the state's overabundance of deer is having a negative impact on habitat. The game commission has also stated that we need to improve our buck-to-doe ratio. Sounds like a catch 22 for the Keystone state. I wonder what game commission biologist Dr. Gary Alt thinks about this. • Man-made wetlands have been constructed in many areas, including Indiana County, to help clean up polluted waterways. The wetlands use bacteria to capture and hold the pollutants. Unfortunately, within months the bacteria's growth rate slows and the process stops. In some wetlands, manure is being used to promote bacteria growth, while in Oklahoma scientists are using expired beer. University of Tulsa chemistry professor Tom Harris and chemistry student Crystal Redden are researching the benefit beer can have on bacteria growth. In simple terms, the beer acts as food for the bacteria and allows smaller wetlands to perform the same amount of filtration as larger wetlands. More information can be found on the web at www.utulsa.edu/news/article. asp?Key569. • Finally, from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission comes this news release about a popular Jefferson County lake. The PFBC has begun a partial drawdown of Cloe Lake for planned maintenance and inspection of the impoundment's spillway. The partial drawdown began Oct. 2. The lake will continue to be lowered gradually about 10 feet, most likely until later this month. At that time, PFBC maintenance crews will examine the recently rebuilt spillway and apply a sealer to the spillway floor joints. The work being performed is part of the original project to rebuild the dam spillway; that project was previously postponed to allow for the impoundment to fill for use in the spring and summer of 2002. • The walleyes are biting, the steelheads are running and the whitetail rut is getting into high gear. It's a great time of year for a Pennsylvania outdoors writer to be on vacation. Bob Sleigh covers the outdoors for Ttie Indiana Gazette. E-mail at oittdoors@india nagazette. net $& >^££5$88lR&?v?-; ' 1 S*&•&£/•.* 'SvS^iS^V *M ,*•?"'" • I'^t «i ",-VM%*V "^tV i.-> .* . * Successful elk hunt A quintet of Indiana residents had a successful elk hunt in Colorado earlier this month. From left are Brian Smith (5 x 6), Bob Hammill (5 x 5), Jim Digel (5 x 5), Lisle Shoop (4x4) and Harold Smith (5x5). Buckeye State offers big bucks Buck rubs are a sign of antlered whitetaits in the area. Rubbing activity has increased significantly in local woods the last two weeks. (Jeff Knapp photo) By JEFF KNAPP Gazette Outdoors Writer like most counties in Southeastern Ohio, Noble County offers the bowhunter a fine chance at bagging a whitetail. This county is the site of a bowhunt I'm fortunate enought to be a part of this weekend. I've been looking forward to trying for one of the Buckeye State's big deer for several years, and this will be my first time there. According.to Jerry Myers, Ohio Division of Wildlife District 4 Wildlife Management Supervisor based in Athens, Noble County rates right up there with the other counties found within the deer-blessed region. "It's important for hunters to realize that Noble County is not necessarily any better than other counties in the area," said the biologist, noting that the limelight created by ink in the outdoor publications can sometimes lead one to think that a certain area is a hotspot, rising head-and- shoulders above others in the state or region. What Noble County does offer is fine whitetail hunting including the chance for a trophy, plus access to lands open to public hunting. "The potential for getting a deer is as good in Noble County as anywhere in the southeast portion of the state," is how Myers termed things. Habitat-wise, Noble County offers a mixture of food and cover. Forested lands of various stages of growth can be found throughout the county. Lots of previously mined areas are also present. Where mining took place after tougher reclamation laws, these spots are primarily grasslands. Older areas include highwalls and a mixture of brushy, shrub-type growth. Stream valleys provide bottomland-type habitat, and there's plenty'of agricultural lands mixed in. Some of Noble County can be considered somewhat remote, particularly in the western portion, but access is still good via Interstate 77. Camping and motels are limited in Noble, but a greater selection of services can be found in Cambridge to the north and Marietta to the south. More basic amenities can be found in nearby Caldwell. The largest piece of public access ground in Noble County is that of B&N Coal Lands, which provides more than 9,000 acres in Noble and Washington counties via four separate tracts. Hunters may access these lands via an agreement between the Ohio DOW and B&N. A free permit is required to hunt B&N properties, and is available through the DOW. Also, a small portion of Wayne National Forest extends into the county. According to Myers, the B&N tracts hold various types of cover. Mined areas of grasslands and brushland are present, as are stands of timber that average about 8-10 inches in diameter. More mature timber can be found in areas not mines, ridgetops in some cases. Numerous highwalls and spoilpiles are also present. About 60 percent of these lands have been strip mined at some point. Myers offered a tip for sportsmen hunting the B&N lands during the firearms season. He noted that hunting pressure often moves some big bucks into areas most hunters pass up, primarily small blocks of timber and thick brush standing in otherwise open terrain. He said some monster bucks have been taken from pieces of cover no larger than a house. The majority of hunters pass right by such spots, figuring they are too small to harbor a whitetail. The B&N Coal Lands are easily accessed from Interstate 77, which passes to the west of the lands in a north to south direction. Routes 78, 260, and 564 can be used to reach the Uiree tracts in Noble County. Numerous county and township roads can be taken from these larger routes to get to the edges of the properties. These are well shown on a map available from the DOW. Area briefs From Staff Reports Rabbit-hunting tourney planned The Indiana Beagle Club will serve as the host of a rabbit- hunting tournament on Saturday, Nov. 9, on the club grounds. The entry fee is $30 per team. Teams may begin at any time on Saturday. Competition ends promptly at 4 p.m. Door prizes, dog-food raffle and refreshments will be available. For more information, call Dave at (724) 397-9693 or Glenn at (724) 354-4894. Club to hold gun show The Indiana County Bow and Gun Club Gun Show will be held at the Novosel Civic Center on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $4 per adult and $2 for youths ages 13-15 (or bring a non-perishable food item). Children 12 and under will be admitted free with an accompanying adult. There will be a gun drawing on Sunday at 3 p.m. Proceeds benefit the ICCAP Food Bank and Miners' Community Food Pantry. Club offers archery lessons SHELOCTA — The Indiana County Bow and Gun Club will hold its last archery ciass for youths on Sunday from 4-6 p.m. The cost is $5. Anyone interested in participating should call (724) 726-1 111. The club is located along Old Route 56 in Shelocta. Mark these spots on your winter calendar By JEFF KNAPP Gazette Outdoors Writer Though fall spells hunting for most sportsmen, there are still many fine angling opportunities across the state. Consider the following calendar of fishing hotspots to help guide you through the fall and winter months: November First choice Pymatuning Muskies Once considered one of the finest musky lakes in the east, Pymatuning fell on tough times, musky-wise, when red spot disease severely impacted populations decades ago. But the lake has gradually made a comeback, and is quietly producing some of the bigger lunge in the state. During 2000 muskies in the 28- and 31- pound range were taken from the lake. Fall is an excellent time for fishing big muskies, and for fishing Py- matuning in general. Gizzard shad stack up in tight schools, primarily in the lower portion of the lake. Walleyes take full advantage of this, so it might be wise to concentrate musky fishing efforts in this area. Anglers aren't the only ones who like to eat walleyes. Muskies to too. Second choice Monongahela River Sauger Like the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, the Mon has good numbers of sauger, which stack up in slack water pools this time of year. December First choice Erie Tributaries Steefhead I mention Erie stream steelhead here as this month may be the last to take advantage of the sport before the streams freeze up. Depending on the weather of the fall this run can begin as early as Labor Day, if conditions are cool and water levels up. Erie tributaries are fickle, raising and dropping quickly due to local rainfall patterns. Keeping abreast of stream conditions is one of the major keys to enjoying fine fishing. Planning trips during die weekday when possible means having much more elbow room. The website www.fisherie.com is a good source to keep in touch with what's going on. Second choice Lower Susquehanna River Walleyes Good fishing for river walleyes can be enjoyed on the lower portions of the Susquehanna River. One stretch where I've had good success in the past is the Falmouth area below the York Haven Dam. January First choice Allegheny River Walleyes The lower Allegheny River plays host to 72 miles of waterway impounded by a series of eight lock and dam systems. This results in a text book scenario with walleyes, and their closely-related cousins the sauger, concentrating in deep pools and eddies near the tailrace areas of the dams. If water levels cooperate and air temperatures stay fairly mild, fast fishing can be experienced by both boat and shore fishermen. The best action occurs in slack water areas within two to three miles of the tailrace areas. Such places are often located below, and sometimes above, incoming tributaries. Gravel bars form at the mouths of many of these feeder waters, acting as a wing- dam that slows and diverts the main river current. Slow pools can be found above a creek mouth, and eddies often lie downriver. The presence of floating debris often signifies a good spot to fish. The best shore angling often occurs when the river is up a bit, forcing fish into the quieter pools that are usually found close to shore. The best action tends to take place late in the day, though a good all-day bite can happen on cloudy days, especially if the water is stained or dirty. Boat anglers are more mobile, and' can seek out biting walleyes by slip- drifting the lengths of slow-moving holes and eddies. All of the navigational pools of the Allegheny provide good fishing, though many of the biggest fish each year are taken below the Highland Park Dam (L&D 2) in Pittsburgh. Second choice Kinzua Dam Walleyes Each year quality sized walleyes are pulled through the ice of Kinzua Dam, as illustrated by one of the largest eyes registered in the Fish and Boat Commission's Angler Recognition Program. Kinzua's fluctuating water level, as well as the presence of submerged spring and natural gas seeps, can result in unsafe ice. Be sure to pay attention to conditions, and always wear a personal flotation device. February First choice Ohio River Sauger Though many areas of the Ohio River aren't particularly aesthetically pleasing, if offers up excellent fishing for both sauger and walleye, with the most consistent fishing taking place during the winter months. The two pound, five ounce sauger pulled from the Ohio River by Justin Powell illustrates the kind of sauger available to anglers. This is a big sauger by Pennsylvania standards, where saugers tend to grow fast, but have a high degree of natural mortality after reaching the 12-inch minimum size range. It's been my experience that the average size sauger and walleye in the Ohio runs larger than that in the lower Allegheny. This may be related tt) forage, and protein rich gizzard shad are more prevalent in the Ohio than the Allegheny. All of the Ohio River is impounded. Dams that influence the river in Pennsylvania include the Emsworth Dams, Dashields and Montgomery. The Montgomery Pool, which includes the nearly 20 miles of river found between the Dashields Dam and Montgomery Dam, provides some of the best fishing. Within mis stretch good spots can be found near the Dashields tailrace, both Little and Big Sewickley creeks, and the Beaver River. Several smaller tributaries form excellent spots, as does the man-made structure such as retaining walls, pilings and the remnants of an old lock and dam. The Beaver River is navigable for over a mile to where a dam presents blocks the way. Fine fishing for saugers as well as white bass in the Beaver. Access to the Montgomery Pool can be had at Leetsdale and Rochester. Second choice Duck Harbor Pond Trout Wayne County is the home of this 121 acre take. Its trout fishery is sustained by fingerling stockings by the Fish and Boat Commission. This is a special regulations water where a two trout, 14 inch size limit is in place until the end of February. No harvest is permitted from March through the opening of trout season. The Original SOLUNAR TABLES* Br Mk*. RICHABD Aura KIOGHT R«l«a»» week of Oct. 27-Nov. 3, 2002 AM PM DO* Pay Minor Major Minor M»<Of «u 8:38 3:25 tO:10 3:55 10/28 il 1fr» 4:15 11:05 4:50 10/29 T 11:35 528 5:50 1000 W 12:05 6:15 12:25 8:4O .,, 1001 Th 12:50 7.-00 1:15 735 ../ lin F 1:4O 730 2:00 8:15 11/2 2:30 «:35 2:45 9:00 11/3 So 3:15 9:20 3:30 »:» FIRST SUCCESS — Chrissy Jack, 18, of Indiana had her first successful archery deer hunt. The schedule of Solunar Periods has been taken from Mrs. Richard Aider Knight's Solunar Tables. Plan your days so that you will fish in good territory or hunt in good cover during those times if you would like to find the best sport that each day has to offer. The Major Peri- • ods begin at the times shown at left and last for an hour and a half or two hours thereafter. The" Minor Periods are of somewhat shorter dura- • tion. i

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