Press-Republican

February 26, 2012

Invasive species control could inhibit anglers

DAN LADD, Adirondack Hunting & Fishing Report
Press-Republican

---- — Efforts last fall to eradicate the Asian clam from Lake George have been deemed successful. Now the concern among stakeholders on lakes throughout the North Country turns to prevention.

And anglers and boaters of all types had better pay attention to what is being discussed concerning Lake George, because the outcome could be the blueprint for other bodies of water.

In an effort to promote public awareness about invasive species, lake stewards have been present at a few boat launches on Lake George. However, recent news reports stating that public boat launch sites could be gated when lake inspection stewards are not present has some sportsmen up in arms.

This is just one possible future component of the Invasive Species Committee of the Lake George Park Commission to ensure that boats coming into the lake aren't carrying invasives. Others include mandatory boat washing stations that will cost boaters both money and time. But sportsmen feel that gated boat launches could really hamper their interests.

"How many fishermen go fishing between 8 and 5?" asked Walt Kendall, president of the Lake George Fishing Alliance (LGFA). "We don't want the invasives in the lake. All boaters need to be educated about it. But at the same time we want access to the lake 24/7. We can't have gates."

Controlling invasives in any body of water, not just Lake George, raises many questions.

"What about canoes, kayaks, float-tubes and even waterfowl?" asked Bill Pike, who is also a member of the LGFA. Pike is also a deer hunter who uses the lake early in the morning, much like waterfowl hunters who have also questioned the possible regulations.

"I like the lake steward program. I think it's an excellent program," said Kendall of the current program.

But he also questioned the wash stations.

"At Mossy Point (in Ticonderoga), there is no drainage. Where is the water going to go? It's going to be ground water: it's going into the lake with the invasives."

Some sportsmen, including Kendall, advocate more emphasis on awareness and for boat cleaning to take place when they come out of known infected waters.

"Education, is really it," he said. "The best solution is to wash the boat as you remove it and let it set for seven days. When I pull my boat out I completely wash it down. People don't do that, they take right off."

Lake George boaters also come in the form of tourists as much as they do anglers and the last thing those in the tourism industry want to do is sour boaters. Yet, Lake George's Asian clam infestation is being compared heavily to lakes in the western U.S. where it has wreaked havoc.

As the debate continues over the fine line between prevention and control, boaters everywhere should keep informed. Invasive species aren't going away.

Upcoming Events

▶ Next weekend, March 3 and 4, is the Schroon Lake Fish and Game Club's annual fishing tournament.

This event usually sees hundreds of anglers on the ice. The club offers up great prizes, too. As of this past week, the southern end of Schroon Lake, where I've been doing some fishing, has between 6 and 10 inches of ice on it and I'm hearing similar reports about the northern end. I hope those ice conditions hold for this tournament.

If you are interested in taking part you can find out more details on the club's website at http://www.schroonlakefishandgameclub.com or by calling 532-7572.

▶ Two weeks from now, on March 10 and 11, is the third-annual Altona Outdoors Show at Peck's Rainbow Hall.

My friend Randy Flannery of Wilderness Escape Outfitters in northern Maine is one of the featured speakers. Flannery is an expert deer tracker and if you enjoy the likes of the Benoits and Dick Bernier than you will be equally impressed with Randy.

I also plan on spending the weekend at the show and will be doing a presentation myself. Please be sure to stop by as I'm looking forward to meeting readers from up in this neck of the woods!

For more information on the Altona Show, visit www.suziethaller.com/altonashows.html or call 236-4934.

Dan Ladd is the author of "Deer Hunting in the Adirondacks," outdoors editor for the Glens Falls Chronicle, columnist for Outdoors Magazine and contributor to New York Outdoor News. Contact him at www.adkhunter.com.