By Captain John Giszczak
Spring will be here faster than “flies on a dead possum”. I have received a few phone calls from captains who are renewing their boat registrations. Even if your boat is “documented”, it must have a current state registration tag. The 3-year tag for a Michigan Charter boat is $45.00. If the fee for the registration of your boat on the form you received is higher, take your captain’s license and your DNR inspection papers to the Secretary of State Office and have them change your registration to a commercial boat registration.
On March 2nd, I attended the 32nd annual Ohio charter captain’s conference put on by the Ohio Sea Grant Extension and the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association in Huron, Ohio. I attended the conference with 5 other Michigan based captains. It is a one-day conference, typically attended by about 200 captains. It starts at 9:00 AM and is over by 4:00 PM. This year’s agenda had the usual topics including: “Status of Lake Erie fisheries”, “New law enforcement tactics”, “Tackle and equipment updates”, and “Boarder crossing issues”. John Goss, the Federal “Asian Carp Czar” presented an Asian carp update. There were door prizes and vendors with booths selling their products. During the conference we learned that it is predicted that our walleye season will be about the same as last season, and the perch fishing should be as good, or better than last 2012 season. Also, the Coast Guard did more boarding’s last fall than in prior years and plans the same for the upcoming season. Low water levels will be an issue of concern again this season.
All in all, the conference was well worth the hour and a half trip for us. The cost of the conference is $45.00. Doughnuts, coffee, and juice are served in the morning, followed by a large buffet lunch at noon. The Michigan boys take a little razzing from the Ohio boys, especially when we walk off with a few door prizes, but it’s worth it.
The Lake Erie/Lake St. Clair Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee meeting has been postponed until Tuesday April 2nd. The meeting will be at Cabela’s in Dundee from 10:00 am to 3:30 PM. A modest lunch will be served, courtesy of the DNR. This is a very good opportunity for the captains who fish Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair to get some valuable information about what’s going on in your lakes. The session’s agenda will include fisheries division updates, a summary of 1012 DNR surveys in both lakes, and a St. Clair hydropower update. It will also include yellow perch regulations, water levels and dredging issues, and law division updates.
I encourage you to attend; it’s local and packed with information plus you will meet some of the people who work so hard to maintain our fisheries. Please, if you believe you may benefit from our discussion, join us. Membership in the group is subject to DNR approval; however, guests are always welcome.