Almost tournament time on the lake

Fishing tournaments aren’t for everyone, but you don’t need to be an expert to experience the thrill of a screaming drag on Lake Michigan or Green Bay.

Dozens of charter fishing boats from Marinette to Manitowoc offer the option of booking a trip with an experienced crew, and few places have been as hot in the past week as the stretch from Sturgeon Bay to Kewaunee. 

Back-to-back tournaments will be held the next two weekends, including the 49th annual Northeastern Wisconsin Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Salmon Derby July 5-7 at Manitowoc. 

There are prizes for the top five fish in each division, daily prizes, and a Super Derby boat tournament. 

Get the details at www.newglsf.org.

Meanwhile, the 42ndannual Kewaunee/Door County Salmon Tournament runs July 12-21. 

Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/kdsalmon2022/.

PFAS tests wrong

Tests that reportedly found rainbow smelt and some other fish species high in PFAS contamination were false positives in lab testing.

A version of the controversial chemicals was mistaken for an acid found in liver bile in labs in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Low levels of PFAS were found, but not at anywhere near the numbers that prompted headlines. The disclosure impacted smelt, rock bass and sunfish, among other species, and has some outdoors enthusiasts wondering about the credibility of other testing done on fish and wildlife.

Still, some officials have doubled down and said fish consumption advisories might not change as some studies indicate that low PFAS levels could be harmful.

Abigail Hendershott of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, said “very small amounts are still toxic.”

I’m going to call her out on that.  Toxic to who? 

Certainly not to booming populations of fish-eating birds like double-crested cormorants, white pelicans and gulls, all of which eat far more fish than any human ever has. 

Still, officials say some research has linked PFAS exposure to developmental, hormonal and immunity problems, cancer and other illnesses. 

But with PFAS around for more than 70 years, one would certainly hope there’d be more answers than questions by now.

Solid approval

While the latest study on public attitudes toward hunting and the shooting sports has found a slight decrease in support, it’s still solid.

An extensive study funded by a multistate conservation grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies found that 76% of the public approves of legal hunting and shooting sports, a 5% decrease from a 2021 survey. The study is based on a scientific, probability-based multimodal survey of U.S. residents aged 18 and older, ensuring a representative sample of the population.

Approval of legal hunting is higher among rural residents, males, and Midwest Region residents than among U.S. residents overall. 

No surprise there, since those of us who were “born country” understand that hunting and the shooting sports are some of the safest and most rewarding pursuits available afield.

While 70% said they believe that most sport shooters know how to safely handle firearms and are careful, 16% said they did not know how to properly handle firearms. 

When added to the percentage who responded with “don’t know” on the question (14%), 30% do not unequivocally say that most sport shooters know how to safely handle firearms and are careful.

Lake levels update

Lake Michigan and Green Bay’s water levels have risen about three inches in the past month, and are about where they were last June. 

While water levels have fallen about 30 inches from the record monthly high set four years ago, they’re still three feet higher than the all-time monthly low, set in 1964.

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