Lake Hubert Conservation Association
Spring 2008 Newsletter
 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THE LHCA 2008 ANNUAL MEETING ON JUNE 28.

• At the Lutheran Church of the Cross (Hwy 13, east of Sportland)
• 8:45 to 9:15 a.m. Coffee, Juice, Rolls and visiting
• 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. Business Meeting
• Our guest speaker will be Jackie Froemming, County Extension Educator & County Coordinator - Master Gardener Program, Crow Wing County Extension Office will be presenting a program about Lakeshore Restoration and Plantings
 
 

LAKE HUBERT WILDLIFE
THE OSPREY (FIRST OF A SERIES)

 

One of the many joys of living on Lake Hubert is savoring the varied bird life making home either around the lake, or close to it. This is particularly true of the several ospreys that have chosen to reside very close to our lake. This wonderful species provides many hours of enjoyment for even casual bird watchers, and also, for anglers fortunate enough to be viewing these birds on an almost daily basis.

The Osprey (often known as the “Fish Eagle”) is actually a member of the hawk family and is our only fish-eating hawk that routinely dives into the water for its dinner. According to Stephen Carpenteri’s book, The Fish Hawk Osprey, its existence can be traced back to the Pleistocene, or Ice Age period, about 12 million years ago when it evolved into occupying its present niche as a fish eating migratory predator.

The bird is easy to recognize with its long, narrow wings that span nearly six feet. It is dark brown from above with narrow black bands on the tail and has a white crown and underparts. It also has a trademark black eye patch. It is considerably smaller than the bald eagle in weight and wingspan.

The Osprey will usually flap its wings slowly as it sails over prime fishing territory. Sometimes it will even hover for awhile before plunging as deep as three feet into the water to catch its unsuspecting prey. Once a fish is caught in its sharp talons, the fish will be turned head first for better aerodynamics before the Osprey flies back to its nest to feed its young ones.

The Osprey usually shows up at Lake Hubert in April shortly after the ice has melted. It will reside here until September when it will migrate to its traditional wintering grounds in the Caribbean and Central America. Some birds have also been seen wintering along the Gulf Coast (similar to some of our Lake Hubert residents).

My favorite Lake Hubert Osprey story involves an early season fishing attempt for April crappies on the east side of our lake. My friend and I had fished for nearly two hours with hardly a bite when we decided to quit as “obviously, there aren’t any fish here, yet,” according to my friend. Just after that comment had been made, we heard a loud splash behind us only 30 yards from the boat. We quickly turned around in time to see an Osprey emerge from the cold water with a large crappie firmly in its grasp.

We could only look at each other and smile thinking about this bird’s prowess compared to our own humble efforts to catch dinner.
 
 

FISHER SIGHTING NEAR LAKE HUBERT


 
An extremely rare sighting of a “Fisher” (Martes Pennati) was reported today. The animal was seen crossing County Road 13 not far from the Peterson/ Sawyer driveway. Sightings of this species are very unusual because it is nocturnal and its usual territory is in the far northern sector of Minnesota and much of the boreal forest of Canada. Only very occasional sightings of Fishers have occurred this far south.
Fishers are misnamed as they do not stalk fish like otters or possibly raccoons. Their typical diet consists of squirrels, rabbits, mice, and very curiously, porcupines. Fishers will avidly attack the “porks” and after tipping them on their backs, will administer fatal bites to kill this prey before eating them. They are most active at night when much of their hunting occurs.
It is more than a thrill to be able to report such an unusual animal sighting around Lake Hubert. It is hoped that enough forest habitat and sufficient prey will remain to sustain such an unusual and seldom seen animal.

WET APRIL HELPS LAKE LEVEL
 
Although year round residents thought this past April was a horrid month due to all of the cold and snow, there still was one huge benefit to this “late winter” weather. Indeed, the lake level rose several inches as a direct result of over 24” of snow and nearly an inch of rain. Much of this precipitation is currently in the ground so it is hoped that the lake level will continue to rise as late spring progresses.
 Unfortunately, hardly any water has flowed into Lake Hubert from Clark Lake this spring. The reason? The beaver dam at the Clark Lake outlet has been removed thus allowing Clark Lake water to run off. Hmmm……where are those beavers when we need them anyway?
 

BLUE SPOT DISEASE IN NORTHERN PIKE
 

This year, many of the smaller Northern Pike in the Lake Hubert - Clark Lake channel were covered with blue spots over their backs and sides.  While at first glance, this motley blue spotted appearance may seem to be an illness of concern, in reality it is a common occurrence in upper Midwest lakes.
The blue spots (esocid herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1)) appear during the spring spawning season as water temperatures increase between 2° and 13°C. The lesions then disappear when water temperature increases above 14°C. The etiology of the virus is not known. The prevalence of the blue spot lesions differs among lakes, and is reported generally higher in female northern pike. It is hypothesized that EHV-1 may cause more severe morbidity and mortality in young pike and muskellunge, although this has not yet been proven. The observable blue skin spots appear to be less prevalent on older fish, however, these affected fish may remain lifelong carriers of EHV-1.
EHV-1 is likely very contagious amongst northern pike populations. Individuals fishing for northern pike should disinfect angling equipment and personal gear between waters. Fish with EHV-1 cannot transmit the disease to people.
Courtesy of the State of Maine website, circa 2002. For the full article go to: http://www.fishingvermont.net/blue_spot_disease_of_northern_pi.htm

ILLEGALLY STOCKING FISH

 
Why you should not stock fish without a permit from the DNR!

The lakes around Brainerd and in other popular locations are being set up for serious invasive species infestations and most folks are not even aware of one cause, in particular, illicit fish stocking.  Illicit or indiscriminate fish stocking without a permit is illegal and it is capable of causing far more damage to ecosystems and lake quality than any intended good the perpetrator had in mind.

People catching fish in invasive species infested waters, transporting those fish in water containing invasive species, and stocking the fish into other lakes, is so pervasive as to be almost a daily occurrence.  There are many instances of people spreading invasive species unintentionally by transfer via bait buckets, boats, trailers, boat lifts and other recreational equipment, but a more insidious problem is the spread of damaging diseases, parasites, and injurious invaders while people are engaged in an illegal act: illegal stocking of fish.

According to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 97A.551 and Minnesota Rules 6262.0100, subpart 4, it is illegal to transport live fish or stock fish without first obtaining a permit from the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Transporting and stocking fish without a permit is illegal. Doing so exposes the stocked lake to situations where:
• The source lake may have been infested with invasive species
• VHS (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia) disease may have been present in the source water or fish (see http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/fish_diseases/vhs.html)
• The source fish harbor diseases or parasites that could be devastating to native fisheries
• The species stocked may not be compatible with the existing fisheries
• There may be unintended genetic consequences from reproduction of the stocked fish
• The stocking may disrupt ongoing studies already underway on the stocked lake.

The Department of Natural Resources has been informing people for years to not stock fish indiscriminately, yet the problem continues to worsen. We now have the potential of spreading VHS (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia), which can devastate some fish species.  The DNR cannot address this problem alone.  Citizens who care about Minnesota’s lakes need to spread the word and “police your own” in an effort to curb the potential consequences of illegal stocking.

For more information on the laws regarding illegal fish stocking, consult the legislative website at www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us.  You may also consult the DNR website for more information on invasive species, diseases, parasites, and conditions at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

Excerpted from an article by Tim Brastrup, Area Fisheries Supervisor, Brainerd.

DID YOU KNOW? INVASIVE SPECIES UPDATE
(Watch for more articles on INVASIVE SPECIES on the LHCA website)

 

Did you know?

• There are around 180 known invasive species.

• There are at least five lakes in our immediate area infected with Eurasian Water Milfoil. These were listed by the DNR in October 2007. They are Leech Lake, Bay Lake, Kimball Lake, Ossawinnamakee Lake and Ruth Lake. It’s probable that there are several more.

• There are over ten lakes, rivers and wetlands in our immediate area infected with Zebra Mussels. These were listed by the DNR in October 2007. They are, in Crow Wing County, Black Bear Lake, Boom Lake, Half-Moon Lake, Little Rabbit Lake, Miller Lake, Ossawinnamakee Lake, Pickerel Lake, Rice Lake and Mille Lacs Lake in Mille Lacs County. Plus several rivers, tributaries and wetlands. Zebra Mussels cannot be eradicated, once established.

• That it is not the DNR’s responsibility to clean up infested waters. Nor have they been given the resources to do so. So don’t expect them to.

• That the fundamental responsibility (financial and otherwise) to prevent, monitor, protect and to initiate and do the clean up of a lake, if it has gotten an invasive species, resides with the residents who live on the lake.
 
 

ICE DAMAGE TO THE NEW PUBLIC ACCESS BOAT RAMP

 

Those of you who have visited the LHCA website know that there was significant damage over the winter to the new public access ramp installed last fall by the DNR. As of May 3, the ramp is still buckled and prohibiting normal access. Boat launching will be affected until it has been repaired. Check the LHCA website for updates.
 
 

LATEST ON DNR DOCK REGULATIONS

Make sure you understand the new Minnesota DNR Dock Regulations.

The new regulations are in force this year.

Refer to the DNR website at: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/issues/docks/index.html

This site has several documents that you can download that cover General Permit 2008-0401 including acceptable dock layouts.

Any dock installation that does not meet the specifications in these documents requires a PERMIT from the DNR.

Some perplexing information to be aware of:
• Dock manufacturers and sellers in Minnesota are not required to sell you a dock that conforms to the new regulations.
• Dock installers, if you use one, may or may not (try) to require you to install a legal dock structure. They may also ask you to waive their liability if your dock does not meet the new regulations.

The bottom line is that it is the dock owner’s responsibility to comply with the regulations. Period.
 
 
 
 

STAY IN TOUCH

Please keep us updated with any changes to your address, phone numbers or if you acquire an email address. You can contact us:

By regular mail at: LHCA, P.O. Box 1352, Lake Hubert, MN 56459

Or by Email at lakehubert@aol.com
 
 If you are receiving this newsletter by US Mail and would prefer to or are able to get it via email, please let us know as email helps us significantly reduce our costs to produce it. Thank you.