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Contact: Tim Colyer, 906-387-2607, ext. 203
Winter weather has settled in across the Upper Peninsula and ice is returning to inland lakes and Munising Bay. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore invites ice fishing enthusiasts back to the Lakeshore and asks that you keep a few things in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable ice fishing season.
While ice is developing rapidly across the area, currents and wave action can affect ice formation and the thickness of the ice can vary dramatically from one area to another. Be aware of your surroundings and take the time to check the thickness of the ice before you start fishing. The responsibility to determine that the ice is safe lies solely with the angler.
Tim Colyer, Chief Ranger at Pictured Rocks, would also like to remind anglers about the emergency bait restrictions placed into effect early in 2008 to help prevent the spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), a deadly fish disease. The regulations prohibit:
"The possession or use as bait for fishing, any fish or fish part, including fish roe (eggs), amphibians, or crayfish, in NPS administered waters within the Lakeshore Zone (federally owned lands and waters, including the surface waters of Lake Superior within the National Lakeshore boundary, except that, the use of fish, fish parts and roe (eggs) may continue to be used for ice fishing on the surface of Lake Superior within the Lakeshore boundaries, as long as that bait is 1) clearly certified as VHS Free by the State of Michigan or by the commercial manufacturer, 2) is in the original retail container, and 3) the angler is in possession of a receipt that provides proof that the bait was purchased from a State-licensed baitfish retail operation. A receipt shall be valid for seven days from the day of sale."
VHS is particularly active in cold water and Colyer asks for the support and cooperation of local anglers to help do everything we can to protect your fisheries.
Finally, anglers accessing the Munising Bay from the Sand Point boat ramp area will be required to park in the parking area provided and will no longer be permitted to park parallel along Sand Point Road in the loading zone at the boat ramp. Plow truck operators have cited many safety concerns with vehicles being parked along the road near the boat ramp since it is close to a blind corner and is notorious for drifting and ice build-up. Several near-misses with the potential for serious injury and property damage have been reported by plow operators.
The loading area may still be used as temporary parking to unload equipment and ice shanties but vehicles may not be parked there while you fish. For the safety of our plow operators, pedestrian traffic, and the vehicles parked in the area, please park only in designated areas.
If you have any questions on these issues or any other questions related to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore please visit the Interagency Visitor Center in Munising 906-387-3700, or visit our website at www.nps.gov/piro