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Officials to discuss VHS virus

With all the phenomenal fishing in nearby Great Lakes waters, the biggest fishing story for 2007 begins with a public informational session on Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) to start the new year.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has arranged a series of informational meetings statewide, with Western New York sessions to be held for Region 8 in the Holiday Inn at Waterloo on Wednesday and Region 9 at Woodlawn Beach State Park in Hamburg on Jan. 8. Both meetings are set for 7-9 p.m.

Discovered in nearby Great Lakes waters in 2005, VHS now has federal and state agencies studying ways to deal with this fish disease that -- so far -- has been injurious and fatal to fish but not to humans.

Federal and state restrictions on collecting and possession of bait fish, transfer of live fish, and other measures designed to curb the spread of VHS, have become hot topics of discussion for bait dealers, charter captains and recreational anglers along Great Lakes waters affected by this fish virus.

After formal presentations, DEC officials will answer questions and offer attendees the opportunity to share thoughts, perspectives and viewpoints.

For more details, call the Region 9 offices at 851-7000 in Buffalo or 372-0645 in Allegany.

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New license news

As soon as ice forms, ice anglers can go with their New York State fishing license, renewed on Oct. 1. But Province of Ontario fishermen and women need to renew on Jan. 1 to fish on ice or open water.

Beginning Monday, walleye season on Lake Erie in Ontario waters will be open all year, and the daily creel limit will increase from four to six fish per angler.

An additional week will be added to the ice season for 'eyes at Lake Nipissing. Check the regulations when renewing that Ontario fishing license.

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Duck blind drawings

Warm weather has kept all areas open for duck hunting from all blinds at area state parks.

The next round of drawings for Fort Niagara, Joseph Davis, Wilson-Tuscarora and Gold Hill State Parks go from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday at the Fort Niagara State Park Maintenance Building. Applicants must have a state small game license, Federal Migratory Bird Stamp, Harvest Information Program number, Waterfowl ID Course certificate, and a dog or boat for retrievals. For more details, call 745-7273.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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