The National Eagle Center and Audubon Minnesota are pleased to announce the successful release of a male Golden Eagle with a radio-linked satellite transmitter today, outside Wabasha, MN. With a crowd of well-wishers and media gathered to witness this exciting event, Golden Eagle Project Co-coordinator Scott Mehus said, "This release gives us a great opportunity to learn more about Golden Eagles in Minnesota, and in turn to understand how we can better protect these magnificent birds and the habitat they rely on."
The eagle was captured on January 17th, 2011, in a radio-controlled net. The release and tracking of this bird is part of multi-year project to understand wintering Golden Eagles in the bluff lands of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
The bird was given the name Hda Wah'pe, which means "Rattling Leaf" in Dakota, and was the name given to Wapahsha II. In a brief prayer before the release, Leonard Wabasha, a descendant of Wapasha II, gave thanks for the bird and for all the assembled people.
In both 2009 and 2010, the Golden Eagle Project was able to release a golden eagle with satellite transmitters. Both eagles had been found injured, and rehabilitated prior to their release. Already these birds have provided valuable data about the migration and possible breeding range of golden eagles. Maps detailing the migrations and location of these birds are available at NationalEagleCenter.org and MN.Audubon.org.
The National Eagle Center's Golden Eagle Project aims to better understand the biology and management needs of this population of Golden Eagles and works with landowners and the public to educate and encourage appropriate habitat conservation and restoration in the Mississippi River Valley. The Project is a partnership of National Eagle Center and Audubon Minnesota, with support from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Non-Game Division, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as well as United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Winona District.
Today I set out to fish a section of creek that I never fished in the winter. With my list of winter creeks that I have fished being longer than my list of creeks I haven’t fished it was easy to deduce where I would end up today. The forecasted air temps lead me to suspect that I would find hatching midge however I suspected that this would not be enough for rising fish considering the weather pattern that has been the norm for the past week. I met Justin at a car park alongside Interstate 90 and we were off to the forest in search of open water and willing fish. All in all the mile hike to where the fish were holding required snow shoes. We were thankful for the lack of wind today. Our guides iced up on average every five casts and we caught fish consistently on size 8 olive streamers. At the end of the day I was able to check another creek off my list. We traveled over two miles by snow shoe and were pleased with the awards that mother nature afforded us on todays Driftless winter fishing adventure.
GOLDEN EAGLE TO BE RELEASED WITH SATELLITE TRANSMITTER Tuesday, January 18th at 4:oo pm, the National Eagle Center and Audubon Minnesota will release a Golden Eagle with a satellite-linked tracking device. The release will take place outside Wabasha, MN (along Wabasha County highway 32), near where the bird was captured.
**Meet at NEC, 50 Pembroke Ave S., Wabasha, MN, 651-565-4989, at 3:15pm to carpool to release site.
This release is part of an on-going project investigating Golden Eagles that winter in the bluff lands region. By tracking, Golden Eagles known to use the bluff lands in winter, researchers hope to better understand migration patterns and breeding origins for these birds. The Golden Eagle Project has already released two Golden Eagles with transmitters, and hopes to release up to six Golden Eagles, during this multi-year project. The eagle released in 2009, migrated from western Wisconsin and spent the summer north of the Arctic Circle. Maps detailing the migrations and location of these birds are available at NationalEagleCenter.org and MN.Audubon.org.
“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to track this Golden Eagle because so little is known about them and their presence here in the bluff lands.” Says Project Co-coordinator, Scott Mehus. “That’s why the National Eagle Center is involved in this pioneering effort to understand and protect these amazing birds.”
This release also comes on the heels of the 2011 Wintering Golden Eagle Survey, which took place on Saturday, January 15th, when volunteer observers combed the bluff lands looking for these majestic birds. Results are not yet tabulated, but this year’s survey covered several new areas, so there is a good chance the total could top last year’s survey high of 100 Golden Eagles in southeast Minnesota, southwest Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.
The Golden Eagle Project is a partnership of National Eagle Center and Audubon Minnesota, with support from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Non-Game Division, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as well as United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Winona District.
Mississippi River Valley Winter Eagle Count
|Reads Landing||Adults 28 + Imm. 4||32|
|Wabasha||Adults 24 + Imm. 2||26|
|Alma||Adults 126 + Imm. 22||148|
|Buffalo City||Adults 38 + Imm. 8||46|
|Lock and Dam 5||n/a|
|Totals||Adults 216 + Imm. 36||252|
Counts taken on or around 1-14-11
I have learned numerous new winter angling skills in the last eight seasons which compliment my 22 previous winter trout seasons. These skills have afforded me the pleasure of successfully and comfortably angling for stream trout in freezing temperatures. I recall that my first try at winter stream trout angling found me in the creek, balls deep, wearing two pairs of jeans while casting a five-foot fiberglass ultralight tipped with a panther martin spinner.
I have come a long way since then.
Justin and I left Winona in temperatures that keep some of the best outdoor adventurers home. We had studied the weather pattern closely for the week. We planned to fish the warmest part of the day, to try and beat the cloud cover expected around noon, and to find active trout to fool with a fly.
I tied an 8-foot leader to match my 8'-3 weight Winston Rod. I tied a #14 tungsten bead head adams onto the leader to which I attached 6-inches of 5x-tippet and a #20 bead head miracle nymph.
We did not beat the clouds to the creek. We knew before looking that we would not be able to sight fish trout today due to the overcast. We hiked, in less than 10 degrees F, less 30-yards from the car and proceeded to catch fish immediately.
Justin and I are comfortable with the casting lane that angling the pipe provides. Further, we always expect to see at least a few midge about and rising trout.
By 3pm the sun had begun to slip behind the bluff to the west. The air temperature plummeted several degrees over several minutes. We each brought at least a half a dozen fish to hand. We released many fish without handling. By gently handling the trout in this creek we can expect to catch them numerous more times over the next few months.
The drive was 90 miles round trip. I fished for less than two hours. I counted three flying midge throughout the day.