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Tuesday
Aug202013

Better Than a Hat

If we are to believe those who make movies and television programs, one of an angler’s favorite possessions is a hat adorned with flies, spinners, and sometimes even a crankbait or two.

Truth be told, I don’t own a hat like that, and I’ve never seen any other fisherman wearing one.

While I don’t have a “fishin’ hat,” though, I do own a “fishin’ bag" that I'm particularly fond of.

It was the first thing that I bought with my own money, right after I started babysitting for 50 cents an hour.  It cost $1, back when a buck could buy you something. As I recall, for that same amount, I also could buy 10 comic books at Talbert’s News Agency, and I could get into the Liberty Theater to see “Guns of Navarone,” with enough left over to buy popcorn and a Coke.

But this particular $1 bill was tucked into an envelope and sent to a mail-order company out in Colorado for a World War II surplus gas mask bag, made of heavy-duty green canvas. I bought it to carry the popping bugs and foam spiders that I was going to throw with my new Sears & Roebuck automatic fly reel and fiberglass rod. After all, a guy couldn’t carry his fly stuff in a metal tackle box. 

(This is the beginning of an essay in my new book, Why We Fish. It's received 15 five-star reviews at Amazon so far, and Bill Dance calls it a "masterpiece." Please check it out. You'll be glad you did!)

Tuesday
Aug202013

'Silent Invaders' Asian Carp 2013

Here’s the best video that I’ve seen about Asian carp generally, and silver carp specifically. From NorthAmericanFishing, it includes history, biology, and assessment of the threat, as well as some spectacular shots of the silver carp going airborne.

Monday
Aug192013

Asian Carp More Adaptable Than Previously Thought

Researchers from Purdue University have made some unsettling discoveries regarding Asian carp.

“It looks like the carp can probably become established in a wider range of environmental conditions than once thought,” said Reuben Goforth, an assistant professor of forestry and natural resources.

Goforth and associates learned that the exotic invaders are spawning in waters previously thought too narrow or slow moving. That means even more sport fisheries are at risk.

On a semi-positive note, he added, ‘’While the presence of eggs indicates a successful spawning of these fishes in new areas, it’s not known yet whether those eggs would be successful in surviving to adulthood.”

Additionally, they found evidence of carp spawning far upstream and eggs drifting in water as late as September in Indiana’s Wabash River. Previously, reproduction was thought to end in July.

Until now, most information related to where Asian carp might spawn was based on data gathered from their native habitats in Asian rivers and streams.

“The reason truly invasive species are so successful is because they overcome obstacles,” Goforth said. “When you base their limitations on what happens in their native ecosystems, it’s a good start. But it may be a good idea to go back and take this new data to recalculate more precise limits based on these new understandings.”

Support Grows for Separation 

Those who want to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp invasion by removing the manmade connection between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River basin have a new ally.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn surprised many when he endorsed that solution during a meeting with other governors here.

“Ultimately, I think we have to separate the basins,” he said. “I really feel that is the ultimate solution. We have to do it.”

Chris Kolb of the Michigan Environmental Council called Quinn’s remarks “a very positive step forward.” And Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said, “I think it’s great to see people talking about longer-term solutions.”

In the past, Illinois sided with Indiana, the city of Chicago, and the Obama administration in opposing the separation. They argued that closure would increase flood risks, while damaging tourism and commerce.

“It’s important that we deal with this issue, but it’s also important that we deal with it in a way that preserves the logistical advantage and opportunity to move commerce through the region,” said Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

But Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have long favored the strategy and even sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Chicago’s water district. In a suit they lost, they claimed that refusal to separate the watersheds created a public nuisance.

The strongest argument for closing the aquatic highway, though, is that an explosion of Asian carp in the Great Lakes could decimate the system’s fishery, worth an estimated $7.5 billion annually. Additionally, the connection leaves the way open for other invasive species to cross watersheds.

The connecting canal was constructed more than a century ago, to allow Chicago’s sewage pollution to flow downstream, instead of contaminating the city’s Lake Michigan water supply. It also allowed for commercial navigation.

(These articles appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

Friday
Aug162013

Rodeo Clown Joins Activist Angler

As my way of standing up for the First Amendment and freedom of speech, I've added  Rodeo Clown shirts, fleece, and sweatshirts to my Activist Angler store.

They come in lots of styles and colors for men and women, as does the Activist Angler clothing. Lots of other Activist Angler products are there as well.

Friday
Aug162013

Plastic Pollution Threatens Freshwater Too

For years we’ve heard about vast islands of plastic debris floating in the oceans.

Now we’re learning that plastic pollution is contaminating freshwaters as well--- only from a source that likely will surprise you.

Microbeads.

What are they?

They’re abrasive particles found in all kinds of products, including toothpaste, liquid soaps, and industrial cleaners. They scrub, remove dead cells, unclog pores, and give us sparkling teeth.

But they also don’t dissolve. Instead, they wash down the drain, through water treatment systems, and into our lakes, rivers, and, eventually, oceans.

They also absorb and retain chemicals contaminants.

“Fish and other water creatures ingest them, either because they look like food or because they’re so small they just get sucked in with the plankton or whatever else is for lunch,” says the Chicago Tribune.

 “The pellets --- and the contaminants --- get passed up the food chain until they land on our plates disguised as pecan-crusted walleye.”

Thus far, researchers have found the microbeads in water samples taken from lakes Superior, Huron, and Erie. And now they’re going to check out Michigan and Ontario.

In some portions of Erie, scientists found more than 600,000 particles per square kilometer.

Not so coincidentally, Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will phase out products with microbeads.

 “At the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, we’ve already begun the phase out of polyethylene microbeads in our personal care products. We have stopped developing new products containing plastic microbeads, and we are currently conducting an environmental safety assessment of a promising alternative.

“This assessment is part of our ‘informed substitution’ approach, which helps ensure that the alternatives we choose are safe and environmentally sound, and that they provide consumers with a great experience. Our specific plans will be developed once this assessment is complete.”