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Friday
Dec142012

New Chemical Shows Promise for Killing Zebra Mussels

There’s good news to report about combating zebra mussels.

Zequanox seems to have been highly effective at killing the exotic shellfish in Illlinois’ Deep Quarry Lake. Treated areas experienced an average mussel mortality of 97.1 percent, compared to 11.2 percent in untreated areas.

“Zequanox has proven to be a powerful tool for controlling invasive mussels in 'in-pipe' applications such as cooling water systems," reported Marrone Bio Innovations.

 "This study shows the product can be equally as effective in open waters. This successful study represents MBI’s next step in our commercialization efforts for Zequanox in natural water bodies, and we’re excited about expanding into this new market, where there are currently no other environmentally compatible treatment options.”

Read more here.

Thursday
Dec132012

Florida Considers Saltwater 'Sport' and 'Game Fish' Designations

Permit, like this one caught by the Activist Angler, likely would receive "sport fish" or "game fish" protection if FWC decides to make these designations.

Here’s an “attaboy” to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commisson (FWC), which is considering creating saltwater game fish and sport fish designations. Currently, no fish in Florida waters carry either label.

Here’s what is important about these legal descriptions: “Game fish” likely would include no commercial harvest, possession or sale. “Sport fish,” meanwhile, would provide a higher level of protection than “game fish” by making selected species catch-and-release only.

While FWC is not yet suggesting any species for possible listings, bonefish and tarpon probably would be "sport fish," while snook, redfish, and sea trout likely would be "game fish," just to name a few.

Learn more here.

Wednesday
Dec122012

Ethical Behavior Important on the Water

(Author's note: This article was written awhile back for young anglers. But the same advice also is applicable to adult fishermen.)

You and your partner are having little luck and time is running out in the bass tournament. But as you pass a point at the mouth of a cove, you notice anglers in another boat are catching fish.

There seems to be plenty of room, and they are fishing public water. You have as much right to be there as they do. Why not join them?

You know why. It wouldn’t be ethical.

“All of us who fish competitively have had experience with ethics on the water,” says a long-time bass pro from Arkansas. “And the first rule is the Golden Rule. You don’t move onto another person’s water.”

The second ethics rule among tournament anglers, she adds, is a variation of the first. “You don’t go to that spot the next day either, if the tournament is still going on. That is someone else’s water. Find your own fish.”

Sometimes you can do that, she continues, simply by noting what makes this honey hole special and then looking for similar places that are not occupied.

An angler who wants to claim a hole, meanwhile, should practice good angling etiquette. He can do that by moving back and forth to signal that this is his water. Otherwise, some might mistakenly believe that he is fishing down a bank, instead of working a specific area.

In general, angling etiquette is a code of courtesy that shows consideration for others and, in doing so, encourages ethical behavior. Angling etiquette is visible, such as yielding to the boat on the right or to a smaller, slower craft cutting across your bow.

But what, exactly, is ethical behavior, aside from not crowding into another’s fishing spot?

 “Your ethics are the rules or values you use to help choose behavior that is fair to others and to yourself,” says Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “We practice ethical behavior when we ‘do the right thing’ even when we think we won’t be caught or punished for our behavior.”

When trying to decide whether your behavior will be ethical, says TPWD, consider these questions: Is it legal? Would it be good if everybody did it? Would it make you proud?

Also, don’t allow someone’s questionable behavior to influence your judgment. In other words, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Sometimes, too, what you perceive as “wrong” isn’t seen that way by others.

“Especially in tournaments, we (bass anglers) are so intent, so focused,” says the pro. “Others, like water skiers and jet skiers, don’t understand that. And it’s not their mission to pay attention to things like the fact that they’re going between us and the shore. We have to understand that.

“And we shouldn’t get mad if we decide to fish a good spot where there’s going to be a lot of traffic. We have to accept the fact that people are going to go by.”

As a fisherman, however, you do know that motoring between an angler and a nearby shoreline is not good etiquette and possibly even unethical if it harms his fishing.

Here are some other actions that reflect good etiquette and ethical behavior by anglers: 

  • Honor another’s trust. If someone shares with you his “secret spot,” don’t tell anyone about it, no matter how tempted you may be.
  • Whether in a boat or on shore, don’t cast your line across another’s or into “his water.” Doing so not only is unethical but could result in a tangled mess that keeps both of you from fishing.
  • Understand and follow fishing and boating regulations. Obeying the law is not only ethical; it also keeps you from paying fines and possibly even going to jail and/or having your fishing privileges revoked.
  • Handle fish gently. Don’t suspend them out of the water with fishing line. Don’t touch the gills. After you net or lip them, don’t allow them to flop around on shore or in the bottom of the boat. If a fish “swallows” the hook, cut off the line at the eye and leave it in.
  • Never keep fish just to “show off.” You should be prepared to clean and eat any that you take home.
  • Have your boat ready to go before you back it down the ramp. When you take it out, move it quickly out of the way so that others can use the launch area.
  • Help with loading, unloading, and cleaning the boat.
  • Take live bait home with you or dispose of it well away from the water instead of dumping it into the lake. Be certain that your boat and trailer don’t carry any uninvited hitchhikers, such as nuisance plants or zebra mussels.
  • Don’t move fish of any kind from one water body to another. In addition to being unethical and illegal, it could do irreversible damage to a fishery that you were trying to improve.
  • Always ask permission before crossing private property or fishing a pond or stream on private property.
  • If you are wading, try to avoid trampling aquatic vegetation. Enter and leave the water at places where the banks are low or at gravel bars, so you will do less damage to the shorelines.
  • If you are fishing on private land and keeping fish, offer to share your catch with the landowner.
  • Leave an area just as clean as you found it. And especially never discard line or soft plastic baits. Even better, pick up the trash left behind by others. Littering, of course, is against the law. Picking it up shows respect for the resource.
  • Avoid spills and never dump pollutants, such as gas and oil, into the water.
  • Share your knowledge and enjoyment of the sport by taking others fishing.
  • Through your own behavior, promote angling ethics and etiquette.

 Sometimes when you are on the water, you will run into situations that do not fit into any of the above and you will be forced to make decisions with little time to think. In such cases, listen to your conscience, make the ethical choice, and you never will go wrong.

Monday
Dec102012

Friends of Reservoirs Is Valuable Ally for Bass Anglers

Bass clubs that want to improve fisheries in their home impoundments have an invaluable ally in Friends of Reservoirs (FOR).

“This (partnership) is still in its infancy, and we need to get the word out about it,” said Ron Gunter of Texas’ Seven Coves Bass Club. “This is an excellent opportunity to get some help for cleanups and restorations.”

Earl Conway, conservation director for the New Mexico B.A.S.S. Federation, agrees.

“FOR gives us a national forum to interact with a nationwide network of fisheries management professionals, at a working level on real projects,” he said.

At Lake Conroe, FOR has been assisting Seven Coves with habitat improvement. Club members are growing aquatic vegetation to plant in Conroe, and have installed artificial structures to sustain the fishery until the plants become established.

“Phil Durocher and Dave Terre at Texas Parks and Wildlife were instrumental in getting Friends of Reservoirs started,” Gunter said. “They thought that Seven Coves would provide a good example and so we became the first chapter member organization last spring (2011).”

Along with sharing fisheries expertise, FOR allows the club to obtain tax-exempt donations and provides an account to hold those funds.

“The money stays there for us, earmarked for our project, and we don’t have to deal with finances,” the Texan added.

Gunter and Conway also praised Jeff Boxrucker and Jeff Lucero for their FOR leadership. Boxrucker is coordinator of the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP), while Lucero represents the Bureau of Reclamation in the partnership.

“Jeff Lucero has been awesome and we owe him a pat on the back,” said Conway, who is working on improving habitat at Elephant Butte.

Friends of Reservoirs is the primary support institution for the RFHP, which says the role of the former is as follows:

  •  Provide supporters options to participate in the operation of the RFHP and to influence its governance through interaction with the Executive Committee, staff, and Regional Workgroups on the setting of reservoir conservation priorities, selection of fish habitat conservation projects, and long-term partnership goals and objectives
  • Provide sustainable funding for RFHP operations and project implementation
  • Help develop volunteer corps to support project implementation
  • Facilitate delivery of outreach for public education, awareness, and service

 (This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)

Friday
Dec072012

States Lose Latest Battle to Protect Great Lakes from Asian Carp

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by five states that want to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes by forcing closure of the manmade connection between the Mississippi River basin and the Great Lakes.

I can’t say that I’m surprised. Bureaucracy and status quo almost always will trump change, even if that change clearly is in the best interests of those affected.

On the positive side, the judge did say the he is “mindful of, and alarmed by, the potentially devastating ecological, environmental, and economic consequences that may result from the establishment of an Asian carp population in the Great Lakes.”

But he added that the proper way for the states to win approval is through Congress.

Read the full story here.