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Tuesday
Aug132013

'Boys, Oh Boys... I Think He's Come Back for His Noon Feeding'

Did you miss Shark Week on the Discovery Channel? Never fear.

I’ll get you up to speed.

But, first, we’d better get a bigger boat, especially if we’re going fishing in the Potomac River, which is mostly noted by anglers for its largemouth bass and snakeheads.

And we’d better upgrade the hooks on our Zara Spooks.

That’s because a couple of 8-foot bull sharks have shown up there recently.

"When I first seen it, it was like 'Jaws' -- we need a bigger boat!" said Willy Dean, a commercial fisherman who found one of the big predators in his net.

"I'm not kidding you. It looked huge. I didn't know how we were gonna get it out. It's my first shark. I've been fishing here a little over 30 years, and it's the first time I've even seen one."

Read the story here.

Now, let’s head over to Australia, where bull sharks have taken up residence in a golf course lake. Talk about a “water hazard.”

More details are here.

And Lake Nicaragua in Central America? I'd watch my back if I ventured into that body of freshwater.

“The picture above was taken in 2000 at the San Ramon Biological Station, Maderas National Park; it serves as evidence that sharks, indeed, do exist in Lake Nicaragua today. Two young, adult bull sharks are shown with Anna Maria Adamo (the former consul to the USA) and Rene Molina Valenzuela. The sharks were accidentally caught in the nets of local fisherman while fishing for other food species such as guapote and mojarra, as fishing for the sharks in Lake Nicaragua is not allowable. Thanks to Anna Maria Adamo for the photo. 

“Nicaragua's freshwater sharks have been migrating up the Rio San Juan to Lake Nicaragua from the Atlantic Ocean, for as long as people can remember. Lake Nicaragua used to be well populated with bull sharks until the 1960s and 1970s when Nicaragua allowed Japan to build and operate a shark fin processing plant on the shores of the Rio San Juan. There was even a shark fin processing plant on the lake shores near Granada during the golden days of Nicaragua.”

Read more here.

And how about the bull shark that swam up the Mississippi River, all the way to Alton, Ill.? Maybe this explains why Jimmy Hoffa’s body hasn’t been found since he disappeared in 1975.

“Officially, bull sharks have made it up the Mississippi as far as Illinois. In the town of Alton, Illinois, which is above St. Louis, two commercial fishermen caught a bull shark in the river. This shark had been raiding their fish traps, and they decided to catch the culprit once and for all. They set a big trap, one that would catch the biggest muskellunge or pike.  They were certainly shocked to find that it was a shark raiding their traps.

“Now, there is another interesting story that should be added. Although no official record of it exists, a man was supposedly attacked by a shark in Lake Michigan in 1955. This attack supposedly happened at one of the beaches near Chicago. The shark may have traveled through the Illinois River and then took a trip up the Michigan and Illinois Canal.

"However, the canal was disused and parts of it had already started falling in. It could have made it up the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the Great Lakes system. How it made it through the locks and dams on the St. Lawrence is a very good question. Further, bull sharks have been found only as far north as Massachusetts. None have been reported in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where they could enter the river and seaway.”

Learn more here.

The inspiration for  the novel “Jaws”? Peter Benchley supposedly got the idea from 1916 shark attacks along the inland waters of New Jersey.

“In the summer of 1916, panic struck the Jersey Shore. A shark sunk its teeth into Charles Vansant, the 25-year-old son of a Philadelphia businessman, out for an evening swim in the resort town of Beach Haven on July 1. A lifeguard pulled him ashore, but he quickly bled to death. Five days later, and 45 miles to the north, in Spring Lake, New Jersey, Charles Bruder, a young bellhop at a local hotel, met a similar fate.

“Then, something even stranger happened. The rogue great white traveled 30 miles north of Spring Lake and into Matawan Creek. On July 12, Lester Stillwell, 11, was playing in the creek 16 miles inland when the shark attacked. A young man named Watson Stanley Fisher attempted to save the boy, but was fatally injured in the process. 

“Joseph Dunn was luckier. The teenager, the shark’s fifth victim, was bitten in the creek less than a half-hour later and survived.”

Go here for more details.

And, finally, here’s an interview with Bruce Fintale, who played the shark in the blockbuster movie that has spawned hundreds of sea monster movies.

And, we can’t forget the latest film epic, Sharknado.

Now, let’s all go swimming, shall we?

Monday
Aug122013

Freedom to Fish Act Protects Angler Access Below Dams

Enactment of the Freedom to Fish Act in early June forced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to back off its plan to restrict access below 10 dams on the Cumberland River and its tributaries.

In the wake of the bill’s signing by President Obama, the Corps immediately announced that it would comply and begin removing barrier buoys.

“This preserves the freedom to fish for generations of Americans who enjoy fishing below the dams on the Cumberland River, and does so in a way that gives the appropriate state wildlife agencies authority for boating safety,” said Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who championed the legislation.

“Now the Corps is required, by law, to stop wasting taxpayer dollars and ignoring elected officials who are standing up for fishermen.”

The Corps had planned to establish permanent restrictions, which angered anglers and boaters, as well as politicians on both sides of the aisle in Congress. Additionally, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said that it would not enforce the Corps’ policy.  

Under the law, anglers and boaters retain access when conditions are safe, with state agencies determining when it is not.

In response, the Corps said, “The Nashville District will be removing the buoys recently placed below the following dams: Old Hickory, J. Percy Priest, Cordell Hull, Center Hill, and Dale Hollow.

“This work will begin immediately. The Corps will also convert recently placed ‘Restricted--- Keep Out’ buoys above its dams on the Cumberland River and tributaries back to ‘Danger Dam’ buoys. The signs installed on upstream and downstream lock walls with the message ‘Restricted --- Keep Out’ will be replaced with signs that display the message ‘Danger--- Dam.’”

The Corps pointed out that three accidents have occurred below Tennessee dams since June 1.

“The water areas above and below dams continue to be very hazardous,” it said. “State laws for mandatory lifejacket wear below dams remain in effect. All boaters are cautioned to say clear of all turbulent waters released from these structures.”

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

 

Monday
Aug122013

Zebra Mussels Moving Toward Canada

Zebra mussels found on a dock being installed on Minnesota’s Sand Lake are worrisome for resource managers both in the state and neighboring Canada.

That’s because Sand is a part of the Bowstring chain of lakes, which flows into the Big Fork River. The latter is a tributary of Rainy River, which feeds massive Lake of the Woods (65,000 miles of shoreline). And if that’s not enough, that lake drains into the Winnipeg River, and, ultimately, Lake Winnipeg.

Additionally, the closer the shellfish are to uninfected waters, the easier it is for them to be introduced on boats and trailers.

“It takes awhile for zebra mussels to establish through moving currents, but that potential is there,” said Cheri Zeppelin with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). “The key is to slow down the spread.”

Across the border, meanwhile, fisheries managers had thought their resources were protected by the Canadian Shield, because lakes there don’t contain enough calcium for the invasive mussels to thrive. But this discovery raises the possibility that they could spread into northwestern Ontario without going through that natural barrier.

On the positive side, both the Lake of the Woods and Rainy River are low in calcium as well, according to Jeff Brinsmead with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. That could diminish the likelihood of the mussels naturally migrating in river currents, but only time will tell.

The mussels found on the dock were dead adults, Zeppelin said. That means that they probably were alive until the dock was pulled out last fall.

Likely they were introduced by boaters, said Richard Rezanka, an invasive species specialist with the MDNR.

“This is the farthest north we’ve got them,” he said. “We’ve got pretty heavily fished lakes in the central part of the state, so it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility for water or zebra mussels to have been moved.” 

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

Friday
Aug092013

Learn about Why We Fish at These Links

"Anglers and non-anglers alike, will find Robert U. Montgomery’s book, Why We Fish, interesting and hard to put down as one adventure after another leaves you wondering where the award winning author might lead you next."

Review at Florida Guides Association 

Information about the book  has been placed in the Fishing Industry News folder of New & Tips section for two freshwater fishing iPhone apps, FishMate and FishMate Pro, as well as a saltwater app, FirstMate. You can learn more about each app, as well as how to purchase, at Connectedllcapps.

"Montgomery's book is a charming, nostalgic look at the reasons we fish. It poses a question that every reader can immediately relate to and provide personal examples. The anglers who provided essays were obviously touched by the question and find solace and relaxation each time they grab fishing gear and go to the water's edge. Very interesting and readable book for all ages."

One of 13 five-star reviews at Amazon.

Also you can read about the book --- and me --- in this Daily Journal article.

Friday
Aug092013

Minnesotans Want Locks Closed to Protect Fisheries from Asian Carp

Minnesotans are worried about Asian carp moving into inland lakes from the Mississippi River--- and justifiably so. As they’ve spread out from the lower Mississippi states, where they escaped, they’ve proven inexorable in their expansion, often riding in on flood waters.

Dennis Anderson at the StarTribune says this:

“Waiting this long to close some combination of the Upper or Lower St. Anthony locks, or the lock at Ford Dam, on the Mississippi River to stop Asian carp from infesting the state’s northern waters, is among the dumbest stunts Minnesota has pulled.

“Every day the locks stay open, the state’s inaction is dumber still.”

Also, a poll released by the National Wildlife Federation and other groups reveals that 63 percent of Minnesotans would support closing the locks in Minneapolis to prevent the spread of Asian carp.

“Minnesotans understand that fishing is not just a major part of our Minnesota economy, it is part of our quality of life and heritage," said state senator Amy Klobuchar. "That's why I convinced my colleagues in the Senate to pass my amendment closing the lock. The legislation needs to now pass the House."