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Saturday
Feb022013

Oklahoma Stocking Turns Arbuckle into Big Bass Fishery

Jeff Reynolds and Johnny Thompson hoist their winning limit of largemouth bass Jan. 19 at Lake of the Arbuckles. These five fish weighed 42.04 pounds. (Courtesy of Backyard Bassin' Tournament Trail)

Texas and California aren’t the only states where anglers catch big Florida-strain largemouth bass outside their native range.

Twice during January, Oklahoma’s Lake of the Arbuckles yielded five-fish limits weighing more than 40 pounds during tournaments. That’s an impressive 8-pound-plus average.

"Historically, Arbuckle has not been a great bass fishery. It was dominated by large numbers of small, slow-growing bass," said Gene Gilliland, assistant fisheries chief with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

"In the early 1990s, the Wildlife Department backed off on stocking Florida strain largemouth in Arbuckle because there was a period when the department didn't have enough production from the hatchery to stock Florida bass in very many lakes in the state."

About a decade ago, as the hatcheries' Florida strain largemouth production increased, the Wildlife Department resumed stocking them in Arbuckle and other Oklahoma lakes to enhance the trophy possibilities.

"Those fish have obviously matured," Gilliland said. "The fish that we stocked, or the offspring of those stocked fish, are now turning into these trophy bass that are being caught on a pretty regular basis for about the past three years."

Read more here.

Thursday
Jan312013

Popular Guide Dies in Ice Fishing Tragedy

The fishing community suffered a great loss this past weekend, when popular guide Jim Hudson died after he fell through Lake Superior ice on his snowmobile.

 “Jim was special to us,” said Teeg Stouffer, executive director of Recycled Fish, a conservation organization. “He befriended and coached me, made inroads for our cause in the ice fishing community, championed, legitimized and supported us.

“He is on the cover of our Stewards "On Ice" booklet, and we gave away a fishing trip with him that he donated to the 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon this year.
“Part of his legacy is having been an advocate for stewardship of Lake Superior, and he had such an impact.

“Over the past few days, Facebook has been awash with people remembering and celebrating him. He lived more in his 34 years than most do in a lifetime, and his family will never have to wonder if he made a difference in the world.”

Hudson was leading a fishing trip in Bayfield when his snowmobile broke through the ice on a channel. Rescue crews reported that he was in the 33-degree water for at least 30 minutes before he was airlifted to Essentia Health in Duluth, where he was pronounced dead.

Read more here.

And go here to learn about a memorial fund set up in Hudson’s honor.

 

Wednesday
Jan302013

Catfish Gets the Bird

No, no pigeons here.

We've all heard tall tales about giant catfish. They've been around for a long time and sometimes even have been presented as news. For example, back in the late 1800s, a newspaper reported that a catfish was so large that it pulled a steamboat upriver after it was hooked.

One of my favorites is about a big catfish that lived in a sunken car. So the story goes, it rolled up the car window on the arm of a man who was trying to pull it out.

I don't believe either one, or most others, but they are entertaining.

Now here's one that appears to be true: Giant catfish in France leave the water to catch pigeons. I guess that if you were to catch one of those catfish after it swallowed a bird, you could prepare a delicious meal of squab-stuffed catfish, without having to do any of the stuffing.

Check out the story and the video

Wednesday
Jan302013

Court Rules EPA Acted Illegally in Pushing Ethanol

Finally, the courts are starting to rule against illegal --- and unconstitutional --- behavior by the Obama Administration and one of those judgments should have anglers and boaters cheering.

First, a federal appeals court ruled that President Obama exceeded his constitutional authority when he made three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

Also, the court decided on the same day that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency abused the law with “an unreasonable exercise of agency discretion” in pushing an ethanol agenda that is costing citizens millions of dollars annually, as the inefficient biofuel damages or destroys boat, car, and other internal combustion engines.

Or, as the Wall Street Journal put it:

“Ethanol is one of the only products in history that Congress subsidizes and mandates at the same time. That sounds pretty generous. Yet now a federal court has ruled the Environmental Protection Agency is illegally giving the lobby extra benefits that Congress never intended. That takes some work.”

Read more here.

Tuesday
Jan292013

Corps Finalizes Plans to Close Access to Cumberland Fisheries

If you fish the Cumberland River and/or its tributaries, you should know that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finalized plans to close access around 10 dam facilities.

Keep America Fishing says this:

“These closures would affect tailwaters, both upstream and downstream of all ACOE owned facilities along the Cumberland River and its tributaries. Included would be Cheatham Dam, Old Hickory, Percy Priest and Center Hill fishing areas, which are popular with Tennessee’s almost one million anglers.

“Enforcement of these plans and closures are set to take effect in April of 2013. Failure to comply with these closures could result in fines, court dates and collateral forfeiture citations. The areas to be closed will have signs, buoys and potentially physical barriers to enforce the no-fishing areas. The Corps is prepared to spend $2 million dollars on these potential physical barriers which could potentially hamper future rescue efforts in these areas.”

The final public meeting is planned for Feb. 5 in Nashville. Go here to learn more.