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Friday
Apr192013

Asian Carp Could Threaten Brackish Water Fisheries Too

Asian carp caught in Kentucky Lake. Photo by Steve McCadams

As Activist Angler has reported, the Great Lakes aren’t the only fisheries at risk because of bighead and silver carp.  The invaders threaten riverine impoundments in the Dakotas and natural lakes in Minnesota, as well as reservoirs along the Tennessee, Cumberland, and Ohio River systems.

And now it appears that brackish water fisheries, especially in Louisiana, are endangered as well, according to an article in Houmatoday.com. If that’s the case, we now should worry about shrimp, oysters, crabs, redfish, trout and many other saltwater species.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Evidence of bighead and silver carp living in the salty, brackish waters of coastal Louisiana is worrisome because the fish family they belong to is typically restricted to fresh water, U.S. Geological Survey biologist Duane Chapman said.

“Asian carp appear to be the exception, which was a complete shock to us,” Chapman said. “We don’t have any real data yet on the effects of the fish on brackish water populations of other species. We don’t know what will happen, but we are very concerned.”

 Also in Louisiana, chef Philippe Parola, an angler himself, has been leading the way in encouraging fishermen to catch, keep, and eat Asian carp. Check out his website.

For a little light entertainment, check out the silver carp explosion during rowing practice on a lake off the Missouri River, near St. Louis.

 

Wednesday
Apr172013

National Ocean Policy Improved, But Still Threatens Recreational Fishing

I haven’t posted about this administration’s National Ocean Policy in awhile. But it still poses a threat to the future of recreational fishing.

That’s because those driving its implementation  refuse to acknowledge public access to fishing and other outdoor recreation as a priority.

The American Sportfishing Association says this:

“The sportfishing industry supports the improvements in the administration’s final Implementation Plan for its National Ocean Policy but still has concerns that the social, economic, public health and conservation benefits of recreational uses of our nation’s public resources did not receive the priority consideration that it deserves.”

And this:

“In the ‘plus’ column, the industry is pleased to see the heightened emphasis on the role of state agencies in any kind of marine planning connected to the National Ocean Policy and the explicit statement that regions choosing to opt out of NOP-directed marine planning can do so,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman.

“ASA is disappointed that the NOP failed to include a broader and more pronounced acknowledgment of the need to designate public access to fishing, boating and other recreational activities as priority uses, consistent with the administration’s ‘America’s Great Outdoors’ initiative.

“Nussman further said, ‘We welcome the plan’s emphasis on better science and data. ASA will continue to press for more pronounced prioritization of fishery data as well as socio-economic data that more clearly reflects who is tapping our ocean resources, their actual impacts on the resources and the economic engines they are fueling.’”

Read more here.

Tuesday
Apr162013

Columbia River Ripe for Mussels Invasion

Portland State University researchers recently revealed some bad news regarding the Columbia River Basin: Water chemistry and temperature there are sufficient, if not ideal, to support invasion by quagga and zebra mussels.

“We found that 68 percent of mussels raised in untreated Columbia River water gained weight,” said researchers Brian Adair. “This does not bode well for the Columbia.”

On a positive note, water in the Willamette appears only marginal for mussels, due to lower calcium levels.

Scientists obtained the results by placing mussels from Lake Mead in containers of untreated water from the two rivers. Then they observed the mussels as calcium concentrations and water temperatures were changed.

“This appears to confirm our fears that mussels would grow well in the Columbia,” said Bill Bradbury of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. “The results underscore the importance of the boat inspection programs and other efforts in our states to keep mussels out of Northwest waters.”

Researchers also are testing several types of coatings to see how well they inhibit mussel growth. Given acceptable surfaces, the shellfish block water intakes with their dense colonies, as well as deplete nutrients and smother fish habitat.

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

Tuesday
Apr162013

Anglers Achieve Access Victory in Maryland

Keep America Fishing is calling Maryland’s recent passage of HB 797 “a tremendous victory for anglers.”

That’s because the bipartisan legislation requires state and local transportation departments to consider providing, where reasonable and cost-effective, waterway access in roadway construction or reconstruction projects.

“Maryland’s 10,000 miles or rivers and streams, as well as its 4,000 miles of tidal shoreline, can be difficult to access because adjacent roads and bridges can lack safe shoulders, pull-off areas or parking,” KAF said. “These areas often were constructed without regard to access and angler safety. Oftentimes access can be provided at minimal or no cost, but is not incorporated in project planning.”

Learn more here.

Tuesday
Apr162013

On a Fish Care Mission . . .

Most bass anglers believe that they practice effective catch and release, but many are mistaken.

That realization is what motivates Carl Wengenroth to travel the vast expanses of Texas, teaching fish care to bass clubs. It is what motivates him to educate whoever will listen at The Angler's Lodge, a resort that he owns on Lake Amistad. And it is why he will give presentations during 2013 at National Marine Manufacturers Association boat shows.

“Guys tell me that their boats never kill a fish,” said Wengenroth, conservation director for the Anglers Bass Club of Del Rio. “But when I ask them if they’ve ever been back to the weigh-in site two or three days later, they say, ‘No.’

“They just don’t understand delayed mortality. But if we’re going to preach catch and release, we need to do it right.”

Wengenroth first realized that “we have a problem” when he saw the consequences of improper handling of bass during tournaments at Amistad and other lakes. When released after weigh-in, the fish swam away, but their carcasses littered the surface days later.

Many of the fatalities were the result of barotrauma (inflated bladder) and the fish could have been saved if they had been fizzed, Wengenroth learned, as he worked with Texas Parks and Wildlife and state Conservation Director Tim Cook to improve survival rates.

“Tim’s ethic has inspired me,” the lodge owner said. “The fire underneath his butt has put one under mine.”

Consequently, Wengenroth now conducts fish care classes from Del Rio to Conroe and down to Zapata, asking only that clubs pay for his hotel room and pass the hat for gas money.

During the 1 ½ hour-class, he shows anglers how to improve water quality in their livewells and in tournament holding tanks, as well as explains the why and how to vent bass through their sides.

With an oxygenation system for the boat’s livewell, an angler can turn off the aerator and will need to change the water only two or three times a day, Wengenroth explained. “Those who don’t want to install one “should put the aerator on and leave it on,” he said.

Keeping livewell water 5 to 8 degrees cooler than surface water is important too and that can be done by ice, with chemicals added to knock out the chlorine. A cheap floating thermometer allows for monitoring of temperature.

But no matter how good the water quality, if fish are suffering from barotrauma they are likely to die. “I teach them when you put a fish in the livewell, check it in 15 minutes and then again in 30 minutes,” the club conservation director said. “If it’s still down, then you are good to go.”

Wengenroth added that many are surprised to learn what contributes to barotrauma. “High temperatures in a foot of water can cause it as well as deep water,” he said.

And needle phobia is a common theme among anglers in his classes. To deal with that, he uses small filleted fish to teach bass anatomy and show where the needle goes when it is inserted under a side scale.

“This way, the can see that the needle will go where it is supposed to go (into the bladder), and they lose their fear of killing the fish,” said the lodge owner.

Following his classes, he added, anglers often tell him “I had no idea” and express their gratitude for his instruction.

“I am proud to say I believe in my heart I have made a difference,” Wengenroth said.

Clubs that would like to learn more about fish care from Wengenroth can contact him at AnglersLodge1@yahoo.com or (830) 719-9907.

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