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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."


Bassing Bob Helps Anglers Catch Bass at Lake of the Ozarks

If you fish for bass at Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks --- or are planning to --- you'll want to check out Bassing Bob. It's described like this:

 " is an online community of bass fisherman, offering valuable membership benefits for bass fishermen of all levels, offering highly detailed Lake of the Ozarks fishing logs describing baits used, conditions, locations, all archived on the website to provide members with year around bass fishing information."

Additionally the site is a supporter of the University of Missouri Bass Fishing Club.

“We recognize that the sport of bass fishing is becoming popular amongst college students. In order to encourage growth of this sport to a younger audience, we reached out to the University of Missouri Bass Fishing Club to offer our support," said Bob Bueltmann, founder of

“The Mizzou Bass Fishing Club is currently ranked 30th in the nation and participates in many tournaments in the Midwest and as far south as Texas. We are dedicated to providing a comprehensive website on bass fishing at the Lake of the Ozarks, and we are thrilled to support this team of young bass fishing enthusiasts."


Five-Star Review for Why We Fish at Examiner

Photo by Robert Montgomery

(Capt. Ron Presley reviewed my new book, Why We Fish, at Here’s the introduction to that review.)

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.

Don’t wait for a single answer to the question posed by the title, because there are many. The book is not only about why we fish, although the theme is woven skillfully through the chapters. As philosophical as it sounds, “Why We Fish” may also help you catch the big one and enjoy your own fishing trips more. It also gives thoughtful insight on how to be a better conservationist, one that will, like the author, desire to share fishing opportunities and memories with children and grandchildren.

Read the full review here.


Minnows on Drugs Exhibit Bizarre Behavior

Photo by Jeffrey Divino

Add a new side effect regarding the use of Prozac and Zoloft, drugs often prescribed to treat depression.

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee report that fathead minnows swimming in water tainted with low levels of these antidepressants display reclusive, hostile, and even destructive behavior.

“It’s not just an environmental question but a human question as well,” said Rebecca Klaper, leader researcher in the study.

That’s because chemicals from these drugs, birth control pills, and many others are discharged into our waterways as humans flush out excess amounts in urine. Additionally, water treatment facilities aren’t adequately equipped to filter them out.

Thus far, scientists have found no evidence that people are being harmed by this chemical pollution. But evidence is growing that fish are, especially downstream of discharges from sewage treatment plants. Findings have included sexual dysfunction in black bass and other species.

Erratic behavior by minnows adds one more concern about what is happening to our waters and our fisheries.

In the laboratory, male minnows subjected to a slight amount of Prozac (equal to one dose dissolved in more than 5,000 gallons of water) appeared to ignore females. Also, reproductive levels decreased, as the fish spent more time alone and fed sluggishly.

“They spent more time in their nests than they did interacting with females,” Klaper said, adding that, as dosages increased, the males became aggressive and sometimes killed the females.

The latter, meanwhile, produced fewer eggs as dosages increased.

A popular baitfish, fathead minnows typically grow only to about 2 inches long. Consequently, their small size could be a factor in how they react to these anti-depressants. But Klaper believes that concentrations used in the experiment, as well as those found in the environment, could affect larger species.

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



Clough Retires as B.A.S.S. Conservation Director

Noreen Clough will leave behind a firm foundation when she retires as B.A.S.S. National Conservation Director this month.

“We have directors in 47 states and Canada. They are the real story of bass conservation,” she said. “They bring a huge variety of skill sets and do a far greater variety of work today than just habitat improvement.

“They are volunteers who give up some of their fishing time because they are passionate about conservation and fisheries, and the work that they do goes unknown by many.”

The same can be said of Clough, who served as National Conservation Director from 2004 to 2007 and again from 2011 until her retirement. But those who have worked with her do know of her enormous contributions to B.A.S.S. specifically, and fisheries generally.

“Noreen has been a rock and a voice of reason for a lot of important fisheries issues,” said Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “She will be sorely missed, both as a friend and professionally.”

Todd Gentzel, Colorado’s state director, added that he would have been “in deep trouble dealing with some of these issues,” without Clough’s leadership.

One of the greatest assets that Clough brought to her position was decades of experience in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including as Deputy Assistant Director for Fisheries. In other words, she understood how things are done --- and not done--- in a bureaucracy. That proved invaluable as she partnered with the ASA, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, and other advocacy groups.

“On any issue, Noreen never just criticized,” Robertson said. “She always had a thoughtful solution to offer. That’s a hallmark of high integrity. Anyone can just criticize.”

Clough is the fourth to serve as National Conservation Director since the position was created by former B.A.S.S. CEO Helen Sevier in the early 1990s. A retired fisheries biologist with the U.S. Forest Service, Al Mills began the work, building partnerships with state and federal agencies to improve fisheries.

Bruce Shupp followed.  Former fisheries chief for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, he is most remembered for initiating a series of annual workshops about Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV). At these professionally facilitated events, state, federal and university scientists and fisheries biologists shared evolving news and research regarding the virus.

If not for Shupp’s initiative, it’s not unreasonable to believe that panic would have ensued regarding the threat LMBV posed. The result could have been massive restrictions on bass fishing, especially tournaments.

“This was one of the best collaborative processes ever,” said Dave Terre, chief of management and research for Inland Fisheries at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Clough took over in 2004, and then, in 2007, thought that she was ready to enjoy a life of leisure and travel, including fishing in Costa Rica. But her replacement, Chris Horton, moved on to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and she stepped back in.

During her second term, the B.A.S.S. Nation system of state conservation directors has seen a Renaissance of sorts. Today, these volunteers arguably are more knowledgeable and skilled than ever before, and they have made their priorities about much more than trash cleanups and encouraging catch-and-release.  In addition to a variety of habitat work, they are involved legislatively, and, most importantly, they combat unwarranted attempts to restrict access and ban lead fishing tackle.

Not surprisingly, Clough takes none of the credit for this. She attributes their accomplishments to a “huge variety of skill sets” and said that they have become “very sophisticated.”

But state directors beg to differ.

Jim Cardillo, former Pennsylvania director, said she had a unique ability to concentrate the focus of state leaders “into one beam of intense magnitude to overwhelm any obstacle for the betterment and health of the bass we all love to catch.”

And Colorado’s Gentzel added, “She was always there to answer questions, and she worked tirelessly, sending us information and making sure that we stayed on top of issues,” he said. “She brought all of the CDs a lot closer with our conference calls, and she made this a lot easier for all of us. She will be missed greatly.”

Yes, she will.

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