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Monday
Oct312016

Future Record Largemouth Bass for Ohio?

This largemouth bass caught and released in a private pond by Dustin Thompson could be heavy enough to qualify as a new Ohio record next spring, and he's hoping to catch her again.

He didn't have a scale to weigh it when he caught it recently, but it was just under 26 inches long, with an estimated weight of 10 to 12 pounds.

The current record measured  25 1/4 inches long, and, heavy with eggs, weighed 13.13 pounds when Roy Landsberger pulled it from a pond in Columbiana County in May 1976.

Thompson is confident that the fish he caught could rival that weight.

“When it’s spawning or getting ready to spawn, next May, April or March,” he said, “I’ll throw big lizards and big spinnerbaits.”

The Ohio angler tangled with the big bass twice. The first time, it grabbed a smaller fish that he had hooked. He said that it was "circling like a buzzard coming in on a dead animal" before it charged and struck on the surface. But it didn't get the hook.

Less than two days later, Thompson tried again, but the lunker refused to hit an artificial. It did, however, eat another small bass that he had hooked. "I had the fish on the surface, and it went down," he said. "Suddenly, it felt like I had 15 pounds on the end of my line."

Friday
Oct282016

New British Record Rainbow Was an Escapee

An escapee from a fish farm likely will be the new record rainbow trout for Great Britain.  That's right in keeping with the tradition of the world record rainbow trout caught Saskatchewan in 2009.

Caught by Michael Mitchell, the British lunker weighed 34 pounds, 12 ounces, and, incredibly, is believed to have been just five years old. After escaping from a fish farm on Loch Earn, in Scotland's Perthshire, it grew quickly on abundant minnows and stickleback, as well as smaller brown trout in the lake.

In fact, Mitchell was fishing for stocked brown trout with maggots when the rainbow struck.

"I was out in the loch on a boat with my brother-in-law, Ian Devine, and we just had a break for a sandwich when I caught a wee brown trout which I released because of its size," Mitchell said.

"Then this monster struck and, when it did, it nearly took my rod in. I just managed to grab hold of it in time.

"I knew it was a big one and panicked a bit. It took about 15 minutes to reel in and got a bit of a fright when I saw it. I have never caught a fish that big before."

The huge trout broke through two landing nets before the anglers were able to bring it aboard their boat.

Rainbow trout were introduced into Britain from North America in 1884. They are found in fish farms and lakes, and the most are sterile so they can't spawn.

Coincidentally, the 48-pound world record, caught in Saskatchewan's Lake Diefenbaker also was a triploid, a genetically engineered fish with three sets of chromosomes. Because of their sterility, such fish channel all of their energy into growth instead of reproduction.

That fish surpassed a 43-pound, 10-ounce specimen also caught in in Diefenbaker in 2007.

Wednesday
Oct262016

Another Reason to Dislike Ethanol

A University of Michigan researcher reports that he's found yet another reason to dislike ethanol.

Despite their supposed advantages, biofuels created from corn and soybeans cause more emissions of climate change-causing carbon dioxide than gasoline, according to John DeCicco, research professor at the university's Energy Institute.

"When it comes to emissions that cause global warming, it turns out that biofuels are worse than gasoline," he explained.

The federal government's push for biofuels has been based on the assumption that they are inherently carbon-neutral. That means the amount of carbon released as emissions from an engine burning ethanol supposedly is offset by the amount of carbon the corn removed from the atmosphere as it grew.

Using U.S. Department of Agriculture cropland production data, DeCicco created a "harvest carbon" factor. During the past decade, as consumption of ethanol and biodiesel more than tripled,  he discovered, the increased carbon uptake by crops offset just 37 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

Anglers and other boat owners already dislike ethanol because of the damage it has done to their engines. In addition, critics point out that it's less efficient than gasoline, and it has increased runoff pollution of our waters as farmers plow buffers to plant more corn.

Wednesday
Oct262016

Critics Fear Desalinization Plant Would Damage Chickahominy River

A proposal by James City County to build a desalinization plant  near the Chickahominy River's confluence with the James is not sitting well with many who fear adverse consequences for the bass fishery and the ecosystem in general.

Critics suggest that the plant, which probably wouldn't be built for a decade at Waterfront Park, likely would force closing of a public launch and restrict access to Gordon's Creek. It also would result in dumping of thousands of gallons of brine daily into the river as potable drinking water is created through reverse osmosis.

In other words, a tidal river already retreating before saltwater intrusion would die a much quicker death.

"How is it we can spend millions, tens of millions on storm water 'To Save the Bay (Chesapeake Bay)' and yet you are willing to kill this river for the absolute reverse logic?" asked Joe Swanenburg, who has lived near the river for nearly 40 years.

His comments came in response to a public meeting presentation in which cost was given as one of the considerations for choosing the Chickahominy for the $128 million plant instead of the James and the York.

"We could catch largemouth bass all day long," Swanenburg said, in recalling how the river already has changed. "Now we catch flounder and put out crab pots. Lily pads covered and provided cover in all the shallows. Now saltwater marsh grass grows."

But if water supply is to remain adequate for the area's growing population, a desalinization plant seems the only option, as the state tightens restrictions on withdrawals from the aquifer.

Regional groundwater levels have declined by two to four feet on average every year for roughly 100 years, according to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Although precipitation feeds groundwater, only about an inch of Virginia's 40 inches of annual rainfall actually enters the aquifer. Human consumption is outpacing regeneration, creating the need for another water supply source.

Monday
Oct242016

Good News for the Arapaima

Conservation efforts are paying off for the arapaima, the world's largest scaled freshwater fish, according to a recent study in Brazil's Amazon River basin.

Here's the important takeaway:

The study looked at protected freshwater lakes along the Juruá River in Brazil, a tributary spanning about 2,081 miles. Efforts to preserve these freshwater ecosystems are often hindered by conflicts with commercial fishing. Patterns of community management accounted for almost 72 percent of the variation in arapaima population sizes across 83 lakes studied along the river. 

Each lake managed by residents had an average of about 305 arapaimas, while open-access lakes had only nine, according to the study.

“What we’re documenting, I think for the first time in a freshwater fishery, is that if you move these lakes from an open-access ‘tragedy of the commons’ to the stewardship of a local community, and you regulate the fishing by bringing in the community-based management, these stocks just go through the roof,” Peres told TakePart. “It’s like if you put your money in a bank account, and it earns not 3 or 4 percent a year but 200 or 300 percent a year.”