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Entries in catfish (9)


Why We Fish: Time Travel

I fish almost exclusively with artificial baits for bass and other game fish.

But once a year, I dig some worms, clean the dust off my catfish gear, pack some hotdogs and marshmallows, and spend the night tightlining for catfish on a lake or river. In recent years, mostly I go down to the little lake behind my house.  No chance of catching flatheads there, but, in my mature years, watching moonlight dance on the still water more than makes up for that. It doesn’t hurt either that the channel catfish usually are cooperative.

I never thought much about why I was doing this until this latest trip. I was alone for a change and watching the yellow flames of my campfire burn into blue when, suddenly, I was transported.

(Excerpt from "Time Travel" in Why We Fish: Reel Wisdom From Reel Fishermen.)


Monters Cats on the Prowl in Kansas Waters

Monster blue catfish up to 100 pounds are already swimming in at least two Kansas rivers and probably Milford Reservoir.

 “The blue catfish has created a kind of big-game fishing in Kansas,” said Doug Nygren, Kansas Wildlife and Parks fisheries chief. “Now people can go out and have a legitimate chance of catching a 50-pound fish.”

Biologists and experienced blue cat anglers say more lakes may hold 100-pounders in the future. Cheney and El Dorado reservoirs, near Wichita, have the potential to grow catfish that could eventually top the current world record of 143 pounds.

“I think Kansas could someday harbor a new world record,” said John Jamison, a professional catfish tournament angler from Spring Hill. “With the forage base we have in our lakes, a 140- to 150-pound fish is highly possible."

Read more here.


Exotic Catfish Are in Our Waters Too

Asian carp are the exotic fish species that we hear the most about, but plenty of others are established in our waters as well, mostly because of an under-regulated exotic pet industry and irresponsible aquarium owners. Clinton Richardson recently caught this unusual catfish while fishing the lower Susquehanna River.  Biologists identified it as a hybrid catfish from the aquarium trade, a cross between a redtail catfish and a tiger shovelnose catfish. Both grow large in their native South America.

"Irresponsible aquarium owners continue to introduce exotic and at times invasive fish to our waterways when their pet fish become too large or they tire of them," noted the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. "The introduction of the northern snakehead is a perfect example."

The big question now is whether climate is too cold for such exotic catfish to establish breeding populations that far north, if they haven't already.

USGS photo

In Florida, meanwhile, the suckermouth armored catfish, also from South America, is firmly entrenched over much of the peninsula. And almost certainly it came from the aquarium trade as well, as it often is labeled a "plecostomus" or "algae eater."

The burrows that they make for spawning likely cause or exacerbate erosion on shorelines of canals and rivers, although no quantitative data is available on that. Additionally, they have been observed browsing on the algae that frequently grows on the backs of manatees.

"Manatee responses varied widely; some did not react visibly to attached catfish whereas others appeared agitated and attempted to dislodge the fish. The costs and/or benefits of this interaction to manatees remain unclear," said the U.S. Geological Survey.


Missouri Angler Snags State Record Paddlefish

Record paddlefish snagged in Missouri waters.

Missouri has a new paddlefish record, as Andy Belobraydic snagged a 140-pound, 8.8-ounce trophy Saturday on the north end of Table Rock Lake. The old snagging record, weighing 139 pounds, 4 ounces, also came from Table Rock in 2002.

The record fish measured 6 ½ feet long and was nearly 4 feet in diameter.

The largest fish taken in Missouri waters on hook and line, as opposed to being snagged, was a 130-pound blue catfish, pulled from the Missouri River in 2010.

On March 6 in Thailand, meanwhile, Jeff Corwin, a nature conservationist, caught a sting ray with an estimated weight of 600 to 800 pounds. It measured 14 feet long and 8 feet wide and could be the largest freshwater fish ever caught on rod and reel. Current record is a 693-pound catfish pulled from Thailand’s Mekong River in 2005.

Beluga sturgeon is listed as world's largest freshwater fish by Conservation Institute.

Here’s a list of the largest freshwater fish by species, with the paddlefish as No. 10. Note, though, that the Conservation Institute says that it grows to only 60 pounds and 5 feet long.


Urban Programs Help Boost Angling Participation

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Following two decades of steady decline in fishing participation, the trend began turning around in 2006, according to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, a report produced very five years. In fact, participation increased nationally by 11 percent.

In Kentucky, that improvement is reflected by an 8 percent increase in fishing license sales during 2012, with at least some of the credit due to implementation of the Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINs) program in 2006 by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR).

Partnering with local governments, the state stocked rainbow trout and catfish in six lakes to provide city dwellers with safe, convenient access to fishing. Today, the program has grown to 39 lakes in 24 counties, with 142,000 trout and 111,000 catfish stocked in 2013.

“In addition to these lakes being stocked with catfish and trout, the sunfish and bass populations are regularly sampled to ensure natural reproduction is meeting the needs of anglers,” KDFWR said. “Stocking of hybrid sunfish and/or largemouth bass occurs if needed.”

Nearly half the states have adopted similar urban fishing programs, in an attempt to attract more urban and suburban participants, especially women, and, as in Kentucky, the strategy seems to be effective.

KDFWR’s Brian Clark pointed out that urban households are not as connected to the land and typically don’t have readily available angling opportunities, as do those who live in rural settings. “It’s just not as natural a pastime,” he said.

According to a 2013 report, Exploring Increases in Hunting and Fishing Participation, both new and returning anglers  are “slightly more often female, are markedly more often retired with new free time, are slightly more often identifying themselves as homemakers, slightly more suburban . . . and are more devoted to fishing in freshwater.”

The report also theorized that the prolonged slowdown in the economy has prompted more people to fish and hunt for food. Related to that, more people are looking for natural food sources. Additionally, military personnel returning home could have contributed to the increase in participation.

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