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Entries in fisheries management (153)

Friday
Jun232017

Shimano/B.A.S.S. Award Conservation Scholarships to Four

Logan Parks from Alabama (left) and Patrick Durand of New Jersey are two of the scholarship winners.Shimano, in conjunction with B.A.S.S. Conservation, has named the winners of its 2017 Shimano Varsity Program scholarships.

All with goals to have careers in fisheries and wildlife management fields, student anglers earning the college funds include Nicolas Boyett and Chase Ditchkoff from Georgia, Patrick Durand from New Jersey, and Logan Parks from Alabama. Each student will receive a $3,000 scholarship to pursue college degrees in biology, fisheries, wildlife or natural resources.

Shimano Youth Fishing Director Frank Hyla said, “Assisting young anglers and their passion for a career in helping assure there are excellent fishing resources for the next generation is one of the keystone goals of our Shimano Varsity Program. All of us with Shimano couldn’t be happier that in our first year with the scholarship program, we were able to select four outstanding future college freshman.

"Plus they are all pretty good bass anglers.”

From Climax, Ga., Boyett graduated from Bainbridge High School, and plans to major in wildlife management at Bainbridge State College. One day he hopes to own or manage a fishing or hunting operation.

With a goal of working for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources after studying fisheries at West Georgia University, Alexander High School grad Ditchkoff from Lithia Springs, Ga., earned a varsity sports letter from fishing on his school’s team. Alexander High is the first school in the country to honor its student athletes with awards for fishing.

A graduate of Cherry Hill High School in Cherry Hill, N.J., Durand is the founder of the Cherry Hill Outdoorsman Club. He is majoring in environmental science at the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, and plans a career in the environmental field.

Along with being a co-founder of the Auburn High School bass team and serving as the team president, Logan Parks from Auburn, Ala., designed and implemented a fishing line recycling project at seven sites around Alabama’s Lake Logan Martin. He will major in fisheries or agri-business at Auburn University.

With the noted decline in professional natural resource managers who fish, “the goal in working with B.A.S.S. to recruit students who already enjoy fishing and are interested in natural resource professions will pay off with these four outstanding young men,” said Phil Morlock, Vice President for Government Affairs/Advocacy at Shimano.

“We are already looking forward to even more interest in the scholarship program next year, and more interest among young anglers to pursue careers in fish and wildlife management fields.”

Wednesday
May242017

Opening of Florida's Newest Fishery Behind Schedule

2011 construction of Fellsmere. Photo by Treasure Coast NewspapersFlorida's newest bass fishery didn't open to the public as expected this past spring, and when 10,000-acre Fellsmere Water Management Area will be accessible remains uncertain. That's because the ramp's location and rules about public access remain undetermined.

"We are evaluating three sites at this time on district property and continue to consider one location on the Fellsmere Joint Venture property," said Ed Garland, spokesman for the St. Johns Water Management District.

"However, the district is committed to choosing a location that will offer public access. The district continues to hear from the public on this issue at regularly scheduled southern recreation meetings and additionally will hear from the public at a governing board meeting before any plan is final."

East of Stick Marsh-Farm 13, a renowned 6,000-acre bass fishery, Fellsmere was transformed from agricultural lands once owned by Sun-Ag Inc. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) enhanced the marshy area with 2,000 acres of prime fish habitat and spent about $1.4 million on stocking it with bass and bluegill.

In addition to providing bass fishing that should rival its neighbor, Fellsmere also will filter discharges from surrounding farms, reducing the need for discharges into Indian River Lagoon. It's the final piece of the district's upper basin project to restore a more natural flow to the river, lost decades ago when wetlands were drained for agriculture.

The draft recreation plan for the area says that Fellsmere will included a two-lane boat ramp with 24 vehicle/trailer parking spaces, 12 regular parking spaces, restrooms, a boarding dock, and picnic shelters. An overflow parking area will help accommodate small tournaments.

And as the site of the ramp remains undetermined, FWC and the district still are considering what regulations to impose. Options include making the Fellsmere catch-and-release only and prohibiting harvest for five years to establish a quality fishery.

Thursday
May182017

Milfoil Hybrid Could Cause Even More Problems for Northern Fisheries

Management of problematic aquatic vegetation could get even more difficult, especially in northern bass waters. Recent findings in Minnesota's Minnetonka and Christmas lakes lead researchers to theorize that a milfoil hybrid could be more invasive and tougher to control than the Eurasian variety.

The hybrid is a cross between Eurasian and northern watermilfoil, a native plant.

Using cutting-edge genetic screening techniques, scientists from the University of Minnesota and Montana State discovered that the hybrid was more prevalent in areas treated with herbicides than those with little management. The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) said that herbicides might actually promote hybrid growth "and some hybrids may show greater tolerance to treatment."

Additionally, MCWD's Eric Fieldseth said, "As a pilot study, this research gets the ball rolling on understanding hybrid watermilfoil, its impact, and how it can better be controlled. These findings are an important first step toward developing more effective milfoil management strategies."

Researchers also found multiple, genetically distinct genotypes of invasive, hybrid, and native watermilfoil. That underscores the need for understanding the genetic makeup of invasive plants in a fishery before devising a plan to manage them and then following up with more genetic screening to guide future management, MCWD explained.

"With this much diversity in the population, a successful milfoil management strategy may not be a 'one size fits all' approach," added, Ryan Thum, professor of plant sciences and plant pathology at Montana State.

"We're looking forward to seeing how these results compare with what's happening in other parts of the region," he said. "This research could have broad implications for managing milfoil in lakes throughout the Upper Midwest and beyond."

Wednesday
May172017

A Carp Is Not Just a Carp; Here's the Difference

Many people, including anglers, don't understand that we have several kinds of carp now swimming in our waters, all of them fish from other countries. And all of them problematic in one way or another.

The fish in the top photo is a common carp. It was introduced more than a century ago, with the help of the federal government. It's now in lakes and rivers all over this country, and has degraded water quality in many of them, mostly because it roots on the bottom and stirs up sediment.  State agencies sometimes use a rotenone treatment to wipe out a lake's fishery, primarily because of overpopulation by common carp. When someone says "carp," this is the fish that most people think of.

Grass carp (that's me with an illegally stocked grass carp) were first introduced during the 1960s, to help control aquatic vegetation, mostly exotic milfoil and hydrilla. The problem is that they eat ALL plants, including beneficial native vegetation. Some have escaped and are reproducing in our rivers. More recently, there's concern that they might establish a breeding population in the Great Lakes. They're far too easy to purchase and stock illegally by people who have no idea of the problems that they cause.

Finally, Asian carp. That description applies to both silver (top) and bighead carp. The silver carp is the one that you see so many photos of as it flies through the air. Both are growing larger here than in their native habitat, with bigheads now exceeding 100 pounds. These are the most recent introductions, brought in by fish farmers in the South. They escaped and now are outcompeting native fish for food and habitat in many of our major rivers, most notably, the Missouri, Mississippi, Illinois, and Ohio. In some places, they account for more than 95 percent of the biomass. There's concern that they, too, will establish breeding populations in the Great Lakes.

Monday
May152017

Caddo Angler Catches Second 15-Pounder for ShareLunker Program 

Ronnie Arnold earned himself a unique place in Texas' Toyota ShareLunker program recently, when he landed a 15.7-pound largemouth bass in Caddo Lake, a fishery on the border with Louisiana.

In donating the fish to the trophy bass spawning program managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), Arnold became the first angler to enter two fish of 15 pounds or more. In 2009, he caught a 15.1-pound fish, also at Caddo.

Seventeen anglers have multiple entries, including five with three fish. Bill Reed's two were the heaviest pair collectively, with one weighing 16.54 pounds and the other 14.91.

Arnold's catch was the ninth from Caddo donated to the program begun in 1986. The lake record, 16.17, was entered by Keith Burns in 2010. Then, Sean Swank caught the same fish in 2011, when its weigh had dropped slightly to 16.07.

The latest Caddo entry was the third of the spring statewide for ShareLunker and No. 568 since the program began in 1986. It also was the largest since Swank's catch.

With a minimum weight requirement of 13 pounds, the program was established "to promote catch-and-release of large fish and to selectively breed trophy largemouth bass," TPWD said. "The first fish entered into the program was also a new state record, a 17.67-pounder caught from Lake Fork in November (1986)."

The first ShareLunker of the 2017 season, meanwhile, also was historic. Testing revealed the 13.07-pound fish caught at Marine Creek Lake was spawned from ShareLunker 410 and a male ShareLunker offspring. That made it the first of that size from  specially selected trophy-potential parents paired in 2006 as part of a research project to evaluate the growth of selectively bred, faster-growing Florida largemouths in public reservoirs.

“The catch of ShareLunker 566 from Marine Creek Lake not only validates the goal of TPWD’s selective breeding program of producing ShareLunker-size bass, but also demonstrates how anglers can help others by donating their ShareLunkers to TPWD for breeding purposes,” said ShareLunker Program Coordinator Kyle Brookshear.