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Entries in Ohio (13)

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."

Monday
Jan182016

Lake Erie Algae Bloom Worst on Record

The algae bloom that smothered much of Lake Erie this past summer was the worst on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

That means it was even more severe than the 2011 bloom, which stretched along the shoreline from Toledo to Cleveland, and considerably larger than the 2014 bloom that contaminated the water supply for nearly a half-million people.

The 2015 bloom also was more dense, but fortunately migrated toward deep water. "Fortunately, the bloom moved into the center of the central basin rather than along the shore, resulting in less impact along both coasts," said NOAA's Rick Stumpf.

Fueled by heavy rains, it covered an area of about 300 square miles with a thick, paint-like scum by mid August. But the actual bloom was larger, NOAA said, adding just how big is still being determined.

Rains notwithstanding, the bloom's severity suggests that resource managers haven't been doing enough to minimize runoff pollution.

 "It would be hard to find much evidence of progress based on what we saw this year," said Jeff Reutter, former director of the Ohio Sea Grant Program.

On the positive side, Ohio, Michigan and Ontario recently agreed to sharply reduce the amount of phosphorus flowing into western Lake Erie by 40 percent in 10 years. Changes already implemented included limiting when farmers can spread fertilizers and manure on their fields.

With much of that pollution flowing in from the Maumee River in western Ohio, many would like Ohio to pursue a federal impairment designation for the lake. A similar designation for Chesapeake Bay brought in $2.2 billion to help mitigate damage and reduce the amount of algae-feeding nutrients that flow into the bay.

 

Monday
Sep212015

Hydrilla Creeps Closer to Great Lakes

Hydrilla is creeping ever closer to Lake Erie, the warmest and shallowest of the Great Lakes. Most recently, it has been found about 20 miles away in Lake Pymatuning, a 17,000 -acre impoundment on the Ohio/Pennsylvania border.

"It is a serious situation," said Brian Pilarcik of the Crawford County Conservation District. "It can grow very fast, almost an inch a day and forms large, dense masses that can and will impact water sports and will have a negative impact on tourism in the county.

"We are very concerned that the plant could eventually reach Lake Erie."

An environmental educator at Pymatuning, Linda Armstrong added, "The lakes here get quite a bit of use and people will go from one to another, so it is critical to clean all equipment as well as boats."

Already Pennsylvania resource managers have talked with their counterparts in Florida about the discovery, with the latter promising assistance in containing the invasive plant.

Long a problem for many fisheries in the South, hydrilla was first reported in Pennsylvania during the mid 1990s, according to Pennsylvania Sea Grant (PSG).  It's also now established in Bucks County and the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. The next closest infestation to Pymatuning is Lake Arthur, about 60 miles to the south.

"Hydrilla is a federal noxious weed that continues to spread to new regions in the United States," PSG said. "It is unknown exactly where hydrilla originated, but Asia, Africa, and Australia are all mentioned in the literature as native ranges.

"Currently, Antarctica is the only continent without records of hydrilla."

Tuesday
Feb242015

Mussels Could Be Contributing to Toxic Algae Blooms

Proposed reductions in phosphorous runoff from agricultural lands might not be enough to counter Lake Erie’s increasing susceptibility to toxic algae blooms, according to University of Michigan researchers.

"Our results suggest that current phosphorus loading targets will be insufficient for reducing the intensity of cyanobacteria blooms to desired levels, so long as the lake remains in a heightened state of bloom susceptibility," said lead author Daniel Obenour of the university’s Water Center.

That “heightened state” led to nearly half a million Ohio and Michigan residents being deprived of drinking water for several days in early August because of a cyanobacteria bloom containing the toxin microsystin.

The problem seems to be that the blooms are becoming more sensitive to phosphorus, according to the scientists.

But what has caused this and the corresponding increase in size of cyanobacteria blooms since the mid 1990s? That’s not so easy to explain.

Computer modeling revealed that a special form of phosphorus, DRP (dissolved reactive phosphorus) is more readily absorbed by algae, but it did not explain increased bloom susceptibility. Also, late-summer surface water temperatures did not increase enough to exacerbate the problem.

Exotic quagga and zebra mussels, however, could be a factor. The filter-feeding shellfish gorge on many species of phytoplankton, but avoid those that produce toxins. In other words, the latter now have less competition for nutrients, including phosphorus.

"We tested to see if the increase in the DRP fraction could be the cause, and it did not pass the test. It also does not look like water temperature is driving the increased susceptibility,” said Don Scavia, co-author and aquatic ecologist. “We're thinking it may have been the increase in mussels.

"As long as the lake remains in this heightened state of susceptibility, this problem is likely to persist,” he added. “That means we need to better understand what is driving the increased susceptibility and whether it can be controlled, or if deeper phosphorus reductions are needed.”

Wednesday
Jun252014

NAPRA Offers Competition for Stream Anglers

Photo by Robert Montgomery

Wading is an inexpensive, productive, and refreshing way to fish, and, if you are so inclined, it also can be competitive. If you’re interested in learning more about the competitive aspect, check out the National Association of Professional River Anglers (NAPRA).

And don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a “professional.” That’s really not necessary.

The organization’s tournament trails include Elite and its original pro-am, the Dayton Fishing League. Events are staged on streams in Ohio.

“We have independent groups in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and even saltwater flats fishing in Florida,” said CEO Pete Ziehler.

NAPRA also sponsors kids events, helps with river cleanups, honors military veterans, and plays host to a national invitation treaty, the Wade War, in September.