Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bull Trout Restoration

bull trout      (photo credit: USFWS)

As part of an overall recovery strategy for bull trout, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will reintroduce the species to the Clackamas River, a major tributary of the Willamette River.

Beginning in the summer of 2011, bull trout of different life stages will be reintroduced into historic bull trout habitat in the upper Clackamas River, within the Mt. Hood National Forest.

The project is expected to include additional fish transfers annually for at least seven and possibly up to 15 years.  The goal is to reestablish a self-sustaining population of 300-500 spawning adult bull trout within 20 years.

Bull trout are primarily threatened by habitat degradation and fragmentation, blockage of migratory corridors from hydroelectric and diversion dams, poor water quality, the effects of climate change, and past fisheries management practices, including targeted eradication through bounty fishing and the introduction of non-native species such as brown, lake, and brook trout.

Bull trout have been extirpated from four sub-basins in the Willamette River Basin, including the Clackamas River. Once widely distributed in the Clackamas River, the last known bull trout was documented there in 1963.  The species is highly unlikely to re-colonize the area naturally due to the geographic distance to existing bull trout populations.

Once plentiful throughout the coldwater rivers and lakes of the Northwest, bull trout populations in the U.S. are now scattered and patchy in portions of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada.

Bull trout occur in the Columbia and Snake River Basins, extending east to headwater streams in Montana and Idaho and north into Canada, and south into the Klamath River Basin in south-central Oregon.  Though still wide-ranging, many of the remaining populations are small and isolated from each other.

Some bull trout populations are migratory, spending portions of their life cycle in larger rivers or lakes before returning to smaller streams to spawn, while others complete their entire life cycle in the same stream. Some bull trout in the Coastal-Puget Sound population migrate between fresh- and saltwater.

Bull trout require extremely cold, clean water and specific habitat features, as well as connectivity from river, lake, and ocean habitats to headwater streams for annual spawning and feeding migrations.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tennessee Fish Stocking: Walleye vs. Sauger

In 2011, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency established a walleye stocking program in Watts Bar Reservoir, releasing over 220,000 fingerlings in the lake.

According to the agency, the decision to replace the sauger stocking program with walleye is based on reoccurring issues with the sauger's low natural reproduction, challenging hatchery propagation, and the management of the sauger as a sportfish.

A TRWA official explained that: "Walleye, on average, live longer than sauger. They obtain a larger size, more conducive to year around fishing. The brood fish are less of a challenge to obtain, and walleye require fewer man hours to produce in TWRA hatcheries."

Walleye and sauger have several parallel characteristics and are closely related. Both migrate up rivers to spawn, share similar feeding patterns, and are good night feeders because of they have a light reflective coating located behind the eye. Both fish are highly sought after as table fare by anglers.

source: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

2011 Arizona Rainbow Trout Stocking

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is increasing stocking rates at select lakes and one stream in the Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside areas in order to make up for angling opportunities lost due to the Wallow Fire.

AGFD plans to stock a variety of areas, including:

 - more than 7,000 rainbow trout Scott Reservoir and Show Low Lake:

  - more than 9,000 rainbows in Fool Hollow Lake

 - Silver Creek will begin receiving more than 3,800 catchable-sized Apache trout weekly through much of the summer.

source: Arizona Game and Fish Department

Monday, June 20, 2011

How To Catch Catfish

A variety of baits are effective for catching catfish in North America. Some anglers a single bait for catching catfish while others rely on an assortment of baits. When choosing bait for catching catfish, it is important to be aware of which species are likely to be encountered.

In most areas, anglers have access to the smaller members of the catfish family, including bullheads, white catfish, and channel cats. In some areas, anglers may also encounter larger species such as blue catfish and flatheads.

channel catfish

Some catfish baits will attract a number of freshwater fish, while others tend to be ignored by other types of fish. For anglers seeking a variety of species, nightcrawlers are usually one of the best baits. In addition to catching catfish, nightcrawlers may catch sunfish, crappie, bass, yellow perch, white perch, trout, suckers, and other fish.

Baits for catching species such as bullheads, channel cats and white catfish include worms (nightcrawlers, earthworms, red wigglers), insect larvae (maggots, waxworms, grubs, hellgrammites), adult insects (crickets, grasshoppers), household foods (corn, dough balls, bread, cheese, hot dogs, chicken livers), seafood, particularly shellfish (shrimp, crawfish, clams), "stink baits" (home made or store bought), salmon eggs, minnows, cut fish, or other baits.

Most catfish anglers prefer to rig baits so that they lie on or near the bottom. Top and bottom rigs, bobber-hook rigs, and live bait rigs are among the most common presentations. Hook styles may include live bait, treble, or circle hooks.

Catfish can also be caught using artificial lures. They often strike jig - plastic grub combinations, plastic worms or other lures. Scented lure bodies are popular as they offer extra appeal to catfish.

For large species such as flathead catfish or blue catfish, anglers often prefer using live baits or larger cut baits. Live shad, suckers, shiners, eels or other baits are preferable when targeting these monster fish. Cut baits are also used, including large fish fillets, or whole dead baits. Other dead baits include chicken parts, whole frogs, salamanders or other unusual baits.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stopping the Spread of Invasive Species Asian Carp into the Great Lakes

The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) recently released its 2011 Asian Carp Monitoring and Rapid Response Plan (MRRP), outlining an aggressive set of actions to track and remove Asian carp in the Upper Illinois River and the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) to prevent this invasive species from establishing in the Great Lakes.

The 2011 MRRP, which represents an estimated $7 million Federal investment, is designed with the flexibility to respond to new threats. Project plans can be categorized geographically as occurring either upstream or downstream of the electric dispersal barrier and grouped into the following five categories:


Includes the use of electrofishing and contract commercial fishermen to detect presence and location of any Asian carp DNA both above and below the barrier; continued use of eDNA to detect potential presence of carp above the barrier; and monitoring for small Asian carp to track where reproduction is occurring.


Efforts will include the use of telemetry to follow the movements of tagged surrogate species to assess movement near the dispersal barrier and through locks; use of sonar to track fish movement and caged fish to determine the effectiveness of the dispersal barrier; and monitoring for potential Asian carp spawning in the Des Plaines River to assess risk of eggs and larval fish passing through the barrier fence during flood events.


Efforts include contracting commercial fishermen to remove Asian carp downstream of the barrier; a rapid response process should any Asian carp be detected upstream of the dispersal barrier; and suppressing Asian carp during maintenance of the electric dispersal barriers.


Efforts will evaluate efficiency and detection probability of technology currently in use for Asian carp monitoring, develop enhancements, and generate ideas for development of new approaches for capturing or repelling small populations of Asian carp.


Efforts will include expanded education and enforcement activities at locations where live fish would most likely be transported and continued surveillance efforts.

MRRP projects for 2011 also include developing and testing hydroguns that emit high-pressure underwater sound waves to repel Asian carp.

source: Illinois DNR

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kansas Lake Shawnee Yields 2 State Record Rainbow Trout

In Kansas, rainbow trout fishing in Lake Shawnee has been outstanding this spring. On April 2, Bob Lorson caught an 11.02-pound rainbow that was confirmed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) as a new state record.

On April 20, Ed Ames of Tecumseh was fishing the same lake when he landed a monster 13.65-pound rainbow, more than 2.5 pounds larger than Lorson’s catch.

An official from KDWP confirmed the species of the fish, which measured 31 7/8 inches with a girth of 17 1/4 inches. After a 30 day waiting period, KDWP entered Ames’ rainbow as the new state record.

For more information on Kansas state record fish, anglers can obtain a copy of the 2011 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, available wherever licenses are sold, or visit the KDWP website, www.kdwp.state.ks.us.

source: Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

World Record Shellcracker?

On May 2, 2011, an Arizona angler landed what could be a world record shellcracker (redear sunfish). Robert Lawler of Lake Havasu caught the 5.55 pound, 16.75-inch redear sunfish in Arizona's Lake Havasu, using a Texas-rigged 7-inch Power Worm..

The existing Arizona state record shellcracker weighed 4 pounds 2.24 ounces and was 15.5 inches long. The record catch was made on Feb. 16, 2010 at Lake Havasu by an angler from California.

source: Arizona Game and Fish Department

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Iowa State Record White Bass

An 18.7-inch, 4.16 pound white bass is a new Iowa state record. Josh Zylstra, 23, was fishing on Big Sprit Lake when he landed the record setting fish.

The angler was fishing a shiner under a bobber for walleyes, but instead, it hooked a new state record white bass.

The new record was verified by fisheries biologist Mike Hawkins who weighed the fish on a certified scale.

source: Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Virginia State Record Blue Catfish

An enormous blue catfish from Buggs Island Lake has taken the Virginia state record back from the James River, where anglers routinely catch monster blue catfish.

For 2011, the State Record Fish Committee of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has certified a new state record blue catfish that is only the second confirmed freshwater fish over 100 pounds ever caught in the Commonwealth.

The incredible catfish was caught on March 17, 2011, weighed in at exactly 109 pounds and measured 53 inches in length with a girth of 41 inches.

The big cat was caught by Tony Milam of South Boston, Virginia, in Buggs Island Lake near the confluence of the Dan and Roanoke rivers. Mr. Milam caught his fish using cut shad for bait on 30-pound test line.

The world record blue catfish weighed 130 pounds, caught in the Missouri River in 2010.

For a complete listing of Virginia state record freshwater fish, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website at www.HuntFishVA.com

source: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Columbia River 2011 Spring Hatchery-reared Chinook Season Extended

Recreational anglers in the Pacific Northwest can continue fishing for hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon through June 15 on a section of the Columbia River stretching 163.5 miles above Bonneville Dam.

The spring chinook fishery was extended by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon, who recently agreed that enough fish are still available under the catch limit to allow anglers to keep fishing until the summer chinook salmon season starts June 16. The popular spring chinook fishery was already scheduled to run through June 15 below Bonneville Dam.

Anglers can retain up to two hatchery adult chinook salmon, marked with a clipped adipose fin, as part of their daily catch limit. Sockeye salmon and hatchery-reared steelhead also count toward anglers’ adult daily limit.

All unmarked chinook and steelhead must be released unharmed.

source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife