Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chicago River Asian Carp

The Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) recently announced that intensive monitoring actions would be implemented in the North Shore Channel of the Chicago River after three consecutive rounds of Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling yielded positive results for Asian carp DNA in the North Shore Channel.

Three separate eDNA samples sets were taken at the North Shore Channel between June 11th and September 11th, revealing 17 positives for silver carp DNA out of 171 samples.

At present, eDNA evidence cannot verify whether live Asian carp are present, whether the DNA may have come from a dead fish, or whether water containing Asian carp DNA may have been transported from other sources, such as bilge water.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading an Asian Carp eDNA Calibration Study (ECALS) with the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reduce the uncertainty surrounding eDNA results and investigate alternative sources and pathways for eDNA detections beyond a live fish.

Full eDNA sampling details can be found at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website: 

For more Asian carp information, visit: www.asiancarp.us

source: U.S. Geological Survey

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bluegill Sunfish Facts

Male Bluegill Sunfish

The bluegill sunfish is one of the most colorful and popular freshwater fish species that is native to North America.

 Bluegill Sunfish Facts:

 - scientific name: Lepomis macrochirus
 - bluegill are members of the sunfish family which includes black bass, crappie, and others.
 - common names include bluegill, sunfish, bream, brim, sunny, sun perch
 - recognized as the state fish of Illinois
 - under optimum conditions, bluegill sunfish can grow to 9 inches in one year
 - average lifespan is four to six years
 - adults have a dark opercular (or ear) fin, with a dark margin
 - bluegill can hybridize with other sunfish including green sunfish, orangespotted sunfish, redear sunfish, longear sunfish, and pumpkinseeds
 - bluegills are native to eastern and central North America
 - the species has been introduced throughout North America, Europe and South Africa
 - the species is usually found in slow moving or still water with aquatic vegetation

Related Information

What do Sunfish Eat?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New Jersey Fall-Winter Trout Stocking

The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife recently published a reminder to anglers that all of the trout New Jersey stocks during fall and winter measure 14 inches to 24 inches and weigh one and a half pounds to eight pounds.

More and more anglers are enjoying the larger fish stocked since a change in 2006 to stocking only larger trout. However, 67% of New Jersey trout anglers were not aware of this major stocking change when surveyed in 2010.

A growing number of anglers have begun enjoying big fish, cool water, great weather, and spectacular scenery that occur during New Jersey's fall trout fishing season. Trout fishing action extends through the winter months until spring stocking begins again in April.

From October 9 through November 21, more than 26,000 lunker trout will be stocked in 16 streams and 40 ponds and lakes throughout the state.

For more information on the fall and winter stocking program, visit www.njfishandwildlife.com/trtinfo.htm or call the Trout Hotline at 609-633-6765.

source: NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Raritan River Dam Removal Projects

The removal of old dams from the Raritan River in New Jersey will allow migrating fish to fully access the middle and upper portions of the river for the first time in more than a century.

The dam removal project is being done and financed by El Paso Corp. (now Kinder Morgan, Inc.), under the terms of a landmark agreement secured last year by the DEP as compensation to the public for harm to natural resources caused by past pollution facilities operated by or affiliated with El Paso.

This second Raritan River dam to be removed is known as the Roberts Street Dam and was previously known as the Dead River Dam. It straddles Bridgewater and Hillsborough townships. Its removal will open up a large segment of the Raritan River for fish spawning.

The elimination of the Roberts Street Dam will further increase water flow and habitat improvements realized from removal of the Calco Dam in Bridgewater last summer, which was the first phase of this three-step process.

The removal of all three targeted dams will open up 10 miles of migratory fish habitat along a stretch of the Raritan that twists through a highly diverse residential, commercial and agricultural portion of Somerset County that includes Bridgewater, Hillsborough, Bound Brook, Somerville and Manville.

It also will open up about 17 miles of tributaries, including portions of the Millstone River, to spawning. None of the dams were built for flood control.

The targeted dams include:

The Robert Street Dam, a 6 ½-foot-high sheet piling and concrete dam located at river mile 27.9. It was constructed prior to 1930 for purposes that are not known today. This dam failed and was reconstructed in 1963.

Calco Dam, located at river mile 20.9 and built by the Calco Chemical Co. in 1938 to disperse chemicals from its facility. The dam was essentially a large concrete pipe spanning the river that most recently carried and dispersed wastewater into the river for the Somerset Raritan Valley Sewerage Authority. The authority constructed a new outfall for that purpose. Calco Dam was demolished in 2011.

The Nevius Street Dam, located at river mile 27. The rock and mortar dam was built in 1901 for aesthetic purposes and later retrofitted to provide water to ponds on the Duke Estate. The DEP and El Paso are working on a future plan to ensure the river continues to feed water to these ponds after the dam is removed. Removal is anticipated in 2013.

Fish that will benefit from the removal of the dams are American shad, American eel, herring, and striped bass, which once migrated in prodigious numbers through the gravelly shallows of the Upper Raritan.

The voluntary settlement with El Paso resolved Natural Resource Damage claims made by the DEP against the Houston-based company that stemmed from contamination at EPEC Polymers Inc. in Flemington, Hunterdon County; Nuodex Inc. in Woodbridge, Middlesex County; EPEC Polymers Inc. in Burlington City, Burlington County; and the Eagle Point Refinery in West Deptford, Gloucester County. Investigations and/or cleanups are under way at those sites.

The DEP uses funds secured from Natural Resource Damage settlements toward ecological restoration projects, typically in the same watershed or general area where resource damages occur.

For a copy of the settlement agreement, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/elpaso-nrd-settlement.pdf

For more information on the DEP's Office of Natural Resource Restoration, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/nrr/

source: NJ DEP

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kentucky Cave Run Lake Muskie Fishing

Cave Run Lake is located on Kentucky’s Licking River in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The 8,700-acre reservoir is often called "the Muskie Capital of the South," due to its outstanding muskellunge fishery.

Angler Sarah Terry of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, caught the current Kentucky state-record muskellunge in Cave Run Lake in November 2008. The record setting muskie was 54 inches long and weighed 47 pounds. A clipped fin revealed that the fish was stocked by the KYDFWR.

Since 1973, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KYDFWR) has stocked 105,000 muskellunge into Cave Run Lake. Cave Run Lake is one of three quality muskellunge reservoirs managed by the agency.

source: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

2011 North Dakota Angler Survey

Unprecedented flooding caused a slight decline in North Dakota fishing license sales during 2011. According to North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual angler survey, resident licenses were down 2 percent compared to 2010. However, angler participation and effort actually increased.

The survey indicated 111,000 (up 9,000 from previous year) resident anglers fished open water, while 48,000 (up 15,000) residents fished through the ice. “Access was the key for the big increase in winter anglers,” Power said. “We didn’t have the severe winters like we had the previous three years.”

Major North Dakota fishing destinations include Lake Sakakawea, Devils Lake and the Missouri River/Lake Oahe. Numerous small lakes and rivers play a large role for anglers as well. According to North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 300 small lakes, reservoirs and rivers in the state receive nearly 50 percent of all fishing effort.

source: North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lake Huron Chinook Salmon

According to Michigan's Department of Natural Resources, Chinook salmon are experiencing a decline in Lake Huron.

"Recreational harvest of Chinook salmon has virtually vanished in the southern two-thirds of Lake Huron," said acting DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. "It's obvious the forage base is no longer available to support large numbers of Chinooks in Lake Huron."

Analysis of recreational catch data shows only the northern portion of Lake Huron continues to produce a viable recreational fishery.

Due to the poor return and harvest of stocked Chinooks, Michigan DNR plans to reduce Chinook salmon stocking in Lake Huron by more than half in 2012, compared to 2011 levels.

DNR consulted with the Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority, the Lake Huron Citizen Fishery Advisory Committee, Ontario fisheries officials, and held three public meetings in the Lake Huron Basin before making the reductions.

source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Fish Kills

During summer, hot, dry weather and low water levels can trigger fish kills in ponds, lakes, and rivers. Although summer fish kills rarely affect entire fish populations, these events can impact local ecosystems, disrupt fishing, and alarm the public.

Summer fish kills are often caused by low oxygen levels in the water. When periods of excess heat occur along with little or no rainfall, water levels and oxygen levels can drop, resulting in increased stresses on fish. These same conditions can trigger algal blooms which further deplete oxygen levels in bodies of water.

Maine Brook Trout Pond Survey

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife recently released a summary of its 2011 Brook Trout Pond Survey. During 2011, 81 volunteer anglers logged nearly 1900 hours of time on the project. Anglers came from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont to participate in the survey.

Volunteers searched for brook trout in a total of 112 ponds, and 95 ponds were successfully surveyed from the original list of 187 ponds. Volunteers confirmed brook trout presence in 24 of the surveyed ponds and observed signs of brook trout presence in another 21 ponds.  Volunteers confirmed an absence of brook trout in 50 ponds, which is equally valuable information to fisheries biologists. The 75 ponds that were not surveyed will be added to the 2012 Pond List.

As a result of the surveys, 43 ponds were recommended for more extensive surveys by MDIFW biologists in 2012. During the summer, fisheries biologists will be assessing the status of the fish population as well as completing a depth profile and water quality analysis.

The next step in the process will be for fisheries biologists to evaluate how best to conserve these native trout populations and their habitats through appropriate management strategies.

297 new ponds are being added to the list of waters to survey in 2012. Surveys can be completed any time before September 30, 2012.

For more information about the Maine brook trout pond survey program, visit: www.tumaine.org/brooktrout.htm

Or contact Amanda Moeser at (207) 781-6180 x207 or amoeser@maineaudubon.org.

source: Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Freshwater Striped Bass

In the 1940s, the Santee River in South Carolina was dammed as part of the Santee Cooper Reservoir project. Eventually, striped bass populations that had been landlocked during the project began reproducing successfully in the freshwater impoundment.

As a result, biologists began introducing freshwater striped bass in other locations. Descendents of landlocked Santee Cooper striped bass have been stocked in lakes, reservoirs, and rivers throughout North America.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Minnesota Fishing Piers

Anglers in Minnesota now have access to 20 new and improved fishing piers across the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Minnesota DNR replaced 15 fishing piers and installed five new ones in 2011, paid for with funding from the Parks and Trails Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

New fishing piers are operational at Grant Lake (Beltrami County), Big Lake (Carlton County), Sylvan Bay on the Mississippi River (Itasca County), Lake Shetek at Lake Shetek State Park (in Murray County) and Albert Lea Lake at Myre-Big Island State Park (Freeborn County).

The new Legacy-funded fishing piers, ranging from 34 to 84 feet long, are all wheelchair accessible.

The DNR also replaced fishing piers at:

Long Lake (Otter Tail County), Fish Hook River (Hubbard County), Straight Lake (Becker County), Spirit Lake (Wadena County), Hill Lake (Aitkin County),Tilson Bay on Rainy Lake (Koochiching County), Lake Bennett and Silver Lake (Ramsey County), Buffalo Lake (Wright County), Middle Spunk Lake (Stearns County), Lake Charlotte (Todd County), Lake Andrew in Sibley State Park (Kandiyohi County), Madison Lake (Blue Earth County) and Swan Lake (McLeod County).

Work to replace the fishing pier at Boy Scout Landing on the St. Louis River (St. Louis County) was underway as of May.
According to Nancy Stewart, fishing pier coordinator for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division: "Fishing piers provide a safe and convenient place to fish, instead of from bridges or steep embankments or fragile shoreland areas".

"They can be the heart of a community or a main component of a state, county or city park, and are often used to facilitate fishing clinics that help introduce new participants to fishing".

Since the Minnesota fishing pier grant program was created in 1984, DNR has provided more than 350 fishing piers, platforms or shore-fishing sites statewide, with one-third of them in the Twin Cities metro area. The overall goal of the program is to improve fishing opportunities, especially to meet the needs of children, older adults, people with disabilities, and those without a boat.

Anglers can locate a nearby fishing pier online or by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What is Rock Snot?

Rock snot, also known as didymo, is an invasive algae that occurs in cold rivers and streams of Northeastern North America. Rock snot has been found in16 American states and Quebec, Canada. This invasive form of algae covers river and stream bottoms with dense mats and long strands.

Rock snot can be distinguished from other aquatic algae species by a number of characteristics:

 - coloration is brownish to white but not green

 - texture is similar wet wool

 - attaches firmly to rocks and stones

According to biologists, rock snot does not pose significant risks to humans but can have negative impacts on rivers and streams.

When rock snot blooms occur, the resulting mats are thought to be harmful to streams in a number of ways:

 - mats can entrap or block minnows, aquatic insects, crayfish, and other stream life such as caddis fly, may fly, stone fly, minnows

 - blooms make fly fishing difficult or impossible

 - rock snot is slippery

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lake Norman Hybrid Bass

In North Carolina, Lake Norman has experienced an increase in spotted bass populations. According to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, introductions of spotted bass into the 32,475 acre reservoir may have been undertaken by well-intentioned anglers who want to "improve the bass fishery." Fishery managers discourage such measures, noting that introductions of non-native fish into waters where they are not found can have unintended effects.

According to biologists, spotted bass often compete with other black basses and alter their genetics when they interbreed. In some areas, spotted bass can replace a largemouth bass fishery. Kin Hodges, a biologist with the Commission’s Division of Inland Fisheries, warned against private introductions of fish into state waters, saying:

"... we run the risk of seeing diminished black bass fisheries in the future unless anglers quit moving spotted bass into new lakes where they frequently have negative impacts on the existing populations of largemouth or smallmouth bass."

According to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the stocking of fish in public waters of North Carolina without a valid stocking permit is illegal.

source: N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tests Indicate LMBV in West Virginia Lakes

During the summer and early fall of 2011, fish health surveys conducted by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) revealed the presence of largemouth bass virus (LMBV) in four West Virginia lakes.

The surveys were focused on monitoring overall fish health in water bodies where WVDNR staff collects broodstock for hatchery production. Several species of fish were collected from 10 water bodies and samples were sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lamar Fish Health Laboratory for analysis.

Test results indicated that LMBV was present at East Lynn (Wayne County), North Bend (Ritchie County), Stonewall Jackson (Lewis County), and Sutton (Braxton County) lakes. Several West Virginia fishing areas did test postive for LMBV including Mount Storm and Moncove lakes and Little Kanawha, Monongahela, Tygart, and New rivers.

Largemouth bass virus occurs primarily in the southern United States, but has been expanding throughout North America. When largemouth bass are infected with LMBV, they exhibit poor health, lack of growth and occasionally die. LMBV is more problematic during summertime and elevated stressful conditions. The spread of LMBV has been linked to increased stress, fish to fish contact , and movement of fish and water between water bodies.

To minimize the spread of LMBV and other fish pathogens, WVDNR encourages anglers not to transfer any live fish or water between water bodies, handle all fish with care prior to release, reduce stressful conditions especially during warm water months, and properly clean and maintain all boats, live wells, and tackle.

For more information, visit the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website at www.wvdnr.gov

source:  West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

Saturday, May 5, 2012

2012 Pennsylvania Lake Erie Walleye and Yellow Perch Limits

Lake Erie anglers fishing in Pennsylvania waters will be allowed 30 yellow perch and six walleye per day for 2012. On April 20, 2012, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) released its 2012 Lake Erie yellow perch creel limits.

Earlier in 2012, PFBC adopted new regulations establishing adaptive creel limits for walleye and yellow perch based on the annual quotas established by the Lake Erie Committee, which consists of fisheries managers from Pa., Ohio, N.Y., Mich., and Ontario, Canada.

A recent assessment showed that both yellow perch and walleye populations remain stable. Based on this, the creel limits are being held at the 2011 limits.

source:  PFBC

2012 Ohio River Creel Survey

A cooperative survey of Ohio River anglers will be held through October 20, 2012. The survey will be conducted by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR), the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Anglers fishing along the three states’ common borders will be asked questions concerning fishing effort and the types and numbers of fish they have caught and harvested. The survey will also focus on residency and overall angling participation and experiences.

The Ohio River Creel Survey typically take approximately five minutes, according to researchers. Data from the survey will be in fisheries management along the Ohio River.

source: WVDNR

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bull Trout Restoration

Over the last two centuries, bull trout populations have declined across North America. The bull trout, Salvelinus confluentus, once thrived in the Columbia River Basin and coastal rivers of Washington and Oregon, extending north into British Columbia and Alberta.

Bull trout are members of the genus Salvelinus, which also includes Arctic char, brook trout, and lake trout. Like its relatives, male bull trout exhibit brilliant colors during the spawning season. Bull trout migrate during summer, traveling up to 150 miles from lakes and rivers upstream to their natal headwaters to spawn.

A variety of factors have been cited in the decline of bull trout. Habitat degradation and fragmentation, migratory fish passage obstacles, poor water quality, the effects of climate change, bounty fishing, and the introduction of non-native fish species.

Currently, American bull trout populations are scattered across portions of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada. They populate several river systems including the Klamath,Columbia and Snake River Basins. In 1998, bull trout were listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

In 2011, bull trout were re-introduced into the Clackamas River after a nearly 50-year absence. The reintroduction team included representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S.Geological Survey, and Mt. Hood National Forest. The project was one of several bull trout restoration programs that are ongoing in western river systems.

Lake Erie Walleye - Yellow Perch Management

Management of Lake Erie's walleye and yellow perch fisheries has undergone several important changes in recent years. The Lake Erie Percid Management Advisory Group (LEPMAG) was established by the Lake Erie Committee in 2010.

The group facilitates discussions among state and provincial management agencies on Lake Erie and stakeholders and provides input to the Lake Erie Committee concerning management of the region's walleye and yellow perch stocks.

LEPMAG participants include Lake Erie Committee members, biologists, recreational and commercial fishers, and personnel from the Quantitative Fisheries Center at Michigan State University.

Each year, the Lake Erie Committee recommends a total allowable catch for walleye and yellow perch. Total allowable catch represents the number or weight of fish that can be caught by sport and commercial fishers without putting the stocks and fisheries at risk. The individual agencies implement the recommended total allowable catch.

The Lake Erie Committee comprises fishery managers from Michigan, New York, Ohio, Ontario and Pennsylvania. The committee’s work is facilitated by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, a Canadian and U.S. agency on the Great Lakes.

For more information, visit the Lake Erie Committee online at www.glfc.org/lec

source: Lake Erie Committee

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Delaware 2012 Upstate Trout Stream Stocking

According to DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife, six trout streams in New Castle County Delaware will be stocked with rainbow and brown trout, including some trophy-sized fish.

White Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek will be stocked. Additional trout will be stocked through early May.

The state’s spring 2012 upstate trout season will open at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 7. Downstate trout season remains open in Tidbury Pond in Dover and Newton Pond near Greenwood, both of which were stocked in March.

To purchase a fishing license or trout stamps or for more information about the trout stocking schedule, visit www.fw.delaware.gov/fisheries, or call the Fisheries section at 302-739-9914.

source: DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Downstate Delaware 2012 Trout Season Opening Day

Several hundred rainbow trout were stocked in Tidbury Pond and Newton Pond prior to the opening of Downstate Delaware’s 2012 trout season on Saturday, March 3.

In less than an hour, about 275 pounds of fish were released in Tidbury Pond, plus a small number of trophy-sized trout. Most of the fish averaged 11 inches long and weighed about one-half to three-quarters of a pound, while the larger trout measured at least 14 inches and weighed two pounds or more.

Both ponds were scheduled to receive a second stocking of rainbow trout in late March.

Tidbury Pond is owned and managed by Kent County Parks and Recreation, and anglers are asked to be respectful of the vegetation and fences erected to protect landscaped areas. Newton Pond, a 10-acre restored borrow pit, is owned and managed as a state wildlife area by the Division of Fish and Wildlife, and features a boat ramp for small car top boats and canoes (no gasoline motors allowed), a fishing pier and plenty of shoreline access to allow anglers to spread out.

source: delaware.gov

Potomac River Blue Catfish

Recently, Potomac River blue catfish have been in the spotlight. On February 23, 2012, a Pennsylvania angler caught an 80-pound, 12-ounce blue catfish in the Potomac River near Fort Washington. The enormous blue catfish broke the Maryland State record, surpassing the previous record holder by 13 pounds. The previous record fish was caught in 2008 not far from where Wetzel caught his fish.

Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi River Valley and were introduced to the James and Rappahannock Rivers in the 1970s. Since then, the fish have reproduced and spread throughout the tidal Potomac River system. Flathead catfish, another non-native invasive species, and blue catfish have subsequently turned up in the Nanticoke, Susquehanna and Northeast Rivers, Upper Chesapeake Bay and other waters.

source: MD DNR

Monday, February 27, 2012

Maryland Trout Stream Restoration

In Maryland, wild brook trout now have access to a few more miles of coldwater stream habitat. During the summer of 2011, the Savage River Watershed Association (SRWA) held an event to celebrate completion of the Savage River Headwater Dam Removal and Stream Restoration Project.

The project restored natural stream conditions along a 600 foot section of the upper Savage River to improve habitat for Brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, Maryland’s only native freshwater trout species.

In 2006 the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) listed brook trout as a "Species in Greatest Need of Conservation" leading to the development of a brook trout Fisheries Management Plan.

The plan includes a focus on the upper Savage River resource, which includes over 100 miles of interconnected streams. The area makes of 25% of all Maryland wild brook trout habitat.

The restoration project included the removal of an obsolete dam on the upper Savage River. During the 2008-2010 summer seasons, biologists with Maryland DNR’s Inland Fisheries Management Division monitored water temperatures above and below the dam.

According to biologists, peak stream temperatures exceeded 75 degrees F below the impoundment, yet never exceeded 65 degrees F above the impoundment. When stream temperatures exceed 70 degrees F for extended periods, brook trout cannot survive.

The Watershed Association and partners identified the area as a restoration site as the impoundment was not only causing a thermal impact, it also blocked fish passage to a headwater reach along the main stem of the Savage River.

The project involved the engineering and implementation of a natural stream flow that bypassed the reservoir and converted it to a wetland. Natural stream design methods were used to create in-stream structures that add aquatic habitat and provide stream bank stability.

The restoration project allowed fish access to 2.5 stream miles upstream from the preexisting dam, restored natural stream features and decreased water temperatures in the stream.

The former pond area was converted to a wetland, providing wildlife habitat, water quality improvement, and flood storage. The site will serve as a demonstration for stream restoration activities and brook trout habitat improvement projects.

source: Savage River Watershed Association

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How To Catch Stocked Trout

Each spring across North America, fish and wildlife agencies, fishing clubs, and other organizations release hatchery-raised freshwater rainbow trout into lakes, reservoirs, ponds, creeks, and streams. Stocked trout provide opportunities to catch fish for fishermen of all ages and skill levels.

Fishing tackle required for catching stocked rainbow trout is basic; is a light-action rod and reel combination, light line (6-12-pound test), small hooks, bobbers, and split shot or other weights. Recently stocked trout can be caught with a variety of baits including canned whole-kernel corn, cheese, salmon eggs, small worms or pre-packaged trout baits.

The best baits and tackle for catching stocked trout vary somewhat, depending on water conditions, weather, and other factors. In areas of calm water, most anglers use bobbers (floats) to suspend baits at mid-depth. Having a selection of different size bobbers and weights allows anglers to adjust their rigs depending on current conditions.

In streams and other areas where currents are significant, other techniques may be required. When fishing in streams, some anglers rig worms, corn or salmon eggs on a short leader that can be casted and allowed to drift until it reaches the bottom.

A Carolina rig is one of the more common rigs for bottom fishing. This rig is made by adding a small inline weight on the line. A swivel is tied below the weight, followed by a hook on an 18-24" leader. By separating the weight and bait, Carolina rigs allow the bait to move freely near the bottom with less chance of spooking fish.

Eventually, stocked trout become acclimated to natural food sources, making bait fishing less effective. These "naturalized" trout are much harder to catch. Despite their selective habits, anglers still catch these fish using artificial lures, fly-fishing gear, or other equipment.

For spinning enthusiasts, the best lures for catching stocked trout often include small, brightly colored inline spinners. Jigs are also used to catch stocked trout. As stocked trout increase in size and age, their natural diets change from small insects and invertebrates to mostly small fish. Anglers fishing with spinning tackle target these trout with crankbaits, topwater plugs, or other offerings that resemble baitfish. Fly fishermen also target large hatchery-raised rainbow trout using streamers and other baitfish patterns.

Great Lakes Invasive Species Research

In January, 2012, the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Cities Initiative released a joint study of invasive species. The research focuses on stopping the movement of invasive species between the Mississippi and Great Lakes basins.

The study is the first major effort to provide failsafe solutions to preventing the movement of aquatic invasive species between the two watersheds. Among the solutions presented are ways in which the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins can be re-separated,

Scientific evidence indicates that bighead and silver carps would find portions of the Great Lakes basin to be suitable places to live and reproduce, likely causing ecosystem disruption, and loss of valuable fishery resources. Science behind the Asian carp threat adds pointed urgency for action on the separation study.

"Science indicates that, like the sea lamprey and zebra mussel, bighead and silver carps are likely to become permanent components of the Great Lakes if they become established in the system. We simply must not let new species—particularly ones as large and prolific as the silver and bighead carps—into the Great Lakes" said Robert Lambe, chair of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

source: Great Lakes Commission

Middle River Largemouth Bass Tagging Program

Anglers fishing on the Middle River in Maryland should be on the lookout for tagged largemouth bass. In the fall of 2011, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Inland Fisheries biologists along with volunteers from the Maryland Bass Federation Nation released 250 largemouth bass in Middle River as part of the state's bass fishing enhancement program.

DNR staff inserted red identification tags into 200 of the fish as part of a study to find out if the bass remain in the river. Any angler who catches a tagged fish and provides the date and location along with the tag number to DNR will earn a collectable Largemouth Bass Program Volunteer hat. The DNR Bass Program return address is printed on the tag along with the four-digit code. Anglers may also call Joe Love with the information at 410-260-8257.

This is the third consecutive year that DNR has released adult, 4- to 12-inch largemouth bass in Middle River. This year, approximately twenty percent of the fish came from the State’s Joseph Manning Hatchery in the Cedarville State Forest near Brandywine. The rest of the fish came from a Maryland-certified commercial hatchery in Arkansas.

For more information on the program, visit dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/bass/

Sunday, February 5, 2012

2012 Maryland Trout Stocking

Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has begun releasing rainbow and brown trout for the 2012 trout fishing season.

“Early trout stocking is possible because of the warm and dry weather conditions - beginning with our eastern streams and ponds,” said Assistant Fisheries

Director Don Cosden. “Eager trout anglers will be pleased to know that they may take advantage of the great weather and perhaps catch a trophy trout as large as eight pounds.”

For 2012 Maryland trout stocking information and updates, contact the DNR trout hotline at (800) 688-3467. The stocking schedule and maps to stocked and special trout management waters are available at dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/stocking.

Anglers may also pick up the updated (green) Spring Stocking Schedule charts at DNR Service Centers and tackle shops across the State.

Some stocked streams and ponds are reserved for delayed harvest to sustain quality angling between stocking periods and through late spring.

source: MD DNR

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Simple Method for Cleaning Fish

Although many people dread the chore of fish cleaning, the process can be simple if the proper equipment is available. The following information discusses simple methods for cleaning most types of freshwater and saltwater fish.

Before attempting to cleaning fish, it is advisable to find a suitable work area. A clean, sturdy bench or table makes cleaning fish a simple task. Also required is a simple fish scaler, fillet knife, resealable bags or other containers, a source of clean water, and an ample supply of ice.

Before cleaning, fish should be rinsed thoroughly to remove any blood, slime, or debris. Before filleting, most fish must be scaled. Start by holding the fish firmly and working the scaler along the body from the tail to the head. After the scales have been removed, rinse the fish again if possible.

To fillet most types of fish, begin by making vertical cuts behind the head and in front of the tail. Next, cut downward along the top, as close to the top fins as possible. Continue cutting downward and back, separating the meat from the bones. When cleaning most species, it is necessary to cut around the rib cage in order to avoid getting bones in the fillet.

Once the first fillet has been cut free, the fish should be flipped over and the process repeated. If desired, the skin can be removed by laying the fillet flat, skin side down, and carefully cutting the meat away from the skin with a zig-zag motion.

After filleting the fish, some anglers inspect the body cavity and remove fish roe (eggs) if present. Depending on the species of fish, season, and other factors, the roe may be edible and is often considered a delicacy. After the fillets and roe have been removed from the body, they should be rinsed again, bagged, and chilled immediately.

If fish stock is desired, remaining racks can be prepared for cooking by removing the gills, entrails, and rinsing. To make fish stock, racks are simmered and the resulting mixture is then strained to separate any bones. 
Fish cleaning tips, food handling procedures, fish consumption advisories, cooking guides, and other information can be found on many federal or state agency websites.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Largemouth Bass vs. Smallmouth Bass

Two types of black bass are often caught by North American anglers. Among the most popular freshwater fish in North America, the largemouth bass and smallmouth bass look similar but have considerably different lifestyles.

Largemouth Bass Facts

Adult largemouth weigh up to 20 pounds and can live up to 15 years.

The native range of largemouth bass is the largest of all black bass species. It has been widely introduced beyond its historical limits and is now found in most of the USA.

Largemouth bass are most abundant in shallow, weedy lakes. They are also found in farm ponds, mill ponds, and other small bodies of water.

Largemouth also live in tidal rivers and creeks and can tolerate brackish water more than some other freshwater species.

Largemouth bass virus (LMBV) is a serious problem  in some lakes and reservoirs. Outbreaks of the disease in an impoundment often reduce bass populations significantly.

Other names for the species include large mouth, bucket mouth, green bass, black bass, river bass.

Smallmouth Bass Facts

Smallmouth bass weigh as much as 6 pounds. They have been known to live as long as 15 years, although fish over 7 years of age are considered uncommon.

Smallmouth bass are found in clear, cool lakes, rivers, and streams.  They prefer large lakes over 100 acres in size and deeper than 30 feet rather than shallow ponds.

Smallmouth bass feed primarily on crayfish and small fish. As adults grow larger, crayfish and small fish make up an even larger part of their diet.

Bass in lakes tend to be more abundant and faster growing than those living in rivers and streams.
Individuals in warmer, southern reservoirs tend to grow faster, but have shorter lifespans than fish from cooler lakes and streams.

In flowing streams, smallmouth tend to be found in deep pools and around rocks. In some streams, adults may occupy a specific pool for the entire warm season.

Smallmouth bass have been introduced into several northern lakes outside their historical range. In northern lakes, the introduction of non-native smallmouth bass has had negative impacts on native species including, brook trout, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, and other fish.

Members of this species are known to seek shade in warm weather and also move into deeper, cooler water during summer.