Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Carp Fishing in North America

Once considered a non-game fish in North America, the common carp is gaining popularity as a freshwater sportfish.

To meet the demand for information, a wide range of carp-specific fishing magazines, clubs, television shows, and internet forums have taken hold throughout the U.S. and Canada as more anglers become active in carp fishing.

How big do common carp get in North America? State records for common carp provide clues about trophy-class carp weights and lengths. Across the USA, state records continue to be broken as the popularity of carp fishing grows.


In May, 2014, a bowfisherman set a new Vermont state record for carp with a 44-pound 6-ounce fish taken from Lake Champlain. The massive carp was taken while bowfishing in a backwater area of southern Lake Champlain. The previous state record carp, also taken by bowfishing, weighed 42-pounds 8-ounces.

The Massachusetts state record for carp was broken recently by Shane Felch of Shrewsbury, with a 46 pounds, 5 ounce mirror carp, taken from Lake Quinsigamond. According to local anglers, mirror carp are the most common variety caught from the Lake.

New Jersey

While bowfishing on the night of May 19, 2014, Adam Faatz of Hawthorne, NJ, broke the New Jersey state record for common carp with a 45 lb. 6 oz. specimen. The massive carp was 42" long and had a girth of 32".


On June 9, 2013, bowfisherman Patrick Johnson of Toledo, Ohio, took a new state record carp in the Sandusky County portion of Lake Erie's waters. The massive carp weighed 53.65 pounds, measured 45 inches in length and 32-1/4 inches in girth.


In 2012, bowfisherman Zack Seitz reeled in a 59-pound common carp measuring 46 inches long with a 32.5 inch girth, breaking the Wisconsin state alternate method record.

Despite increased participation in American carp fishing, a few state records have withstood the test of time.

For example:

The Pennsylvania state record for common carp stands at 52 pounds, caught in the Juniata River in    1962.

In addition to fish caught in the USA, monster-sized carp are caught around the world.

For example:

While vacationing in Thailand in 2013, a British tourist landed a 134-pound carp, believed to be the biggest ever caught. The massive fish weighed 134 pounds 7 ounces, which could set a new world record.

Bait fishing, fly fishing, and bowfishing are popular techniques for taking carp. In some locations, carp are caught by chumming an area close to shore and still-fishing in the middle of chummed area.

Friday, June 6, 2014

North Carolina Fish Attractor Study

A North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission study found that artificial reefs made from synthetic materials attract fish for longer periods of time than reefs made from Christmas trees.

The research project was entitled "Using the DIDSON to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Different Fish Attractors in Turbid Reservoirs."

"This study proved that artificial structures made from synthetic materials are a better option for us compared to attractors constructed from Christmas trees, which we would have to replace on a regular basis in order for them to attract the same amount of fish as the artificial structures," said Jessica Baumann, the fisheries biologist who oversaw the fish attractor study.

Baumann worked with other Wildlife Commission staff to evaluate the effectiveness of natural and artificial fish attractors to assess how well they congregated fish and how well they held up over a three-year period.

Fisheries biologists began the fish attractor study in June 2008, sinking three different types of artificial attractors and one natural attractor constructed from Christmas tree bundles into Lake Townsend in Greensboro and Lake Cammack in Burlington. They chose the two lakes because of their abundance of sport fish, similarity in size, and lack of underwater structures.

After evaluating each attractor site every fall, winter, spring and summer for three years, using a high definition imagery sonar unit called the DIDSON (Duel-Frequency Identification Sonar), biologists concluded that artificial fish attractors held similar numbers of fish and lasted longer than the Christmas tree bundles.

As a result of this study, the Wildlife Commission has begun using artificial structure constructed from synthetic materials to help congregate fish in many bodies of water. In 2013, staff deployed 19 synthetic fish reefs in Hyco and Mayo lakes near Roxboro.

They also deployed nine fish reefs in Lake Thom-a-lex, four fish reefs in Shearon Harris Reservoir, and two in the Tar River Reservoir. They plan to deploy similar fish reefs in Lake Raleigh, Lake Holt, Farmer Lake, Lake Michie and Lake Reidsville this summer.

source: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Friday, March 14, 2014

Oregon Chub Recovery

 Oregon chub, which are found exclusively in Oregon's Willamette Valley, were listed as "endangered" under the Endangered Species Act in 1993. In 2014, they qualified for delisting under the Act, the first fish in the United States to achieve this status.

 An inconspicuous minnow that inhabits the backwaters of the Willamette Valley gained national prominence when it became the first fish in the United States meet its recovery goals under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Oregon chub are likely one of Oregon’s least known fish species because of their size and where they are found.  Oregon chub are small; they reach a maximum length of three inches, and they are not targeted by anglers as sport or food fish.

Over the past 100 years, many of these habitats were destroyed by the construction of dams, channelization of streams and draining of wetlands. These habitat losses, combined with the introduction of non-native fish that preyed on and competed with chubs for food, resulted in a sharp decline in their abundance.

“Oregon chub are like the ultimate underdogs,” said Paul Scheerer, ODFW Oregon Chub Project leader, who has devoted the past 22 years of his professional life to recovering the tiny fish. “Not many people know what they’re looking at when they see one, including some biologists.”

When Oregon chub were listed as “endangered” under the ESA in 1993 the population had declined to under 1,000 fish in eight known locations, down from at least 29 locations historically.

The listing triggered a multi-agency campaign to recover the Oregon Chub population. The now 22-years-long recovery program included better monitoring, working with landowners to secure new habitat, improving floodplain management and transplanting fish to more than 20 new locations.

When a multi-agency task force known as the Oregon Chub Working Group met in 2012 to review the numbers they concluded the populations were large, stable and dispersed enough to warrant a closer look at delisting the fish.  A follow-up review of the numbers a second time, in 2013, confirmed their earlier finding – the populations had grown to approximately 160,000 fish in 83 locations.

Under the criteria set in the Oregon Chub Recovery Plan there needed to be at least 20 populations of at least 500 adults, with each population stable or increasing in abundance for seven years. In addition, these populations needed to be dispersed with at least four populations each in three Oregon river basins – the Middle Fork Willamette, Santiam, and main stem Willamette.

Recovery was also due to the efforts of the Oregon Chub Working Group, which was formed in 1992, with representatives from the FWS, ODFW, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State Parks, Oregon State University, the McKenzie River Trust, Grand Ronde Tribe and others.

The Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) is one of several chub species in Oregon.  Two of them – Borax Lake chub and Hutton tui chubs – are protected under the ESA. Others, including Alvord chub, blue chub, Umpqua chub, and several additional subspecies of tui chub, are not listed.

For more information, visit ODFW’s Oregon chub webpage.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Wisconsin Brook Trout Distribution Predictions

The distribution of brook trout, which requires cold water for survival, could shrink by 60 percent in some Wisconsin streams by mid-century, according to recent climate change models for the Great Lakes region.

Loss of suitable freshwater habitat for brook trout and other popular sport fish species due to climate change are likely to have economic implications for the Great Lakes system.

Recreational fishing opportunities in the region contribute to a multi-billion dollar tourism and recreation industry.

Climate change models for the Great Lakes system are being made by researchers with U.S. Geological Survey, alongside Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Michigan Institute of Fisheries Research, and Michigan State University.

Researchers hope to predict the potential impacts of increasing air temperatures and changes in precipitation on water temperature and flow in freshwater streams that are part of the Great Lakes system.

The models project future distributions for 14 fish species based on known fish locations, their habitat preferences, their adaptability to different water temperatures, existing and future stream conditions, and projected climatic changes.

source: greatlakeslcc.org

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New York Northern Snakehead Monitoring

During recent electrofishing surveys no significant changes have been observed in catch rates for northern snakeheads and other resident fish species of Meadow and Willow Lakes in New York state.

Staff from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 4 and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection assisted with the Willow Lake survey which yielded eight snakeheads.

The largest northern snakehead captured during the surveys was over 32 inches in length and weighed nearly 12 pounds.

source: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Bureau of Fisheries Annual Report 2012-2013

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

National Wildlife Refuge Ice Fishing

A number of national wildlife refuges in the USA have areas for ice fishing. The following list includes some of the best national wildlife refuges in the USA where anglers can experience ice fishing:

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge

Seney National Wildlife Refuge

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service