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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pennsylvania Adds Streams to List of Class A Wild Trout Waters

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission recently added several streams to their list of Class A Wild Trout Water.  Class A wild trout waters represent the best of Pennsylvania’s naturally wild reproducing trout fisheries. The Commission manages these streams solely for the perpetuation of the wild trout fishery.  These streams do not get stocked with hatchery fish.

The new additions are: Kleinhans Creek, Pike County; Sand Spring Creek, Lackawanna County; Hunter Creek, Carbon County; Catasauqua Creek, Iron Run and Spring Creek, Lehigh County; Shades Creek, Luzerne County.

Class A Trout Water can be wild Brook, Brown or Rainbow trout with different criteria needed for each species of trout.  There are also combined species waters.  The complete list can be found on the PA Fish & Boat Commissions website: http://fishandboat.com

Friday, October 29, 2010

Deep Fried & Eaten Alive!

 Bon Appetit... I don't think so!

Here's the difference between catching and releasing a fish, keeping, killing and eating a fish and what amounts to torture.  I only have a problem with the torture part.  Steam some clams or boil a lobster.  It dies pretty quickly and then you eat it... no problem for me there. But, even a fish catcher, eater and sometimes fish killer like myself found more than enough things not to like...

Didymo Confirmed in Remote Chilean Rivers

The invasion of the diatom Didymosphenia geminata, or didymo, has spread to remote Chilean rivers near Esquel, Argentina.

Didymo is a disgusting aquatic invasive species that has hit several regions of the world. It invaded New Zealand in 2004 and has since spread to 32 watersheds there. Didymo, or "rock snot" as it's affectionately called, is a problem because of its propensity to erupt into massive “nuisance blooms” that cover stream and river bottoms. These dense masses can alter the aquatic habitat for other life forms, such as invertebrates and fish, and consequently the health of the entire waterway.  In other words, they choke everything else out.

The presence of didymo was first reported in Lago Sarmiento, Chile, in 1964, but this is the first known occurrence of a nuisance bloom in South America. The newly discovered bloom was reported on Rio Espolon and Rio Futaleufú, covering  a total of more than 56 river kilometers.

Didymo is known to survive in damp conditions for more than 30 days and can be transported on the gear of anglers, boaters, kayakers, swimmers and just about anyone or anything that comes in contact with water. The pristine, low-nutrient rivers that anglers, kayakers and vacationers seek are the same ones that are most vulnerable to large blooms of didymo.

Didymosphenia geminata cells produce large amounts of mucilaginous stalks. These stalks are white and look like wet toilet paper when clinging to fishing line. The stalks, cells, and associated sediment can resemble raw sewage lining riverbeds or streambeds.  Rock snot is a most descriptive slang term for the stuff.

Didymo presents a paradox to scientists because it is able to create large amounts of biomass in low-nutrient rivers. Recent work indicates that the amount of stalk produced is related to the phosphorus concentration of the water, implying that the stalk acts to attract and take up phosphorus for the cells. In some regions of the world, the blooms are persistent for a number of years after the initial invasion.

Clean you gear, including boots, waders, fishing tackle, lures, flies, boats, swimsuits and anything that comes in contact with the water.  Visit Protect Your Waters for more information and advise on dealing with didymo and other invasive junk: http://www.protectyourwaters.net/

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NOAA Announces Action Agenda for Recreational Saltwater Fisheries

Funds effort to reduce fish mortality in recreational fisheries
NOAA has released the Recreational Saltwater Fisheries Action Agenda, a national plan to address the complex issues facing marine recreational fisheries. The plan will improve science and stewardship and build a stronger partnership with the recreational community. It is a direct outcome of input received from recreational fishermen during the April 2010 Recreational Saltwater Fishing Summit organized by NOAA.

The Action Agenda includes a set of broad national goals, while focusing immediate attention on five priority issues:
•ensuring balanced recreational representation in the management process;
•more fully integrating recreational fishing values into the NOAA mission and culture;
•improving data on recreational fishing and fisheries;
•addressing recreational interests in NOAA’s catch share policy; and
•supporting cooperative research and monitoring.

“The Action Agenda is the roadmap for us to fulfill our commitments made during NOAA’s Recreational Fishing Summit,” said Eric Schwaab, NOAA assistant administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service. “We know it is the strength of our actions that matter in the end, and we are committed to moving forward aggressively.”

Schwaab also announced that NOAA will provide a $276,000 grant to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to help give recreational fishermen conservation information. A portion of the national grant will support a collaborative workshop in spring 2011 to examine how best to reduce barotrauma – the injury to deepwater fish when pulled to the surface rapidly – in recreational fisheries, in order to improve survival of fish caught and then released.

“The resulting mortality due to barotrauma is a contentious issue among stakeholders,” said John V. O’Shea, executive director of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. “The workshop will provide recreational fishermen, scientists, and managers the opportunity to develop a common understanding and approach to address this important issue.”

“Collaboratively, the recreational fishing community is a leading player in this program that will introduce stewardship to new anglers and reinforce the stewardship of existing anglers to reduce mortality of caught and released fish,” said Andy Loftus, coordinator for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission project.

“The workshop will develop the best information available on catch-and-release practices that will be communicated to anglers for implementation. It’s a win-win in the best tradition of the recreational angling community and NOAA.”

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit NOAA at http://www.noaa.gov or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/usnoaagov.

New York's Jamaica Bay

Over 80 different species of fish live in a 25,000 acre tidal estuary surrounded by concrete and asphalt   virtually in the heart of New York City.  Bordered by Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau County, Jamaica Bay is becoming a reclaimed salt marsh, tidal flat, and open water bay.  Suffering from years of abuse from dredging, construction, landfill, sewage and just about any other negative impact you can think of, the bay may be on the road to recovery.

Efforts by the City of New York, New York State, the National Park Service, The US Fish & Wildlife Service and several local environmental groups are setting the stage for a cleaner more productive body of water.

The Bay is already home to many fish species like winter flounder, scup, tautog, bluefish, striped bass, American eel, American shad, blueback herring, Atlantic menhaden, summer flounder, weakfish, black sea bass, Atlantic sturgeon and many others.  A cleaner, healthier bay will only mean an increase in these and other important fishes.

Other wildlife also depends on this bay and the winter can see thousands of wintering waterfowl like greater and lesser scaup, snow geese, widgeon, mallard, black ducks, northern shoveler, canvasback, pintail and others using the bay.  Each year exotic visitors include waterfowl like Eurasian widgeon.

The uplands and islands in the bay are frequented by osprey, herons, egret, peregrine falcons and several varieties of shorebirds  including the endangered roseate tern.  Many shorebirds are attracted to the bay in the spring due to its population of horseshoe crabs.  The eggs from the crabs are an important part of the breeding birds diet.

Recently oysters have been reintroduced to Jamaica Bay to join in with the already present quahog, soft shell clam, and blue mussels to aid in filtration of the nutrient overloaded water.  These nutrients get in the bay from runoff and sewage treatment plants.  Keep in mind that the bay is surrounded by residential and commercial development including John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The negative impact of a nutrient overload are extensive phytoplankton blooms in the summer which cause oxygen depletion on the bottom layers of the water column.  This coupled with the fact that seventy-five percent of the bays original wetlands have been filled in while other areas have been dredged both for navigation channels and to provide fill for development make restoration of a high water quality an ongoing challenge.

This bay is not just an important waterway for New York City, but is also important to the entire Atlantic coast.  Jamaica Bay is the turning point between the east/west direction of the New England coast and the north/south direction of the mid-Atlantic coast.  It is an important stopover for migrating fish and birds and also an important breeding ground and nursery.

Let's hope the work in the bay continues to be successful and this once fertile and abundant habitat can again be as fruitful as it was in the past.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another Winter of Extremes in Store for U.S. as La Niña Strengthens

The National Weather Service is predicting a stronger La Niña will be the major factor in influencing weather across the US this winter.

A La Niña occurs with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, opposite of an El Niño which occurs with warmer than normal water temperatures. These climate phenomena influence weather patterns throughout the world and often lead to extreme weather events.

Last winter we had an El Niño which contributed to record-breaking rain and snowfall in some parts of the country, with record heat and drought in other parts of the country. Although La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, it also can bring weather extremes to parts of the country.

“La Niña is in place and will strengthen and persist through the winter months, giving us a better understanding of what to expect between December and February,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.

Regional highlights include:
  • Pacific Northwest:  colder and wetter than average. La Niña often brings lower than average temperatures and increased mountain snow to the Pacific Northwest and western Montana during the winter months, which is good for the replenishment of water resources and winter recreation but can also lead to greater flooding and avalanche concerns;
  • Southwest: warmer and drier than average. This will likely exacerbate drought conditions in these areas. All southern states are at risk of having above normal wildfire conditions starting this winter and lasting into the spring;
  • Northern Plains: colder and wetter than average. Likely to see increased storminess and flooding;
  • Southern Plains, Gulf Coast States & Southeast: warmer and drier than average. This will likely exacerbate drought conditions in these areas. All southern states are at risk of having above normal wildfire conditions starting this winter and lasting into the spring;
  • Florida: drier than average, with an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures. Above normal wildfire conditions;
  • Ohio and Tennessee Valleys: warmer and wetter than average. Likely to see increased storminess and flooding;
  • Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: equal chances for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and precipitation. Winter weather for these regions is often driven not by La Niña but by weather patterns over the northern Atlantic Ocean and Arctic. These are often more short-term, and are generally predictable only a week or so in advance. If enough cold air and moisture are in place, areas north of the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast could see above-average snow;
  • Central U.S.: equal chances of above-near-or below normal temperatures and precipitation;
  • Hawaii: drier than normal through November, then wetter than normal December through February. Statewide, the current drought is expected to continue through the winter, with several locations remaining on track to become the driest year on record. Drought recovery is more likely on the smaller islands of Kauai and Molokai, and over the windward slopes of the Big Island and Maui;
  • Alaska: odds favor colder than average temperatures with equal chances of above or below normal precipitation. The interior and southern portions of the state are currently drier than normal. A dry winter may set Alaska up for a greater chance of above normal wildfire conditions in the spring.
This seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms may hit or total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than several days in advance.

The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world. Visit online at www.weather.gov

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fence Out The Carp

The risk of a flood that could allow Asian carp to enter Lake Erie through the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio has prompted a fence to be erected across the Eagle Marsh near Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The connection here is that the marsh could provide a link between the Maumee River and the already carp invaded Wabash River system.

Normally, the Wabash River and the Maumee River run in opposite directions, but the high water from flooding can allow the two drainages to come together and mix in the Eagle Marsh

The US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Fish and Wildlife Service provided most of the funding for this nearly 1,200 foot long chain link fence.  It is supported by 120 concrete barriers plus 120 posts.  Should the Asian carp make their way to Lake Erie biologists fear they could threaten a $7 billion a year fishing industry.

It should be noted that this fence is only a temporary barrier as work is still being done on a design of a permanent barrier to keep the carp out of the marsh.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Eat Carp

Silverfin is the marketing name that has been crowned upon the infamous Asian carp, notably, silver and bighead carp. These are the fish that have invaded the Mississippi River system and now threaten to invade the Great Lakes.

This fish can disrupt much of the Great Lakes ecosystem by competing with native and established commercial fish species.  The threat is being taken very seriously by basin states and the Federal government, so much so that the administration has recently appointed a "carp czar" to oversee eradication and control of this fish.  One control method is to simply get people to eat them, hence "Silverfin".

Carp has a bad connotation in America. It is associated with dirty and polluted water where other fish can't live.  No one wants to eat anything that comes from those environments (big problem), so one of the first things needed was a name change.  Most of these carp are silver carp and bighead carp. In some parts of the world silver carp are also known as silverfin carp so the name really isn't all that deceptive.  Lumping in the bighead carp... well, they are all carp, right?

Silverfin also becomes a better name for these fish because by switching around the two middle letters in "carp" ...well, no one wants to eat that either!  And in many people's minds it's hard to separate the crap from the carp.

The State of Louisiana has produced a video on using these carp, or rather silverfin commercially.  They are the state that many credit the introduction of the carp to the US back in the 1970's for pond cleaning and sewage treatment, so you see, the name change is really a necessity.

If you search the internet you'll quickly find all sorts of good recipes for Asian carp ranging from fish cakes to tacos.  To find the truly gourmet recipes you might want to alter your search to "silverfin".  If everything goes according to plan there could be more and more people who are full of carp.  Should make for an interesting election.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cover Your Studs

Studded wading boots provide better traction on slippery stream bottoms but have the pesky habit of ruining boat decks, float planes, motel rooms and any other place a fisherman walks.

Enter Over Boot Stud Covers  from Orvis Rod & Tackle. 

These nifty boot covers are designed to slip over your wading boots without having to bend over.  I see them as the "Crocs" of wading boots.  Having a pair of these on your next fishing trip will keep the lodge owner happy, not to mention the fly shop owners and fishing guides whose floors and decks you'll save from marring.  They're also a a good way to store studded boots to keep your wader duffel and luggage from being ruined.

Goofy looking?  Absolutely!  But what about waders isn't?

NYC DEP To Activate Ashokan Reservoir Waste Channel

Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway has announced that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) will activate the Ashokan Reservoir Waste Channel and release up to 450 million gallons per day from the Ashokan Reservoir for the next few weeks.

The idea behind the release is to try to improve the water quality in the reservoir, which saw an increase in turbidity or cloudiness as the result of the rain storms on September 30 and October 1.  Releasing water to the waste channel will also lower the reservoir levels, which will increase the reservoir’s ability to capture runoff from intense storms. The waste channel is a concrete canal used to move water from the reservoir through the upper and lower gate chambers to the Little Beaverkill and the lower Esopus Creek.

Located in Ulster County, the Ashokan Reservoir is approximately 13 miles west of Kingston and 73 miles north of New York City. It was formed by the damming of the Esopus Creek, which eventually flows northeast and drains into the Hudson River. The reservoir holds 127.9 billion gallons at full capacity and was opened in 1915.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Atlantic Sturgeon Proposed for Endangered Species Listing

NOAA’s Fisheries Service has proposed that five populations of Atlantic sturgeon along the U.S. East Coast receive protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The endangered status is proposed for the Chesapeake Bay, New York Bight, Carolina, and South Atlantic populations. The Gulf of Maine population is proposed for listing as threatened.

Once listed, Atlantic sturgeon would receive the full protection of the Endangered Species Act, including a prohibition against “take,” defined to include harassing, harming, pursuing, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or collecting. Similar prohibitions usually extend to threatened species. An endangered listing offers protections designed to prevent extinction. For threatened populations, protections are focused on preventing a species from becoming endangered.

Atlantic sturgeon are large, slow-growing, late-maturing, long-lived, estuary-dependent fish that spend the majority of their lives in salt water, but spawn in freshwater. Historically, their range included major estuary and river systems from Labrador to Florida. Atlantic sturgeon populations currently exist in 35 U.S. rivers while spawning is believed to occur in only 20 of these. The range of an individual sturgeon can be very large regardless of where it was spawned making threats along the East Coast dangerous any of these populations.

NOAA’s Fisheries is accepting comments on the proposed listing through Jan. 4, 2011.

•Submit comments online via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments;
• Fax comments to the attention of Lynn Lankshear at 978-281-9394;
• Mail or hand deliver written comments to the Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, Northeast Region, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Emergency Catch & Release Regulations on the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers for Smallmouth Bass

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) has placed catch & release regulations on the Juniata River and lower Susquehanna River.  At the October Fish and Boat Commission meeting the Commissioners voted to publish a proposed rulemaking. PFBC Executive Director John Arway signed a temporary emergency order which allows the changes to take affect Jan. 1, 2011.

The proposed changes will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin as a notice of proposed rulemaking. Public comments will be accepted for 90 days after the official publication. After reviewing the public comments, the Commission is expected to consider adoption of the changes at its April quarterly meeting.

“Reduced densities of smallmouth bass are likely to continue until reproduction and recruitment success improves,” said Mr. Arway. “In order to preserve good quality fishing and to protect the current population, we determined that it is necessary to place catch and release restrictions on those portions of the rivers.”
32 miles of the Juniata River will come under the new regulations beginning at the Route 75 bridge in Port Royal, PA downstream to the mouth of the river in Duncannon. The Susquehanna River gets 98 miles of new catch & release regulations from the inflatable dam near Sunbury downstream to the Holtwood Dam in York County.

Beginning in 2005, the PFBC has documented that low water flows and relatively warm water temperatures have been associated with high incidences of Columnaris bacterial disease in young-of-year bass. At the same time,  relatively low dissolved oxygen levels in critically important near-shore nursery areas are occurring.

“We continue to work in partnership with other state and federal agencies to identify the causes of low recruitment and disease,” said Mr. Arway. He added that the issues are a challenge that coveer a broad spectrum of scientists from state and federal resource management agencies.

Fishing and Outdoors Sporting Collectibles Consignment Auction

The Catskill Fly Fishing  Center & Museum will hold a Sporting Collectibles Auction at the Arts of the Angler Show on November 6, 2010 at the Ethan Allen Inn, Exit 4 on Route I-84, Danbury CT.

Fishing and outdoor sports related items such as books, art, rods, reels, tackle, equipment, accessories, flies and the like will be accepted on a consignment basis for the auction.  For consignment or absentee bid information call 845-439-4810.

The 2010 Arts of the Angler Show is a full feature fly fishing show in an elegant atmosphere where you will find the finest contemporary and collectible fly fishing tackle and accessories.

See: http://www.cffcm.net/ for more information.