Archive for category Streams

TU Opposes House of Representative Appropriations Bill

Trout Unlimited (TU) strongly opposes the appropriations bill for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies passed Thursday by a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill cuts funding for essential conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and contains harmful riders that undermine the Clean Water Act and other protective rules for rivers and streams.

“Fishing and hunting generate $76.7 billion annually in economic activity in the U.S.,” said Steve Moyer, VP for Government Affairs at Trout Unlimited. “We can’t expect to sustain this powerful economic engine if we’re removing the very conservation programs that make it run.”

The bill contains numerous harmful legislative riders, including attachments that will:

Stop the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA from finalizing guidance or conducting a rulemaking to restore Clean Water Act protection for some wetlands and streams which were curtailed by two harmful and confusing Supreme Court decisions (Rapanos in 2006 and SWANCC in 2001).

Discontinue rulemaking processes designed to protect streams from mountaintop removal mining.

Block the Interior Department’s protection of 1 million acres of federal lands near Grand Canyon National Park from new hard rock mining.

Delay EPA action on post-construction stormwater controls. Stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces can result in the elimination of natural filtration, scouring of rivers and streams, increased pollutant load discharges, and degradation of the physical integrity of aquatic habitats, stream function, and overall water quality.

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DNR Looking for feedback on water standard changes

Missouri environmental officials are seeking public comment on possible changes in water quality standards on the state’s rivers and streams.

The Department of Natural Resources has posted a report on its website examining the likely effects of proposed changes. That’s the first step in the process of setting administrative rules on environmental standards.

The report addresses environmental benefits and economic costs tied with the proposed changes.

For example, it reviews the effect of designating thousands of miles of currently unclassified waters as “fishable” or “swimmable.”

The possible changes also stem from a 2009 decision by federal regulators that new standards are needed for a nearly 29-mile stretch of the Mississippi River near St. Louis.

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Tagged bass can hook you some cash!

he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is tagging 1,600 legal-sized smallmouth bass on five rivers in southern Missouri as part of a research project. Anglers who catch tagged bass can earn $25 or $75 by reporting their catches to MDC researchers.

MDC biologists are tagging smallmouth bass in the Black River, Castor River, Courtois Creek, Current River and the North Fork of the White River, and will continue tagging during the spring season over the next two years.

According to Fisheries Management Biologist John Ackerson, these types of research studies have been successful with other fish species such as catfish and walleye.

“The research project will help biologists learn more about angler catch rates and fish movement in these rivers,” Ackerson said. “Information gained from anglers reporting their tagged catches will help us manage this species, which many Missourians love to fish.”

He explained that tagged bass do not have to be kept to receive a reward. Anglers may just remove the tag and release the fish. Tags must be returned to the MDC to receive a reward.

To report tagged catches, anglers must call the phone number listed on the tag and provide the following information:

• Tag number

• If the fish was kept or released

• Date of catch

• Total length of fish

• Approximate location of catch

For more information on the research project, contact Ackerson at 471-255-9561, extension 275, or John.Ackerson@mdc.mo.gov.

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Black bass season opens Saturday for Ozark Streams

"Courtesy Missouri Dept. of Conservation"

The fourth Saturday in May marks the opening of catch-and-keep black bass season in Missouri Ozark streams for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. The Ozark-streams season runs from May 28 to Feb. 29, 2012.

Black bass fishing and possession is open year ‘round for impoundments, and areas of the state other than the Ozarks. These other areas are defined as: the Mississippi river, all waters north of the south bank of the Missouri River, the St. Francis River downstream from Wappapello Dam and on streams in that portion of southeast Missouri bounded by a line from Cape Girardeau following Missouri highways 74 and 25, U.S. highways 60, 67 and 160, and the west bank of the Little Black River to the Arkansas state line.

While the daily limit on black bass in most of the state’s waters is six with a possession limit of 12, there are many lakes, rivers and streams with special daily limits, as well as different length limits. It is important for anglers to know the specific black bass fishing regulations for the areas they will fish.

More information is available in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s 2011 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations available from permit vendors, Department of Conservation offices and online at www.MissouriConservation.org.

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Gone Fishin’ Free Fishing Days June 11-12

Photo: "Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation"

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – “Gone fishing” signs will be posted on doors across the state June 11 and 12 as Missourians enjoy a favorite outdoor pastime at no cost. Each year, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) designates the weekend after the first Monday in June as Free Fishing Days in Missouri. The idea is to encourage people to explore the state’s fishing opportunities without having to purchase permits, trout stamps or trout park daily tags.

Fishing is a pastime suitable for all ages. Free Fishing Days encourages experienced anglers to practice a favorite hobby and lures new anglers to try something that could catch them hook, line and sinker. With more than 300 conservation-area fishing lakes or ponds, these opportunities are in no shortage. Missouri waters hold more than 200 fish species. Anglers target 40 of these as game fish, including crappie, catfish, walleye, muskie, goggle-eye and bass.

Normal fishing regulations, such as limits on size and number of fish, remain in effect during Free Fishing Days. Regulations are outlined in the 2011 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, which is available wherever fishing permits are sold, or online at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/11414. Special permits may still be required at county, city and private fishing areas. Free Fishing Days exempts anglers from permit and tag fees only, not parking or other park fees.

Public fishing areas are available in every county in Missouri. Many offer disabled-accessible facilities. For more information about places to fish, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/node/2478 or contact the nearest MDC office.

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Bait Bucket Introductions

Bait bucket introductions is perhaps an unusual term to some of you, however this is the most common means of spreading aquatic invasive species within the state.  You can help Missouri’s lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and protect our waterways by destroying unused bait or throwing it in the trash—not in the water. This simple practice can keep invasive species from colonizing new waters, and turning our local waters into a virtual nightmare.

Non-native or non-local species are frequently larger, more aggressive and more fertile than local native species. Their habits can also be more destructive, and they often lack local predators or other natural controls. The rusty crayfish is a good example of a species that became invasive when it was moved from its native Ohio River basin drainage, largely via bait buckets. The rusty crayfish is larger than most native Missouri crayfish, so it outcompetes them, and its size makes it unattractive prey for many fish. It also destroys the aquatic plant beds that serve as cover and food for other aquatic organisms, as well as nursery habitat for sport fish. In addition, rusty crayfish prey on fish eggs, further harming local fish populations. Other bait crayfish, including native Missouri species that are moved from one water body to another, have caused similar problems.

Identification:

Rusty crayfish are larger than most Missouri native crayfish and their claws are larger in comparison to their bodies than most native species. Key characteristics include: Rusty patches on the back of the carapace which look like someone picked the crayfish up with brown or reddish paint on their fingers, and black-tipped claws which may have some red or orange on the very tips.
If a crayfish resembling the rusty crayfish is found, please save 1-4 specimens by freezing them in a zip-lock bag. Report this find to MDC biologist Al Buchanan by calling 573-882-9909. He will make arrangements to send them to an expert for positive identification.

Related Story from Oregon.

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Take your kids to summer school, go bluegill fishing.

It’s getting close to the time to start thinking big bluegills. The best method of determining this period of bluegill spawning activity is water temperature. Spawning activity peaks when the water temperature is 75 degrees F. This period usually corresponds closely with Memorial Day here in the Ozarks. Fish a week or two before and after this holiday, and you will center the major spawning activity. It is often easy to spot the saucer-shaped depressions because bluegill build their nests in shallow water very close to shore. Carefully search water from 2 to 6 feet deep and locate a spawning bed. Male bluegills guarding nests are as easy to catch and the kids will be fishermen for life after a good trip.

Although the same factors apply to the spawning habits of bluegill, there may be great differences depending on habitat. In larger waters, like Table Rock up the James arm, the fish prefer to spawn among stumps and dead bottom-hugging trees and other quiet areas; commonly these are backwaters and sloughs. Here they find habitats where the constant current will not disturb the nest. Current is not a major factor in natural lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, where males build their nests in shallow water or along protected shorelines. In these habitats bluegill spawn among sticks, stumps, or thinly-spaced vegetation. A shallow flat adjacent to a flooded creek channel is also a good place to find spawning bluegill. Nearly all species of sunfish, which include bluegill, prefer a sand or gravel bottom for nest building, but lacking this habitat the nests will be fanned out of silty muddy bottom. Beds may be as small as 3 or 4 feet long and 4 feet across or as large as 25 feet across and 50 feet long, and a single bed may contain only a few nests or several hundred. By and large, spawning locations in large rivers are considerably smaller than those found in lakes and pond.

Fishing for bluegill that are guarding the nest is a load of fun. One of the best ways is to wade or boat within easy casting distance of the nests and use a small lure or bait just below a small bobber. Cast a piece of worm, jig, or other bait beyond the bed and slowly retrieve it through the nesting area. Depth of the nests determines how deep to set the float. Fish close to the bottom, keep both lure and float as small as possible, and set the hook quickly, or the aggressive males will swallow the bait.

A bed of spawning bluegills can be a flyrod fisherman’s dream. If the water is shallow enough, they will usually rise to hit poppers, especially in the evening. Wet flies or ultra-lite leadheads will take them from deeper beds.

Of the fish caught from nests, 95 percent will be males. The male fish is more vulnerable to catching because he builds the nest within a well-defined territory and aggressively protects the eggs against all intruders. Females are more often caught on casts into the adjacent, deep water. Many times they hang just off the spawning beds prior to inshore movement. Sounds alot like a bass doesn’t it.

Get your kids, grandkids or be a Big Brother or Sister and take kid fishing, share a little of your knowledge and make a friend for life.

More information on family fishing  from the Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri State Parks.

Free Fishing Days

This is your chance to try fishing without having to buy a permit. Our annual Free Fishing Days are the Saturday and Sunday following the first Monday in June (in 2011, that’s June 11-12). Any person may fish state waters without permit, trout permit, and prescribed area daily tag during Free Fishing Days.

Requirements for special permits still may apply at some county, city or private areas. Normal regulations, such as size and daily limits, still apply, too. Borrow a neighbor’s rod and reel, or come out to a Conservation Area where a Free Fishing Days program is scheduled, and borrow ours. Some good events are on tap for this week.  (more)

Full listing of events…click here.

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