Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pythons may be the least of Florida's invasive species problems in a few years if the monster crocs gain the same sort of foothold in the Everglades.

Whatever way you play on the water — whether it's with a kayak, canoe, jet ski, powerboat, sailboat, or other craft — make safety your top priority.

Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, Chevron, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Pontchartrain Materials will begin construction on a new artificial reef near West End in New Orleans on Tuesday, May 31.

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer for many, and it often kicks off with an outing to a lake or river. Park rangers from the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District want you and your family to be safe in or around the water.

This year, boaters and motorists alike will be asked to "Get Together For Summer," an effort to ensure those on the water are buckled up in their life jackets and those on the road are buckled in their seatbelts…and that both are sober behind either wheel.
Louisiana Department Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited four people for alleged recreational shrimping violations on May 21 in Terrebonne Parish.

The inaugural Blazing Mako Bonfire Tournament and Festival is to light up Islamorada Friday through Sunday, June 17-19, at the Islander Resort, A Guy Harvey Outpost, located at mile marker 82.1 oceanside.

The new app has many more features that will help you have the best show experience possible, all at your fingertips.
Captain Shawn Brule, the retired US Coast Guard chief who became the owner of TowBoatUS Cape Cod last year, is expanding his business by opening a new TowBoatUS port in Plymouth, 20 nautical miles to the northeast.

Fishing Tackle Retailer, the Business Magazine of the Sportfishing and Marine Industry, is celebrating its 35th year as the trade voice of fishing by launching an all-new podcast: FTR Cast.

Thanks to Cabela's, competitors who qualified to fish in this year's national championship have the chance to stop by any Cabela's retail store along the way to and from the event to purchase any last minute items or to restock on the way home with an exclusive employee-pricing offer.

Steven Charles Orr of Rochester, Washington, has set a new state record for the largest black rockfish caught in Washington state waters, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed today.

SeaArk Boats has announced its new partnership with Higdon Outdoors as the official boat sponsor of their upcoming season of Higdon Outdoors TV.

The Natural Resources Commission will consider chumming regulations at its June 9 meeting in Gaylord. The Department of Natural Resources currently does not regulate chumming in Michigan.
The Memorial Day weekend forecast calls for temperatures in the upper 70s-80s, with a chance of rain each day—but the DNR says this is unlikely to cut numbers much at ramps statewide.
Your next outdoor adventure just got more affordable: through May 30, the Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering half-price discounts on short-term fishing licenses.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) will open online registration for the state's 11th annual regulated alligator hunts June 3 at 8 a.m.
Responding to a decline in muskie fishing at Lake Webster, the DNR is modifying its muskie stocking program at the popular lake in northern Indiana.
Events including a trout presentation and clinic are slated for May 28-30 at various parks around the state.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) Fisheries Bureau and the Mississippi State University Extension Service are hosting a pond management workshop in Holmes County. The workshop will be held at the Holmes County Bank annex building on the court square in Lexington on Tuesday, June 7 at 6 p.m.
Goose Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located southeast of Chambers in Holt County, will reopen to public access beginning May 28.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Iowa Tourism Office are calling on families to put down the screens and make lasting memories fishing in a new joint marketing campaign launched today.

In its second year as a supporting sponsor for B.A.S.S., A.R.E. Accessories is offering Bassmaster Elite Series tournament attendees a rare opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid fishing trip with pro fishermen Justin Lucas or Adrian Avena

A $253,341 payout at the Shootout, the largest in the 20-year history of the Pompano Beach Saltwater Circuit, has created a tremendous amount of momentum heading into leg 2 of the series, the Saltwater Slam.

In celebration of National Fishing and Boating Week, youth 15 years and younger are invited to a fishing rodeo at the Turcotte Education Center beginning at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, June 4.

Glowing crappie may help Arkansas GFC evaluate stocking success

PINE BLUFF – Black lights and phosphorescent fish – throw in your standard mod Peter Max poster, some Hendrix on the turntable and maybe a lava lamp, and it would seem like someone's living room circa 1970. However, more than four decades later, black lights are less a living room showpiece and more useful in the hands of biologists looking for "glowing" crappie to determine how effective a pond-stocking program can be.

As part of a grant administered by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Greyson Farris, a master's student in the aquaculture program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, is studying the AGFC's crappie stocking program using fingerlings from two hatcheries: the Joe Hogan hatchery at Lonoke and the William H. Donham hatchery in Corning. Late in the fall of the past two years, about 180,000 fingerlings – half of them white crappie from Lonoke and the other half black crappie from Corning – were treated with chemicals that allow researchers to track the fish after stocking in eight Arkansas lakes, according to JJ Gladden, a biologist at the Lonoke facility.

During the first year, the fish were marked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved oxytetracycline, or OTC, in which the fingerlings absorb in a six-hour bath. The chemical is absorbed in bony areas such as the ear bone. Last fall, the fish were also treated with OTC, but Farris then used another marking agent, calcein, a phosphorescent dye, in another, shorter treatment before the fingerlings were taken for stocking.

The key difference between using calcein over OTC is that fish tested for the presence of the marker do not have to be sacrificed in the process.

"As far as I know, nobody has ever done the calcein marking with crappie," Farris said. "They've done it with largemouth bass, perch, walleye."

Fish captured for testing that were marked with only OTC have to be cut open for their ear bone, or otolith, to be examined under special light. The nature of calcein, Farris says, is that it's absorbed not only in the bones but in the fins, around the eyes and mouths, and it offers a vivid green appearance when seen under black light and with specific glasses. Using the calcein as a marker required the AGFC to request a special license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but the process for marking the fish was far easier, Farris said. Instead of a six-hour soak in OTC, the fingerlings were hit with a 30-second bath of salinized water (about 40 parts per 1,000, he said), a fresh water rinse, then a seven-minute soak in the calcein-water mixture. The salt water bath drew out most of the water from the fingerlings – making them "sponge-like," Farris said – which then soaked up the calcein.

OTC is a proven method in marking fish, in use for more than 40 years, Farris said. The question is, how long will the calcein last in a crappie? Farris said calcein in fish has been shown to degrade over time in sunlight. However, crappie tend to stay deeper in lakes and the fish's nature is to not turn on its side; the underbelly of the crappie should be least likely to see much if any photodegradation, Farris said. And in fish he's tested both at UAPB and in pond nettings, he's found calcein.

All this is to show how effective a stocking program can be for a lake such as Lake Saracen in Pine Bluff, one of the eight lakes in Farris' study. Other lakes in the study are Lake Des Arc, Lake Charles, Lake Poinsett, Calion Lake, Irons Fork Reservoir, Sugarloaf Lake and Beaverfork Lake. So far, he has found growing crappie that were AGFC-stocked in six of the lakes. "It's great to see how many fish are surviving on a month-to-month scale," Farris said. "Most of the time when you stock ponds or lakes, you don't know if you're having a benefit to the Commission unless you have a creel survey or stocked fish come up into your nets. You have to kill the OTC fish, and that's not beneficial in the long term. Also, every OTC-marked fish will take 15 minutes of lab time, at least, to check. You can tell immediately if you have a calcein-marked fish. Fisheries biologists are better off in the long run, getting it cheaper, faster and easier."

Calcein marking costs more, about $5,000 to mark 90,000 fish compared to $1,000 for OTC. But the tested fish live. And, "any measure of a stocking program is a measure of success," Farris notes.

Because of warmer autumns the past two years, the fingerlings weren't ready for the treatment and stocking until November. Farris tested the lakes through the winter and said he will resume through the summer and fall, netting about 250 crappie per lake to find if they were part of the stockings.

"The objective was to find a way to look at these fish without having to kill them, stock them, see them in the nets with [black lights] and see if they were the fish we stocked," Farris said.

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Outdoors Calendar

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Apr. 1 - Nov. 30: Jersey Shore Beach N Boat Fishing Tournament. Fish from Raritan Bay to Delaware Bay for 8 inshore species. Unlimited weigh-ins. Over 80 chances to win cash and prizes. Entry $20.

May 28: Absecon Bay Opening Day Flounder Tournament, Absecon, NJ. $1000 Awarded to Heaviest Summer Flounder.

June 4: RFA Bass River Classic Flounder Tournament, New Gretna, NJ   $1000 Awarded for the Heaviest Summer Flounder

June 4: RFA Bass River Classic Flounder Tournament, New Gretna, NJ. $1000 Awarded for the Heaviest Summer Flounder.

June 6 - June 13: North Pacific Fishery Management Council meets at Kodiak, AK

June 14: Noted flats guide Captain Geoff Page joins radio/tv personality Captain Mike Anderson at Gator Ford off I-4 east of Tampa, Fla., for a free fishing seminar, 7 p.m., free food and drink.

June 15: Jolly Mon VIP King Mackerel Tournament, Ocean Isle, NC. $1,000 Awarded for the Heaviest King Mackerel.

June 15 - June 16: North Atlantic Shark Tournament, New Bedford, MA. $1000 Awarded to the Boat with the most overall points.

June 15 - June 16: North Atlantic Shark Tournament, New Bedford, MA  $1000 Awarded to the Boat with the most overall points

June 17 - June 18: Spike-It One Pole Ultimate Challenge on Truman Lake, Clinton, MO

June 17 - June 19: Blazing Mako Tournament and Festival, Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost, Islamorada, for Nova Southeastern University's Oceanography program

June 23 - June 25: Hyannis Tuna Fest, Hyannis, MA. $1,000 Awarded to the Heaviest Tuna.

June 23 - June 25: Hyannis Tuna Fest, Hyannis, MA  $1,000 Awarded to the Heaviest Tuna

June 29 - June 30: Mexico Beach Offshore Classic, 2016, Mexico Beach, FL. $1,000 Awarded to the Grand Prize Winner (most overall points).

June 29 - June 30: Mexico Beach Offshore Classic, 2016, Mexico Beach, FL  $1,000 Awarded to the Grand Prize Winner (most overall points)

July 16 - July 18: Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) Annual Conference. Billings, Montana. 406-728-7434,;

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