Monday, June 27, 2016

 
COAST GUARD
Ace Kimberly, 45, and his three children – Rebecca Kimberly, 17, Donald Kimberly, 15, and Roger Kimberly, 13 – were last heard from Sunday afternoon after departing Sarasota en route to Fort Myers.

COMPETITION
A little over a month ago, many professional fishing fans were wondering out loud, "What's wrong with Kevin VanDam?" Not any more.

CONSERVATION
U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) acted yesterday to address two of the top priorities of recreational fishing and boating. The Senators introduced The Access for Sportfishing Act of 2016, S.3099, which contains several provisions important to marine fisheries. Two important issues for us: preventing unnecessary fishing closures in Biscayne National Park and further ensuring conservation of Pacific billfish populations.

ENFORCEMENT
One of the busiest boating weekends of the year is not a time to throw caution to the wind, says Kentucky's DFWR.
The auditor's report is in response to a Fish and Wildlife internal investigation that brought to light an agency employee's suspected misappropriation of funds covering several years.

EVENTS
Events are slated for August and September to raise money for habitat restoration and other conservation projects.

FISHERIES
Florida swept the Take Me Fishing™ 2016 "Top 100 Family Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in the U.S." list, hosting the top four locations with nine locations on the list in total-more than any other state.

FISHING TIPS
Tough to find someone who knows more about walleyes than Gary Roach, so I chased him down and asked him a few questions about how to catch walleyes now.

MARINE RESEARCH
About five years ago, Dr. James Sulikowski turned to the same kind of sonogram technology that doctors use to monitor pregnant women – complete with a transducer, an image screen and conductive jelly – and adapted it for use on pregnant sharks, as well as other elusive or endangered fish species, such as sturgeon.

NEW PRODUCTS
The Slammer III features the new IPX6 Sealed System to keep water out of the gear box and drag system in heavy spray and sea conditions. and maximum drag varies from 30 to 60 pounds, depending on model.
Buck Knives Inc., leader in sports cutlery, in partnership with Wally Marshall, plans to unveil a new folding fillet and fishing gloves in the Mr. Crappie by Buck Knives signature series at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST), July 12-15 2016 in Orlando, FL.
Officials from TAHOE®, a performance sport boat brand, announce the arrival of the 2017 TAHOE 1950, an all-new 150 horsepower outboard-powered deck boat designed for families and water activities.

PASSINGS
A memorial for Captain Doug Hemmer will be held at Gator's on the Pass in Johns Pass, Florida, Wednesday, July 29 at 7 p.m.

RADIO
This week on Northwestern Outdoors features four seasons of fishing on the Columbia River with guide Walleye Willie Ross, bicycling opportunities around the Columbia River Gorge with Chad Sperry, and a visit with some magnificent raptors at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center with Bambi Foy.

RECORD FISH
The fish, caught from a farm pond in Polk County, weighed 18 pounds and 8 ounces, measuring 32 inches long and 22 and one-fourth inches in girth.
Kristen Brown holds the new state record shadow bass and it is the first time that shadow bass are recognized as eligible for state record status, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division.

STATES
The Missouri Conservation Commission has named Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Deputy Director Tom Draper as interim director of the state conservation agency effective July 16.
Rain, high water and increasing heat are changing conditions on Wisconsin's waters this week.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces that Director Robert L. Ziehmer is stepping down as director effective July 15, 2016

TOURNAMENTS
The Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) is delighted to announce that NOAA-Fisheries today approved the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and tribal officials' joint management plan for 2016-2017 Puget Sound salmon fisheries. (For more information about the announcement anglers should check the WDFW press release.)This paves the way for six remaining derbies in the 2016 West Marine Northwest Salmon Derby Series to proceed as planned, beginning with the Bellingham Salmon Derby, July 8-10.
Two back-to-back July marlin tournaments are on tap for anglers in the Florida Keys.

WORKSHOPS
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is offering two free fishing workshops and two free Cub Scout fishing adventures in July at the John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center, in Fayetteville.
Women interested in learning outdoor skills in a beautiful setting can sign up for New Hampshire's fall Becoming an Outdoors-Woman weekend workshop, which will take place September 9-11, 2016, at Rockywold / Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake in Holderness, N.H.

Guntersville Drops out of Listing of America's Top Bass Lakes

By Frank Sargeant

After once sitting atop the heap, this year Alabama's Lake Guntersville did not make the top 10 in the annual listing compiled by Bassmaster Magazine of the nation's top bass fishing spots. Toledo Bend Lake in Texas topped the charts this year, for the second year in a row.

In fact, Guntersville did not even top the southeast division, where it came in 5th. Santee Cooper in South Carolina was listed as the tops in the southeast.

North Alabama's Lake Guntersville is still producing some whopper fish these days, but state studies indicate low numbers of fish in the 15 to 18 inch class, producing slow fishing for most anglers at present, and also indicating that fewer big fish will be caught in future as the current crop of lunkers ages out of the population. (Mike Carter photo)
And G'ville was only the third best lake in the TVA chain. Both Chickamauga, upriver, and Kentucky Lake, downriver, were placed above the 70,000 acre North Alabama lake.

What's happened to the big lake--the economic driver of much of the economy in Jackson and Marshall counties?

Nothing unusual, according to biologists with Auburn University and with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR).

"We're seeing a natural downturn at Guntersville, the result of what we call recruitment, or the success of spawning, in past years," says Matt Catalano, assistant professor of Fishery Science at Auburn.

"The lake had an outstanding year class in 2008 when a huge number of the fish that were hatched survived to eventually become adults, and by 2011, anglers were seeing the results of this year class in their catches--there were more 15 to 18 inch fish than ADCNR had ever recorded in a continuing study of over 20 years at the lake," said Catalano.

"But as fish get older, there's a natural mortality as well as some fishing mortality, and not only that the larger fish are harder to catch--they're more wary because they've been caught and released, and they're not in the same places that the smaller fish are most of the time."

Catalano said that continuing studies indicate that there are now more fish over 20 inches than there have been at any time during the study years, but that the more numerous 15 to 18 inch fish have fallen off to an average figure that's 30 to 40 percent below the numbers in the 2011 peak.

"We don't measure angler success, but with that many fewer fish in the mid-ranges, it's sure to have an impact on the fisherman's success," said Catalano.

What brought on the big year class in 2008--and can the lake be manipulated to make it happen again?

"There seems to be correlation between years with low water flow from the spawn on into June and having a high survival rate of the fry," says Catalano. Low flow typically results in clearer and shallower water, which results in more aquatic weed growth, and in return this builds a strong food chain as well as providing lots of cover where young fish can hide from predators.

Since Guntersville is part of the TVA chain, controlling the water levels to benefit the fish is probably not an option. The lake levels are manipulated to maintain navigation for commercial traffic, and for flood control; fish and fishermen have to deal with what Mother Nature give us.

However, Catalano said there's some evidence that past stocking of Florida strain bass has helped improve the overall genetics in some areas of Guntersville, and heavy stocking could have a good result in a year when the natural spawn is down.

"Stocking a lot of young fish on top of a healthy native population usually doesn't have much of an impact because the habitat is already full," says Catalano. "But we know that stocking Florida bass has had very good results in other lakes around the country--in the right place at the right time, and with the right volume, it could improve the fishing."

Changing the rules for anglers to reduce bass harvest, on the other hand, does not seem likely to produce much result.

"We tag a lot of bass on this lake and the number of returns we get give us some idea of what the harvest is relative to the number of fish. It's pretty minimal--we think natural mortality is a far larger factor here," he said. "That means tighter harvest rules probably would not have a measurable impact."

The Lake Guntersville Conservation Group, formed to try bringing the fishery back through stocking and other efforts, has slated its next meeting for July 31 at Goose Pond Bait & Tackle, on the water just south of Scottsboro, at 3 p.m. Those who would like to join the group can contact Sharon Carter at 256 218 0613.

The Fishing Wire welcomes your comments and actively solicits letters and guest editorials from readers as well as fishery managers, scientists and industry experts in boating, fishing and related equipment. Please send your comments and suggestions to frank@thefishingwire.com.
Outdoors Calendar

» Got an event you'd like to see posted here? Send it to frank@thefishingwire.com.

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. www.BeachNBoat.com

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

July 12 - July 17: Blue Marlin Grand Championship, Orange Beach, AL. Blue marlin, tuna, wahoo, dolphin and billfish release division. $1MM-plus in cash prizes. www.thewharfmarina.com/bmgc

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

Aug. 2 - Aug. 6: International Fly Fishing Fair, Livingston , MT, workshops, tying and casting demonstrations, seminars and more, www.fedflyfishers.org

Aug. 15 - Aug. 19: Pirate's Cove Billfish Tournament, Manteo, NC. Modified release format for billfish and weight divisions for tuna, wahoo and dolphin. $1M-plus in prizes. www.pcbtg.com





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