AGFC fisheries biologists often note with the adage, “With more food and fewer mouths to feed, you can grow bigger faster.”
AGFC biologists continue to monitor the Lake Charles crappie population for changes in growth and condition (average weight) through sampling. Last year’s fall sampling indicated that growth of crappie is increasing in the lake. Though this change was small, crappie are reaching longer lengths and have healthier weights than before the creel limit was eliminated.
The Fisheries Division says these changes indicate that the number of fish in the population is decreasing and that prey availability is increasing. It is too soon for biologists to determine if this year’s sample will show similar increasing growth trends, but they are hopeful it continues.
* In case you missed this last month, the Commission voted unanimously in August to approve a $70,000 increase in the AGFC Fisheries budget to purchase and outfit two specialized boats that will be used to catch and remove invasive carp in the Lower Mississippi River Basin and the Arkansas/White/Red River Basin. This is just a portion of the latest work in the agency’s ongoing efforts to reduce and control the spread of invasive carp, such as silver carp.
These various species of carp were introduce to Arkansas in the 1960s and ’70s as an alternative to chemical treatments to rid lakes and waterways of algae blooms in aquaculture operations. However, since that time, these invasive and non-native carp have spread throughout the lower Arkansas River, the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois rivers and their tributaries. They feed on plankton and reduce forage at the base of the aquatic food web, harming the ability of sport fish to develop. Silver carp also have proved a danger to boaters.
“Controlling invasive carp is a monumental challenge, and is one we hear about all the time from our beloved anglers,” AGFC Director Austin Booth said at the meeting.