More ominous news on the Asian carp invasion front: Asian carp eggs were recently found in the Upper Mississippi River near Lynxville, Wis., about 20 miles south of the Minnesota border.
The finding included late-stage embryos nearly ready to hatch. The U.S. Geological Survey collected the samples last year and reported the findings Monday.
"This discovery means that Asian carp spawned much farther north in the Mississippi than previously recorded," Leon Carl, USGS Midwest Regional Director, said in a news release. "The presence of eggs in the samples indicates that spawning occurred, but we do not know if eggs hatched and survived or whether future spawning events would result in live fish."
According to the release, the Asian carp eggs and late-stage embryos were discovered two weeks ago while processing samples that were collected last year. The samples were taken as part of a larger research project designed to identify Asian carp spawning habitats. The eggs and late-stage embryos were 250 river miles upstream of previously known reproductive populations in the river.
And spawning would have occurred upstream from this site.
Here's more from the release:
Once the scientists visually identified the eggs, they examined other samples taken from the Mississippi River and found Asian carp eggs at seven locations between Pool 19 near Keokuk, Iowa, and Pool 9 of the main channel of the Upper Mississippi River near Lynxville. Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin border the navigation pools where these samples were collected.
The eggs and late-stage embryos were identified as bigheaded carps — either bighead carp or silver carp — through visual analyses of specific features of the eggs and embryos. It is also possible that some eggs could be from grass carp, although no eggs were visually identified as such. The USGS attempted genetic analyses to definitively determine which species of Asian carp the eggs belong to, but the results were inconclusive. Additional steps are being completed to attempt genetic confirmation, and those results are expected in one to two weeks.
The research project that collected these eggs is being coordinated by the USGS in collaboration with Western Illinois University. Scientists plan to collect additional samples from the Mississippi River in 2014 as part of their on-going research project.
"Invasive Asian carp could pose substantial environmental risks and economic impacts to the Upper Mississippi River if they become established," Carl said. "Further research will help us to better understand their habitat requirements and inform integrated control efforts."
For more information on Asian carp research, visit the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) website. The ACRCC is a partnership of federal and state agencies, municipalities and other groups, led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Concerned about the deer population in your hunting area?
Beginning next week, hunters can to attend one of a series of listening sessions jointly hosted by the Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA).
“We’ve been hearing that deer numbers are too low and this year’s severe winter is exacerbating those concerns in many regions of the state,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “These listening sessions will give deer hunters and the general public an opportunity to communicate directly with DNR staff who make deer management decisions.”
“Deer populations and health are important to MDHA members and all deer hunters,” said Mark Johnson, MDHA executive director. “We’re pleased to be able to offer these meetings so people regardless of their affiliation or interest can express their opinions on deer populations.”
All listening sessions will be from 7-9 p.m. Meetings are scheduled in:
Online comments also will be accepted beginning March 19 at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
When whitetail bucks fight, several outcomes are possible.
One deer gives up and runs off. One deer might be seriously wounded or even killed in the encounter. And occasionally the bucks will lock antlers during the fight, spelling doom for both.
Rarely do people find or witness such an event. But a Kansas man last month encountered two nine-point bucks whose antlers were solidly locked. Amazingly one of the deer had been mostly eaten, apparently by coyotes, while the other was exhausted from the struggle but uninjured and still entangled with carcass.
The Kansas City Star posted the story and incredible video the guy took with his cellphone of him trying to release the ensnared buck. Check it out:
Pelican Lake in Wright County – a fishing hotspot for several years but one destined to change – has been open to liberalized fishing for the next nine days.
That means anglers can keep as many fish as they want for personal use.
The Department of Natural Resources announced the change on Friday, and said liberalized bag limits will continue until sunset March 9. The reason: Low oxygen levels likely will result in winterkill of fish in the lake, so officials figure anglers might as well utilize them.
The DNR says the early onset and bitter cold of winter 2013-14 have combined to make some shallow lakes susceptible to winterkill, which is created when sunlight is unable to penetrate the ice and oxygen levels in the water drop.
Fish are often unable to survive in these low-oxygen conditions. Such lakes are opened so the public can make use of these fish, which are otherwise likely to die. Tests conducted on Pelican on Friday showed oxygen levels less than 1 part per million throughout the lake.
I just fished the lake and wrote about it and the plans by the DNR to drastically lower the water levels over the next couple years to restore waterfowl habitat. That likely means the end-of-the-line as a fishery. Here's a link to that story:
Here's more from DNR:
On a lake open to liberalized fishing, licensed resident anglers may take for personal use all species of fish, in any quantity and in any manner, except with the use of seines, hoopnets, fyke nets or explosives. Rough fish such as bullheads, carp, suckers, and buffalo fish may be sold. If used, all gill nets must have metal tags affixed to the net stating the operator's name and address; the tags must be attached to one end of the float line near the first float. Each tag must be a minimum of 2-1/2 inches by 5/8 inches.
Anglers are reminded that they must obey all laws regarding trespassing on private property, and that it is against the law to discard fish on shore or on the ice.
For the latest information on lakes that are open to liberalized fishing and for detailed information about those lakes, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/fishing/liberalized/index.html.
Scott Swanson of Golden Valley caught the biggest eelpout, an 11.98-pound dandy. With him is Jason Freed, a guide with Leisure Outdoor Adventures, which runs the contest.
Cold weather reduced turnout but not the enthusiasm at the International Eelpout Festival last weekend on Leech Lake.
An estimated 9,000 to 10,000 folks showed up for the 35th annual event at Walker. Anglers registered 340 eelpout that weighed a total of 1,134 pounds. Scott Swanson of Golden Valley caught the biggest eelpout, an 11.98-pounder.
Chelsea Brunklow of Sartell caught the second largest, a 11.29-pounder.
But perhaps the most excitement occurred Friday night, when a fire destroyed a fish house and nearby pickup truck on the ice. No one was injured. Here's YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw2HUkeVHB8
Here's a photo, below, of Chelsea Brunklow and her fish.