Fishermen, recreational boaters, campers and all lake dwellers have been concerned this week as to an ongoing die-off of Asian carp along Kentucky Lake. Big numbers have been seen floating and washing up on shorelines.
While most have voiced concern as to the encroachment of this non-native species and view the die-off as somewhat of a mixed blessing, there is also concern as to just what’s causing it.
So far, no game fish or other species have experienced problems. Fishery biologists with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife are aware of the scenario and have been taking tissue samples this week to better address the situation.
Samples have been sent to regional laboratories to help determine the specific cause of the die-off. Right now, state fishery biologists do not have specific answers, but once evaluations of tissues samples are completed, it will better address what’s going on.
The advancement of Asian carp has been a concern for several years both here and elsewhere throughout the Mississippi River drainage.
Asian carp feed on zooplankton within the water column, and biologists across the country have been sounding the alarm of concern for many years. They compete with other fish species, especially paddlefish and other young of the year species, for microscopic morsels and often invade an area and displace other game fish. They have two real enemies.
The Asian carp — there are two main species comprised of big head (black) and silver — are already abundant within the Barkley and Kentucky Lake area. The silver is the one that jumps and spooks quite easily.
Bass and crappie fishermen do not like the advancement of Asian carp within reservoirs. Small tributaries and oxbow lakes that have witnessed the Asian carp invasion have seen sport fishing diminish dramatically.
Not too many tears are being shed by the sport fishing community, but it is somewhat of a mystery why this one species is experiencing a massive die-off and other species have not.
Stay tuned as there’s a lot more information forthcoming addressing the Asian carp saga.
FISH FRY FISHING RODEO
The World’s Biggest Fish Fry Junior Fishing Rodeo is fast approaching. Mark your calendar for April 29 as youngsters ages 12 and under will return to Williams Lake, located just off Chickasaw Street, for the annual event.
Hours of the rodeo will be 11 a.m. -1 p.m. Entry forms are available at WBFF headquarters, which is located on Wood Street in the parking lot of Paris Inn and Suites. The event is free.
Kids are asked to bring their completed forms to the rodeo itself. Prizes will be awarded to boys and girls in the age brackets of 4 and under, 5-8 and 9-12 years old.
Participants must bring their own bait and tackle. For additional information, call WBFF headquarters at 644-1143.
HENRY COUNTY GUN CLUB CLINIC
Henry County Gun Club, 1995 Goldston Springs Road in Puryear, will host a two-day Appleseed Rifle Clinic at the range on April 29-30.
Appleseed events offer the best precision rifle marksmanship instruction available anywhere. And the cost is only a fraction of that for any other weekend of any kind of firearms training.
The fee schedule is: adults, $60; youths under 18, $20; and active military, reserves, guardsmen and law enforcement officers, as well as elected officials and disabled persons, $20 with ID. There will be a $5 per day range fee for everyone. It is a family-friendly event, so bring the whole family.
For additional information on the event, contact Don Duncan at 270-753-7104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FISHING COMMENT DEADLINE
The Sunday deadline is approaching for submitting comments to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for its 2018 fishing regulations. This is an opportunity for the public to share ideas and concerns about fishing regulations with TWRA staff.
Public comments will be considered by fisheries managers and may be presented as proposals for regulation changes.
Comments may be submitted by mail to: Attn: Fisheries Division-Comments, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, P.O. Box 40747, Nashville 37204 or emailed to email@example.com. Please include “Fish Comments” on the subject line of emailed submissions.
This year, the TWRA Fisheries Division will present the proposed regulations at the August meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. The commission will set the regulations at its September meeting. There will be a public comment period on the proposed regulations between those meetings.
Around 10 a.m. on April 2, Henry County TWRA Officers Greg Barker and Steve Brewer responded to a call regarding illegal turkey hunting on Freeland Road in the Buchanan area of Henry County. Upon arrival one wild turkey was discovered that had been shot and killed.
Upon further investigation, two individuals were questioned and charged with shooting and killing two wild turkeys with a .22 caliber rifle from their motor vehicle, a 2003 Ford Focus, while traveling Freeland Road. They further admitted to shooting at another turkey just a short distance down the road but not hitting that turkey.
Austin B. Elkins, 22, of Buchanan and Tracy L. Pritchett, 21, of Dexter, Ky., were both charged with five wildlife violations each. They appeared in Henry County General Sessions Court before Judge Vicky Snyder on April 13 and entered guilty pleas on all charges in a plea agreement with the State of Tennessee and Assistant District Attorney General Adam Jowers.
The agreement was as follows:
• Shooting from a public road, $50 fine and $260.50 court costs.
• Hunting from a motor vehicle, $50 fine and $260.50 court costs.
• Violation of manner and means of hunting, $50 fine and $260.50 court costs.
• llegal taking and possessing wild turkeys, $50 fine. No court costs assessed on this charge.
• Hunting without a license, charge dismissed.
• Hunting privileges suspended for two years.
Elkins had to pay an additional $1,000 in restitution for the turkeys.
Both individuals were placed on unsupervised probation for six months.
NATIONAL PARKS SETS RECORD
Recently during National Park Week, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the record visitation of 331 million visitors at America’s 417 National Park Service sites contributed $34.9 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016 — a $2.9 billion increase from 2015.
According to the annual peer-reviewed economics report, 2016 National Park Visitor Spending Effects, the strong economic output is attributed to record visitation and visitor spending in “gateway” communities near national park entrances. The report also found visitor spending supported 318,000 jobs in 2016, with the vast majority of them defined as local jobs, including those in the hospitality, retail, transportation and recreation industries.
More than 270,000 of the jobs supported by visitor spending in 2016 exist in the communities that lie within 60 miles of a park. These range from big parks like Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and North Carolina, which attracted 11.3 million people and supported more than 14,600 jobs, to smaller parks like Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in New Hampshire that attracted more than 42,000 visitors and supported 34 jobs.
April 23 — TWRA fishing comment deadline.
April 29-30 — Appleseed Rifle Clinic, Henry County Gun Club, Puryear.
April 29 — World Biggest Fish Fry Junior Fishing Rodeo, Williams Lake.
April 30 — Tennessee Team Bass Tournament Circuit, PLSP.