Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Friday, January 23, 2015

Yellow perch fun to catch, great to eat

Photo courtesy Idaho Fish & Game
Twelve-year-old Tia Wiese holds a record yellow perch caught through the ice. Yellow perch are excellent eating.

They usually don’t get very big. They travel in schools, and when you find them, they are relatively easy to catch. And, they are great eating., They are yellow perch.
Yellow perch are cousins to the walleye and every bit as good eating. They generally are smaller than walleye, and have a yellow stripped coloration. Yellow perch, walleye and sauger are all members of the perch family.
Several outdoor writer friends recently posted on Facebook the smiling face of 12-year-old Tia Wiese of Idaho with a huge yellow perch she caught through the ice.
It turned out the plump, big yellow perch was not only an Idaho state record, but a world record for a yellow perch caught through the ice using a tipup
(Tip-ups for ice fishing are a way to present live bait to fish without holding on to a rod. Tip-ups allow ice fishermen to fish multiple holes at the same time, fish various depths at once, or work various positions on drop-offs or other bottom structures. Tip-ups are rigged with a small flag that pops up when a fish takes the bait, hence their name.)
Young Tia was ice fishing with her father on Lake Cascade when she pulled a two-pound, 11.68-ounce beauty through the ice.
We don’t see many yellow perch around this area of Kentucky and Indiana. They originally were naturally found in lakes and streams in the northeastern part of the U.S. and across into Canada. However over the years, these fish have been stocked in lakes in nearly every state in the country.
Yellow perch also are known as American perch, ringed perch, striped perch, coon perch and jack perch. They probably also have some other regional and local names.
According to the International Game Fish Association, the all-tackle world record for a yellow perch is four-pounds, three-ounces. It was caught by Dr. C. Abbot, and apparently is the longest standing freshwater fish record in North America, dating back to May 1, 1865. It was caught near Bordertown, N.J.
The Indiana record yellow perch was caught by Roy Burkel from a gravel pit in Vigo County. It dates back to 1981 and weighed two-pounds, eight-ounces.
The Kentucky record yellow perch weighed one-pound, seven-ounces and was caught by Klint Thaxton of Ashland, IL, at Kentucky Lakes in March of 2010.
Yellow perch are delicious with a mild flavor. A one-pound perch is a big fish, but if an angler can find a school of them, they are relatively easy to catch using light tackle.
The perch will hit minnow shaped lures with wiggly tails, and other similar jigs. As to live bait, they like worms, live and dead minnows, and crickets.
While I’ve never lived where yellow perch were available nearby for catching, I enjoyed fishing for them at Aerobus Lake in Northwest Ontario for many years. When the lake trout or northerns weren’t biting. it was time to purse perch.
For me, fishing for yellow perch had a feel of hunting.
At Aerobus, a number of the bays are rather shallow and the water is crystal clear. On a day with calm water, I would float the bay looking for schools of perch. Once I found a school, a cast to them would almost always provide several strikes and fish.
If the school moved on, I would simply try to follow it, or look for another one. I usually caught more small ones that were returned to the lake than keepers, but it was fun and the keeper once filleted and fried golden brown were great eating.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kentucky to assist Wisconsin with elk program over next 3-5 years


Kentucky’s elk reintroduction program has to be considered one of the top modern-day wildlife success stories. If has been highly successful overall, and developed more rapidly than most anyone could have anticipated, except for the planning biologists with a vision.
Now, Kentucky is in a position to help another state with it’s elk program.
Kentucky will help Wisconsin boost its elk herd by providing 150 elk cows, calves and yearling male elk over the next 3-5 years, according to information provided by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources
“Kentucky’s own free-ranging elk herd began with the release of seven elk from Kansas in 1997,” said Commissioner Gregory K. Johnson of the KDFWR. “We eventually released more than 1,500 elk from six states to create a herd of approximately 10,000 elk in Kentucky today.
“It is fitting that we pay this debt forward by partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to help them build their own herd.”
   Wisconsin officials announced the finalized agreement between the two states last week and said they were looking forward to reestablishing their elk population.
Wisconsin will pay the cost of the translocation program. Wisconsin will also assist Kentucky financially in the development of forest habitat projects in eastern Kentucky that will benefit wildlife, with a special emphasis placed on ruffed grouse.
“This will enhance our current forest management efforts in eastern Kentucky, which is critical for improving ruffed grouse populations,” explained Chris Garland, acting Wildlife Director for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
“Cooperation is how wildlife agencies do business,” added Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Elk and Deer Program Coordinator Gabe Jenkins. “Agencies help each other for the benefit of all.”
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which was instrumental in the establishment of Kentucky’s elk herd, will supply additional support.
Elk trappers in the coming weeks will focus on areas with the highest number of complaints about nuisance elk. Only cows, calves and yearling male elk will be relocated.
Elk will be held in quarantine in Kentucky for disease testing before being transported to Wisconsin for the calving season. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources employees will assist with the trapping, disease testing and elk caretaking while the animals remain in Kentucky.
This old writer feels fortunate he was able to spend some time back in 2000 with KDFWR biologists Charlie Logsdon and Dan Crank as the elk herd began to grow.
It was the dedication, and hard work of these biologists and others who had the vision to bring the elk program to Kentucky, which now will expand to grow others.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bills introduced in Michigan to prohibit drones for scouting game

     Drone aircraft are becoming increasingly popular these days. People are flying them in lots of places for lots of reasons, even for hunting purposes.
     A pair of bills slated for a hearing in the Michigan  House Natural Resources Committee would prohibit the use of remote flying devices by hunters to locate game animals, according to the Detroit Free Press.
     If passed, Michigan would join Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico and Montana, which have already banned drone use by hunters. The measures are supported by the state's largest sportsman's group, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC).

Public access a concern of anglers


Fishing is a popular outdoor sports activity. It’s fun to catch fish, and they are good on the dinner table..
Catching fish is an activity which can be enjoyed alone, fishing with friends, and fishing with family. 
And while anglers can spend considerable money on equipment and fishing trips, it is an activity that can be enjoyed with very little investment or expense.
Despite fishing’s popularity, the sport isn’t without challenges that limit even more folks enjoying this activity, which has great tradition, according to a national outdoor sports organization.
In exploring what threats to fishing are of the greatest concern or have impacted today’s anglers the most, AnglerSurvey.com posed the question in one of its bimonthly surveys.
  When asked, “What is the biggest problem facing fishing today?” 20 percent of respondents cited access to water as being the top concern.
  “With increasing regularity, federal agencies and uninformed politicians unnecessarily close access to our public waters. But recreational anglers are conservation stewards, and our nation’s waterways can be conserved while we, our friends and families continue to fish,” says Liz Ogilvie, director of Keep America Fishing with the American Sportfishing Association.
Keep America Fishing serves as the unified voice of the American angler and works to keep the nation’s public water resources open, clean and abundant with fish, according to the organization.
  After access, water quality was the second biggest concern among sportsmen with nearly 16 percent citing that as the major problem. Additional concerns included:
15 percent cited invasive fish or marine species
14 percent said there were too many disruptive and competing activities on the water
9 percent blamed over regulation
8 percent said there are not enough fish
8 percent cited the cost to fish
8 percent weren’t sure, and
4 percent cited too many anglers.
  “The recreational fishing community faces continual policy challenges that affect fishing opportunity, on the national, state and local levels,” says Ogilvie. “We need all anglers to get involved to make sure our collective interests are represented when key decisions are made that affect anglers’ ability to enjoy our natural resources.”
We are fortunate in this area to have considerable public access for fishing. Specific information on where to fish can be found at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Fish & Wildlife website.
We are fortunate in this area to have considerable public access for fishing. Specific information on where to fish can be found at the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources website. Information can be found under fishing. There even is a screen to help find access in local areas throughout the state.
  Keep America Fishing is organized by the American Sportfishing Association. For more information on Keep America Fishing, visit its website at keepamericafishing.org.
  To help continually improve, protect and advance hunting, shooting and other outdoor recreation, all sportsmen and sportswomen are encouraged to participate in the bi-monthly surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and/or AnglerSurvey.com. 
Every other month, participants who complete the surveys are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.
# # # #
EAGLE WATCH -- View and learn about eagles in Indiana with indoor and outdoor programs at Patoka Lake Visitors Center on Saturday, Jan. 10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST during the annual EagWatch. 
The event will feature a live bald eagle and other raptors. Patoka Lake interpretive naturalist Dana Reckelhoff will explain the life of eagles. Todd Eubank, Patoka Lake wildlife specialist, will lead a car caravan to likely spots for eagle viewing. 
Advance registration is required with a $5-per-person program fee. Participants age 5 and younger are free. Participants should dress for the weather and bring binoculars, spotting scopes, and cameras if they have them. 
For more information, call (812) 685-2447.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Dogs important part of Christmas, but what do they think about the festivities



Dogs have always been an important part of our Christmas and holiday season. To the Junkers, they are family.
The dogs at the Junker house have also played an important role as have the dogs at the homes of other family members. That includes: Duke, Ripley, and Kyann.
Our dogs have traveled with us to Christmas events, puppies have pulled ornaments from trees, they have had their own stocking, received gifts, and disliked New Year’s fireworks.
The dogs are part of everything we do. They are always there when kids and grandkids gather around the tree or dinner table.
Our relatively new rescue dog Missy is fitting right in with her first Christmas with us. Christmas shopping is done except for her.
A friend, knowing our love of dogs, a number of years ago sent me a funny item, which probably came off the internet. It relates a dog’s perspective of Christmas. I know my dog must think we are a bit wacky whether at Christmas or any other time.
The advice to dogs (supposedly from another dog) follows:
1. Be especially patient with your humans during this time. They may appear to be more stressed-out than usual and they will appreciate long comforting dog leans or rubs. 
2. They may come home with large bags of things they call gifts. Do not assume that all the gifts are yours. 
3. Be tolerant if your humans put decorations on you. They seem to get some special kind of pleasure out of seeing how you look with fake antlers. 
4. They may bring a large tree into the house and set it up in a prominent place and cover it with lights and decorations. Bizarre as this may seem to you, it is an important ritual for your humans, so there are some things you need to know: 
* Don't pee on the tree * Don't drink water in the container that holds the tree (It could make you sick)* Mind your tail when you are near the tree * If there are packages under the tree, even ones that smell interesting or that have your name on them, don't rip them open * Don't chew on the cord that runs from the funny-looking hole in the wall to the tree 
5. Your humans may occasionally invite lots of strangers to come visit during this season. These parties can be lots of fun, but they also call for some discretion on your part: * Not all strangers appreciate kisses and leans * Don't eat off the buffet table * Beg for goodies subtly * Be pleasant, even if unknowing strangers sit on your sofa * Don't drink out of glasses that are left within your reach 
6. Likewise, your humans may take you visiting. Here your manners will also be important: * Observe all the rules in #4 for trees that may be in other people's houses. (4a is particularly important) * Respect the territory of other animals that may live in the house * Tolerate children * Turn on your charm big time 
7. A big man with a white beard and a very loud laugh may emerge from your fireplace in the middle of the night. DON'T BITE HIM!!! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 has raced buy; still some time for last minute Christmas shopping


Where has the year gone? How can Christmas be just a few days away?
Time is running out for Christmas gifts suggestions, but here are some thoughts from this old guy with a white beard, and I’m not Santa.
I’ve always thought it is easy to find gifts for outdoors people, and a recent news release prepared by my friend Tammy Sapp at Bass Pro Shops, and formerly public relations vice president at the National Wild Turkey Federation, echoed some of my previous thoughts.
“For some folks, getting that perfect Christmas gift for a friend or family member can be a chore. The presents themselves may make your eyes roll to the back of your head and the shopping venue may not inspire either. 
“However, shopping for Christmas gifts for those who enjoy camping, fishing, boating, hunting, target shooting or other outdoor activity is not only easier, it’s actually a lot of fun,” wrote Tammy. 
Here’s why:
1) There is no documented evidence of a hunter, angler, boater, target shooter or camper who has everything. There are approximately a gazillion ways to enjoy the outdoors and the specialized gear to do that numbers in the jillions of gazillions. Suffice to say you’ll never run out of gift ideas. Ever.
2) If you’re an outdoor enthusiast yourself, shopping for other outdoor lovers is awesome when you apply the mathematical “one for you, one for me” gifting rule. Fun!
3) Your favorite hunter or angler will appreciate a gift that the average person would shun. Even presents that smell bad makes them happy. A bottle of deer pee? Yes, bring it on! Stinkbait for catfish? Please and thank you!
4) This may sound a little self-serving but gift giving to the outdoor lover can be a gateway to an amazing product testing gig. For example, give a friend some goose decoys, and you could find yourself in a layout blind waiting for some honkers to drop in. The gift of assorted crankbaits could translate into a day on the water helping the recipient fill the live well. What’s not to love?”
Tammy also listed a Bass Pro site where Christmas gift ideas can be found:
LOCAL SHOPS -- Local stores that carry outdoor equipment also are fun and good places to shop. People at these stores usually know what is popular and what is being sought by outdoor people in the local area.
KDFWR CERTIFICATE -- Consider a gift certificate from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Available online at fw.ky.gov, it functions much like a gift card. Recipients have five years from the date of purchase to redeem it online for licenses and permits, Kentucky Afield magazine subscriptions, Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area passes or summer camp registration fees.
For the avid hunter-angler, the Sportsman’s license offers a considerable savings compared to purchasing licenses and permits separately. It bundles a combination hunting and fishing license, statewide deer permit, spring and fall turkey permits, state migratory game bird-waterfowl permit and a trout permit at a cost of $95. 
A Junior Sportsman’s license for Kentucky residents ages 12-15 includes a youth hunting license, two junior deer permits and two junior turkey permits for $30. The new license year starts March 1, 2015.
While visiting Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s online home, check out the Kentucky Afield store. There, you can find some of the same apparel worn on the television show hosted by Tim Farmer, and find information if you’re interested in purchasing past episodes. The deer processing DVD is good for new and experienced deer hunters alike.
STOCKING STUFFERS -- Fishing lures, pocket knives, disposable hand warmers, small flashlights, and many others items you will find at your local fishing and hunting store will make good stocking stuffers.
BEST GIFT -- Give of your time and talent to a child, parent, friend. Just give them a card entitling them to a free day of hunting or fishing with you. It could be a weekend where you make the arrangements, or just a day at a local farm pond. Time and friendship is one of the best and most valuable gifts you can give.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Coyotes now found in every state


Yip, yips and howls from coyotes are fascinating and errie sounds. Once rarely heard in much of the Midwest, now the somewhat mournful sounds are common in every U. S. state. They frequently are heard at the edge of towns.
Many people believe that as deer populations have rebounded over the past half century, the coyote numbers have followed them.
Distinctive in appearance, coyotes have pointed noses, pointed ears that always stand erect, and fluffy tails, typically held low. Males can weigh up to 50 pounds, but most coyotes are smaller. In the eastern US, coyotes are typically darker in color, with tan, brown and black fur.
Coyotes spread their range eastward from the Plains and Mountain West, filling the ecological niche of the gray wolf and red wolf, native species that no longer exist here. Researchers believe the migration of coyotes into the southeastern US began in the 1950s.
Indiana DNR furbearer biologist recently prepared a report of coyotes for the 2015 Hunting & Trapping regulations. An abridged version follows:
“Coyotes adjust to landscape, including urban areas...Personal experiences shape our attitudes toward most wildlife. This is especially true for coyotes.
Thoughts range from worthless varmint that should be removed completely to a beautiful creature deserving of protection.
One thing for sure – Indiana is coyote country. Coyotes are a native species once limited to the prairie regions of western Indiana. Reports of coyotes in Indiana began to increase in the 1970s.
They have adjusted to the landscape changes and now are common in all Indiana counties, including many urban areas. For some Hoosiers, this is old news. For others, the sight of a coyote is new and little is known about how to live with this species.
Certainly, I have spent considerable time listening to them at Yellow Bank Wildlife Management Area across from Derby and up river from Derby. I’ve heard them a lot and seen them rarely.
The DNR has a full list of tips to minimize conflicts with coyotes.
If coyotes can find water and shelter, they will find something to eat. Their natural diet includes berries, birds, vegetation, rabbits, deer fawns, and animal remains, but they mostly eat small mammals such as mice, moles, and voles. Reducing the local rodent populations is a benefit to landowners that is often forgotten when talking about coyotes.
Studies have found that coyotes in urban areas have the same general needs as coyotes in rural areas. Human-supplied food items such as household garbage and garden vegetables, as well as domestic animals and pet food, have become part of their diet.
When there is plenty of food, coyote populations expand quickly. Coyotes breed in January and February, and pups are born in a den during March or April. A litter can be as few as one pup or exceed 10, with the average around five.
Small, undisturbed green spaces are all that coyotes need for a den site. A typical den is made underground with a pie-pan-sized entrance that opens into a larger area.
Coyotes usually form breeding pairs and raise their pups together. Lone coyotes do occur, especially in the fall when younger animals leave to establish their own territory. Breeding pairs will establish a territory and defend this area from other coyotes. Occasionally, yearling coyotes will remain with the breeding pair and new pups. When this occurs, it’s called a “group” rather than a “pack.”
Coyote discussions often revolve around conflicts. In rural areas conflicts include loss of livestock and pets or reaction to a trail camera capturing a coyote hauling off a deer fawn. Urban conflicts are focused on attacks on pets, concerns for safety, and fear of the unknown.
The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife manages trapping and hunting seasons for coyotes (Oct. 15 through March 15, 2015). The seasons are not meant to remove every animal, but they do provide a good, low-cost way to manage coyotes while giving hunters and trappers opportunities to pursue coyotes.
Coyotes also can be taken outside of these seasons on private land.