Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Does a fish hook dissolve while in a fish, and how long does it take

“Phil, you are an outdoor writer. I’ve got a question. Maybe you can help settle a little argument,” said a fellow fishing friend while several of us were involved in a friendly game of cards.
People often think as an outdoor writer I know a lot about the outdoors. Well, I have some knowledge, but what I really have is lots of friends and sources who do know a lot about it.
So the friend relates that he and another friend were fishing when a bass became hooked in the stomach.
“I always release the bass I catch,” said my friend, Nook (his name), and I almost always can get the hook out without significantly injuring the bass. “I usually can go in through the gill plate and get the hook out.”
He said this time he couldn’t remove the hook, and the question was about how long it would take a hook to dissolve in the fish, and whether, if the hook wouldn’t dissolve quickly,  the fish should be taken home, cleaned and eaten.
He said his fishing companion said he thought the hook would dissolve in the fish in about five days.
My response to Nook was that I am no expert, but that the answer probably is, “It depends.” I said i’d do some checking.
My friend T. J. Stallings is probably one of the best sources around. He is one of the world’s leading experts on fishing-tackle design, He acquired a deep interest in sport fishing while working as a youngster in Tim’s Tackle Box, a popular hangout for Florida anglers his father established in 1971 to sell jigs he designed and made himself. 
Before he was a teenager, T.J. was tying jigs, building custom rods and studying fish behavior. His in-depth knowledge of fishing led to positions with big-name tackle companies such as Shimano, Bass-Assassin and Hildebrandt. He currently works as Director of Marketing for TTI Blakemore Fishing Group, which utilized his concepts for Daiichi Bleeding Bait,  hooks. Stallings is also the co-founder of Crappie NOW Magazine.
According to T.J.,a fish swallowing a hook is a rate occurrence. “Most lost hooks are somewhere in the mouth.”
As to the rusting of dissolving of the hook, he says, “After the finish is scratched, the hook begins to rust quickly. This is the very reason we do not offer a stainless hook. We also refuse to sell a cadmium hook. (Cadmium is very poisonous.)
T.J. said five days to dissolve or rust out a hook was “pretty short. I recall a late nineties study that most hooks rust out in about 29 days”
He added that circle hooks and cam action hooks like the TruTurn reduce released fish mortality.
T.J. also referred the question of Eric Johnson with Florida Fish & Wildlife. “He is the expert I defer to in these matters,” added Stallings.
Eric has been on a hunting trip, and said when he returns he will check his files for any addition data from any recent studies.
However, said in an email, “ I can tell you that we fish biologists in Florida are now recommending that anglers remove hooks from deep-hooked freshwater fish because hooks have better coatings now and don't rust like they did years ago.”

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, 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
  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, and/or 
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.
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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.