Category Archives: Inland Fisheries

Cutting Deep – Commercial Fishermen killing one trout to save another in Yellowstone National Park

“Everything in Yellowstone National Park is a controversy,” says Dan Wenk, Yellowstone National Park superintendent. “And I’m glad it is because it means people care.” One of the things they care about is what’s going on in Yellowstone Lake. That’s where a commercial fishing crew from the Great Lakes region is catching lake trout with up to 40 miles of netting. This is the epicenter of the angry visitor’s angst. Lake trout are not native to the park. An angler caught the first one in 1994. By mid 2000s, lake trout had eaten 90 to 95 percent of the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the lake. Commercial gillnetting to kill lake trout went gangbusters in 2009. “The problem is lake trout are like large wolves on the landscape, only in the lake,” Koel says. “Large, highly predatory, fish-eating machines essentially.” Click here to read the story 12:01

Federal agents raid home of southern Indiana fisherman

The stillness in the air off Zoo Road in English on Monday sounded like a stark contrast to the chaos David Cox described at his nearby home. “They was hollering, ‘David! David!'” Cox recalled. “And there was as many as you could possibly put on my stairway with assault rifles and down here on the ground pointing them at me.”Last Wednesday, a raid from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife brought roughly 50 agents to his front door. They came after an illegal fish. “I said, ‘You serve all your warrants like this for an illegal fish?'” Cox said. Cox is a commercial fisherman who owns Midwest Caviar and combs the Ohio River for paddlefish. He says he recently found out an informant or undercover agent was on his boat last season in Troy, Indiana, when a fish came into question. Video, click here to read the story 19:27

The Fisherman Who Saved Fishtown

Fishtown looks as it did a half-century ago, when it was simply a fishing port. The commercial fishing boats, the Janice Sue and the Joy, bob slightly on gentle wakes left by charter boats heading out of the river. And smoke drifting from the crooked-arm chimneys of a smokehouse beside the white clapboard Carlson’s Fisheries is a sign that the business of fish mongering is well underway. Inside, a second pot of coffee is brewing in the big Bunn coffeemaker, and a hundred pounds of whitefish have just lost their pinbones to the deft hands of four Carlsons: Bill Carlson, owner of the fishery and of Fishtown, his wife Jennifer, his son Clay, and his great nephew, Chris Herman. Clad in suspenderes foul-weather pants, streaked now in blood, the foursome has worked shoulder-to-shoulder for over an hour. They banter as they work—Bill quips that his white hair is really blonde, turned from eating too much fish.  Good read, click here to read the story 08:00

Progress made on invasive Asian carp in Kentucky thanks to Commercial Fishermen

Asian carp have been a big problem in our state. For years now, the KDFWR has worked with commercial fisherman, private fish processors and others in efforts to remove the Asian carp from our waters. Since 2015, three processors have been established, and their facilities have led to the harvest of more than 1.2 million pounds of Asian carp in 2015; more than 800,000 pounds from Kentucky and Barkley lakes. These processors are putting a big dent into this large population and are taking a fish that is unwanted in our waterways and putting them to use by processing them into food to ship overseas. In March, Two Rivers Fisheries in Wickliffe announced it was expanding. The plant doubled production in the past year, processing more than four million Asian carp to ship the fillets overseas and to use in fertilizers. click here to read the story 10:32

Historic Great Lakes fishing tug Palmer dismantled at former Azarian Marina

A crew from Vassh Excavating and Grading began work Friday to dismantle the historic Palmer, a 90-year-old commercial fishing boat. The Great Lakes fishing tug was carved out of the ice on the Root River in January after the boat sank at its slip at the Pugh Marina in late December near the State Street Bridge. The crew began work to demolish the 47-foot long, 13-foot-wide Palmer by hauling debris out of the boat. After they complete their work, only the metal shell of the Palmer will remain. Once all the boat’s debris has been removed, the shell will be hauled from the former Azarian Marina site off Water Street. When demolishing the boat, Vassh’s crew began to uncover a treasure trove of historic items, including three steering wheels in nearly perfect condition, eight porthole windows, a lamp from 1896, various old wood carvings and books from the 1920s. They also located the original 1926 lights, a Case motor and Twin Disc transmission. click here to see images, video, and read the story  13:24

Telling it like it is! NOAA has done enough already and has failed in spectacular fashion

One wonders why a Marine Sanctuary is needed to protect shipwrecks.  Sanctuaries are usually established to protect ecosystems.  The typical reason for establishing a Sanctuary off our shores is inapplicable because our native ecosystem has been destroyed. After the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959 NOAA was assigned the responsibility of protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species, essentially making the entire region a sanctuary.  NOAA has failed in spectacular fashion.,, NOAA allowed the Lamprey Eel and Alewife into our native waters shortly after the Seaway opened. These and other foreigners decimated our native fishery.  Smelt survived until the 1980’s but now they too have been displaced by some other invasive species that NOAA failed to protect us from, was it the Quagga Mussel or the Round Gobi? (must read) Click here to read the letter. 10:04

TAC increase brings optimistic times for Lake Erie commercial fishery

The Canada-U.S. committee that manages the fishery likes the recent research data it has seen. As a result, the Lake Erie Committee has increased the amount of yellow perch and walleye commercial fishermen are allowed to catch this year. The total allowable catch for yellow perch has been pegged at 10.4 million pounds. This is a 13 percent increase over 2016. The numbers are even better for walleye, which is commonly served in lakeshore restaurants as pickerel. As a top predator in the lake, walleye are managed as individuals and not by weight. The Lake Erie Committee will allow 5.924 million walleye to be harvested this year. That’s a 20 percent increase over 2016. click here to read the story 09:38

Commercial fishermen catch carp and more in the cold waters at Point Douglas.

It was cold and windy on March 21 when Jim Shiely went down to the beach across from his home in Prescott. Waves washed against the sand. The commercial fishermen were out in their big broad-beamed boats and chest waders, hauling in nets full of rough fish: a writhing mass of suckers, sheepshead, and assorted bottom-feeders. “No paddlefish that I saw,” Jim wrote. “Saw one good sized musky which the MN DNR weighed and measured around 44 inches and one small sturgeon. A lot of quillback, all of which they threw back. Saw a nice number of huge walleyes, which of course are thrown back along with all other game fish.” view the photo gallery, read the rest here 08:38

Bill would prohibit fish farming in US Great Lakes waters

A member of Congress is sponsoring a bill to prohibit fish farming in waters of the Great Lakes within the United States. Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan says poorly operated aquaculture facilities can increase pollution, destroy fish habitat, spread disease and introduce non-native species. Michigan has received proposals for net-like commercial fishing enclosures in the Great Lakes. There are none in U.S. Great Lakes waters at present, although Canada has allowed them. Kildee’s bill also would ban aquaculture on rivers designated as wild and scenic, unless the facilities are shown not to discharge pollutants into the rivers. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently granted a permit to expand a fish farm on the Au Sable River in Grayling. The Au Sable is a wild and scenic river. Link 10:30

Commercial ice fishermen in Rice County Minnesota remove carp by the truckload

February fishing in Faribault is nothing new. Ice fishing houses routinely dot Rice County’s lakes in this frigid month as intrepid outdoorsmen continue their Minnesotan search for the perfect fish. Unusual in this deeply-rooted ice fishing culture is a semi-truck, left idling next to Cannon Lake in the parking lot of Shager Park outside Faribault. On its side, the trailer reads simply, “FISH,” which is all one needs to know about the contents of its load. While Faribault’s anglers are surely prolific with a line and a lure, nobody who takes their pickup on Cannon Lake on a Friday afternoon could fill this semi. Bruce Geyer, a commercial fisherman from Waterville, can. On Friday, Geyer took away an enormous load of carp, sheepshead and ictiobus, which are more commonly known as buffalo. Earlier in the week, Geyer lifted 20,000 pounds of carp, 5,000 pounds of sheepshead and nearly 500 pounds of buffalo. On Friday, he estimated that the day’s load dwarfed that of earlier in the week. Photos, continue reading the story here 10:16

All 12 crew members of sunken longliner rescued

Three helicopters and three lifeboats were launched after a distress signal of the “Gure Uxua” from Cariño (A Coruña), was received on Feb 3, 2017, at 3:26 p.m. upon returning home from fishing grounds off France. An SAR operation startedoff the coast of Luarca extending to Navia. All seven Galician and five Portuguese crew members of the fishing vessel that sank in the afternoon off the northern coast of Spain have been rescued alive by 5.30 p.m. The “Gure Uxua” went down 50 miles off the coast of Navia in Asturias. The crew abandoned ship into a raft. Read the story here 12:53

REWARD!! Michigan DNR Offers Big Reward For Plan To Block Invasive Fish

If the fishing world had a most-wanted list, Asian carp surely top it. There are plenty of despised invasives plaguing U.S. waters, but how many of them have a $1 million dollar bounty on their heads? That’s what the Michigan Department of Natural Resources just dropped on the table. Show the agency a viable plan for stopping those silver and big head carp from reaching the Great Lakes and you could be eligible for a sweet payday. In case you haven’t already heard the tale, Asian carp are prolific breeders that can reach 50-pounds. The filter-feeding invasives consume massive amounts of the tiny plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) that feed native forage species, along with juvenile sport fish such as walleye and yellow perch. Disrupting the food web can wreak havoc on local fisheries. Read the story here with link to DNR 12:21

In photos: Historic Great Lakes fishing tug Palmer is removed from the Root River

The Palmer, a Great Lakes fishing tug, is removed from the Root River Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, after the boat sank in late December near the State Street Bridge. The boat is a wood-hulled commercial fishing boat built by Sturgeon Bay Boat Works in 1926. According to the website Fishing Vessels of the Great Lakes, it was built for Alfred Shellswick of Waukegan, Ill., who fished with it until 1935. Click here to view 22 more photo’s 08:44

Concerns linger over Lake Superior’s historic herring fishery

Minnesota fisheries managers are concerned about the long term health of the lake herring fishery in Lake Superior. Biologists worry not enough young herring are surviving to sustain the fishery, while at the same time demand for the fish has spiked. Minnesota’s 25 or so commercial fishermen who ply the waters off the North Shore have caught a lot fewer cisco in recent years. The herring, or cisco, fishery is always unpredictable, said Steve Dahl, a commercial fisherman who works out of the Knife River marina on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The last few falls have been tough for Dahl, whose nets have yielded fewer herring at a crucial time of year. This year was different, though. “November was really good, one of the better ones I’ve had,” he said. “Towards the end I sort of got overwhelmed, it was just too much.” Read the story here 11:21

Invasive Asian carp less than 50 miles from Lake Michigan

The news is mixed as Great Lake states and the federal government continue to devote money and brainpower to stopping a potential Great Lakes ecological disaster — invasive Asian carp species making their way from the Mississippi River into Lake Michigan. First the good news: The leading edge of the mass of bighead and silver carp hasn’t made much progress lately up the Mississippi and connected rivers toward Lake Michigan. Now the bad news: The younger fish — juveniles — are moving closer, the evidence shows. And they can do more damage. “The bottom line is that the juvenile front is advancing, and made a big jump last year,” said Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the nonprofit Alliance for the Great Lakes. “And we still don’t have a permanent solution in place that’s going to solve this problem.” Read the story here 08:59

Floating factory vessel to process Invasive Asian Carp in Tennessee

Leaping from rivers and lakes like aquatic projectiles and ravaging the food base of native fish, Asian carp are loathed by outdoors enthusiasts and state wildlife officials alike for being not just a nuisance, but a threat to boating and fishing industries worth $2.9 billion and $2.1 billion, respectively, in Tennessee. Enter Joe Gillas. He sees the invasive fish as an opportunity. Gillas’ company, Riverine Fisheries International, plans to moor a factory fishing vessel at the Port of Cates Landing, located on the Mississippi River near Tiptonville, Tennessee, about 100 miles north of Memphis. The nearly 350-foot-long boat would process Asian carp caught in the Mississippi and other rivers and lakes into food products to be exported to some 20 countries, including China and Russia. “I think there’s a good business model here,” said Gillas, 53, who was born and raised in Alaska and has fished all over the world. “I think we can do something good and make money at the same time.” Read the story here 08:35

Historical Society donates fishing tug to Knife River

A historical landmark paying homage to the North Shore’s once-thriving commercial fishing industry began its journey Wednesday back to where it was built in 1939. After sitting on the shore of Agate Bay in Two Harbors for 26 years, the fishing tug Crusader II was lifted off its supports, placed on a trailer and hauled off to Knife River in the hopes of restoring it to its former glory. “We are basically giving the Crusader back to the community of Knife River as a Christmas present more or less,” Mel Sando, director of the Lake County Historical Society, said as he watched a crew from Knife River Marina secure the boat to the trailer. Used primarily for catching herring in Lake Superior, the Crusader II was built in Larsmont by Reuben and Helmer Hill and was christened in Knife River by Crown Prince Olav of Norway during his visit to the North Shore, according to the Historical Society. “A group from Knife River approached the Historical Society and asked if they could have the boat back,” Sando said. “We recognize that they are in a much better position to provide good stewardship for the boat.” Read the story here 14:47

Video Report: Ride along with the largest commercial fishing operation in Michigan

lake-huron-fisheryA major player in Michigan’s commercial fishing industry, Serafin Fisery, is located in Pinconning. Dana Serafin runs the business with his father, Jerry. Jerry tells us, he’s been doing this since he was a boy in the 1960s and Dana’s been on his deck since he was nine-years-old. “Now it’s a little bit harder, you gotta pay the bills! When you’re nine, you don’t care,” said Dana. The Serafin family has a license for more than 80 fishing nets. They leave these trap nets in specific locations, 100-120 feet below the surface of Lake Huron. “He is the largest producer in the state of Michigan,” said Tom Goniea, senior fish biologist and commercial fish administrator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Goniea said most of Dana’s sales stay right here in Michigan. Watch the video, read the rest here 10:14

Wisconsin’s Dwindling Commercial Fisheries Contend With A Farmed Future

Kevin Anschutz has been commercial fishing in Lake Michigan for the last 40 of his 50-year life. “We’ve been fishing since way before we were old enough to drive,” he says. Anschutz learned the lifestyle from his father and now fishes with his older brother. The two operate Anschutz Fisheries in Baileys Harbor, Wis. On this spring afternoon the lake sparkles, reflecting sunshine. Anschutz steers his boat away from shore and into the blue water. The color of his eyes, baseball cap, t-shirt and denim all match the lake. He lights a cigarette. Anschutz has witnessed both fish populations and commercial fisheries in the lake decline. He says 40 years ago there were nearly 150 fishermen, but today in Wisconsin he estimates there are 30 left.Historically, a long list of fish were caught and consumed from the Great Lakes including sturgeon, herring and trout. Read the story here 17:53

Lake Erie captain ordered to use GPS after pleading guilty to multiple counts under the Fisheries Act

kimmy-sue-lake-erieA Leamington commercial fishing boat captain with decades of sailing experience in Lake Erie has agreed to have his boat’s movements monitored by GPS during the next two years. Paolo Adragna, 50, pleaded guilty to multiple counts under the Fisheries Act in a Chatham court Monday, as part of a joint submission that he also pay $18,000 in fines and the family company, 149561 Ontario Limited, was assessed another $2,000 in fines for illegal fishing operations in 2015. Charges against the defendant’s elderly parents, who were jointly charged, were withdrawn. Crown attorney Demetrius Kappos said the defendant was the captain of the vessel Kimmy Sue and a director in the family business that holds two commercial food fishing licences to take fish from zones 1 and 2 in Lake Erie. Kappos said ministry staff conducted an inspection of the Kimmy Sue at the Port of Kingsville on Oct. 1, 2015 and found several trays containing undersized gill nets, a breach of a licensing condition. Read the story here 08:01

Commercial Fishing in Yellowstone National Park – Killing one fish to save another

White-breasted gulls are following a slow-moving boat in Yellowstone Lake. The crew on board is up to something fishy. It’s four fishermen letting out an awful lot of net. The net sinks into the lake’s deep depths in a large S-curve created by the swerve of the captain’s turns. The crew manages up to 40 miles of netting. That netting collects 300,000 lake trout every summer.  “We are aggressively netting non-native lake trout in Yellowstone Lake to reduce their predation on our native cutthroat,” says Todd Koel, Yellowstone National Park native fish conservation leader. An angler turned in an unusual catch in 1994. It was a fish that wasn’t supposed to be in Yellowstone Lake — a lake trout. The surprise catch hooked biologists with an unexpected problem. They had an invader in a fishery carefully monitored for the persistence of the park’s coveted native fish, Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Read the story here 13:33

Meijer Partnership with Commercial Fishing Company Exemplifies Commitment to Local

The partnership between Meijer and Great Lakes commercial fishing company, La Nassa Foods, began on a handshake nearly two decades ago and continues to thrive today based on a mutual commitment to provide Meijer customers with the highest quality lake fish. As a result, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer is able to offer customers at each of its 230 stores across the Midwest with nearly 500,000 pounds of Lake Erie walleye, yellow perch and other lake species each year. Today, it’s the longest-running partnership Meijer has with a local fishing company, which harvests from Lake Erie daily and delivers the catch to the Meijer Distribution Facility in southeast Michigan four days a week. The partnership has also led La Nassa to grow from three fishing vessels and 35 employees to 11 vessels and 105 employees over the past 18 years, said Tony Giacalone, president of La Nassa Foods. Read the story here 10:48

Gov. Scott Walker Confident New Lake Superior Fishing Agreement Will Be Reached

ap-384664794516Gov. Scott Walker got a closer look at state and commercial fisheries Monday when his tour of northern Wisconsin made a stop at Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands. During the visit, Walker acknowledged recent discussions to reach a new fishing agreement between the state Department of Natural Resources and local tribes, after a 10-year-old contract expired last year. Fishing in the lake is jointly managed by the state, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians and the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Some sport and commercial fishermen are frustrated by state rules that don’t apply to tribes. The chairman of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission has said any suggestion that tribes are depleting the resource is 100 percent false. Read the story here 09:40

Exterminated Alberta commercial fishermen sue province for $15 million over 2014 decision to end industry

alberta fishermenA group of former Alberta commercial fishermen are suing the province for $15 million over its 2014 decision to end the industry and no longer issue commercial fishing licences. Two statements of claim filed July 28 in Edmonton’s Court of Queen’s Bench allege the Alberta minister of environment and sustainable resource development was negligent for cancelling commercial fishing licences without adequate reasons and failing to give adequate warning of the impending cancellations. The statements of claim also allege the ministry failed to “act in a responsible manner,” breached its duty to continue to issue commercial fishing licences to the plaintiffs and failed to implement a program to compensate commercial fishermen for the loss of their licences and their businesses. Read the story here 14:25

The unusual, mysterious American eel

eelI recently watched a man fishing in the Arkansas River at Little Rock who caught an American eel. When he set the hook, the angler was pleased with the reaction. The fish surged away, stripping line against the drag. The man grunted and cranked, smiling all the while. When the 2 1/2-foot fish was finally beached, the man’s demeanor abruptly changed. I doubt he could have been more horror-stricken had he landed a 20-foot anaconda. He dropped his rod, ran to his pickup, extracted a .357 revolver and proceeded to plug the “beast.” When the gun was empty, he smiled again, turned to me and said matter of factly, “I hate @#$+& eels.” For 23 centuries, man speculated on the origin of the eel. Aristotle was convinced that eels rose spontaneously from mud. Roman scholar Pliny the Elder believed young eels came from bits of skin adults rubbed off on rocks. Scandinavians postulated that another fish, the Aalmutter, was the “eel mother,” while Italian fishermen espoused the idea that eels copulated with water snakes. In early America, it was generally assumed that eels arose spontaneously from horse hairs that fell in the water. Read the rest here  10:02

Great Lakes commercial fishermen get hands-on experience in emergency procedures

Photo_2_RCTo assist with this effort Michigan Sea Grant coordinated six Drill Conductor Training courses held throughout the Great Lakes region recently to help Great Lakes commercial fishing vessel captains fulfill U.S. Coast Guard regulations related to instruction, drills and safety orientations, and onboard emergency instruction. Commercial fishers are required to practice monthly emergency drills that cover ten contingencies spelled out in the regulation. Persons conducting these drills must have passed a Drill Conductor Training course. The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) assisted Michigan Sea Grant with these training efforts that were held in Michigan and Wisconsin. Read the rest here 16:54

Wisconsin DNR ponders commercial whitefish regulation changes, Sport fishers concerned

whitefish lake michiganA leading Wisconsin sportfishing advocate is urging anglers to provide input as the Department of Natural Resources considers changes to rules in Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Based on shifts in whitefish abundance, the DNR is mulling changes to its commercial fishing framework for the species. Although the agency has yet to release a proposed rules change, commercial interests have been seeking higher whitefish quotas in southern Green Bay or the ability to use unfilled quotas from other zones in the lower bay. And some commercial fishers would like to be able to sell walleye taken as “bycatch.” Walleye currently are protected from commercial fishing in Wisconsin. Read the rest here 16:39

A Life of Subsistence Fishing on Grand Traverse Bay for Ed and Cindy John

commercial fishing, native american couple, june 2016They’re married, they’re Native American, and they make a living fishing on Grand Traverse Bay. Ed and Cindy John share thoughts about subsistence fishing during a windy day setting nets. “When you look at the lake you see a calm beautiful surface, but when you talk about the fishery, when you go underneath, it’s like a metropolis down there,” says Cindy John, her piercing eyes darting from depth sounder to GPS coordinates to husband Ed, precariously braced against a gunwale. Today, West Grand Traverse Bay is anything but a calm surface. Two days into a ferocious summer blow, the blue-green miles of water between the peninsulas are a jagged fabric of whitecaps that skitter crates of netting across the Linda Sue’s tilting aft deck. Sideways to the wind, the heavy trawler wallows in the wave troughs, its growling diesel outdrive pushing steadily toward the edge of a deep-water bank, where the Johns hope to intercept schools of whitefish and lake trout in their summer pattern. Great story, Read the rest here 18:01

A dream becomes a nightmare

0220013When Dick Garbowski, a commercial fisherman in Green Bay, snagged an expensive net on an unknown obstruction in Lake Michigan in 1967, he probably did not know that he would set events in motion that would culminate in crushed dreams and a demolished schooner with a historical designation. Garbowski called an experienced diver and friend, Frank Hoffman, to help him free his $1,400 fishing net. The two originally kept their problem a secret, because as V.O. Van Heest writes in “Lost and Found,” “Garbowski had kept quiet about the predicament worried that someone might hear about it and try to abscond with the $1,400 net. Hoffman, too, had kept quiet because he knew that news of a new wreck could bring out other divers intent on looting.” was not until the summer of 1968 that the net was finally freed and Frank Hoffman realized he had an almost intact shipwreck to explore. The shipwreck was the Alvin Clark. Read the story here 16:42

U.S. brine shrimp industry could be in peril if Great Salt Lake keeps shrinking

BZ-Brine-Shrimp-02-4If you want to get a sense of what a bizarre, globally interconnected economy we live in, look no further than the tiny brine shrimp living in the Great Salt Lake. Americans chow down around four pounds per person of shrimp and prawns a year. In 2014, we imported 567,551 tons of shrimp to eat. We consume more shrimp than any other seafood, including tuna and salmon. And that might not be possible if not for the non-charismatic, durable brine shrimp living in the Great Salt Lake — and the people fishing for them. Today, brine shrimp harvesting contributes just under $57 million to the state’s economy. But as the Great Salt Lake shrinks, the vitality of the brine shrimping industry is threatened. Read the rest here  16:41