Archive for the 'Freshwater' Category

Corralling Catfish

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Catfish waiting his turn to head to a neighborhood fishin’ pond.

This is Passport to Texas

I visited the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos on a misty morning in early October; that’s where I met hatchery manager Mike Matthews.

We’re standing on the banks of pond 23. And we’re harvesting our 12-inch catfish for our neighborhood fishing program.

The one-acre pond had been drained; nearly 5,000 channel catfish flopped around in a Kansas kettle.

It’s basically a raceway in the bottom of our pond. We’ve brought the whole pond down into that kettle, and that just catches all the fish for us very efficiently.

A technician counted and weighed the fish as he placed them into a wire basket. Using a crane, technicians moved the basket to a waiting transport truck, and deposited the fish into tanks.

Which has got probably three to five parts per thousand saltwater in it. It’s beneficial for the fish. It causes them to promote slime growth, which in case they do get a little rough handled, and nicks their skin a little bit, that slime will cover that before it can really become a problem. It’s natural. That’s what they do anyway.

I followed a truck to East Metro Park in Austin, where Ryan, a fisheries technician, released them as anglers waited on the banks.

Texas Parks and Wildlife stocks catfish in neighborhood fishin’ ponds during warmer months. In winter, it’s rainbow trout. Find the stocking schedule on the TPW website.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Catch (and Eat) the Rainbow (Trout)

Friday, December 14th, 2018
Catching Rainbows

A happy angler shows off a rainbow trout caught in a Dallas-area community fishing lake stocked annually by TPWD.

This is Passport to Texas

If you’re an angler who likes to eat what you catch, then now’s the time to reel in a rainbow trout.

We stock them at a catchable and eatable size. They are good fighting fish; they’re relatively easy to catch. We usually stock them in smaller bodies of water, so they’re a good fishing, catching opportunity and good eating opportunity as well.

Carl Kittel is a program director for Inland Fisheries, and oversees winter trout stocking in Texas, which began this month.

We’ve been stocking [rainbow] trout around Texas for almost 40 years. One interesting note about trout is that we often say there are no established populations of trout in Texas, but actually, way out west in the Davis Mountains there’s a small, tiny stream at high enough elevation that there is a reproducing population of rainbow trout.

That’s why we stock them in winter; most of Texas is too hot for the. Inland fisheries will distribute 250-thousand rainbows in 150 locations.

And we have a special program; we actually stock somewhat larger trout in urban areas in our Neighborhood Fishin’ Program. And that’s something that you can specifically look for on our web page.

With the winter holidays here, it’s is a great time go fishing with the kids. Find the stocking schedule on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Sport fish restoration program supports our series and funds rainbow trout stocking in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

You Need Mussels to Make Pearls

Friday, October 26th, 2018
Washboard Mussel

Washboard Mussel

This is Passport to Texas

Though seemingly obscure, freshwater mussels play a vital role in a multi-million dollar industry.

There are at least 300 species of freshwater mussels in North America; Texas is home to more than 50 of those.
Freshwater mussel species are commercially harvested for their shells. Pieces of which become “seed material” for making cultured pearls.

More than 99% of all pearls sold worldwide are cultured.

Most freshwater mussel shells end up in Japan, Australia and Polynesia for the cultured pearl industry. Such a pearl begins with a polished sphere of North American freshwater mussel shell that’s surgically implanted into a marine oyster. The oyster identifies the object as an irritant, and begins to cover it with layers of iridescent mother-of-pearl. After about a year, it’s made a pearl.

Fifteen mussel species in Texas are listed as threatened at the state level. Six of those 15 species are now candidate for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Learn more about Texas freshwater mussels and get involved in Texas Mussel Watch on the Texas Nature Trackers page of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Genetics and Smart Bass

Friday, October 19th, 2018
Probbly not the smartest bass in the lake.

Probably not the smartest bass in the lake.

This is Passport to Texas

Researchers discovered that catching a bass may have more to do with the genetics of the fish than the skill of the angler.
A genetics experiment conducted on largemouth bass at Heart of the Hills Research Center in Kerrville, had researchers attempting something unusual. They wanted to find out if genetics, passed down through generations, played a role in whether a fish would take a baited hook.

For the experiment, researchers placed 110 bass in a large pond. Each time they caught a fish, they marked it, and then returned to the pond.

At the end of four weeks, ten percent of the bass had been caught three or four times…while 20 percent had never been hooked. These two groups were then placed in separate ponds and allowed to breed amongst themselves. In the end, the offspring of fish that were easily caught… were much more easily caught… than were the offspring of fish that had been hard to catch.

The differences became more noticeable with each successive generation, thus proving that the likelihood of a fish being caught on rod and reel is in fact an inheritable trait.

Now you have something fascinating to tell people at the next gathering you attend.

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series. For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Sport Fish Restoration Program helps make fishing better for all.

This is Passport to Texas

If you’re an angler or boater, you will be interested to know that every time you purchase fishing tackle or motor boat fuel, you contribute to a trust fund that helps support quality sport fishing and boating access in Texas.

It’s the Dingell-Johnson Act. Also called the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act; it is a national program.

It began as an excise tax on rods, reels, creels, and fishing lures; the tax money was used to help fund US efforts during World War II. In 1950 it was redirected, thanks to the efforts of Congressman John Dingell of Michigan and Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado.

Texas receives a 5% maximum apportionment of all of these federal taxes, and it is matched on a 3 to 1 basis with the sale of state fishing licenses.

In Texas, a little over one-third of the funds support fisheries management. One-fifth, hatchery operations; followed by boating access, aquatic education, habitat protection, sport fishery research and public outreach.

These funds help make fishing and boating better in Texas for everyone—from urban neighborhood fishin’ lakes to…well…this show.

Sport fishing is good for the Texas economy as anglers and boaters spend billions of dollars annually for goods and services. Besides, they get to go fishing. I call that win-win.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.