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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Summer of Paddling Participants ‘Get Hooked’ with Live Fish Demonstration

Region 3, June 7, 2012
Regional Director Tom Melius addressess the crowd gathered at a Summer of Paddling event along the Mississippi River in Moline, Illinois.
Regional Director Tom Melius addressess the crowd gathered at a Summer of Paddling event along the Mississippi River in Moline, Illinois. - Photo Credit: n/a
Paddlers get ready to start canoeing and kayaking on the Mississippi River.
Paddlers get ready to start canoeing and kayaking on the Mississippi River. - Photo Credit: n/a
Aleshia Kenney, Fish and Wildlife Biologist from the Rock Island Field Office, shows the crowd a 30-pound flathead catfish as part of a live fish display at a Summer of Paddling event.
Aleshia Kenney, Fish and Wildlife Biologist from the Rock Island Field Office, shows the crowd a 30-pound flathead catfish as part of a live fish display at a Summer of Paddling event. - Photo Credit: n/a
Some young kayakers explore a lotus bed along the Mississippi River as part of a Summer of Paddling event.  This event was aimed at indroducing people to the sport of paddling.
Some young kayakers explore a lotus bed along the Mississippi River as part of a Summer of Paddling event. This event was aimed at indroducing people to the sport of paddling. - Photo Credit: n/a
Regional Director Tom Melius poses with a 30-pound flathead catfish, the star attraction of the event.
Regional Director Tom Melius poses with a 30-pound flathead catfish, the star attraction of the event. - Photo Credit: n/a

“You have to come see what’s in this tank!” That was the sound going through the crowd of people gathered around the live fishes of the Mississippi River display. The star attraction of the event was a 30-pound flathead catfish that brought out a lot of “Oooohs” and “Ahhhhs” from the crowd.

 

Aleshia Kenney and Kristen Lundh of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Rock Island Field Office were asked to set up a live fishes of the Mississippi River display as part of a Summer of Paddling event held in Moline, Illinois, on June 7th, 2012 . Many of the participants had never seen or touched some of the species of fish that were on display. Shovelnose sturgeon, longnose gar and bowfin were among the species of fish that some of the participants had heard of, but had never seen. Attendees were shown each fish on display and were told interesting facts about each one. The last fish to be displayed was the flathead catfish, which caused a lot of excitement in the crowd. Most people were amazed to know that a 30-pound flathead catfish is only a mid-sized fish, and that a 60-pound flathead was captured and released because it was thought to be too big to display at the event!

The event was part of the Summer of Paddling, which is intended to introduce people with little or no experience to the great sports of canoeing and kayaking in one of the Mississippi River’s finest backwaters. This event was a dual effort put forth by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Rock Island District. Besides the paddling and live fish display, attendees were also able to attend a wetland talk by a local ecologist and learn about boat safety from the Corps of Engineers.

A lot of fun was had by all who attended the event, and it's hoped a few people got hooked for a lifelong love of paddling and for fishing! For more information on the Summer of Paddling visit http://sop2012.org/.

Contact Info: Aleshia Kenney, 309-757-5800 ext. 218, aleshia_kenney@fws.gov