November 2018/ By David Eisenhauer
On a warm afternoon last August, Matt Negron stood with his toes at the edge of a mossy pond at Berkshire National Fish Hatchery in western Massachusetts. His eyes were fixed on the tip of his neon-green Zebco fishing rod. The rod twitched, twitched again, then bent down sharply.
“I’ve got one! I’ve got one!” yelled Negron, a 17-year-old from Manhattan with dark curly hair, half of which was dyed orange.
For the first time in eight years, chinook salmon have returned to Thornton Creek, in northeast Seattle, to spawn!
That’s the sound of a barbless beadhead nymph falling into a glassy glide of Mineral Creek, a headwater stream of the Gila River in southwest New Mexico. There’s a short drift over a stony run, barely time to mend your line. Then follows that transmutation of fish flesh to your forearm—the taut tug of a trout on your 3-wt. fly rod.
But it’s not just any trout. This one is yellow like a school bus. Petite black shards fleck its flanks over a hint of a pink stripe and fading oval parr marks. It’s not a rainbow trout—no, this fish is far less common. Rare, even. It’s a Gila trout, a threatened species.
What’s Halloween without monsters? But not all monsters live under our beds or are the stars of horror movies. Some are real-life monsters found in America’s waterways. Though they’ll never be stars of slasher films or trick-or-treater costumes, monster fish can be terrifying but in some cases, they need saving too.
There are monster-sized fish that can weigh hundreds of pounds. Some are shocking in appearance with beady eyes and mouths lined with sharp teeth. And then, there are the invasive monsters, steadily overtaking our lakes and rivers like alien monsters from outer space. Scary, yes! But each of these species are also a part of the aquatic-conservation mission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
This story was originally published on our new Medium blog platform
This year’s severe storms underscore the power of nature and the vulnerability of our coasts. While nature can destroy, it can also defend. Supported by federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery, we’re working with partners to restore and strengthen natural systems that provide not only habitat for wildlife, but also protection against rising seas and storm surge. This is the first in a series of stories highlighting results of our ongoing efforts to build a stronger coast.
“What did the fish say when it hit the wall? Dam!”
Ohio’s Maumee River, which 100 years ago supported thousands of lake sturgeon, is now the center of a recovery effort for the ancient fish. We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have partnered with the Toledo Zoo, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Purdy Fisheries, University of Toledo, University of Windsor, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and Michigan Department of Natural Resources to help re-establish this living relic in the river and Lake Erie.
A large project is underway to reintroduce a small species of tiger beetle to an area they have historically referred to as ‘home’. When the puritan tiger beetles were listed as threatened in 1990, conservation efforts began to help protect current habitats locations and keep the beetle from becoming further extirpated.
The Puritan Tiger Beetle Recovery Project was initiated to help restore the beetle to its current and historic habitats along the Connecticut River. The Recovery Project team utilizes the Richard Cronin Aquatic Resource Center in Sunderland, MA as the official site to conduct the necessary lab work for the project where they work together everyday to ensure the project runs smoothly.
This Saturday, September 22, and enjoy the great outdoors by celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day and National Public Lands Day. Visit the websites for information about each day or to find events taking place near you.
More information on fishing and hunting.
Let’s Go Fishing! For over 20 years the Service has been partnering with the U.S. Forest Service to support a Kid’s Fishing Day in the small community of Trout Lake in southwest Washington. The event has morphed over the years from fishing in a small ditch right in town to the open-ended event that it was this year. Families meet at the Trout Lake Ranger Station to pick up a pole, some bait and a map. They are directed to one of the many small local lakes in the area to fish for the day.
August 2018, Fishing Tackle Retailer, Written by Craig Springer, USFWS
The sea lamprey as its name implies is naturally at home in the salty waters of the Atlantic. But the unintended consequences of connecting the Great Lakes more directly to the seaboard for commerce via the Welland Canal essentially put the invasive lamprey in this otherwise bucolic scene. Their invasion into the Great Lakes dates to 1829, and by the late 1930s, they populated all of the Great Lakes. A saltwater fish swims in the tiniest of freshwater upland farm creeks ringing much of the Great Lakes basin.
The lamprey is a fish. On the evolutionary scale, it’s primitive–without scales and without bones. Its slightly cone-shaped circular mouth is loaded with rings of sharp raspy teeth. It’s a parasitic pest that makes a living by grating onto its host, sucking blood and body fluids as it clings along for the ride.
Neosho National Fish Hatchery just turned 130 years old, and we at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are celebrating the history of the hatchery. Established in 1888 in southwest Missouri, Neosho is the oldest operating federal fish hatchery in the United States. The hatchery has played a major role in the restoration efforts of endangered aquatic species such as paddlefish, lake sturgeon, Topeka shiners and pallid sturgeon, as well as conservation of the Ozark cavefish.