Archive for May, 2012

Greenlick Dam lacking walleyes

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Around the Fish and Boat Commission

Greenlick Dam in Fayette County is home to some good to very good fisheries, but the one for walleyes is not necessarily one of them.

The Fish and Boat Commission typically stocks lakes with walleyes at a rate of 40 per acre. Greenlick has been getting 100 per acre for the last five years in an attempt to create a fishery there.

The extra attention hasn’t paid off, however.

A survey of the lake done earlier this year turned up 53 walleyes 39 of them longer than 15 inches. But that catch rate of 0.14 fish per hour is actually a tad below the state’s minimum standard for a good walleye fishery of 0.15 fish per hour.

“In this case, I would have expected our catch to be at least double that,” said Rick Lorson, the Fish and Boat Commission’s area 8 biologist, based in Somerset.

Competition from other species may be to blame for the walleyes’ average at best showing, Lorson said.

He does not expect the commission to abandon its walleye stocking program at Greenlick. It is likely, however, that the commission will reduce the stocking rate back to 40 per acre, he said.

Other species are doing well at the lake, however.

The lake holds very good numbers of crappies and bluegills, for instance. The crappies are primarily blacks, with a few white mixed in. canada goose outlet Good numbers of the fish were 9 inches and longer, with some reaching 12 inches. A better than average number of the bluegills stretched more than 7 inches, too.

Lorson and his crews also caught lots of channel catfish at the lake, particularly near where Greenlick Run comes into the lake. Some of the fish were in the two foot class.

Fish and Boat Commissioners want to expand their successful Lake Erie access program across the rest of the state.

For the past two years, the commission has been using money from the sale of Lake Erie stamps to buy and/or lease property along steelhead streams and Lake Erie itself. The idea has been to secure public access to waters full of stocked fish.

Now, commissioners want to apply that concept to rivers and streams across the rest of the state.

As a result, they have asked agency staff to do two things: make state legislators aware of the need for a public access program, then convince them to fund it.

One idea is to charge anglers a small fee, perhaps $1, for an access stamp when they buy a fishing license. The commission is hoping to get a new license fee increase by 2010 or 2011.

The horsepower limit on Pymatuning Lake is, finally, going to increase.

The lake is managed jointly by Pennsylvania and Ohio, so any changes to management of the waterway must be agreed upon by both states.

Previously, Pennsylvania lawmakers agreed to raise the horsepower limit on the popular lake from 9.9 to 20. Ohio officials never went along with the idea until now, that is. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland signed legislation approving the change in a ceremony Thursday.

The law allowing higher horsepower motors goes into effect immediately.

A Mercer County woman recently learned the hard way that it’s illegal to sell feathers from protected birds on the Internet.

The Game Commission has filed charges against Candas Lynn Rohrdanz of Sharon. An undercover officer purchased feathers from a red shouldered hawk, crow, blackbird, Canada goose, gull, blue jay, barred owl, turkey vulture, and wild turkey from Rohrdanz from an on line auction site Rohrdanz was using. The commission spent $15.34 for the items.

Now, Rohrdanz faces counts charges of illegally selling and possessing wildlife parts with each carrying a fine of $75 200 and one count of unlawful selling and possessing of parts a protected bird. The fines for that range from $100 300.

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term career for Michigan’s wildlife pathologist

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Cooley, a wildlife biologist and pathologist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is responsible for identifying the cause of death for all kinds of wildlife that end up in his lab near Michigan State University’s campus.

The state has operated a pathology lab since 1933, investigating why wild animals die to be aware of potential disease epidemics or environmental threats to the state’s wildlife.

Cooley has been the state’s pathologist for 35 years, and has seen a wide variety of animals come through the lab. Canada Goose online While the lab doesn’t normally handle fish or reptiles, Cooley said he has dealt with several turtles in recent months.

“The fisheries division doesn’t really have a lab like ours, so we do get some,” Cooley said. “We’ve had some snapping turtles come in.” The turtles have suffered from temperature shifts affecting their metabolism, Cooley said, resulting in an inability to digest food.

The lab normally sees animals like waterfowl and deer, but occasionally other species show up. “We’ve had mice and squirrels before,” Cooley said.

The harsh winter this year has been especially hard on ducks because of increased ice cover on lakes and scarce food. “We’ve already looked at a lot more ducks than usual,” Cooley said.

The lab typically examines between 500 and 650 animals a year, Cooley said.

Cooley became interested in wildlife pathology during the 1970s, when pesticide use started having an effect on a number of species, and attended Colorado State University, where he worked with bighorn sheep and mountain goats while earning a master’s degree.

His father also worked with the DNR, which sparked a general interest in wildlife as well.

“It’s an interesting field because it’s not always the same,” Cooley said. “You see a lot of things.”

While performing a necropsy on a Canada goose that had been the victim of an oil spill, Cooley said Michigan has always been “ahead of the curve” by having its own lab. Many states contract out labs with universities, Cooley said.

The goose Cooley was examining came from a wildlife rehabilitation center, which is how most animals end up in his lab. “We don’t examine a lot of roadkill,” Cooley said. Animals showing signs of distress or that are found dead without obvious trauma often make their way to the lab, where Cooley and lab technician Julie Melotti perform necropsies to determine a cause of death.

On this day, the goose Cooley and Melotti were examining was dehydrated, malnourished and showed signs of aspirating food. It also had fluid buildup in its lungs, a condition Cooley said was not normal.

“The lungs are like a sponge, but they aren’t supposed to be full of fluid,” Cooley said. Tissue samples of the goose’s major organs were collected and will be examined in another part of the lab to look for signs of pesticide or heavy metal exposure or other chemical conditions.

After an animal is examined, the remains are sent to the facility’s incinerator, Cooley said. “Because we’re surrounded by all the university’s agricultural facilities, we don’t want to risk anything getting out,” Cooley said. Before the lab moved to its current facility in 2004, non infectious animal remains could be buried, he added.

Anyone who encounters an animal acting erratically or which appears to be ill should contact the nearest DNR field office, Cooley said, so that the animal can be captured and treated or examined.