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Beastly Backlash

Elimination of Invasive Species

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This is something that I have been thinking about, and just for the sake of conversation I am going to bring it up because it bothers me and I want to see what everyone else thinks.



 



Everyone seems to know of the Potomac River in Maryland as being a world class trophy catfish river. I even make it a point to fish the Potomac just because of the tremendous blue and flathead fishery that it is, whenever I go to fish the Chesapeake and to visit Maryland and my brother. If it wasn't for the large catfish I wouldn't waste my time fishing the river. I don't know anyone who actually travels from out of state to the lower potomac just to fish for LMB, SMB, or muskie.



 



So why does Maryland want to have anglers kill off the flatheads and bluecats? I haven't seen any scientific evidence to support the idea that they are negatively impacting anything.



 



I know the arguement is that they are an invasive species and hurt the game fish fishery. So here is a list of many of the other invasive species, that technically do not belong, in the Potomac.



 



Threadfin Shad



Brown Trout



Rainbow Trout



Cutthroat Trout



Northern Pike



Muskellunge



Common Carp



Goldfish



Grass Carp



Striped Shiner



Fathead Minnow



Channel Catfish



Rock Bass



Bluegill Sunfish



Green Sunfish



Longear Sunfish



Redear Sunfish



Largemouth Bass



Smallmouth Bass



White Crappie



Walleye



Northern Snakehead



 



Are there any other fisheries that you guys know of that have made these kind of mandates to eliminate invasive species that people actually want to fish for for sport?


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In theory, MD would eviscerate almost its entire freshwater management programs if they were to eliminate all of the exotic fish species (listed above) from MD waters, both fresh and brackish waters. If they were all eliminated, what freshwater fishes would remain that fishermen would be targeting??? The most recent, new on the scene, exotic species to be vilified is the snakehead. The “Freshwater Fishing Reports” sections of several fishing forums that center on MD fresh/brackish waters seem to have a disproportionate number of fishing reports for snakeheads submitted by snakehead enthusiasts. Snakeheads have becomes a very popular game fish that are specifically targeted by fishermen… they seek them out. Guides on the Potomac are now advertising trips to target snakeheads. Even the “Angler’s Log” found in the “Fishing Reports” section of the MD-DNR Fisheries website has a disproportionate number of snakehead reports submitted by happy anglers compared to reports for other more numerous and wider-spread fresh & brackish water species.

 

Snakeheads are now well entrenched in MD waters and are here to stay. No doubt they will continue to spread and fishermen will follow them where ever they become establish.

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Originally Posted by HJS View Post

In theory, MD would eviscerate almost its entire freshwater management programs if they were to eliminate all of the exotic fish species (listed above) from MD waters, both fresh and brackish waters. If they were all eliminated, what freshwater fishes would remain that fishermen would be targeting??? The most recent, new on the scene, exotic species to be vilified is the snakehead. The “Freshwater Fishing Reports” sections of several fishing forums that center on MD fresh/brackish waters seem to have a disproportionate number of fishing reports for snakeheads submitted by snakehead enthusiasts. Snakeheads have becomes a very popular game fish that are specifically targeted by fishermen… they seek them out. Guides on the Potomac are now advertising trips to target snakeheads. Even the “Angler’s Log” found in the “Fishing Reports” section of the MD-DNR Fisheries website has a disproportionate number of snakehead reports submitted by happy anglers compared to reports for other more numerous and wider-spread fresh & brackish water species.

Snakeheads are now well entrenched in MD waters and are here to stay. No doubt they will continue to spread and fishermen will follow them where ever they become establish.



I have read simular reports about the snakehead as well. One report by a scientist showed that LMB actually tend to be a more voracious predator then the snakehead.



 



I think MD should take time to look at the bigger picture then make a decision to try to eliminate an unnatural species of fish from waters that contain mostly unnatural fish. Promoting selective harvest simular to oklahoma's would encourage anglers to take fish for food, not to just kill fish as pests. Because catfish are tasty. But, the trophies are special and should be treated as such.


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"You don't know anyone that travels to the lower Potomac for LMB, SMB or muskie" Seriously??? They only hold professional and amature tournaments and shoot TV shows down there and for LMB and SMB, it's a great fishery. The flatheads have destroyed several river ecosystems in PA and the PFBC had at one time advised anglers to kill all flatheads. They only put a stop to that directive becasue it was a hopeless cause. I can fish 5 miles of river that once produced 50-60 SMB days and for the last 2-3 years you're lucky to get 5 on the same stratch of river :shock: The PFBC surveys for young of year in this same stretch has gone from 15-20 per mile to "0", Yes, I said "0" in 2012. Does that get your attention?

 

Thats why MD wants you to kill the flatheads. I wish PA would grow a set and do the same again.:mad::confused:

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Originally Posted by Mike D View Post

"You don't know anyone that travels to the lower Potomac for LMB, SMB or muskie" Seriously??? They only hold professional and amature tournaments and shoot TV shows down there and for LMB and SMB, it's a great fishery. The flatheads have destroyed several river ecosystems in PA and the PFBC had at one time advised anglers to kill all flatheads. They only put a stop to that directive becasue it was a hopeless cause. I can fish 5 miles of river that once produced 50-60 SMB days and for the last 2-3 years you're lucky to get 5 on the same stratch of river icon24.gif The PFBC surveys for young of year in this same stretch has gone from 15-20 per mile to "0", Yes, I said "0" in 2012. Does that get your attention?

Thats why MD wants you to kill the flatheads. I wish PA would grow a set and do the same again.mad.gifconfused.gif



The point is that LMB and SMB are not native to the potomac, same as blue and flathead cats. So why eliminate an nonnative species to protect other nonnative species, which are not even threatened or in danger from the catfish? You are right, they do hold tournaments for bass at the Potomac, so I am sure you realise too just how much money the catfish bring to that area with the guide services that have been florishing. They do have pro catfish tournaments as well, and it would be nice to see those at the Potomac. 



 



Unfortunately where I live I do not have access to blue cats. Try hooking up with one of the largest freshwater predatory fish in North America and you will be hooked. Only sturgeon and alligator gar get bigger.



 



As for the LMB and SMB populations that have been decreasing signifcantly were you live, I am sorry to hear that. But I seriously doubt flatheads have anything to do with the decline in the bass populations that you are currently seeing. Otherwise, the Allegheny, Ohio, Mississippi, etc.... would have no LMB or SMB. But, guess what, you know all those carp you hate so much? Guess what species of fish is their main/only predator once they get over 10lbs? Bass are not even close to being the main prey of the larger catfish. 



 



Currently, SMB and LMB populations are dealing with various deadly dieases that have been found in the Susquehanna, Schuylkill, and Delaware Rivers.


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I can fish 5 miles of river that once produced 50-60 SMB days and for the last 2-3 years you're lucky to get 5 on the same stratch of river :shock: The PFBC surveys for young of year in this same stretch has gone from 15-20 per mile to "0", Yes, I said "0" in 2012.

 

Mike - What PA river are you speaking of???

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The states former directive was to kill all flatheads caught in the Schuylkill River. However, after a few years they realized the effort was hopeless. The stretches of the Schuylkill river that still maintain a healthy smallmouth population are those upriver above Reading PA where flatheads are far less prevelent.

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The states former directive was to kill all flatheads caught in the Schuylkill River. However, after a few years they realized the effort was hopeless. The stretches of the Schuylkill river that still maintain a healthy smallmouth population are those upriver above Reading PA where flatheads are far less prevelent.

 

That is a shame... used to enjoy some great smb fishing in the Schuylkill back in my college days. We used to fish from above limerick down to around Valley forge park... Loved that river! Some great channel cat fishing in those days also! Good for rockbass too.

 

Btw, hi Mike! :wave:

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The states former directive was to kill all flatheads caught in the Schuylkill River. However, after a few years they realized the effort was hopeless. The stretches of the Schuylkill river that still maintain a healthy smallmouth population are those upriver above Reading PA where flatheads are far less prevelent.

 

Susky has them too. 30 and 40lbers are pretty common anymore. They will never vanish at this point. Red eye bass population is already gone on the river. Can't even tell you the last time I caught one really. Probably been 5 or 6 years.

 

I was actually told the fish commission has a few guys actively fishing for them to collect data. Supposedly the major problem spot for them is between 2 of the dams on the river and they believe a new state record will come from that area with in the next 2 years.

 

Last flathead I caught was on a 6" striper plug in mid march with water temps in the low 40's. When those fish start eating they don't stop.

 

1000

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Can't say I'm not envious of the Blue cat fishery you guys have on the Potomac though... They seem like an awesome predatory fish!

 

Flatheads are just do dang ugly imo, lol... Plus I think blues feed more on shad and herring type fishes whereas the flats just devour any thing with fins. Blues might not be as harmful to the ecosystem... just speculation on my part though.

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Susky has them too. 30 and 40lbers are pretty common anymore. They will never vanish at this point. Red eye bass population is already gone on the river. Can't even tell you the last time I caught one really. Probably been 5 or 6 years.

 

I was actually told the fish commission has a few guys actively fishing for them to collect data. Supposedly the major problem spot for them is between 2 of the dams on the river and they believe a new state record will come from that area with in the next 2 years.

 

Last flathead I caught was on a 6" striper plug in mid march with water temps in the low 40's. When those fish start eating they don't stop.

 

1000

 

Derrick... I know what you mean about the redeyes. In fact, the rockbass fishery is dieing in both the rivers, we hardly have any of them left up in the Juniata either.... and I don't believe there are many flats up here yet, although there has to be some at this point. I think their problem has more to do with water quality issues, but surely being preyed upon by big catfish doesn't help... Also the dang cormorants are out of control!!! Way worse than the cats imo.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by TJones View Post

Derrick... I know what you mean about the redeyes. In fact, the rockbass fishery is dieing in both the rivers, we hardly have any of them left up in the Juniata either.... and I don't believe there are many flats up here yet, although there has to be some at this point. I think their problem has more to do with water quality issues, but surely being preyed upon by big catfish doesn't help... Also the dang cormorants are out of control!!! Way worse than the cats imo.



I have heard that cormorants are devestating the SMB in Lake Erie as well. It was actually in an infisherman magizine articale. Flatheads are very aggressive predators, but they wouldn't have the impact that some might attribute to them, they are just the easiest scapegoat from what I have seen and read. And in all these rivers there are so many stress factors anymore; with birds, viruses, water quality, and overfishing, that it really hurts the SMB fishery much more then flatheads will ever do.  


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I have heard that cormorants are devestating the SMB in Lake Erie as well. It was actually in an infisherman magizine articale. Flatheads are very aggressive predators, but they wouldn't have the impact that some might attribute to them, they are just the easiest scapegoat from what I have seen and read. And in all these rivers there are so many stress factors anymore; with birds, viruses, water quality, and overfishing, that it really hurts the SMB fishery much more then flatheads will ever do.  

 

No, the easiest scapegoat is always correct. Like muskies in the lakes near me are responsible for declining LMB fishery. It couldn't be the birds, viruses, water quality, and overfishing......it has to be the muskies. Never blame the walleyes or the abundance of herring gorging on fish eggs.

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