(Reprinted with permission from IDNR Wildlife Bulletin)
INDIANA HUNTING AND TRAPPING GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE
Indiana's 2002-03 Hunting and Trapping Guide is now available at many sporting goods shops, retail stores and DNR properties throughout the state. The free guide includes information on hunting and trapping season dates and regulations, as well as applications for reserved hunts on public properties.
Wild Bulletin provides information about Indiana's natural resources and recreation. To subscribe to Wild Bulletin go to: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/listsrv.htm Visit the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife Web site at: http://wildlife.IN.gov
HIGH WATER MAY IMPROVE FISHING
High water may have skunked fishing plans for some anglers this spring, but record water levels in Indiana reservoirs could spawn big catches in coming years, according to DNR fisheries biologist Doug Keller. Fish population surveys by DNR biologists have shown that reservoir fish populations often blossom for several years after flooding.
"When the water is high, fish are able to spread out, so predation on newly hatched fish is low and there is less competition, so fish grow faster. Flooded brush also provides great cover for young fish, which increases survival," said Keller. Keller is eager to see if this spring's high water will translate into another wave of walleye production when he surveys the lake this fall.
Gizzard shad, a sometimes over-prolific species, are also known to reproduce heavily when water levels are high. "While large shad spawns are usually bad for a fishery, shad spawns during spring floods appear to be good for predator species such as bass, walleye and even crappie," said Keller. Keller speculates that when water levels drop, shad become overcrowded and do not grow as quickly as normal. Typically, shad grow bigger than the mouths of most predator fish after one year. When shad stay small, large predator fish can gorge themselves on the feast of small, abundant prey. During high water, the reservoir's extensive waterfowl marshes act like bass rearing ponds. Flooding allows lake bass to swim into marshes to spawn. When marshes are later pumped dry for planting, the fry are pumped into the lake with the marsh water.
STATE RECORD WARMOUTH SUNFISH AND RECORD BIGHEAD CARP CAUGHT.
Jack Tolbert of Jasonville, Indiana became Indiana's latest state-record angler when he caught the same whopper warmouth twice. His foot-long, 1.4-pound warmouth sunfish edged out the previous 1.37-pound record warmouth caught in 1989.
On May 28, Tolbert was fishing from a boat for bluegill and bass on North Dugger Pit in Sullivan County when the big warmouth struck the first time. The champion angler fooled the fish with the old-reliable earthworm bait suspended under a bobber rig. The fish fought itself free, but Tolbert's fishing buddy could still see the fish in the clear lake water. Tolbert cast to the fish, and when the fish hit the bait again, Tolbert made good on his second chance and boated the fish. "That's a state-record warmouth," predicted his fishing buddy, and they headed to Linton and weighed the catch on a state-certified scale at Angell's Grocery.
Tolbert's record warmouth is the fourth new state record fish caught this year. Record muskie, buffalo and grass carp catches were certified this spring. Warmouth are members of the sunfish family. They are often confused with rockbass, and both species are often called goggleyes. Warmouth are also referred to as mucklejohns in northern Indiana. The name warmouth is derived from the American Indian warpaint pattern of facial bars radiating from the fish's red eye.
Ester measured and weighed the fish as best he could along the shore before releasing the monster back into the river. The fish was 3 inches longer than the current state record bighead carp. The uncertified weight was 55 pounds — 1.5 pounds more than the record. Ester entered his catch in the state's Fish of the Year awards program. No weight is needed for Fish of the Year consideration. State Record fish need to be weighed on a state-certified scale. Bighead carp are an exotic species in Indiana waters. The fish have recently been found in Indiana's Ohio River tributaries. The Indiana Record Fish Program tracks the largest fish of 47 species caught with hook and line in the state. More information on Indiana's record fish program: http://www.ai.org/dnr/fishwild/fishng/record.htm The Indiana Record Fish Program tracks the largest fish of 47 species caught with hook and line in the state.