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fiskyknut

Article in todays herald in re. to recent Catfish die off in the GFKS area. Just might find the article online at the Heralds website if you're interested?

fiskyknut

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CatManLee

Here's what I found...

Biologists Explore Red River Catfish Deaths

(AP) Grand Forks, N.D. Fisheries crews from North Dakota and Minnesota are trying to determine why more than 1,600 channel catfish have died in the Red River south of here.

"The fact they're distributed over a wide area and just channel catfish kind of points at some kind of disease, bacterial infection or something," said Henry Drewes, a regional fisheries supervisor for Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources.

Oxygen levels on the affected stretch of river are fine and the water temperature is normal for this time of year, he said. That tends to rule out pollution, such as the discharge of storm sewer water that killed fish of all species near Fargo after heavy rain in the summer of 2006, Drewes said.

Officials were able to catch one catfish that was just about dead. The fish was sent to a lab in St. Paul, Minn. Test results were expected within a few days.

"We'll know a lot more when we get the analysis back from the lab," Drewes said.

A Grand Forks angler who spotted dead catfish over the weekend notified wildlife officials. The dead fish have ranged in size from 5 inches to 30 inches.

Some appear to have died recently, while others have been dead for several days, Drewes said. Some of those that died recently had lesions on their skin.

Lynn Schlueter, Red River fisheries biologist with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said he traveled about 15 miles of river by boat south of Grand Forks and encountered dead catfish the entire way.

He said the nature of the die-off suggests a disease such as columnaris, a highly contagious bacterial infection that includes skin lesions.

Karry Kyllo, the angler and fishing guide who notified officials, said the die-off coincides with a pronounced decline in fishing success.

Normally, catfish anglers encounter some of the best fishing of the year in September, when the fish feed aggressively to bulk up for winter. That has not happened this year, Kyllo said.

"I don't know if it's my imagination or not, but the fish I've been catching lately seem sluggish," Kyllo said. "We pulled in a 24-pounder here a few weeks back, and a bigger fish like that usually heads to the bottom. This one didn't even fight. It just laid on the surface."

Drewes said that if a disease is to blame for the die-off, typically such incidents do not have a long-ranging impact on fish populations.

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Hopefuly it's not a "super bad" thing? I never like to hear of stuff like this, but hopefuly it'll pass and the fishery will recover soon enough. I remember seeing huge numbers of dead fish last year too, maybe it has something to due with the low water levels?? Time will tell I guess.

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ibwhnt

Coincides with a pronounced decline in fishing success, I beg to differ. I have been landing nice fish and ended up with eleven the other day. I think the fishing is just tough around town and you have to move some distance before the fishing gets better. I have had good luck boating at least 15 to 20 miles before I even start fishing. Last week first stop a 10 and 15lber within ten minutes. No I don't think fishing is tough just have to think more like a fish.

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CatManLee

I agree, I haven't fished a whole lot this year, but for the most part, I'd say fishing has been alright each time I've been out. I'm not worried myself about not catching fish when I go out, it seems if people come up here and don't catch a whole boat load of 15lb+ Catfish, it's getting bad???

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fiskyknut

Fishing has been on par this season for me when compared with years past when the water is so darn low. Always seems to me to be a bit slower big fish-wise when the levels/flows get way down like this. I have'nt seen any dead fish around the GG or the Haven area. Last nite N of Drayton was good, 3 lines saw 16 Cats between 27 inches and the twin widebody 36'rs, and a 26 inch walter in 2.5 hours, all on frogs. Those big kitties pulled hard too! These low water years seem to make the Walleyes a little easier to get come October anyhows.

Hopefully this die off is just a localized thing as we've seen quite often in the past.

fiskyknut

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fiskyknut

Caught some info on the local news.....MNDNR lab tests suggest bacterial infection. Pathogen has been isolated and biologists are working on identifying bacteria and should have results soon. Preliminary results point to Columnaris.

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hanson

Thanks Kent for posting that info!

Here's one quote from the article that I found pretty interesting-

"The key, Drewes said, is sound watershed management and working to maintain stable river flows."

How in the world will they ever accomplish that when you consider how big the watershed is which mainly consists of miles and miles of graded, drain tiled, and ditched farmland. You get any significant amount of rain in the valley, that river is coming up quick.

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Scoot

Hanson,

I totally agree. That's kind of like saying the key to a volcano is maintaining stable lava flow. If it's gonna blow, that the heck are you going to do about it? If we get 12 inches of rain up and down the Valley, what are they going to do about it? They're almost completely at the mercy of Mother Nature and it's kind of a joke to talk about controlling the uncontrolable. Attempts to control it will be like shot glasses of water on a four alarm fire.

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DEADhead

I'm not gonna speak for Henry, but I believe the point that he was trying to get across was regarding the management of increased tiling and ditching and the subsequent wetland loss in the Red river drainage basin, which affects surface water storage, through sound land management practices. You guys can say what you want about it being a impossible task to accomplish, but at least work is being done in the region by fisheries. Sitting on this forum saying it is impossible and not worth the effort doesn't accomplish anything. I know first hand the hard work these fisheries guys are putting in trying to improve the Red. Hundreds of hours have been spent by staff attending watershed and other user group meetings trying to improve land use practices and improve our fishery. It may be a drop in the bucket, but it's a start and if enough people get behind this, eventually modern farming practices are going to eventually change.

I'm not trying to point fingers or anything here, but if we are all so unhappy with the current state of affairs, let's do something in our personal lives to change it. Start by writing Collin Peterson and let him know what you think of the current farm bill. I think it's rotten with the current corn based ethanol program in place right now. Tell him you support cellulosic based bio fuels derived from sources like eco-friendly switch grass and other native prairie grasses, that not only require little to no fertilizers or pesticides, also provide great habitat for upland birds.

Another thing is to re-evaluate your current personal needs and practice the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If every American reduced their consumption by 5% imagine how much waste and environmental impact we would reduce.

I get frustrated when I hear people saying that is is impossible or useless; it's like they have given up before even trying. With those kind of attitudes it makes my hard work somtimes feel like it is done in vain. Let's all do our part to help keep the Red the world class fishery that it is!

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Scoot

Deadhead,

My appologies if I offended you. Also, I don't mean to degrade the important job and hard work that is put in by these guys and gals. That being said, I think you understand my big-picture point and hear where I'm coming from. Again, my intent was not to offend and I am sorry if that's what I did. I'll try think before I type a little more next time.

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hanson

In no way was I pointing any fingers either.

With miles and miles and miles of Red River Valley, its hard to see where the important work is happening although I do know the DNR working extremely hard up there to improve the fishery.

What is easy to see is the big excavating equipment in drainage ditches and the scrapers in the fields during the summer and fall. And everyone wonders why the Red floods so bad in the spring.

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DEADhead

no offense taken here. I know it can be frustrating with the amount of influence agricultural development has on the region and it's impacts to the local economy and environment, but we need to keep our chins up and fight the good fight. If we, as sportsman, give up, who else will be the stewards of the land and protect her?

I just don't want the hardwork of our natural resource agencies to be overlooked and discounted due to the overwhelming amount of agricultural inlfuence on the watershed, and its often damaging impact. Don't give up!

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Scoot

Quote:

I just don't want the hardwork of our natural resource agencies to be overlooked and discounted.


Amen Brother! I couldn't agree more.

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