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Daily Archives: March 16, 2016

KDWPT and KS BASS Nation recognized for fish habitat improvements

 

The Kansas BASS Nation (KBN) has been working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) to place artificial fish attractors in local waters in an effort to improve fish habitat and increase angler success. KBN Conservation Director Jesse Jordan and KDWPT Fisheries program specialist David Breth, who oversee the program, set a goal to assemble and place 300 PVC and tubing structures called “Georgia Cubes” in 2015. They not only met that goal, but are currently working towards tripling that number. Three-hundred additional cubes are already on the ground and will be placed in the coming months.

 

“Local B.A.S.S. clubs have been instrumental in this project, assembling the cubes from kits onsite, and then placing them using their own boats and GPS units,” Breth said. “They’ve been a great help.” In addition to the KBN, KDWPT has also received assistance from The Bass Federation and several local organizations throughout the state.

 

Not only have their efforts caught the attention of anglers, some of whom have already reported catching largemouth bass near the structures, but they’ve also garnered national recognition from

The Berkley Conservation Institute (BCI), of Berkley Fishing. On March 5, Jordan accepted an award from BCI on behalf of KBN and their partnership with KDWPT.

 

Modeled after a design originally implemented by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the cube-like structures are comprised of a four-foot-by-four-foot-by-three-foot PVC frame. This is woven with more than 50 feet of corrugated pipe, maximizing surface area for the growth of periphyton, a mix of algae, fungi and bacteria, which attracts invertebrates and small fish, which then draw bass and other predator species. Not only are the cubes cost-effective, but they last more than three times longer than natural brush piles; and based on their use in other states, attract as many fish as natural cover without affecting water quality.

 

Kansas licenses fees and federal funds from the Sport Fish Restoration Program have financed the components used to assemble the cubes, but Breth said that without the help of Kansas B.A.S.S. Nation affiliated clubs, the placement process would be much slower.

 

To date, cubes have been added to Milford, Wilson, Melvern, Perry, El Dorado, Tuttle Creek, and Horsethief reservoirs; as well as Butler, Clark, Pottawatomie No. 1, Pottawatomie No. 2, and Meade state fishing lakes. They have also been placed in Yates Center’s South Owl and Eureka City lakes. Fisheries field staff will collect sonar and video images on how fish populations and species are using the cubes in relation to natural structures

 

For information on how to locate these attractors, as well as access locations of natural structures, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing,” then “Where to Fish in Kansas.”

Kirk Thompson named wetland manager of the year

 

Kirk Thompson, Public Lands manager at Benedictine Bottoms Wildlife Area, was recently named Kansas Ducks Unlimited’s Wetland Manager of the Year, and for those who know Thompson, it comes as little surprise.

 

A Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism employee of 34 years, Thompson knows what it means to be dedicated to something. His work with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) on the Missouri River Mitigation properties, and his efforts to repair seepage issues at the 56 manageable wetland areas he oversees at the Benedictine Bottoms Wildlife area, are proof of that.

 

“Kirk has worked diligently with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers on the Missouri River Mitigation properties to develop and enhance wetlands,” said KDWPT Public Lands Supervisor Dustin Mengarelli, who nominated Thompson. He added that the multi-million dollar USACE mitigation project created 5.75 miles of side chute shallow water channels that create a more natural stream bed flow regime. Thompson worked closely with the USACE during the mitigation work to develop two wetlands at the Dalbey Wildlife Area, south of Atchison, totaling 58 acres.

 

Mengarelli added that Thompson has taken it upon himself to work with the USACE mitigation funds to address water loss at Benedictine Bottoms Wildlife Area.

 

“He spread over 1,300 tons of bentonite clay on these wetlands in an effort to seal up the leaking pools. He has worked diligently to repair the three wells at the Bottoms, one of which was approximately 50 years old,” said Mengarelli. “His hard work is paying off as the wetlands have begun to hold water and the pumps are able to fill the units instead of temporarily maintaining water levels.”

Artificial walleye spawning produces real results

 

Maintaining healthy fish populations across the state that meet the desires of today’s anglers and fit within budget restraints is no easy feat, but Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Fisheries Division staff thrive in the face of this challenge. Walleye are popular with anglers, but few lakes in Kansas provide the necessary elements for adequate natural reproduction. The answer? Artificial spawning.

 

Every year about this time, fisheries biologists can be seen working tirelessly at select Kansas lakes, setting nets to capture spawning walleye. Eggs of ripe females are collected, and then taken to a station where they are fertilized with milt, or sperm, taken from male walleyes caught from the same body of water. After fertilization, the eggs are immediately delivered to the Pratt and Milford fish hatcheries where fish culturists work around the clock to ensure high hatch and survival rates of young walleye, which are then stocked into Kansas lakes as fry, or raised to a larger size for stocking. Sauger are also produced to ensure a supply of sauger males. Some walleye eggs are fertilized with sauger milt to create the saugeye, a popular hybrid.

 

Last year, the KDWPT Walleye Culture Program harvested nearly 100 million walleye eggs and produced the following for Kansas waters:

 

WALLEYE

-38 million walleye fry

-580,000 walleye fingerlings

-6,500 walleye intermediates

 

SAUGER

-2.7 million sauger fry

-More than 20,000 sauger fingerlings

 

SAUGEYE

-More than 6 million saugeye fry

-Approximately 310,000 fingerlings

 

This year, staff hope to harvest more than 100 million eggs and increase walleye production to stock 48 million walleye fry, and 1.2 million walleye fingerlings.

 

It’s hard to believe walleye would need any assistance in producing young of their own, especially since large females can produce upwards of 300,000 eggs, but research has shown less than 10 percent of naturally-spawned walleye eggs will successfully hatch. Thanks to the efforts of KDWPT’s hatchery staff, hatch rates can be as high as 70 percent in a controlled setting.

 

In addition to walleye, KDWPT hatcheries also produce bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, sauger, saugeye, smallmouth bass, striped bass, and wipers.

 

For more information on KDWPT hatcheries and the fish they produce, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing/Hatcheries.”