My home state of Oklahoma has great populations of native smallmouth
bass in the eastern streams, but few fisherman for them. So the state
stocks (and worse, allows private parties to stock) put and take
rainbow trout, and devotes huge sums to intermixing genes from Florida
into Oklahoma largemouth bass populations.
Those who have (and spend) the money get the attention.
Texas has a marvelous stream in the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert
country -- the Devil's River (spelled correctly with the apostrophe,
Peter). It is crystal clear spring water, and has a fantastic fish
community including besides more mundane things(ready for this list?):
Texas shiner (Notropis amabalis), Rio Grande darter (Etheostoma
grahami), bigscale logperch (Percina macrolepida), Mexican tetra
(Astyanax mexicanus), Mexican mosquitofish (Gambusia speciosa), Conchos
pupfish (Cyprinodon eximius), Devil's River minnow (Dionda diaboli),
roundnose minnow (Dionda episcopa), manantiel roundnose minnow (Dionda
argentosa), proserpine shiner (Cyprinella proserpina), headwater
catfish (Ictalurus lupus). Several of these are found in the U.S. only
in this stream, others are endemic to a very limited region of Texas.
What did the very wise Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (actually,
the Texas Fish and Oyster Commission-in-the time), do? Stock
smallmouth bass, and very likely channel catfish, too. Now, the
department manages the river as a "trophy smallmouth" stream, meaning
that most smallmouth are protected, only giants being legal game, and
that restricted to a small number per day (I think two). Most of the
fishing effort is from rich guys who fly in (the river is remote from
civilization), are floated on the river by high dollar guides who are
on a privileged list allowed to use restricted campsites on state
property (there is little private access to the stream). Why all
this? Why, who pays the fishery bills for the state -- "sports." So
why do precious natural resources have to be managed only by "fishery"
money? This stream has not one, not two, but several state and federal
threatened or endangered fish species vulnerable to smallmouth
predation. Besides, it has its own native bass, the largemouth. To
say nothing of beautiful spotted gar, giant smallmouth bufallo, big
flathead catfish. But "sports" are not paying big money to go to the
Devil's river for those. In fact, were it not for the smallmouth, the
stream would probably be fished only by a tiny number of local people
(there IS only a tiny number of local people -- this is people empty
country!) and maybe a few hardy souls who just want solitude.
Oh, well. States have their priorities.
Dave, on the Cimarron R. in Oklahoma, which has some great flatheads,
the threatened Etheostoma craginia (Arkansas darter), and formerly had
the endangered Notropis girardi (Arkansas River Shiner). Now it is a
sea of Red River pupfish, probably because the state allows commercial
bait dealers to collect bait from state waters, and doesn't enforce the
restriction on releasing it wherever.
David L. McNeely, Ph.D., Professor of Biology
Langston University; P.O. Box 1500
Langston, OK 73050; email: dlmcneely-in-lunet.edu
telephone: (405) 466-6025; fax: 405) 466-3307
home page http://www.lunet.edu/mcneely/index.htm
"Where are we going?" "I don't know, are we there yet?"
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dean A. Markley" <damarkley-in-earthlink.net>
Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 11:39 am
Subject: NANFA-L-- How Does Everyone Feel About.....
> I hope this is "on topic" so here goes: I have lived in
> Pennsylvania all my life (47 years, uggh) and for all of that the
> PA Fish Commissions main focus has been trout fishing and the
> associated stocking programs. I am told that most of the Fish
> Commissions budget goes for trout programs. If this is true, it
> kind of upsets me for a few reasons:
> 1. They stock Brooks, Rainbows, and Browns. Now only Brooks are
> native to PA so why stock with an invasive species? (yeah yeah,
> cause people like to catch them).
> 2. With such great fish as smallmouth, largemouth and walleyes,
> why aren't they propagated and stocked more instead? And yes, I
> know some is done but I suspect it is insignificant compared to trout.
> 3. I understand that Bowfin and Longnose Gar used to be common in
> the lower Susquehanna region but now they are rare if not
> extirpated. I do recall a Bowfin being caught in the Susquehanna
> a few years back. Why doesn't the Fish Commission raise and stock
> these interesting fish?
> Just rambling here so do I have any sort of case?
> Dean A. Markley
> 3628 Peregrine Circle
> Mountville, PA 17554
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/ visit http://www.nanfa.org Please make sure all posts to nanfa-l are
/ consistent with the guidelines as per
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