Re: NANFA--Minnow Trap Advice

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Fri, 26 Jan 2001 23:57:54 -0500

> Ignorance is bliss. Education is key as has been pointed out by many recently
> with respect to the person who requested help on restocking a stream.
> The problem with "morally" right decisions is that not all people (myself
> included) are educated enough to know what species should (or legally could)
> be harvested for feeders. I do not have the expertise to identify all
> these fish. If I went and netted a bunch of emerald shiners and baby
> paddlefish, I wouldn't know if I should throw either of them back or not.
> Maybe it is okay to take the feeders you described above...I don't know. If
> someone like me went out to net some feeders, I'd be happy if I had a bunch
> of fish, even if they were blue pike. :)
Incidental catch of rare species probably happens all the time when
fishermen collect bait. Given the reproductive potential of most fishes
it is probably not as critical a factor as the loss or degredation of
habitat. As long as a place remains suitable even the rare species can
withstand predation by either natural predators or the loss of a few to
a bait fisherman every now and then.

If we are talking about a really limited range - there is always the
option of making the watershed a special regulation area off limits to
collection and possession of live bait. PA and many other states
regulate many trout streams that way - artificial lures or fly fishing

As for the Great Marsh in Wisconsin - I've been there twice with Ray and
what he collects are pretty much abundant species. Even to me the idea
of using Blacknose Shiners , Brassy Minnows and Northern Redbelly Dace
as feeder fish seems outlandish while struggle to keep my captive
populations going in my pond and tanks! But I would think nothing of
going out and getting Bluntnose Minnows or Chubs or even Blacknose Dace
which are abundant in my watershed and using them as feeder fish. People
have been harvesting them from Greenlick for years and as long as things
stay as they are - bait collecting is not likely to put a dent in the

Far more devastating was the ruination of Greenlick by a flood control
dam which obliterated the lower reaches - all the nice flood plain
forests, wetlands, Leopard Frog and Wood Turtle populations and the
diverse array of meandering bends , cutoffs, deep holes and riffles.
There were far more species of fish years ago than there are now. I am
going to have to get out and sample the stream in more detail to see
what might be in there now.

Ray's Marsh ; is in much better shape and has a promising future thanks
to the Cranberry industry which maintains natural wetlands to serve the
needs of the cranberry bogs. Given that these enterprises were
established before the advent of legislation to protect wetlands they
were probably instrumental in keeping the wetlands from being ditched
and drained so the muck soils could be used for other crops.
This place is a paradise for anglers, fish collectors and bird and plant
watchers. I even filmed Sandhill Cranes on my last visit!

Jeff from Mt Pleasant PA

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