The unloved and unwanted Asian carp is evidently continuing to make its way up the Ohio River and migrating up some of the feeder streams.
“Had a silver (carp) leap into the boat and nearly redecorate the spacing between my ears,” wrote Doug Clifford in an email this past week.
Clifford, an Ohio newspaper columnist who’s helping the Ohio Division of Wildlife with research on the invasive species, said he was catching Asian carp in Ohio Brush Creek, Straight Creek and White Oak Creek.
He works closely on the project with Rich Carter, executive administrator of Fish Management and Research for the division out of the Wildlife Central Office in Columbus.
I met the two of them July 9, 10 at the Governor’s Fish Ohio Day in Port Clinton. We fished for walleye on Dan Welsh’s charter boat seven miles out in Lake Erie.
They talked about the efforts to keep Asian carp out of Lake Erie.
Grass carp, one of the seven or eight species of Asian carp to be introduced outside of their native range, which is primarily China, have been captured in very Great Lake except Lake Superior. But no silver carp have yet been found in any of the Great Lakes.
Silver carp, like the one that nearly decapitated Clifford, have become notorious for leaping as high as 10 feet out of the water when frightened by boats or the motorcycle-type watercraft.
They can live for decades and grow to weigh as much as 100 pounds. They’ve caused boaters to suffer cuts from fins, black eyes – even broken bones and back injuries.
The grass carp is still the main delicacy in China, although the silver is the cheapest to buy, according to information on various Internet sites.
They’re kept in live boxes in the lake right in front of the restaurants in waterfront towns like Hangzhou. Once the waiter gets an order from a customer, they slam one (of the fish) down on the pavement to kill it, then cook it and serve it with sweet and sour sauce.
The fish’s pearly-white flesh, which the Chinese say tastes a bit like cod or crabmeat, is rampant with bones.
There’s no information yet on whether Asian carp reproduce in waters they spread to.
You can understand the concern of fisheries personnel over Asian carp rooting out sports fishes when you consider that one bighead carp was found to carry more than two million eggs.
We reported here last year about one local angler catching a bighead weighing about 30 pounds on the South Shore waterfront.
Kentucky and Ohio still have a segment of the hunting population who eagerly look forward to the coming of squirrel season, which kicks off the calendar of fall hunting.
And it’s almost here. Kentucky’s season opens at daybreak next Saturday; Ohio’s not for a couple of weeks yet.
In Kentucky, the daily bag limit is six, the same as last year, and this season will be every bit as good as it was last year, according to Ben Robinson, small game biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
“I’ve heard that beech trees in eastern Kentucky are loaded with nuts this year,” Robinson said.
Hickory nuts and acorns production also looks good.
He said there’s a close relationship between one year’s mast crop and the following year’s squirrel population. A good mast production one year means a good squirrel population the next year.
Robinson said last year’s mast survey rated white oak and hickory nut production as average, red oak as good and a beech nut crop that failed.
Biologists walk the same path through the woods every year and estimate the year’s mast crop based on what they observe. An abundant year means good populations next year not only for squirrel, but for white-tailed deer and wild turkey as well.
Hickory nuts begin to mature in August and acorns and beechnuts in September and October.
Kentucky squirrel season is a 196-day split season. The first segment closes Nov. 8 for the beginning of the deer gun season, but reopens Nov. 11 and runs through the end of February.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or Gsamwriter@aol.com.