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Archive for Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fish an integral part of state’s river water sampling program

Department capturing Kaw fish to determine water quality

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks employees from left, Aaron Austin, Kole Stweart and Jeff Conley hold up three 40-pound flathead catfish the trio caught Tuesday morning. The group was part of a six-person team doing water sampling on the Kansas River, east of the Kansas River bridge.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks employees from left, Aaron Austin, Kole Stweart and Jeff Conley hold up three 40-pound flathead catfish the trio caught Tuesday morning. The group was part of a six-person team doing water sampling on the Kansas River, east of the Kansas River bridge.

November 25, 2008

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Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks employees from left, Jeff Conley, Aaron Austin and Kole Stewart, show off the mornings catch — three flathead catfish weighing some 40 pounds each. They stunned the fish as they did water sampling on the Kansas River, east of the Kansas River bridge, Tuesday morning.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks employees from left, Jeff Conley, Aaron Austin and Kole Stewart, show off the mornings catch — three flathead catfish weighing some 40 pounds each. They stunned the fish as they did water sampling on the Kansas River, east of the Kansas River bridge, Tuesday morning.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks employees from left, Aaron Austin, Kole Stweart and Jeff Conley hold up three 40-pound flathead catfish the trio caught Tuesday morning. The group was part of a six-person team doing water sampling on the Kansas River, east of the Kansas River bridge.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks employees from left, Aaron Austin, Kole Stweart and Jeff Conley hold up three 40-pound flathead catfish the trio caught Tuesday morning. The group was part of a six-person team doing water sampling on the Kansas River, east of the Kansas River bridge.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks employees take a stream sample on the Kansas River downstream of the Kansas Bridge Tuesday, in the process finding some pretty big fish. They stunned three of the flathead catfish, which weighed some 40 pounds each. A six man crew cataloged the findings.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks employees take a stream sample on the Kansas River downstream of the Kansas Bridge Tuesday, in the process finding some pretty big fish. They stunned three of the flathead catfish, which weighed some 40 pounds each. A six man crew cataloged the findings.

It was a fisherman’s delight.

Lunkers — hundreds of pounds of fish — were being pulled from the Kansas River in Lawrence on Tuesday morning, all in the name of the environment.

Crews with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks were conducting a general fish study on the Kansas River in hopes of gathering information that will serve as an early-warning of whether water quality in the Kaw is declining.

“If you think about it, fish may live in the same water for years, upwards of 70 years in some cases, so they can be really good long-term indicators of water quality,” said Eric Johnson, an aquatic ecologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

The state has been doing fish studies on smaller streams in the state for nearly two decades, but has not been able to do similar studies on larger rivers like the Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri. But recently the department purchased a boat with specialized equipment that allows crews to safely work the swift waters.

The boat is equipped with special electro-fishing equipment, which provides a jolt of electricity into the water that stuns fish so they float to the top.

Yes, you likely would receive a ticket if you started fishing this way.

But Johnson said the method is great for researchers because it allows for large numbers of fish to be collected and studied. Fish are taken ashore to holding tanks where various measurements are taken, and then they are released back into the river.

All in all, it adds up to a unique day on the water that produces results that can be — dare we say — shocking.

“You would be amazed at what you’ll find in the rivers,” said Johnson, who has led several fish gathering crews. “You’ll be pulling 40 pound flatheads out of there, and those are some of the small ones.”

Data collection on the Kansas River is still in its early stages, so the study has not produced any results on whether water quality is improving or declining on the Kaw, Johnson said.

Comments

rattler 6 years, 1 month ago

This is an awesome story. Do they take volunteers? Please follow up with the analysis when it's complete.

blindrabbit 6 years, 1 month ago

Boy, I hope they don't use that shocker when I'm noodleing in the Kaw next week. Too bad they can't sample in the Bowersock power plant outfall; some real big lunkers in there. Frank Cross in his Kansas Fish book comments that he had heard of 300 pounders in the late 1800's.

Toto_the_great 6 years, 1 month ago

To see what the mighty Kaw was like around the Civil War era. A lot of interesting fishes were found in there but are no longer. I went seining in the Kaw with a buddy a few times and we caught all sorts of cool beasts... sturgeons, minnows and sunfishes of all colors that would make Nemo-type fishes look drab, and of course, my favorite, softshell turtles. No mention of the biologists guys getting hit by Asian carp. My buddy battles these exotics in Illinois. Too bad they are here now.

jonas_opines 6 years, 1 month ago

That picture would have been perfect in showing the declining quality of water, if they had told us that all those fish in the picture were actually once minnows, not catfish! You should see the catfish.http://www.softwaremaker.net/blog/content/binary/cloverfieldmonsterart02.jpg

Chris Ogle 6 years, 1 month ago

Fishin fever.... going crappie fishing today (with lures)

TheOriginalCA 6 years, 1 month ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says… Yum… mercury laden cat fish. Thanks “Sunflower” and Westar and all you friends of “clean coal”!=================Do you know the results of the testing before the tests are even conducted?

Potawatomi 6 years, 1 month ago

It's too bad you can't eat the fish you catch out of the river.

blindrabbit 6 years, 1 month ago

Although mercury pollution is not specifically mentioned in the lead story it is a major component of the chemical workup of this study. Especially ironic is that the story is in the Kaw at Lawrence, just 2 miles downstream from what is probably the most polluting power plant (per KWh produced) in Kansas. Dethroned Kansas Senator Roger Pine who USED to live about 3 miles downwind from the smoke plume from the plant must have gotten the message about mercury drift as he moved much further away. This did not alter his vote of total support on the Holcomb power plant's build however.Anybody who doubts the effect of mercury pollution only needs to web to any of the sites that discuss the Minimata Disease tragedy that occurred in Japan in the 1960's.

leadstone 6 years ago

I once caught a 3 eyed frog at the river above the dam, I also caught one with his hind legs fused together. That was over 20 years ago. I kinda agree with logrithmic in his assumptions ( researched or otherwise ) Nothing in my time here in Lawrence has led me to believe anything's gotten better. Be wary of certain local Chinese buffets, I know 1st hand that some DO purchase and process fish caught in the Kaw, and it ends up on your plate. So stay away from the sushi. Unless you brought a Geiger counter.

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