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Gar and Bowfin Awareness!


22 replies to this topic

#1 Evan P

Evan P
  • NANFA Guest
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 19 March 2015 - 03:28 PM

As the weather is warming up in MN we are approaching a time of year when a perceived holy war is waged against primitive fishes. Bowfin and Gar are the most heavily affected species. There is a common misconception that these species are invasive and/or eat game fish and their eggs. The truth, however, is that they are one of the few natural predators of eating larger invasives, and they actuslly seem to target carp and such far more frequently tham most game fish. Now, what I hope to do is communicate this to fisherman that believe otherwise and have been misled by Family, tradition, and sometimes even their own DNR. I come here asking for suggestions for how to go about doing this. I'd like to go out and talk to fishermen, but also to leave them with a pamphlet of some sort with further information, exact statistics, and info on what they can do to help. Any suggestions?
3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 

#2 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 19 March 2015 - 03:36 PM

Is there a MN game fishing forum? Good place to start. You would be surprised at how many are like minded.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#3 Evan P

Evan P
  • NANFA Guest
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 19 March 2015 - 03:50 PM

I'm sure there is. I will look into that! Thank you. There is a lake right outside of my town where the gar and bowfin get hit especially hard. In one day I saw 6 gar and 5 bowfin on shore that were killed within the last day or so, and another 10-12 carcasses that were older, and this is all in 200 feet of shoreline. Its a very serious issue around here.


3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 

#4 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 19 March 2015 - 04:26 PM

I hate to see that as well, but from an environmental perspective it is probably not hurting the populations as bad as it seems. Though it certainly does make you want to shove a gar down the culprits throat.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#5 Evan P

Evan P
  • NANFA Guest
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 19 March 2015 - 04:34 PM

Oh, certainly not. It's not like they are putting the fish in any true peril, but it's simply unnecessary killing and wanton waste that also stinks up a large stretch of shore. 


3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 

#6 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 19 March 2015 - 04:39 PM

They are bad fisherman. They don't catch the fish they want, but catch some bowfin, and blame their lack of success on the bowfin.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#7 Evan P

Evan P
  • NANFA Guest
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 19 March 2015 - 05:00 PM

What's craziest about it is that a mile or two away is the Mississippi, which has relatively few gar and bowfin compared to this backwater lake. This lake has very little apart from these primitive species, yet people insist on fishing it and get upset when they catch the most common fish there. This lake does have some really massive gar, though. I have seen a longnose pushing 36-42 inches sun bathing on the surface there. Absolutely incredible sight.


3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 

#8 don212

don212
  • NANFA Member

Posted 19 March 2015 - 06:23 PM

here in citrus county, fl they actually have a mudfish(bowfin) tournament, hoping to bring the numbers down, though they are large, tough and easy to catch



#9 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
  • Moderator
  • San Diego, CA

Posted 19 March 2015 - 07:41 PM

We're in the age of social media.  Take really good photos of the fish you catch and post them with messages saying how awesome they are.  It's unlikely we'll change the minds of anyone over, say, 35 (sorry old farts reading this), but we can definitely change the minds of the younger generation.

 

Gar and bowfin have super cool heads.  Ham it up with photos that highlight them.

 

DSC_5812.jpg

 

gar5.jpg

 

Even the dead fish you find on shore can turn into a cool photo.

 

DSC06812.JPG



#10 Evan P

Evan P
  • NANFA Guest
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 19 March 2015 - 08:20 PM

Very true, Ben. As for skulls, I was planning on cleaning the skulls of any dead fish I find on the shore and maybe doing some kind of museum mount. Bowfin especially have incredible bone structures.


3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 

#11 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 20 March 2015 - 06:22 AM

Do whatever you can to spread awareness. I try myself but it can be very difficult. I got into a pretty heated arguement last summer when I was fishing the river and caught a smallmouth buffalo. The guy closest to me said pretty firmly "don't let that carp go, it's a trash fish!!!". So I explained to him it was a buffalo and that they're native Catostomids and he responded with "well that's even worse, suckers are trash too". And I won't go more into it than that. I swear, you should have to pass an idiot test for a fishing liscense. But I guess then the PFBC would loose a lot of buyers.
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#12 olaf

olaf
  • NANFA Member

Posted 20 March 2015 - 07:48 AM

ReGARding gar skulls--I was contacted recently by a paleontologist in Hungary who is working on fossil gars and wants to buy gar skulls for reference. I think he'd be fine with ones that aren't fully cleaned, as long as they don't stink badly enough to cause problems with the mail.
Redhorse ID downloads and more: http://moxostoma.com

#13 Evan P

Evan P
  • NANFA Guest
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 20 March 2015 - 12:55 PM

If you don't plan to get any for him, would you mind connecting us?
3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 

#14 dmarkley

dmarkley
  • NANFA Member
  • Lower Susquehanna River

Posted 20 March 2015 - 01:53 PM

Very true, Ben. As for skulls, I was planning on cleaning the skulls of any dead fish I find on the shore and maybe doing some kind of museum mount. Bowfin especially have incredible bone structures.

OK, I have to ask:  How do you clean a fish skull?


Susquehanna River Drainage

#15 smbass

smbass
  • Board of Directors

Posted 21 March 2015 - 12:03 AM

DERMESTID BEETLES we have a colony at work for making fish skeletons.


Brian J. Zimmerman

Gambier, Ohio - Kokosing River Drainage


#16 Betta132

Betta132
  • NANFA Guest
  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 23 March 2015 - 02:02 PM

I thought dermestids didn't like fish? 

That's good to know, I'm looking for a seed colony right now.



#17 smbass

smbass
  • Board of Directors

Posted 24 March 2015 - 08:56 AM

They have trouble getting started through the skin but if you cut a slit and they can get inside the thick skin they will do a nice job cleaning them up.


Brian J. Zimmerman

Gambier, Ohio - Kokosing River Drainage


#18 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
  • Moderator
  • San Diego, CA

Posted 24 March 2015 - 02:52 PM

Here's a discussion on an Illinois fishing facebook page from today.  You have to tread very carefully on social media.  A lot of the ugly discussions are not worth joining.  On occasion though, a carefully worded comment can do some good.  I have no idea if I helped out in this case, but at least I pointed out some misinformation that hopefully others will see.

 

gar_facebook_discussion.jpg



#19 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 24 March 2015 - 03:08 PM

Longnose gar are a pain when angling. Hard to hook, and pretty opportunistic. Now shortnose are quite fine game fish. I imagine spotteds are as well. It is going to take some time for them to lose that stigma. Carp have managed to get passed it in some areas. Gar are not tasty IMO, but why does that matter, most of these guys release anyway.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#20 Evan P

Evan P
  • NANFA Guest
  • Knoxville, TN

Posted 24 March 2015 - 06:02 PM

Wow, thank you all for your comments! As far as removing the skin on the skulls, I was considering doing it the natural way on some private property a family friend of ours owns. I wish I could use dermestid beetles, but my parents would not approve. 

 

Ben, you are right when it comes to social media. That is a place where these arguments can really get explosive quickly. It generally ends up coming back to either "My dad/grandpa/etc. said/did so" or "Well, it's legal", as happened in your case. On the upside, though, people like Derek Wheaton do a great job spreading positive messages about nature and an adoration for the unknown and unappreciated species all around. For those of you with a Facebook, check out his page "Enchanting Ectotherms", he posts some really great pictures and information there. 

 

Matt, I've actually never caught one on hook and line, despite a good deal of effort to! Any tips would be appreciated!


3,000-4,000 Gallon Pond Full of all sorts of spawning fishes! http://forum.nanfa.org/index.php/topic/13811-3560-gallon-native-fish-pond/page-3 
 



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