August 2010 Column Winner

Heat can affect fisherman more than fish

Vic Allshouse, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise

Man! Is it hot? Or what? Our temps are hovering around the 100-degree mark and that's almost too hot to go fishing.
Well, almost. I know several anglers that have resorted to bass fishing after dark and that's not such a bad idea. But they are finding out that the temps don't really bother the fish as much as the fisherman.
Most of the bass they've found have been caught out of only 1 to 3 feet of water. And the surface temps are at 92 degrees and more.
Just goes to show you that if the oxygen levels are right and the food is present, the fish don't mind "sweating" for a meal.
But this isn't an occurrence on every lake in the area. Hulah and Copan bass — yes. Gibson and some of the other lakes?
Well, anglers are throwing Carolina rigs and fishing ledges and drop-offs in fifteen to thirty feet to find their prey. Not every body of water fishes the same.
This time of year makes an early-morning outing a must and the rewards of getting on the water Just before daylight, or when one can safely navigate, a great benefit.
I took my early-morning drive to little Lake Hudson and saw four different animals before I reached its shores.
An Opossum met me at the gate, a doe and two fawns watched as I approached the dam, a raccoon and three youngsters tested the edge of the waters by the picnic area and a turkey strutted to the woods as I approached the boat ramp.
Early-morning jaunts are so much fun and it's at these times I wish I could have my camera ready for some really great photos.
Try it yourself and see what most people miss by staying in bed that extra hour.

Check out these facts about blues
The ODWC's website at www.wildlifedepartment. corn can be very informative and interesting if one has the time to scroll through the information provided.
And one topic garnered my interest and I found it to be most informative. (You may find the information on the website URL provided and read the complete report.)
Blue catfish are not as plentiful nor do they grow as fast as their channel catfish and flathead catfish counterparts.
Recent studies have shown that, depending on the waters of the lake they are removed from, their growth rates are much slower than the average angler might surmise. For example: A ten-year-old blue from Keystone may measure 25-inches whereas the same age-class fish from Ellsworth may only be 15-inches long.
The largest blue in their sampling was from Texoma and weighed 48 pounds and was 16 years old. The oldest (24) came from Ellsworth and was 19-inches in length. A 30-inch blue cat is approximately 12-14 years old and weighs in at around 10-pounds from most of the better growth lakes.
The mortality rates (the loss of fish due to natural occurrences or from harvest) for the blues is quite astounding even though the fish's population would be considered higher than other species.
At 20 to 30 percent, it is much lower than that of the black bass (50 percent) and the crappie (80 percent).
For every 10,000 age-1 blue catfish in a lake, less than 300 survive to reach 10-pounds. Think how long it takes for a blue to reach 50- pounds. This is one of the reasons the department suggests keeping those fish in the 3- to 10-pound range and to take pictures and release the larger fish for brood-stock.
In the end, it makes sense for the betterment of the fishery and the future of the blue cat in Oklahoma's lakes.

Fish kills in small waters
As is the case every year at this time, I receive many questions from ranchers and small pond owners concerning the loss of fish in their ponds and small lakes.
They understandably they are worried their waters are polluted or otherwise stained with some virus or disease that is killing their fish.
Nothing could be further from the truth and the problem can be lessened if not eliminated with a few inexpensive remedies.
The problem is caused from the high summer temperatures, low oxygen levels, lack of wind and little, if any, rainfall.
As water temp goes up, levels of dissolved oxygen go down. Without sufficient oxygen fish, as all other creatures, are unable to sustain life.
The lack of wind prevents adequate oxygenation of the water and lack of rainfall eliminates the influx of fresh water to the pond.
Any one or a combination of these factors can be lethal to the aquatic creatures.
To oxygenate the water one can install a pump that recirculates the water and sprays it back into the pond.
The splashing water helps raise the oxygen content to sustainable levels and can be done at intervals during the day.
One farmer told me he did his pond by backing his brush hog into the shallow water and letting it thrash away. Simple, yet affective.
If anyone needs help or has questions concerning their pond or small lake, contact the ODWC or check out their website, listed above. They also have a booklet concerning the construction, maintenance and proper care of ponds.
Until next week, stay cool and good luck and good fishing!

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