So, I went yesterday (I spend time down in the fine state of South Jersey a couple of days a week... so it was close... relatively speaking....)
The Forum was informative as always. Principle Fisheries Biologist Chris Smith gave a terrific warmwater presentation.
Updates on various states of fish ladder repairs, lake status, stocking approaches and most interesting was a discussion
on invasive species. After a clarification of the difference between Native and Non-Native species (the latter of which includes many
of our "game" fish... including LMB, SMB, Rainbows, Browns) Chris went on to describe a new, and for the moment contained,
invasive species: the Asian Swamp Eel. Looks more like a snake head with a pointed tail, these buggers grow up to 4' long, can
breath air and travel over land, and for the moment are contained in a pond ,and immediate impoundments up and downstream of the pond, in
Plans are underway for mechanical (electofishing, netting, etc) and chemical removal (rotenone) of these buggers. You can
read more about them in the 09 digest.
The trout update included some summary information in addition to the handouts. One of my "home streams" got a decent bump
in the number of trout to be stocked... got me pumped for a few extra meals
Ya know stocked trout are like potato chips... they'll
just make more!
Lisa Barno gave some very interest angler stats based in part on the data from the online license data over the past 3 years...
key point was that angler retention is a huge part of maintaining steady angler growth in the state, as they've found over
a 40% "churn" in licensed anglers (# of new vs # of last year licensees who didn't renew), yet with some growth over the past 3 years, overall.
Some Q&A followed including, not surprisingly, some discussion of the pending marine sw registry vs. a sw license can't get away from that
and a discussion of flounder regs (also came up) no matter that this was a Fresh Water Fisheries forum