Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

December 27, 2013

Discarded Christmas trees can have big benefits

By JOEL WILSON
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can use your discarded Christmas trees (not artificial) to create fish habitat around Barren River Lake.

Trees are weighted and placed along the shoreline to become a safe habitat for young fish.

Natural trees, free of all decorations, may be donated at the Port Oliver Recreation Area. A sign is posted inside the recreation area as to where to place your trees. Port Oliver is located next to the dam. Trees may also be dropped off at the Allen County Transfer Station or the Glasgow Landfill for use in the lake or you can contact Eric Cummins at 270-746-7127.

 

The Barren Bassmasters are planning their 22nd annual swap meet for Jan. 18, 2014, from 7:30 a.m.until 2 p.m. at the Cave City Convention Center. You will find baits, tackle and an antique lure display for viewing only.

Fishermen are invited to bring anything related to fishing to swap, trade, buy or sell including old and modern equipment. Tables are available for dealers ($1.50 per foot) and tables for the public are free.

For more information, you can call Glenn Reeves at (days) 270-646-7104 or (nights) 270-651-5348. Or, contact him by email at jareeves@glasgow-ky.com

 

Kentucky Afield has a new writer, Kevin Kelly, and this week he talks about the past year in Kentucky.

Earlier this year, Outdoor Life magazine picked Kentucky as the nation’s top spot for trophy white-tailed deer. The state produced 42 reported entries into the Boone and Crockett Club record book in 2012.

“We’ve got more hunting opportunities now than we’ve ever had,” said Karen Waldrop, wildlife director for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “And we’re nationally recognized as a deer destination.”

While it won’t be known until later if hunters in Kentucky have topped that trophy mark this year, they have certainly enjoyed another record deer harvest.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s website (fw.ky.gov) reported 139,228 deer telechecked as of Dec. 26, up almost 6 percent from last year’s overall harvest record. That total could climb some more. An unprecedented deer season stands as one of the department’s highlights in 2013.

The ongoing efforts by Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to restore the state’s bobwhite quail population and the expansion of Big Rivers Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and State Forest in western Kentucky as well as new regulations permitting night coyote hunting are all accomplishments of the wildlife division.

In addition, wildlife biologists continued their work with University of Kentucky graduate students on separate research projects focused on the state’s restored elk herd.

“We want to sustain the herd to where we have a huntable population, allow the maximum opportunity for hunters and still have a healthy herd that behaves and acts like an elk herd should,” said Gabe Jenkins, wildlife biologist for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Fieldwork for a four-year research project focused on assessing lifespan, identifying causes of death and tracking movement just wrapped up. The study also identified elk habitat use and food sources.  A cow elk study, started last winter when 40 adult cow elk received radio collars and ear tags, is looking not only at the lifespan of cows but also at the social structure of the herd, reproductive success and mortality factors.

“As an agency, we’re going to continue to try to keep this up for a while,” Jenkins said. “So even when the students are finished with their work, we have some things that we want to look at and address.” This past year also saw opportunities for bear hunting expand in Kentucky.

The bear zone now encompasses a 16-county region, a separate archery/crossbow season was established and the first bear quota hunt with dogs was initiated. Hunters met their quota of 10 bears during the inaugural archery/crossbow season, with the largest a 375-pound male taken with a crossbow in Wayne County.

Fisheries Division Director Ron Brooks noted the continued efforts to blunt the advancement of Asian carp as one of the division’s key areas of focus in 2013.

Commercial anglers netted almost 83,000 pounds of Asian carp over a two-day tournament held in March on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. Bighead and silver carp reproduce quickly and gorge on plankton that forms the base of the aquatic food chain.

The department also worked to stem the Asian carp’s migration up the Ohio River.

“We contracted fishermen to fish in the Greenup and Meldahl pools primarily,” Brooks said. “We learned a lot about the numbers of Asian carp in those pools and what we need to do moving forward on that leading edge project.”

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife engaged in a project with agencies from Indiana and Illinois and two out-of-state universities to determine the population status of blue, flathead and channel catfish in the Ohio River and whether trophy-sized catfish were being overharvested. Earlier this month, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission voted in favor of new restrictions to limit the number of trophy catfish that can be taken daily by commercial fisherman and sportfish anglers.

Legislative approval is needed before the restrictions become law. If passed, anglers fishing on a sport fishing license would be allowed to keep one blue and flathead catfish more than 35 inches long and one channel catfish more than 28 inches long on the Ohio River with no daily creel limit on fish under those limits.

The past year brought some good news about Lake Cumberland. The Army Corps of Engineers dropped the water level in the lake in 2007 to ease pressure on Wolf Creek Dam because it was at risk of failing. With repairs to the dam nearing completion, the Corps raised the lake to 705 feet above sea level this past spring and could return it to its normal 723 feet above sea level next year.