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Status of the Metro Catfish Project and Recent Catfish Activities in the East Metro Joel Stiras DNR Fisheries Specialist St. Paul, MN.

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Presentation on theme: "Status of the Metro Catfish Project and Recent Catfish Activities in the East Metro Joel Stiras DNR Fisheries Specialist St. Paul, MN."— Presentation transcript:

1 Status of the Metro Catfish Project and Recent Catfish Activities in the East Metro Joel Stiras DNR Fisheries Specialist St. Paul, MN

2 How did this catfish project start? Background for present day. Complaints of large catfish no longer present in the St Croix Resulted in St. Croix River survey by Hinckley and East Metro area offices in 2006 Hindsight, sampling issues evident, poor timing, poor results for East Metro

3 How did this catfish project start? Background for present day. River portion (upstream of lift bridge to Taylors Falls) 10 channel catfish sampled 2 flathead catfish sampled Lake St. Croix (lift bridge to confluence with Pool 3) 54 channel catfish sampled 3.31 per gill net lift 2 flathead catfish sampled

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5 East Metro Area Office Re-Dedication to the Rivers Two largest water bodies in East Metro Area St. Croix River Mississippi River, Pool 2

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7 East Metro Area Office Re-Dedication to the Rivers Many questions about the rivers. What’s first? Special regulations on Pool 2 need evaluation We don’t know anything about our catfish populations

8 2008 Catfish Work Set up a standardized sampling program for evaluating flathead catfish in Pool St. Croix River survey raised more questions, obvious further evaluation needed Designed the Metro Catfish Tagging Project

9 2008 Flathead Catfish Survey Sampled 122 flatheads by low frequency electrofishing Size range of inches Aged them for first time Collected 117 spines Ages 1-24 sampled

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13 50 lbs and 24 years old!27 lbs and 24 years old!

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23 2008 Channel Catfish, Pool 2 Collected 27 channel catfish during summer and fall electrofishing Collected 46 channel catfish during September Nelson Mining Site Evaluation in gill nets and trap nets

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25 What’s this Nelson Mining Site thing all about? 229 acre area adjacent to Lower Grey Cloud Island Aggregate Industries wants to expand mining operation into the river Plan to excavate down to 200 feet, fill with fines, leaving a hole 100 feet deep Mining to occur over a 20 year span

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29 Back to the catfish project Questions and Problems DNR creel surveys conducted during daylight hours Result – catfish angling effort and harvest likely under estimated Relatively open river systems, how far do these catfish move? Do these catfish move between river systems? Regulations are different for border waters and inland waters Are there sensitive over-wintering areas that need protection? Are there growth differences between river systems? Are there genetic differences in catfish populations between river systems? How many catfish are actually out there?

30 Catfish Tagging Tag all channel and flathead catfish 10 inches and longer Remove pectoral spine from sub-sample to determine age Clip a fin to estimate tag loss, save the fin for genetic analysis Estimate mortality from tagging, spine removal Record where fish released after tagging, record location where fish recaptured

31 Catfish Tagging Measure fish

32 Catfish Tagging Cut off pelvic fin

33 Catfish Tagging Preserve fin tissue in alcohol for genetic analysis

34 Catfish Tagging Tagging needles

35 Catfish Tagging Insert needles beneath dorsal fin

36 Catfish Tagging Insert tag wire into needles

37 Catfish Tagging Use wire twist pliers to secure wire after removing needles

38 Catfish Tagging Finished product

39 Catfish Tagging Remove pectoral spine if necessary

40 Catfish Tagging Live release

41 Catfish Tagging Now do it again…

42 Catfish Tagging and again…

43 Catfish Tagging and again…

44 Catfish Tagging and again…

45 Catfish Tagging and a few thousand more times.

46 And while you’re at it… …tag any lake sturgeon you see on the St Croix River

47 Catfish Tagging Results, catfish tagged 126 channel catfish ( inches, 3-22 years old) 86 upstream of Arcola Sandbar 40 downstream of Arcola Sandbar 21 flathead catfish ( inches, 3-24 years old) 11 upstream of Arcola Sandbar 10 downstream of Arcola Sandbar

48 Catfish Tagging Results, 2009 No documented mortality Had 9 tagged channel catfish but back in hoop nets One escaped net, remaining 8 alive with tags in place after 2 days Mortality and Tag Loss No documented tag loss All catfish tagged were new fish, no secondary fin clips

49 Catfish Tagging Results, 2009 Recaptured one channel catfish, sampled by electrofishing both times Caught 2 days later, less than 200 feet from release point Recaptures and Angler Reports One angler reported a channel catfish caught and harvested Caught 15 days after tagged, less than 200 feet from where released

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58 Metro Catfish Angler Survey and Diaries Also designed to compliment the catfish tagging project Biases are expected, not a true random sample However, likely better information than what we have Diaries designed to get a better idea of catfish angler effort and harvest 12 question survey designed to locate dedicated anglers willing to keep accurate information

59 Metro Catfish Angler Survey Results to Date Lots of technical troubles contacting respondents Have attempted to contact 151 anglers by so far this year Have sent out 54 spreadsheet/paper diaries Ask for confirmation that spreadsheet was received via e- mail. Have 45 confirmations. Over 200 respondents since the survey was put online last year

60 Metro Catfish Angler Survey Results to Date

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66 Roughly 74% of those that said they catfish from a boat also have a GPS Roughly 52% of those that said they catfish from shore also have a GPS Roughly 37% fish from shore AND from a boat also have a GPS Roughly 68% of those that fish from shore AND from a boat, also have a GPS Further breakdown of the GPS question

67 Metro Catfish Angler Survey Results to Date

68 Metro Catfish Angler Diary Results, 2009 Technical issues Slow start, few diaries turned in to date (better than none) Couple of things needed to be stressed in a setting like this Need those skunked days May be a wash for 2009 Concerns over location data?

69 Metro Catfish Angler Diary Results, 2009 MINNESOTA STATUTE SPECIFIC LOCATION DATA. Subd. 2. Nonpublic data. Specific location data procured by the Department of Natural Resources that identify protected wild animals, as defined under section 97A.015, subdivision 39, or species that are designated endangered, threatened, or of special concern under section , subdivision 3, are nonpublic data if disclosure is likely to: (1) hinder management, propagation, or research; (2) facilitate unfair chase or illegal taking, transport, or sale; or (3) decrease the likelihood of establishing a protected wild animal or bringing an endangered, threatened, or special concern species to a point at which it is no longer endangered, threatened, or of special concern.

70 Recent Contaminant Work Comprehensive PFOS contaminant testing conducted in Pool 2 in 2009 In cooperation with MDH, PCA, and 3M New St. Croix River fish samples collected in 2009 Will again be split by upstream or downstream of Stillwater Results still pending

71 Pool 2 PFOS History PFOS is showing up in trace amounts world wide PFOS is a 3M chemical formerly used in Scotch Guard, Teflon pans, fire fighting foams, and countless other uses 3M discharges water into lower Pool 2, in Cottage Grove Bluegill had been recently listed as one meal per month in Pool 2 because of elevated PFOS levels Pool 2 was therefore considered “Impaired” because of the one meal per month consumption restriction on bluegill Doesn’t bioaccumulate in a predictable fashion like Mercury or PCB’s…larger fish/older fish don’t necessarily have higher levels of PFOS

72 Pool 2 PFOS Sampling, 2009 Bluegill Smallmouth Bass Common Carp White Bass Freshwater Drum Collect 5 species across 4 sections of Pool 2 15 of each species for each section 300 total fish to collect and have tested Collect water samples from areas where fish are collected

73 One Meal/Month Do Not Eat

74 One Meal/Month Do Not Eat

75 One Meal/Month Do Not Eat

76 One Meal/Month

77 Do Not Eat

78 One Meal/Month Do Not Eat

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80 Commercial Fishing Harvest No commercial harvest of catfish in inland waters Don’t quote me on this…I barely understand it myself Border waters have different rules depending on where licensed What I’m showing is just a collection of commercial harvest reported for MINNESOTA Minnesota commercial fishermen are allowed to harvest up to 100 pounds of catfish per day. Wisconsin commercial fishermen have no catfish harvest limits.

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84 Asian Carp Most Asian Carp harvested by commercial fishermen were grass carp Were collected in small numbers/individual fish in Pools 5A, 8, and 9 Only a few were silver and bighead carp Individuals have been confirmed close to home Grass carp in St Croix River in 2003 Bighead carp in St Croix River in 1996 Bighead carp in Lake Pepin in 2003 No known reproducing populations in MN yet

85 Any other issues?

86 Joel Stiras DNR Fisheries Specialist St. Paul, MN Metro Catfish Survey can be found at East Metro Area Information metro/index.html


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