Monday, September 9, 2013

Rare six-clawed lobster is caught off Massachusetts

Fishermen discover mutated crustacean in trap and donate it to Maine State Aquarium in Boothbay Harbor where it will go on public display

September 09, 2013 by David Strege
Photo by Richard Figueiredo F/V Rachel Leah via Maine State Aquarium

A very rare lobster is set to go on public display this week at the Maine State Aquarium in Boothbay Harbor where it will live among other odd-looking lobsters, mostly those with strange coloring.

But this one will stand out for something quite extraordinary: it has six claws.

Capt. Peter Brown and fisherman Richard Figueiredo were lobster fishing aboard The Rachel Leah, one of the five boats featured in “Lobster Wars” on Discovery Channel, when they caught the four-pound, 10-year-old crustacean in one of their traps off Hyannis, Massachusetts.

On the left side, they noticed five Edward Scissorhands-like claws where only one claw should be. A normal claw was on the other side.

Recognizing the lobster as something special, Brown named the lobster Lola and donated it to the Maine State Aquarium.

“This claw deformity is a genetic mutation,” aquarium manager Aimee Hayden-Roderiques told WMTW-TV in Maine. “Sometimes they have this throughout their life, sometimes this happens during a regeneration from a damaged or lost claw.”

The aquarium has two other lobsters with similar deformities on display, but neither is like Lola. Hayden-Roderiques said she has never seen one with six claws before.

It was also a first for David Libby, a marine scientist for the Department of Marine Resources who works at the aquarium and has 40 years of experience working with marine life.

“Sometimes the genes will just get a little mixed and it will grow a funny claw,” he told the Bangor Daily News. “But I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Lucky for Lola, the deformity saved her life.

Link to full article from David Strege and additional video footage below:

Matt's Rant: I decided that because GrindTV’s nature section has provided some pretty fascinating filler for my blog, it only seems fair that I provide a link to my side column. It looks like I will have to break all of this blog-bling into two different columns at some point.
Mutations like this are rare but always worth noting. If you see this type of thing in greater numbers it is a much more concerning matter. One five-fingered lobster is not as alarming as hundreds if not thousands of hermaphrodite smallmouth.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Max Factor update

Once upon a time Max had asked me for some fishing advice and invited me to fish a friend’s private pond. Before his annual trip to Lake McConaughy I had set him up with some additional gear in the way of a 6’6” St. Croix two-piece rod, some fantastic plastics, a few hooks, a couple cranks and spinnerbaits along with a small soft tackle bag to put it all in. A week later Max sends me this photo.
Included in the message was merely the details below.
36” 12lbs
Of course I picked up the phone and called him immediately. Max gave me a rough sketch of fishing highlights over the week and the details of the pike shown in the photo. Apparently the 4” clear bodied crankbait from the gear bag I had given them landed most of the fish including a few walleye.
“We noticed fish were most active during the morning and the evening so that is when we would take the boat out. Caught walleye most of the time. Then we went out during the middle of the day and one of the teens landed this.”
Max and his family had a fantastic time and growing more and more interested in fishing. They practiced catch and release for the most part but decided to take a few fish home. Max did some homework and found great instructions on how to cook up the northern pike. “It was very tasty and we ended up eating the entire fish in one day. Nothing wasted.”
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Monday, September 2, 2013

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a ... it’s a fish

by Nelson Harvey, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer

Airborne fish aren’t native to the Colorado Rockies, but in recent weeks about 125,150 lucky swimmers have learned what it feels like to fly — at least for a few seconds.

The fish have been plummeting out of planes all over southern Colorado as part of the annual aerial stocking effort conducted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), the agency charged with maintaining the state’s fish populations.

Aerial stocking, with helicopters and Cessna 185 airplanes, is used to drop fish into the state’s high mountain lakes that are virtually inaccessible by foot or horseback. The program targets more than 600 lakes across the state, many of them at elevations of between 10,500 and 12,000 feet.

Aside from insuring that backpackers and other backcountry travelers will have fish to catch, stocking remote high mountain lakes can help establish isolated populations of fish for scientists to draw on in case the need to breed them should arise.

Plane drops are a mere subset of the state’s annual stocking effort, which will put more than 53 million fish into Colorado waterways this year alone. According to CPW figures, fishing is second only to skiing as an economic contributor to Colorado’s recreation economy, contributing around $1.2 billion annually. Maintaining that moneymaker takes a lot of work.

Last week, the Garfield County Airport was at the epicenter of aerial stocking efforts in the state, as three pilots used the Rifle runway as a base to stock 265 high alpine lakes in western Colorado. This week the pilots will head to Salida, Gunnison and Durango to stock lakes high in the San Juan mountain range, according to Mark Jimerson, assistant manager at the Rifle Fish Hatchery.

In Colorado, aerial stocking typically takes place in the late summer or early fall, when high-altitude lakes are mostly thawed out from the previous winter.

"I don’t like bouncing them off the ice," said Al Keith, a Colorado Springs-based pilot and one of four who handle the bulk of aerial fish stocking across the state.

The pilots alternate each year between stocking southern and northern Colorado, which is much wetter. Last year, according to Jimerson, the pilots stocked 422 northern Colorado lakes.

Link to full article from Aspen Daily News:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fishing the creek-three rock lock

To be a successful angler on moving streams, creeks or rivers it really helps to be able to read the water. Most can spot the gorgeous slack-water pools and big pretty flat sections. These easy to spot areas get hit by every angler that passes through. My success comes from locating the pieces of water that get overlooked or fished less frequently.
One such spot is a section of boulders that create an ideal place for fish to hold up. Rocks break up the force of the current and create a feeding trough of sorts behind them. Having three rocks in close proximity triples the odds that I will pull something out. I will cast in front, to the side and then run my lure through the sweet spot of water holding behind the boulders.
Fishing on the creek this year has been decent but I have had to deal with a lot of summer traffic and bad weather in the afternoon. The rainstorms have been mild to “run for your life”. Traffic brings frustration from all angles including tubers, kayakers to dogs swimming right through the casting lane. After no bites, a pair of shades and several flip flop shoes…I decide to move on.
Now I have to take a moment and admit that I spend time doing things simply for my blog. For a few years now I have tried to catch a fish near the bronze sculptures to show a fish on fish photo. Finally I was able to stick the landing on a decent browny near the sculpture and pull off the shot.
Water levels on the creek have been good to great considering recent drought years that brought things to a mere trickle. Runoff was not where we would have liked but the more than average rains made up for the lack of snow melt in a big way.  Around April I was becoming deeply concerned that some of these smaller slips of water would be pushed to absolute desperation mode this year. Being able to catch a few sturdy brownies on the nearby creek is a blissful way to spend a few hours where a larger trip was not possible.
A lot of money and effort has been spent over the last few years to cleanup and restore Clear Creek. Quality of creeks is often a lesser concern when mining and development occurred in the west. We are slowly undoing the damage of the past and given the opportunity nature will respond in kind.

Restoration projects are just the start and very expensive. Not every creek is going to get this type of attention. Anglers for the most part are doing a great job but there are still way too many signs that we are not. Spent fishing line, lure packages and big red discarded bobbers on the shoreline discredit us all.
Every recreationalist has a responsibility to respect the creek and minimize their impact. At the very least folks need to pack their trash out and approach all wilderness areas with a “leave no trace” attitude. The number of trash picker uppers is growing on the creek and I would love to see this trend continue.
My name is Matt and this is just another creek trip, nothing to see here, folks. Move along.