“Hopefully by providing a financial incentive to open up or expand hunting in their community, we can show that hunting is a logical option to solving deer problems,” Stewart said. “And hopefully it will lead to a resolution of conflicts and the start of a long term management program.”
Fish Surveys For 16 Northern Indiana Lakes
DNR fisheries biologists will conduct standard fish surveys at 16 northern Indiana natural lakes this month as part of an annual project to monitor the long-term status and trends of fish populations in the region’s lakes.
Lakes to be surveyed are: Indiana Lake in Elkhart County; Hill, McClure, and Waubee lakes in Kosciusko County; Adams and Royer lakes in LaGrange County; Crooked, Gordy and Miller lakes in Noble County; Flint Lake in Porter County; Riddles Lake in St. Joseph County; Arrowhead, Hamilton, Little Lime, and Silver lakes in Steuben County, and Little Cedar Lake in Whitley County.
During the surveys, biologists will use electrofishing boats, gill nets, and trap nets to capture fish. Each fish will be identified, measured and released. Scale samples will be taken from popular sport fish to determine their growth rate. The surveys will be conducted over two days.
“Our sampling gives us a basic picture of the fish species, their number and their size,” said Steve Donabauer, a DNR research biologist who is overseeing the project. “Because the lakes are chosen randomly and represent a variety of lake habitats, we can put together a composite view of how fish populations are changing through time.”
Donabauer has already identified some trends based on earlier results.
“Since the mid-1980s, we’ve seen a two-fold increase in the number of 14-inch and greater legal-size largemouth bass and a three-fold increase in bluegill greater than 8 inches,” he said.
Donabauer thinks the increase in bass numbers is due to larger minimum size limits established in the late 1990s and an increase in catch-and-release fishing. The increase in catch and release has led to greater bass predation on bluegill. As a result, fewer bluegill survive and have more food and grow larger.