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September 1, 2010     The Florala News
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September 1, 2010

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THE FLORALA NEWS-WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2010 PAGE 7 A few good catfishermen needed by David Rainer go above Spann's Land- and the numbers increased but they usually prey on the Alabama Department of ing, you have to drag your significantly in the 2009 fish that stay in the current Conservation and Natural boat most of the year. Even sample, a little more because they Resources around Geneva in the sum- "Last year we found a are current-oriented fish." Ken Weathers is looking mer, it would be hard to get good number of flatheads Spotted bullheads, red- for a few good catfishermen, a bass boat in there without and a few big ones," he said. breasts, spotted suckers and Actually, more than a few dragging bottom." "We pulled the otolith (ear) redhorse suckers are the would be better to deal with The Pea River, also a pop- stones and found they were most common species in the what the Alabama Wildlife ular river to float, joins the fast-growing flatheads that flathead diet. and Freshwater Fisheries Choctawhatchee at Geneva. you would expect to find in "We are concerned about 0NFF) biologist considers a However Weathers said the an expanding population, the flathead population be- threat to native fish popula- Elba dam should provide a We went back this year in cause it could be a big impact tions in two waterways in barrier for any flathead en- May. We picked up 32, Two on the sunfish fishery, cape- southeast Alabama. croachment up the Pea. were young of the year and c/ally the redbreast fishery" The culprit is the flat- Weathers said the first the other 30 ranged from 2 Weathers said. "There have head catfish, also known as questions about flatheads pounds to 38 pounds." been several cases in Geor- yellow cat, Opelousas and in the Choctawhatchee Weathers said it appears gin and Florida where intro- shovelhead cat. The current came from the Florida Fish the train trestle just north duced flatheads have really state record for flathead is and Wildlife Conserva- of Geneva is the current decimated the redbreast 80 pounds and they have the t/on (FWC) in the late 90s. demarcation line for the fishery. potential to cause damage Weathers said he had no/n- flatheads. None came from "The flip side of that is to certain river ecosystems, formation about,flatheads in above that area, but plenty there are fishermen who according to Weathers. the Choctawhatchee and ac- were captured around the target the flatheads. And The rivers of concern are companied FWC biologists trestle and the deep holes you really do have to tar- the Choctawhatchee and the on an electrofishing trip to with structure to the south get them to catch them. If Pea. The Choctawhatchee is find the species near the of the trestle, you think you're going to one of the last free-flowing Alabama line. Although no "Anywhere there was a cast from the bank and use rivers in Alabama. It runs flatheads were recovered on deep hole from 12 to 24 feet worms on the bottom, you're from Barbour County all that trip, subsequent sam- with debris in it, there were not going to catch them. You the way to Choctawhatchee piing convinced the Florida flatheads," he said. "There's pretty much have to use live BIOLOGIST ROB ANDRESS holds one of the 32 flat-i Bay near Destin, Fla. The biologists that the flatheads a big bend in the river with bait and fish around struc- head catfish Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries found in the. Choctawhatchee is a coastal were coming from Alabama. a lot of trees and stuff in ture and deep holes and Choctawhatchee River during sampling in May. It's obvious river thatis relatively shal- "Florida contacted us it and there were plenty cut-in banks where they from the photo how the yellow catfish picked up the nick- low and slow-flowing with again in 2001 and said the of flatheads in that stuff, like to lay there and hide. name offlathead. (photo by Ken Weathers) deep cuts and deep holes, flatheads had to be coming They like to lay in the deep And you've got to use the In the Geneva area - one from Alabama because the holes under structure.. Once proper tackle to catch one of diminish as the size in- of a harvest going on for flat-' of the major spawning sites closer they got the state we got past the junction of these big ones. You've got to creases, a drawback in oth- head to keep that popula- for gulf sturgeons - Weath- line, the more they found," the Pea and the Choctaw- have some line big enough er catfish species. Be aware, t/on down. With an expand- era said the holes can be 30 Weathers said. 'fiNe went hatchee, we found plenty, to pull them. out of the holes however, that the daily bag ing population we're seeing feet deep. The stained, tan- out and shocked all around That's where we found the and things before they get limit allows for only one cat- reproduction now, so they'll nic water of the Choctaw- and where the junction of bigger ones. wrapped around a stump or fish with a total length of 34 be moving up the Choctaw- hatchee is not as fertile and the Pea and the Choctaw- "And, we didn't find any tree." inches or longer per day per hatchee and up the Pea. : doesn't havethefish popula- hatchee and all we found speckled bullheads this Weathers said the flat- person. "I'd like for people to. tions that one would find in were speckled bullheads, time, which is a pretty good head is not native to the "Even if we go in there know more about them and a river like the Alabama. channel cats and one big indication that there's a Choctawhatchee so the ape- and try to shock them and target them more and har- "There's still a good many blue. Anywhere you find fairly substantial flathead cies had to be introduced eradicate them it would vest more so there wouldn't fish because it doesn't get speckled bullheads you're population. We still found to the waterway. Now that be impractical," he said. "I be a problem with the sun-. a whole lot of fishing pres- not going to find flatheads a good many sunfish, red- they're in the watershed, don't think we could get rid fish fishery. They just need sure," Weathers said. "It's because that's one of the breasts and stuff like that. he just needs more people of them if we tried. So we to get some good tackle. It" a relatively rural area with flathead's favorite foods." But flatheads are eating to take advantage of the would really like to see more should be a lot of fun." not a lot of access. People Weathers and his col- machines. They're voracious fishery. Flatheads make love to float the river be- leagues sampled again in feeders. They'll eat any fish excellent table fare and the cause it's scenic. But if you 2007 found a few flatheads they can get in their mouth, quality of the meat doesn't NRCS announces deadline for conservation programs , ....... Alabama Natural Re- of the cost of installation of servation basedt,n specific, while accommodating state sources Conservation Ser- conservation practices. In local conservation :needs, and national interests. vice(NRCS) State Conserva- addition, up to 30 percent t/on/st Dr. William Puckett of such payments may be announced October l, 2010, provided in advance for pur- UUTRITION as the cutoff date for produc- chasing materials or con-  era to sign up for the follow- tracting. ing conservation programs: Interested landowners Conservation Stewardship can contact Steve Yelverton WOMEN, INFANTS & CHILDREN Program; Environmental at the local NRCS office by Quality Incentives Program calling 334-222-3519 ext. WIC CAN OFFER:  which includes the Agricul- 3. General program infor- LIGHTHOUSE tural Water Enhancement mat/on is available on the Healthy foods Nutrition information C-C Program, organic farming, Alabama NRCS website at Health care referrals Breastfeeding support v LEAItNINB CENTEIt and high tunnels; the Grass- land Reserve Program; grams. Call your local health department Wildlife Habitat Incentives NRCS is a technical 0rl.888.942.4673 ' .......... Program; and Wetlands Re- agency of the United States Specializing in Infant-Preschool Care serve Program (WRP). Ap- Department of Agricul- A,N Applications available and After-School Care/ plications are accepted on a ture that works one-on-one  UTRITION JcPbI.ORe for pick-up at continuous, basis; however, with America's farmers This instffution is an equalopportunity provider. Alabama Departmentof Public Health Chdstian Cumculum Base selecting applications for and ranchers, primarily on Simply Chic 6:30 am - 5:30 pm funding is completed per/- privately-owned lands, to Member ofACSl odically through batching help them in their efforts Florala Pharmacy Video Security System periods with specific cutoff to improve and protect the Commercial Playground Equipment dates, natural resources. NRCS is Tri-Cities 2500+ SF classroom space Eligible producers may celebrating 75 years of help- Farm Center Licensed through AI.DHR receive up to 75 percent of ing people help the land. All workers will be CPR certified and the cost of installation of Since 1935, the NRCS con- Lockhart City Hall have FBI background clearance Additional building for After School Care conservation practices. So- servation delivery system Laurel HillGrill c/ally disadvantaged, limit- has advanced a unique part- Now Accepting Registrations ed resource, and beginning nership with state and local farmers and ranchers are governments and private 1905 Gallery For Infants Through Preschool For an email version of the application send your request to eligible for up to 90 percent landowners delivering con- Southern Windows This'Week's Recipe & Doors OPEN HOUSE Tuesday, Sept, 7th LOW COUNTRY BOIL OPENING: September 8th Founders: Scott and Amanda Vamum 2 lb. Shrimp 1 lb. 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