Normally I would be writing about the latest in fishing gear or maybe a great place to fish, as I did earlier this summer. But I have just received a report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about a serious problem that could affect the entire fish population of Lake Michigan.
I am referring to the approach of an invasive species, the Asian carp. Stories and videos show these fish jumping into boats on the Illinois River (which connects to Lake Michigan), injuring people and damaging water craft.
But it is the spawning areas along the waterways that undergo the most serious damage from the invaders. Since the carp eat everything, they deplete the food supply for all other species of fish. If this should occur in Lake Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources says it would destroy the balance in the Lake and destroy fishing as we know it.
The good news is that the Army Corps believes it can stop the Asian carp from getting into Lake Michigan. The Corps created a series of barriers in the shipping canal that leads from the Illinois River to Lake Michigan, running a small amount of electrical current through the barriers to prevent the carp from passing through. This solution seemed to have kept the carp way down stream, and earlier this year Congress approved and the President signed a bill making the barriers permanent.
But last month, better testing methods showed the carp had moved farther into the canal than previously detected. After reviewing the data, the Corps decided to increase the voltage at the barriers in hopes of keeping the Asian carp out of Lake Michigan. I will provide updates on the situation as more information becomes available.
Fishing reports from the area have been spotty because of the weather, and everyone is busy getting ready for school again. The bass continue to be about the only active players at the Skokie Lagoons, as walleye and Northern pike have not been caught. The perch are biting in the Chicago harbors, and boats are getting good catches of jumbo perch in 30 to 40 feet of water. Until next time, keep a tight line.
Visit Dick at firstname.lastname@example.org.