I seldom read the columns of others in the paper, with the exception of Doug Blough and occasionally some of Buzzy’s work, probably for fear of cross-contamination by liberalism, but the Jan. 24 edition was an exception.
I guess the headline caught my eye. Regardless, kudos to the article by Pat Stuart on America as a meritocracy. If you missed it, get a copy of that paper and read it. It’s that good!
Talk about having this tourism fishing gig on a downhill pull, now we have anglers coming all the way from Pine Island, Fla., to Jackson, just to angle for goldfish. Yep, according to Mike Koshmarl of Wyofile.com, a dude named A.J. Duda and family vacation in Jackson just to fish for goldfish and other former aquarium dwellers under the shadows of the Tetons at Kelly Warm Springs in the super-heated waters of a small pond formed there by the springs. Yes, these are free-swimming fish, not the stunted occupants of a glass bowl or other container.
Back when Sandi and I lived in Montana, we had friends who lived in Lewistown. They had three large, landscaped concrete ponds in their front yard, maybe 12 feet by 12 feet and over 5 feet deep. These hillbilly swimming pools were stocked with ordinary goldfish, which are actually a carp native to east Asia. With no space restrictions on their habitat, and being brought inside during the winter (each goldfish had its own separate heated 50-gallon container in the garage for a winter home), some of these things grew to 10 or 12 pounds, maybe larger. They were huge.
This is not, as far as the article I read, what is happening in the Kelly Springs area. Apparently these are average-sized goldfish, several inches long, actually orange carp. As opposed to golden trout, which are native to high country Wyoming.
Understand my confusion, please. Wyoming and Montana wildlife departments have declared a holy war against brookies, a non-native transplant from back east brought in by our state’s G&F department some hundred years ago. Actually the little guys aren’t even trout, but a sub-species of char. The transplants prospered because they were better adapted to this environment than the puny cutthroat trout that were native to the region. Anglers, especially younger ones affectionately known as “Kids,” loved the brookies.
Our pioneer antecedents, including G&F personnel, transplanted the little buggers in a variety of drainages for better fishing success rates, where they prospered. “Darwin’s rule of survival of the fittest,” I imagine.
The brookies were even placed in large metal containers and transported mule- back into remote, fish-less lakes in the high country, where they established breeding populations where nothing else could. Or maybe would.
This was all hunky-dory with backpackers, wilderness wanderers and high country rich kids who packed into these lakes to fly fish for the resident brookies and other transplants and also with the G&F department who sold a multitude of non-resident fishing licenses. All was cool until the same federal overlords, these folks being the same people that gave us the oversized Canadian wolves, under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act, one day discovered the piscatorial refugees from Maine and points south, commanded that we declare war on them. We obeyed.
Similarly, Yellowstone Park has also declared a “jihad” against lake trout in the larger lake because they are taking over the habitat and destroying the populations of native cutthroat since they eat the cutthroats and their fry voraciously. For the lake, these fish are essential to the survival of the lake and it’s associated ecosystems, like the bears who feed off the spawning cutts in the fall. Or so we’re told by biologists who should know.
Unfortunately, unlike the anticipated natural recovery of natives in the big lake, primarily due to a herculean effort by park personnel to catch and destroy the invading lake trout in our free-running drainages, the native fish have been replaced in most infected locations with a non-native species of cutthroat trout (or so I’ve been told and have read), all under the auspices of the ESA.
Albeit, there have been some warm water fishery compromises, established by our red shirts. However, goldfish, released by idiots into the park’s lakes and having found homes heated by thermal springs, have flourished, to the point of attracting nonresident anglers. These trash species, all non-native including cichlids, bullfrogs, swordtails, guppies and others, are seemingly getting the deluxe guest treatment from our wildlife departments and the park service.
But that’s not the least of our worries. According to a recent release from the Chicago Tribune, eating free swimming, freshwater fish can overload your body’s systems with forever toxic chemicals and cause everything from early male pattern baldness to cancer and perhaps even Peyronie’s disease. All because of people flushing everything from high level antibiotics and recreational drugs down the toilet and into the environment.
The fish have absorbed the perflouro octane sulfanate (PFOs) in these pills from the water and then passed it on to you via your digestive system. The finding is based on hundreds of fish caught by our old buddies, the Environmental Protection Agency, since 2013. They claim that nearly every fish tested by them was tainted by PFO, a nasty chemical that persists for unknown lengthy amounts of time in the environment after it has been introduced. They call it a “forever” chemical.
The highest levels of PFOs, 64K parts per trillion, came from white perch caught in Lake Erie. Conversely, yellow perch caught in Lake Michigan only contained 22.9K ppt. Brown trout caught off North Avenue Beach in Chicago only had 19K ppt. Those Chicago fish must have been netted because I don’t know of anything living near or around Chicago that has the guts to open its mouth.
Regardless, kind of puts our North Fork trout with their major amounts of naturally caused mercury contamination in perspective. By the time one catches and consumes enough of the larger rainbows and cutthroats from the North Fork and Buffalo Bill Reservoir to cause male pattern baldness, all of these ppt of PFOs will have rendered those problems moot!
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