WBEZ | fishing http://www.wbez.org/tags/fishing Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Gone Fishing: Harsh winter brings lake temps down, but not for long http://www.wbez.org/news/gone-fishing-harsh-winter-brings-lake-temps-down-not-long-110690 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Phil%20Willink%201.jpg" style="float: right; height: 400px; width: 300px;" title="Philip Willink of Shedd Aquarium (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" /><a href="http://www.sheddaquarium.org/Conservation--Research/Conservation-Research-Experts/Dr-Phillip-Willink/" target="_blank">Dr. Philip Willink</a> stands at the shore of Chicago&rsquo;s 63rd Street Beach, looking out on to Lake Michigan.</p><p>&ldquo;So what do you see when you look at the lake?&rdquo;</p><p>He asks this question of anyone who joins him on his frequent trips to the shore. Willink is a senior research biologist at the Shedd Aquarium, and so he often visits the shoreline to check on the health of the lake.</p><p>&ldquo;Something I like to do is whenever I go out, I try to do as many things at once: monitoring invasive species, looking for endangered species and just sort of assessing the community on the Chicago Lakefront,&rdquo; Willink said.</p><p>And from the surface, it&rsquo;s impossible to see it all. According to Willink, at any given spot, there could be tens of thousands of fish swimming around: A little-known fact for many local swimmers. Another example: Willink said there are likely quadrillions of invasive zebra mussels and quagga mussels in Lake Michigan.</p><p>You can hear their dead shells crunch as you walk along the shore.</p><p>This year, Willink said, he&rsquo;s stumbled on a few species that he isn&rsquo;t as used to seeing, like Coho salmon, perch and bloaters&mdash;all fish that favor cooler, deeper waters.</p><p>&ldquo;When the bloater showed up it was like &lsquo;oh, okay, something&#39;s really going on,&rsquo; because I think in the past 10 years, I&rsquo;ve only caught one other bloater in a net,&rdquo; Willink said. &ldquo;So catching a half-dozen of them really meant that something different was going on.&rdquo;</p><p>On average, temperatures in Lake Michigan this summer have been much cooler than normal. According to data from the <a href="http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/webdata/cwops/html/statistic/statistic.html%20" target="_blank">National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration</a>, surface temperatures have been about 2.75 degrees Celsius below average. The managers of this data believe that&rsquo;s likely because of all the ice cover that came along last winter. The Great Lakes were at least 90 percent ice covered last winter, and that hasn&rsquo;t happened since 1994.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/avgtemps-m_1992-2013.gif" title="" /></div><p>Willink said all that cooler water encouraged fish that usually stay deep, deep down in the lake to swim up to the surface.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody thought it was a harsh winter, and we&rsquo;d have fewer fish. I&rsquo;ve actually found more this year,&rdquo; Willink said. &ldquo;It may very well be that Great Lakes fish like harsh winters, because after all, that was a much more typical winter.</p><p>But some other fishermen aren&rsquo;t so sure of that connection.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cpt%20rick%204.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Captain Rick Bentley, owner of Windy City Salmon Fishing Charters. (WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)" />Captain Rick Bentley is the owner of <a href="http://www.windycitysalmon.com/" target="_blank">Windy City Salmon Fishing Charters</a>. He takes groups fishing off Waukegan Harbor in Lake Michigan, so thriving fish make for better business. And he said this spring, the Coho salmon fishing was the best he&rsquo;s ever seen.</p><p>&ldquo;It was excellent. A lot of times in April, we&rsquo;re waiting for Coho to get here. They typically mass up in schools on the way extreme south end of the lake,&rdquo; Bentley said. &ldquo;But we had them right at the beginning of April when we started fishing.&rdquo;</p><p>Bentley said he remembers all the ice cover. It covered the harbor until April 10th, which he said is unusual. But he&rsquo;s not convinced the two things are related.</p><p>&ldquo;You need to have several of those winters in a row, and we really haven&rsquo;t had a winter like that in a while,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So whether it was due to the winter, we&rsquo;ll have to see about that.&rdquo;</p><p>According to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lsa.umich.edu/pite/people/facultyassociates/ci.gadenmarc_ci.detail" target="_blank">Marc Gaden</a> of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Captain Rick Bentley may not get the chance to make that assessment. Gaden worked on this year&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.globalchange.gov/what-we-do/assessment" target="_blank">national climate change report</a> and he said all the research points in the opposite direction of the thermometer.</p><p>&ldquo;The downward trend is quite unmistakable since the 1970s. And so we&rsquo;ll see fewer and fewer winters where we&rsquo;ll have that significant amount of ice cover in the Great Lakes basin, that&rsquo;s clear from the trends. And the models of climate change scenarios suggest that&rsquo;s not going to change,&rdquo; Gaden said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/m2013_2014_ice.gif" title="" /></div><p>And in the decades to come, Gaden said that could, among many other things, make the lakes &ldquo;quite an inviting place to some of the invasive species that we&rsquo;re very concerned about like Asian Carp.&rdquo; According to Gaden, that warmer water could also lead to an expansion of species like sea lamprey, quagga and zebra mussels that are already in the lake.</p><p>Back at 63rd Street Beach, Willink said on the one hand, sometimes people tend to forget that the Great Lakes are always changing and they always have been: Fish, animals and plants have survived both warm and cold years before. And, he adds, it is hard to really know how one pattern will affect the ecosystem long term.</p><p>But since this has been an unprecedented rate of change, how the fish will respond is an open question.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a></em></p></p> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gone-fishing-harsh-winter-brings-lake-temps-down-not-long-110690 Libraries: Beyond the books http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/libraries-beyond-books-108170 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/117674644" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Shanlie Ann Stead says she&rsquo;s had a lifelong love of libraries and, as she recollects it, she personally experienced how far that love could go &mdash; straight from a library to her own apartment&rsquo;s walls.</p><p>She tells a story of being at the Waukegan library several years ago and noticing stacks of paintings. She says she perked up when a passing librarian said &ldquo;&lsquo;You know, you can check those out.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Shanlie took the library up on the offer.</p><p>&ldquo;That made a huge difference for me,&rdquo; Shanlie said, &ldquo;because &nbsp;I could actually check out paintings and decorate my apartment.&rdquo;</p><p>This nugget of curiosity about libraries stuck with her, and she wondered how other libraries handle checkouts and what&rsquo;s beyond books on the shelves. Figuring that there must be &ldquo;some unique things&rdquo; available for the taking, she asked us:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>&ldquo;What are some of the most curious and surprising things one can check out from a public library?&rdquo;</em></p><p>Well, we talked to staff at dozens of area libraries and posed them your very question, which led many librarians to talk about what role the public library plays for all of us today.</p><p>&ldquo;It used to be about the physical object and now it&#39;s about the knowledge,&rdquo; said Kelly Cuci, head of outreach services in Orland Park. &ldquo;It&#39;s about exporting knowledge to anybody. &hellip; It&#39;s about the knowledge package given to the person or the skill program, rather than the book.&rdquo;</p><p>You can see this principle across our area&rsquo;s libraries. Take the one in Orland Park, which is set to unveil a collection of nearly 200 artifacts from NASA on Sept. 15. The Waukegan Public Library recently inherited the personal library of native son Ray Bradbury. Of course, several librarians brought attention to their e-books and devices like the Nook, which would allow the contents of a basic book to be read in a digital format.</p><p>Nonetheless, the three most curious and surprising things we found available to take home from local libraries are physical &mdash; not digital &mdash; objects. In their own way, these objects can be used to impart knowledge in library patrons, just like books.</p><p><strong>Fishing pole</strong><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/fishing rod OUTSIDE FOR WEB.jpg" style="float: right; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="Nine of the 79 Chicago Public Library branches offer fishing poles for check-out. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></p><p>Out of the Chicago Public Library&#39;s 79 branches, <a href="https://www.chipublib.org/eventsprog/programs/nature_conn.php">nine offer fishing poles </a>with a tackle and bait set. (Worms not included.)</p><p>Unsurprisingly, the nine branches are close to the fishing waters of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River or lagoons.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s important because people who are normally in the inner city don&rsquo;t normally get an opportunity to go fish,&rdquo; said Lala Rodgers, who manages the Sherman Park branch, where 30 poles can be taken out on loan.</p><p>Just like most materials, poles can be checked out for three weeks at a time.</p><p>The poles can be checked out of the following branches: Albany Park, Blackstone, Douglass, Hegewisch, Humboldt Park, McKinley Park, Rogers Park, Sherman Park and Uptown.</p><p><strong>Sculptures</strong></p><p>The <a href="http://www.aurorapubliclibrary.org">Aurora Public Library</a> had spent decades building a catalog of art (all copies, not originals), but for the past dozen years or so, it&rsquo;s been disbanding it.</p><p>Life goes on, though, for the library&rsquo;s 30 sculptures, almost all of which cost less than $100. They&rsquo;re still available for checking out for eight weeks at a time.</p><p>Becky Tatar, the library&rsquo;s audiovisual head, chose the collection based on what she thinks would interest her patrons, both from an aesthetic and educational standpoint.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/STATUE FOR WEB.jpg" style="float: left; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="You can check out sculptures at the Aurora Public Library for eight weeks at a time. (WBEZ/Billy Healy)" />&ldquo;There&#39;s things for all interests,&rdquo; Tatar said. &ldquo;People can check things out for their office. They can check things out for their home.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Why do people have art in their home?&rdquo; she asked, rhetorically. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the same thing for why we would have art in the library. Because it makes people think. It looks nice. It creates interest.&rdquo;</p><p>The sculptures used to be a popular option to spruce up office spaces back in the 1990s. But the sculptures aren&rsquo;t checked out very often anymore. Tatar says just one item &mdash; an angel holding two vases, a copy of a 14th century French original &mdash; has been checked out multiple times this year.</p><p>Other sculptures include busts of Martin Luther King Jr., Beethoven and the University of Illinois&rsquo; Chief Illiniwek. There&rsquo;s also a miniature edition of Rodin&rsquo;s <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thinker">The Thinker</a>.</p><p><strong>A green screen (and other video producing equipment)</strong></p><p>The <a href="http://www.skokielibrary.info/s_about/how/Tech_Resources/DML.asp">Skokie&rsquo;s Public Library&rsquo;s digital media lab</a> is outfitted with the latest tech, &nbsp;from computers to drawing tablets to guitars that patrons can use for their creative needs.</p><p>&quot;It is a really awesome place because it&#39;s a place where people can create knowledge,&quot; said Mick Jacobsen, who oversees the lab. &quot;We create a space where people can use really great computers, really great equipment, really great software and create some amazing media.&quot;</p><p>Much of that gear can&rsquo;t be checked out due to licensing arrangements, but there among the items you can walk out with are: hard drives, audio recorders and simple video cameras. The latter include the GoPro, which can be attached to a person&rsquo;s head or body for action shots.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GREEN SCREEN for web.jpg" style="float: right; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="In an effort to keep up with the YouTube age, Skokie Public Library has a green screen available for checkout. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></p><p>But perhaps the oddest thing that can be taken home from this lab is the green screen, which costs no more than $80.</p><p>&ldquo;If you&#39;ve got a family photo &mdash; you didn&#39;t make it to Paris this year, you know, you never know what happened &mdash; you can still get to Paris,&rdquo; Jacobsen said. &ldquo;Well, not really, but you can certainly take your picture.&rdquo;</p><p>Jacobsen said in the age of YouTube, his library is stepping into the role of &ldquo;community access television&rdquo; by giving patrons equipment they might otherwise use at most twice in their lives.</p><p>Asked if patrons find a library offering this kind of equipment on loan as &ldquo;weird,&rdquo; Jacobsen replied: &quot;Weird is not really what they say. It&#39;s more surprise like &#39;Really?&#39; We are just branded books and that&#39;s just the way we are seen.&quot;</p><p><strong>How did Shanlie take this?</strong></p><p>After getting a preview of our list, Shanlie Ann Stead called the idea of public libraries stocking sculptures as &quot;cool&quot; and fishing poles as &quot;romantic.&quot; She also recognized the significance of libraries like Skokie moving to offer equipment like green screens for media production.</p><p>&ldquo;I find that very progressive. Personally I think that was a really great thing for them considering the age of technology we live in,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Compare that to a fishing pole. There&#39;s a lot of area in between there.&quot;</p><p><strong>The honorable mentions</strong></p><p>Here are other interesting items available in metropolitan Chicago libraries:</p><ul dir="ltr"><li><p>At the Joliet Public Library, <strong>two American Girl dolls</strong>, Addy and Josefina, are hot items.</p></li><li><p>At the Waukegan Public Library, people can check out <strong>3D puzzles</strong>.</p></li><li><p><strong>Video games</strong> are available at various libraries including Libertyville&rsquo;s Cook Memorial Public Library and in Aurora.</p></li><li><p>Though Aurora has disbanded its <strong>art print collection</strong>, the Des Plaines Public Library still lends out similar art.</p></li><li><p>Aurora also has about 20 file cabinets of <strong>sheet music</strong>.</p></li><li><p>Skokie lends out <strong>animal puppets</strong> to go along with certain children&rsquo;s books.</p></li><li>Along the lines of creation at the public library, Chicago&rsquo;s Harold Washington Library Center recently became home to a &quot;maker lab,&quot; which allows those taking classes to use software to create objects using <strong>3D printers and computerized wood carving machines.</strong></li></ul><p>Did we miss anything Shanlie Ann Stead should know about? Drop a comment below if you&rsquo;ve checked out something notable from a Chicago area library. What was it? Where did you check it out from? When?</p><p><em>Tanveer Ali is a freelance producer who has worked for organizations that include WBEZ, the Chicago News Cooperative and DNAinfo.com. Follow him @tanveerali.</em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jul 2013 14:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/libraries-beyond-books-108170 Shallow water changes the scene for urban fishermen http://www.wbez.org/news/shallow-water-changes-scene-urban-fishermen-104094 <p><p>As the Great Lakes experience near-record low water levels, fishermen in the Chicago area are running into problems.</p><p>The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports November water levels in Lake Michigan were 28 inches lower than the long-term average.</p><p>&ldquo;You know the place called the horseshoe?&rdquo; said Igor Danilishen, who has fished at Chicago&rsquo;s Montrose Harbor for decades. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a great big island in the middle of this horseshoe. We used to fish there. We don&rsquo;t fish there anymore. Because it&rsquo;s too shallow, yeah. It&rsquo;s ducks and geese there instead of fish.&rdquo;</p><p>The low water also affects industrial fisheries and cargo shipping.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/IMG-20121118-00117.jpg" style="width: 280px; float: right;" title="Low water levels in Lake Michigan mean the 'horseshoe' at Montrose Harbor is too dry for fishing. (Igor Danilishen)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">The Army Corps says the lake region received about 13 percent less rain than usual this year.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The agency projects lake levels could hit record lows in the coming months.</div><p>&ldquo;It not only affects the fishing in a negative way, it&rsquo;s the whole ecological system,&rdquo; said fisherman Steve Ciszewski, who grew up in Chicago and comes in from the southwest suburbs to fish. &ldquo;Boy, we could use the water.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/shallow-water-changes-scene-urban-fishermen-104094 A smelt in the hand http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-04/smelt-hand-98591 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/smeltfriedlakeforest.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 399px; " title="Fried smelt at Smelt-O-Rama, Lake Forest (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)"></p><p style="text-align: left; ">A smelt in the hand is worth two in the net—if you can find even that many these days; or nights, as that's when smelt fishing is done.</p><p style="text-align: left; ">This weekend marks the final <em>fin de semaine</em> of this year's <a href="http://www.ifishillinois.org/profiles/lakes/lake_michigan/smelt.html">season</a>, and by all <a href="http://www.chicagolandfishing.com/forums/search.php?st=0&amp;sk=t&amp;sd=d&amp;sr=posts&amp;keywords=smelt">reports</a> it might just be the end of smelt fishing off our lakefront.</p><p style="text-align: left; ">Just a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/romancing-smelt">generation</a> ago it was possible to catch the silvery little fish by the buckets full, simply by shining your flashlight into the water to attract them, then dipping your net in to catch them. Cleaned and fried in the cold dark, they were a magical moonlit meal.</p><p style="text-align: left; ">Two smelt-fishing celebrations continue: <a href="http://www.pdhp.org/index.aspx?page=21&amp;recordid=183">Smelt Fest</a> in Highland Park, and <a href="http://www.cityoflakeforest.com/cs/rec/cs_rec2d7.htm">Smelt-O-Rama</a> in Lake Forest. You can try your hand at smelt dipping with lights and nets in the water, but in the past few years only a few have been caught. So like local restaurants that serve them, they've brought fish in to ensure the feast.</p><p style="text-align: left; ">If you're lucky enough to catch some, or just buy some, try this adorable <a href="http://www.saveur.com/article/Comix/Recipe-Comix-Fried-Smelt">comic-drawn recipe for deep-fried smelt</a> by local&nbsp;cartoonist and illustrator&nbsp;Chris Eliopoulos.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/smeltlivehand.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 399px;" title="A smelt in the hand (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)"></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 27 Apr 2012 09:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-04/smelt-hand-98591 Biologists battle killer in the Great Lakes http://www.wbez.org/content/biologists-battle-killer-great-lakes-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/frontandcenter/photo/2011-07-06/88734/Lamprey eel_Front and Center.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A lot of people are worried about Asian carp swimming into the Great Lakes. We know from experience how bad an invasive species can be. Sea lamprey devastated the Great Lakes fishery in the 1940s and 50s, and they still kill a lot of fish.</p><p>Sea lamprey are native to the Atlantic Ocean. They swam into the upper Great Lakes through ship canals. Now that they’re here, they can’t be eradicated; they can only be reduced in number, and that’s a constant battle.</p><div class="daylife_smartgalleries_container" style="border: medium none; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; overflow: hidden; height: 375px; width: 550px; text-align: center;"><iframe class="daylife_smartgalleries_frame" src="http://galleries.wbez.org/gallery_slideshow/1309889044740?width=550&amp;disable_link_to_hosted_page=0&amp;height=375&amp;show_related=0" style="border: medium none; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; overflow: hidden; height: 100%; width: 100%;" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></div><p><br> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; } div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted #aa211d; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-style: dotted; border-top-color: #aa211d; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; } ul { margin-left: 15px; } li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-repeat-x: no-repeat; background-repeat-y: no-repeat; background-position: 0 5px; background-position-x: 0px; background-position-y: 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-28/FNC-inset-promo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 50px;" title=""></a><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/about-front-and-center-%E2%80%93-depth-reporting-great-lakes-87655">About Front and Center</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-05/big-ship-diary-88726">Big ship diary: nine days on a freighter </a></strong></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-04/dredging-shipping-industry-declares-state-emergency-88579"><strong>Dredging: Great Lakes shipping emergency</strong></a></li></ul><p><strong>BLOG POST</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-07-06/great-lakes-least-loved-creature-video-88538"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-05/Bloody Sealamp_.jpg" style="width: 84px; height: 64px; float: left;" title=""></a><span style="font-size: 11px;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-07-06/great-lakes-least-loved-creature-video-88538"><strong>The Great Lakes<br> least loved<br> creature (VIDEO)</strong></a></span></p><p>&nbsp;</p></div></div><p>“It’s kind of a whack-a-mole situation,” says Don Schreiner, area fisheries supervisor for Lake Superior for the Minnesota DNR.Federal, state, and Canadian government agencies cooperate on sea lamprey control. Schreiner says they’ve tried cutting back efforts on some lakes.</p><p>“We thought we had them under control,” he says. “We moved that control to another lake that needed more help, and sea lamprey just blossomed where we moved the control away from.”</p><p>Sea lamprey swim up rivers to reproduce, so many of the tributaries into the Great Lakes have lamprey barriers now. Fish ladders allow other fish to pass, but sea lamprey can’t get over them.</p><p>On a June morning, Tom Davies visited the barrier on the Brule River in northern Wisconsin. Davies is a seasonal worker for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. One of his jobs is to climb down into a trap on the side of the barrier in hip waders and use a net to scoop out the sea lamprey that have been trapped that day.&nbsp; Davies says some days, there are as many as 600 sea lamprey in the trap.</p><p>“You come down off the ladder and you’re literally stepping on them, and they’re swimming all around you, hitting you in the waders,” he says.</p><p>Davies says he and his coworkers have joked that the TV show “Fear Factor” should have had people in swimming suits climb into the trap. It would have been horrifying. Adult sea lamprey are a foot or more long, gray and slimy looking. They look like eels, but a sea lamprey’s head ends in a big, round suction cup mouth, filled with rows of teeth. They kill fish by latching onto them, rasping a hole, and sucking out the fluids.</p><p>Davies grabs a sea lamprey and lets it latch onto his bare arm. He has to pry it off.</p><p>“See the mark they leave so quick?” he asks. There’s a red ring on his skin.</p><p>Workers at the barriers measure and sex the lampreys. The males are saved for one of the control projects. They’re sterilized and released in the St. Mary’s River, between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, where they compete with fertile males and reduce the number of fertilized eggs.</p><p>Workers also apply a chemical to streams where sea lamprey spawn to kill the young.</p><p>The Minnesota DNR’s Don Schreiner says these control efforts cost $20 million a year, “and that’s funding we continually fight for in Congress.” It’s on the books to be reduced by 20 percent in 2012.</p><p>Schreiner says the Great Lakes’ fishery depends on sea lamprey control. Estimates of the worth of that fishery range as high as $7 billion. Most of that economic return comes from sport fishing, but commercial fishing is important to the Great Lakes region, too.</p><p>Even on Lake Superior’s north shore, where the water is cold and deep and doesn’t produce a lot of fish, a small commercial fishery has made a comeback.</p><p>In the early 20<sup>th</sup> century, there were more than 400 commercial fishermen on the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior. But overfishing, pollution, and sea lamprey devastated the fish population. Today, some of that pollution has been cleaned up, fishing has been restricted, and some fish are stocked. Fish such as lake trout and cisco have rebounded. But the state is being conservative, and will only license 25 commercial fishermen.</p><p>Most of those fishermen also do something else for a living. But fisherman Stephen Dahl says he’s not part of a vanishing breed.</p><p>“There’s definitely a perception that we’re the last of the Mohicans, we’re dying out,” Dahl says. “And it’s like, no, it’s changed. It’s a changed world.”</p><p>Dahl heads out into the big lake in a small, open boat every morning, unless there’s too much ice in the harbor for him to break through. He hauls nets from the depths by hand. It’s hard work. Some days the lake is rough and the wind howls. He laughs when he’s asked about being wet and cold.</p><p>“I think I was born wet and cold,” he says.</p><p>Dahl is only allowed to catch cisco, which North Shore fishermen refer to as lake herring. In other parts of the lake, it’s legal for commercial fishermen to take trout and whitefish. They’ve got a ready market. Restaurants and delis on the shore snap up the fish when they’re available. Sometimes, when people know the fish are running, they’ll come to the dock and buy the fish right from the fishermen.</p><p>“This whole local food movement is really good,” Dahl says. It’s increased demand. “Most of the time I can’t keep up.”</p><p>The local food movement helps support an apprentice Dahl recently trained. Dahl’s apprentice, Jason Bradley, now has his own master’s license and his own boat. He’s also co-owner of a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm. His customers get the usual box of vegetables, but they can also get a herring share.</p><p>Customer Mark Gordon co-owns a charter sailing business, and likes to serve his customers local food. He’s a big fan of Jason Bradley’s herring.</p><p>“You just feel good eating the fish when you know it’s come right out of the lake,” Gordon says. “There’s no question about where it’s come from and how it was processed.”</p><p>Lake Superior fish is also sold around the country, and even overseas. Some of it goes to Iowa and is made into gefilte fish. Some of the roe goes to Scandinavia.</p><p>Native fish have bounced back in Lake Superior, but the DNR’s Don Schreiner says it’s still a “precarious situation.”</p><p>Schreiner says control measures keep sea lamprey numbers down to about 5 to 10 percent of what they were at their height.</p><p>“It sounds like we’ve done a good job, and we have,” Schreiner says. “Except that sea lamprey are very efficient.”He says biologists estimate that sea lamprey still kill as many fish in Lake Superior as sport and commercial fishing combined.</p></p> Wed, 06 Jul 2011 16:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/biologists-battle-killer-great-lakes-0 New ways to cut the carp http://www.wbez.org/story/new-ways-cut-carp-86968 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-24/carp silver carp.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A federal and regional committee is laying out a plan to defend Chicago waterways and the Great Lakes from Asian carp.</p><p>Hydroguns that shoot energy waves into water, underwater cameras that can show whether those guns actually killed carp, new barriers and traps for larvae and eggs--these are technologies in the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee's new arsenal.<br> <br> Charlie Wooley is deputy regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He says the long-term goal is total carp eradication. In a press conference atop a river tour boat, Wooley said, "What we'd like to do, is find chemicals that can control the fish, will actually kill just Asian carp. We could possibly find some way to attract Asian carp into some area where we could capture and kill them."<br> <br> All of these anti-carp technologies happen to still be in development. At the same time, officials are contracting with commercial fishermen to catch Asian carp the old fashioned way--with nets.</p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 24 May 2011 16:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/new-ways-cut-carp-86968 Dear Chicago: Let’s clean up the Chicago River http://www.wbez.org/story/dear-chicago-let%E2%80%99s-clean-chicago-river <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/IMG_8610.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>To say that fishing is the central passion of Don Dubin&rsquo;s life might be an understatement. The Chicago native grew up fishing in public parks on the city&rsquo;s West Side. Now in his 70s and a Legendary Angler inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, you can regularly find him casting his reel along the lakefront or on the banks of the Chicago River.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 16:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dear-chicago-let%E2%80%99s-clean-chicago-river Dear Chicago: Let’s clean up the Chicago River http://www.wbez.org/story/dear-chicago-let%E2%80%99s-clean-chicago-river-passionate-fisherman%E2%80%99s-appeal-next-mayor <p><br> <div id="PictoBrowser120123135820">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "500", "648", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Dear Chicago: Let's clean up the Chicago River"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157628998802785"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "always"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "-16"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "65"); so.write("PictoBrowser120123135820"); </script><p>To say that fishing is the central passion of Don Dubin’s life might be an understatement. The Chicago native spent his boyhood fishing in public parks on the city’s West Side. As an adult, he was inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. Now Dubin is in his 70s and you can still find him casting his reel along the lakefront or on the banks of the Chicago River.</p><p>Dubin worries about the health of Chicago’s waterways, especially as the conversation about re-reversing the Chicago River <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/home-page-top-stories/change-rivers-flow-considered-stop-carp">gets more attention</a>. The river was severely polluted long before former Mayor Richard J. Daley proposed the goal of making it swimmable and fishable in the 1970s. In June the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/daley-epa-go-swim-potomac">made the same recommendation</a> in a letter sent to the state. The current Mayor Daley reacted angrily to the suggestion, telling federal officials to “go swim in the Potomac.”</p><p>Chicago’s lakefront has 26 miles of parkland with many points of public access, but the city’s riverfront is mostly undeveloped. Dubin hopes Chicago’s next mayor will tend to the health of the Chicago River, and help turn the central waterway from an undervalued resource into a clean, accessible public amenity.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><em>Dear Chicago,<br> I’ve been fishing ever since I was a little boy. I started out when my grandfather used to take me to Chicago parks like Douglas Park and Garfield Park. And I was just fascinated to see the little fish swimming around. And I thought, jeez, if I could catch one that would be great. And then one day I did catch one! It was a minnow. I put my hand in the water and tried to corral him. I got a little piece of string with a little hook and used Wonder Bread for bait. And I did get that little minnow and I put him in a little Dixie cup and took him home and put him in a little glass fish bowl and watched him for quite a while. That’s how I started.<br> &nbsp;<br> I try to get out at least twice a week. Sometimes I get out to the Chicago lakefront just to see what’s happening. On the North Side, just east of Von Steuben High School, I go fishing in Ronan Park. It’s where the North Branch of the river converges with the North Shore Channel. There’s a little waterfall there and it’s a great place for fishing. You have a lot of oxygen there and a little current and the fish congregate there.<br> &nbsp;<br> There are all kinds of fish in the river: bass, northern pike, croppies, blue gills, sun fish, carp, and catfish. I’ve even seen trout and salmon in the river. When I was a kid I used to go to Ronan Park because I lived in Albany Park, and there was nothing there. It was just terrible. And now there are fish there and there are people fishing there. There’s no question that it’s absolutely, positively, much, much better.<br> &nbsp;<br> So it’s better but not good enough. I would not eat the fish. It’s strictly a catch and release fishery. It could be cleaned up so it’s a much better environment.<br> &nbsp;<br> To improve the quality of the river the first thing you’d have to do is improve the quality of the waste water going into the river. When the original Mayor Daley made his statement about wanting the river to be swimmable and fishable, at the time it wasn’t even thinkable that you could be fishing in an area like the Chicago River. It was an open sewer. The sewer water would go into the sewage treatment plant and get dumped into the river.<br> &nbsp;<br> You got to realize that if you asked me what the most valuable resource in the entire world is, it’s got to be fresh, clean water. But the sewage treatment plants that we have do not do as good a job of cleaning up the water as they could be. All across the world and the country there are sewage plants that clean the water and the final stage is very clean. So it could be cleaned up and it should be cleaned up. It’s not as dirty as it was; we have made improvements on the river. But I’d like to see us go two steps further and make it the jewel of the Chicagoland area.<br> &nbsp;<br> If the next mayor wants to re-reverse the Chicago River, I would support it if they cleaned up the water where it’s clean enough there are no harmful pathogens in the water. If they did a dredging job on the existing muck on the bottom of there, and made park land and accessibility, I would definitely support it.<br> &nbsp;<br> There are not too many places to fish along the river until you get downtown. When they dug the river there was no access on either side. It was just like a channel. And the banks on either side of the river are very steep and covered with all kinds of vegetation. I’d like to see the shoreline improved so there’s accessibility. More public parking and more parks along the way, maybe we can even have boat access for canoes and small boats. And really make it into a first class fishery, and a place where people can enjoy the river like I do.<br> &nbsp;<br> Access is the key to fishing the Chicago River. It’s almost like it hasn’t been discovered, and I sure would like to see it be discovered and made into something valuable. Just think if that area was developed into park land. It would improve property values and give people a place to go to see wildlife, the birds and the animals that enjoy the river. Right now there are plans to improve the lakefront at Northerly Island, to make it into a wildlife sanctuary. The same could be done to the Chicago River! It runs right through where people are living. It could be done. It would improve Chicago for all the people.</em></p><p class="MsoNormal"><em>Dear Chicago</em> is a project of WBEZ’s Partnership Program. Don Dubin was nominated for the series by <a href="http://www.metroplanning.org/index.html">Metropolitan Planning Council</a>.</p></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dear-chicago-let%E2%80%99s-clean-chicago-river-passionate-fisherman%E2%80%99s-appeal-next-mayor