There’s been some worry this year that boatloads of fishermen might be catching too many white perch on Lake D’Arbonne. I’ve covered that in separate posts.
There is one group of “fishermen” that I know are catching and eating too many fish. And they are wounding many, many more. And the fish aren’t all crappie. They are various types of fish — anything that swims. These “fishermen” don’t even have licenses. They just flood in here in big gangs, eat and try to eat thousands of pounds of fish and head back up north in the annual cormorant de-migration. Yep, I’m talking the Orks of the Lake, cormorants. I may have mentioned before how I feel about them.
This is a photo of one of the crappie that “got away” from these useless fish eaters. The huge gouge on his side is something we never saw before the cormorant invasion. True, he met a worse fate later by grabbing hold of chartreuse colored 1/32nd ounce Road Runner, but at least his filets are going to a licensed fisherman. I caught him last week.
I don’t believe I have talked to a crappie fisherman this year that has landed more than ten fish that hasn’t seen one or more of these marks on crappie.
More usual are two equally long scars similar to the ones in this photo on the top of the fish, like some long-beak freak bird has grabbed them, then let them wiggle loose. The ones with scars on the back ruin the filets.
I suggest the vilians are cormorants.
They migrate in during the fall and stay until it late spring. Adult cormorants reportedly eat about a pound of fish a day. They also “reportedly” only eat shad and really small fish. Yea, right. And reportedly if you like your insurance, you can keep your…sorry, that’s a different issue. Adults have no known significant predators.
But if you think it’s a problem, you can make your feelings known. Look, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service does some very fine work. Managing cormorants isn’t on that list of things done well. And they could do something about it if they wanted to. I have “googled” and “binged” and searched the internet and only found a single “Save The Cormorant” website — Cormorant Defenders International. They are headquartered in Canada. I don’t mind them saving cormorants. But if they are going to save them, they should keep them up THERE! By protecting those suckers down here, a lot of our U.S. tax dollars are indirectly contributing to the work of this group.
If you do want to tell the officials how you feel, take three minutes and email comments to the national group and the Louisiana office.
* Federal: http://www.fws.gov/duspit/contactus.htm (click and then fill out the comment form)
* State: firstname.lastname@example.org (email them at this address)
Or you can just sit back and let the cormorant problem grow and grow each year. If you don’t do anything, maybe you’ll want to send Cormorant Defenders International a donation. Doing nothing is about the same thing.
WATER LEVEL UPDATE: Lake D’Arbonne stood at 82.85 feet at 8 p.m. Tuesday night and is expected to crest late Wednesday around 83 feet. It may hold there a day or so, then should start a steady drop back down to nearer pool stage.
Pool stage for the lake is 80 feet.