Friday, July 26, 2013

Look At The Nose On That Fish...

While paddling on the Ohio River you may get lucky and see one of the oldest and oddest fish in these waters--the Paddlefish. Fossils of these fish have been found from millions of years ago; perhaps a bit larger than that guppie in your fishbowl. Paddlefish can grow up to 5 feet long and nearly 200 pounds

When we first saw the Paddlefish we were convinced it was an ocean-going fish. We later learned that they are native to the Ohio River and many other inland rivers, although designated endangered in some areas. Indeed, it is illegal to harvest Paddlefish in Ohio waters, but still legal to snag them  (in season) from the shore in Kentucky. There is a pretty cool video on Youtube demonstrating snagging paddlefish near the Meldahl Dam upriver from Cincinnati.

The large nose makes this fish incredibly striking. The primary diet of the Paddlefish is zooplankton. The large paddle-shaped snout is believed to be the tool used to detect the plankton in the water.

As noted above, the population of paddlefish has declined. Both overfishing and environmental changes have led to the decline. For instance, the placement of dams on the river have cutoff the ability of paddlefish to hit spawning areas. Illegal overfishing is also a problem. The roe of the paddlefish is highly sought after as caviar and has led to part of the overfishing phenomenon. Just a few years ago, the officers of a Kentucky caviar company were indicted for poaching paddlefish in Ohio.

Our Ohio River is such an amazing place. Remember to "Get Outside and Play." There is so much more out there then meets the eye.......

1 comment: