Throwing Fish on the Bank

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Casey Shanaberger
Casey Shanaberger's picture
Throwing Fish on the Bank

When I went out fishing i today, I got to my spot and noticed that there was something wrong. There were at least 20 buffalo left to die on the rocks. Most of them were still alive. After the shock of seeing all these fish subsided, I did what I could to release all of the ones that were still breathing. I don’t know how many of them will make it, but each fish kicked out of my hands.

I’ve seen buffalo and carp scattered on the rocks here and there throughout the year, and it always sickened me. Bowfishers and snaggers could always be seen taking fish out of the water (snagging is illegal in this stretch of river) and throwing them on the grass or into the woods.

My question is for the Iowa DNR - Why is this still legal? Why isn’t bowfishing more regulated? What steps need to be taken in order to protect our fish? I have learned that bigmouth buffalo are an uncommon and rare find in other areas, and their numbers are decreasing rapidly due to the expansion of silver and bighead carp. There are no bighead and silver carp in this stretch of river, only bigmouth. This is a unique fishery, and they are allowing it to be destroyed. .

Sorry for the rant, but I feel this is something that is incredibly important. Thanks.

Susquehannock
Susquehannock's picture
Wanton waste

Some states have wanton waste laws that make throwing fish up the bank just as illegal as poaching. I don't know if the Iowa fish commission does or not, but it still might be worth calling them. 

Susquehannock

andy
andy's picture
That's unfortunate

According the IA statutes, a conviction for wanton waste of any animal gives you 2 negative points on your record. Not sure what the fine is.  Call the Wardens about it, at least to let them know.  Best is to actually be there when somebody dumps a fish in the rocks.  Then you can confront them and tell them that what they are doing is illegal, stupid and you sure would hate for them to get a visit from the Warden - while you are typing into your cell phone.  They will get the point. 

uconn fishhead
uconn fishhead's picture
Seems Odd...

It seems weird that so many fish could be caught by someone, left on the bank, with the person come and gone, but the fish are still mostly alive.  Could they have been stranded by something else, like changing water levels?

You're probably right that someone did it, but it's just odd. Are Buffaloes incredibly robust? (like catfish?) Think about how long it would take a person to catch 20 fish, throw them on the ground, and have most of them still be alive (unless they were partially wet?)....

 

Dr Flathead
Dr Flathead's picture
Sounds like the work of

Sounds like the work of snaggers to me. I'd let the DNR know about it as well. But I'd also tell a little white lie and say there were a few walleye left to die as well. Just to make sure they take it serious and actually check it out. Maybe monitor the area for a while, hopefully catch the assholes in the act. 

philaroman
philaroman's picture
1) could also be idiots that

1) could also be idiots that mistake bufs for invasive carps

2) if it's frequent at one location, motion-activated trail cams might help you gather evidence

3) a local fishing club may be willing to help share workload/expense

 

...or, shoot 'em in the ass w/ rock salt & hope fo jury nullification, if you get caught  surprise

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

uconn fishhead
uconn fishhead's picture
Snaggers Plausible

Yeah, if a bunch of people were snagging, they might be able to catch that many fish quickly.  Would have to have been an intentional mission. 

I agree that Law Enforcement should be contacted.  Maybe they could catch the bastards.

Casey Shanaberger
Casey Shanaberger's picture
Definitely will notify law enforcement

Definitely gonna notify the DNR and Park Rangers. Not sure how much they can do, since the DNR is so stretched thin as it is, but it's in a popular and well-known spot. Sadly, A friend and I have contaced the DNR multiple times over the past couple years because of this yet little seems to get done. It's almost as if they don't care. We watched someone shoot a channel catfish and keep it, called the DNR, and waited 3 hours for them to never show up. 

 

It has to be snaggers, since the buffalo were thrown in to piles and the water level has only dropped a couple inches in the past week. 

"I swear if you catch another drum"

Matt Miller
Matt Miller's picture
An epidemic

This seems to be increasingly common across the country. Particularly at boat launches, bowfishers leave dead and stinking carcasses. I visited a national wildlife refuge in Indiana last summer, and at every water access there were signs: "It is illegal to dump fish on the refuge." And further verbiage aimed at bowfishers that they can't just dump carcasses at boat launches.

I think many bowfishers and even general anglers feel they are doing a public service by dumping "invasive" fish on the bank. Unfortunately, as stated above, they can't recognize a buffalo from a carp. I had a Midwest relative inform me that I was breaking the law by releasing an invasive fish back into Iowa waters--the fish was a redhorse and he was convinced it was a noxious invasive. It is our job to educate in this instance.

Of course, throwing fish along banks, even the worst of invasive species, is a selfish, wasteful, disgusting practice. It ruins the visitor experience for everyone else. The only potential silver lining is that it as this practice increases (and it does appear to be increasing), it will bring public scruitiny to wasteful practices. Thirty large, stinking dead fish at a boat launch doesn't just anger rough fishers. It angers the bass guys, kayakers, picknickers and anyone who is there to enjoy the outdoors. I believe it will eventually lead to more stringent bowfishing regulations.

Probably not as soon as we like, but it will happen.There is no way people will continue to put up with having their days ruined by rotting fish.

Goldenfishberg
Goldenfishberg's picture
Education Education Education (or lobotomize all bow-fisherman)

A lot of the problem as Matt mentioned is that there are folks who are simply uneducated in what fish are good and what fish are bad. I know a lot of us (myself included) would not be adverse to stoving in the heads of the nincompoops who throw fish on the banks to rot and die BUT since violence is not the best answer to this growing problem - education is for more wide reaching than a single knock on the block of these dingle berries. I sure hope in years to come more light is shed on this ever growing problem. The more voices we have nagging at officals to make some reform the better! DWBF (down with bowfishing) 

Ya just Can't catch um from the couch.

Susquehannock
Susquehannock's picture
Bowfishing

The problem is not bowfishing. The problem is stupid people.

I know people who bowfish ethically. They shoot one or two fish- generally either medium sized common carp or quillbacks, which are extremely common around here- and take them home to eat. I also know rod and line fishermen who throw so called trash fish up the bank. 

So this isn't a tactic problem, it's a people problem. Bowfishermen, however, probably should have lower possession limits in most places than rod and line guys. Part of what keeps rod and line guys from filling out large limits is that it's difficult to do so, and a lot of the knuckleheads who would go out and sack, say, twenty channel catfish simply can't do it. Even a relatively inexperienced bowfishermen, however, can achieve an immense body count if the water is clear and the fish are large and numerous and near the surface.

Susquehannock

Goldenfishberg
Goldenfishberg's picture
Mama said stupid is as stupid does.

Ethical bowfishing is an oxymoron. Those who can't fish, bowfish. 

Ya just Can't catch um from the couch.

philaroman
philaroman's picture
1)  that's ridiculous -- if

1)  that's ridiculous -- if you eat what you kill (legally!!!), who cares how you killed it

 

2) MORONS DON'T READ -- might as well give pamphlets to puppies...

but ass-cheeks shot w/ rock salt was QUITE educational for poachers & orchard thieves, back in the good ole' days

 

WE NEED BOTH:  education for the minority (sadly) that are willing & able to benefit from same; adequately severe punitive measures that are actually ENFORCED, for the rest

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

Goldenfishberg
Goldenfishberg's picture
Legal versus Ethical

In texas it is legal to shoot deer or other game while hunting over a pellet or corn feeder. Legal, sure. Ethical, hardly. It seems long gone are the days of fair chase. Is it legal to shoot someone in the back or ass as they are running away from a crime? Or is it far more empowering to catch them in the act and have the proper authroties doll justice? Tough call. 

All I am saying is that fair chase is what seperates us from the heathens in so many words. Some of us choose to hold ourselves to a higher standard and hunt and fish ethically, others prefer to take the easy way out. Where is the thrill of the chase, the thrill of the hunt? A bowfisherman or snagger may eat what they harvest, which is admirable, but where is the soul in it? Hunting and fishing for me is far more about the challange than what I can put on the table. A hard earned meal is far better than a Mctripple from WacArnolds drrivethru. 

Ya just Can't catch um from the couch.

philaroman
philaroman's picture
dude, you're sliding away

dude, you're sliding away from Ethics into poetry w/ a hint of sanctimony.  most people can agree on basic ethical principles like, "wanton killing is wrong" & "eat/use what you kill".  when you start getting into challenges & fair chases & what moves your soul, that's your own personal aesthetics -- NOT ETHICS...   don't expect conformity

 

there's a guy on my local forum who gets all preachy & soap-boxy about 100% C&R, no matter what.  is he the most ethical among us, or does he torture living things for a hobby?  (at least, I can tell myself I'm honing skills 90%, for 10% harvest)

 

at the other end of the spectrum, are the Swiss who consider C&R sport fishing unethical/immoral & made it  ILLEGAL!  there's a certain convoluted logic to it: fish for sustenance; enjoy it; once you catch your restricted limit, GO AWAY -- DON'T DISTURB THE FAUNA FOR FUN, ALONE!  are the Swiss most moral, or sanctimonious freaks?

 

WHO DECIDES ???

 

P.E.T.A. sucks!!!  Plants are living things, too -- they're just easier to catch!

Casey Shanaberger
Casey Shanaberger's picture
Response from DNR

"Casey,

Thanks for your concern.  I will put this on my radar to patrol more. With deer season coming to a close we can focus a little more of our attention to this area. Always feel free to contact me at the contact information below. Thanks"

 

Not exactly the response I was looking for, but its a start. I think I'll just have to keep fishing up there in hopes of catching them in the act. Hopefully I do see the warden around a bit more often....

 

"I swear if you catch another drum"

Outdoors4life
Outdoors4life's picture
Go pro

Just make sure your go pro is rolling when you get down there so it does not look like you are taping them with your phone. People get pretty upset when you whip out the phone or camera.

 

It is all perspective!

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