Saturday, October 28, 2017

Time spent with the IOWA DNR

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to help DNR fisheries biologists in the Guttenburg area with research on walleyes and saugers.  It was a shocking research project where fish are shocked, kept in a tank, measurements taken and fish released back in the Mississippi River.  The Department of Natural Resources spend countless hours researching, collecting data, and managing the wildlife in the state.  Without this department, our trips to the outdoors would look very different.

I have some personal friends that work in the department and they have taught me many things that the department does "behind the scenes" to ensure good hunting and fishing opportunities.  For example, the testing I was involved with takes place for 2 weeks in October during the evening hours.  The biologists commented that it was difficult to change their family schedules they had from 1st shift to 2nd shift for a couple of weeks, all for the betterment of the Mississippi River.  However, the study is key to monitor the growth of the species, so it was just another day for the employees.

The biggest of the  night,
just under 7#
The actual research that night included shocking walleye and saugers to gather data on length, weight and testing dorsal fins for aging.  Dorsal fin samples of all sizes of fish were taken that night to be studied at another time to ensure proper growth rates of the walleyes and saugers.  This helps the DNR make sure fish populations are healthy and growing at the correct weights.  The study also helps the DNR set daily limits on fish catches as well, which is something they do not plan on changing anytime soon.  The big river is very healthy, and so is the walleye/sauger population.  A huge thanks to the DNR and the many different ways they help us outdoors people enjoy nature and all the creatures that swim, fly and walk in our nature.

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