Aquatic Hitchhikers And Long Haul Trout

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors

April 20, 2005

Aquatic Hitchhikers And Long Haul Trout

This week’s Outdoor News Hound serves up a veritable smorgasbord of outdoor news, from a report on how the introduction of a dangerous, invasive aquatic species was recently averted in Montana, to a fish hatchery truck driver who was honored for a million miles of fish haulin’. In addition, we have reports on a history-making cast, a new rattlesnake-bite vaccine for your pooch — and more!

Zebra Mussel Introduction Averted

Education pays — especially when it comes to invasive aquatic species. According to Eileen Ryce, Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, zebra mussels were recently discovered on a boat just prior to its planned launching at Canyon Ferry Reservoir. The report marked the first verified occurrence of the invasive mollusk in Montana.

J.R. Absher

The used 1800 Lund Fisherman boat originated at an Elkhart, Ind., marina, and was subsequently trailered to Montana in March. Fortunately, the owner of the boat knew enough about zebra mussels to call Montana F.W.P. after discovering them.

Ryce said she gave the owner details on how to clean his boat and witnessed him flush a bleach solution through his livewells and bilge. Thanks to boater awareness, a potential environmental catastrophe was averted.

The zebra mussel was introduced to the Great Lakes in the mid-1980s from the bilge water contained in oceangoing vessels. Millions of zebra mussels may accumulate and clog water-intake pipes and screens of drinking water facilities, power plants, golf course irrigation pipes, cooling systems of boat engines, and boat hulls. Zebra mussels grow rapidly to about thumbnail size, mature within a year, and reproduce prolifically.

Prevent The Spread of ANS

Here are some tips to prevent the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species.

1. Clean and remove all plant material from the boat hull and trailer.

2. Drain the livewell and bilge before leaving the boat ramp area.

3. Flush the livewell and cooling system with hot water (140 degrees F), or allow the boat and equipment to dry for several days when moving from one waterbody to the next.

4. Do not dump bait into any waterbody, and;

5. Never release fish into a waterbody where they were not caught.

(Source: 100th Meridian Initiative)

Tanks A Lot

John Burns, a 27-year employee of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Clark’s Fort Hatchery, was recently honored for driving the department’s fish-delivery tanker a million accident-free miles.

In his travels, it was noted that Burns has driven to 11 other states either transporting or picking up fish for delivery. Hazards along the way have included numerous blizzards in Wyoming, fuel gelling in his hatchery truck at 26 degrees below zero, and narrowly missing an F-5 tornado that ripped through Oklahoma City while he was en route to Tishomingo, Okla., for a load of channel catfish.

Burns’ first trip was in Wyoming on April 10, 1978, and involved taking a load of male walleye from Ocean Lake to Keyhole Reservoir for a walleye spawning operation. His millionth mile occurred more than 26 years later in Wyoming on May 18, 2004, while taking a truckload of kokanee salmon from the Auburn Hatchery to Flaming Gorge.

In accepting his award, Burns noted that the most rewarding part of his work is watching the fish swim away in the waters he has stocked.


Tommy Farmer of North Carolina set a new United States casting record of 839.25 feet during competition at the SportCast USA Southeast Regional in Wilmington, N.C., March 27.

The length of Farmer’s cast was just short of three football fields, breaking the previous long-standing record of 821 feet.

The record-breaking cast was made using an Abu Garcia 5500C3CT Mag Elite casting reel, .28mm diameter monofilament line and a 125-gram (4.37-ounce) sinker.

Rattlesnake Vaccine

Sportsmen who hunt with dogs in Southern and Western environments where rattlesnakes may be encountered while afield will want to know about a new canine vaccine recently approved for nationwide sale and use by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Red Rock Biologics, a California firm, first developed the vaccine based on the chemical characteristics of the Western diamondback’s venom in June 2003. Since that time, more than 30,000 doses have been distributed in The Golden State.

Veterinarians Jim and Dale Wallis, who began their scientific mission shortly after their two cats were bitten by rattlesnakes, created the vaccine.

The vaccine costs between $20 and $35 per dose, and full protection is reached about 30 days after the second injection. In areas where snake encounters are particularly high, booster shots are recommended every six months.

The vaccine is not effective for all species of rattlesnakes, and dog owners are advised to ask their personal vet for recommended use. In addition, snakebites aren’t necessarily synonymous with envenomation, and are not always fatal for dogs. Somewhere between 25 and 40 percent of rattlesnake bites are “dry,” and no venom is injected.

However, in snake country, the small investment could be well worth the peace of mind and protection it provides the owner for that prized hunting partner and companion.

For more information, visit the company’s Website:

Gun Safety In Arizona Schools

Precedent-setting state legislation designed to teach gun safety in schools was recently signed into law by Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.

Arizona State Senate Bill 1271 was unanimously approved by the state Senate and passed the state House by a three-to-one margin. The law requires high schools to offer a gun-safety class as an elective, giving students credit toward a high school diploma. A “shoot safely” requirement was included in the bill as a statutory rule to prevent gun control advocates from changing it.

The bill also requires that the course include classroom instruction on the role of firearms in preserving peace and freedom, the constitutional roots of the right to keep and bear arms, the history of firearms and marksmanship, and the basic operation of firearms. In order to successfully complete the course, range time, gun handling, and shooting are required.

The law began as an idea and rough draft from Arizona-based Bloomfield Press publisher Alan Korwin. Bloomfield Press is a leading publisher of gun law books.

Quote Of The Week

“There comes a time in every man’s life when he is either going to go fishing or do something worse.”

-Havilah Babcock

“When a Lady Undresses,” 1947

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. Visit his Web sites, The Outdoor Pressroom ( and The Outdoor Weblog ) to find the latest outdoor news of interest. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for You may contact him at

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