In the field notes: Here's a roundup of state outdoors news from various state agencies.
More Lionfish Removed
The 2017 Lionfish Challenge, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) statewide removal incentive program, has removed more than 5,000 of the invasive fish since late May, the agency said.
Those removals are in additional to the 12,000 lionfish removed from Florida waters during events in the spring. The Lionfish Challenge program started on Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, May 20 and ends Sept. 4.
Lionfish are nonnative, invasive species that have a potential negative impact on native species and habitat.
The Challenge rewards lionfish catchers with prizes like T-shirts, tumblers, heat packs for stings, pole spears, an extra spiny lobster per day during the two-day sport season. The more lionfish you enter, the more prizes you will receive.
Sign up and learn more today by visiting MyFWC.com/Lionfish.
Other Lionfish info: Facebook.com/LionfishReefRangers; Facebook.com/LionfishWorldChampionship; ReefRangers.com
Fish Kill Virus ID'd
A virus was to blame for a large fish kill last month in Waseca County's Lake Elysian, where thousands of dead common carp were found. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said the virus was likely introduced to the lake by the release or escape of ornamental koi or pet goldfish.
The DNR and University of Minnesota determined koi herpesvirus (KHV) was the main cause of the late-June fish kill. It is the state's first documented case of the virus in a wild fish population.
KHV does not affect humans and is not believed to affect other fish species, the agency said.
Read more from the Minnesota DNR
Free Flounder Hooks
As part of the "If You Can't Keep It, Save It" campaign, the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife, in coordination with Eagle Claw and the American Sportfishing Association, is making 20,000 free hooks available to anglers fishing for summer flounder. The list of bait and tackle shops distributing the hooks is available here: Click here
CWD Found in Elk
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department said a cow elk found dead in southeast Washlake County had chronic wasting disease (CWD).
The elk was found during the Bighorns elk movement study, which is evaluating migrations and behaviors of elk in the Bighorn Mountains.
Read more from Wyoming Game and Fish
Chinook Fishery to Close
The spring Chinook fishery on the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam will close at sundown (8:18 p.m.) on Sunday, July 30, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via news release. Idaho Fish and Game, which monitors the Snake River fishery for both states, noted angler interest and catch rates have dropped dramatically during the past two weeks. Last week (July 17-23), only a few people were documented fishing and an estimated two Chinook salmon were harevested.
The Snake River fishery stood out as a highlight in an otherwise poor year for salmon fishing opportunities in Oregon's Snake River basin. "Despite a very low return, salmon fishing below Hells Canyon Dam has offered some of the best opportunity in the Snake River basin this season," said Jeff Yanke, District Fish Biologist in Enterprise. "During the past month catch rates were on par, or better than even the most abundant return years".
The closure on the Snake is concurrent with fishery closures ordered by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
DNR Firefighters Head to BC
Firefighters from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are joining international crews this week to battle wildfires raging in the western Canadian province of British Columbia. According to the British Columbia Wildfire Service, more than 930,000 acres have burned since April 1.
Eight Michigan firefighters will join two, 20-person international teams that also include staff from Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Ontario. They're slated to spend two weeks in British Columbia, working up to 16-hour days.
Read more from the Michigan DNR