American shad documented in the Musky!

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American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby Rusty Spinner on June 8th, 2017, 10:07 am

Pat Hamilton, principal fisheries biologist for the Division, electro fished the Musky below the Warren Glen Mill dam and discovered numerous American shad in the river running up to spawn. This is the first documented find of that species since pre Colonial times when all the dams were built across the river to fuel the local economies. Now as the dams are being removed, American shad and striped bass are once again being caught and found in the Musconetcong River. I can't tell you how great that feels as someone that spent a fair amount of time working with the Lower Musconetcong River Restoration Partnership to remove the 3 remnant dams in Riegelsville, the Finesville Mill dam, and most recently, the Hughesville Mill dam. With the state working now to remove the huge Warren Glen Mill dam, shad could run all the way to Bloomsbury soon!

A great day and testimony for river restoration!!!
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby sandcreek on June 8th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Congrats are in order....that is really a big deal! Thanks for your efforts there, no doubt it helped.
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby Rusty Spinner on June 8th, 2017, 7:56 pm

sandcreek wrote:Congrats are in order....that is really a big deal! Thanks for your efforts there, no doubt it helped.
.

Thanks, but as I mentioned, it takes a lot of individuals and organizations to make these things happen. I did my small parts along the way. I'll be honest, we never knew for certain if the watershed ever had American shad or not as it is borderline in size for that species and lacks some of the slower, deeper pools they need to spawn. I'm thrilled they showed up because they will be back. Now we need river herring to complete the grand slam. American eels are having an easier time and striped bass are all over the lower river eating Pequest stockies and shad. And they should because they are native to the river.
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby The Royal Coachman on June 9th, 2017, 6:02 am

I was so surprised and thrilled to hear this news! They say that 10% of fish in the spawning run are always looking for another river to spawn in as a hedge against something catastrophic happening to the main run. Also, when the Musky backs up because the Big D is up it makes for better access. In lean water years I think the water may be too skinny for them to enter the Musky. And this was a good water year.
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby Rusty Spinner on June 12th, 2017, 8:58 am

The Royal Coachman wrote:I was so surprised and thrilled to hear this news! They say that 10% of fish in the spawning run are always looking for another river to spawn in as a hedge against something catastrophic happening to the main run. Also, when the Musky backs up because the Big D is up it makes for better access. In lean water years I think the water may be too skinny for them to enter the Musky. And this was a good water year.


I agree. And shadlings spawned in the Musky this year will return in a few years to spawn there themselves. The population can only grow from here. With the Columbia Lake dam coming down as soon as next year, the Paulinskill will have an even better run than the Musky. Now to take dams out on the Pequest......not to mention that this success will force PA to remove more dams and stop trying to build failed fish ladders. Shad suck at swimming up fish ladders.
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby Castaway on October 16th, 2017, 10:52 pm

My brother caught one in the musky in may on a trout magnet. We thought he had the trout of a lifetime when it took off upstream!
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby Rusty Spinner on October 17th, 2017, 8:02 am

Castaway wrote:My brother caught one in the musky in may on a trout magnet. We thought he had the trout of a lifetime when it took off upstream!


Very cool. Was that this spring or more recently if you don't mind saying? It's so great to see them returning because the truth is that the Musky hasn't seen an American shad run in over 300 years if ever, and we just didn't know if they would use the river for spawning or not. Now we have our answer and it's a great answer when it comes to river restoration.
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby Castaway on October 17th, 2017, 4:06 pm

Rusty Spinner wrote:
Castaway wrote:My brother caught one in the musky in may on a trout magnet. We thought he had the trout of a lifetime when it took off upstream!


Very cool. Was that this spring or more recently if you don't mind saying?

It was this past may. I posted it on another fishing website and I was contacted by a fisheries biologist that had some questions about it. I was quite surprised.
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby Rusty Spinner on October 18th, 2017, 9:19 am

Castaway wrote:
Rusty Spinner wrote:
Castaway wrote:My brother caught one in the musky in may on a trout magnet. We thought he had the trout of a lifetime when it took off upstream!


Very cool. Was that this spring or more recently if you don't mind saying?

It was this past may. I posted it on another fishing website and I was contacted by a fisheries biologist that had some questions about it. I was quite surprised.


Several of our fisheries biologists monitor sites such as this one and at least one of them posts here periodically. It is important for their jobs to know what is happening and what angler attitudes are around the state. And sometimes they get a pleasant surprise like seeing an American shad posted that was caught incidentally in a river that has seen a ton of restoration and dam removals that suddenly has returning anadromous fish in it.
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby mbende on October 18th, 2017, 12:43 pm

There can't be anything more satisfying to a fishery biologist when you have dedicated so much time making these restorations happen. It's a real validation that your work matters.
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby Rusty Spinner on October 19th, 2017, 9:42 am

mbende wrote:There can't be anything more satisfying to a fishery biologist when you have dedicated so much time making these restorations happen. It's a real validation that your work matters.


Agreed, but in NJ, our fisheries biologists provide a supporting and not leading role. Unfortunately, they lack funding to spearhead restoration efforts for the most part. It is conservation organizations, individual landowners and watershed groups that spearhead restoration efforts in this state. I know they would love to have funding to lead many of their own projects as happens in many other states where the state has funding set aside from taxes to do restoration work.
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Re: American shad documented in the Musky!

Postby The Royal Coachman on October 20th, 2017, 6:57 am

Castaway. Was that an American or Hickory Shad. Looks like a Hickory to me. They have always been in the river in the spring. Either way it must have been quite a surprise to hook that while Trout fishing. :lol:
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