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GFP News - october 1, 2014

Hunters asked to guard against grass fires

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is asking hunters going into the field this fall to be diligent in not only preventing fires, but also detecting them.

While some parts of western South Dakota have an elevated fire danger, many parts of the state that started out with plenty of rain are currently dry.

“Rains throughout the spring and summer seasons created quality cover with tall, lush vegetation,” said Tom Kirschenmann, GFP terrestrial chief. “The dense cover is great for wildlife and will provide ample hunting opportunities. However, grass and woody plants will become more combustible as they freeze and dry.” Kirschenmann also stressed that hunters are a great help in reporting and catching fires early.

Take an active role in fire prevention this fall:

“The key to fire safety is awareness,” concluded Kirschenmann. “Hunters should use common sense and be aware of the potential for wildfires, no matter what the conditions are like. Responsible actions will make a difference in protecting both property and wildlife resources.”

salmon station open for egg collection

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) fisheries staff have opened the Whitlock Bay Salmon Spawning Station for the 2014 season. However, gathering enough adult salmon for egg collection could be challenging this fall, due to the long-term effects of the 2011 flood.

“We are still in the rebuilding stages of the salmon population following the 2011 flood,” stated Robert Hanten, GFP fisheries biologist. “Juvenile salmon stocked the year following the flood likely experienced low survival due to high predator numbers and low prey abundance. The low number of adult female salmon this fall will make egg collection efforts challenging.”

Hanten continued to state that the majority of the salmon caught this summer were 10 pound-or-larger fish that were in great condition. Larger females contain more eggs meaning the egg-take goal could be met with fewer fish.

Fisheries crews will be electrofishing some of the embayments on Lake Oahe in an attempt to capture additional adult salmon for spawning.

Chinook salmon do not naturally reproduce in Lake Oahe and would not exist there without the efforts of GFP staff collecting eggs, rearing and stocking them back into the lake for anglers to enjoy. Each year juvenile Chinook salmon are stocked in middle and lower Lake Oahe. They then disperse throughout the reservoir until they become sexually mature. The water flowing down the fish ladder attracts mature salmon to the station where GFP staff collect, sort and spawn the fish.

Whitlock Bay Salmon Station is located 18 miles northwest of Gettysburg by West Whitlock Recreation Area. The station is open for tours from 9-11 a.m., Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during October. There are no tours on October 14. The fish ladder observation deck is open to the public at any time. Group tours can also be arranged by calling 605.223.7681.



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