Title: Florida Lakewatch newsletter
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055470/00042
 Material Information
Title: Florida Lakewatch newsletter
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida LAKEWATCH
Publisher: Dept. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) at the University of Florida (UF)
Place of Publication: Gainesville, FL
Publication Date: 2010
Frequency: irregular
completely irregular
Subjects / Keywords: Lakes -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
periodical   ( marcgt )
General Note: Description based on v. 9 (spring 1997); title from caption.
General Note: Latest issue consulted: v. 33 (2006).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055470
Volume ID: VID00042
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 65383070
lccn - 2006229159
Classification: lcc - GB1625.F6 F56

Full Text

F orida

I~g 6 I I I I I 'I. S I S. i'

LAKEWATCH Regional Coordinators from left to right, David Watson and Dan Willis.

LAKEWATCH Office Assistant Mary Lettelier

Message from LAKEWATCH Crew

We hope this newsletter finds
you in good health and
enjoying your time on Florida's
many natural resources. As we
enter a new year we thought
this would be a good time to
update all of our volunteers on
the events of the past year with
the Florida LAKEWATCH

First, we would like to thank all
of our volunteers and supporters
for your hard work, support and
thoughts through this past year. It
has been a trying time for our
country and your support has

been critical to keep
LAKEWATCH an important
factor in the monitoring of
Florida's lakes, rivers, springs


and coastal waters.

As most of you are aware Florida
LAKEWATCH's overall funding
has been reduced over 45% over
the last two years. The good news
is that LAKEWATCH is still here
and looking forward to many
future years of monitoring
Florida's waterbodies. These cuts
have caused us to make
adjustments to accommodate our
reduced funding.

One adjustment that we made is
that we now have only two
Regional Coordinators to cover
the entire State of Florida. Dan
Willis covers South Florida from
Orange County south and David
Watson now covers from
Seminole County north. Mary
Lettelier remains in the office
answering the phones, managing
the office and getting out
information to you in a timely


Because of staff reductions, our
Regional Coordinators are now in
the field a good deal more with
the training of new volunteers,
research projects and hosting the
meetings all over the state. For
this reason we do ask you to be
patient with us if we do not get
back to you as quickly as we have
in the past. We are making every
effort to answer your questions as
soon as we can when we get back
in the office.

You also may have noticed that
we are making a concerted effort
to check in with our primary
samplers on a regular basis. So if
you receive an e-mail or letter
from us several times this coming
year don't be alarmed, we are just
trying to make sure we are

meeting your volunteering

In planning for the New Year,
we are busy now scheduling
LAKEWATCH volunteers
appreciation meetings for 2011
so look for yours in the mail
later this year.

We also have several research
projects that we will be
working on this year and we
plan to continue to work with
the many agencies,
municipalities, and
Universities to make sure that
your tax dollars are being spent

We look forward to working
with our volunteers in 2011
and hope that if you have any
questions that you will not
hesitate to contact us.

The Florida LAKEWATCH volunteer appreciation meeting for Lake County at the Hickory Point Facility in Tavares.

Featured Bird: Limpkin

The limpkin is dark brown with a
slight bronze sheen on the wings
and tail. The head, neck and body
are streaked and mottled with
white. The bill is long with a
slight downward curve and it is
yellowish with a dark tip. It has
long legs with large webless feet.
Males and females look the same
however males are normally
larger. They have a very distinct
voice described as a piercing
repeated wail, "Kree-ow, Kra-

In the United States, limpkins are
found in Florida and Georgia.
They are also found in the West
Indies and from Southern Mexico
to Argentina. They inhabit the
shallows along rivers, streams and
lakes and are also found in
marshes, swamps and sloughs.
Limpkins feed by walking in
shallow water or floating on
vegetation mats while probing the
water primarily for apple snails
(genus Pomacea) and mussels.
But they also feed on lizards,
frogs, insects, crustaceans and
worms. Alligators prey directly
on limpkins while snakes, crows,
raccoons, and other aquatic
mammals eat their eggs.

They may have a new predator to
deal with in South Florida. The
Burmese Python (Python molurus
bivittatus) has invaded south
Florida and is known to frequent
wading bird colonies in its native
range and south Florida. Pythons
have few enemies and if their
population expands predation on
limpkins and other wading bird

WPk" E

Limpkins inhabit the shallows along rivers, streams and lakes and are also
found in marshes, swamps and sloughs entering the Saint Andrews Bay.

populations is a major concern.
Another exotic invader of Florida,
the island applesnail (Pomacea
insularum), was thought to
possibly impact the limpkin by
outcompeting one of its favorite
food sources. This exotic snail
eats vegetation very aggressively
while the native applesnail eats
only the algae connected to the
vegetation. The concern is that the
exotic applesnail will denude a
lake of its aquatic vegetation with
detrimental effects on native
applesnails, a primary food source
for the limpkin. While there are
anecdotal reports of the exotic
snails removing some aquatic
vegetation in a lake, no scientific
evidence exists showing the
exotic snails removing all aquatic

vegetation in a lake on their own.

In addition, limpkins are able to
eat the non-native applesnails
providing an alternative food
source. There is anecdotal
evidence that limpkin population
increases where exotic snails are

According to the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWCC), although
the Florida limpkin population is
currently stable, the main threat to
that stability is the loss of habitat
and a reduction in the native apple
snail population. Because of these
threats the FWCC has listed the
limpkin as a Species of Special

Information for this article came from Sierra Club Polk Group -Florida Chapter October 2007
Newsletter Issue: 07-10, University of Florida IFAS Extension Publication # WEC242, www.oiseaux-
birds.com/card-limpkin.html, and myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/BirdSpeciesLimpkin.htm.


Groupers, members of one of the
largest families of fishes found in
Florida waters, run the gamut of sizes
and shapes, from the diminutive
graysby weighing several pounds to
the mammoth goliath grouper that
can top the scales at 600 pounds or
more. Grouper is an important
commercial and recreational
commodity in Florida. Broiled, fried,
or spicy "blackened" grouper is a
staple on the menus of seafood

The word "grouper" is thought to
be a corruption of the Portuguese
"garoupa," a name given to a perch-
like fish found in Portugal. Groupers,
along with sea basses and hamlets,
are in the seabass family, which is
called Serranidae. Worldwide, there
are more than 300 species of
serranids, with 61 species in North
America. More than 40 serranid
species are found in Florida waters.
In general, groupers are oblong,
large, and chunky fish. Their small
scales usually have a saw-toothed
edge, and their fins are coarse and
spiny. The massive, underslung jaws
of these carnivores harbor strong
teeth, and many species have two
canine teeth at the front of each jaw.
Groupers, like chameleons, vary
in color according to species, habitat,
water depth, age, or stress. Because
the different species are so similar in
appearance, identification can be
confusing. As with most fish, the skin
pigments fade when the fish is
removed from the water. Nine
grouper species that are found in
Florida are described below.

Goliath grouper (Epinephelus
The giant of the grouper family,
the goliath (formerly called jewfish)
has brown or yellow mottling with

small black spots on the head and fins
and has a gargantuan mouth with
jawbones that extend well past its small
eyes. Its tail is rounded. Its five irregular,
dark body bands, or stripes, are most
visible on young goliath.
They can reach whopping lengths of
8 feet or more, and the Florida record
goes to a 680-pound goliath caught off
Fernandina Beach in 1961. They were
once a popular target of spearfishermen
but are now protected from all harvest in
Florida. They feed mostly on fish and
crustaceans, such as crabs and spiny

Red Grouper (Epinephelus morio)
Red grouper is a brownish-red fish
with scattered pale blotches, black dots
around the eyes, and dark-tipped dorsal,
anal, and tail fins. The membrane
between the dorsal spines is not notched,
and the tail fin is squared off. Red
grouper is the most thoroughly studied of
the Florida groupers, and much of what
scientists know about groupers is based
on research on red grouper. They may

grow to 3 feet in length and average 10
pounds, though some reach a hefty 40

'b.-: spines

E. morio art by Diane Peebles

Warsaw Grouper (Epinephelus
A uniform brown, the adult Warsaw
grouper has no spots or stripes to make it
stand out from the crowd (juvenile
Warsaw groupers have white spots). It is,
however, distinguished by its impressive
bulk, ten dorsal spines (all other
groupers have 11), and by a dorsal fin
with a very long second spine. The
Warsaw grouper may reach 6 feet in
length and weigh 580 pounds.

Gag grouper on an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico.


Chameleons of the Sea

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

Snowy Grouper (Epinephelus
Dark gray all over, the snowy
grouper's name derives from the obscure
white spots arranged in a definite
geometric pattern over the body. It may
reach 3 feet in length and weigh 30
pounds. This deep-water species may be
found as deep as 1,000 feet.

Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus)
This species has five irregular
brown or red-brown side bands on a light
background. A wide, brown stripe runs
on each side of the head from the upper
snout to the forward base of the dorsal
fin. There is a broad, black patch that
rests like a saddle on top of the narrow
part of the tail. Nassau groupers may
grow to a length of 3 feet and weigh 55
pounds. Their colorful, zebra-like
appearance has made them a favorite
photo subject for divers' magazines.
Nassau grouper form large spawning
aggregations, which makes this species
highly vulnerable to overharvest. All
harvest of this species is prohibited in
Florida waters.

fast FACT
Some groupers, such as snowy, misty, and
speckled hind, can be found at a depth of
1,000 feet

Black Grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci)
Although similar in appearance to
the gag, the black grouper has a more
vivid color pattern that includes brassy,
bronze spots on the side of the head and
body and, sometimes, dark, rectangular
blotches running the length of the back.
Its fins are bordered in black. Black
grouper may reach 4 feet and 180

Gag Grouper (Mycteroperca
The brownish-gray body of the gag
is covered with thin, dark, wormlike
markings often grouped in blotches that
give the fish a marbled look. Its pelvic,
anal, and tail fins are dark; the anal and
tail fins have a white outer margin.
Although it may reach 3 feet and 70
pounds, most are much smaller. The gag
is often erroneously identified as a black

Scamp (Mycteroperca phenax)
The light gray or brown body of the
scamp is covered with reddish-brown
spots that tend to be grouped into lines.
The covers of the mouth are yellow.
The top and bottom edges of the tail of
large adults are elongated. Scamp in the
Gulf may grow to over 2 feet in length
and weigh up to 14 pounds.

Yellowfin Grouper (Mycteroperca
The yellowfin derives its scientific
moniker, venenosa, from the toxicity of
the flesh of some large specimens in
areas where ciguatera poisoning occurs
when humans eat toxic fish. Also called
the rockfish, the yellowfin is variably
colored, commonly olive green with
rows of rounded, irregular, dark
splotches on its back. Its belly is often
salmon pink, and its mouth is yellow
inside and along the covers. The outer
/3 of the pectoral fin is a brilliant
yellow. Yellowfin taken from waters
deeper than 100 feet are often bright red
with even darker red body blotches.
Yellowfin may grow to 30 inches and
about 20 pounds.

Range and Habitat
Groupers are found in almost all
temperate and tropical seas, usually over
hard bottom such as coral reefs. Some
species prefer shallow water, whereas
others inhabit deep, dark regions far
offshore. Some may lead solitary lives,
hiding in reef crevices and caves. Young
groupers can often be found nearshore.
Red grouper is the most abundant
grouper in the Gulf of Mexico. Red
groupers under about six years of age
reside over shallow nearshore reefs,
moving into deeper waters farther
offshore as they mature.

Life History
Groupers can change sex-an
amazing ability to us but a relatively
common occurrence among marine
creatures. Some marine animals change
from male to female, others (including
groupers) change from female to male,
and some organisms function as both
sexes at one time.
Although all grouper species are
probably able to undergo a
transformation from female to male, the
incidence of individuals that do so is

highly variable. Red groupers may
change after the first five or ten years of
life. Gag groupers may change at about
10 or 11 years of age. Nassau groupers
have the potential to change sexes,
although apparently few do.
Scientists aren't sure what natural
advantage the sex change affords
grouper or what specific factors trigger
it. Some believe that, for those species in
which individuals live close to one
another, a causative factor may be the
death of the dominant male in the event
group-an event that prompts the largest
female to change sex and then become
the dominant male in the group
hierarchy. However, because other
species of grouper lead essentially
solitary lives, some scientists believe the
sex change is triggered when the fish
gather together as a prelude to spawning.
Grouper species generally have
distinct spawning seasons. For example,
red grouper off Florida's west coast
spawn mainly in April and May in
nearshore waters of 90 feet or less. Gag
grouper spawn principally from January
through March. However, in warmer
waters of the southern Atlantic, Gulf of
Mexico, and Caribbean, some grouper
may spawn throughout the year. "Ripe"
female black grouper in the Florida
Keys, for instance, have been
documented in all months.
When observed in a spawning
aggregation, Nassau grouper swim
upward in the water column and release
their gametes (eggs or sperm) before
descending back to the bottom. This
behavior is known as a "spawning rush."
Goliath groupers have a particular
courtship style. When they gather
together before spawning, the head of
the dominant male turns pale white, and
he makes a booming sound to threaten
other males who invade his territory.
When groupers spawn, eggs and
sperm are released into the water at the
same time, and their union is by chance.
A female red grouper may shed from 1.5
million to 5 million eggs in a spawn and
can spawn several times during the
spawning season.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to
distinguish one species of grouper larvae
from another, so much information about
the egg and larval development of
groupers remains a mystery. In general,
the eggs hatch into larvae that drift with

the currents for the next 30 to 40
days before transforming into
juveniles. Little is known about the
range and behavior of most juvenile
grouper, but red and gag grouper
juveniles have been studied.
Red grouper juveniles remain in
the plankton for about a month, until
they reach 3/4 to 1 inch in length.
Then, they take up life on rocky
bottoms and stick close to nearshore
reefs, where they eventually become
a mainstay of Florida's party boat
industry. Juvenile gag grouper enter
bays and estuaries in the spring and
hide among the seagrasses or gather
near rocky outcroppings until, at
about three years old, they leave
these sanctuaries to reside in deeper
waters. Groupers are considered to be
adults when they become sexually
mature, which for most species
occurs between four and six years of
All groupers are meat-eaters.
Most eat fish, although the larger
goliath also dines on crustaceans and
even juvenile sea turtles. It is
believed that many groupers do not
actively search for prey but lie in
ambush waiting for a suitable meal to
swim near; then they strike at it with
lightning speed.
Groupers maintain a mutually
beneficial relationship with small
"cleaner" fish. A grouper will permit
these tiny janitors to pluck dead
tissue, parasites, and scales from its
gills and body and even to enter its
mouth to remove parasites. When a
grouper wants to be "scrubbed," it
opens its mouth and assumes a non-
threatening position to attract its
fastidious helpers.

fast FACT
One female goliath on display at The
Florida Aquarium in Tampa has been
observed to sit on her food when she is
not hungry, presumably to keep other
fish that share her tank from eating it.

Economic and Management

Once considered a by-product of
the red snapper fishery, grouper, in

recent years, has soared in
popularity among seafood
consumers. Florida currently
produces about 80% of all the
grouper caught in the U.S.
Historically, recreational catches
were much higher than commercial
landings were, but that situation has
reversed in recent decades.
The surge of interest in grouper
has resulted in regulations that limit
harvest. Any harvest of Nassau or
goliath grouper is prohibited in
Florida waters. Some commercial
restrictions have quotas based on the
water depth at which selected
species are typically found.
Restrictions are also placed on
recreational anglers. They must
abide by both bag and size limits,
which vary depending on the species
of grouper being targeted. Because
fishing regulations are subject to
change annually, anglers should
consult the FWC Division of Law
Enforcement for the most recent
In 1995, about 9.3 million
pounds of grouper were harvested
by commercial fishermen and had
an estimated value of $16.6 million.
That year, grouper ranked third in
total pounds of seafood landed in
Florida and fourth in market value.
The bulk of Florida's grouper
harvest occurs in the Gulf of
Mexico, and red grouper is the
species that is most frequently
Recreational fishermen use
hook and line gear and lay the bait
on the bottom in order to snare
groupers. Commercial fishermen
use longlines- extensive lengths of
fishing lines with baited hooks at
regular intervals. The lines are
retrieved with mechanical reels.
Grouper yield a high quantity of
edible meat compared to their body
weight. An 8-pound grouper, for
instance, will produce more than 3
pounds of edible flesh. Because the
meat has little oil and a fat content
of only 1%, grouper are considered
a lean fish.
Scientists at the Florida Fish
and Wildlife Conservation
Commission have conducted

research on several species of
groupers. In 1991, the FWC Fish
and Wildlife Research Institute
printed a publication about the
distribution of serranids in the
eastern Gulf of Mexico. Results
from a study on the reproduction of
the yellowedge grouper have also
been published. Research has been
completed on the age, growth, and
reproduction of the black grouper
and on the life history of goliath
grouper, yellowmouth grouper, gag
grouper, and red grouper. We hope
that learning more about this diverse
group will let us continue to enjoy it
as a menu item and as another of
nature's intriguing marine creatures.

Fishing license revenue and the
federal Sport Fish Restoration
Program are important sources of
funding for sport fish research. The
Sport Fish Restoration Program is a
"user pays/user benefits" system
funded by a tax on sales of
recreational fishing equipment and
boat fuel. The program supplies
three dollars for every one dollar
provided by the state for projects
that improve fishing and boating

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From the Water Lab: Farewells and Arrivals

We bid farewell to valued laboratory technician and friend Dorota Roth. Dorota has departed the lab team and returned
to Canada to be with family and seek out new adventures. Dorota's all too short time with us from May 2009 to
August 2010 was truly enjoyable and her good nature, genuine laughter, and sense of humor will be sorely missed.
The entire LAKEWATCH family wishes her much success and joy in her travels and future endeavors.

This September, Steve Banes joined our diverse laboratory staff. We all welcome Steve as a great addition to our
dynamic lab team. Steve comes to us from the private sector with many years of analytical experience in laboratory
techniques used to evaluate quality control for a major production facility. Steve brings strong skills set and technical
expertise to the lab team. All team members are well on their way to completing our in-house laboratory goal of cross
training by year's end to better serve our volunteers.

We would like your help in making sure your samples arrive safe and sound. Please remember to fill bottles
completely. Then shake or pour out excess down to shoulder of bottle. This will allow for expansion of your water
sample upon freezing and the bottle will not be stressed. Bottles become stressed from having too much water in them.
They look swollen and often fall over when set upright. These bottles tend to rupture in transport, especially if there
are a lot of bottles picked up during a collection run. The samples in these cracked bottles can get contaminated from
partial thawing and refreezing in transport. Once they are in the lab we try to recover samples, but results from cracked
bottles are often suspect and some are simply lost.

Your Florida LAKEWATCH water lab team extends a hardy thanks to all our volunteers for their continued sampling
and support.

Tad/h DeDGroat, Wa*tical, W d acrfield, Ivel ise/R1u iz-Bernvwtrd, Steve/Bawers, atnd CLacude Brownv

Hillsborough C(ounlt Collection (enter C'hanges!

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Florida Black Bass Management Plan Survey Results
By Bob Wattendorf of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida anglers want a
homespun management plan for
the most popular freshwater
sportfishes in America the
freshwater black basses. Recent
surveys indicated more than 94
percent of nearly 5,000
respondents feel such a plan is
important, and nearly two-thirds
felt angler input was critical.
More than 10 million
anglers target black bass
nationally (the group to which the
Florida largemouth, Suwannee,
shoal and spotted basses all
belong). Florida produces many
of the world's premier bass
fisheries, with bass anglers
enjoying more than 14 million
days fishing here annually.
Although the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) zealously
manages these fishes, a variety of
considerations caused us to
decide it was time to seek public
input to help write and publicize a
comprehensive, long-term Black
Bass Management Plan.

By June, we received 773
responses requested via
presentations at Florida BassPro
Shops, the Tampa Tribune Expo,
Florida Sportsman's
fishing/boating shows and fishing
clubs, as well as from news
releases and posters encouraging
completion of an online survey.
We also received 4,085 responses
from a direct e-mail solicitation
of licensed freshwater anglers.
The surveys were not
intended to provide scientifically
valid results with specific
confidence intervals, but were an
important effort to communicate
with members of the public who
wish to provide us with thoughts
about bass fishing and how to

Matt Hinman (left) and Darrel Davis show off their catch at Big

Toho Marina (June 2010).
manage the resource. On June 15,
we shared these results, at the
Florida Bass Conservation
Center, with a Technical
Advisory Group (TAG). The
TAG is composed of
knowledgeable Floridians
representing diverse stakeholder
groups affected by the FWC's
black bass management decisions.
Members of the group are
Todd Kersey (Florida Freshwater
Fisheries Coalition President and
manager of BassOnline.com),
Chris Horton (Conservation
Director, BASS/ESPN), Dr. Mike
Allen (professor of fisheries
science at UF), Gary Simpson
(outdoor writer and tackle shop
owner), Shaw Grigsby
(tournament fisherman and TV
personality), Jim Hoovan

(President of Lakeland
Bassmasters), Mark Jackson
(Central Florida Tourism
Development Council), Mark
Detweiler (Big Toho Marina
owner), Tommy Thompson
(Executive Director, Florida
Outdoor Writers Association),
Terry Segraves (Kissimmee
Visitors Bureau and fishing
spokesperson), Peter Thliveros
(professional angler), and Herb
Stephen (bass guide). These
individuals were asked to
represent various segments of the
fishing community and to
communicate with their peers to
ensure the FWC receives as much
candid public opinion as possible
during plan development. They
also were asked to consider
opinions of anglers who

The TAG listens to opening comments from FWC biologist Dale
Jones about the proposed black bass plan.

responded to surveys prior to
rendering their own input on what
the plan should include. TAG
meetings are publicized on the
MyFWC.com calendar and open
to visitors.
Members of the public,
who responded to the survey, as
well as everyone with a Florida
freshwater fishing license, will
receive an invitation to participate
in the next survey. Others can
follow the plan's development
and comment at
MyFWC.com/BassPlan Survey.
Combined results from
the first two surveys indicated the
public considers the most
important factors for a successful
fishing trip to be: having a good
time (97%), enjoying the scenery
and time on the water (95%),
relaxing (94%), being safe (92%),
being with family and friends
(87%), excitement (86%),
catching big fish (72%) or
catching many fish (71%). A
take-home message is the overall
fishing experience is as important
as the actual catch.
Florida freshwater
fisheries rated OK in terms of
overall satisfaction, with 84
percent satisfied or extremely

satisfied with their most recent
trip (as individually defined by
the previous considerations)
compared to a virtually identical
83 percent for saltwater. Among
anglers, who fished in freshwater
elsewhere on their last trip, 89
percent reported being satisfied.
Overall 12 percent of
respondents used a fishing guide
in the past year, 32 percent fished
in tournaments, and 25 percent
were members of bass clubs.
Similarly, 65 percent occasionally
fished from shore, 30 percent
from kayaks/canoes and 88
percent from power boats.
The following are top
issues (2,245 individuals thought
the top-ranked issue was critical
and only 299 felt the bottom-
ranked one was) related to
recreational bass fishing in
Florida: 1) public impacts from
pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers
and water use; 2) point source
pollution; 3) poor angler ethics,
including failure to comply with
laws; 4) water quality-nutrient
loading etc.; 5) development and
population growth; 6) lack of
conservation funding; 7) water
quantity issues; 8) nonnative fish;
9) lack of access; 10) muck

control of aquatic plants, 12) too
many aquatic plants. Other issues
were boating conflicts, bed
fishing, loss of interest in fishing,
too many tournaments, climate
change and too many anglers.
Somewhat corresponding
to the issues, anglers suggested
the following solutions are critical
for FWC to pursue: 1) work with
DEP on water quality; 2) control
non-native fish; 3) stock more
bass; 4) work with WMDs on
water quantity; 5) conduct more
habitat restoration projects, 6)
improve aquatic plant
management; 7) increase
communications with anglers on
laws, ethics, stewardship; 8)
provide more boat access; 9)
simplify fishing regulations; and
10) provide more shoreline, pier
and boardwalk fishing. Other
considerations are to increase
fishing education programs,
provide more law enforcement,
create more customized bass
regulations, regulate tournaments
more, protect Suwannee/shoal
bass, provide more fishing
clinics/outreach events, engage
bass clubs and organized groups,
implement more fishing rules and
create more sponsor
Relative to how we
develop this plan (in priority
order), the following are key
points: focus on preservation of
natural fish and wildlife
communities; obtain input from
anglers; publicize a long-term
plan; obtain fishing-related
business' input, and science
should be the principal
consideration. Clear losers were;
economics should be the principal
consideration and continuing
without a formal plan is adequate.
It was also interesting to
observe that the preferred
statement was: "I'd prefer to be
able to catch and release three 3-
pound bass," indicating a quality
emphasis (53%). "I'd prefer to
catch-and-release one bass over

10 pounds," representing a trophy
emphasis, was selected by 32
percent. Finally, "I'd prefer to be
able to catch and harvest five 1-
pound bass," which is a
consumption emphasis, was
chosen by 13 percent of
respondents. Consequently, the
plan should address each type of
opportunity, since neither trophies
nor harvest is a dominant issue.
After hearing this input,
TAG members worked on
developing a simple goal and
descriptive vision. Tommy
Thompson and Herb Stephen both
pointed to the need to have a
concise and pithy goal statement
that could be easily
communicated. The team
subsequently came up with this


preliminary goal: "Establish
Florida as the undisputed Bass
Fishing Capital of the World."
Mike Allen stated "Most
plans for other states are not
specific enough and actionable-
they tend to feel good and be very
generic. We want ours to be more
focused and definitive." With that
in mind, a tentative vision
statement was crafted.

Vision: Improve Florida black
bass populations and fisheries
by establishing quality habitats
that provide anglers with more
trophy bass, more locations
and opportunities with a higher
probability of catching quality
bass, increase numbers of
anglers and angler effort, and


Fishing Hunting
SConservation a 2
APRIL, 1961 25 74-e. IVpw ,oS. is CI

Black bass have long been the main attraction in Florida's fresh
waters. This 1961 cover illustrated by Wally Hughes (1918-2010), a
renowned wildlife artist. He was best known for his work as an
illustrator, photographer, and art director for Florida Wildlife

achieve a higher degree of
angler satisfaction. With active
support from the general and
angling publics, achieve
worldwide public ig iii, 1,
and support for sustaining
Florida as the "Bass Fishing
Capital of the World, based
on great resources and
responsible management.

Tom Champeau, director
of the Division of Freshwater
Fisheries, thanked participants for
their insights, including a lengthy
list of actions and ideas focused
in areas of habitat, fish and
people management. The next
step is for fisheries biologists to
work with the TAG team to create
a complete draft plan and to share
it with the public for a second
round of input and discussion in
August. Stay tuned to
and the Fish Busters' Bulletins
for more.
The resulting proposal
will be shared with the public
and, after another round of public
comment and refinement,
presented to the Commissioners
at a public meeting to finalize the
plan. It is anticipated the plan will
be accepted in early 2011,
allowing the FWC to pursue
implementation with the ultimate
goal of making Florida the
undisputed Black Bass Fishing
Capital of the World.

hull i ,, 1. 1 .11 i 111 1 '11

i //t. 1 n, '/ I < i,, l/ i n ,, i,
/ /rh, 11,, .\.,1.,- 4Hts 4-S 3._'

It II UII If I / %I 1/ )1// %I.. / ti I/'II \I


Outstanding LAKEWATCH Volunteer

By Peggy Sias Lantz

Lake Lucy in Orange County
was monitored by
LAKEWATCH volunteers
Ralph Sias and Peggy Sias
Lantz from 1989 until now.

Ralph Sias was eight years old
when his father, D.P. Sias,
moved his family from Iowa to
the shores of Lake Lucy in
1914. They built the first house
on the lake, and the lake was
named for D.P.'s mother, my
great grandmother.

My father loved growing up on
Lake Lucy. He swam every
morning and competed in swim
meets at Orlando High School
and the University of Florida,
winning many medals. His
career took him far from Florida
for 40 years, but when he retired
in 1970 he returned to the
family homestead on Lake

When I was growing up, many
family vacations were spent at
Lake Lucy with my
grandparents, and I learned to
love this place, too, and I
learned to swim in the lake.

Ten years after my father
retired, my husband and I were
able to move to Lake Lucy, but
soon, in the early 1980s, the
lake began drying up in a long
period of drought. When there
was no surface water at all, my

father dug a hole in the lake
bottom with a posthole digger
and measured the water in the
hole until he could no longer
dig deep enough.

As the lake went down, my
dad installed concrete blocks at
ground level, carefully

the years, we sent in our
samples when the lake levels
permitted canoeing to the
sites. As the lake rose during
rainy periods, the nitrogen and
phosphorus counts dropped.
As the lake levels dropped,
the counts rose. Many times
the Secchi disk touched the

Peggy Sias Lantz taking her LAKEWATCH water samples on Lake Lucy in Orange County. Photo
used with permission of the Orlando Sentinel, copyright 1997.

surveyed, from which he was
able to use a modified yardstick
device he made to accurately
measure the water level as the
rains returned. My father also
recorded the air temperatures
three times a day, morning,
noon, and night.

As soon as we learned about the
LAKEWATCH program, in
1989, my father and I began
monitoring the lake. Through

bottom before it went out of

After my father died in 1991, I
continued the LAKEWATCH
program as much as I could, but
cattails began spreading around
the edge and water lilies
gradually covered almost the
entire surface of the lake,
making canoeing to my
monitoring sites nearly



Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
School of Forestry Resource Conservation
7922 NW 71st Street
Gainesville, FL 32653

The wintering ducks can no
longer raft on the lake, the
herons and egrets can find no
place to fish. Though the water
level has remained high
enough to swim in where I
keep cattails and lilies cleaned
out (though 15 feet shallower
than in the days of my
childhood, and with alligators

Ralf Sias steers his canoe to shore as the rest of the
Sias family enjoy the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in

to watch out for), it is no
longer the beautiful lake we
once knew. I have decided to
return my LAKEWATCH
equipment for someone else to

'Torida d

This newsletter is generated by the Florida
LAKEWATCH program, within UF/IFAS Support
for the LAKEWATCH program is provided by the
Florida Legislature, grants and donations For more
information about LAKEWATCH, to inquire about
volunteer training sessions, or to submit materials for
inclusion in this publication, write to
Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
School of Forest Resources and Conservation
Gamnemlle FL 32653
E-mail fl-lakewatch@ufl edu
http //lakewatch ifas ufl edu/
All unsolicited articles, photographs, artwork or other
written material must include contributor's name,
address and phone number Opinions expressed are
solely those of the individual contributor and do not
necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of the Florida


is a wonderful

program. I

wish all of

you the best in

your care of

your lake.

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