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Print

Rock River fish mostly recovered

April 04, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Rockford Register Star

Nearly all species have recovered from the 2009 fish kill on the Rock River, according to a recently released study.

“We were a little surprised the river rebounded so quickly,” said Karen Rivera, state Department of Natural Resources regional streams program manager.

The fish kill occurred June 21-23, 2009, on a 53.6-mile stretch of the Rock River from Grand Detour to Prophetstown.

The kill is suspected to be linked to the derailment of a Canadian National train carrying ethanol in Rockford. However, initial water tests were inconclusive. Results from additional testing have not been released.

DNR officials estimated 72,372 fish, valued at $272,303, were killed.

The majority of the dead fish were bottom dwellers, such as catfish, suckers and carp. Half of the dead fish were catfish.

The DNR restocked the river after the kill.

Fish population surveys were conducted last fall in the kill zone, and those results were compared to 2008 sampling there.

The findings showed the river was nearly back to normal in the kill zone, Rivera said.

“We expected to see more changes,” she said. “With the exception of the flathead catfish, the other species hadn’t changed that much.”

The DNR is supplementing the flathead population in the affected areas by moving breeding adults into those zones.

Rivera said another flathead survey would be conducted this fall to gauge the restocking effectiveness.

Sign-up begins for tournament
Registration has begun for the 22nd annual Rock River Open team bass tournament April 17 out of Wooton Park in Beloit, Wis.

Entry is $90 for the tournament, sponsored by the Hawg Hunters fishing club.The field is limited to 19 boats.

Entry forms are available online at basshawg.com.

For more information, call Joe McMinn at 815-426-3648 or Mark Fry at 815-765-2056.

Wolf, moose program set
Dr. John Vucetich, an assistant professor at Michigan Tech University, will give a presentation on the Isle Royale wolf-moose project at 6:30 p.m. April 11 at Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Road, Rockford.

Reservations for the free program can be made by calling 815-335-2915.

PF seed day April 16
Winnebago County’s chapter of Pheasants Forever has its seed day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 16 at the Harlan Tipton Farm, 11076 Trask Bridge Road.

The chapter sells seed to landowners at a greatly reduced fee.

PF also is starting a program aimed at owners of smaller plots (half-acre and larger) who want to dedicate the land to wildlife.

PF members will be available to assist in seed selection and planting information.

For additional information, call 815-399-4610.

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