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Technology Means Big Fish Don't Get Away

Technology Means Big Fish Don't Get Away

Grove Rotary member Dick Seybolt visits with Josh Johnston, the northeast region fisheries supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Johnston told the club that new technologies should be embraced not outlawed.

Speaking to the Grove Rotary Club, Josh Johnston the northeast region fisheries supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation says that new technology should be embraced not outlawed.

Johnston was referring to the concern of some people that the newest technology allows fishermen to see live sonar images of the structure and size of fish in incredible detail up to 200 feet. "We have been approached with the concern that people are using this device to take way too many fish. The suggestion that we outlaw this technology is crazy."

Johnston said that the Wildlife Department has been using commercial equipment that costs between $100,000 and  $300,000 to scan Grand Lake to do fish category counts. "Now fishermen have the same ability to detect fish for about $2,500. We need anglers. The decrease in outdoor activities has decreased the amount of money we have to fund our department. We get no state tax dollars. We are funded by a small excise tax on fishing equipment and user fees. We need to attract new anglers."

Johnston said that fishermen having the ability to not only see the exact kind of fish they are looking for but also being able to determine the size of the fish makes fishing more attractive. "It is bringing a lot of people into fishing."

He also answered audience questions related to introducing Florida Bass into the genetics of bass on Grand Lake.  The department has added more than 1,300 Florida-strain adult largemouth bass to Grand Lake in hopes that in the next five to seven years that there will be some trophy-size largemouth bass. The average bass in Grand Lake is three to five pounds. The goal is to increase the average size as well as produce several 10 pound and above fish. While Florida fingerlings were added in the past, most did not live because the water gets too cold according to Johnston. 

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