Ohio River Catfishing
There are some big fish along the Ohio River in Mason County near Apple Grove. The river is well known for having a good variety of fish and being a great place to catch some big ones. From Walleye, to Bass and to Sauger, they're all here. But there's one fish in here that has an even bigger reputation, the catfish. The DNR wants to make sure that these big guys are staying healthy, that's why they're going the extra mile to make sure.
"We do an annual catfish survey on the Ohio River to check on our populations of catfish", said Katie Zipfel, a West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Biologist.
There are three types of catfish in these waters, channel, blue and flathead.The DNR surveys all of these types, but there's one that will most likely stand out.
"For the most part, these summer surveys will give us most information on flathead catfish, and flathead catfish is a really good fishery in the Ohio River. We don't stock it, it maintains itself and as you can see, we get fish all the way from really small fish to very large fish in to the 50 to 60 pound range and they're many of them out there", said Zipfel.
To examine these big fish, the DNR isn't using your usual hook, line and sinker. Instead, they use a shocking boat. This lower frequency of electricity attracts the catfish up to the surface and is not harmful to the fish.
After that, they measure the fish and tag any catfish over 14 inches. They tag the fish, so anglers can give them information on how they caught them and what they did with the fish. By reporting back to the office also, it may help the DNR understand how the fish are moving up and down the river, too.
The DNR is excited about seeing these big catfish in the Ohio River for several reasons, but especially for the anglers.