Late ice cramps anglers' appetite, research of crucial fish 
By Patrick Whittle CA Source: CTV News 2/15/2021
Patrick Whittle
A lack of ice in cold weather states this year has made it difficult for scientists to study the population of an ecologically important fish.

Rainbow smelts, which are small fish that are very popular with ice anglers, have been a focus of conservationists for many years. The federal government listed the fish as a species of special concern more than 15 years ago due to declines in its population.

In Maine, a late arriving winter has made it difficult to collect data about the health of the smelt population. The weather had been warmer than typical until early February, so there hadn't been enough ice to attempt to catch them.
 

Other states where ice fishing is a winter tradition, such as New Hampshire and Michigan, have had similar problems. The ice is hardening in many states now, but the season is likely to be shorter than typical.

"With the season starting so late we have not had many opportunities to sample the commercial and recreational catches this year," said Michael Brown, a fisheries scientist with the state of Maine.

 
Lake Superior Smelt, Rainbow Continue...

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