New Invention Propels Fish
Inside the Outdoors, February 13
, 2015

Before I begin the story for today, I received an update last week concerning the 30th anniversary of the Allegheny Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show to be held at the Monroeville Convention Center, Wednesday, Feb. 18 through Sunday, Feb. 22.

According to Tricia O’Reilly of Stern Advertising, “Theresa Vail from the Outdoor Channel, who was originally scheduled to appear at the show on Saturday, Feb. 21, has cancelled her appearance due to scheduling conflicts.

There will be added seminars not mentioned in the first release particularly for anglers – “Introduction to “Basic Fly Fishing,” “Fishing Lake Erie’s Different Seasons,” and “Tackle Talk/Picking the Right Gear.” For those who have hunting dogs, one may want to attend the “Dog Retriever Training” seminar. For the youth, the “Wild Word of Animals” will be highly entertaining, and the “Youth Safety on the Water” by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will a drawing card for youngsters of all ages.

According to Show Producer Chris Fassnacht, “We have assembled an exciting lineup that is going to make our 30th anniversary show one of the best in recent memory. Our cutting –edge product demonstrations and expert seminars will be invaluable resources for avid sportsmen and women, but we also are excited to introduce families to a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, he said.

For the complete schedule, log onto www.sportsandtravel.com.

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Not long ago, one of the readers of this column emailed me an article that appeared in the December 2014/January 2015 Popular Mechanics edition. It told of the Whooshh Fish Transport System that can fire a fish 100 vertical feet at speeds of 30 feet per second and not harm the aquatic species.

One representative from the Bellefonte Hatchery stated, “This thing is really cool and works really neat.”

Imagine carefully putting a large salmon into a hole surrounded by metal that actually looks exactly like a cannon. But it not only resembles one, but acts in the same capacity. “Fish are sucked into a conduit, then projected up to 230 feet through a tube,” the author of the story stated.

He said that over the years different measures have been used to help get struggling salmon and steelhead trout migrate across the dams using barges, tankers, and even helicopters.

The PFBC has not arrived at such sophistication. Fish are either hand-loaded from truck to waters or transferred using a grain elevator on paddle wheels.

Stockers with this new system can feed as many as 40 fish per minute into this device to help the fish migrate to spawn.

But man doesn’t have to do the actual feeding into the cannon. Once the intake pipe is lowered to the desired depth of backflow waters, an engineer of Whooshh’s fish lab stated how this new system works. “A fish swims near the entrance, where a small blower of the sort that drives fans and belts sucks it into a flexible conduit. When the fish pushes through a valve, a tube attached to the blower introduces positive pressure behind the fish which propels it to a moist, flexible, plastic sleeve, whose rubbery shape creates a seal. Off goes the fish.”

So far so good. However, with that said, the cannons are still in their testing stages at the Northwest National Laboratory. It will concentrate on units 40 to 250-foot-long along the Columbia River. The scientists will be looking at such factors as scale loss, egg viability, “both of which affect whether a fish can go on to produce healthy offspring,” the author said.

He concluded, “If all goes well, tubes could eventually become fixtures throughout the region, catapulting migrating fish over dams in constant streams like baseballs from an automatic pitch machine.”

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The PFBC recently released its stocking schedule recently. Lakes and streams will be getting its supply of trout as early as the beginning of March.

In Westmoreland County, Indian Creek will receive brook and brown trout March 3. Four days later, March 7, Loyalhanna Creek will get its share of brown and rainbow trout from the mouth of Zimmerman Run all the way down to Monastery Run near Legion Keener Park. Then on the 18th of that month, Mammoth Lake will be stocked with rainbow trout. At the end of the month, March 30, both Upper and Lower Twin Lakes will get stocked with rainbows.

In as much as one can fish in lakes year-around, after the above stocking, one’s adrenalin may be pumped when he tags onto one of these stocked trout that have not learned to be a bit cautious as to its eating habits. One has to return all fish, though, up to 8 a.m. April 4.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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