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Potential Record-Setting Spoonbill Catch at Beaver Lake | AGFC Fights Invasive Species on Lake Erling
During Labor Day weekend, Berryville’s very own Chris Cantrell caught a 90 lb. 12 oz. spoonbill fish while spearfishing in Beaver Lake. Cantrell was spearfishing for striped bass when he noticed the large creature underwater and decided to take his shot.
There are many large spoonbills, or paddlefish, that roam Beaver Lake. It’s unusual to capture one while spearfishing, however. Cantrell, who was fishing with friends at the time, says it took him and a friend 10-15 minutes just to pull the creature onto the boat. It was then they realized just how large the fish really was and decided to submit it for record verification.
Cantrell’s 90-pounder is well clear of the previous record, which was for 70 pounds. The fisherman has already submitted paperwork to have the record verified, but this process could take a while, according to 4029tv.com.
AGFC Fights Invasive Species on Lake Erling
In Lafayette County, authorities with the AGFC will be “drawing down” Lake Erling by 5 feet to combat the spread of an invasive species of plant.
Giant salvinia (salvinia molesta) is a free-flowing fern: a type of plant that doesn’t attach itself to the soil but instead floats freely on the surface of water bodies. The plant is not native to the region and is considered an invasive species.
Giant salvinia poses many problems for the local wildlife. It replicates quickly, and it can be only a matter of months or weeks before it covers an entire body of water with a mat up to 60 cm thick.
These dense mats block sunlight from entering the water, preventing the natural exchange of gas between the air and the water. If left unchecked, this can devastate the fish, insects, and other creatures who call the water home. It can also deter birds from landing on their migration paths, as they may not recognize an infested waterway.
The AGFC encourages all boaters to learn about their list of aquatic nuisance species. Through proper reporting and management, these invasive species can be dealt with via methods like the drawdown.
According to Jacob Martin, AGFC fisheries management biologist in the Camden Regional Office, the drawdown works by exposing salvinia to freezing temperatures or drying them out.
The drawdown will remain in effect until March 2023 when the lake will be refilled to natural levels.