Over the weekend we connected with Dr. Chuck Litecky from SIU who offered use of his boat and guide services along the Ohio River. We explored the area around the Smithland Pool, which is one of the area’s most beautiful spots along the Ohio. Some history about the Smithland Pool- it was created with the completion of the Smithland Dam which is located approximately l6 miles South of Golconda, IL. It runs from the Smithland Dam to the J T Meyers Dam near Uniontown, KY. The pool is 72 miles long and contains over 27000 acres of the beautiful Ohio Rivers waters. It’s a rich area for fish and not short on Asian Carp.
In the Barkley Dam tail waters working inside the gates and what they refer to as the “blow hole,” is where the water rushes out into the river downstream when they lower the locks for the tow boats to pass from the lake into the river. The turbulence is incredibly strong and the water conditions are just right for the build up of Asian carp to collect in the tumultuous flow filled with plankton and algae.
As we moved across the channel with it’s appearance of water about to boil, we were in tandem with the KY Fish & Wildlife research boat. The process was for them to induce an electric current in the water that momentarily stuns the fish so they can be netted and sampled for research.
The moment the charge hits the water the Asian carp leap up into the air. The suddenness of it is similar to what might feel like standing next to an explosion. The water literally explodes with fish in a moment where it feels like everything is moving in slow motion. A sudden blow to the chest deflected by the life jacket…….another one skimming off the side of the 14mm prime lens. Like trying to dodge bullets……..once the shock is over the fish lazily swim upside down to be reluctantly netted in the boat……..The catch was small for the day……..not sure what the verdict was………….except that there are Asian Carp getting through the locks into the lakes…
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