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Century fourth graders got a first hand look at nets used by the DNR to study fish populations Monday. The students will be taking part in the Governor’s Fishing Opener in May. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise

Students learn all about lakes for GFO

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BY JEAN RUZICKA

Century fourth graders are undergoing a fishing primer via DNR Fish and Wildlife specialists, the students gaining an understanding of the species ­– and human study – ­ that evolve beneath the lakes’ surfaces.

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The students will take part in the Governor’s Fishing Opener in May, spending the Friday prior to the big event at Northern Pines Camp and Retreat Center where six learning stations will be set up.

Meanwhile, until ice recedes from the lakes, they are being introduced to Mussel Mania (a.k.a. aquatic invasive species) and fisheries management practices, while indoors.

Century hallways were awash in nets Monday with aquatic education specialist Nadine Meyer and Calub Shavlik, assistant area fisheries manager, tutoring students on sampling and studies.

The two explained simulated marked fish recapture and how calculating the estimation of the fish population is completed.

Some of the students gained new identities ­– fathead minnows and largemouth bass – as part of the exercise.

The rapt audience of fourth graders was introduced to trap and gill nets, and how both are used in fish habitat to conduct a census. Students also learned how the process of electro fishing using seine nets is employed to identify and study underwater inhabitants.

Calculators came out when students conducted a lake survey to estimate the size of the walleye population ­- via bean counts.

They learned a single net does not lend to accuracy, but six to nine nets on a lake are used. Data collected defines species, size and the pathology of the piscatorial creatures of a given lake.

When May 10 arrives, the students will be on the shores of Fish Hook, where Department of Natural Resources educational stations will be set up to introduce fish identification, their sensory organs, habitat features, regulations and more.

Each student will learn how a rod and reel works and the wizardry of tackle, which will become their possessions at day’s end.

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