Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

round goby © Illinois Sea Grant

The round goby is invasive to Wisconsin.
© Illinois Sea Grant

February 2013

Readers Write

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You’ve probably heard of invasive species such as zebra mussels, Quagga mussels and sea lampreys, but have you heard of round gobies? Originating from the Black and Caspian seas, round gobies were introduced through ships emptying out their ballast (weighted stabilization tanks) water in the Great Lakes. Although round gobies are not as publicized as other invasive species, they have had equally devastating economic and ecological impacts on the Great Lakes.

Ever since their discovery in the St. Clair River in 1990, round gobies have wreaked havoc. Native fish populations have plummeted as round gobies dom inate spawning sites and compete with native species for food. Additionally, round gobies eat the eggs and young of other fish.

However, fish are not the only creatures suffering from the gobies’ presence. Round gobies eat zebra mussels, which can carry botulism, a bacterial infection that cripples the nervous system. When birds eat round gobies, they ingest the botulism toxin and may become paralyzed.

The situation is dire, but the good news is every Manitowoc County resident can do something to fight round gobies.You can identify it and kill it when you see one.

Round gobies are seven inches long or less, greenish-gray with brown splotches, and have bulging eyes. If you catch one, the quickest and most humane way to kill it is to throw it on the bank, and then throw it in the trash. Whatever you do, do NOT throw it back. You can also call Sea Grant or another wildlife conservation agency to report a sighting. You can prevent spreading them to other areas by: removing foreign substances from fishing supplies, dumping any water that accumulates after you go boating or fishing immediately rinsing anything that contacted the water with a high-pressure hose, throwing away unused bait, and putting an animal back into the original body of water you found it in.

Elisabeth Scheibl


This past week I was treated to an impressive display of flying and avian combat over the Menominee River in Marinette County. Having been a forward air observer, and having watched Air Force and Navy pilots “windmilling” over a target, and having done it myself, I was impressed with the response of four crows to an attacking peregrine falcon. The falcon attacked one crow and had hold of it when all three of the other crows dived and knocked the peregrine off of the other crow. As the falcon would go after one crow, the other three windmilled and one was always in position to hit the falcon just as it got to the selected crow, then the other two would come in and knock it off. After 10-15 minutes of this, the falcon escaped into a tree, but the crows persevered, and chased him from tree to tree along the riverbank, until the falcon finally made an exit through the woods. One crow would attack, and the four of them would continue to hit the falcon. Watching with binoculars, the falcon’s beak was open and it was gasping for air. Given a choice, I would have bet on the falcon, but I was certainly surprised. Maybe Top Gun School should invite the crows!

Bruce Solberg
Green Bay


Photo of White Finch © Submitted by

Could you possibly identify this white bird? First time we ever saw it. Doesn’t sit still very long, but with the sunflower seeds it did.

Deb Haensgen
Mount Calvary

Andy Paulios, coordinator of the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, replied:

The bird in the photo is most likely a leucistic or albino house finch. It’s hard to tell by the photo. Both are characterized by reduced pigmentation in the feathers and/ or body parts. The difference is that leucism is caused by a reduction in any form of pigment whereas albinism is specifically about lack of melanin. Typically albino birds are a pure white or yellow with red eyes and bill. Leucistic birds can look very white or have white patches but generally have normal colored body parts. A tip for birdwatchers, when you see an obviously white bird or a bird with white patches, look at the body structure (head shape, posture, bill shape) to determine if it’s possibly a leucistic bird. In this case, compare it to the house finch next to it and you’ll see they are the same except for color. Happy birding!


Several months ago one of your articles (“Trapping memories,” August 2012) described a reverse action oar-lock for a duck boat. I went to visit the gentleman [who wrote the story] and the mechanism was interesting. It had two round gears with the top portion of oar fastened to one and the bottom section fastened to the other. The rower would face the front of the boat and as he would pull on the oar, the bottom end would propel him forward. I have several friends who would like to canoe with me, but only have the use of one arm. I believe a similar device could be used as a paddle in a canoe. My reason for writing is to see if any readers are aware if such a device is commercially available and where they could be obtained.

Gerald Dorscheid


The August 2012 article on State Park Innovations (“State parks get innovative accessibility upgrades”) should have credited Julie Hein-Frank and Blueraven Creative for the DiscoveryPen™ technology innovation featured in the story. Interpretive panels were illustrated by Tricia Peterson.

Healthy Dishes with Wisconsin Fishes. © Ladd Bakalik

Healthy Dishes with Wisconsin Fishes.
© Ladd Bakalik

Fish Food

Recipes for a healthy freshwater fare.

The following recipes were submitted by Wisconsin anglers for an online cookbook, Healthy Dishes with Wisconsin Fishes. These unique and creative recipes along with others will be featured in an online cookbook available later this spring. Learn more at Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Eating your catch - making healthy choices

Panfish Tacos

Submitted by: Larry Sperling of Madison

Serves: 4 Recommended species for this recipe: Perch or bluegills (any firm panfish)


  • 1-½ pounds panfish fillets, rinsed
  • Fajita seasoning (your favorite brand or make your own)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. bag of coleslaw mix (no dressing) or freshly grated cabbage
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Mango salsa or picante sauce
  • Sour cream
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 avocado,sliced
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation and cooking instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Toss coleslaw mix with two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the juice from one lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • Warm the tortillas for 10-12 minutes in the oven.
  • Pat the fillets dry and sprinkle both sides with fajita seasoning. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick pan and sauté the panfish for about three minutes per side, until the flesh is opaque. Do not overcook.
  • Place two small fillets on a taco. Add cabbage mix, salsa, a dab of sour cream, an avocado slice, and a little cheese. Enjoy!

Recommended side dishes: Spanish rice, fresh fruit salad

Thai Spicy Drum

Submitted by: Ladd & Busara Bakalik of Mauston

My wife Busara brings the spicy taste of Thailand to grilled Wisconsin fish. Grilling fish over an open fire or on a barbeque grill is a healthy and very tasty alternative to deep frying. Freshwater drum can be caught from many of Wisconsin’s larger rivers and impoundments and is the best fish for grilling. It is a firm fish with large bones that are easily removed. When properly cooked, the bones will almost fall off.

Serves: 4 Recommended species for this recipe: freshwater drum


  • 4 freshwater drum
  • 1 fresh lemon

Spicy Thai Sauce:

  • 2 jalapeno or Serrano peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 fresh lime
  • 6 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (such as NamPla)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Preparation and cooking instructions:

  • Scale freshly caught drum thoroughly, remove entrails and gills, let soak in very cold water.
  • Prepare a fire using oak wood or a grill.
  • Insert a lemon slice into the fish cavity and pin in place with a toothpick. Lightly salt the fish on both sides before grilling. Grill until the flesh is opaque.
  • Prepare spicy Thai sauce: Finely chop peppers and garlic. Put in a small bowl, then cut the lime in half and squeeze juice and pulp into the bowl. Add 4 to 6 tbsp of Thai fish sauce to taste. Add sugar, if using, and whisk until dissolved.
  • Lightly sprinkle the Spicy Thai Sauce on the fish and rice. ENJOY!

Recommended side dishes: Thai jasmine rice and fresh vegetable salad

The Best Grilled Salmon (or Trout)

Submitted by: Kurt Welke of Madison

Our family’s fishing season starts in May with stream trout and continues through fall Mississippi bluegills. We love the places where fish are found in the most beautiful state, Wisconsin. Our good fortune has been to include fish as an important part of our dining experience.

Serves: 4 Recommended species for this recipe: Salmon or trout


  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 4 - 4 oz salmon fillets or 2 -10” trout fillets, rinsed

Preparation and cooking instructions:

  • Mix together first three ingredients to create a marinade. Place fillets flesh side down in 9x9 baking dish. Pour marinade over fillets, making sure all sides are coated. Marinate overnight for best results or for at least 4 hours.
  • Preheat a grill.
  • Remove fish from marinade, pat dry. Sprinkle or grind black pepper onto the flesh side of the fillets to your preferred density.
  • Coat a fish basket with oil to prevent fish from sticking. Place fillets securely in the basket and grill 2-3 minutes on each side over very hot grill (no more than 5 minutes per inch of thickness).

Recommended side dishes: Grilled zucchini or eggplant and couscous or jazzed up rice (i.e. rice with onion, peppers, mushrooms or other savory bits)

Healthy Dishes with Wisconsin Fishes