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Flowerhorn caught in Palmisano Park — and it shouldn’t have been there

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Despite the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, hunters had a generally good opening day on Saturday at public sites in northeast Illinois, based on site reports. Many sites had some hunters limit out.

Des Plaines SFWA: 87 hunters, 1,038 doves, 11.9 doves per hunter; Iroquois County SWA: 68, 761, 11.2; Matthiessen SP: 96, 960, 10; Silver Springs SFWA: 94, 684, 7.3; Shabbona Lake SRA: 37, 240, 6.5; Kankakee River SP: 32, 203, 6.3; Chain O’Lakes SP: 18, 13, 0.7

Updated: October 6, 2012 1:54PM

‘So, is it Fish of the Week?’’ Rich Pasowicz asked.

No, but the odd fish his 17-year-old son Ryan Pasowicz caught Monday afternoon was a mystery fish that illustrated several points about modern waters.

The father and son, Ryan’s mother Kellie O’Keefe and sister Brooklynn Dean went fishing on Labor Day and tried the pond at Palmisano Park for the first time. The state-of-the-art park was made from the infamous Stearns Quarry at 27th and Halsted.

About 2 p.m., Pasowicz caught an oddity with a worm.

“I thought it was an ugly rock bass,’’ he said.

“I thought it was the Illinois record rock bass,’’ his father said.

Obviously neither, as Rich quickly found out.

“I tried gumming it, like you would a bass or bluegill,’’ he said. “But it had these sharp teeth. ‘No way.’ ’’

Then they didn’t know what to do with it. Palmisano pond, primarily for family and kids’ fishing, was made catch-and-release by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

So they called Henry’s Sports & Bait in Bridgeport. Tom Palmisano said to bring it in and he would contact the IDNR.

I asked Dan Stephenson, fisheries biologist in the IDNR’s Springfield office, what is the right thing to do with an obvious non-native fish at a catch-and-release water.

“The short answer is to throw it on the bank,’’ he emailed. “Although, trout and salmon in Lake Michigan are non-natives, but you know what I mean. As a matter of fact it is illegal to put it back. I’m speaking of Asian carp, round gobies, etc. Non-native, invasive, injurious species must be disposed of properly and not returned to the water regardless of the regulation such as a catch-and-release water.’’

That’s one issue. The other issue is how the fish got there and what can be done about that.

I called Animal Island Pet Shop in Midlothian, my go-to on questions like this. Manager Kristie Voss said it was a flowerhorn, a man-made hybrid from South America.

“That is not something I would completely expect to live in the wild, but it has been warm,’’ she said. “Somebody must have dumped it.’’

That’s more common than I care to think about. Dumping of pacus and piranhas that have outgrown tanks is common enough that I rarely do stories on somebody catching one any more.

There is a better — and legal — way to dispose of unwanted aquarium fish.

“We take fish all the time,’’ Voss said. “Right now I have a 3-foot red-tailed catfish. We will try to find a home. We have big tanks. Don’t throw it in the wilds.’’

In memory

The memorial for Willie Greene, the lakefront legend who owned Park Bait since 1956, will be 3-9 p.m. Thursday at Casey Laskowski Funeral Home, 4550 W. Diversey, Chicago.

Cook County deer

Apparently, the outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) continues along the Des Plaines River. Marcus Benesch of River Grove emailed, “Still seeing a large number of deceased deer and even some I know are about to pass either squatting on the rivers edge or in water malnourished and appearing to be clinging to life with no energy to scare off.’’

Stray cast

The Sox season feels like the boat ride I took on Lake Michigan on Aug. 17. The Cubs season looks like splashing in a kiddie pool.

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