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#147258 - 01/31/09 11:09 AM Mcneely Lake in Louisville, KY
DavidPT40 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/29/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Louisville, KY
I live in Louisville, Kentucky. Nearby is the the county's largest lake- Mcneely. It's a 52 acre lake with an average depth of 12 feet (max of 35 ft near the damn). The lake is overfished, has a golf course on the eastern side of it, and has a large waterfowl population. Needless to say, its highly eutrophic, with massive blooms of algae and cyanobactera (bluegreen algae) in the spring lasting until fall.

I've noticed a major decline in species of catchable fish too. I've been fishing this lake since the late 80s. The variety of fish used to consist of : Bullhead cats, channel cats, bluegill, warmouth, white crappie, and largemouth bass. In the late 90s, the Dept of Fish and Wildlife eradicated the shad population of the lake. Now the catchable fish consists of: Largemouth bass, bluegill, shellcrackers, channel catfish, and a few flatheads. The crappie, warmouths, and bullheads are gone. I don't know if this was a direct result of the shad eradication, or a result of being outcompeted by species of fish which benefited from the shad eradication.

So what can I do to help this lake? I was thinking about starting a water quality monitoring program, of course I know very little about that. I have a certification in wastewater treatment, but I don't have any of the equipment. Is it legal for citizens to even attempt to modify a public lake? For example, trying to create suitable spawning habitat for fish (bass buckets, gravel beds, etc).

Suggestions are welcomed!

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#147276 - 01/31/09 12:25 PM Re: Mcneely Lake in Louisville, KY [Re: DavidPT40]
jeffhasapond Offline
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Registered: 07/28/06
Posts: 7613
Loc: Pond in No CA, Me in So CA
Hello David and welcome to Pond Boss. Hang on and one of the experts should be along shortly.
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~~~~~~~~~~

"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."
...Hedley Lamarr (that's Hedley not Hedy)

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#147307 - 01/31/09 05:03 PM Re: Mcneely Lake in Louisville, KY [Re: jeffhasapond]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
Well, sounds like the flatheads maybe doing a little too good a job. It is really hard to tell though. Flatheads are nasty predators on sunfish and bullheads. Water quality issues should have affected some of the fish species that you list are still in the lake more than ones that are no longer in it, such as the bullheads.

Have you noticed fish die offs in recent years? If not, water quality may not be an issue.

You may want to see if you can organize other anglers in the area to help with building and placing fish structure for the lake. That is what I have done in the past with local fishing lakes in my area. A lot of times fish structure can really help the fish population out of an older lake.

Depending on the size structure of the fish population in the lake, you may want to talk to the DFW about slot and/or size limits, creel limits and other similar management techniques. Does the DFW ever do fish surveys in the lake? They can be very valuable to determine the health of the fish population in the lake.

White crappies are very tolerant to turbidity and other water quality issues as compared to black crappie. They may still be present in the lake but do to a lack of structure in an old lake, may just be harder to catch. Warmouth in my experience are never overly abundant in a lake. They seem to just be scattered by catch. Bullheads can really get knocked back hard in numbers when flathead catfish are introduced into a lake. I am sure there are still some present but not in the large numbers they were before the flatheads. I am sure the ones left are much larger in average size though.

How did the DFW eradicate the shad? Not an easy thing to do... There are lots of lakes in my area that the VDGIF would love to remove the shad from but it is just not feasible.

I am sure others will chime in with their ideas, just be patient. And welcome to the Pond Boss forum!
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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#147311 - 01/31/09 06:26 PM Re: Mcneely Lake in Louisville, KY [Re: CJBS2003]
DavidPT40 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/29/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Louisville, KY
Interesting idea, flathead predation has caused the change in fish populations. I did personally witness a 35 pound flathead being caught in the lake. For a lake of that size, it wouldn't take too many large flatheads to decimate certain fish populations. However, that still wouldn't explain why there is such a decline in crappie numbers.

The dept of Fish and Wildlife killed the shad with a chemical. They did that because they thought the shad were stunting the growth of the sunfish and bass. That's a controversial issue and I have seen some research that says that shad don't.

The lake is stocked with 8" bass and 8" channel catfish each year also. Maybe it is just a predation issue.

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#147320 - 01/31/09 08:21 PM Re: Mcneely Lake in Louisville, KY [Re: DavidPT40]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19351
Loc: Miss.
Flatheads can do great damage to ponds and small lakes fish populations. I have seen them destroy a nice professionally managed 10 acre bluegill pond. The neighbors decided to use the pond as their flathead growout pond unknown to the owners. A few years and there were large Flatheads and only a couple hundred BG and LMB.
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#147434 - 02/01/09 11:06 PM Re: Mcneely Lake in Louisville, KY [Re: ewest]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
Flatheads will hammer crappies as well... It is hard to tell if the loss of shad as a forage fish play a roll in the decline in the fishery. A lot of variables to work with.
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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