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#20109 03/30/03 09:24 PM
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I am lucky enough to live on a small lake in the middle of Ft. Worth. The lake is owned by the homeowners and in the last year or two they have joined together to try and make the lake a better place to hang out and also to fish. Two years ago they had the lake stocked with bass and then last year they had some bait fish stocked. Last summer the fishing was great. Bass were all fatter than the length/weight ratios would have predicted and the topwater action was great. Over the winter I watched carefully and spent as much time on the water as the weather allowed. I noticed one thing that had me worried, cormorants, water turkeys, bait stealers, whatever you want to call them they were always on the lake and always feeding. Now spring is here the water is in the mid 60s and the bass are two weeks into the spawn, but I have two problems. One, the visibility has gone from 2 feet to almost 15 feet. Its like having an aquarium that you can boat in. Two, I have seen tons of bass, six huge (40-60 lbs) catfish (some blue, some flathead), and absolutely no other species of fish whatsoever. I know that it is still early in the year and bluegill and the like probably won't spawn for another month or two, but I feel like since I can see 15 feet down and look at catfish on the bottom that I should at least see some kind of forage fish peeking out from under a ledge or something. Am I crazy or do I have a problem. By the way the lake is 1/3 of a mile at its longest, 2/10 of a mile at its widest and it is somewhat triangle shaped. It is about 40 feet at its deepest part. Any help would be great, and if I'm correct about needing some forage fish, your info could help me convince the other homeowners who currently think that since the fish are healthy there isn't anything wrong.
thanks,
Cap

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I'm certainly far from being at the knowledge level of many of the folks who post here, but the first thing that pops in my head is that if the water is that clear, forage species have a hard time hiding not just from your water turkeys but from their larger aquatic rivals. How much "fluffy" cover do you have? Submerged bushes or other areas where forage fish can hide from the larger fish are pretty important to establishing a healthy food chain. From what I understand that's also one of the benefits of fertilization, the fact that it reduces visibility when done properly, thus allowing a better chance for survival if you're a little snack-sized fish living with all those big mommas.
In the meantime, try reading some of the threads under "Establishing the Food Chain" on here, great info to be had!

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Catfish the size you mentioned can eat any size bluegill. If your opinion that no forage fish are left is right, the bass and catfish should be hungry, and easier to catch. Catch em and look at them. If they are skinny, that is a better indicator that you were right. If it is true, stocking bluegill will be the answer, but you will have a lot of your stockers get eaten. You might consider stocking a large number of bluegill, plus other forage fish like shad.

Fertilizing would definately help. It would hide your forage. It would increase your numbers of forage.

Last thought, if there is moss, the forage is hiding in it. Wouldn't you be?


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Good posts. I agree with all advice. a few years ago I did a shocking survey for an Air Force base in middle GA. There were several lakes on the base, all but one was fertilized. Then unfertilized pond was very clear and on the first day of shocking we were hard pressed to find a fish in that pond. We shocked for several hours and only caught a handful of fish. I was stumped. all the other fertilized lakes/ponds held nice fish. about 3 days into the job we figured out where the fish were going. down the gut of several commorants. we observed them in the clear pond but never in the fertilized ponds the rest of the week. I'm sure there are guys out there that have more working knowledge with commorants than I but those particular birds sure seemed to avoid the fertilized water.

also, I would get those large catfish out of my fishing hole. try trot lines, they work the best for me.

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Thanks guys. Everything you said has floated through my mind at some point and since it is going through yours then there is probably a reason. I am trying to get in touch with the man who has been in charge of this little lake project so I can find out who they are consulting, if anyone, and to see if I can talk to them. I have a b.s. in biology and my dad has a degree in fisheries biology. Neither one of us feel that the lake is being managed properly, so hopefully the two of us can convince the rest of the homeowners. Its nice to have a place to throw out ideas and get feedback. I really appreciate your help, and feel free to add more if you think of anything. As for the catfish, I plan to work on getting them out on my next day off. We don't have a lot of cover in the lake,but what is there seems to be lacking any small fish of any kind. Also, because of the water clarity, the nasty green algae is starting to get out of control. It is taking over all water that is three feet or less. Thanks again for the input.
Cap


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