The following is a letter from Pete Eisenbarth to the members of The Quarry homeowners association:

Greetings everyone,

Its been a long time since we have all been together to talk. Im writing to discuss the status of the Quarry Lake and any other subject which may come to mind.
First I would like to formally welcome our newest neighbors, Barb and Leo Jablonski and family at the west end of the lake, and Marlene and Bruce Condello and family at the east end. Im sure you will be great neighbors and a welcome addition to our neighborhood.
When Bruce Condello and I first met, I questioned him about throwing a substance into the water. It didnt take long to figure out the fish food pellets he was throwing was a great thing. This opened a new chapter of the Quarry Lake management to me.
As we became friends, I also learned Bruce has spent 15 years managing ponds and small lakes, and is also a writer for Pond Boss magazine, which is the leading pond management periodical in the world. Bruce has spent the last two years evaluating the condition of the fishery, and has assisted me in attempting to create a management strategy that would be most beneficial for our Quarry Lake.
He and I have discussed many thoughts and ideas about our lake and where it is headed. Im looking forward to us working together as a team to make our water the best it can be.
Bruce has introduced fish feeding and automatic fish feeders to our lake. You probably have seen the automatic feeders at either end of the lake. Also we have been hand feeding in particular spawning areas where access is reasonable. We begin this process early in the spring and the purpose is to boost and propel the bluegill into a larger and healthier status. This in turn produces much better spawning plus overall improved growth of the young and existing fish. We target the bluegill for feeding because they are the forage base for our lake. These feeding areas are not established as a place to Go Fishing. Please do not disturb the feeding areas. Pulling fish off of their spawning beds risks the loss of an entire years hatch. We continue to feed all summer and into the fall so please resist temptation, avoid these areas and hopefully we wont have to ask for finances from everyone to restock our lake.

In 2011, Bruce raised bluegill and yellow perch at his boat dock. These fish were released into our lake last fall. He did this along with all the feeding and feeders entirely at his own expense. So please appreciate what his interests are in our water and what he is doing for us. Thanks again Bruce!
Hopefully, our boat dock will be completed this summer as Deb and I also plan to raise fish as we continue our feeding program. In the fall of 2009, I hired Nebraska Lake Management (Rob Hofpar) to come to The Quarry and evaluate our water, weeds, fish and overall quality of the lake. He used his electro-shock boat to survey the fish. This was very interesting and fun. His findings correspond with those of Bruces studies stating he was very pleased with our overall status. He suggested we remove 100 pounds of the thin, 12-15 inch largemouth to improve the overall size structure of the bass population. The 100 lbs. of bass were removed in 2010 but the 2011 season shows we need to remove even more of the thin ones in 2012.
Here are Bruce Condellos finding from 2010 and 2011:

Largemouth Bass (LMB)



Density: 90lbs/acre, or about 1,000 lbs of fish
Size distribution: Good balance of smaller and larger fish. Several different year classes present. Fish from age-1 to age-8 captured and weighed/measured.
Body Condition: Smaller fish in good to excellent body condition, probably foraging on abundant zooplankton and invertebrate resources. Mid-sized fish in poor to good condition, likely feeding on young-of-the-year (YOY) bluegill. Condition of 12-15 inch fish varies throughout the year based on YOY bluegill availability. 18+ inch fish in good to excellent condition, eating larger prey items like age-1 to age-2 bluegill and crayfish. A few of the larger fish in poor condition, most likely in geriatric decline (old age).
Goal: Maintenance of multiple year classes for angling opportunity, ideally with chance to catch trophy size LMB each trip.
Suggested management strategy: Harvest of limited number of 12-15 inch LMB, with harvest effort centered around removal of only LMB that are in substandard body condition, i.e. harvest only thinner fish that are failing to thrive. Also suggest EXTREME CAUTION in handling larger fish. In order to maintain a trophy LMB fishery, 18+ inch fish should be left in the water during hook removal. They should also be targeted with artificial lures only, ideally with barbs bent down to facilitate quick and safe handling. LMB that are handled excessively for unhooking and photos have a very high delayed mortality rate and are often dead within 72 hours of capture. Trophy largemouth bass are a valuable and scarce resource. A trophy LMB can take 6-8 years to replace. Please report all tagged fish to Pete Eisenbarth.

If you cant immediately get a hold of Pete, please do not take the time to weigh or measure fish, but simply observe the number on the tag if possible, and call Pete with an estimation of the size of the fish for his records.
PLEASE HANDLE BIG LARGEMOUTH BASS WITH CARE. WHEN A LARGEMOUTH BASS IS OUT OF THE WATER, THE CLOCK IS TICKING. MINIMAL HANDLING AND RAPID RELEASE ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Over the years Pete has found several HUGE healthy looking bass floating to his south shoreline. Im sure this is not intentional, simply stated, mishandled fish begin a slow death and the eight year old trophy is gone.


Bluegill (BG)




Density: Low. 80 pounds/acre or about 880 lbs of bluegill present.
Size Distribution: Many YOY fish present in 2011. Very low number of 5-8 inch fish, probably due to high water clarity, and general lack of submergent vegetation due to steep slopes, and rocky substrate. Fair numbers of 8+ inch fish.
Body condition: The general health of bluegill up to 8 inches is very good to excellent, most likely due to low numbers of smaller fish, which increases foraging opportunity for remaining individuals. Body condition of 8-inch fish is poor to fair, most likely because these fish are entering geriatric phase of 7-9 years old. Larger fish are in decline, and will likely disappear within the next year or two.
Goal: Allow for enough recruitment (successful spawning) to continue to create foraging opportunity for LMB. Manage for occasional trophy sized bluegill.
Suggested management strategy: Catch and release for all bluegill, to allow for adequate spawning to support high density LMB population. Pelleted feeding for young fish to speed their growth to spawning size. Careful handling of all bluegill during capture is very important. BLUEGILL ARE THE BACKBONE OF THIS FISHERY. CAREFUL HANDLING AND IMMEDIATE RELEASE WILL HELP THE LARGEMOUTH BASS FISHERY TO THRIVE. Bluegill can sometimes create a problem for hook removal due to their smaller sized mouths. If bluegill are your target fish, again please pinch the barbs closed on your hook for easier hook removal.

Channel Catfish (CC)


Density: High. 100 lbs/acre, or about 1,100 lbs of channel catfish.
Size Distribution: A few CC in the 1-2 pound range from minimal natural recruitment. Very high numbers of 4-8 lb fish, all of which are remnants of 1,000 fish stocking from 2003.
Body Condition: Excellent
Goal: Allow young anglers to have opportunity to catch and harvest catfish, and to reduce overall numbers of fish so that remaining fish are less likely to create turbidity. Larger catfish in The Quarry can be seen rooting around in the soft limestone sediment, looking for invertebrates and crayfish. There is a strong possibility that this is contributing to recent decrease in water clarity.
Suggested management strategy: Reduce catfish number in The Quarry by 50%. Ideally any captured and harvested channel catfish should be reported to Pete Eisenbarth, in order to keep an accurate record of density, with a cap on harvest for 2011 at eighty individual fish. Please, no more than 5 harvested catfish per angler/year for 2012. Please remember that any angler harvesting channel catfish must also be careful to observe any regulations set forth by the Nebraska Game and Parks commision, even though this is private water. That is the law.

Hybrid Bluegill (HBG)



Density: Low. 8 lbs/acre, or about 90 lbs of hybrid bluegill
Size Distribution: A few eight inch fish, and mostly 10-11 inch fish, which are starting to show decline in body condition.
Body condition: Good
Goal: Maintain some hybrid bluegill presence in the future to allow for a bonus fish. These fish are beautiful and fight hard. They are a great Kids fish, but also great fun for adults.
Suggested management strategy: It is extremely expensive to buy and release adult sized hybrid bluegill. Smaller hybrids are very likely to get eaten after release due to the high density of LMB, so Bruce Condello is attempting to acquire larger fish, at no cost to other members of The Quarry. If he is able to procure more adult hybrids, they should be handled cautiously and released immediately after capture. Hybrid bluegills do not reproduce.

Black Crappie (BC):



Density: Very low. About 5 lbs/acre
Size Distribution: Varied, from about 6 inches to 16 inches.
Body condition: Good
Goal: Bonus fish for anglers.
Suggested management strategy: Catch and release

Yellow Perch (YP):



Density: Rare
Size distribution: 5-7 inches
Body condition: Good
Goal: Important additional forage resource for LMB
Suggested management strategy: Catch and release

Additional suggestions:
I believe that it would be a good idea to explore the possibility of adding redear sunfish to The Quarry Lake.

Snails are becoming very prevalent, and more snails generally means more fish parasites. Redear sunfish will feed heavily on snails, and keep the overall parasite levels down, as well as provide an additional forage fish for the largemouth bass. Bruce Condello can obtain and stock redear sunfish.
As youve all probably observed, The Quarry Lake is aging. As all bodies of water do, it is beginning to accumulate sediment and nutrients. Over time, the accumulation of nutrients will mean more algae, and more rooted plants in our lake. Run off eventually enters the lake from every property in the development excluding Jacksons and Norris. Here are some suggestions that we can all follow to keep our lake as clean as possible.
1. Maintain your property so as to minimize sediment inflows into the lake. If you see any erosion on your property that contributes to sediment movement towards the lake, please take care to maintain it through planting strong rooted vegetation or placing rocks to slow movement of fine soil particles towards the water.
2. Keep fertilizer use to a bare minimum. Since The Quarry has an attractive rugged look anyway, it is not necessary to add large amounts of fertilizer to your yards. Each rain event carries excess fertilizer towards the water and greatly adds to the amount of green or algae to The Quarry Lake. Follow the instructions carefully on your fertilization, and ideally add less than the recommended amount. Smaller quantities of fertilizer, added over longer periods of time are better for your lawn, and a lot less ends up in the lake.
3. Be willing to discourage Canada Geese and other waterfowl from spending extended periods of time in the water or at the waters edge. It is a known fact that Canada Geese bring nutrients from their feeding grounds and defecate huge amounts of nitrogenous wastes in the water. More geese=greener water.
4. Be on the lookout for beaver and muskrat. These critters spend a lot of time trying to damage trees, shorelines and dams. There have been no recent sightings as of the fall of 2011. Im told you will remember what happened to the shoreline at Eckerts in 2005, BEAVERS. Please report any issues to Pete.

Some general discussion.
We all love The Quarry. Whats not to love? Its probably the most beautiful setting within twenty miles of Lincoln, and fortunately weve been blessed with homeowners who care about the lake and surrounding land. Id like to take a moment and make the following points.
Introduction of foreign species is going to have a strong negative effect 99% of the time. PLEASE be cautious about any activities that can bring new species of fish or plants to The Quarry.
The use of minnows for bait is strongly discouraged. Its been shown many times that bait buckets full of minnows often contain bullheads, common carp and other undesirable fish that can absolutely ruin a fishery. There are so many other great ways to catch fish, that it is not worth the risk to bring bait buckets and minnows to The Quarry. Please respect this rule.
Be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS in regards to putting a boat, or float tube onto The Quarry Lake that has been at any other body of water. There is a bivalve knows as the ZEBRA MUSSEL that would be absolutely devastating to The Quarry Lake.

Would you like your shoreline to look like this?



Picture yourself walking a few feet into the water and having the base of your feet cut to ribbons by sharp shells. THIS IS WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF ZEBRA MUSSELS ARE INTRODUCED TO OUR LAKE!!! Zebra mussels will attach themselves to your boat, or your float tube, or your wading shoes. If they make it to our lake, it will forever change!! We will spend the rest of our days unable to swim or wade in our water. Lets make this perfectly clear.
IF YOUR BOAT HAS BEEN ON ANOTHER BODY OF WATER, DO NOT PLACE IT IN THE WATER HERE. IF YOUR FRIENDS WANT TO PUT THEIR BOAT OR FLOAT TUBE IN THE WATER, THEY MUST FOLLOW AN EXTREMELY STRICT PROTOCOL, OUTLINED ON THE NEBRASKA GAME AND PARKS WEBSITE IN ORDER TO STERILIZE IT FROM TRANSPORTING ZEBRA MUSSELS. IF YOUR FRIEND WANTS TO PUT A BOAT ON THE WATER, PLEASE JUST SAY NO, UNLESS THEY HAVE TAKEN ALL OF THE NECESSARY STEPS TO INSURE STERILIZATION. IF ZEBRA MUSSELS GET IN THIS LAKE, YOUR PROPERTY VALUE WILL DECREASE, POSSIBLY BY TENS OF THOUSANDS, OR EVEN HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IF ZEBRA MUSSELS ARE INTRODUCED. THERE IS NOTHING WORTH THIS RISK!

Here's a zebra mussel.

[img]http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y196/BCondello/Q10.jpg[/img]

Here's a link for more information

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_mussel

Back to Pete--- In the spring of 2011, I set out to again work on the dam. Bruce helped me to clear the sumacs and burn the dam to insure its stability. I reseeded with brome and switch grass. It seems to be doing okay. This is the second time the sumacs have tried to take over. Deb and I did our first burn and treatment in 2009. This almost seemed to make them thrive, obviously it didnt. This is something we must stay on top of; if we lose the dam we lose the lake.
We have had a serious problem with a noxious weed that thrives on our shoreline and out 10 feet into the water. This tall weed with the large seed plume at the top is called phragmites. The county sent out notices in 2009 stating they must be eradicated. After consulting with the Game and Parks and the County Extension, I purchased a product called Aqua Star. This, plus a surfactant was used in August of 2009 and again in 2010 to rid at least 95% of the phragmites. Deb and I used our boat with electric sprayers and sprayed the entire shoreline of the lake. This is a very sensitive process and we have nearly completed the eradication with zero fish kill. A large fish kill in our lake would be a disaster in many ways. Hopefully, 2012 will be our last treatment. Did anyone else get a notice from the County or do a treatment?
Also, I think it is worth noting that night fishing should not be allowed on The Quarry Lake unless you are a lakeside owner and YOU are present. The presence of lights on the lake, in your backyard, at midnight can be extremely disconcerting. Please respect lakeside owners privacy by not allowing guests on other owners property at any time, or in a boat after dusk on the lake. This has happened again this year. For the most part, this is being observed, and is much appreciated by all. Several times in the past I have kicked off trespassers who seem to think the cover of darkness allows them to party, swim or fish and harvest from our lake. I have been informed by the sheriffs department to simply call and have a deputy come out to handle any further issues, which is what I will do. My personal guideline is my guests contact me by phone, no more than once per month, and are granted day of fishing, either AM or PM, they must park on my property or in my driveway, and they must call me when leaving so I know all is well, they are safe and they are gone. My guests know they are to be off our property at dusk before any lights are needed. This is observed or they are not allowed to come back. Nobody has seemed to have an issue with it because they always want to return. If there are plans for any after dark activities(campfires-etc.) Deb or I will be with them.

Please take a few minutes to instruct every guest, new and old, of the lake status, our goals, guidelines and their safety. Be aware of every guest on your property. Friends of Friends could potentially cause us a lot of grief. Every lakeside owner has purchased some portion of the water with their lot. Where does the liability fall should we ever have a problem with a guest being injured (or worse) while on the water or on someone elses shoreline? With todays world being full of lawsuits, to some, Im sure we would appear to be a profitable target. If you are not in control of the people you allow to use our lake, or allow people to swim or party etc. after dark, you are not only increasing your own potential liability, you are increasing the liability of your neighbors in the association as well. Its time we address this subject, be ,and agree on a solution before it may ever occur. Please relay any ideas or thoughts about this or any other topic and post it here for all to see. I myself am considering implementing an annual signed release form for every guest who wishes to fish or use my property with absolutely no exceptions. Im told this will not stop a lawsuit, but it would certainly be beneficial if needed on a liability issue.
Please join in and share your views about your important topics and be sure to comment about this information.
Thanks,
Pete and Deb Eisenbarth




Holding a redear sunfish is like running with scissors.