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#520146 04/29/20 03:14 PM
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I am just starting to manage a 100 acre lake on our property. Right now I am going in and culling small bass out because of an over population of bass in the lake. I've been doing a lot of research and I've heard a lot of talk of using fertilizer to help production of bluegill. This 100 acre lake has quite a bit of run off into it and any decent rain will fill it up pretty rapidly. We have an over flow, emergency spillway as well as a valve that we can use to change the lake level that drains from the bottom of the lake. With that being said the water stays consistently dirty (visibility at a foot or less typically). Occasionally with dry spells and not much wind I have seen it get as clear as a foot+ or so (but very rarely). We don't have any vegetation growing in the lake (assuming from the dirty water and fluctuating water levels). We have tried this season to keep the water levels pretty low to try and allow some of the vegetation to grow on the high spots. My question is would it be worth investing in utilizing fertilizer to try and increase bait fish production as well as vegetation? With almost constant water flow and dirty water I'm not very confident that we would see much benefit from fertilizing. This lake is managed for bass and wipers. It gets stocked every year with tilapia for bait fish once the water temp gets warm enough. Due to a shortage in our ability to get tilapia, we stocked bluegill this year.

Thanks in advance.

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With the turbidity level you describe I’m not sure nutrient levels are the reason you lack a good plankton bloom. It could be sunlight penetration. If you did need to fertilize a BOW that size be prepared to spend $1000 a month April- September if you go with water soluble fertilizer.
And the bass culling sounds challenging!! 30 pounds per acre per year is what is recommended for smaller BOWs may hold true on you big lake. That’s 3,000 1 pound fish a year! I would recommend stocking a bass Predator like Tiger Muskie at the rate of 1-2 per acre. That will cut down on your dinker fishing time.


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The first thing I would do is get the water tested for nitrogen, suspended sediment, phosphorous levels (Ortho-P and Total P) along with alkalinity and hardness. Then and only then formulate an action plan on addressing the issues that you see from the water test data.

Without the data, it's like a doctor prescribing medicine without seeing the patient.

You might get results, but the results that you get might not be the results you were looking for.

Is the turbidity due to a phytoplankton bloom, ionic unbalance keeping clay suspended in the water, mechanical stirring of the sediment, runoff from high water events or something else?

Last edited by esshup; 04/29/20 10:12 PM.

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I would say that it is primarily due to water run off. It is fed by several creeks coming out of a big pasture. The pasture ground is pretty rocky with a lot of oaks. Probably another cause to the color is all the oak debris. Once the water hits the upper end of the lake it is all mud, very little rock. The lake is primarily mud bottom with some rock. As far as culling out bass goes, we do guided trips on the lake several times a week and we have the opportunity to cull out little bass then as well. I've culled out as many at 45 in about 5 hours of fishing. Thanks for the info thus far.


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