Archive for Thursday, October 5, 2006

Largemouth bass stocked at state lake

October 5, 2006

Don't grab the fishing pole and head out there, but the largemouth bass are back in Douglas County State Fishing Lake.

Richard Sanders, fisheries biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, released 200 to 250 largemouth bass into the lake on Friday. They are in the range of six to 12 inches long. There had already been 15,600 bluegill fingerlings, 4,000 redear sunfish and 1,250 channel catfish in late September. Fathead minnows were stocked on Aug. 2.

Currently, there are about 30-acre feet of water in the lake covering about 10 acres. The lake was drained a year ago to allow repairing the dam and improving the fishery. The lake contains 3,090 acre feet and covers 180 acres when full. With normal rainfall, Sanders expects it to take two years to refill.

Meanwhile, the lake is closed to fishing.

"Anglers should be aware that the lake will remain closed to fishing through 2007 and possibly 2008, depending on how well the fishery develops," said Sanders. "Anglers fishing Douglas SFL during the closure will be ticketed. Amount of fine levied is by judge's discretion."

Sanders said the average annual runoff into the lake is 8 feet. It comes from a drainage area of about 2,500 acres. He believes the lake will start to show signs of filling fairly soon.

"Douglas SFL would fill completely in about two year if it receives at least average runoff both years," he said. "I expect the lake to begin rising in March or April when spring rains come."

There will also be additional fish added as the lake rises.

"Additional largemouth bass will be stocked this year and about 9,000 fingerling largemouth bass will be stocked next summer," said Sanders. "After largemouth bass have been established, adult black crappie will be stocked. Saugeye, a cross between walleye and sauger, will be stocked in the future to help supply a control on crappie and to add diversity to the fishery."

As the lake fills, more tweaks will be made.

"Once sufficient water is present, fish feeders will be used to accelerate channel catfish growth," he said. "Once the fishery is established, intermediate channel catfish and fingerling saugeye will be stocked annually to maintain those fisheries.

"All other species present should be able to maintain fishable populations without restocking," he said.

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