By John Hackett:
Both Virgin Lake in Palo Alto County and Silver Lake in Worth County have been targeted by the Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources for renovations. In both cases fishing regulations have been relaxed effective immediately.
Anglers with a valid Iowa fishing license may use any means except for dynamite, poison, electro shocking or any other stupefying substances. Daily bag and minimum length restrictions have also been lifted on both Virgin and Silver Lake. Commercial fishing is not allowed however.
The promiscuous fishing designation from the DNR allows individuals to salvage and utilize imperiled fish populations.
Virgin Lake is located south of Ruthven IA in Palo Alto Co. This 220 acre lake has been suffering from deteriorating water quality over the years due to soil erosion. The DNR will draw down all the water from the lake and allow the bed to dry. This drawdown process replicates the actions of a natural drought period that Iowa’s shallow prairie lakes historically experienced.
The natural drying up of these types of lakes compacts bottom sediments and stimulates new plant growth when the lake refills. Both are crucial to water quality; which is the DNR’s goal for the renovation.
After the bottom sediments are compacted the lake will be allowed to fill. It will then be stocked with native Iowa perch and northern pike fishes. No time frame was given by the DNR as to when the Virgin Lake restoration will be completed.
Silver Lake is located west of Emmons IA in Worth Co. This 316 acre lake will also see a drawdown of water. On this lake the DNR will also construct a new water control structure at the overflow as part of the renovation. This structure is designed to keep undesirable fish such as the common carp from entering the lake during future high water events.
Promiscuous fishing on Silver Lake in Worth Co. will be in place until Oct. 15, 2012.