By Steve Weisman
Trumbull Lake located northwest of Ruthven and south of Terril reached pool earlier this summer as a result of the heavy June rains, which is definitely excellent news for area anglers. After eradicating rough fish and a subsequent drawdown to help the lake bottom dry out and compact, aquatic plant life has returned and according to Mike Hawkins, Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist, yellow perch stocking has taken place twice since this spring.
The initial stocking of approximately 900,000 perch eggs took place in May, while an additional stocking of 80,000 1-2” perch fingerlings was completed in early August.
“We got these yellow perch fingerlings from the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Genoa, Wisconsin. Without any predators in the lake, these fish could reach catchable size by late fall or early winter in 2015,” says Hawkins. “We might also stock some ready-to-spawn adult yellow perch this coming spring.”
Virgin Lake, which has also been drawn down as part of the shallow lake restoration program, has not received the influx of water runoff as Trumbull Lake, so it is still a couple of feet below pool level.
However, Hawkins has hopes that fall rains will help the lake fill. “We also put 20,000 of the fingerling perch that we received from the Genoa hatchery into Virgin Lake along with perch eggs this spring.”
In other regional lake updates, Hawkins notes that Lake Pahoja, a 70-acre lake located in Lyon County, has filled and “the bluegill and bass populations are in excellent shape. We should see some nice sized bluegill taken this winter. The bass are really aggressive, and are growing quickly.
Pahoja did receive a setback during the June flooding with waters rising well above the dam. As a result, excess nutrients and silt came along with the flooding, so workers had to deal with an unexpected blue-green algae bloom. Still, Hawkins sees the project as an ongoing success. “Besides the flooding problems, Lake Pahoja has been clear with abundant aquatic plant life. These conditions are a result of eradicating common carp and are perfect for game fish growth”, says Hawkins.
Finally, Dog Creek Lake in O’Brien County is also moving into the final phase of its lake renovation project. Last fall fish were removed and early this spring tiny bluegill were released into the lake. This was followed by stocking mid-range sized bass that pulled off a successful spawn with lots of bass fry seen in the shallows. Both Pahoja and Dog Creek Lakes will eventually be stocked with catfish as well.
Hawkins says, “The short-term pain of a lake renovation is worth the long-term success of the fishery. Not only should we see excellent game fish growth in all of these lakes, but the benefits to so many other species of fish and wildlife are very important as well.”