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Sunday, August 12, 2007

• Grass Carp

Cross Lake. Shreveport, Louisiana
You may or may not read Bass Times Magazine or live around here, but apparently the lake I normally fish, Cross Lake, will be the new home to a bunch of grass carp. I have heard approximately 3,000 acres of the 8,500 acre lake is covered with hydrilla. I'm not sure how they made that estimation as the stuff is still growing out as we speak.

There was something in the news lately that they were going to spray in September. It must be something non-toxic or something they can deal with because Cross is a water supply. Afterwards, they will release 6000 supposedly sterile (genetically triploid) grass carp in an attempt to bring the hydrilla under control.

Now bring in a bunch of skeptical bass fishermen. Apparently another local lake called Caney had a lot of grass carp introduced and it soon became a dead sea so to speak. That's their frame of reference when someone mentions the words grass carp. Hydrilla to these guys is necessary cover for bass and without it, they fear the bass fishing will turn bad. I can find several folks who have fished lake after lake prior to any hydrilla and they can tell you the fishing was still good, if not better. The other thing to mention about Caney was that apparently a few carp that were not sterile slipped through the cracks, or so they claim. Cross empties into the Red River, so people who fish the Red are also up in arms, however the gate will have some sort of guard to prevent the carp from slipping through into the river.

So there's the evidence facing people at the moment. I guarantee the dead sea folks will accept nothing less than people to admit that once the grass carp are in there, all is lost. The additional information that others have to share that might be contrary to their feelings means absolutely squat. That may be your gut feeling at the moment too. I am wholeheartedly against the notion of agreeing to disagree on anything. I'm always out to seek resolution and compromise.

Now let me speak about my own grass carp experience. When I lived in Iowa, I lived at a small man made lake surrounded by a small housing subdivision. The carp were already in there when I moved in. The hydrilla kept growing just fine. In fact, in addition to the hydrilla, we had a bad algae problem and the oxygen content suffered resulting in a big fish kill. Man that was a stinky week. They pulled out a dead 75lb grass carp and quite a few others of significant size. They were probably eating their weight in grass, but they never made a dent in the hydrilla. Never. This lake was tiny compared to Cross.

On a side note, Cross is also supposed to have that Giant Salvinia as well. Note the spelling as this plant is often misspelled by fishermen. I haven't seen any, but the water hyacinths are flourishing.

My final say:
Grass carp are either going to be good for the lake or do nothing at all. The bass fishing is already tough, so it's not like it can get any more difficult. I just wonder how long it will take for the carp to start making any difference. Months? Years?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

READ YOUR ARTICLE ON GRASS CARP WITH GREAT INTEREST .TWO LAKES I USED TO FISH HAD A LOT OF WHAT WE CALLED GRASS.ONE LAKE PROBABLY FIFTY PERCENT.THEY FILLED IT WITH GRASS CARP AND SPRAYED TO KILL THE GRASS.NOW THERE IS NO GRASS NO COVER,THE AREAS IN THE LAKE THAT HAD GRASS WAS HARDLY EVER OVER FOUR FEET DEEP.BUT IT WAS ALIVE WITH MINNOWS,FROGS,MINUTE ORGANISMS,AND SOME BASS YOU WOULDNT BELIEVE.NOW THE LAKE LOOKS LIKE A MUDHOLE,BUT THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE THAT FISH THE LAKE SEEM TO LIKE IT.IT IS EASIER TO THROW A PLUG AND PULL A PLUG THROUGH A MUDHOLE THAN GRASS.THE POISON WILL TAKE CARE OF MOST OF THE GRASS AND THE CARP WILL FINISH IT UP.GET IN YOUR BOAT ONCE YOUR LAKE IS WEED FREE AND RUN YOUR BOAT THROUGH LARGE AREAS OF SHALLOW WATER YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WILL SEE,NOTHING.I WOULD ASK ANYONE THAT LOVES TO FISH STOP THESE PEOPLE FROM DESTROYING OUR LAKES.SORRY I DONT HAVE THE WORDS TO EXPRESS MYSELF ON THIS SUBJECT AS STRONGLY AS I FEEL, AN OLD FISHERMAN

BassFishingDem said...

Thanks for your feedback. I know this is a touchy subject with bass fishermen. That's why I wrote this post to dispel some of the angst. Let me reiterate that responsible lake management is important and should not be portrayed as lake destruction.

In the case of Cross Lake, hydrilla is not a native plant and it has destroyed the lake. Anglers who fished Cross prior to the arrival of hydrilla recall excellent catches. Shortly after Cross was sprayed, the hydrilla began to recede. Within a month or so, the phrase "Cross lake is on fire" became a common occurrence. This lake is a shallow cypress tree lake. The bass fishing has shown improvement in a relatively short period of time.

The grass carp did not make a huge difference on that tiny lake in Iowa. There are instances where grass carp and herbicide are reasonable approaches and I'm sure there are situations where that approach may be harmful. It is up to your local government and Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to decide.