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Lake Drawdown Question

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My dad called me last night with terrible news......  they were draining the mountain reservoir that he and i like to fish so much, the one that produced my PB/2ndPB/3rdPB and his PB bluegill!

he drove by and couldn't quite tell why they were doing it, but they had drawn down the lake and appeared to be working on something near a bridge that crosses it.  i honestly don't know how big the lake is in total, but it is no more than 100 acres i would say.  it is fed by an ice cold mountain river.  my dad estimates the lake is about 1/4 the normal level. this lake is old.  my grandfather claimed they used to drive cars on the ice back in the late 30's so it's been around for a while at least.

so my question is what impact does a drawdown like that have on the fishing?  if you reduce the level of the lake by 75% or so, how much of the fish population could be expected to survive?  and would the bigger or smaller fish be more severly impacted by the change?

thanks.

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Don't worry about the fish population! It will come back, but get over there and take advantage of the draw down! Fishing could be better than ever right now! Cannibalism could be happening as the fish fight for less and less food they eat each other and this can be used to your advantage right now.

 

There are different reasons they do this, but in the long run it can actually be beneficial to fish growth and sustained populations. It sounds like the draw down in your area is for repairs and possibly construction, but here in Florida I have seen them do it to clean up the water.

 

One of the immediate benefits of a draw down is to rid the body of water of contaminants. This is precisely what they have done with Lake Griffin in Leesburg. It was one of our most polluted lakes and the only way to clean it up was to draw the water levels down as much as possible and rid the lake of contaminated water. Sometimes in a draw down they will bring in bulldozers and dump trucks and scrape the muck off the bottom of the lake so when refilled it will be cleaner than ever.

 

When your lake is refilled give it about 3 years for the fish to recover. And look for the water quality to be improved and possibly the fishing will improve in the future as well.

 

So in my opinion draw downs can be far more beneficial in the long run, but for now, I'd be over there taking advantage of all those big fish locked up in less water.

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They say 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water, and the other 10% of the fish are in 90% of the water. If you're still allowed to fish it, get down there and fish it because 100% of the fish are now super concentrated in what remaining water is left.

 

As stated above, this could be done for numerous reasons. I know around here, most of the man made lakes with a dam get drawn down a fair bit every winter so they can maintain the dam. Also, because I live around the mountains, some lakes will get drawn down every so many years so they can dredge out the silt that gets washed into the lake. Over years, you would be surprised how a lake thats 30 feet deep becomes 20 feet deep because of the silt that gets washed in. They do this fairly often around here, and it usually takes the lake a while to get back to normal, but it's usually for the best in the long run. 

 

Regardless, even if you're not allowed to fish, head down there. You might discover structure that you never knew was there, or you might see where the DNR is putting in artificial fish structure. Or you might find someone's old rod/reel or lures that can be salvaged. 

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While the lake is low try to map out what you can see on the bottom.

 

Lake Chesdin outside of Richmond, Virginia went "dry" two times and my friends actually walked around taking pictures of the bottom.

 

They found lots of structure they did not know existed, including a big stump field that we all run over.

 

And the fishing?  It will be GREAT!  Hit the water and have some fun.

 

What happens when the lake is refilled?  The bass will hit the areas that were dry looking for things to eat.

 

Have fun and let us know how you do and if you can map any part of the bottom.

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I had this same issue last year. My favorite pond went under drawdown and I never thought a fish could survive, not being deterred come last spring time I still went out. To my surprise the fishing was still great and I caught 2-5+lbs bass in one day. You can normally go all year without catching a 4-5lb fish there.... Anyways the only downside I found and Im still not sure why has been the winter fishing there has been horrible this year. Last winter (and the winter before last) before the drawdown I would go everyday (this is all from the shore) and would catch at least a few bass and even more pickerel. Now I dont know if the cover changed or what but it has really put a damper on this winter. If I make it out in my canoe conditions permitting I can get to the bass and do well but it sucks if I want to just stop by and wet a line. 

 

Anyways I wouldnt worry to much about the population and take the time to find unknown structure like Sam said.

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Get ya camera ready! ;)

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Yup, and a map too..

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I hope it's not Rabun!

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do exactly what others say, get out there with a camera and map. mark things on the map and take pictures of the structure and cover that you can now see that you couldnt before.

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A severe drawdown provides 2 great opportunities:

1)   By reducing the volume of water, it artificially bolsters 'population density' (temporary situation)

2)   More importantly, it gives you the rare opportunity to scrutinize the lake's bottom contour & cover (good forever).

  

Water is the obstacle that separates the fish from the fisherman, so when the water is taken away,

jump on the opportunity to blow away down-scanning and side-imaging.

Take your Handheld GPS device and physically walk off the lake floor to scrutinize the bottom terrain.

Create an on-site waypoint at the sharpest breaks, steepest crests, deepest ruts, largest boulders

or any outstanding holding feature. It's a unique opportunity to obtain precision, dynamite waypoints that'll last a lifetime.

 

Roger

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This may not apply to your area of the country, but I remember about 15 years ago, a local lake got drawn down for a year, and it left the entire upper end (which is shallow compared to the lower), completely dry. During the time that the upper end was dry, it grew full of weeds. Once the lake was filled back up, it created a breeding haven for the pike with all of that new grass/weeds. The next 5-6 years the pike just took over the entire lake and it was easy to catch 50+ pike an outing. Eventually, the local tackle shop started hosting pike tournaments that didn't promote live release, and the game commission started killing the weeds. In no time, the pike disappeared. I haven't caught or seen a pike in that lake now in probably at least 5 years. 

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Get a bucket and walk around the area that the lake was in.  You will double the amount of tackle you own in a short period of time!

 

- Dale

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Somebody will be taking aerial photos while the lake is down.  Either the DNR or Fish and Game or the contractor doing the work.  Find out who and offer to buy a copy.  If it's the contractor, he will probably give you a copy if you tell him it's for fishing purposes.  I would.

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