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OCdockskipper

Understanding Yearly Lake Variances

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I have a situation at my home lake that I think I understand, but am looking for some additional feedback to make sure.

 

The lake is a small (100 acre), shallow (max depth 12 ft) lake in Southern California.  The contours of the lake are pretty much bowl shaped with little variance (i.e, no humps, shallow flats, etc).  The primary cover most years are hundreds of docks (all in 5 feet of water or less) and undercuts at the base of many areas of the retaining wall (which circles the entire lake).  Forage base is sunfish, crayfish & shore minnows with LMB & channel catfish being the predator species.  There are no year round predatory fishing birds, occasionally a cormorant or two may show up on the water for a couple of days, but they are chased off by the HOA.  The only other fish in the lake are common carp.  The water level is kept stable, never varying by more than a foot and clarity is typically between 3 to 6 feet of visibility.

 

Most years, there is no vegetation for it is eradicated year round by the HOA.  However, every 3 or 4 years, the HOA slips up in their control of the Bushy Pondweed that grows and in the late spring through mid fall, we end up with clumps throughout the lake in 5 to 8 feet of water, in open water areas of the lake.  This vegetation never makes the surface , the closest it tends to get is 2 feet or so from the top.  There never is any growth shallow or near the docks. 

 

So during summertime of the"normal" years, when there is no vegetation, the docks are the default home for the bass.  They cruise around them in the low light times & hang out under them during bright hours.  However, in the years when the open water vegetation is present, the number of bass who use the docks for cover falls dramatically.  There are still some during low light hours, however, those areas become a wasteland for the most part during bright times.  I am assuming the deeper water and oxygen produced by the weedbeds during daylight hours changes the behaviors of the bass during the years we have the vegetation.  I haven't been as consistent in figuring the fish out during these times, I'll always find some but they seem so much more spread out and more difficult to pattern consistently.  I have seen huge schools of bass roaming through the pondweed & they are catchable, but the are much more pelagic than the other years.  On non-vegetation years, the fish tend to be in smaller groups and more homebody's, staying in the same area for weeks at a time.

 

Does it sound like I am understanding the influence vegetation has on the basses behavior or am I missing something?

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Does this shallow warm water private lake have a aeration system?

Without green weed growth and wind to keep the dissolved oxygen levels survivable the entire fish population is in danger of collapsing.

Docks provide shade but also promote decay that usues up DO.

Unless the baitfish are under the docks, no reason for bass to locate under them.

The bait is in or around the submerge green aquatic vegetation because it provides DO for thier food source and the bait is the basses food source. 

Without the aquatic vegetation the docks provide the only shelter available, but how are they getting DO? Aeration system would continuously provide DO and turn the water column over.

Tom

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Sound like you know way more about the situation than I ever will! So I can't help much other than adding that HOAs are beyond silly 

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10 hours ago, WRB said:

Does this shallow warm water private lake have a aeration system?...

 

Tom

Yes, there is a "bubbler" system through the entire lake.  The bubblers are located at the back of each cove (or channel), at the entrance to some of the longer channels and down the middle of the main lake.  The various bubblers range in force from just moving the water around to actually creating current.  Those with the most force & current draw bass to the backs of the coves even during the hottest months.  There are also two large fountains at the head of the lake (shallower area) that shoot water 20 plus feet in the air and create alot of water movement.  Highest surface temperature I have ever seen is 85 degrees, coolest is 53.

 

In addition to wind, there is much boat activity during the warmer months in the form of pontoon boats cruising the lake.  Folks tend to drive around the perimeter of the lake at a speed fast enough to create a wake and move water around.

 

We don't get the distinctive fall turnover that more natural bodies of water experience, where the entire column of water flips all at once.  It tends to be more subtle, a slower process that occurs over weeks instead of days.

10 hours ago, TnRiver46 said:

...HOAs are beyond silly 

Throw in the fact that it is Southern California, where many folks are more concerned with how the lake looks as opposed to its actual health, and that is especially true.

 

However, we have done a wonderful job of convincing the HOA that the best "green" approach to dealing with the zebra mussels in the lake is to have a 2 or 3 stockings every year of adult crayfish.  The crayfish help control the mussels without using any chemicals, but the fact that many of them & their descendants end up in the bellies of the bass & catfish of the lake is our little secret...

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take a look into Red Ear sunfish "shell crackers" eat quagga mussels, the reason Havasu is experiencing record size Red Ears.

 I would say you have a extensive aeration systems providing the DO to sustain a fishery, more deep weed beds would enhance the fishery but the residents wouldn't appresciate it.

Tom

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11 hours ago, WRB said:

take a look into Red Ear sunfish "shell crackers" eat quagga mussels, the reason Havasu is experiencing record size Red Ears...

Tom

I had completely forgotten about that, thanks for reminding me.  I'll have to suggest it at the next HOA meeting.

 

A quick story about those Havasu Redears.  When the BASS Elite series stopped at Havasu in May of 2015, there were still a some bass on beds.  Tim Horton found a few and on Day 1, spent about 90 minutes trying to entice a decent sized one off a bed.  He finally succeeded, hooked up & landed it...a nice 3 lb Redear 😄.  He later said he thought the fish looked a little different when he was casting to it, but his brain could not fathom that the 3lb fish he was looking at was not a bass.

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