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Landis76

Forage research question

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How do you suppose the best way to get definative forage information about a lake. I have always just looked around when fishing but I was wondering if there was another way to find this out easier, more efficiently and certain. I'd like to know the types, the predominate forage and the average sizes. Is there a website or something?

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If you contact you local Department of Fish and Wildlife office, they have either pages or pamphlets that have a list of all the lakes that have Warmwater species and they show what type of fish are in this lake, and the length limits, special rules. Also, for average size try and get a warmwater summary book DNR, DFW, or any local state wildlife office should have them availiable. It shows research done on specifics lakes.

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There are a couple of ways.

1. The not-nature-friendy approach: catch a bass and cut open its belly (not recomended;however, if you do this, you'd better eat that bass and not let it go to waste)

2. Throw a cast net out or run a dip net along the shoreline.  What ever critters you pull up are likely bass forage.

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alandis, Man I was wondering the other day what happened to you. Welcome back. Just contact your Fish and Game dept. They should be able to help you out or point you in the right direction.

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Contact your local DNR or wildlife dept. and ask them for contact info for the area fisheries biologist for the lake or lakes you are interested in.

They'll know exactly what forage is in the lake.

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I would seine a portion of the lake.(not the whole lake just like 10 ft of shore line)

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Wind blown launch ramps in the summer offer lots of evidence as to forage. Theres alway growth on the ramps that draws baitfish to the ramps, ramps are smooth and easy to seine or throw cast nets.

Watch for the type of birds flying and diving, if they are diving on shad, you will see some shad hanging out of the mouths of the birds, and its not hard to tell if they are shad. Gulls follow whites alot on our lakes, the gulls key in on threadfin shad mainly, but have seen a gizzard shad toted off a few times. Certain birds have feeding habits that feed on bait, some on larger fish.

Does your lake have stripers or whites, there is an indication with stripers, that gizzard shad may exists, stripers are some of the game fish that will target a 1lb gizzard shad. Doesn't mean that threadfin or elywes are not stocked. One of the primary reasons stripers were added to Tx waters was to thin out the gizzard shads. Gizzard shad grow very large, and after a year, can be too large for smaller game fish to feed upon, thus gizzard shad became over populated on some bodies of water.

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That's the truth.  My Dad and I, when we fished Weiss for cats and stripers, would chase schools of baitfish around, and throw a cast-net.

More often than not, all the shad would be 5" or longer, and there were several times where the shad that we were getting would weigh out to be 1 lb. or bigger!  Gizzards is what they were told to us, to be.  The biggest one we ended up using was 14" long, and was just over 1 lb. in weight.  

Just unreal the size that those things can reach!

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I have a few minnow traps i'll chuck in with some bread and let them sit a day or two, to see what I can find. May not be th emost accurate way but it shows me something.

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In Texas you can access the Texas Parks and Wildlife website and look under fishing/find a biologist and it will give you a phone no.   Some lake info is also given online under lakes.  I have sometimes found good information on lakes in other states, just by doing a search of the lake online.   Some states use anouther service other than  the Park Service for their lake info.

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Most of our states have good colleges and universities and if any of yours have a biology or wildlife program it is an even bet they have studenst or staff that have done research on the forage base of local lakes. A contact to the local school will tell you what you have and I have found them more than willing to share such information or point you to where it is kept. After that as has been mentioned the state fish and game folks are usually great.

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