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Neighborhood Lake Failure---Help!!!

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Ok, so what used to be a great neighborhood-bass-fishing lake has officially become the dead sea. I think it all started in 2003 when the lake was completely drained in order to build a bigger and better dam. Prior to 2003, I have heard reports and seen pictures of 7,8 pound fish being caught every year. Post 2003, post drainage, the biggest fish my friend and I have pulled out of there in two years has been a 6lb bass. We have also caught some 4 and 5lbers occasionally but the number of big fish we have pulled out of here is actually rather depressing considering the amount of fishing hours we have put in this lake. Smaller fish, in the 1-3lb range are almost unheard of. Most of the bass we catch are either accidental fish in the 10 inch range that we catch while panfishing, or bigger bass in the 4-5lb range.

The lake is mostly shallow and devoid of any major cover. What is available for cover is usually dead submerged timber and large rock flats. The lake is 728 acres, and is located in Greensboro, NC. It gets light to moderate fishing pressure and I believe I am probably one of around a dozen people who has ever fished it out of some kind of watercraft. I have asked around and it appears that the lake was re-stocked after the dam was built. It was stocked with Bluegill, Crappie, Bass, Catfish and a few carp. It also has a TON of shad. From looking at pictures and asking around the giant schools of shad seem to be threadfin shad.

I know that the lack of cover, especially in a soft form is one of the main reasons the bass fishing is not great in the lake. However, I believe that the number one threat to the bass are the crappie that are stocked in the lake.

After realizing how bad the bass fishing in the lake was, we opted to go for UL fishing just so we could catch something. To our surprise at the time, we caught several crappie in back to back casts. After fishing the lake with UL for a good while however, we soon learned that the crappie in the lake are EXTREMELY numerous. I don't want to make an estimate but I would not be surprised if there were over 40,000 individual crappie in the lake. The worst part is that they are not even of good size. Most of them are in the 4-5 inch class. Out of all the time we have crappie fished in the lake, we have only caught 3 that were over 12 inches in length. I strongly believe that the crappie are competing with the young bass in the lake for the same types of food. I also believe that the crappie are eating an unhealthy amount of bass fry in the lake. I believe they are eating so many that very few bass, if any make it past a certain size before they are eating. I don't know how to describe our crappie situation but it is simply a NIGHTMARE. You cannot throw a little grub into the lake without it being picked off by a 5 inch crappie. I could probably go to the lake one afternoon and pile up a bucket full of 100 crappie in less than 4 hours. And this is winter time we are talking about.

So, I know this has been kind of like a rant but I was hoping you guys could give me some advice. What can I do to improve the bass fishing in this lake? Should I start indiscriminantly taking crappie out of the lake? Should I look into putting old christmas trees and the like into the lake? Also, how much would it cost to contact someone to come in and assess the lake?

Thanks guys,

Carlos Saravia

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There are only two types of fish in this lake:

Big ones (sadly the 4 and 5lbers and the 6lber were in my old, now dead cellphone)

224724_830312325531_25012774_40697059_1369909_n.jpg

164328_742185417561_25012774_40120269_5159438_n.jpg

or 10,000,000xxxxx tiny little crappie

167411_1529703888024_1397520104_31209424_5321147_n.jpg

And here is a picture of one of the members of the giant schools of shad we see all throughout summer:

163954_737195951491_25012774_39977098_8150970_n.jpg

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It sounds like you have a good Ideal as to what is happening to this lake. Crappie (stunted and over populated) can cause problems in a lake. This lake is fairly large in size. (Will be harder to manage)

The threadfin shad are a good source of food for crappie, bass adult blueguill ect.. But the blueguill have most likely suffered with the compitition for food from the threadfin. "Fry compete for the same foods as threadfin". So depending on the fertility of the lake, proper balance can be difficult to get.

This can create an occasional Trophy Bass! if they can reach the size it takes to eat crappie as a food source. You will find that most bass will be either small short and fat from eating threadfin and can reach the 2 to 3 lb. mark fairly easy but that food source that carries them over to the next level could be missing. That is usually a good supply of bluegill in the 4 to 6 inch range.

You can never go wrong by creating plenty of cover for your baitfish in the 2 to 6 ft. range. Around areas that your blueguill spawn. ( We sank 300 christmas trees in a 45 acre lake to start with) You can never eat enough crappie! (We have caught 100+ in one sitting on one lake with the same problem) If you don't eat them at least Kill Them! The more you kill the bigger they will get. (We regularly catch 2+ pound crappie now.)

If this is a community lake, perhaps get others to join you in management efforts. Get with the local fisheries biologist and get their input. You may be able to poison the lake targeting the threadfin.

Knocking back the threadfins could knock back the crappie, which could rebound your blueguill, possibly getting the lake back in some sort of a managable state. It is possible, with poison to control certain things in a lake. (We have managed to get most of our 9 lakes in good shape with only hook, line, sweat and patience.) We are still working to keep it that way. Poison is a dangerous thing to a lake if not done right. If done right it can be a good thing.

If you have spotted bass in the lake it could be that the spots are also out of control competing with the large mouth and you should treat them just like you would the crappie in my opinion. (The more you kill the bigger they will get) Good Luck if you decide to try your hand at managing this lake. There is a ton of info on this site and if you can learn to read a lake like a book you will be way ahead of the game. Best advice I can give you is PATIENCE!!!!!!

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I would think with the large amount of shad as you have described, these fish can be very picky about what they think is a meal. What I mean to say is, why not eat what you know is real? I fish a lake with a very similar makeup. Maybe not quite the number of crappie but a very large shad forage base. My solution......... Find all of the cover and structure you can and really try to figure out how these fish relate to it. Then match the hatch.

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Is there a lake front property owner's association or anything similar? If so, I'd contact them with my concerns about the fishery. If it is a public lake you'll have better luck presenting a case to the DNR as a group, and if its private you can hope to get enough support that they will at least look into the cost of getting a professional to assess the lake.

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Ok, so what used to be a great neighborhood-bass-fishing lake has officially become the dead sea. I think it all started in 2003 when the lake was completely drained in order to build a bigger and better dam. Prior to 2003, I have heard reports and seen pictures of 7,8 pound fish being caught every year. Post 2003, post drainage, the biggest fish my friend and I have pulled out of there in two years has been a 6lb bass. We have also caught some 4 and 5lbers occasionally but the number of big fish we have pulled out of here is actually rather depressing considering the amount of fishing hours we have put in this lake. Smaller fish, in the 1-3lb range are almost unheard of. Most of the bass we catch are either accidental fish in the 10 inch range that we catch while panfishing, or bigger bass in the 4-5lb range.

The lake is mostly shallow and devoid of any major cover. What is available for cover is usually dead submerged timber and large rock flats. The lake is 728 acres, and is located in Greensboro, NC. It gets light to moderate fishing pressure and I believe I am probably one of around a dozen people who has ever fished it out of some kind of watercraft. I have asked around and it appears that the lake was re-stocked after the dam was built. It was stocked with Bluegill, Crappie, Bass, Catfish and a few carp. It also has a TON of shad. From looking at pictures and asking around the giant schools of shad seem to be threadfin shad.

I know that the lack of cover, especially in a soft form is one of the main reasons the bass fishing is not great in the lake. However, I believe that the number one threat to the bass are the crappie that are stocked in the lake.

After realizing how bad the bass fishing in the lake was, we opted to go for UL fishing just so we could catch something. To our surprise at the time, we caught several crappie in back to back casts. After fishing the lake with UL for a good while however, we soon learned that the crappie in the lake are EXTREMELY numerous. I don't want to make an estimate but I would not be surprised if there were over 40,000 individual crappie in the lake. The worst part is that they are not even of good size. Most of them are in the 4-5 inch class. Out of all the time we have crappie fished in the lake, we have only caught 3 that were over 12 inches in length. I strongly believe that the crappie are competing with the young bass in the lake for the same types of food. I also believe that the crappie are eating an unhealthy amount of bass fry in the lake. I believe they are eating so many that very few bass, if any make it past a certain size before they are eating. I don't know how to describe our crappie situation but it is simply a NIGHTMARE. You cannot throw a little grub into the lake without it being picked off by a 5 inch crappie. I could probably go to the lake one afternoon and pile up a bucket full of 100 crappie in less than 4 hours. And this is winter time we are talking about.

So, I know this has been kind of like a rant but I was hoping you guys could give me some advice. What can I do to improve the bass fishing in this lake? Should I start indiscriminantly taking crappie out of the lake? Should I look into putting old christmas trees and the like into the lake? Also, how much would it cost to contact someone to come in and assess the lake?

Thanks guys,

Carlos Saravia

you need to eat some of the crappie and thin them out if you want to see larger fish. also the more crappie there are the more competition for food there will be thus having a negative affect on the bass. i would suggest putting more structure in the lake so there are more suitable areas for the fish to spawn and stay alive from all of the crappie and other predator fish.

food is obviously not an issue at all so better housing and less population will increase the size of the remaining fish.

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