Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Utilizing Wetlands for Stocking Fish

Today we headed out to Otter Creek to drain the wetland and relocate the fish to the lakes on the property. We have a variety of lake management uses for wetlands. We use them as growout ponds to grow gamefish to big enough sizes to stock into existing lakes. We also use them as forage ponds to grow forage all summer long and then flush them into the main lake to feed the gamefish. We sometimes use them to plant waterfowl food and then flood them. Occasionally we use them just to naturally enhance the crawdads, bullfrogs, toads, and other beneficial wildlife on a property.

So you get the point that there are many different uses for a wetland. I would like to say that in order to be the most productive, it is best to define and design your wetland to fulfill your exact goal. Anyhow, this particular wetland is an ongoing experiment and has been used for pretty much all of the above uses at one stage or another and what was left was a mixed bag of interesting craziness.

It has been drained and planted and filled and stocked and foraged and drained and filled and stocked and then not harvested last year and stocked and now we were very interested to see what in the world was in there. Here is a pic of the draining wetland.

We relocated tens of thousands of bluegill, shiners, crappie, and gizzard shad to the big lake. We also flushed tens of thousands of those fish down the tube and straight into the Canadian lake as well. Also we relocated about 100 of the biggest smallmouth and all of the largemouth into Big Lake, and flushed the rest of the smallmouth down into the canadian lake.

Here are the pics of the largemouth and smallmouth. The largemouth were in the wetland for 2 years, and the smallmouth were in for just one year.

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