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Spring 2017 Lake Report

Fisheries Biologist and Lake Management Consultant
P.O. Box 483
Whitesboro, TX 76273
(903) 564-5372
(903) 564-5173  Fax

March 25, 2017

Hatchie Coon Hunting Club

C/O Philip Posey

New Dam Road.

Tulot, Arkansas

Greetings Philip,

               The bass population has been changing over the last year, as well as the bluegill. They have moved in opposite directions. The bass population is very healthy, almost every single bass that we captured is healthy. Unfortunately, when the bass population exploded, they took a toll on the bluegill population and now they are trying to recover. We electrofished with our Smith-Root boat for 63 minutes/8 amps. Here’s the sample:

Redear Sunfish0000020

            2015 and 2016 started off with a bumper crop of new bass in to the lake. They have taken their toll on the bluegill. Now we have the bass population in check, and the bluegill will need to recover. Their recovery will be sped up with moving bluegill over from the hatchery pond. It will also be sped up with the addition of more habitat. I love that you are putting the Christmas trees in the lake. Every square foot of habitat will make a difference. Another option to help speed up the recovery is to add a couple more gravel beds for spawning. Continue feeding them as much as they will eat. The healthier the big bluegill are the more offspring they will produce.

Moving on to bass, Graph 1 shows relative weights of bass weighed and measured.

         Graph 1: Largemouth bass relative weights.

            The bass below the blue line are overweight and the bass above are underweight. Fish below 15 inches are hovering right around the blue line and some are above. Once a fish reaches 16 inches they start to really put on weight. These fish are looking good. Harvest is a project that will go on as long as you manage the lake. Graph 2 shows the length distribution.

Graph 2:  Size distribution of bass.

            Graph 2 shows where the bass are stacking up in between 14 and 15 inches. I know it is harder to talk yourself in to pulling a 14 inch fish out of the lake, but if we can get there numbers down it will allow them to get bigger with the fish larger than them. This graph shows a bell curve like we want to see. We just need to continue to make the peak of the bell shorter. When you and the guys go fishing, pull out fish under 14.5 inches.


            The more habitat the better, the Christmas trees will help the bluegill. I suggest installing some more mossbacks. The mossbacks are permanent and won’t decompose in the lake. It is very important for this lake to get its bluegill population great again.

            Start transferring bluegill over from the hatchery pond when they reach 2-3 inches. If we wait for them to get to that size, they will be a better meal, and have a better chance of surviving and reproducing.

 It will be important to continue feeding bluegill. The better nutrition they have the more babies they will have. Let’s plan on stocking tilapia again this year. The addition of other forage will take pressure off of new bluegill giving them a better chance to survive to significant sizes. Add crawfish again, if that chunk rock along the road coming in doesn’t have a home, find a few places to make some rock piles in the lake. Rock piles will give the crawfish somewhere to go. I have ordered the threadfin shad.

            The bass population needs to be reduced. Every fish under 14.5 inches needs to come out, unless it’s obese. They small bass are undermining the bluegill population. We took out a number of fish during this last survey, that is a good start, but harvest always needs to be done.

Recommendations and Budget:

  • Harvest bass under 14.5 inches.
  • Stock 250 lbs. of tilapia, and a load of threadfin shad, if desired. There was some shad survival, but if there was a ton we would have seen more.
  • Stock a load of threadfin shad.
  • Add some dense bluegill habitat, especially around the spawning beds and feeders. To really get some surface area of bluegill habitat, need to have at least 10 brush piles, or mossbacks or a combination of both.
  • Transfer bluegill from the hatchery pond.
Tilapia250 lbs.$10/lb.$2500.00 +delivery
Threadfin Shad6,000$0.20/fish$1,890.00+delivery
Mossback Safe Havens10$224.95$2,249.50+delivery
Total  $5,249.50+delivery

Once you get a chance to look this over give me a ring or drop me an email and we will talk about it.

I always enjoy my trips to Hatchie Coon, and we are going to whip these bass into shape and grow some trophies. We just have to keep the bass numbers down and make sure they have plenty to eat.

Happy Fishing,

Justin Stane

Fisheries Biologist

Bob Lusk Outdoors


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