Can low water affect next year's spawn? Can low water affect next year's spawn?
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    Can low water affect next year's spawn?
from Corey_H #11623 #11623  
5/30/2012 2:57:23 PM

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 I had a guy ask me the other day if I had caught any spawning bass this year from a lake I fish. I've only been there a couple times this year, but I haven't caught any. This guy said he talked to another gentleman who fishes this lake almost every day and this guy had not caught or even seen any bass spawning so far this year. This is a small lake (100 acres or so) that is pretty shallow (most of the lake is 5 feet deep or less) and has lots of vegetation. Last Summer they drained the lake down at least a couple feet in order to expose and spray a particular type of vegetation that was starting to cause problems on the lake. I talked with DNR early this year and they said that fish kill from this project was very minimal and mostly confined to Pike and Crappie. After they were done, they let the lake fill up again to normal levels, which it did by fall.


Would this lowering of the water last summer affect whether or not the bass would spawn this spring?


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   Everythinbg depends...... from Ralph Manns  5/31/2012 1:02:11 AM
 ... on everything else. Inter-relationships are always possible. That truism acknowledged, it is highly unlikely that low water over a previous summer will effect the bass spawn on a following spring. The main impact of low water in summer is low survival of fry and fingerlings from previous spawns due to exposure as a result of reduced cover and increased predation. The adult bass usually benefit and are in better condition for the next spring spawn.


I'd look for some other explanation of why you aren't seeing spawners. Here in North Texas our local pond had a brief spawn attempt by a few large bass on the first of March this year folllowed by an immediate cold front and period of 15 or so days when water dropped below 60 F. The few nests that survived apparently have provided most of the spawn for this year. When water returned to the normal 60+F range only the small and skinny adults tried to spawn, producing few fry. We then overstocked tilapia to provide more forage for our skinny small adult bass, but the adult spawning tilapia now force the bass away from the small bluegills and minnows in the shallows. I"m not sure this was a net gain. The point of all this is that lots of things effect bass behaviors, to understand you must see and identifiy them all.


   Thanks Ralph from Corey_H #11623 #11623  6/4/2012 12:28:41 PM
 I appeciate the insight. My dad and I went and fished this lake this past Saturday and didn't have a lot of luck. We only caught 8 bass, and they all were very skinny. This lake usually produces very healthy looking fish, so I assumed that the ones we caught were post spawn fish, but I can't say for sure. Thanks again.


   Corey from Ralph Manns  6/4/2012 1:29:51 PM
 When ponds or small lakes have food shortages, all 'rules' go out the window. That's one of the reasons I included the info about tilapia in my post as an example. If your water has mainly skinny bass, there is a food shortage, caused either by too many small bass (excess spawning) or too few prey of the sizes eaten by the skinny bass(failure of the plankton and insect food chain).


What is the condition(relative fatness) of the largest bass? Often very large bass do well when there are such shortages, because they can eat the smaller bass that are in excess and the smaller bass expose themselves by hunting food for more hours of the day.


How are the bluegill doing? Often excess small bass and heavy predation on small gills allows a few BG to grow very big. Perhaps now is the time to fish for the bream and ignore the bass?


100 Acres is enough water, but with such a shallow depth the lake likely has major temperature problems. High water temperatures screw up the plankton balance as a food supply. Small bass do okay at 90F, but larger bass need cooler mid-summer sanctuaries. Your problem may mainly be inadequate habitat for larger bass. Too few large bass is another way to get too many small and skinny bass.


Who owns/manages this lake? The FIX may be to drain it, bulldoze some deeper holes for sanctuaries, and restock with bass, BG, and SHAD. This done, this could create a very good bass fishery.


It would help if you had posted a state ID. Different states have different problems and habitat responses.


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