Prairie Rose Restoration update
April 10th, 2013 by Ric Hanson
Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say the Prairie Rose Lake restoration project is heading in the right direction. The over $3 million project started back in July 2011 when the lake was dewatered allow construction work to begin in the basin. Since that time, the DNR has dredged the basin, added fish habitat and modified the spillway to keep carp from returning to the lake. Brian Hayes, Fisheries Biologist for the Iowa DNR, says the gate was closed back in September 2012 and the lake is finally seeing some water. “I estimated about 50 acres of surface acres of water out there. When the lake is full, we have about 175 acres of water. So we have about a third of the lake out there. Volume wise it is a pretty small percentage. But those snow storms in March saw some water movement and we captured some water.”
He says now is the time to introduce fish back to the lake. “We are going to introduce Bass, Blue Gill and Catfish this spring and summer. That is what we want to initially establish. Once they are established then we will introduce crappie. Right here in the spring, we will start with adult large mouth bass. We have a goal of getting 200 in there, about 1 bass per surface acre. That will be enough to see some reproduction of large mouth bass this summer. The blue gills were over-wintered on the other side of the state. Anytime now, they will drain that pond and bring the fish over in a truck. Those blue gills will provide food for the bass.”
Even though the drought conditions over the fall and winter slowed down the process of filling Prairie Rose Lake, Hayes says there were some benefits as well. “The drought was beneficial because we had that goal getting the common carp out of the Prairie Rose lake basin and out of the watershed. The drought really reduced the amount of standing water in the shed, stopped the tile flow and the carp had no place to hide from us. So we feel really good about the prospects of getting the carp out of the watershed and that is important for the water quality benefits.”
Hayes says the fishing in Prairie Rose Lake will take time, and the public needs to cooperate. “We were looking at an issue about we are always going to have carp in the West Nishnabotna River, not very far from Prairie Rose Lake. We really need cooperation from the public, we can’t have them moving fish into Prairie Rose Lake especially when they don’t know what they are doing. Leave it up to us. It’s an issue we are looking at and addressing. We always want to get that message out to the public, leave the stocking up to us. We will try and provide the best fishing out at Prairie Rose Lake.”
The DNR will be working this summer on hydraulic dredging once the lake re-fills.