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Project To Rebuild Fishing At West Boggs Producing Better Results Than Expected
Updated August 8, 2015 6:24 PM | Filed under: Natural Resources
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(LOOGOOTEE) - Officials say a project to rebuild the fishing at West Boggs Lake is producing better than expected results.

Last month the Department of Natural Resources sampled the fish to see how they were faring in the restocked lake and the results were outstanding.

"We are very pleased with the progress we are seeing," says Mike Axsom, superintendent of the Daviess-Martin County Parks and Recreation Department.

Axsom says the bass and bluegill should reach a catchable size by this fall.

The fish were removed from the lake after Department of Natural Resource biologist began an eradication process to remove gizzard shad, a non-catchable and non-edible small fish, that was reproducing at a such a high-rate the species was overrunning the lake.

After killing off the shad the lake was restocked with 104,374 largemouth bass, 462,476 bluegill, and 195,245 redear sunfish, all fingerlings. In addition, a total of 816 adult largemouth bass and 55 adult channel catfish that had been taken from the lake earlier were returned.

When the bass fingerlings went into the water in the fall, they averaged around 3.9 inches in length. The survey found those are now around 7 inches long. The bluegill averaged about 1 inch in length when they were put into the lake in the fall. Now they average around 3.6 inches with some almost 7 inches long.

DNR is not finished restocking the lake. Black crappie will be added to the population in the fall.

Once spring comes, DNR officials hope that more anglers will return to the area. According to officials, there were 30,788 anglers who visited West Boggs in 1999 before the gizzard shad became a problem the next year. Since then the numbers have dramatically decreased with the last recorded data showing 5,214 anglers in 2010.

The rebuilding of the fish population at West Boggs Lake was paid for by money generated by fishing licenses in Indiana. A large crew from the D.N.R.'s Fish and Wildlife division was heavily involved in cleaning out the lake and restocking it. The crew in charge received an internal award from the DNR for the DNR Fisheries Project of the Year.

The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife recently honored several employees with Awards of Excellence for 2014. Awards went to Winamac Fish & Wildlife Area property manager Tony Carroll, LaSalle Fish & Wildlife Area laborer Bob Gasior, Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program specialist Doug Nusbaum, and the team of employees involved in restoring West Boggs Lake.

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