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Iowa fishing regs relaxed at Lizard, Prairie Rose lakes

April 01, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Lizard Lake

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will begin a major renovation of Lizard Lake, in Pocahontas County, to eliminate a large population of rough fish, re-establish aquatic plants, replace the lake outlet structure and install a fish barrier to prevent rough fish from getting back into the lake once the renovations are complete.

In conjunction with the start of the project, the DNR has relaxed the fishing regulations at the 275-acre lake beginning March 29 to allow anglers with a valid license to harvest any number and size of fish, while the lake is being drained. The use of nets and seines is allowed to harvest fish while the fishing regulations are suspended.

Lizard Lake currently has bullheads, common carp, buffalo, fathead minnows and yellow perch. Anglers may take fish by any means except dynamite, poison, electroshocking devices or any stupefying substances.  Taking fish for commercial purposes is not allowed.

The renovation project will begin around the outlet of Lizard Lake this spring. The existing outlet structure will be removed so water levels can be lowered to create mud flat conditions for two summers. Draining the lake will eliminate the rough fish, consolidate bottom sediments and re-establish valuable aquatic vegetation.

When the water levels will return to normal, yellow perch and northern pike will be stocked.

Lizard Lake has a maximum depth of less than seven feet. The goal of this project and others like it is to restore and maintain the health of these shallow lakes by drawing down the water to simulate natural drought cycles.  Drought cycles eliminate problem fish that stir up bottom sediments, consolidate loose bottom sediments, and allow plants to return to provide habitat and help purify water.

When the drought cycle is complete and the lake refills, the Lizard Lake will contain clear water and be more valuable to fish, wildlife and have a higher recreational value.

Prairie Rose Lake

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will relax fishing regulations at Prairie Rose Lake beginning April 1, to allow anglers to more freely harvest fish ahead of the anticipated lake draining.

The lake’s water level will be lowered after the July 4 holiday and will be kept there for the remainder of the year.  Users should expect limited lake access until normal water levels return in 2012. A public meeting is planned for May to provide specific details about the $4 million water quality restoration project currently underway at Prairie Rose.

Anglers with a valid fishing license will be allowed to harvest any size or number of largemouth bass, channel catfish, and all other fish species from Prairie Rose Lake.  Any number of fishing poles or jugs for jug fishing will be allowed.  Anglers must remain in sight of these lines at all times, and follow all other fishing regulations and area rules. Trot lines will be allowed (name and address must be attached), however lines may not be set across entire water body. It is illegal to sell fish or stock captured fish into public waters.  The normal park hours of 4 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. will remain in effect.

“It is very important that anglers never transport and release common carp or any fish species into any water system,” said Bryan Hayes, fisheries management biologist for the Iowa DNR.

The presence of common carp in Prairie Rose Lake has contributed to the poor water quality and the dramatic reductions in both the numbers and the quality of sport fish populations and corresponding reduction in angling and boating use.

The lake draining and fishery renovation is only part of a process aimed at improving the lake’s water quality.

Land practices to reduce sediment and nutrients in the watershed from reaching the lake began over three years ago.  Soil and nutrient saving practices installed around the lake’s 4,600 acre watershed include more than 200,000 feet of terraces, grass waterways, and fertilizer management.

Prairie Rose Lake is one of 35 priority lakes in the state selected for lake restoration work designed to improve water quality because of the potential economic return for the investment.  Poor water quality has impacted the fish population and affected all water based recreation at the lake.  Stabilizing shoreline erosion problems, dredging to restore depth, and construction of in-lake fish habitat will all be part of the restoration project.

For more information, contact the Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Bryan Hayes at 712-769-2587 or Iowa DNR Conservation Officer Dave Tierney at 712-249-2015.

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