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    24 Hour Fish-A-Thon / Team FishFeeders project moves forward

    By Ben | August 1, 2012

    This year 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon teams are creating partnerships and working with local angling clubs and Department of Natural Resources personnel to help fund a project that is either under way or being planned. Teams will have the opportunity to designate fifty percent of the funds raised to that project. Team FishFeeders partnered with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Ben Dodd in installing a fish barrier at Big Creek Lake in Central Iowa.

    “Big Creek Lake is one of the most utilized and pressured lakes in Central Iowa”, said Ben Leal Recycled Fish Program Director and Team FishFeeders team captain. One of the issues that Team FishFeeders wanted to highlight in this year’s event was the problem with some of the large trophy fish that spill out into Saylorville Lake during high water events. The Big Creek Lake spillway flows in to Saylorville Lake. In a recent walleye tagging program, some of the large walleye tagged and released in Big Creek were caught down below the spillway for Saylorville Lake in the Des Moines River. This year Ben Dodd from the Iowa DNR Fisheries Department proposed an installation of a fish barrier that would allow for debris to flow from Big Creek into Saylorville at the same time keeping the large walleye and muskie in the lake. The existing barrier was nothing more than a chain link fence that spanned the spillway. The chain link needed to be raised high enough to allow for debris to flow through, however the gap also allowed fish to find their way down the spillway in to Saylorville. Last Wednesday July 25th, the fish barrier project was realized. Personnel on hand were from a local angling club, Central Iowa Anglers, the Iowa DNR and the Army Corps of Engineers. Work started the day before with the removal of the chain link fence, with the balance of the work coming on Wednesday. “It’s great to work with Ben Dodd and the Iowa DNR this year” said Leal, “it’s outstanding to create a partnership and help fund a project like this, and now to see the fruits of your labors going in to place. It give us the opportunity to put back into the community and fishery.”  Central Iowa Anglers, also a partner in this project,  is a very active fishing club and one that has partnered with Team FishFeeders for the last two years in a lake clean up during the 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon. Ben Dodd expressed his sincere appreciation, “We wanted to thank everyone who helped out on the barrier this week!  It’s always a lot of fun working with different partners and this was no exception” said Dodd. “We still have about five weeks left of fund raising time to put toward the cost of this great project” said Leal, “the really great thing is that we have made a positive impact on this local hot spot. It will take some time to see the benefits of this barrier, but based on tests and data, it will be well worth it”.

    Central Iowa Anglers members / volunteers helping with the installation of the support beams for the barrier.

    Ben Dodd, Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist assisted by Army Corp of Engineer cutting portions of the barrier in preparation for installation.

    Completed section of the fish barrier

    In this picture, taken at Lake Kinkaid, IL, showing the results and effectiveness of the fish barrier. This picture taken during a high water event, shows water flowing easily down the spillway while  the barrier prevents two large muskie from passing through and out of the lake. Future and continued stocking of walleye and muskie at Big Creek will increase density populations and large trophies like these will still be in the lake for local anglers to pursue.

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    Topics: Fish-A-Thon, Press Releases, Recycled Fish, Stewards In Action, Stewardship Articles | Comments Off on 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon / Team FishFeeders project moves forward

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