27 January 2015
A five-year plan to improve the fishery at Lake Monticello is already underway, in a quiet way, and will get much more active in the next few months, said Ted Makranczy, who chaired the working group that drafted the plan.
The Lake Monticello Owners’ Association is now seeking volunteers to do some of the work and to provide access to their waterfronts for fish habitat, feeders and other needs to help the fish.
The goal is to bring Lake Monticello’s over-stressed fishery back into ecological balance and get the fish in the lake healthy and well-fed again, Makranczy said. A professional fish census of the lake last spring showed that there are two bass for every one bluegill in the lake, instead of the 20 bluegill for every bass that would be a healthy balance. In another sign of a declining fishery, the average size of caught bass has fallen by 45 percent in the last six years.
The LMOA board recently approved the five-year plan, developed in cooperation with well-known fisheries ecology management firm SOLitude, that is designed to return the lake to ecological balance.
“This is a very ambitious, and very necessary, project,” Makranczy said. “It will require a lot of effort by volunteers, as well as a willingness by landowners along the lake to allow habitat and feeders to be installed on their waterfront. But I’m very encouraged – we haven’t really seriously started the recruitment process and we’ve already got a good group of volunteers signed up. But we’ll need more.”
The five-year plan approved by the LMOA board has several parts:
• Installing artificial habitat so baby fish have a place to hide from predators while they grow, at first mainly under docks, where it’s completely out of the way, but later in deeper water, as long as it can be done without affecting boating or swimming or dredging activities.