In an effort to improve fishing and eliminate an expanding white perch population — an aquatic nuisance species (ANS) — Kingman State Fishing Lake (SFL) is scheduled to be drained and renovated this fall. Periodic renovations are standard practice in small lakes when fish populations became unbalanced due to expansion of undesirable fish species. Kingman SFL has been drained and rehabilitated six times since 1947. Currently, the majority of the fish biomass in the lake is composed of common carp, gizzard shad, and white perch. The quality and quantity of sport fish has decreased in the lake, and the fishery is not currently meeting the needs of anglers. Angler use in 2011 was approximately one-third of that seen during the last angler survey at Kingman in 1999.
Biologist believe hot, dry weather has created the best conditions for renovating this fish population because the drought has dried up many upstream pools that may have harbored undesirable fish species. After the lake is drained, the existing water in the lake basin will be treated with rotenone, a fish toxicant. Because Kingman is an ANS-designated water due to white perch, fish salvage will not be allowed, reducing the risk of white perch transfer into non-infested waters.
Dewatering of the lake will begin in mid-August. During renovation, a number of lake improvement projects will take place, including fish habitat placement, boat ramp extension, and chemical treatment of problematic shoreline vegetation. Upon refilling of the lake, largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, and channel catfish will be restocked.
“Hopefully, fall rains and increased spring flow will fill the lake by spring of 2013,” says Sean T. Lynott, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s regional fisheries supervisor for southern Kansas. “After the renovation, the lake will not be closed to fishing because some adult fish will be stocked immediately to prey on any undesirable fish not eliminated by the chemical treatment. Additionally, the newly-stocked fish should grow quickly without competition from rough fish, so fishing should quickly improve in the years to come.”
Image courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism