Fishing regulations have been relaxed at Lake Pahoja to allow licensed anglers to harvest fish through the winter until a planned lake renovation in March.
Anglers with a valid fishing license may take fish by any means except dynamite, poison, electroshocking devices, or any stupefying substances. In addition, daily bag and minimum length restrictions are lifted. Taking fish for commercial purposes is not allowed.
Lake Pahoja, in Lyon County, experienced a significant die off of sport fish in September, leaving primarily common carp and grass carp in the 70-acre lake.
With the creeks and wetlands feeding the lake dry from the drought, it seemed like a perfect time to renovate Lake Pahoja.
“We knew we were coming to this in five or six years but the drought has afforded us an opportunity to move up the renovation, and get some work done on fish habitat and fishing access at the same time,” said Craig Van Otterloo, director of the Lyon County Conservation Board. “When we had the fish kill in September and could see a couple hundred carp swimming and all the dead sport fish. That kind of made up our mind.
“We’ll get one more year of ice fishing in before we renovate it in March.”
While the lake level is low, Van Otterloo said they will install bluegill spawning beds, cedar tree piles, add a fishing jetty and pour a new boat ramp.
“Once the carp are gone, we are hoping to see vegetation return that would remove some of the nitrogen and help with the algae blooms,” Van Otterloo said.
Fish will be restocked in late spring. Bluegills will go in first, followed by largemouth bass and channel catfish in year two. Crappies may also be added in the second year. Van Otterloo said he hopes to find some larger fish to stock to help get a jump on the recovery.
“I think five years down the road, we will have a better lake,” he said.
Logo courtesy Iowa Department of Natural Resources