Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 4, 2014 Followup Photos

As you can see it only took a few days for the upper lake and outflow to stabilize and return to normal levels. The infamous stick looks to be long gone

Now the other side ..... but wait what is that there jammed into the rootball of that shrub? It's the Stick from the Story of the Stick! It's hard to tell in the picture but it 'javelined' itself into that rootball and doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon if ever.

A view up the creek and as you can see there is little or no apparent current which is a sign the lake has backed up this far. When the water starts covering the far bank, about the level of the base of the white flowered plants in the above photos that should be the 20 feet to go mark.

These are at the mid-lake jetty on the south side. The water is crystal clear and although it's hard to make them out in the photos there were hundreds of small fish all over. Many looked like minnows and chubs but some were definitely little sunfish/bluegills and what looked like small walleye. The area was just alive with action and I heard 3 bullfrogs, saw some smaller frogs, snakes and turtles and the birds where chirping away with some even divebombing the water snatching small fish

I generally take two shots of everything and the second shot of the above photo captured a bird as it swooped down and grabbed a minnow. I could probably try all day long and never repeat this shot.

These are just shots of my 'reference' items I use to judge changes in water level. The level had come up a little since July 1st but not very much and definitely less than a foot

Since little had changed from the 1st other than the inflow I decided there was no need to take any more pictures and besides it was the 4th of July and I had a George Thorogood concert to go to that night at the Davenport Flood Fest, I mean the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest .....

We have had less than an inch and a half of rain since the big deluge at the end of June so unless we get some significant rainfall this weekend I likely won't be going back out for another couple of weeks, sometime in early August.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 1, 2014 Photos Part II

These shots are from mid-lake on the opposite side and taken standing on a short fishing jetty on the west side of the road. Lots of new water here compared to when I was last there in early May

These are some shots of some differing sizes of old/broken/defective concrete sewer pipe that I lobbied hard to have included and also helped acquire from local contractors who were more than happy to contribute. Someone must have liked the idea because there is a lot more than I helped acquire here and spread in more areas than originally planned in '05-'06. There are several changes in this area from the original plans and even some from the 2010 replanning but this is a good thing as these are all very beneficial additions/changes. The reason I wanted plenty of this concrete pipe included is for channel catfish spawning habitat, specifically for large channel cats. Channel Catfish (and Flathead) are cavity spawners and there isn't very much of that type of natural habitat in a manmade lake like this. I'd like to see this lake become self sustaining for channel catfish and the key to that is habitat that allows them to grow large (20+ pounds) and a place for those larger catfish to spawn which means a cavity large enough to go in and turn around in. Large females lay a lot of eggs but more important attract the larger males to guard the nest from predator fish. Large Channels should also keep down any (over)population of bullheads which can plague Iowa manmade lakes (Lake Darling 20 years ago for instance)

The number one sought after Game Fish in Iowa is now Catfish according to the Iowa DNR yet so little is done in the way of habitat enhancement for Catfish. There is a big difference between a lake where you can easily catch 1-2 pound stocked catfish and having a lake that has good catfishing averaging 4-5 pounds consistently and plenty of 20+ pounders to keep the advanced catfishermen happy. This lake should turn out to be the latter and hopefully will be a model for other new lakes (or restoring existing lakes) in Iowa and other prairie states.

These were taken from the top of the large rock pile (actually a rip rapped hillside) seen in pictures taken from the other side. This is one of the changes I was talking about. Originally this fishing jetty was planned to be built on the old roadbed like the one on the other side. Believe me this is way cooler and will likely be the hottest spot on the lake for shore fishermen. Actually I look forward to fishing this area (both sides) from a boat.

And even more concrete pipe, lots and lots of concrete pipe ..... This also wasn't in the original plans but is a very welcome addition. This area should attract a variety of fish and baitfish.

Looking down the west side at the 4 concrete pipes along the old roadbed and a shot of the short jetty I took the opening shots from.

These are all taken from the dam area and comparing them to the older photos you can tell it's up 4-5 feet literally overnight.

I'll finish up with a couple of shots of the water level control structure. Someday there will be water lapping up against this .....

I have a short follow up from July 4 after the lake had 'settled in' a few days. Unless we get a significant rain I likely won't be going back out again for another couple of weeks. There is still a long ways to go, I calculated about 22 ft to go using the pictures and maps I have and every foot it rises will take a little bit longer as the surface area increases and that last 10 feet will really take a while. I would be greatly surprised to see this full by next Memorial Day or even the 4th of July.