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[DNR] Fish restocking successful at Kunkel Lake
Start Date: 7/1/2014 All Day
Entry Description

 DNR officials are happy with the outcome of a project to improve fishing at Kunkel Lake in Ouabache State Park in Wells County.

Although fish in the 25-acre lake are now small, biologists expect ample numbers of harvestable-size bluegills to be available next year.

Kunkel Lake was drained and treated with rotenone last fall to eradicate undesirable fish. Common carp and small crappies had overrun the fish community. Few quality-size sport fish existed. As a result, few anglers fished the lake.

Kunkel Lake refilled over the winter. The DNR restocked the lake with about 19,000 bluegills and 5,250 largemouth bass in late March. DNR fisheries biologist Jed Pearson surveyed the lake’s fish in mid-June.

“Survival of the stocked fish has been great and they are growing fast,” Pearson said.

According to Pearson, the bluegills were 1.5 inches long when they were released and now average 3 to 4 inches. The bass measured 4 to 5 inches when stocked and now are up to 6 inches long.

Equally important was the fact that no other fish species were detected during the survey.

“Apparently we got rid of the fish we were after,” Pearson said.

Although water clarity remains somewhat murky, a few aquatic plants are returning and will provide fish habitat. A plant survey is scheduled for later this summer.

While anglers can expect to begin catching bluegills next summer, bass won’t be available for harvest for several years.

DNR biologists are proposing an 18-inch minimum size limit and daily bag limit of two bass at Kunkel Lake. Largemouth bass are important predator fish that help prevent other species from over-populating a lake.

 “It’s important to have plenty of big bass in the lake to keep bluegill numbers in check and prevent any resurgence of other species,” Pearson said.

For the bass rule to change, a series of administrative steps are required, including a public hearing. The current minimum size limit is 14 inches, and the bag limit is five.

Money to renovate and restock Kunkel Lake came from Indiana fishing license sales and the federal Sport Fish Restoration Fund.

Contact Information:
Name: Jed Pearson
Phone: (260) 244-6805
Email: jpearson@dnr.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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