Sports and Outdoors

Monday, May 11, 2009

For large bluegills, fish Carr Lake

Big bluegills are common at Carr Lake, according to a recent Indiana Department of Natural Resources fisheries survey.

“Nearly 30 percent of the bluegill population is 8 inches or larger,” said Rod Edgell, DNR assistant fisheries biologist. “The largest fish we collected was 9.4 inches, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few over 10 inches.”

Although the lake historically has had a good bluegill fishery, biologists have observed improvements in growth and size structure over the last decade.
“According to a survey we conducted in 2000, bluegills averaged 6.7 inches at age 4,” Edgell said. "They now average 7.7 inches, which is a huge increase.”

The size and growth of bluegill at Carr Lake has improved, but abundance has declined. Hourly catch rates of bluegills using electro-fishing boats have decreased from 415 in 2000, to 155 in 2008.
The decline in bluegill numbers corresponds to an increase in the largemouth bass population during the same period. Biologists believe the two could be related. The DNR established a 14-inch minimum size limit on largemouth bass in 1998. As a result, bass populations have increased at most lakes.

“With fewer bluegills in the lake there is less competition for food and space, allowing them to grow larger and faster,” Edgell said. “This has created a terrific fishery for bluegill anglers.”

Bluegills are an important food item for bass. With more bass present in the lake more bluegills are being eaten, which may explain the observed changes in the Carr Lake fishery.
The fishery is in good condition at the moment. Biologists will continue to monitor the lake to attempt to ensure the bluegill population does not become too low.

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