December 19, 2013


New renovation method designed to enhance fish populations without extended closure


INDEPENDENCE – Montgomery State Fishing Lake, a popular destination for anglers in southeast Kansas, will undergo an experimental, partial renovation this winter. A large part of the lake’s popularity can be attributed to exceptional bluegill and redear sunfish angling opportunities. In 2007, nearly 11,000 bluegill and redear sunfish were harvested and nearly 9,000 were caught and released at this Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) lake near Independence. However, the lake’s fishery has become unbalanced and requires some attention to ensure it continues to provide high-quality angling opportunities.


In 2007, floods introduced gizzard shad into the lake, and that population has expanded to undesirable levels. Gizzard shad are an important food source for open-water sport fish in large reservoirs. However, in small reservoirs, such as Montgomery State Fishing Lake, gizzard shad may overpopulate and compete with young sport fish for limited food resources. This can drastically alter the food web and result in poor growth of desirable sport fish such as sunfish.


When populations of undesirable fish species exceed acceptable levels, a complete lake renovation is often prescribed to restructure the fish community. A complete renovation entails draining the reservoir as much as possible, then chemically treating remaining water to remove all fish. This is a common and effective practice, but a significant amount of time is required for newly-stocked fish to grow to sizes sought by anglers.


To avoid the extended lake closure normally associated with renovation efforts, KDWPT staff will conduct the partial renovation. This will entail a minimal drawdown and reduced chemical application specifically targeting gizzard shad. Sport fish are more tolerant of the chemical and should survive the renovation.


Dewatering of the lake has started and will continue for several weeks until the reservoir is 3 feet below normal. Chemical treatment will take place in January and should be completed in two days. The reservoir will be closed to fishing for two weeks after treatment and signs will be posted at entrances. Fish salvage will not be allowed during the closed period. Fish harvested after the lake re-opens will be safe for consumption.


The goal of this partial renovation at Montgomery State Fishing Lake is to reduce gizzard shad abundance and increase bluegill and redear sunfish growth rates. Overall sport fish populations should improve, and Montgomery State Fishing Lake will remain a premier sunfish angling lake for years to come.


If you have any questions, contact KDWPT district fisheries biologist Ben Neely at 620-331-6820 or