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Put All Rumors Aside – Lost Island Lake Restoration Continues to Improve Quality and Fishing

February 28, 2017
Emmetsburg News

by Jay Schoning

Rumors have been 'floating' around out there about Lost Island Lake, the Iowa DNR, and what was going to happen with the lake and there's not a 'floating' truth to them! The rumors included such false information as 'the DNR was going to drain the lake.' Absolutely not true in fact, the restoration project continues full speed ahead with carp harvesting and fish stocking.

In an interview with Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Mike Hawkins on Saturday, Hawkins said the water quality at Lost Island Lake continues to improve; which also means the water clarity is improving as it is used to measure quality. Hawkins said "we use a lot of metrics to determine water quality but we also use the Secchi disk to measure turbidity and clarity and it is a most-used standard around the world." "We have seen yearly improvement since 2009 when we started measures to remove massive amounts of carp from the lake."

And massive indeed! In 2008 the carp population on Lost Island Lake was 350 to 375 pounds per acre and after another successful fall carp harvest a few months ago the carp population is down to 50 pounds per acre well below acceptable levels! Hawkins says "this is real neat as it is a community led effort with the Water Quality Team, the Lost Island Lake Protective Association and citizens who have worked with us on this project." Since 2008 over 1.3 million pounds of carp and buffalo have been removed from Lost Island.

The Iowa DNR stocks Lost Island yearly and have actually increased their stocking rates on Lost Island since the beginning of the project. This past fall, 1 million walleye fry and 18,000 walleyes in the 6 to 8 inch range were released into the lake. Hawkins said besides the walleye "we have also stocked largemouth bass, continue our catfish stocking, and we are also putting in northern pike every year and we want to continue to do this heavy stocking of fish at Lost Island." Hawkins said that there have been signs of Walleyes naturally reproducing in our lake but not enough to sustain the walleye fish population so the stocking will continue! Hawkins is optimistic that we will have a solid walleye population in the future!

Lost Island Lake is also a popular topic in Minnesota and Wisconsin right now as Hawkins was invited to come to a meeting in Wisconsin last week and speak about the high success of the Lost Island project. "We are talking about natural lake management and this Lost Island Lake project has got everybody kinda talking and the success we have had there and hopefully will continue to have a great deal of success."

Yellow Bass have found their way into Lost Island and many of our Iowa lakes including Five Island, Spirit Lake and the Okoboji's by either chance or by underground stocking efforts. Yellow bass can be an invasive species and have a negative impact on Iowa lakes, yet they present an excellent opportunity at good fun and valuable efforts to improve the future health of the system. Yellow Bass population can explode but contrary to any myths they only spawn once a year but that spawn is very prolific! There is no current daily bag limit on yellows and in fact, if you catch yellow bass its best to not even put them back in the water. For the angler whose 'bread and butter' is catching bucket loads of fish that fight hard and taste great, yellow bass fishing just might be your bag. These little yellow fish can be a lot of fun to catch.

Our community should be proud of Lost Island Lake which is located just 3 miles north of Ruthven and in size it is 1,162 acres and has a maximum depth of 15.7 feet. The lake is a great attraction and amenities at Lost Island Lake include: Boat Access's, Accessible Pier, Picnic Areas, Swimming Beach, Walking/Biking Trails, Accessible Facilities, Playground, Restrooms, Camping, Excellent Shorefishing, Hard Surface Boat Ramps, Accessible Shoreline and a Fish Cleaning Station.



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