Bowfishing for Carp in Lake Monticello Should Help Bass Fishing, Council AgreesJuly 20th, 2012 by Mandy Moss
Dianna Andrews, a Fisheries Biologist in southeast Arkansas with the Game and Fish Commission, came to speak to the City Council on Bowfishing for Car at Lake Monticello.
Mayor Allen Maxwell stated that a request had been given to the City to reopen the lake to bow fishing, and the City had asked Ms. Andrews to give an educated opinion on the matter. He went on to explain that bow fishing had been closed at Lake Monticello due to reports that a large bass had been shot. The allegation was never confirmed, but was thought to be true, therefore the City decided to prohibit bow fishing.
In a letter to Mayor Maxwell, James Wilkerson expressed his, and other fishermen’s, concerns on the lack of vegetation at the lake, and how this was negatively affecting the fish population. He explained that the Arkansas Game and Fish had built grass pens at Lake Monticello to grow vegetation and enclosed them to keep the Grass Carp out. He went on to say, “Any vegetation that grows outside these pens has a great chance of being eaten by the Grass Carp.”
Grass Carp were put into Lake Monticello when a vast overgrowth of vegetation was negatively affecting fish. The Grass Carp, coupled with a very cold winter in 2001 and 2002, led to a rapid depletion of vegetation according to Ms. Andrews. She told the Council, “We noticed that almost all of the Coon Tail we had seen was gone… that cold winter mostly likely impacted that vegetation. The Grass Carp that we had ended up finishing the job.”
Following the vegetation depletion, Andrews stated that interviews with fishermen as they came off of the water resulted in many comments that vegetation needed to be reestablished and, “All that’s left are Lilly Pads.”
It was suggested that the most economical way to solve the vegetation issue was to allow bow hunters access to the lake to fish for the Grass Carp. This, coupled with more planting, would eventually help the fish population come back.
“We wouldn’t oppose it if you guys wanted to open it back to bow fishing.” – Andrews
“What would be your recommendation?” – Mayor Maxwell
“If you want to open it to bow fishing that should be fine. There’s really no other kinds of fish for bow hunters to shoot out there.” – Andrews
“I think we’d all like to see something done.” – Alderman Beverly Hudson
Mayor Maxwell recommended opening Lake Monticello to bow fishermen, and the Council agreed. They will bring forth a resolution on the matter next month during their regular meeting.
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