lake .... information
provided by Indiana DNR
Lake, is a188 acre impoundment located about two miles west of the town
of Huntingburg on State Road 264. The
lake has been stocked with hybrid walleye (saugeye) fingerlings 14 of
the past 15 years at 50 or more per acre.
a seven month creel survey in 1997, anglers harvested 51 saugeye that
averaged 18.5 inches in length. They
caught and released 691. The
largest saugeye taken from Huntingburg weighed over 8 pounds.
Five percent of the anglers interviewed during the creel survey
fished for saugeye.
Fish and Wildlife Research and Management Notes
Daniel P. Carnahan, Fisheries Biologist
| Date: January 29, 2001
Huntingburg Lake in Dubois County
Huntingburg Lake is a 188 acre impoundment located approximately
one mile west of the Town of Huntingburg on State Road 64. The lake
serves as Huntingburg's secondary source of water. Consequently,
chemicals cannot be used to manipulate the fishery or aquatic
vegetation. The watershed consists of agricultural land, golf course,
forest, and a nature walk around the lake. A concrete boat ramp and
gravel parking area are located at the lake's northeast corner.
Currently, only electric trolling motors are allowed. Shore fishing
opportunities are good. Shore anglers have numerous areas to fish
around the lake.
Fish management activities by the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW)
at the lake have been intensive. An unsuccessful renovation with dry
rotenone was conducted in 1965. A 14–inch minimum size limit was
established in August 1996 on saugeye, and on largemouth bass sometime
between 1976 and 1981.
Numerous fish stockings have occurred since 1978. The channel
catfish stocking program was initiated in 1978. Approximately 4,350
catfish were stocked every third year until 1995 when the stocking was
changed to 3,008 fish every two years. White bass were stocked in 1979
and tiger musky were stocked in 1981. Both stockings were
unsuccessful. The first successful predator stocking occurred in 1988
when 9,400 saugeye or hybrid walleye (a cross between a male sauger
and female walleye) were stocked. Saugeye stockings have occurred on
an annual basis through 2000. Currently, at least 9,400 saugeye
fingerlings are stocked annually.
Standard fisheries management surveys were conducted in 1964, 1968,
1969, 1973, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1992, and 1997. Angler creel surveys
were conducted in 1992 and 1997. Fall electrofishing surveys were
conducted in 1988, 1990, and 1993 through 1998 to determine saugeye
These past surveys have all indicated that the fishery was composed
of a small bass population dominated by larger bass, a good saugeye
population, a large channel catfish population maintained by
stockings, stunted white crappie and bluegill populations, and large
common carp and gizzard shad populations.
A lake enhancement feasibility study, funded by the Indiana
Division of Soil Conservation's Lake Enhancement Program, was
completed in January 1991 by Donan Engineering Company of Jasper. The
study mentioned that problems concerning aquatic vegetation, rough
fish populations, sedimentation, and turbidity have been documented
since the early 1940’s (Donan Engineering Co. 1991). The study
stated that Huntingburg Lake is undergoing the consequences of
excessive nutrient and sediment loading as a consequence of cultural
eutrophication. The study recommended that 1) agricultural areas that
were identified as the primary sources of nutrient and sediment
loading be converted to permanent ungrazed meadowlands or cropped
using a proposed five year reduced tillage/crop rotation plan; 2)
restoration of Huntingburg Lake must secondly concentrate on a
significant reduction in septic loading through construction of small
alternative wastewater systems; 3) marsh area of the lake be dredged
for further sediment control and removal of accumulated nutrient rich
sediments; and 4) a management plan be established for the lake and
its watershed. None of these recommendations appear to have been
The present survey was conducted under DFW work plan 98478 entitled
“General Management of Fisheries in Impoundments and Excavated
The survey was conducted on May 16 and 17, 2000. Total fish collection
effort was one hour of pulsed D.C. night electrofishing, four gill net
lifts, and four trap net lifts. Two dippers collected fish stunned by
the electrofishing boat. Dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles,
pH, conductivity, turbidity, and total alkalinity data were collected
as per standard lake survey guidelines.
The lake’s aquatic vegetation was surveyed on July 24, 2000. The
vegetation was measured in six different transects around the lake as
per standard survey guidelines.
Water chemistry data were standard for a lake in southwest Indiana.
Dissolved oxygen was sufficient to the lake bottom as the lake had not
yet stratified. American water willow was the predominant aquatic
plant observed. American bulrush, buttonbrush, and common cattail were
also present. American water willow makes a complete five to twelve
foot wide band around most of the lake.
A total of 1,655 fish was sampled, representing nine species and
one hybrid, which weighed 549.18 pounds. Gizzard shad, bluegill, and
white crappie were the three most abundant species by number. Gizzard
shad, common carp, and largemouth bass were most abundant by weight.
Gizzard shad were first in abundance by number (59 percent) and
weight (26 percent). The 969 gizzard shad sampled ranged in length
from 4.9 to 15.0 inches and weighed 140.40 pounds. The shad catch
nearly doubled compared to 1997 results. In 1997, shad accounted for
43 percent of the collection by number and 9 percent of the weight. In
1992, gizzard shad relative abundance by number was 27 percent and by
weight was 29 percent.
A total of 248 bluegill was sampled that weighed 21.97 pounds. They
were second in relative abundance by number (15 percent) and sixth by
weight (four percent). Bluegill ranged in length from 2.0 to 7.3
inches. Six of the bluegill sampled were at least 7 inches long. No
bluegill greater than 6.7 inches long were sampled in 1992 and 1997.
The electrofishing catch rate was 216 per hour. Electrofishing catch
rates in 1992 and 1997 were 291 and 288 per hour respectively.
Bluegill growth was nearly identical to 1997 growth rates and were at
the low end of the average range when compared to district averages.
A total of 221 white crappie was sampled that weighed 23.11 pounds.
The crappie ranged in length from 4.3 to 11.6 inches. They accounted
for 13 percent of the collection by number and 4 percent by weight.
White crappie relative abundances were similar to 1997 results. Their
catch rates were 20 per hour of electrofishing, 25 per gill net lift,
and 26 per trap net lift. Catch rates in 1997 were 94 per hour of
electrofishing, 20 per gill net lift, and 4 per trap net lift. White
crappie growth rates have improved since 1997 by approximately a half
inch for three– and four–years old. However, they are still at the
low end of the average range when compared to district averages.
A total of 74 largemouth bass was sampled that weighed 105.41
pounds. Bass accounted for 5 percent of the collection by number and
20 percent by weight. These percentages were similar to 1992 and 1997
figures. They ranged in length from 5.0 to 21.3 inches and 37 percent
were longer than 14 inches. The electrofishing catch rate was 73 per
hour. Electrofishing catch rates in 1992 and 1997 were 32 and 75 per
hour. Bass growth was excellent. Growth rates were at the high end of
the average range for one–, two–, and six–year–old bass, and
above average for three–, four–, and five–year–olds. No
one–year–old bass were sampled in 1997 and only four were
collected in this survey. Bass recruitment continues to be low at the
lake due to competition with gizzard shad.
Forty-nine channel catfish were sampled that weighed 61.83 pounds.
They accounted for three percent of the collection by number and 11
percent by weight. They ranged in length from 9.3 to 21.8 inches and
74 percent were at least 14 inches in length. The electrofishing catch
rate was 14 per hour and the gill net catch rate was eight per lift.
Thirty-seven saugeye were sampled that weighed 72.55 pounds. They
ranged in length from 6.1 to 24.1 inches. Seventy percent of the
saugeye were at least 14 inches in length and 43 percent were at least
18.0 inches. Saugeye accounted for 2 percent of the collection by
number and 13 percent by weight. The electrofishing catch rate was 19
per hour and the gill net catch rate was four per lift. The
electrofishing catch rate in 1997 was 35 per hour and the gill net
catch was 2 per lift. The imposition of the 14 inch minimum length
limit has helped produce more bigger saugeye than in 1997. Saugeye
growth rates have declined since 1997, but their growth was still
A total of 21 black crappie was sampled that weighed 4.78 pounds.
They ranged in length from 4.3 to 14.0 inches. Black crappie accounted
for 1 percent of the collection by number and weight. Their growth
rates improved since 1997, but were still at the low end of the
average range when compared to district averages.
Common carp, warmouth, and yellow bullhead comprised the remainder
of the sample. They accounted for 2 percent of the collection by
number and 22 percent by weight. Most of the weight was attributed to
the 19 common carp.
Best fishing at Huntingburg Lake would be for channel catfish,
saugeye, and big largemouth bass. The channel catfish catch rates were
high and most fish were greater than 14 inches. Even though the
overall number of largemouth bass was low, bass fishing for large bass
(greater than 18 inches) should be good. Most of the crappie and
bluegill fishing opportunities are limited to small fish. The majority
of the crappie and bluegill sampled during the survey were less than
The major reason for the poor condition of the bluegill and crappie
populations, and the low bass recruitment is the large gizzard shad
population. Gizzard shad feed heavily on zooplankton throughout their
lives. Zooplankton is also the first type of food eaten by small
individuals of most fish species, including bluegill, crappie, and
bass. Gizzard shad outcompete these other species in zooplankton
predation, literally starving the bluegill, small bass, and crappie,
which results in stunted panfish populations and low bass recruitment.
Since Huntingburg Lake is a water supply lake, the fishery cannot be
renovated with chemicals.
Saugeye catch rates continue to be good. The 14 inch minimum length
limit has helped increase the numbers of larger saugeye. Seventy
percent of the saugeye sampled were greater than 14 inches and 35
percent were greater than 20 inches. It is recommended that the annual
saugeye stocking program continue.
Channel catfish fishing opportunities are great at Huntingburg
Lake. Catch rates were 14 per hour of electrofishing and eight per
gill net lift. These catch rates indicate that a large channel catfish
population exists at Huntingburg. Channel catfish fishing is popular
at the lake as they ranked second in the 1997 creel survey harvest. It
is recommended that the channel catfish stocking regime continue
without any changes.
Huntingburg Lake should be resurveyed in six or seven years to
monitor the fishery.
Donan Engineering Co.. 1991. Lake enhancement program feasibility
study for Huntingburg Lake. Donan Engineering Co., Inc. 85 pp.
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