Lake Austin Vegetation Survey 9/14/15

Discussion in 'Bass Fishing' started by John D. Ward, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. John D. Ward

    John D. Ward Moderator

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    A lot of people have been asking me about updates on LA, carp, and grass. Just an FYI, I'm meeting with the whole crew on Monday. We are doing a vegetation study on Austin, I'll talk to TPWD and COA then. I think FOLA might be joining us as well, they will be following behind in their own boat to verify the findings. I've already told them all there is no vegetation, but they need to verify that in order to present information up the ladder.

    I'll keep you posted. Oh and KXAN will be there to be part of the ride along and do a follow up story. So we will get some good press on the current vegetation situation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2015
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  2. Chris Coufal

    Chris Coufal Well-Known Member

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  3. Lowell Mayes

    Lowell Mayes Well-Known Member

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    You the man!!!!! If/when the lake comes back to it's former glory, I vote to change the name to Lake Ward.
     
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  4. JamesRoberts

    JamesRoberts Well-Known Member

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    I like the idea of "if and when it comes back" but my last two guide trips where we used minnows, each trip we caught a White Amur in the mouth that was eating the minnow. So in my opinion it will be at least 10 years from the date of the last stocking before LA has the opportunity to try and come back. And with these carp becoming carnivorous LA will suffer even more.
    JR
     
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  5. Toadchaser

    Toadchaser Well-Known Member

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    John you have to relay this info from James to them. James, please put this on film so we can begin to present proof to the doubters. Great job as always guys!
     
  6. John D. Ward

    John D. Ward Moderator

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    I've told them all the stories from minnows to crankbaits and everything else. Unfortunately, when they cut a couple hundred of them open they only saw signs of vegetation. Granted that's a small sample of the population which could be anywhere between 17k-35k carp depending on what mortality rates you want to believe.

    TPWD and COA biologist know what we know, they only way vegetation bounces back is to remove carp. The hard part is going to be convincing people (who have a lot invested into that carp program) to remove the fish. It's a fight worth fighting though, so I'll keep doing what I can.

    In other news TPWD has those massive concrete pillars ready to go and we are likely looking to build some big reefs between Hula Hut and Bee Creek on those ledges in between the flats.
     
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  7. Bassectomy

    Bassectomy Member

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    I second the Lake Ward name change and a fantastic idea!
    Also, I stumbled across the FOLA SEIZETHEHYDRILLA donation web page and they raised $17650 to add more the carp. Since FOLA was the driving force to get the permit to allow a much higher stocking rate, one would think that they own the cost responsibility for removal of the carp. FOLA broke it, maybe they can pay for fixing it and possibly this would set a precedence of future carp stockings across the state.
    https://www.crowdrise.com/seizethehyrdilla
     
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  8. bDick

    bDick Well-Known Member

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    Terrible, the fishing has been steadily declining regardless of the season. I've now caught two carp on topwater. Ugh
     
  9. John D. Ward

    John D. Ward Moderator

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    Yeah the FOLA guy and I really don't get along too well. We didn't exactly see eye to eye on the state of the lake, they think it's in fantastic shape.
     
  10. trihullranger

    trihullranger Member

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    Thanks for fighting the good fight John!!
     
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  11. JamesRoberts

    JamesRoberts Well-Known Member

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    FOLA thinks its in fantastic shape! Ask that MF'er to explain why the clarity is gone and the lake is brown? Then ask him, oh never mind, "you can't fix STUPID!"
    JR
     
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  12. goodner171

    goodner171 Well-Known Member

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    The Fck-tards of Lake Austin aka FOLA could care less about our wants/needs. Sad but true. Money talks, and until anglers start purchasing more lakefront property on LA it probably won't change.
     
  13. Chris Baker

    Chris Baker Well-Known Member

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    Thank you John for all that you do! Your Diplomacy and action is appreciated! I'm sure it will work eventually. But in the mean time it will be hard for the people, TPWD and FOLA, that damaged the ecosystem to admit it. I know it's more complicated than this but right now it seems to me that we need to get along with FOLA. To me the compromise is removing a portion or all of the fish. That is assuming that TPWD would allow us remove any fish at all. This also assumes that we keep going like we are, as far as trying to prove to FOLA about the damage done and getting them to side with us. Then I'm guessing we, fisherman and FOLA, try to get TPWD to allow the removal of some or all of the Carp. I don't believe any of this is right but if it's our only choice then let's do it. John is definitely on the right track given the circumstances. But, I don't understand why the opinions of regular people like me have any say so in this debate. I actually put the blame on the State of Texas. TPWD should just pull rank and do what is best for the ecosystem. I do understand Fisherman and FOLA having a voice.. I do not understand why TPWD would make a decision based on complaints/opinions first and Facts second. And I mean the Facts that their highly educated Biologist come up with, not fisherman and homeowners opinions. So I say to TPWD "Do something already and don't ask me my opinion. I'm not qualified and neither are the citizens of FOLA. So just do what is right".
     
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  14. John D. Ward

    John D. Ward Moderator

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    Well the study was done today and we are still at 0 acres of vegetation in Lake Austin. For those of us who are out there every week this is not a shocker, and I'm pretty sure the TPWD guys knew what to expect. There were signs of hydrilla growth in the cages, as well as bushy pond weed and eel grass. There is still life in the water, we just need to stop the carp from eating it all. On that front I did mention to KXAN when they interviewed me that the number one question I hear from anglers is what is being done about the carp, is there a removal plan, etc. In response TPWD did mention in a follow up interview that they are gathering data and looking into more carp removal. Don't shoot the messenger, I'm just telling you what I heard.

    In other news, TPWD still wants to build a gigantic rock reef in Lake Austin. They received a quote for this project and the price was much higher than I thought, like north of $20k. That being said that is not an impossible amount of money to be raised. We have a few avenues to try to help get funding for Lake Austin projects. First and foremost TPWD and I are currently working on a proposal for the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership, for a federal grant. They only award about 8 or so of these per year, so it's pretty stiff competition for these Federal grants, but they can be up to $20k. So it's certainly worth our time to write up this proposal and see if we can get a check cut to TPWD to pay for all of this.

    (also I know what a lot of people will say, why do we the fishermen have to work to raise money for the state, can't the state just pay for this? The short answer is no, this type of habitat project is not in their budget. Regardless, I believe LA Habitat restoration is a cause worth fighting for, so if I need to write up a 10 page report on the hows and whys and submit them in triplicate on 1.5 spaced lines, so be it, we can jump through those hoops.)

    We also have some corporate sponsors who have habitat funding in their budgets and I'm working on those proposals as well. Hopefully between the federal grants, corporate sponsors, and money from the State we are able to get many projects rolling. Win or lose, at least we are trying to get something done.

    I'll keep yall posted when I know more. The awards for the Federal Grants will be announced next month, fingers crossed.
     
  15. JamesRoberts

    JamesRoberts Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff John, It would certainly seem that FOLA should pony up some $$$$$$$ as this will only benefit their cherished lake. But I would be willing to bet that not a nickle will be given for this. Here is my only gripe about us (as fishermen) having to raise funds. We were not the ones that devastated, and destroyed the lake, now we are the ones that have to fix and fund someone else's screw up?

    John, just curious what the fola member had to say?

    JR
     
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  16. John D. Ward

    John D. Ward Moderator

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    FOLA did not show up, and quite frankly I doubt we will hear from them again unless grass starts growing to the surface of the lake. It only makes sense that they should get involved in habitat restoration, but that's not their concern. Their concern was grass eradication, and on that front they have succeeded.

    The state and city know what is going on, they know the status of the lake, and even if we do nothing they are going to work on getting it right again. TPWD stocked that lake with Florida strain bass and managed the carp program for over a decade maintaining the vegetation and building that lake into what we all grew to love. You have to give them credit for that. Now that being said that program made some mistakes over an 18 month period, while under a lot of pressure from many outside forces, and you see where that has gotten us today. But I truly believe the fisheries department has our best interest in mind, and wants things to get back to a healthy status ASAP. If anybody wants to volunteer to help out until we get there, that's fantastic. We as fishermen don't have to do anything, but I am thankful to those who have volunteered their time and or money to help with stop gap solutions until the grass returns.

    Personally, I have no problems working on these proposals and asking for funding. When the TTZ Friends of Reservoirs Chapter was started for Lake Austin, I knew this was part of the job. Is it a perfect system? No. Is it unfortunate that we are in this position currently with Lake Austin? Absolutely. In my mind the best way to resolve this issue is to work with the governing bodies, not against them. Any avenues that we can open up to make a positive impact on the ecosystem should be explored. It stinks that we even have to have these conversations, but I'm hopeful (perhaps naively) that things will return to balance.
     
  17. JamesRoberts

    JamesRoberts Well-Known Member

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    10-4 John, and much props to you for all you have done, and what you will be doing!
    JR
     
  18. BrianB

    BrianB Administrator

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    John has worked tirelessly on our behalf, and progress is being made. Thanks buddy!
     
  19. jsmith

    jsmith Member

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    Thanks John for all you have done and will do for our great lake .
     
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  20. Lowell Mayes

    Lowell Mayes Well-Known Member

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    John.......thanks for your continuous hard work on this problem. Just my initial thoughts, (and I'm a "tea-sipper", not an aggie), are that the $20k would be better spent on carp eradication that would benefit the entire lake, rather then on a giant reef in a limited location, that likely would be over fished.

    Thanks again for your diligence!

    Lowell
     
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