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  • Arkansas Outdoor News

    AGFC plans to add agricultural lime to Harris Brake Lake
    Location: Arkansas

    PERRYVILLE – Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists will be adding agricultural lime to Harris Brake Lake Feb. 3-7. Agricultural lime is simply crushed limestone, not to be mistaken with hydrated lime.

    The 1,300-acre AGFC lake is located between the cities of Perryville and Houston, on the east side of Highway 9.

    Harris Brake is well known for its excellent largemouth bass and crappie populations. The lake also harbors good numbers of channel and flathead catfish, bluegill and redear sunfish.

    Liming is a common management practice used by farmers, gardeners, fisheries biologists and private pond owners. Limestone is not common in the central and southern parts of Arkansas, so soils tend to be more acidic.

    Lime can be added to ponds or lakes to increase productivity just the same as farmers apply lime to fields to buffer the soil’s pH and increase nutrient availability and uptake by plants. Once the lime is applied to the lake, it will help stabilize the water’s pH level, introduce calcium and magnesium which are vital nutrients for aquatic organisms such as snails and mussels, and increase availability of added nutrients that are released into the water column. These benefits increase the lake’s phytoplankton production, which ultimately increases the production of bait and sport fish species.

    In the late 1990s, fisheries biologists noticed a drastic decline in the lake’s sunfish populations, especially redear (otherwise known as shell crackers), which was associated with drops in the lakes pH level. This created acidic water conditions, undesirable for sustaining healthy fish populations. The primary food source for redear sunfish is snails and mussels, which also had all but disappeared from the lake. In 2001, the AGFC applied lime to the lake and has since then noticed a significant increase in the lake’s overall productivity, large numbers of snails and mussels, and establishment of healthy bluegill and redear sunfish populations.

    Recently, water quality samples conducted by district fisheries biologists indicate low alkalinity and higher than average swings in pH during the summer months. Although the pH swings are higher than normal, they are not yet severe enough to have a negative impact on the lake’s fish populations. In fact, during annual fish population samples in 2012 and 2013, district biologists have observed extremely fast growth and large year classes of crappie and largemouth bass, meaning 2014 should be a great year to catch some quality fish in Harris Brake Lake. Appling lime now will simply ensure the lake maintains healthy fish populations.

    For questions about the liming or general management of Harris Brake Lake, contact District 10 Fisheries biologists by calling the AGFC Mayflower Field Office at 501-470-3309.

    News Source: Arkansas GFC - Jan. 22, 2014

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