In 2018 we were contacted by clients, Don & Betsy to consult with them about building a lake on their property near Clinton, LA. I met with them and we began the journey together for designing and building an 11-acre lake that would be carved out of a watershed presently occupied by some pasture, mature pine timber, and lots of brush understory.
We used GPS, GIS, flags, topography maps, and Google Earth (and chigger ointment) to design a lake that would fit the watershed as well as be a nice visual asset with a view from a family home on the property, as well as the driveway leading to it.
We planned and coordinated with the timber manager to first define and harvest the designated area. Magnificent mature pines were harvested in the selected area, leaving a beautiful canopy to the west of the future lake.
A lake excavation company was selected and although some joint decisions were made to adjust the original design, the basic shape and size were maintained. Soil testing was performed to determine the natural clay deposits ability to seal the lake floor. Appropriate slopes were used to prevent erosion, and peninsulas and shelves were constructed in the process to produce areas for spawning beds and macro structure in the pond.
The final depth at the dam was 14 feet with a majority of the main body at 12 feet of the depth sloping up to 9. A PVC siphon overflow pipe was engineered to pull water from the bottom and safely allow it to drain behind the dam without erosion issues. The siphon mechanism can allow for partial drawdown of the lake in the future for management or construction activities.
For fishery enhancement on the front end, we added gravel beds on top of the 4-5 foot deep shelves. 80 tons of agricultural lime was added to the lake prior to filling in order to buffer the pH and also to add minerals which will encourage basic food productivity. A diffused aeration system was added to mix and aerate the water. Artificial structures were added to the main body of the lake floor as well as the shelf spawning areas. This will help bass and prey species come in healthy contact with each other for healthy productivity and good sustainable growth of the fishery.
Don & Betsy contracted to have a dock built and it is a great platform for future fishing and socializing. They added wood duck boxes as well.
Forage species were stocked in spring 2020. And they are flourishing and reproducing with good nutrition from a high quality feed dispensed regularly through automatic feeders. They are already catching coppernose bluegill and redear sunfish. They seemed surprised and happy. When you do this right and make good preparations, you just get to enjoy the results as they unfold. We will be stocking Largemouth Bass in June 2021. We will continue to monitor and manage the fishery going forward and look for this lake to produce some fantastic largemouth bass in 2022 and in the future. Stay tuned!