In Iowa’s Big Creek Lake, a physical fish barrier was put up in 2012 to help keep adult walleye and muskellunge stocked in the lake from escaping. The new barrier came about through a collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and some local fishing organizations.
The new barrier was needed, officials say, because of a large-scale loss of muskie abundance in the lake from 2007 through 2010. That period was marked by several floods that may also have contributed to the fish-loss problem.
But since the installation of the fish barrier, as well as increased stocking of fish, populations of muskie and walleye have rebounded in Big Creek Lake. And being able to keep fish from escaping has helped a lot in simplifying maintenance of the fish populations for those who work to manage them.
Up next for researchers with the Iowa DNR is to evaluate the barrier at Big Creek Lake compared to the Brushy Creek Lake spillway. At both sites, devices will be installed to track the number of tagged fish that pass through.