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Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Pollution suggested as cause for not netting big ones

By Nancy Allen
Two bass fishing tournaments held on Grand Lake have been canceled for this year, and Lake Development Corporation (LDC) members wonder if the reason is the lake's poor water quality.
"We had 102 registered tournaments on the lake last year and a couple of big ones are not coming back in 2007," Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Manager Craig Morton said during the LDC's meeting on Monday.
The Wal-Mart BFL had been held on the lake for the last 3 years and the ESPN/Bassmaster was held on the lake for the first time last year, Morton said.
Morton said he did not speak with any tournament officials directly and does not know the specific reason they were canceled. Morton did however indicate that an organizer for one of the tournaments asked for a great deal more money from the local community to put on the tournament than was typical.
He also did not rule out water quality as a reason.
"This water quality thing really goes far out. People say this lake is polluted, and you can't catch anything," LDC member and local bass fisherman Jim Dabbelt said. "That's a terrible loss for this area. When you have some of the best bass fishermen in the world and they can't catch anything, there's something wrong."
Another member added that the tournaments bring lots of revenue to the area because while fishermen are here, they buy gas, eat at local restaurants, stay at hotels and make other purchases.
Wildlife officials have admitted the lake's lackluster fishing could be a result of poor water quality, but say is is most likely due to the natural up and down cycles of fish egg hatching.
Morton said maybe the poor bass fishing has more to do with the cloudiness of the lake water. Especially in the summer, the lake is a very cloudy, green color due to excess algae blooms caused by an overabundance of nutrients entering the lake that feed the algae.
"Maybe half of it is the fish can't see the lures," Morton said.
Some members pointed out that recent electrofishing done by division of wildlife officials on the lake has yielded fat, healthy-looking bass. During electrofishing, fish are temporarily stunned so they float to the surface so they can be inspected for quality and size once they float to the surface.
After the meeting, Morton said he has talked with other bass fisherman who say the fishing is good, but that you have to fish differently on the lake because of the cloudy water. They use underwater object finders to locate submerged objects that cannot be seen from the surface and then fish around them, Morton said.
LDC members on Monday tentatively set this year's annual legislative day on the lake for June 14 at Wright State University-Lake Campus.
During his state park report, Morton said a waste oil furnace has been installed in the park's maintenance building located behind the state park office for heating purposes. The building also has been expanded by knocking out a wall. The furnace and inside remodeling makes working conditions for state park employees better, he said.
The state park is looking for free waste oil to use to run its furnace. It will accept amounts ranging from five gallons to 50 gallons.
Morton also reported the installation of 9,600 feet of water line should begin soon at the campground. The job should be done in May. The water line replacement will start on Edgewater Drive one-half mile east of the park office and continue through the entire campground.
Wright State University-Lake Campus Assistant Dean Greg Schumm reported an ice safety workshop will be held at the Lake Campus on Jan. 20 and 21.
Additional online story on this date
Two people, including a retired priest who had served parishes in Minster and St. Henry, were seriously injured Monday in a pair of traffic accidents on rural Mercer County roadways. [More]
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