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Monday, August 3, 2015

Fewer Bass at Lake Eugenia

Lake Eugenia | by Claire McCormack  

A decline in the bass population at Lake Eugenia is puzzling scientists.

Lake Eugenia's fish population is changing.

There has been a decline in the large and small mouth bass population.

Founder of the fisheries research and monitoring company Biotactic in Kitchener, Dr. Chris Bunt says Lake Eugenia has historically been known for good large and small mouth bass fishing.

He says the number of bass in the lake could be affected by a number of things, including zebra mussels or the expanding carp population.

Bunt is undertaking a study of the lake to uncover the reason behind the change and find a solution to the decline in bass population.

Bunt says carp in the lake have been traveling in huge schools, and are "voracious rogue feeders" moving through areas and vacuuming everything off the bottom, which can include bass nests and eggs.

He adds zebra muscles likely brought in by boats are changing the flow of energy and biomass in the lake.

Bunt and his crew currently have a camera system already in place in the lake that they're using to watch fish and collect data.

Half of the $30,000 study is being funded by Biotactic and the other half by Grey Highlands and the Lake Eugenia Property Owners Association.

Bunt says Biotactic will gather and prepare the data by relying heavily on volunteers, and adds they still need help and wouldn't turn anyone away.

To pay for a crew it would be over $100,000.

His company also already has the equipment needed for the project, which helps make it less expensive.

Bunt has an interest in the study because he has property on the lake and has noticed changes over the years.

He says there could be numerous solutions to the problem, one of which might be protecting bass nesting areas so carp can't disrupt it, rather than getting rid of the carp altogether. 

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