Undesirable species of fish found at Kansas lake

The Kansas Dept. of Wildlife and Parks says Gizzard Shad are flourishing at Scott State Fishing...
The Kansas Dept. of Wildlife and Parks says Gizzard Shad are flourishing at Scott State Fishing Lake.(Kansas Dept. of Wildlife & Parks)
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 9:42 AM CDT
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HAYS, Kan. (WIBW) - An undesirable species of fish is threatening the ecosystem at a western Kansas lake.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks says on Thursday, Sept. 29, that reports from the public of alleged intruders at Scott State Fishing Lake have been confirmed by its biologists in late August 2022.

Fisheries staff indicated that the presence of gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepedianum, in the spring-fed lake has been confirmed. It said 91 gizzard shad averaged 5.7 inches in length during an exploratory electrofishing survey.

Based on the shad sampled, KDWP said staff is confident the majority were hatched in 2022.

“Given the relatively high abundance and young age, it’s likely that most of the current population was produced in Scott State Fishing Lake and not the result of immigration or stocking,” said KDWP district Fisheries biologist Dave Spalsbury. ”Well, it wasn’t Department-led stocking, that is.”

“Gizzard shad were not stocked by KDWP, so the Scott State Fishing Lake population originated via natural immigration during our high flow-through event in May 2021, or through unauthorized public stocking,” added Spalsbury.

While the full effects of the shad establishment in the lake are currently unknown, KDWP said Fisheries staff are well aware of the detrimental effects the species can have in a small lake if left unchecked.

The KDWP noted that during the initial establishment o a population, small gizzard shad can serve as forage for select sportfish. However, over time, and with continued reproduction, juvenile shad form into adults and become too large to be vulnerable to predators.

Inevitably, the Department said this leads to multiple fish populations directly competing for food and overall growth is stymied.

According to KDWP, Fisheries staff are currently evaluating management strategies with hopes of protecting the 115-acre lake from becoming overrun with shad.

Currently, the department noted that the lake is home to channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, sunfish, saugeye and the occasional rainbow trout.

For more information about the lake, click HERE.