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Rock Creek Lake to be drawn down for fish renovation

LINCOLN, Neb. – Rock Creek Lake will be drawn down over the next few months in preparation for a fish renovation.

The project at the Dundy County lake aims to improve water quality and sportfish potential by eliminating gizzard shad.

When the water level is down, cedar trees will be used to build fish habitat structures in the lakebed. Rotenone will be applied this fall to remove undesirable fish. Sport fish will be restocked as the lake refills before winter.

Rock Creek Lake was last renovated in 2003 due to high gizzard shad numbers.

“Gizzard shad can be problematic in small water bodies,” said Daryl Bauer, fisheries outreach program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “Since their re-infestation into the lake in 2010, fish surveys have shown significant declines in abundance and growth of largemouth bass and other desirable species.”

In an effort to prevent accidental introduction of gizzard shad again, a No Live Baitfish regulation will be recommended after the renovation is completed.

Refilling of Rock Creek Lake will begin on the day of the rotenone renovation. The lake should refill in approximately 45 days, depending on rainfall.

Some sport fish have been salvaged from the lake and used as broodfish at Game and Parks hatcheries. Additional salvage efforts will be made as the water level declines.

Rock Creek Lake State Recreation Area will remain open throughout this process. A park entry permit is required.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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