Clear-Smithport Lake to Undergo Second Drawdown

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The second in a series of drawdowns of Clear-Smithport Lake, recommended by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Inland Fisheries Division, will begin on June 16, 2008.  Inland Fisheries biologists reported positive results after last summer’s drawdown and a second drawdown should further improve the lake’s ecosystem.

Clear-Smithport Lake, which encompasses 2950 acres in DeSoto Parish, has historically had problems with heavy infestations of water hyacinth, alligator weed and submerged aquatic vegetation.  Over the years these plants, along with leaf litter from the cypress canopy, have built up a large amount of organic matter on the lakebed.  This organic matter has led to the loss of spawning habitat for desirable sport fish such as largemouth bass, crappie and bream. 

Following studies into the habitat problems and the possible solutions, LDWF Inland Fisheries biologists have developed a plan to improve the quality of Clear-Smithport Lake through a series of up to three consecutive drawdowns.  The plan is to improve the bottom substrate by allowing the built-up organic matter to dry and decompose.  The drawdowns should also reduce the submerged vegetation.  The invasive aquatic plant, giant salvinia, has become a major problem in the lake and the drawdown will also help control the salvinia that is stranded and dries and desiccates during the drawdown. 

LDWF will continue its efforts to control noxious floating and emergent aquatic vegetation through herbicide applications in conjunction with the drawdown.

The drawdown will run through Jan. 30, 2009, at which time the gates will close and the lake will be allowed to refill with water.  It is expected that the lake will drain at a rate of 4-to-6 inches per day.  The lake will be drained as completely as possible to allow for maximum benefits from the drawdown. 

The effects of the drawdown on the fisheries habitat, fish population and aquatic vegetation coverage will be evaluated to determine if an additional drawdown is needed.

For more information, contact James Seales at 318-371-3050 or jseales [at] wlf [dot] louisiana [dot] gov.