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Stick Marsh/farm 13 WATER QUALITY CONCERNS (March 13, 2002)

by Jim Porter

I want to address the Stick Marsh/farm 13 water quality concerns of late. A couple of days ago, I had Gary Morton and Scott Taylor, from Conn., out for a full day (see our Fishing Update section for the story and pictures). We fished almost all of the time in the very SW end of the Farm and could hit the south wall with a good rock-throw. They had 30+ bass, with 4 or 5 over the 6-lb.

That same day, I saw two guys successfully working crappie in the same area. I passed this data to two friends who were also fishing that day, and they easily took limits of slab crappie, plus 15 bass on spinnerbaits in the same area.

The next day, Lou Daniels and I went back and took a 50-crappie limit in about an hour. Took longer to clean them than to catch them. The water does, in fact, look pretty bad. But, it looks a lot worse in the Marsh side. Lots of algae and sediments. We have had all this recent success right in the area that received the airboat spraying, as well as the aerial spraying of 26 Feb. Yep, there's a lot of dead vegetation back there. But, there is also a LOT of green. The spraying ONLY killed surface stuff, like hyacinths and the like. It did NOT kill any hydrilla or coontail that I can find.

We have noticed a few places on the south wall that were very good earlier, but now seem void of fish. But, that's normal. Every tournament I ever fished, my practice fish had moved on me by the competition day!! Since the February spraying, we had a series of discussions with the St Johns Water Management District Director of aquatic vegetation control, as well as Bob Eisenhaur, the local Fishery biologist. The District is wholly responsible for vegetation control and has no mandate to discuss, or coordinate, it with the Fishery Commission. However, the result of our discussions was that the three of us (primarily them) will coordinate when spraying is planned to assure it will not affect a spawn or is not at a time when it might support a fish kill condition. My part will be to post the schedule on my web site.

The bottom line is that I believe the spraying had little to no effect on the fish -- just what George Welcome and Hugh Crumpler had predicted.



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