Hi Soup,

I haven't been keeping up with Douglas State Fishing Lake's project. I do know that Wildlife & Parks has totally drained it and crews are doing various things out there now, but I'm ignorant of the overall plan.

A Lawrence fly fishing club, Free State Fly Fishers, was planning to go out there last weekend (or the weekend before) and build some brush piles in advance of the re-fill.

I stopped out there yesterday afternoon after work because I haven't been out there in about 3 months and was curious. I'm sure you saw them too, but a LOT of evergreen trees have been anchored on the dry lake bed. I hope a whole bunch much more will be put out there -- and that red cedar trees are chosen due to their extreme resistance to water rot.

As for how long that lake will take to re-fill once this batch of improvements is completed, who knows? Might take only two or three serious toad-stranglers, but I doubt it'll happen in one storm. And Wildlife & Parks is shrewd: I would expect them to "stage fill" the lake, maintaining pre-planned levels and re-stocking it during each stage in order to have a healthy size balance once the lake is finally filled. I'm sure they won't re-fill the lake all at once, in other words.

What I really hope is that KDWP takes a number of years to re-fill that lake. The longer they wait, this lets the shoreline areas revegetate with thick natural stands of willow, brush, etc. that, once flooded, will provide outstanding habitat for aquatic nymphs, baitfish minnows...and predator species.

If you looked at that expanse of bone dry lake bed yesterday then maybe it saddens you, too, to think that so many lakes in America got built with the entire pool bulldozed and cleared of all trees and vegetation. Sure, the nation ended up with tens of thousands of new man-made lakes, but was no cover was left in those lakes for fish to use. Don't we wish now that we could build every one of those lakes all over again?

When you get an opportunity to see the absolutely desolate expanses of bare dirt at one of these lakes after it's been drained dry, the sight is depressing to those of us with fishing experience. I'm so thankful that Kansas Wildlife & Parks is working on our state's smaller lakes like Douglas County and installing hardcore habitat areas for the fish to use.


"Better small than not at all."