Fish­eries of­fi­cials urge mov­ing cau­tiously with Weiss Lake plans

Cherokee County Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By Terry Dean Chero­kee County Her­ald Ed­i­tor

Alabama De­part­ment of Fish­eries rep­re­sen­ta­tives say they will need more lo­cal feed­back and doc­u­men­ta­tion be­fore any move is made to re-stock Weiss Lake with stripes.

Mem­bers of the Weiss Lake Im­prove­ment Au­thor­ity and vis­i­tors heard from Nick Ni­chols, chief of the Alabama De­part­ment of Fish­eries and Mike Hol­ley, dis­trict bi­ol­o­gist, Alabama De­part­ment of Fish­eries dur­ing WLIA’s July meet­ing held at the Chero­kee County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing in Cen­tre.

“Thanks for invit­ing us,” said Hol­ley. “We fig­ured this would be kind of a low-key ques­tio­nand-an­swer type meet­ing. We are here for you.”

Mark Collins, pres­i­dent, Weiss Lake Im­prove­ment Au­thor­ity, gave a sum­mary of what they are propos­ing.

“Most ev­ery­body is con­cerned about stock­ing striped hy­brids into the lake,” said Collins. “They won­der ‘Are they go­ing to eat the crap­pie out of the lake?’ The sci- ence that I have re­searched is from the study Auburn Univer­sity has done. They needed 440 fish and only found six crap­pie out of 440 fish. The science tells us that even when we had the big­gest stripe pop­u­la­tion we have ever had in the lake, we were still catch­ing big amounts of crap­pie. So per­son­ally I have seen where they are not eat­ing.”

“Any fish is go­ing to eat an­other fish if it has a chance,” said Collins. “But Lake Weiss is fer­tile. It has a lot of shad in it so they don’t have to pri­mar­ily eat crap­pie. Now if some­thing was to hap­pen and all our shad was to die on Lake Weiss they are go­ing to have to eat some­thing and they are go­ing to start with the eas­i­est one they can catch.”

“Sim­i­lar stud­ies have been done all across the south­east and pretty much all of those stud­ies in­di­cated the same thing, that the striped bass and hy­brids, al­most study by study by study is greater than 95 per­cent, shad or some other,” said Hol­ley. “It has been re­peated over and over again across the South­east.”

Please see WEISS A6

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