Memory Lake (Coleman) Conditions Report
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Inland Fisheries District 1-B
March 01, 2002
By Galen Jons
|Spring is here! Let's hope for a little more rain this
spring than we've received over the last few years. Due to the severe drought
of the last several years, fishing has taken quite a hit in some of our
area reservoirs. Loss of habitat from dropping water levels has all but
eliminated several age classes of largemouth bass and sunfish. Other species,
such as hybrid stripers, crappie and catfish haven't been hit as hard, but
they've still been affected.
Some lakes have been more fortunate than others during this drought. Memory Lake, for example, has remained relatively stable. Fishing can be good at Memory Lake, but we (the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fisheries staff - TPWD) have plans to make it better. The lake currently has many small bass, and we've seen some bass up to 24 inches long. There are also many sunfish of all sizes, especially bluegill and redear sunfish up to eight inches long. Additionally, we've recently stocked channel catfish into the lake.
Lake Memory is currently lacking quality fish habitat. By that, we mean aquatic vegetation. Many types of aquatic vegetation can be harmful to small lakes because they can grow rapidly and take over a small area. However, there are several plants that won't cause any problems. One of these is called wild celery. Wild celery does not grow very fast so it will not take over a pond or lake, and it provides excellent habitat for fish as well as insects and other critters. Waterfowl also love the plants.
Funding for fisheries surveys and fish stocking is provided by the
Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program, Project F-30-R of the TPWD
Inland Fisheries Division.
We've already tried planting some wild celery in Memory Lake. However, turtles like to eat the plants, and carp like to root them up. Therefore, we must protect young plants with cages to keep herbivores out. You may have noticed some strange-looking round cages in the water last winter. We built those cages and planted wild celery inside. If we didn't have the cages to protect the plants, they would quickly be eaten by turtles and carp before they had a chance to spread and reproduce. Unfortunately, the cages have been subjected to vandalism, and we have had to remove them. We will try to get some plants going without the cages, but the future looks bleak.
We are concerned with the lack of nutrients in Lake Memory. Because the lake is relatively infertile, fish are growing slower than in many area lakes. Growth of largemouth bass in Lake Memory is below average, with fish taking three years to reach eleven inches in length. Normally, these fish should be around fourteen inches long at that age.
We can increase nutrients in the lake by adding fertilizer. Fertilizer (mostly nitrogen and phosphorus) will stimulate an increase in phytoplanton and zooplankton (microscopic plants and animals), which in turn will feed insects and minnows. These, in turn, will feed larger fish and drive the whole food chain. This will lead to faster growth rates of fish, and ultimately produce larger fish in a shorter period of time.
We (TPWD), along with the City of Coleman, plan to fertilize Memory Lake this spring and summer. The only change you may notice this year is a greener color to the water. However, within a year or two, you should start seeing more and bigger bass, sunfish and catfish. Good fishing!
Inland Fisheries District 1-B
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