New Beginning for Lake 31

Improved habitat and an additional fish species have been added to Lake 31 at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area near St. Charles. The fish introduction will provide a great opportunity for anglers to catch one of the most exciting fish on the end of a line, and the additional habitat will provide comfortable surroundings for the area's newest fish addition.

This is the first time the Conservation Department has stocked smallmouth bass in a lake at the Busch Area. "We thought it would be nice to try to establish smallmouth bass here and give anglers a different kind of fishing opportunity," said fisheries biologist Charles Colby. Fishing here is just for fun; this lake is one of several at Busch which are for catch-and-release fish ing only. Only artificial lures may be used for fishing in Lake 31.

The bass will provide a new angling experience and some valuable information for the Conservation Department. During the spawning season, fisheries biologists will observe the fish to learn what conditions they prefer. The Conservation Department will compare two types of brushpiles by observing where the smallmouth bass spend most of their time. Then, all the structures will be moved to the depths the bass prefer.

Different habitat was provided when the lake was drained. Gravel and rock were added which will provide a place for the fish to spawn. Large, long pieces of wood (pieces typically discarded from sawmills), anchored at various depths with concrete blocks, will provide shade and cover for the spawning bass.

Not only did the fish get an improvement in their habitat, anglers have new fishing jetties which improve the availability of shoreline fishing. Brushpiles, constructed from cedar trees, and hardwoods hug the jetties