Kennett, Mo. – Conservationists are seeing improvements in fish reproduction at Jerry P. Combs Lake, located on Little River Conservation Area (CA) near Kennett. Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Fisheries Management Biologist Salvador Mondragon reports that after nearly 9,000 largemouth bass were stocked in the lake in fall of 2011, biologists are noticing natural reproduction of the fish.
MDC has stocked largemouth bass since 2009. Other fish such as crappie and catfish are thriving in the lake as well, he said.
“The crappie catch rates have more than doubled and we’re seeing an increase in their size,” Mondragon said.
Mondragon said MDC discontinued catfish stocking in Combs Lake because the fish are naturally reproducing and hoop-net surveys result in high catch rates.
To improve fish habitat, biologists have added structure to the lake by strategically placing brush piles in the water to give fish places to hide and nest. Mondragon said management goals for the lake include monitoring sunfish, continuing to stock largemouth bass, conducting electro-fishing surveys, monitoring growth of the crappie population, and continually monitoring the overall water quality.
Little River Conservation Area is located in Dunklin and Pemiscot counties, five miles east of Kennett on Highway 412. For more information about fishing opportunities on this or other Conservation Areas, go online to mdc.mo.gov.