A New Lake Effect is considered the magical first 5-7 years when baitfish populations are abundant, predators exhibit extraordinary growth, and catch rates are high. With proper management you can continue this success for several more years. However, many road blocks will occur as you attempt to manage your dream fishery. Aquatic plants will grow, trash fish may show up, or drought could reduce your water body to half size or less.
Once the drought finally breaks and the lake begins to fill you may experience a miniature New Lake Effect. The existing forage fish will have an abundance of newly flooded vegetation available to them, and they will use this vegetation to avoid predation. Their offspring will have a greater chance of survival and the fishery will experience an abundance of forage fish.
The following year, an increase forage base and a mature habitat begins to equal fat predator fish. Years two and three will be marked with overweight fish. With the right management years four and five you may begin to see young trophy-caliber fish being caught consistently.
This phenomenon is not limited to private lakes and in fact all of North and Central Texas reservoirs could experience a miniature New Lake Effect with the recent rains. The potential is there for all our fisheries to thrive over the coming years.
Steven Bardin M.S.