Medard Reservoir restocking under way
Monday, December 06, 2010
Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3200
Repairs to the dam at Edward Medard Reservoir in
Plant City are complete, and the water level is rising. For fishery
biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) this means it's time to restock.
The public lake is receiving 477,000 juvenile
sportfish, spawned and raised at the FWC's Largemouth Bass Research
Center in Webster. Fish stockings from now through next spring are
Restocking began last week, when FWC fisheries
managers released 130,000 juvenile bluegills into Medard Reservoir.
Scheduled for release over the next few weeks are another 170,000
juvenile bluegill and 77,000 redear sunfish, but no specific
timetable has been announced. Scheduled for stocking in the spring
of 2011 are 100,000 largemouth bass fingerlings, ranging from 2 to
4 inches in length.
Medard Reservoir was drained of most of its water
in the fall of 2009 to repair the water-control structure that
regulates lake levels. Officials were forced by circumstances to
close the lake to public access, with boating and fishing
prohibited because of dangerous conditions associated with the low
water level and the large construction project.
Draining the lake provided opportunities for FWC
biologists and Southwest Florida Water Management staff to make
some significant improvements that benefit both native sport fish
From the small remaining pools of water, FWC
fisheries managers removed the vast majority of nonnative armored
catfish and tilapia, which previously proliferated in the
lake. The removal of these nonnative fish from the system
should dramatically improve conditions for native sport fish.
Fish attractors were built using concrete rubble
removed from the old water-control structure and the old boat
ramps. More than 2,000 tons of concrete rubble has been placed in
long furrows where draglines operated when the area was an active
phosphate mine. Once reflooded, these rubble beds should attract
significant numbers of native sport fish.
Public access to boating and fishing on Medard
Reservoir is still closed. The reopening of the reservoir depends
on how quickly the lake refills to a safe level and how the fishery
responds. Currently, the water level is 55 feet above mean sea
level, with water covering about 400 surface acres. Full pool stage
is at 60 feet above mean sea level, at which point water covers 770
For more information on freshwater fishing in the
Tampa Bay area, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing.