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Lake life

It’s the Benthos

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 9.24.48 AMWhat has made Lake D’Arbonne such a good fishing lake for so many years? It’s the benthos. And that’s part of the limnology, just so you know.

It took me 50 years to learn that. When reading the “Louisiana Conservationist”  March/April 1964 issue, I found that out.  As part of our ongoing recognition of Lake D’Arbonne’s 50th anniversary this year, we’re sharing some of that article in a two-part series by writer James Davis. The first part was yesterday.

As I mentioned, since this was a LDWF publication, the Conservationist article covered the fisheries part of Lake D’Arbonne in much detail. One thing that stuck out to me in the article was this: “The limnology of a lake is made up of many factors, including benthos, plankton and water quality. To the average fishermen, this means very little. If we say that we are studying things which affect fish production, then it is much clearer.”

It appears that the streams that fed Lake D’Arbonne had lots of benthos. And when the lake was flooded, it even created more benthos (I’m wondering if I could get the folks at Mann’s to make a “Benthos” flavored fishing worm).

“In Bayou D’Arbonne and Corney Creek, we have checked the numbers of benthic organisms present since 1957,” the article states. “A definite chance in the bottom organisms has occurred during the period and the change has been an improvement. There is a much larger number of insect larvae which are desired for fish. There is also a marked reduction in the number of sewage or sludge worms present. In 1963, substantial numbers of snails and clams were also found. These had been present in only limited numbers.”

To make it more clear, benthos is good when it’s stuff in the water for fish to eat. It’s not good stuff to have,

Benthos!

Some microscopically enlarged Benthos!

say, in your drinking water.

The article goes on to point out that reduction of saltwater pollution entering both streams due to significant oil and gas operations in the area was greatly reduced due to cooperation between the state’s environmental departments and the local oil and gas well operators.  With the increased interest in exploration this decade, that’s an important thing to remember when talking about preserving and continuing to develop the lake.

The article also points out that while the lake will add tremendous fishing and water recreation opportunities, the previous streams weren’t too shabby to begin with. A creel census taken on the two streams the year the lake was built indicated over 6,000 fishermen trips were made. The good fishery base in those streams also helped lead to D’Arbonne’s early success.

Here’s hoping for good benthos for the next 50 years!

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