The renovation of West Boggs Lake in Loogootee will not only restore fishing conditions, but also is expected to revive the lake’s contribution to the local economy.
West Boggs Lake was once a premier bluegill and bass fishing lake, drawing anglers from 81 Indiana counties, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. Anglers spent an estimated $1.1 million in the local community in 1999, according to a DNR survey.
The quality of the fishery declined when populations of undesirable fish increased. From 2004 to 2010, the DNR survey found that recreational boating decreased by 11 percent and the number of angler visits decreased by 63 percent.
The once million-dollar fishery now contributes about $326,000 annually to the economy.
“Anglers buy bait, food, gas, and lodging in the area, bringing economic gain and tourism to the community,” DNR fisheries supervisor Brian Schoenung said. “In a small town, the nearly $800,000 dollars lost annually can have a big impact.”
The fisheries renovation at West Boggs is scheduled for late September, beginning with the removal of adult bass and catfish that will be returned to the lake later on.
Trained DNR staff will apply rotenone in the West Boggs watershed to eradicate remaining fish in the lake. Rotenone is a naturally occurring substance in several plant seeds and stems and is an EPA-regulated piscicide. Rotenone quickly detoxifies in the environment and has virtually no effect on mammals and birds. After the fish eradication, the lake will be allowed to refill. It will be stocked with hatchery-raised game fish and fish salvaged from the lake before the renovation.
A similar renovation in 1994 increased the number of angler visits to the lake annually by 71 percent.
“The fisheries renovation will not only make for better fishing, but also has the ability to revitalize a small community,” Schoenung said. “Small family-run businesses often depend on these anglers spending funds in their stores.”
Name: Phil Bloom
Phone: (317) 232-4003