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Discussion Starter #1
I was on Bastrop weekend before last fishing a club tourney, and I have big concerns with the health of the lake. I have never seen the lake so busy in the years I have been fishing it. There were at least 4 club tourneys and a multitude of pleasure boaters on Saturday, Sunday wasn't as crowded. Now to the lake/fishing report. The lake was down 18-24 inches as usual so the frog bite was off. Temps ranged from 85-88 degrees both days. They sprayed the grass again! What was floating was dead. Near all the hydrilla I fished was brown with sparse green mixed in. With exception of one, none of the fish I caught came from the grass. The eel grass as I call it also had a brown tint to it which seems as if it were dying as well, as was evident at the big buoyed flat at the mouth of South Park which is usually covered with eel grass and now it's not. I now question the health of the fish. Every fish I caught were very malnourished as this is what I have witnessed more and more. A 20 inch fish should weigh around 4 3/4-5 lbs the one I caught barely cracked 3 (Glad it was a paper tourney). The fish were schooling up in the outlet as usual but you know how that goes, 3 boats makes a crowd! Back in the creeks/timber I only knew of 3-4 fish caught. I also did not notice the sunning turtles back in there as I usually see (NONE). I did not see the usual huge balls of shad that is accompanied by schoolies this time of year either. Saturday my best 5 went near 15 lbs, which is respectable. Sunday I could only manage 1 keeper and lost only 1 other I know was a keeper. Whats going at with Bastrop??
 

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Anyone that reads my posts on here, know how I feel about Lake Bastrop. I was there 2 weeks ago and the lake had come up some. Every time I ask anyone about this lake, I get the same ole story. "The dam was being worked on." Apparently, they have been working on that dam for 3 years. It is supposed to be "fixed' now, so the water should come up. I have been told more than once that both of the ground water pumps are now running.

I fish the eel grass lines. Period. The patches of eel grass has been reduced (somehow) by 50%. In many places where the ell grass was, there is now some other stuff. I have called it spiny naiad, coon tail, and bottle brush but I really don't know what the scientific names are. All I know is that this new stuff doesn't hold the bass for me, like eel grass does.

I hope the powers-to-be have finally stopped monkeying around with my favorite lake.
 

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Spiny naiad probably came from Fayette. Guys fish it, load up and then fish Bastrop on the way back to Austin. I hate the stuff myself, but it is better than nothing at all.
 

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I've been out there 3 or 4 times in the past 2-3 weeks and each time I go, the water has come up a little bit more. I haven't been out there at all this past week though...

As for the OP's concerns about the lake, I guess I have a little different opinion. I've been fishing the lake for about 8 years now, and at various times of the year, it's always crowded on the weekends. When word gets out about schooling action or during the winter, a lot of clubs have tournaments out there and it is not uncommon at all to see multiple clubs on the lake on one day. This is nothing new for this lake. Pleasure boaters, on the other hand, I have never seen out there in "large" numbers. I don't think I've ever seen more than 10 pleasure boaters on the lake at one single time. 10 would be a lot for that lake. I have not noticed any evidence of grass being sprayed. The water level has simply come up a little bit, so the eel grass that was matted up, is now just below the surface. I'm pretty familiar with all of the areas that have eel grass on that lake, and it's all still there that I've seen. It's just not matted and under the surface now due to the water level rising slightly. Even the large, flat point with the buoys around it just outside of south shore has plenty of eel grass on it. I just fished it last week. Even if there was some spraying though, that's a pretty common practice on lakes across the nation in order to keep vegetation levels in check. The lawn has to be mowed, so to speak. Not the end of the world. There's still a ton of good grass in there. As for malnourished fish on Bastrop... Also, nothing new for the past 4-5 years or so. The vast majority of the fish on that lake are pretty skinny and have been for quite some time. So far this year though, I have seen more fat, healthy 3-5 pound fish out there than I have in the last 4-5 years. Not saying there aren't a bunch of skinny ones still, but I have at least seen better signs this year than the past several.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Killing the grass on a lake as small as Bastrop has a detrimental effect on the health of the fish. With the numbers of fish present and the water temps being as they are, the O2 level in the lake has to have lots of vegetation to help maintain healthy O2 levels. Look at the hydrilla at the corner of the rip down from the damn and out in front of the wooden post around the point from North Shore---it's dead! As I have seen over the last 3 years they target the hydrilla more so than the eel grass. I did however find hydrilla out deeper in front of a couple points but it was so unhealthy neither place held any fish.

I just read an article about the long skinny fish. A guy in Brownwood (I believe) has a private 35 acre lake that he had noticed several of his fish were just as you find on Bastrop. They conducted a necropsy on one and found its intestines were blocked with a handful of plastic baits it could not pass and was basically starving to death. Could this be why these fish are so unhealthy?
 

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Killing the grass on a lake as small as Bastrop has a detrimental effect on the health of the fish. With the numbers of fish present and the water temps being as they are, the O2 level in the lake has to have lots of vegetation to help maintain healthy O2 levels. Look at the hydrilla at the corner of the rip down from the damn and out in front of the wooden post around the point from North Shore---it's dead! As I have seen over the last 3 years they target the hydrilla more so than the eel grass. I did however find hydrilla out deeper in front of a couple points but it was so unhealthy neither place held any fish.

I just read an article about the long skinny fish. A guy in Brownwood (I believe) has a private 35 acre lake that he had noticed several of his fish were just as you find on Bastrop. They conducted a necropsy on one and found its intestines were blocked with a handful of plastic baits it could not pass and was basically starving to death. Could this be why these fish are so unhealthy?
I'm certainly not going to argue with ya about what appropriate levels of vegetation may or may not be for a lake depending on size, water temperatures, etc. Seems like figuring out that kind of balance would take some serious calculating, but I get your point. My point is, there is still a lot of good, green, healthy grass in the lake. Personally, I'm not worried about the state of the vegetation in the lake at this time. It seems pretty solid to me.

But yes, anyone that fishes Bastrop regularly can tell ya that a lot of those skeleton fish in Bastrop are due to the reason you've stated (swallowed plastics). I pull soft plastic baits out of fish almost every trip out there. I've even had fish throw up as many as 4 different plastic baits from one fish. There are other things going on in the lake as well, but this absolutely contributes to it. Not about to write a discourse right now though on other factors that contribute to the skinny fish. haha :)
 

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Please don't ever throw used plastic baits overboard. Not even the biodegradable gulp kind. Teach yourself the through the gill hook removal method if you are not familiar with it-hook removal for gut hooked fish. The hook never deteriorates like an old wise tale I once heard. That hook removal method is something I learned from this site years ago.
 
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