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  1. Mary Groves, Fisheries Biologist
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Posted on March 15, 2013 | Permalink

St. Mary's Lake Habitat Projects

Type: Freshwater
Region: Southern
Location: St. Mary's Lake

St. Mary’s Lake in Southern Maryland is a popular fishing destination for anglers searching for Largemouth Bass, Sunfish, Crappie and even Chain Pickerel. The lake, however, is fed by streams naturally low in alkalinity and hardness providing little to buffer acidity that enters the system. This situation causes low productivity meaning that typical food webs struggle to maintain balance.

Good habitat (partially submerged wood/trees, cobble or stones, rocks and deep pools) is even more important when water chemistry is less than desirable. St. Mary’s Lake lacks enough permanent habitat to provide adequate shelter for various stages of fish growth or basic cover that many fish require. Inland Fisheries has tried to improve the habitat in St. Mary’s Lake for more than 2 decades. Some of the projects included hand-planting of aquatic vegetation and fencing off the area to discourage foraging animals, seeding exposed shoreline when the lake was drawn down for repairs, and installing artificial submerged bushes made of rot-resistant wood.

The most recent addition to St. Mary’s Lake are submerged tunnel-like structures (approx. 2 ft X 8 ft) that are anchored just off the bottom of the lake and have artificial “grass”, made of frayed polypropylene rope.

Inland Fisheries will monitor the success of these structures periodically to assess fish use and durability. Anglers are asked to not float directly over the structures and to avoid casting near the floats in order to keep from snagging the ropes used to mark the tunnel structures. Any questions can be directed to the Southern Region Inland Fisheries Manager at 301-888-2423 or email at mgroves@dnr.state.md.us.

Tags: St. Mary's Lake, Largemouth Bass, Sunfish, Crappie, Chain Pickerel