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Shad eradication planned at two Kentucky River WMA Lakes

Effort will boost panfish populations by reducing competition

FRANKFORT (Dec. 12, 2018) — The Fisheries Division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources plans to eradicate shad from two lakes on the Boone Tract of the Kentucky River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Henry County.

“We hope to start have the treatment of these lakes soon and have it finished by Christmas,” said David Baker, Central Fisheries District biologist for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. “We will be working at the 6-acre lake beside KY 389 and the 4-acre lake adjacent to Benjy Kinman Lake.”

Eliminating shad forces largemouth bass to concentrate on smaller sunfish. This reduction allows the remaining sunfish to grow larger because they have less competition for food.

Shad eradication requires the application of small amounts of rotenone, a substance produced from plants. “Rotenone binds to the gills of shad, and blocks dissolved oxygen transfer,” Baker said. “It doesn’t do anything to the meat of fish in the lake. You will see shad floating on the surface of the water, but the other fish are safe to eat during the treatment.”

Baker said winter is the best time for a shad eradication as the rotenone breaks down slower in cold water, making for a more effective treatment. Fewer people fish these lakes in winter as well.

Benjy Kinman Lake receives shad regularly from flooding due to its location beside Kentucky River and is not receiving treatment. “It will remain a shad lake and managed for largemouth bass, crappie and catfish,” Baker said. 

Baker said the 15-acre lake on the hill above the 6-acre lake on the south side of KY 389 holds a good population of bluegill up to 9 inches and does not currently have any shad in its waters.

“We have some good fish in these lakes now,” Baker said, “but we want to improve the quality of fishing in them with this treatment.”

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