The annual children’s ice fishing contest will be held Saturday, Feb. 7, on Lake Iola.
Children ages 16 and under are invited to sign up for the free contest, which runs from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Prizes will be awarded in various age categories based on type of fish caught.
The Kids Ice Fishing Contest is sponsored by the Lake Iola Lake District.
The contest had been suspended for a few years due to the recent draw down of Lake Iola. Based on recent fish surveys by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the contest will resume in 2015.
“The fish survey showed continued recovery, and it was agreed that our ice fishing contest could proceed with the recommendation of practicing catch-and-release,” said John Bertelson, president of the Lake Iola Lake District. “The DNR also stocked bass and northern this year, with plans to do it again in 2015.”
According to the year-end summary of the lake’s progress, the DNR’s weed survey showed a big increase in the number of native plants since the draw down, along with a huge reduction in the amount of Eurasian Water Milfoil.
“The DNR has done a lot of work on our lake this year to help us understand the effects of the draw down,” Bertelson said.
“Even though the draw down did not achieve the expected gain in depth that many were led to believe, the fact is that more of the lake is now accessible than before the draw down,” he said.
During the 2014 weed survey, the DNR was able to reach 70 percent of the measurement points compared to only 45 percent when the last survey was done in 2006.
Also, the DNR fish survey was able to cover three miles of shoreline due to the increase in lake depth and less vegetation, while in previous surveys they were only able to cover between 1 and 1.5 miles.
In the year-end summary, Bertelson reported that Cliff Schmidt was able to cut a path all the way up the channel to the Tresness Road bridge this year, with the plan to make this a permanent addition to the lake’s harvesting permit.
“The bottom line is that the water is deeper in many areas of the lake, and once more cattails and reed canary grass die off, even more areas of the lake will be accessible,” he said.
In order to preserve the gains from the draw down, Bertelson said the lake district may need to develop a new lake management plan. The current plan was developed in 2006.
• Fish populations in Iola Lake appear to be recovering quite well. (The survey) captured or observed most species that were present before the drawdown.
• Bluegill were found in low numbers but showed above average size with some fish over 9.0 inches in length. Proportion of quality size bluegill has increased 59 percent when compared to the last survey conducted before the drawdown.
• Largemouth bass were found in moderate abundance and were mainly comprised of fish over 10 inches. Both size and catch are slightly lower than pre-drawdown conditions.
• Northern pike size and catch rate were at low levels but should recover quickly.
• Other species captured during DNR survey included white sucker, lake chubsucker, green sunfish, golden shiner and brown trout.
• Currently, Iola Lake is in the second year of a three-year rehabilitation stocking quota. In 2013 and 2014, approximately 15,442 northern pike small fingerling and 5,125 large fingerling largemouth bass were stocked into Iola Lake.
• An electrofishing survey is tentatively planned for spring 2015.