News Releases

Medard Reservoir restocking under way

News Release

Monday, December 06, 2010

Media contact: Gary Morse, 863-648-3200

Repairs to the dam at Edward Medard Reservoir in Plant City are complete, and the water level is rising. For fishery biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) this means it's time to restock.

The public lake is receiving 477,000 juvenile sportfish, spawned and raised at the FWC's Largemouth Bass Research Center in Webster. Fish stockings from now through next spring are scheduled.

Restocking began last week, when FWC fisheries managers released 130,000 juvenile bluegills into Medard Reservoir. Scheduled for release over the next few weeks are another 170,000 juvenile bluegill and 77,000 redear sunfish, but no specific timetable has been announced. Scheduled for stocking in the spring of 2011 are 100,000 largemouth bass fingerlings, ranging from 2 to 4 inches in length.

Medard Reservoir was drained of most of its water in the fall of 2009 to repair the water-control structure that regulates lake levels. Officials were forced by circumstances to close the lake to public access, with boating and fishing prohibited because of dangerous conditions associated with the low water level and the large construction project.

Draining the lake provided opportunities for FWC biologists and Southwest Florida Water Management staff to make some significant improvements that benefit both native sport fish and fishermen.

From the small remaining pools of water, FWC fisheries managers removed the vast majority of nonnative armored catfish and tilapia, which previously proliferated in the lake.  The removal of these nonnative fish from the system should dramatically improve conditions for native sport fish.

Fish attractors were built using concrete rubble removed from the old water-control structure and the old boat ramps. More than 2,000 tons of concrete rubble has been placed in long furrows where draglines operated when the area was an active phosphate mine. Once reflooded, these rubble beds should attract significant numbers of native sport fish.

Public access to boating and fishing on Medard Reservoir is still closed. The reopening of the reservoir depends on how quickly the lake refills to a safe level and how the fishery responds. Currently, the water level is 55 feet above mean sea level, with water covering about 400 surface acres. Full pool stage is at 60 feet above mean sea level, at which point water covers 770 surface acres.

For more information on freshwater fishing in the Tampa Bay area, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing.



FWC Facts:
Bottlenose dolphins live in family groups called pods. A group of dolphin pods is called a herd.

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