Skiatook Forage
2011 vs 2014
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Posted on Sunday Aug 17, 2014 at 1:58 PM  
 in the spring of 11 approximately 30,000 threads were stocked after record cold air temps. From what I saw on the sonar and at the end of the polls that was a great success Even with the low flows and nutrients considering the drought. By the end of 13 you could see school after school cruising across the lake at 30 mph. 
 The question is did they restock threads into skiatook this past spring and if not is it possible they will soon for a possible fall spawn? Why not go with gizzards they will tolerate much colder temperatures? I know All of the species probably prefer threads but at least gizzards would make it through the cold winter and that would be better then no food at all. Just my honest guess :-) Thanks in advance and no hurry on the reply we are doing good on Keystone right now :-)
Posted on Monday Aug 18, 2014 at 5:27 PM  
On Sunday Aug 17, 2014 at 1:58 PM StriperEd said ...
Why not go with gizzards they will tolerate much colder temperatures? ... at least gizzards would make it through the cold winter and that would be better then no food at all.
I agree. I've heard the case that Threadfin don't get too big to not be eaten, so they are preferred. But what are you wanting to feed - something with a small mouth? Seems to me that Hybrids, LMB, and Saugeye, have mouths that can either accept a bigger bait, or cut it in pieces to consume it. Wouldn't something be better than nothing? The Skiatook hybrids are looking thin these days. And some Okieland lakes are just busting at the seams with bait.  
The more you practice, the luckier you get.
Posted on Tuesday Aug 19, 2014 at 8:27 AM  
We are dealing with two different issues in your questions.  First: gizzard shad are already present in Skiatook Lake.  ODWC spending hundreds of man-hours collecting, then transporting gizzard shad to stock into a lake that already has gizzard shad is an enormous waste of your license funding.  That would literally be the least efficient and effective course of action we could take under these circumstances.  The shad already in Skiatook will do (and have done since April) a much better job of providing small forage for predators than us humans could possibly dream of doing by stocking a few truckloads into the lake.  Recently, ODWC has made efforts to re-stock threadfin shad following winter kills because we felt that was worth the effort given the smaller body size of threadfins and the fact that predators will eat them throughout their life (as opposed to a 3-year-old gizzard shad that is 12 inches long and too big for even the  largest hybrid or walleye).

The second issue: during the course of stocking and moving fish from lake to lake, ODWC is extremely cautious about aquatic nuisance species.  There are so many ANS present in our waters today that we take very extensive precautions when we stock fish.  We do not want Skiatook to end up with golden algae because we stocked shad collected from an infected lake and unknowingly stocked golden algae in the water that carried those shad.  All ODWC fish crews take detailed steps to prevent ANS issues, such as bleach washing of our hauling tanks and boats after each use.  My point is that it is not so simple as finding the nearest lake with threadfin shad and moving some to Skiatook...we have to measure ANS risks in every activity we do.

Sustaining populations of stocked predators (hybrids, saugeye, walleye, striper) can be a difficult task for fisheries managers.  We can stock fish at rates which have always proved to be effective in the past 50 years, but one or two cold winters or some other environmental variable which reduces the food available to the predators we stock can really hurt that population of stocked fish.  The result is skinny fish for a year or two until the population density is reduced and the remaining fish have enough food to maintain proper body condition.  Yet it is not a great program design to stock fewer predators annually based on the worst case scenario of low shad densities.  Some of our biologists have gone to every-other year stockings to reduce the risk of a population crash in a poor forage year (they stock saugeye one year, then hybrids the next and alternate).
Posted on Wednesday Aug 20, 2014 at 5:23 AM  
Thanks Kurt! I saw some gizzards on sonar in March but it seams they did not last long although there are probably a bunch of babies in there now. I was thinking the stocking of threads was timed just before spawning so they would multiply. I guess if you were going to lean towards gizzards the way to do it would be not to stock possibly competing threads. I just need to pitch in and go harvest some of those hybrids, Robin has been wanting to fry some fish for me and I can get her off of those poor stripers in Keystone
Posted on Wednesday Aug 20, 2014 at 9:40 AM  
On Tuesday Aug 19, 2014 at 8:27 AM KukODWC said ...
The shad already in Skiatook will do (and have done since April) a much better job of providing small forage for predators than us humans could possibly dream of doing by stocking a few truckloads into the lake.
The reason that Skiatook hybrids are looking thin these days is because there are too many of them? I've spent a lot of hours watching an HDS graph on Skiatook the last two years and I seldom see any bait balls. I also heard that ODWC put shad catch nets in Skiatook this spring and didn't come up with a single live shad. To me, that report confirmed what I was seeing on my graph. When I graph numerous other Okie lakes, there are bait balls from shore to shore - so thick it's like I could walk on them. Skiatook's problem looks like a lack of food to me. I agree with you that a few truckloads of shad probably would not make a bit of difference. But a bunch of truckloads probably could 
The more you practice, the luckier you get.
Posted on Wednesday Aug 20, 2014 at 8:12 PM  

Fertility and low inflow and cold winter has put a damper on the forage.  That stuff goes in cycles. Have somebody put a big stockyard upstream Skiatook, seriously. And Sooner too.    But be glad Took gets an annual bird stocking.  We have lakes up here that I would dearly love to see stocked with birds every year, much less shad. If the biologists are over there looking, give 'em credit they care and will work with what the resources they got, I'm confident. Florida LMB are the attention getters for a big chunk of the fishery budget, right now it appears. I just hope they quit throwing florida lmb seed where it doesn't produce, but suppose it will take 5-10 years to be sure of that, in some minds.

Posted on Thursday Aug 21, 2014 at 3:40 PM  
Open water forage is hard to find on Skiatook - BUT if you go up toward upper ends of the lake there is plenty of shad and minnow forage, I've seen huge gizzard shad schools up hominy creek - likely the BEST scenario for Skiatook would be to get large stands of aquatic growth started - the lake is almost devoid of sunfish, which is kinda odd given large timber stands in upper arms - but it points  out to the sterility of the lake - its in a clay and rock soil- just a poor combination for phytoplankton  -- you gotta FIX the bottom of the food chain to get good finfish production - with zebra mussels already present it just adds to more sterility --
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Thursday Aug 21, 2014 at 4:32 PM  
I agree it is almost sterile, but last summer after seeing so many balls of bait I wanted to see how big they were so I went out at 2AM put a submersible light down and took a heavy 1/4" net and caught some 1.5" threads. They did not make good bait though. Robin did catch a nice brid about 3AM. I do not know why I was surprised when she said she would come with me that time of day!
Posted on Thursday Aug 21, 2014 at 6:18 PM  
On Thursday Aug 21, 2014 at 4:32 PM StriperEd said ...
Robin did catch a nice brid about 3AM. I do not know why I was surprised when she said she would come with me that time of day!
My precious better half has never liked even stepping onto a boat, much less going anywhere in it. You've got a wife that will go with you any time on any day. Count your blessings.
The more you practice, the luckier you get.
Posted on Thursday Aug 21, 2014 at 6:45 PM  
The lake has been low for so long that a lot of new growth has grown around the shore line which I think will help with a lot of different species when the lake comes back to normal or above. I am not a biologist but I think that this will provide new cover and food that will help regenerate the lakes fertility, at least for a while. Some lakes that have been low for a long time do improve a great deal. The long range prediction on the weather this evening predicts wetter than normal fall, lets hope the weather man is right. 
Posted on Friday Aug 22, 2014 at 10:26 AM  
They did drop in 26,350 threads in Skiatook in 2011.  Last winters temps put a pinch on 'em.  Big rains in the right place for Hominy creek watershed, like you say,  would give the lake a good charge if or when it fills up. About need a flood. If is rose 3 foot a year, that would be even better.  Interesting to see the annual population fish and baitfish ups and downs at Texoma. On geezers  it sounds like a lot the fish caught there now are skinny due to shad die off last winter.  The ocean stripers look skinny to me, till they start filling in that 70lb frame. There's a good striper print up on Texoma on ODWC's site.  It is from 2006 or so.  Good info about the real bass thriving landlocked. That article said mortality on  summer released striper was 50%. Ouch
Posted on Friday Aug 22, 2014 at 10:45 AM  
Mother Nature could go a long way in helping Skiatook Lake as well as other lakes farther west. When the rains come just hope that a flood doesn't send the hybrids over the spillway, it's happened before, but I guess that would be asking too much since we really need the rain.
Posted on Friday Aug 22, 2014 at 2:58 PM  
plenty of food for the walleyes ,thats all i care about . sorry guys. this was from erie
Posted on Sunday Aug 24, 2014 at 6:00 AM  
WalleyeMan, that pic dudnt look like you. What are the SK walleye eating? Worms and stuff? We caught one about twenty inches long Saturday in the blazing heat about 29' deep, it felt like pulling in a water logged boot. Had about a 3' starving Hybrid chasing it to the top.....Robin felt sorry for the hungry fish and turned the walleye loose!
Posted on Tuesday Sep 16, 2014 at 2:49 PM  
The huge # of zebra mussels now in Skiatook cant be helping the shad either.
Posted on Tuesday Sep 16, 2014 at 3:11 PM  
We cleaned (um...Ed cleaned) a blue cat from Skiatook a couple weeks ago that had nothing but zebra mussels in it's stomach.
If you're not the lead goose.....the scenery never changes!
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