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Lake Charles drawdown to begin Nov. 15 for waterfowl, fish habitat benefits

BY agfc

ON 11-04-2020


Nov. 4, 2020

POWHATAN — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will conduct a planned drawdown of Lake Charles at least 8 feet below normal pool beginning Nov. 15 and lasting through January 2021. The released water will be used to inundate greentree reservoirs at Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management are for waterfowl habitat.

Once Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA is flooded, biologists will allow excess water to pass through the WMA to the Black River without any adverse effects.

“The goal is to maintain Lake Charles at least 8 feet below normal pool, although the lake level could drop beyond this if more water is needed at the WMA,” Allison Asher, fisheries biologist at the AGFC’s Jonesboro Regional Office, said.

Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA is dependent on rainfall, and heavy rains during the last few years have prevented a substantial drawdown of Lake Charles. This has prevented this valuable fisheries management tool from being implemented during the last few winters. Periodic winter drawdowns enhance an aging fishery by congregating baitfish and sportfish together, which can increase the growth of sport fish. Silt in shallow areas also is allowed to dry and compact, which will benefit spawning areas when the water returns in spring. Drawdowns also provide adjacent landowners an opportunity to repair fishing piers and boathouses, or complete other AGFC approved land-use projects.

Landowners must acquire a permit for any activities on AGFC property, including building new structures and stabilizing shorelines. Permits, as well as a copy of the AGFC’s Land Use Policy, may be obtained by calling regional fisheries biologists Allison Asher or Brett Timmons at 877-972-5438.

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