Conservation: Delaware's Griffith Lake

If you notice the bass fishing getting better on Delaware's Griffith Lake, you can thank the Eastern Shore Bassmasters (ESB).

If you notice the bass fishing getting better on Delaware's Griffith Lake, you can thank the Eastern Shore Bassmasters (ESB). They're the ones who partnered with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and their GO FISH program to improve the habitat on the popular lake near Milford.

 GO FISH stands for "Go Fill In Structural Habitat." Catherine Martin is a Division of Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Biologist with the State of Delaware as well as the GO FISH program administrator. She describes it like this: "Fishing clubs provide donated materials and the manpower to deploy the structures. Following placement of habitat units, the Division posts a sign at the access area designating the angling club as a cooperator." The Division also provides technical assistance on structural designs, appropriate sites and supplemental materials.

 Griffith Lake lost its entire bass population in 2006 after the dam was breached and the lake had to be drained in order to make repairs. Most of the fish in the lake were captured through electrofishing and transplanted to nearby Blair's Pond. When the Griffith repairs were completed, the fish were returned.

 Structurally, Griffith Lake has little to offer anglers. "Most of the lake bottom consists of a silty mud, and prior to our project it had a featureless benthic texture," according to Delaware BFN Conservation Director Bob Wallace. "By placing submerged structures in the lake, it provides a place for invertebrates to colonize and young-of-year fish to congregate. This perpetuates the cycle that predatory fish need to be supported on. Our project was aimed to kick start the fishery by providing the bare essentials that a fishery needs to be sustainable on its own."

 In addition to the habitat work, the club also stocked Griffith with 600 advanced fingerling bass.

 To date, two other fisheries have been enhanced through the Go FISH Program: Hearns Pond in 2002 and Killens Pond in 2008.

 For more information on GO FISH contact Martin at catherine.martin@state.de.us.

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