Date of this Version
Cottonmill Lake, a 17.4 ha impoundment located in Buffalo County, Nebraska, was a fishery dominated by common carp (Cyprinus carpio). As a result of the poor sportfish populations, angler participation in May and June of 1993 was low (503 ± 210 angler hours) and angler catch rates for all fish species (0.5 ± 0.4 fish/angler hour) was less than desired. In 1995, before rehabilitation, bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) trap net catch per unit effort (CPUE) was 1.5 ± 0.9, largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) catch per hour of electrofishing was 8.0 ± 0.5, and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) CPUE in gill nets was 7.5 ± 2.5. In 1999, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) and city of Kearney completed a lake rehabilitation project at Cottonmill Lake by removing 84,995 m3 (300,000 ft3) of sediment and adding two islands and four breakwater jetties. Standardized NGPC fishery survey conducted in 2003, four years after rehabilitation, found a significant increase in number of bluegill (CPUE = 28.3 ± 7.4; p = 0.012; F = 12.86; df= 1) and largemouth bass (CPUE = 496.0 ± 5.8; p < 0.001; F = 34.33; df= 1). In addition, angler participation in May and June 2006 was higher after rehabilitation (11,122 ± 1,333 angler hours), and angler catch rates for all species (1.5 ± 0.4 fish/angler hour) increased. The estimated angler expenditure while fishing at Cottonmill Lake during May and June 2006 increased to $367,026 in 2006 from an estimated $26,004 during May and June 1993.