Pond Weed Planted At Lake Russell

GON Staff | May 1, 2002

With a forest of underwater timber in deep water for bass to hold in, some attractive cover closer to the banks of Lake Russell might make fishing easier for the average angler. That shallow cover may be on the way in the form of pond weed.

A joint project between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Carolina Fisheries has already established pond weed in five sites at Lake Russell: Latimer Creek, in a pocket across Rocky Creek from Calhoun Falls Park, in Beer Garden Creek on the lower end on the South Carolina side, and there are two patches of the pond weed located upstream in the Rocky River arm before the first bridge below the Felkel ramp.

And there’s more pond weed on the way, according to corps fisheries biologist Mike Alexander, who said the corps has received 1,000 more pond-weed tubars that will soon be planted, and South Carolina fisheries has ordered 1,000 additional tubars.

“We are going to add some additional sites where we use the large pens — fenced exclosures that are about 30-feet wide and about 100-feet long,” Mike said. “In addition to those larger pens, we are going to experiment with individual cages that are 6-foot square exclosures we can put out in a lot of different locations. If we get it in pockets in a lot of different locations, we might get more expansion more quickly.”

The exclosures are being used to keep deer, geese, and spawning carp from damaging the plants as the stands are getting established.

Two types of pond weed are being used in the plantings. American pond weed, which doesn’t grow much deeper than 3 to 4 feet, and Illinois pond weed, which grows out to 7 to 8 feet of water.

Pond weeds are rooted plants. They grow up with broad leaves that float across the surface, providing good cover that can increase survival rates for young fish, particularly bream and bass. Mike said pond weed produces a seed that is also beneficial for waterfowl.

“We are doing some of this on an experimental basis, trying different depths, different planting spacings, a lot of different stuff to see what works best,” Mike said. “We started last May and June. They began to grow and spread, then in the winter they died back.

“We’re starting to see regrowth this spring of the pond-weed stands we planted last year. That’s what we were hoping for. That means the tubars are in the sediment and coming back up. Even if a deer comes in there and crops it off, it should keep coming back.”

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