Download Project Presentation Summary 2016 PDF
RVCA and the Otty Lake Association will be completed another round of enhancement work in fall of 2016.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority in partnership with the Otty Lake Association collaborated on a project to enhance fish habitat for the Otty Lake fishery. Two site visits were conducted between RVCA staff, staff from Ministry of Natural Resources and a representative from Otty Lake who is extremely knowledgeable of the fish movements and habitat usage on Otty Lake in 2013 to observe bass during the spawning and nursery time period to confirm and prioritize the fish habitat enhancement opportunities. Potential locations were mapped by RVCA staff and then transferred into a digital file creating a series of maps.
Following a similar project that was implemented by the Mississauga Bassmasters, Credit Valley Conservation and the Ministry of Natural Resources titled “Bass Spawning Habitat Enhancement Project Lakefront Promenade Park, Lake Ontario” the project aims to enhance spawning, nursery and feeding habitat conditions in the lake for smallmouth bass and largemouth bass. A review of the habitat requirements for smallmouth and largemouth bass including the type of stone and water depths were taken from the MNR document titled Ecological Impacts of Fish Introductions: Evaluating the Risk and a paper prepared by Cindy Chu titled Population Dynamics of smallmouth bass in response to habitat supply. To conserve or rehabilitate a smallmouth bass population, emphasis should be placed on the nesting and recovery habitat. Nesting habitat may be restored or improved by filling regions of a lake to increase the area between the 0.5 – 2.5m depth contours that is, the area available for nesting, introducing shelters from wave action (Chu, 2001).
Gravel Bed Installation
- Gravel bed installation was completed in water depths between 1 to 5m in depth.
- Round river wash stone sized
1-2.5 inches in diameter
- Dimensions of each spawning bed were approximately 1 X 1 meters with a thickness of approximately 10cm.
- Installation was from a pontoon boat by dumping a pail/tote of stone over the side at the desired location.
- The nesting sites were spread out a minimum of 30 feet
Sunken Wood Installation
- Branches and trees approximately 6 ft in height were cemented into two gallon plastic flower pots.
- The plastic flowers pots were removed prior to installation.
- Installation was from a boat and pontoon boat by dumping the trees over the side at the desired location and depth of 17 to 22 feet.
Brush Bundle Installation
- Trees tied together with rope and held down on the bottom of the lake with a cinder block.
- Installation was from a boat and pontoon boat by dumping the the bundles over the side at the desired location and depth of 3 to 6 feet.
Project Goals and Benefits
Gravel Bed Installation
- To provide an increased number of suitable spawning beds for smallmouth bass over existing conditions.
- Provide improved substrate conditions for increased productivity of benthic invertebrate populations which are an important food source for bass.
Sunken Wood/Brush Pile Installation
- To increase the amount of cover in the form of sunken wood for post spawning.
- Provides areas for smaller fish to hide from top predators.
- Provides feeding areas for adult fish as smaller fish will populate the wood complexes.
- Provide complex habitat in areas that are adjacent to spawning habitats for smallmouth and largemouth bass
Phase 1 (2013)
The Project was implemented on October 7th and 8th from the Maple Glen Estates Community boat launch. The wood was set in the 2 gallon pots with concrete on day one. The focus of day two was the installation of the gravel and the sunken wood by using a pontoon boat and a volunteers boat.
Phase 2 (2014)
83 spawning beds, 185 wooden clusters were installed that provide shelter and feeding habitat. 58 large rocks (cornerstones) were placed at various nests which provides cover for dedicated smallmouth bass fathers as they brood their young..
Phase 3 (2015)
49 spawning beds, 9 brush piles were placed in shallow weedy bays to provide shelter and feeding habitat, 75 cornerstone were placed at various nests which provides cover and sheleter for the guarding male and the fry as they hatch from the egg stage.
RVCA and lake volunteers will monitor the success of the project. Site visits will be conducted in the spring and summer:
- Count the number of active nests from those that have
- Make observations of the integrity of the material (gravel)
that was installed.
- Observe the use of the wood structure using an underwater camera.