A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Big Bone Lick fish relocated by state Fish and Wildlife team, as leaking dam is evaluated

Helping save fish facing an uncertain future and improving a public fishing opportunity at the same time were all in day’s work for a team of fisheries biologists and technicians with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources this week.

The department offered its assistance to the Kentucky Department of Parks after the recent discovery of a leaking dam at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site in Boone County. The dam, which does not appear to be in imminent danger of failing, impounds a 9-acre lake.

State officials are drawing down the water level of the lake in order to determine the source of the leak and assess any damage.

Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources staff collect fish at the lake at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site

“We wanted to move quickly to remove and relocate as many fish as possible while the lake level was suitable for our crews to safely launch their boats into the lake,” said Ron Brooks, director of Fisheries for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. About 300 fish were removed.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife crews utilized electrofishing boats to recover the fish.

The technique involves applying electrical current to the water, temporarily stunning the fish so they can be netted then released alive. Largemouth bass up to 15 inches, channel catfish up to 18 inches and bluegill were recovered and relocated to 88-acre Benjy Kinman Lake in Henry County.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife stocks the lake at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site with channel catfish every other year and Big Bone Creek, downstream of the leaking dam, with rainbow trout three times each year.

Signs are posted along Big Bone Creek notifying anglers of the possible danger. The lake and surrounding area, along with a picnic shelter, are closed because of the leak in the dam.

The remainder of the park is open.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife will continue to evaluate the situation before determining future stocking efforts in the lake and creek.

Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet

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