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Ski lake weed control

Historically the lake I live on has done annual treatments to the lake to keep the weeds at Bay. These are herbicides that I'm sure aren't the greatest for the environment or the humans. We are considering transplanting grass carp to take over weed control. Anyone have any experience with these fish? Work well/terrible/smelly? And advice would be appreciated. I'm in the pnw and the local wildlife department does approve as the fish are all sterile.


  • jpwhitjpwhit Posts: 96 Baller
    We just had them stocked in our ski lake to control hydrilla. I can let you know in about 6 months......
  • jayskijayski Posts: 997 Mega Baller
    Grass carp for sure!! Put about 150 in my lake last March and dang they got busy! Not a weed left by fall and they had some eatin to do!! They were bellyin up on the shore in fall to eat whatever they could find, probably too many to begin with but worth every cent!
  • MitchellMMitchellM Posts: 52 Baller
    I don't know the answer, but I applaud your desire to avoid putting unnecessary and potentially dangerous chemicals into your lake.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,230 Administrator
    grass carp work awesome if you can get them. I control my lake just by using dye.

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  • keithh2oskierkeithh2oskier Posts: 656 Crazy Baller
    Where does one get grass carp for the purpose of weed removal?
  • ETskierETskier Posts: 15 Baller
    Sonar, environmentally friendly, kills all the weeds. Dye, controls growth.
  • BobFBobF Posts: 196 Solid Baller
    edited January 22
    We had great luck with the carp. We had dense weeds growing out to a 7 foot depth, and all the way to the surface. 20 acre lake, 100 fish mowed it all down in a season. Still going strong after 7 years. Rarely see them, but they can get pretty big.

    If it's legal to stock them where you are, your can buy them from a hatchery. Our lake is in NC.
  • DockoelbotoDockoelboto Posts: 143 Baller
    Thanks for the input. Very helpful. Wa state allows them if you get a permit and you can buy them from a few hatcheries. Most of the neighbors are in favor of a more environmentally friendly alternative. We do dye the lake but in wa where weeds are the state flower they still grow. The only major concern was about possible massive fish death at once and a bad smell and a mess to clean up. Probably not a major concern.

    The sonar option sounds interesting. Is that a yearly service? Expensive?

  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,035 Mega Baller
    edited January 22
    We have grass carp in our lake too. I know some are three feet or longer (5 yr old lake). This season we had very little weed growth, and it seemed like they kept up with the growth we did have. I have also put dye in our lake as it looks great and helps shade the more shallow areas of the lake.

    Sonar is interesting. I’d like to hear more about that as well.
  • jimskijimski Posts: 586 Crazy Baller
    Talk to John Goodman
    He did this a boarder line
  • scuppersscuppers Posts: 470 Baller
    Sonar works period!
    Very expensive.
    Hydrilla so bad you could walk across our lake. Sonar perscription and in 3 months all gone. In some areas hydrilla 18 feet long. PM for details on how we did it.
    PS. 22 acres, average depth 18 ft. 600 grass carp didn’t even come close to making a difference.
    Chuck Link, Deland Florida
  • liquid dliquid d Posts: 1,314 Mega Baller
    @scuppers If you put 600 grass carp in, they did not survive. Grass carp recommendations are about 2 per acre. Several things can kill them: not acclimated to the water and shocked them, carp too small to start with and become a buffet for bass are the main issues. Get them in the 12 inch range. Hydrilla is like candy to them.
  • BCMBCM Posts: 267 Baller
    @Dockoelboto - I am assuming you are in WA based upon your state flower comment. I would recommend reaching out the WSU Ag Extension program, they will often provide weed management advice at little to no charge. My professional specialty covers controlling unwanted vegetation and though there is some good information on here there is also some less than ideal advice. Contact a professional and do it right. Herbicides can be a very safe and low cost solution and can also be a problem if not used properly. Using a non-native species can also be a great solution and can cause large issues if not used properly. Please contact a qualified professional.
  • scuppersscuppers Posts: 470 Baller
    @liquid d Yes for sure 300 were too small and probably few survived the bass. The second 300 were all 13” and larger. We waited 9 months to get big ones. They all survived and we could see them swimming and eating grass. They couldn’t eat as fast as it grew. After sonar our hydrilla is gone.
    Chuck Link, Deland Florida
  • DockoelbotoDockoelboto Posts: 143 Baller
    @BCM we have used professionals to come and provide recommendations and treatments. We have been using various herbicides for the past many years and they work ok. Annually we spend approx $4k in herbicide treatments plus we add dye. We as a community are interested in non-herbicide alternatives, if possible. We reached out to the WA Wildlife Department and they do grant permits for grass carp as long as they are sterile. One of the local hatcheries does sell them with a permit from the state. The wildlife department gave us recommendations on how many fish we need/acre. We estimate approx $2500 for this alternative. Not that cost is everything but it is potentially a big savings. I was just hoping to see if this is actually a good idea, if others had experiences, positive or negative. One family in our community was worried about smell from fish die-off.
  • BobFBobF Posts: 196 Solid Baller
    @Dockoelboto We haven't seen any dead ones in our lake yet, but other fish (bass, catfish, sunfish) far outnumber the carp, and turnover of those fish doesn't present a problem. Although the carp are much larger, I would assume that scavengers might take care of one or a couple dead ones at a time. Even though they have an advertised shelf life, it's doubtful that you would get a massive kill all at once, as long as you don't way overstock and therefore they don't have enough food. They ONLY eat weeds.
  • MichaelGoodmanMichaelGoodman Posts: 184 Baller
    @Dockoelboto Just curios about the cost of the fish how many
    does $2500 get you?
  • BCMBCM Posts: 267 Baller
    @Dockoelboto - One of my topics of professional inquiry is controlling unwanted vegetation. When these conversations come up I feel obligated to post the 'contact a qualified professional' comment. Think of it similar to 'consult with your medical provider' or 'utilize a licensed engineer/contractor'. It sounds like you have done your homework. Thank you.
  • DockoelbotoDockoelboto Posts: 143 Baller
    @MichaelGoodman, that is for about 144 fish. Wildlife department recommended 12-15/acre, lake is 12acres. They are $18/fish, so technically it is $2592.
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