By Woodrow polston
Last week the Vandalia Branch Library hosted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a presentation on Mark Twain Lake fish species. Approximately 28 guests assembled in the rear of the library to learn about the different fish species that can be found at Mark Twain Lake. John Taylor, who conducted the presentation, welcomed everyone in as he began.
“I am a park ranger at Mark twain Lake,” said Taylor. “I have been there for three years now and love what I do. One of the things that I have studied about is fish. Mark Twain Lake is home to a variety of different fish. It is approximately 18,600 acres of surface water and there is plenty of room to come out and catch fish,” he added.
Taylor brought booklets to distribute among those attending the presentation. All the children who were present flipped through the pages to look at the different pictures of fish. Among the different species that Taylor discussed was the Lake Sturgeon. He explained that the Sturgeon has a very bony ridge line as a prominent feature and whiskers. They can grow up to 300 pounds and be as long as 8 eight feet in length. They reproduce once every five years and they are currently an endangered species. Taylor also talked about Large Mouth Bass.
“The Large Mouth Bass is one of our sport-recreational species,” said Taylor. “It is known for being football shaped. It can grow up to 22 pounds and a lot of fishermen like it for its energy and how much of a fight it puts up. The White Bass are relatively smaller. They can grow to around five pounds. They also like to school together,” he added.
Library Branch Manager Crystal McCurdy explained that the theme for the year is “Oceans of Possibilities.
“We are doing programs that are water related. Since there are no oceans around here, we decided to use Mark Twain Lake because it isn’t too far away and it has a lot to offer, including a fish exhibit at the visitor’s facility,” she added.
Taylor took questions about fish and other wildlife that can be found at the lake. He also discussed some new features that are offered for visitors to experience there.
“We have a history section, and we received a new projector with a moving topography map. It allows you to play with the sand and it moves with the topography. We also have a hydro-electric power exhibit that shows the details of how a dam works. There are also tours that can be scheduled for the dam but there is a long waiting list that requires a federal background check which can be a long process,” he added.
Fishing and visitor exhibits are not the only attractions at the lake. There are approximately 45,000 acres of land and water that are available for hunting. Game species available for hunting include dove, quail, rabbit, squirrel, deer, wild turkey, and various species of waterfowl. There are various Hunter Fisherman lots available to conveniently access all the different types of habitats found around Mark Twain Lake.
Every year Mark Twain Lake rangers plant new food plots, some in recurring areas, others in varying spots depending on the habitat requirements and weather conditions throughout the year. Maps of these locations are available of where and what was planted. Contact Mark Twain Lake rangers to find out what types of animal species these different food plots attract.