DNR adds fish habitat coordinates to website
Anglers searching for the hard-to-find rock piles, brush or stake beds in Iowa lakes now have access to the exact location of all in lake habitat.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has uploaded GPS coordinates for fish habitat as a .gpx file to its website at www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/AboutFishinginIowa/HabitatLakeProjects.aspx. The format can be used with various software packages available from the more commonly used GPS units. DNR officials said to make sure to follow the directions when downloading the files.
“Once they download, it they can play around with it, change symbols and upload only certain portions of the file, if they want,” said Lewis Bruce, fisheries technician spearheading the project.
Bruce said the DNR will be updating the locations each spring as new structures are added during the winter.
“We will have all the new locations uploaded before the open water season begins each spring,” he said.
New lake maps available
In addition to the habitat coordinates, Bruce is also producing new lake maps.
The six year project began last year. Each summer, Bruce will collect data by using specialized equipment connected to computers aboard a boat that he drives over a programmed grid over the lake.
The software will record lake depth plus information on what type of material is on the lake bed —sand, gravel, muck — and, if aquatic vegetation is present, the height and density of that vegetation.
Once that information is collected, he moves on the next.
So far this year, Bruce has collected data for upper and lower Albia reservoirs, Casey Lake, Mantino Lake, Nelson Park Pond, Oldham Lake, Spring Lake, Thayer Lake, Wilson Lake, Farm Creek, Thomas Mitchell Lake, Snyder Bend and the pond at the Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny campus.
“This is just raw data collection. We will have to process the file to create the maps, and we’ll do that in the fall,” he said.
The plan calls for him to map 132 of the significant publicly owned lakes in Iowa.