by: George Gratz, Lakes Maintenance Committee Chair
Last spring in the Tipton Life magazine an article was published explaining, in a general way, the TLCA amenities associated with the Marina area. This article is more specific to the 3 primary lakes and the work of the Lake Committee to maintain this amenity for all Tipton Lakes members. North, West and East Lakes, along with the connecting canals, cover approximately 126 acres.
Lake Committee members are George Gratz, Chairman, David Hall, Gene Ferguson, Eric Herrmann and Ken George. This group of volunteers meets several times a year to plan and discuss issues specifically related to management of the lakes and marina.
The Lake Committee with guidance from the TLCA staff approves and publishes the annual Marina Brochure that includes hours of operation, lake treatment dates, boating regulations, fishing regulations, reservations instructions, and rental fees for boats, picnic areas and the gathering room on the lower level of the office. All members receive a Marina brochure in the mail each spring. If you have misplaced yours and would like another copy, please contact the Association. Boats and Motors
Tipton Lakes Community Association has five pontoon boats, one small fishing boat, two kayaks and a canoe for rental purposes. The Lake Committee, on recommendations from the full time staff, makes decisions for maintenance, procurement and winter storage of our rental boats.
Lake treatments for algae and aquatic vegetation are done professionally at an annual cost of $42,850 in 2016. The objective of lake treatments is to manage a balance for general lake recreation while leaving some vegetation for effective fish habitat. Lake treatments are scheduled to optimize lake conditions for general recreation around the major holidays of Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day.
Most members who fish our lakes indicate they are prime fisheries for largemouth bass, crappie, and blue gill. The Lake Committee keeps a watchful eye on the fish population in our lakes. Based on professional fish surveys and the input from various fishermen, the Committee each spring sets fishing limits that are published in the Marina brochure. A recent survey and input from fishermen indicates we have an overabundance of largemouth bass that are smaller than 14 inches in length. In 2015, the Committee established a catch and release only limit for largemouth bass. This was done with the hope that larger bass would prey on smaller bass to help control the smaller population. In 2016 the Committee revised the largemouth limit to allow fishermen to keep 5 largemouth bass per day of less than 14 inches in length. After a professional survey completed in late 2014, Aquatic Control recommended we add additional predatory fish into the lakes to help control the number of shad and small bass. In 2015, 250 hybrid striped bass were stocked in the lakes. The Lake Committee has recommended stocking another 200 hybrid striped bass in 2016.
The Lake Committee is interested in getting more input from all fishermen. Earlier this spring, we invited several known fishermen to participate in the discussion on setting fishing limits. If you are interested in being included in future discussions about fish management, please call the TLCA office and indicate your interest. The meeting to discuss fish management and fishing limits is usually in the fall or early spring of each year.
On several occasions the Lake Committee has discussed the use of creel surveys as a way to more clearly understand the fishing environment in Tipton Lakes. The Lake Committee has established a printable Creel Survey form on the Tipton lakes website. As an alternative, the TLCA Office will have creel survey forms available for your use. If fisherman can take a few moments to report their fishing experiences, the Lake Committee can use that information to make future decisions on fish stocking and fishing limits.
Monitor the Dams
On a regular basis, members of the Lake Committee monitor the dams looking for any irregularities such as wet spots, erosion, and unwanted vegetation that invade the dam slopes.
The Lake Committee and a hired trapper monitor the lakes for any animal activity that can be harmful to the integrity of the dams. We look for muskrat, beaver, and crawfish activity that can invade the dams and cause erosion issues. In addition, the trapper is contracted to discourage geese from nesting in Tipton by disturbing the goose eggs. This work is done in order to control the population of nuisance geese and in compliance to the Indiana DNR Regulations. The hassling process simply causes the eggs to not mature and hatch out.
In 2014 and 2015, Lake Committee members organized a fishing clinic for children. Typically, there have been 10-12 participants. This year the clinic will be held June 25 at 9 a.m. Please register in advance at the TLCA office.
The Lake Committee is always open to suggestions on how to improve our members’ experience regarding the lakes. If you have suggestions please let us know. If you are interested in volunteering a little time as a committee member or as a helper for special events, let us know.
We hope your 2016 recreation experience on Tipton Lakes is enjoyable and memorable.
Your Lake Committee