Club News, Rules and Water Conditions
Send me club news and photos and I will publish them in this newsletter.
See the index page for my article on Snakes at the Club.
Release all bass over 3 lbs. Do Not put bass over 3 lbs into livewells or on stringers. I will enforce these rules! If you value your membership...do not violate these rules!
Bed fishing for bass is not allowed in any Club lake! This rule started on Tuesday, 18 Dec., 2007.
New Rule for 1 Jan. 2011: No bass fishing with live bait at any Club lake... that includes Donavan and Bar-D lakes! Lure fishing only for bass in all club lakes ... that includes all Donavan and all Bar-D lakes.
More lake managers are discovering that big plastic worms and big plastic finese baits swallowed by bass are killing many bass. Also, old plastic baits that are thrown into the water are being eaten by bass and many of these bass are dying. The big chunks of plastic are lodging in their intestines and will not pass out. Most big time "Pay-to-Fish by the day" businesses (Dreamland, etc.) will not allow any plastic baits ... period.
New Rule: Do Not throw used plastic baits into the water....put them in your boat and take them home to your waste basket...Do Not throw old plastic baits on the ground at the ramps or parking areas.
Dogs at the Club Guidelines....Members may bring dogs to the lakes. However, a member must have the dog(s) within his sight at all times. Guard against your dog interferring with other fishermen and their fishing. Two dogs is the limit...bring no more than two dogs and do not allow them to bother other people's fishing or their sense of safety. Manager Wilson
Camping Rules: Camping at the Club is meant to be a short-term event for members. Long periods of camping are not allowed. Do not camp for more than two weeks at any one time. A period of at least one week must pass before members may camp again on Club property. Members may camp only two weeks of any one month.
If you camp and run an airconditioner or a freezer or in any way consume a lot of electricity, you must pay $25/day to camp. Give this money to Mr. Barnett or Manager Wilson. It is ok to mail this money to Manager Wilson.
Trapping beaver at Bar-D: Starting 1 August, 2013 until further notice, we will be trapping beaver and nutria at the Bar-D lakes. Do not allow dogs to roam freely at these lakes till we remove the traps. When we reduce the beaver population, we will add structure (sunken trees) to these lakes.
Fishing and Lake Conditions
19 Oct. 2013
Good populations of threadfin shad are being seen in lakes Snag and Swamp. This is the first good report of the shad condition since we did the sping stocking... very good news for future fishing.
I have added 6 piles of trees in lakes Roy and 9 piles in Ely. I sink each tree with two concrete blocks. I mark each tree pile with a small red or gold bouy. Find these bouys and fish with big worms and you will get a big bass. I use 12 inch worms in dark colors. I am already getting reports of heavy monofilament lines being broken. Also, fish topwater over these tree piles... Zara Spooks, other plugs that you can stop on top of the trees... you will get some big strikes. If you see bass chasing shad, fish the tree piles... larger bass hide in the tree piles and let the small bass run the shad by the trees and tben the big boys feed.
We will add piles of trees to Gayle and to Donavan Lake in the near future.
Big bream are being caught at Bar-D... fish worms on the bottom in deep water... shellcrackers.
The water is cool... I should know... I fell in Lake Ely last week while dumping trees from my john boat. Terrell Gallaway and friend rescued me.
We will rework the ramp on Lake Roy next week... will add a load of smaller rock.
6 August 2013
All lakes are at pool level and the water condition is good. Swamp lake water is a little brown in color but that is due to a certain alga...not muddy. Bass fishing is good in all lakes. Bass are schooling after shad in Donavan, Sturdivant, and Ely. 8 inch dark lizards are catching big bass. Big bream are hitting tiny crankbaits on ultralight tackle.
Please inform me if you see pods of threadfin shad on Snag or Swamp. We have added shad to these two lakes for the past two years...so far I do not seen pods of shad on the surface.
Crappie... keep all crappie that you catch. Do not return crappie back into any lake.
24 March 2013
The cold front of the past week along with the cold rains moved bass off beds and recreated great prespawn conditions. Several club members hit it just right. The big bass backed off of beds and resumed feeding. They stayed in the shallows, but, were hitting spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and fluke-type baits. Mike Hoke and partner on Saturday, 23 March, boated a nice load of bass. They put together 5 bass that weighed over 30 lbs.
Bream fishing is very good on crickets and worms. Big bream are being caught from all piers.
Remember: Only keep the fish that you and your family want. Please do not catch large numbers of fish and give them away...just what your family wants to eat. Of course, keeping enough fish for an occasional fish fry with friends is ok.
17 March 2013
Many bass are on beds. Water temperature is 60 degrees. Big bass are being caught and not all bass are on beds. You need to use light line (12 lb test P-Line is my choice) since bass are very spooky at this time. Use dark colored plastic lizards and be patient. Fish the shoreline...3 to 6 feet of water.
Bream fishing is outstanding. Look for bream to bed on the first full moon of April and every full moon after that. Full moon of May is the peak of bream bedding.
We saw our first water snake yesterday. It was swimming in Snag Lake.
A huge flock (maybe 200 birds) of Wood Storks flew over Snag Lake yesterday at sun down. These birds are on the Federal Endangered Species List. There are only 5,000 of them known to exist. Wood Storks are native nesting birds in our area. They use the old trees along the shoreline in Snag and Swamp to roost and to nest. Wood Storks look like White Ibises, but, Storks have a unfeathered grey head and the hind margin of the wings is black for the entire lenght of the wing. White Ibises have white wings with only the tips black. This was one of the best birding moments of my life. Stephen Russell captured this event on camera and he will give it to me to post on the club web site.
19 Feburary 2013
Bass are still busting schools of shad. Water temperature at 1 foot is 55 degrees. I fished Donavan Lake last Friday and members were catching bass...crankbaits and jerkbaits. February and early March are the big bass months. Crawfish are starting to come out of the mud. Until spawn, I am dedicated to catching a giant bass from one of the club lakes...swimming 12 inch worms slowly along the bottom; fat jigs with crawfish trailers, and the huge Iguana lizard soaked in rotten shad guts. Someone send me a photo of a big one. tw
26 December 2012
Grandson, Hudson, and I caught several nice bass ( 2 lb avg.) from the structure that we added to Sturdivant Lake about 2 weeks ago. We used spinnerbaits. We will start adding trees to Donavan Lake when the weather clears.
Member Taylor from Atlanta called me a few days ago reporting loosing a huge bass while fishing from the Lake Eli pier. He also said he saw a "worl record bass" chasing shad in front of the pier.
In my opinion, swim baits are best in winter for catching big bass. It is fairly easy to catch schooling bass, but, huge bass are a whole different story. I have a separate tackle box that holds big lures that I use for lunkers.
10 December 2012
My grandson, Hudson, and I added structure to Sturdivant Lake this past weekend. We now have about 15 new fish magnets each compsed of 3 or 4 fairly large trees per pile. We now have what I call "put put fishing" in this lake for your fishing intertainment.
Let me know when these piles of structure produce some good fishing.
We have a new rule for leaving boats on Club property. We have constructed a boat parking area at Donavan and it is located at the end of the Sturdivant dam near the green pumphouse. This desiignated area is the only place members will be allow to leave boats on the Club property at Donavan. At the Bar-D property, the designated boat parking area is beside the Lake Eli ramp.
If you are going to leave your boat on Club property, You must contact me and I will issue you a boat parking permit that must be pasted on your boat. We will haul off all boats that are not register and do not have a permit sticker. This new boat parking policy goes into effect on 6 January 2013.
4 November 2012
Crankbaits are good in all lakes. Try a 3/8 oz square bill balsa type that runs 3 to 5 feet deep. Snag and Swamp lakes have bass hitting good on topwater...big frogs, trick worms, Scum Rats, etc.
We will soon put piles of tree structures in Sturdivant Lake... good put-put- fishing. The new ramp on Lake Roy still needs work. The stone is too big. We will add smaller stone in the near future...be careful if you have a heavy boat, or, you will have trouble pulling out of this ramp. All lakes have good water. No Fall turnover yet. Send me a photos of big bass. tw
6 September 2012
All lakes are at pool level. Pods of Threadfin Shad are schooling in all lakes. Water temperature at 1 foot from surface is 84 degrees. The main road at Bar-D has new river gravel. Ramps at Gayle and Roy are being repaired. Really big bass are being caught. When lake surface temperature gets in the 70 degree range...Fall fishing will start and it should be exciting.
8 August 2012
Recent cloudy and somewhat cool early mornings have made for some outstanding bass fishing...and, in shallow water. One member caught seven bass Friday morning weighing from 5 to 10 lbs.... some on topwater.
Water temperature is 87 in Donavan and 90 in Snag lake.
If you leave your boat on Club property... please make sure all is clean and neat...not full of water and trash. Some boats look abandoned. Please remove any boat from the property that is not being used fairly often. If we do not get better cooperation on this matter we will have to institute some boat storage rules.
8 August 2012
Emma Lou is now drained. Most of the fish went through the pipe into Lake Gayle. The fish left dead in the mud were as follows: 2 bass about 6 lbs.; many threadfin shad; medium-size bream; about 50 small bass (10 inches to 1 lb); and 11 very large grass carp. This is the fish population expected from a small 17 year old pond.
Birds love mud flats and there are some great birds at Emma Lou feeding in the mud and eating the dead fish: wood storks; white ibis, great egrets, cattle egrets, green herons, killdeer,and black vultures. We will trun this pond into an outstanding birding hot spot. Many of our club members are birders and enjoy the birds as much as fishing. Birding is the most popular participation sport in the western world.
6 August 2012
Lake Emma Lou at Bar-D has been drained and will not be filled again and stocked with fish. This lake has never held water since it was constructed almost 60 years ago. We tried hard to make it work, but, the lack of adequate watershed and the seaping of water throught its basin did this lake in.
In a few weeks we will close the valve and turn this lake into a quality birding area. The pier will allow members to observe migratory waterfowl and shorebirds as they feed along the mud flats. This wetland area will be a fine addition to the observation of wildlife on the property. I observed wood storks, white ibises, great egrets, cattle egrets, green herons, killdeer coming to the mud flats as we drained the lake.
Bass are in deep water and under heavy vegetation. Bass are chasing shad in lake Ely. All Bar-D lakes are at pool level.
29 June 2012
Manager Wilson sprayed weeds to continue the effort to create casting lanes in Lake Gayle. "I am very proud of the maze of casting lanes that I have created through and around the submergent weeds in Lake Gayle. In about three weeks, most all boats will be able to navigate the lanes and topwater fishing should be outstanding. Lake Gayle is fast becoming a topwater destination for giant bass."
Donavan Lake was fertilized today and a rich algae bloom is expected in about a week. This should turn the threadfin shad onto a feeding binge...followed closely by schooling bass.
17 June 2012
Chris Snow caught 25 bass on topwater plugs early one morning last week... several over 6 lbs.
My Judson College bass fishing students fished in the Club lakes over the past 3 weeks and caught lots of bass... 2 over 8 lbs (see web site home page for photo).
We will be changing gate locks and issuing new keys in the next few weeks...watch for your letter and new key in the mail.
18 February 2012
We stocked Norther Largemouth Bass from Missouri in Sturdivant Lake yesterday due to the recent fish kill on this lake. These aggressive bass will be fun to catch for the next few years, especially on light tackle and on the flyrod. We will stock 10,000 Threadfin Shad in Sturdivant, Snag and Swamp lakes in mid-April of this year.
Studdivant Lake will be Catch and Release for bass in Sturdivant Lake for the new few year as we attenpt to protect the new Northern Bass population.
Bass are chasing shad big time in Donavan Lake. You have to work hard to find what lure these bass will hit.
Water temperature along the shoreline is 62 degrees...in deeper water it is 59 degrees. Bass fishing should be good to great till the water temperature reached 65 degrees and the bass start spawning.
31 July 2011
Big bass hitting on top with cloudy weather, an approaching front, and a little wind... Zarra Spook, buzzbaits, and Pop-Rs. Water temperature 90 - 92 degrees at one foot. We had a big bass fish kill on Sturdivant Lake in early July... shad and big bass. District Fisheries biologist, Jay Hefner, is on the way to advise us.
4 June 2011
Bass and Bream are hitting. We put new structure in Donavan Lake... see the cedars tied to the two power poles....lots of trees piled around each pole. We fertilized Donavan Lake hard last week. We sprayed Gayle, Roy, Snag, and Swamp ... cutting casting lanes and pockets for bass fishing.
Sturdivant Lake is full of Threadfin Shad...and, some really huge bass. It is fun to see the pods of shad roaming the surface of this lake... with bass in pursuit.
24 April 2011
Bass and bream are hitting in all lakes. Rob Bamberg is catching big bass from Sturdivant Lake. Water temperature is 75 degrees. Shad are schooling. Big lizards are hot lures. Here is a letter I just received from David Zackie, Bass Pro Shop, Leeds, AL
"Just a short note to let you know that my wife and I enjoyed 3 days of excellent bream fishing (camping by Lake Inez). We caught and released over 200 nice bream....some of them weighed 1/2 pound, some, a little more. We, once again, enjoyed our stay." Thanks, David and Flo Zackie
31 March 2011
Water temperature varies from 68 to 71 degrees. Many bass are off the beds and are feeding hard. Many reports of numerous bass...big bass... being caught. Blowing wind and an approaching front can mean great fishing at this time of the year. Reports of people catching 30 to 40 nice bass per trip.Use big lures if you want big bass, especially in postspawn.
27 Feb. 2011
Water temperature at a depth of 2 ft. is 68 degrees
F. So, bass are on beds and will be there for the next several
21 Feb. 2011
Big Bass fishing is hot.... get after it now...spawn is going to
happen in a few weeks. Lots of bass are being caught...up to 10 1/2 lbs
reported...and, the big one got away!
27 Dec. 2010
Water temperature at 1 ft. is 44 degrees. Lakes Donavan and Swamp are clear ... visibility to 3 feet; Snag and Gayle water have good alga bloom... just right for fishing. No reports of good bass fishing for past two weeks. November was a great month for bass fishing...lots of bass and many big bass caught...schooling shad in Donavan.
22 Oct. 2010
After our talk on Sunday, I thought you might want to hear more about the shad that we noticed. When we got to Donovan Lake around 6:00 on Saturday night, we noticed multiple schools on Donovan Lake. On Sunday, we did not see any schools in the morning but throughout the day we would see areas around the weedlines where they obviously were spooked by the bass. Until this trip, I have not seen any shad activity on the lakes for atleast a year.
As I mentioned, we caught 30-40 bass, mainly in the 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 lb range. All the fish were very healthy and faught more than we would have expected. Only unhealthy fish was on the top lake of Bar D. I will be there again this weekend and will give you another update then. Hope that helps, Edgar
7 Oct. 10
Bass fishing is picking up. Some big bass are coming from Donavan Lake. We have two wells pumping into Donavan Lake for a month. This costs a lot of money but we want to keep this lake near pool level.
12 Sept. 10
The Fall turnover has started in some of the more shallow lakes at the Club. Gayle is muddy and Roy is starting its turnover. A Fall turnover occurs when the surface water cools and becomes more dense that the lower warmer water. Winds then push the cold dense water toward a shore and then push in down into the lake water and this displaces the warmer water which is pushed to the surface. This rocking action stirs up the bottom and makes the lake muddy...for about a week. Turnovers are actually good for lakes...stirs up the muck...makes more food available for the small fish, etc. Sometimes you can find a "mudline" in the lake as the turnover occurs...man...fish this mudline for all you are worth...use swim baits...lipless crankbaits...can be great. good fishing. tw.
Lake Inez has been converted to the "Wetlands for Waterfowl Program" that is part of the Gulf oil spill recovery effort. This lake will be drained and developed for migratory waterfowl such as ducks and geese. Lake Inez was an expensive management nightmare due to its limited watershed. We need to keep Donavan and Sturdivant lakes well managed and at pool level. This requires almost constant summertime pumping with two wells which is exceedingly expensive. tw
7 Sept. 10
A 15 lb bass was caught from a Donavan lake last week. That is a big bass for a eight year old lake. Fishing is slow...waiting on cool weather.
11 July 2010
Fishing has been good to very good since the winter shad kill. Bass are hungry. Bob Morine, Pratville, caught a bass weighing 14 lbs yesterday. Bob catches lots of really big bass from our lakes. "Man, I put both fists into this monster's mouth...what a fish.," exclaimed Bob.
U-Tube Stephen (see Stephen and Elizabeth on the Club homepage) caught a huge bass last week that was somewhat skinny...a hot, summer-time bass..."this bass was the longest bass that I have ever seen... big frame...massive head...next spring this bass might weigh 15 lbs....it dropped the scale to 10 1/2 lbs...but, this boy was a brute" ... reported Steven. Manager note: I think this fish is an example of a bass dying from a plastic bait lodged in its intestines.
I have received so many images and stories about big bass and big bream that I can't catch up with the web page work....now, thats fishing!
13 March 2010
The water temperature at 1 foot is 61 degrees. Bass are cruising the banks and members are catching good fish. The next week holds great promise for catching big bass. When the water temperature hits 65 degrees the bass will spawn and fishing will be slow for about a month. Good luck and send me a photo. twilson
1 March 2010
The water temperature at a depth of 1 foot is 54 degrees and rising. The next three weeks could be dinamic for huge bass. Spawn will be a little late this year due to the cold winter. Fish light lines and fish slow. I know of one 10 lb bass from the club in the past month. Send me a photo of a big bass. tw
15 Jan. 2010
The water temperature at one foot is 43 degrees. If someone catches bass in this cold water, please give me the story. tw
12 Jan. 2010
The lakes are covered with ice! Only a few clear areas in the middle of a few lakes. Some Threadfin Shad have died in Donavan and Sturdivant lakes. So far we have not lost enough shad to hurt the fishing...the next few days will tell the story.
Here is a Nutria walking on pond ice. It is not a good photo but conditions were bad. TW
20 December 2009
All lakes are full pool. Bass fishing is good. The Thread-fin shad spawned the last full moon of November (TG week) and the bass fishing was great. I have received several nice notes from members included in their reup envelopes. I only publish lakes and names with permission.
"My two boys and I have had a blast the last two years fishing at the Club. I appreciate all your hard work. I was able to get away and fish the Wednesday before TG with a friend. We started in ....... lake just after sunrise. About 7:00 a.m. fish started schooling and we caught 16 in about an hour. The exciting part was that eight of the 16 weighed over five pounds with the largest going about eight pounds. What a great day! I will be at the lakes a lot over the Chrismas holidays."
Another member wrote about a fantastic flyfishing day in the late Fall. He found the bass chasing shad and he following the schools and presented streamer lures...they caught 22 big bass on flyrods that day. tw
14 June 09
Bass fishing is good and getting better...crankbaits, swimbaits, worms. Remember...big bass hit big baits...little bass hit big baits...big bass don't hit little baits (ok...it can happen). We put a tank of Threadfin Shad in Lake Inez (still a catch-and-release lake till further notice). I am spraying the weeds in lakes Inez, Snag, Swamp, and Gayle. I am spraying the alga in Inez...the alga is Phytophera which is a mean alga to control. There are Goldlen Shiners in lakes Sturdivant and especially in Lake Donavan.
Lake Emma Lou is holding at half full. We no longer will pump water into Emma Lou....too expensive.
11 March 09
The lakes are full. Bass are bedding. Water temperature 65 degrees. A group from Indianapolis, Ed Budreau and friends, are fishing this week. They caught a 7 lb bass at Bar-D.
15 Feb. 09
The water temperature in Donavan Lake varied from 58.6 to 61.2 degrees F. My sonar showed lots of fish still in deep water. Fishing is slow on Club lakes since the full moon. Dark nights will bring on good fishing.
25 Jan. 09
My partner and I fished Donavan Lake all Sunday afternoon...till dark. The water temperature was 48 degrees...air temperature 50 degrees. We fished hard with an assortment of lures. We did not get a bite. Manager Wilson
21 Jan. 09
Water temperature at the Club lakes: 48 degrees.
New member, John Clayton of Maron, caught a 12 lb. 8 oz bass from Lake Donavan on 16 Jan. 09.
6 Jan. 2009
Lake Inez is not open. This is a totally "Catach and Release" lake. Once we establish the fish population is stable, we will allow members to keep fish from this lake.
21 December 2008
December (08) has been a good bass month at Club lakes....especially for Donavan Lake. Crankbaits in deep water are doing a number on big bass. Lakes Roy and Ely are at pool level and there is a good bloom. The water in Lake Gayle is at pool level but fairly clear. The next two months should be outsanding for big bass. The gizzard shad in the Bar-D lakes should produce some giant lunkers. TW
29 Nov. 2008
2008 has been an outstanding year for big bass from Club lakes. Big plastic worms (over 10 inches) will kill bass. If bass swallow these big worms, it can block their digestive tracks and they starve to death. This situation is causing some big money Clubs to require only biodegradeable worms for their lakes. I recommend the Berkley Gulp worms. They are not plastic. They are biodegradable. And, they are the best for catching bass...just watch the pros on TV. FishUSA.com is the best source of big Gulp worms.
Lake Inez will open for fishing on 1 January, 2009. I have fought a year long battle with Pithophera alga in Lake Inez. Today, the surface water is clear of this course alga but I still have to kill a lot of it growing on the bottom. I can not fertilize Lake Inez until the Pithophera is totally gone from this lake...so, the water is clear. Lake Inez is declared a "Catch and Release" lake. No fish will be removed from this lake until we get the water balanced and until we understand better the fish dynamics. This will be a good kids lake. I will post signs about this management rule.
30 March 2008
The water temperature is 72 degrees. Many bass are on beds...not all. Big bass are being caught from all lakes. Donavan is having a good year. Over the weekend, my partner and I caught bass up to six pounds on topwater plugs and swimming lizards. We lost some huge bass...just got whuped. Send me your photos and I will post them on the Club web site. TW
30 December 2007
Water temperature in Sturdivant Lake is 50 degrees. The tilapia are dying and floating on top of the water...which is to be expected with these tropical fish. The dead fish will be gone in about 4 days.
Dec. 18, 2007
Water temperature in most Club lakes as of 19 Dec., 2007: 54 degrees at one foot from the surface. TW
Separate membership in the Bar-D Club is no longer allowed. One must join the Donavan Club ($800) to fish the Bar-D lakes.
Club wells have been pumping for four straight months. All lakes are in good water level shape except for Imma Lou and Snag. A few good rains will quickly put all lakes at pool level. We will have to pump for a week to fill Imma Lou.
9 Dec. 07
Our three wells are keeping the water in Inez, Donavan, Sturdivant, and Swamp at good levels. Snag lake is very low and Imma Lou at Bar-D is about 5 feet low. Several big bass have been caught in the past weeks. The Gizzard Shad stocked in the Bar-D lakes are starting to move these bass into the next level. The next two months could be exciting.
We are making improvements on the Bar-D property...new gate and fence; shad stockings, dropping shoreline trees into lakes for structure, and spraying weeds in lakes. Bar-D will not be a separate Club starting 1 January, 2008. One has to be a member of the Donavan Club to fish the Bar-D lakes.
An American Bittern has made his home in the reeds at Swamp Lake. This is a rare bird for our area.
13 August 2007
Big bass are being caught from Club lakes...especially from the Bar-D lakes. Reports of bass up to 15 lbs. are being told to me by members. These big bass are still swimming! The tanks of Gizzard Shad that we recently added to the Bar-D lakes are starting to fatten up the bass. We should really see some big-bellied bass in the upcoming cooler months.
We survived a fish kill on Sturdivant Lake. We lost 12 bass...largest about 6 lbs. A ton of adult Threadfin Shad died...which actually will inproved the bream fishing in the lake. Clouds of young Threadfin Shad are swimming the shoreline in Sturdivant. We lost about 15 bream and only one Tilapia. We now have three aerators and both wells pumping into the lake which is near pool level.
The extreme drought has Snag Lake about 2 ft. low. Emma Lou is about 4 feet low. The rest of the lakes are in coon water condition.
26 June 2007
All wells are pumping water into Club lakes. The two wells at the Donavan Lake are pumping 1,000,000 gallons/day into this lake. Unless we get some rain and lots of it, this is going to be a very expensive year for proper management of the Club lakes.
25 June 2007
Big bass have been hitting just before fronts move in. Manager Wilson caught several over 8 lbs; one over 12 lbs (24 June, 2007). We have sprayed several lakes for shoreline weeds. This will make the lakes more fishable. Big bream move away from the piers to their spawning grounds on every full moon of warm weather. You have to get in a boat to catch a mess of big bream.
In the past, I gave several members permission to use cast nets to catch baitfish at the Club. After rethinking this matter, I am concerned that this might allow the transfer of Golden Shinners from Sturdivant or Donavan lakes to the Bar-D lakes...which would not be a good thing. I have decided that cast nets will no longer be allowed on any Club lake. This is an important rule.
20 May 2007
Large tanks of Threadfin Shad and Gizzard Shad were added to the Bar-D lakes in May, 2007. This is the second time we have added Threadfin Shad but the first time to ever add Gizzard Shad to Club lakes. Gizzard Shad get big... up to two pounds. This will move the big bass at Bar-D to a new level. I expect someone to catch a bass near 14 pounds in Feburary, 2008.
$1,000 worth of Tilapia were added to Sturdivant Lake in early May. Members are catching Tilapia weighing over three pounds from lakes Roy and Imma Lou at Bar-D.
Club member Dr. Jeff Jackson and his electrical engineering graduate students have constructed and installed three remote water quality monitoring stations at the Donavan Club. You can see the solar panals of these stations attached to the standup drain pipes at Donavan, Snag and Swamp lakes. Dr. Jackson, Club members and I will be able to monitor features such as dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, and temperature via the Internet. I will post the URL in the near future.
Inez is stocked with bream and bass and is almost at pool level. We will open this lake to limited fishing on 1 Jan. 2009.
1 March 2007
We will add Gizzard Shad to all Bar-D lakes beginning in March, 2007. District Fisheries Biologist, Jay Hefner, recommended adding Gizzard Shad in order to grow truely giant bass. This will cost about $1,000 per lake. This will be an interesting experiment for Club members.
Sturdivant and Donavan lakes are stuffed with Threadfin Shad and Golden Shiners. We will again put Tilapia in these two lakes in April. The Tiger Bass in these two lakes will soon be trophy fish.
22 February 2007
The water temperature in Club lakes is 60 degrees and the bass spawn is close. Male bass will start fanning beds when the water temperature approaches 65 degrees. Bass fishing for the next few weeks should be very good...to great.
24 December 2006
Tilapia are dead and dying in Donavan Lake. This happens when the water temperature drops below 50 degrees. It is amazing to see hundreds of dead tilapia washing to shore and to see the herons filling their bellies on these expensive fish. It is also rewarding to see the large numbers of adult tilapia and to know that the stocking program was a huge success. We shoulld soon be catching many big bass and bull bream from this fine lake.
17 December 2006
Rare Bird Alert! A Ross's Goose has can be seen at the Donavan Club...usually on Donavan Lake. This rare goose is normally west of the Rockies... along the California coast. The last cold front brought it to us. This small goose is white with black wing tips; short neck and lacks the black mandible patch found on Snow geese. This Ross's Goose has taken up with our tame white geese, so, you can feed our geese and the Ross will swim (or waddle) right up to you. Another good birding moment at Donavan Lakes. TW
6 December 2006.
We now have cattle at the Donavan Club. We will soon put fences on both sides of the road leading to Snag Lake so that members will not have to open gates, and, dodge cow patties. Until this work is done, please be careful to close the gates behind you. Thanks
We will restock Lake Inez after the winter rains fill the lake. We lost this little lake in the drought of 2006.
11 November 2006
The drought of 2006 has lowered the water level of Swamp and Snag lakes. However, some members are fishing these lakes with spinnerbaits and are catching nice bass...Terry Crater, Michigan member, caught a 10 poiunder from Snag on 9 Nov...along with several over 3 lbs.
Lake Inez drid up completely. We will restock Inez in the Spring of 2007.
Lake Imma Lou is 4 ft. low but I will start pumping this week now that Lake Gayle is full.
The talipia in Donavan and Roy are huge...up to four pounds.
Lesser Canada geese arrived at Donavan Lake last week. Lessers are a separate species from Canada Geese... Lessers are noticeably smaller. Male geese have a shorter neck that female geese....birding tip of the month.
Whoever is running jugs at Bar-D is risking their membership... I will catch you.
21 May 2006
Tilapia were stocked last week in one Bar-D lake. Along with our increased fertilization program, this should add to the fishing success at the club. We have started a major weed control program at the Club. You will see areas of dying weeds in Donavan, Snag, Swamp, Roy, and Gayle. We are using approved pond herbicides. This will not affect the fish or the fishing.
Donavan Lakes property is being converted to a major beef cattle operation. You will see the new fences. Cattle will arrive in October. The "duck puddle" birdwatching pond beside the entrace road to the Donavan Club now has a fence through the middle... oh well, the migrating ducks will just have to be careful. TW
27 April 2006
All of the improvements listed below (9 March 2006) have been completed... 550 lbs of adult tilapia were stocked in Donavan Lake.
Tilapia will be stocked in Lake Roy at Bar-D in the next few days.
Several big bass have recently been caught at Bar-D.
9 March 2006
Club Improvements for 2006:
The ramp at Emma Lou is being reworked. The big rocks are to be moved and a big load of small rock will be spread on top.
A new security pole and light will be placed beside the ramp on Lake Ely (has been ordered from Black Warrior).
$2,000 worth of talipia will be added to Donavan Lake in early April.
A heavier pond fertilizer program has been initiated.
Sturdivant Lake is now a Trophy Bass lake... catch and release for bass. This lake is full of golden shiners which will grow some monster bass.
Club Notes: A 10 1/2 lb. bass was caught from Donavan Lake by Phil Kilpatrick in Feb., 06. A new member caught a 9 1/2 lb bass from Lake Donavan on his first trip to the Club... and on his second cast. A pair of Bald Eagles can be seen at the Donavan Club. They are feeding on Earl's ducks... oh my!
6 December 2005
The District Fisheries Biologist checked the Donavan Lakes in late September. The recommendations were to increase fertilization of Donavan Lake. Sturdivant Lake was found to have a heavy population of Golden Shiners. "Sturdivant Lake will soon produce some giant bass due to the large number of Golden Shiners," stated the biologist. We will now manage Sturdivant Lake as a Trophy Bass lake. Details of this approach to big bass will be published after the American Sport Fish survvey.
We have engaged American Sport Fish to conduct an electroshock survey of Donavan and Sturdivant lakes. This survey will be conducted in late January of 2006. I will post the results of this survey.
10 July 2005
Jay Hefner, District Fisheries Biologist, will check all 5 Donavan Club lakes in September. Here is a note from a young Club member who is big into flyfishing and fly tying...Bo Johnson from Marion sent me the following email:
"Hi Mr. Wilson, this is Bo Johnson.We are in Freeport, Maine.Before we left i went fishing at Sturdivant Lake.I threw out some feed and saw talapia.I had one on the flyrod but it broke the 4lb tippet as i was bringing it in.I was using a fly i had tyed that looked like fish food. A few minutes later i caught a talapia that wieghed about 2 1/2 lbs on the ultralight.I threw it back.Just wanted to tell you that i caught one. Happy fishin'."
There is a new tile floor on the Restroom at Donavan. The door will be replaced after Dennis passes. Our wild black swan has bonded with a barnyard goose. Seems like they are in it for the long haul...talk about an ugly duckling.
19 June 2005
Bream bed from the first full moon in April (shellcrackers) and every full moon till late summer, even early fall. Bream fishing from piers usually drops off during bedding season since the big bream are on beds and not scattered around the lake and piers. Many people have located bream beds and are catching lots of nice bream...some really big bream are being caught in the Bar-D lakes...again, from boats not piers.
The wild black swan is still with us. He has taken up with our barnyard geese and their gosslings. What a sight.
Toby Wilson, Tuscaloosa, emailed me this recent fishing report, "I was at the Donavan club today and wanted to let you know that the bass fishing was great. I caught a large bass at about 5 pounds and 8 others weighing between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 pounds. We released all of our fish. I hope everyone else is doing the same."
Jay Hefner, District Fisheries Biologist, will check the Donavan lakes in mid-July. I will scan and post his report on this site.
7 March 2005
Big bass are being caught at Bar-D. These four lakes are at their "big bass prime." We must protect the big bass. Everyone must honor this rule: "Keep no bass over 3 pounds!" This rule must be followed in order to remain a member of the Club. I will post this rule on a sign at the entrance to Bar-D. Thank you. TW
6 March 2005
Lakes Swamp and Snag have huge watersheds. Water pours through these lakes to early summer. I can not fertilize these lakes till water is no longer going down the overflow pipes. Snag is clear which means there is a filamentous algae problem on the bottom. This only makes fishing a little more difficult. The alga is good for fish...a pain for fishermen. After we start the fertilizer program, the slime problem will be reduced.
We will add Tiger bass to the Bar-D lakes in June. The Bar-D lakes were stocked with Florida bass 13 years ago. Old Florida bass are reluctant to hit artifical lures. Sport fishing research has demonstrated that adding the aggressive Tiger bass will turn on the Florida bass to feeding...a competition response. This is an expensive experiment, but, it will be interesting to watch.
4 March 2005
Bass are fanning beds. Male bass are on the beds at Snag and Swamp lakes. Bass fishing is slow. Bream fishing is picking up. Now is a good time to camp...lean back and enjoy the sounds of nature. TW
13 February 2005
The rocks are spread at Bar-D on the ramps of lakes Roy, Gayle and Emma Lou. We used no. 4 grade rock which is large but will stay in place better. Until these rocks get worked into the ramp, be careful if you don't have 4 X.
Bass fishing is slow ... really slow. Let me know if you are having luck with bass.
9 February 2005
We dumped a load of rocks on the ramps of lakes Roy, Gayle, and Emma Lou at Bar-D and the rain caught us before the rocks could be spread. So, you can't launch a boat from these ramps. The ramp at Lake Eli is open. It may take a few dry days before the tractor can spread the rocks and the ramps be open for boats. I will post a notice when the work on these ramps is completed.
20 Dec. 04
The water temperature at the Club lakes averages 45 degrees. The tilapia are turtle bait. Bream were biting good till this cold front hit. I am building a duck pot hole across from Donavan Lake. We saw Woodcock and Common Snipe at the pot hole today....should be seeing ducks after the next rain. Winter time is a great bass fishing season. Merry Christmas. TW
19 Oct. 04
"Bass are schooling...chasing shad. You don't even need a boat to catch bass this time of year," Russell Lawrence of Tuscaloosa.
The water temperature is 69 degrees. Bass fishing is picking up. I saw big bass chasing schools of shad on Donavan, Roy, Gayle and Eli. Only lakes like we have in our club have shad populations that will sustain schooling big bass. Manager Wilson.
20 August 2004
Protecting our Big Bass
It is important that we do more to protect the wonderful big bass fishery at the Bar-D Club. I am getting too many reports of people keeping too many big bass. On 1 January, 2005, these will be the rules for catching bass:
Bar-D lakes: Each fisherman may keep 5 bass per trip. These bass must be under three pounds. All bass three pounds and over must immediately be returned to the water with the exception of a State or World Record bass.
Donavan lakes: Each fisherman may keep 5 bass per trip. These bass must be under two pounds. All bass two pounds and over must immediately be returned to the water.
Take your camera in the boat. Do not put fish to be released on a stringer or in a live well. Measure and weigh your bass and then put it in the water. Do not touch the body of the bass. Touching the bass removes the slime covering that protects the bass from bacteria and fungi
The best fish mounts are done from fiberglass molds. . I will be doing more in the future to protect the big bass at the Club.
I urge all members to adopt the above rule and guidelines at this time...don't wait till January. Please inform me if you observe people abusing our big bass rule. Thank you, Manager Wilson
4 August 2004
The new restroom at Donavan Lake is open. We will soon put tile on the floor.
Bass fishing at the Donavan Club is slow during the day...good early in the morning...fair late in the afternoon. Bream fishing continues to be a winner. Bar-D is putting out big bass on big worms.
Remember to release all bass over 3 pounds.
A Swallow-tail kite is hanging around the hay fields at the Donavan club. This large, graceful raptor is a wonderful and rare bird.
Larry Daw of Satsuma caught a 3 lb shellcracker from a Donavan lake. Brooke Hubbard from Centreville caught a 13 lb 1 oz bass from a Bar-D lake. Bass fishing is picking up a little at Donavan...still not like it is going to be. Good advice for bream fishermen...use a no. 4 bream hook...a no. 6 is too small.
17 May 2004
Fish kill on Lake Inez. We had the destratifier running for a month and the well was pumping in fresh water but that did not prevent another fish kill on Lake Inez. This little 6 acre lake at the Donavan Club has a long history of algae die-offs and fish kills.Tthis is two years in a row for bream, bass and grass carp to die in this shallow lake.
Don Keller at American Sport Fish tells me that small lakes on the Prairie have a history of algae blooms and fish kills..."It is just to be expected. Rarely does the fish kill destroy the lake. The surviving fish will make a come back."
8 May 04
The majic first full moon of May (the 4th) was ok to fair...too cold and windy. Richard Royster of Marion, and this grandsons had a big day as did my son, Chad, along with friends Peppie and Jason (Mobile).
I think that Saturday, May 8th, may have been the worst day of fishing in the history of the Club. It was a bright, blue bird day...warm and no wind and no fish...just lots of geese and snakes. A day to forget. So, here is a story from last week. Jon Flennor (I hope that is your name, I failed to write it down) from Coker caught 40 bream in one day from a Bar-D lake...20 wieghed over 2 pounds...thats right...each of the 20 weighed over 2 pounds.
I'll say it again. If you will use light line (4 to 6 lb test) at Bar-D and keep a redworm on the bottom, fish hard and often, you will eventually have the big bream day of your life!
Big probelm at Donavan Lake...the geese and ducks have discovered the feeders and are eating about 90% of all the food put on the water. Since all of the feeders fire at the same time, It is funny to watch the birds panic as they race from one feeder to the next. What should I do? This is the first year that these big birds have been a significant pest at the feeders. A bag of food cost $10 and lasts 1 week.
Larry and Theresa Daw, Satsuma, witnessed an awesome event on Donavan Lake last week...a big bass feeding frenzy at a pier when the feeder fired. The bream were feeding hard on the catfish food and then the big bass hit..."It looked like sharks attacking the bream...you could see the backs and dorsal fins of the big bass." stated Larry.
29 April 2004
Tilapia were added to lakes Emma Lou at Bar-D and to Sturdivant at the Donavan Club. See the link on the index page for more information.
Bream fishing continues to be outstanding. Bass fishing is slow at the Donavan Club and good to outstanding at Bar-D. Bass fishing at Bar-D has been very good for the past three years. Many members are catching life-time records of big bass. New member Mathew Thomas is setting a hot pace with big bass. Jessie Holifield and Angela Downs catch nice bass on most every trip to Bar-D.
Bream fishermen...Get Ready! The first full moon of May (Tuesday, the 4th) is the big bedding date for bream. Most bream fishermen will be hunting for the that "bream moment"... finding a bed of giant shellcrackers...and many will achieve this goal. Send me a photo of a two pound bream and I will put you on the front page of the club site.
We repaired the roads at Bar-D and created a nice RV site at the pier of Lake Gayle. There is no dump and no water but the rock pad, security light, electrical outlet, and fishing pier certainly makes for a fine outing.
We have almost completed the restroom at the Donavan Club and we are almost finished with the fish cleaning station beside the little barn at the Donavan Club. Please do not clean fish on the piers at the Donavan Club. There are signs up asking members not to clean fish on the piers...but, a few members don't care about rules and they clean the fish and leave the mess for me to tend to...not a nice way to behave. TW
3 April 2004
We will start on the restroom next week. Road work at Bar-D will be done this week. Tilapia will be stocked in the middle of next week.
Big bream day...Tuesday, 4 May...first full moon of May...bedding time!
Bream fishing is good. Bass are hitting but big bass are hard on beds. Big females can be caught off the bed, but, you first have to catch the male. One member spend three days crawling on his belly trying to slip up on a giant bedding bass. He caught the male with no trouble and dropped him into another lake. Then it took three days dangling a salamander in front of the big female. She finall tried to crush the plastic lure and the hook was set. The big bass turned...headed to deep water and never looked back. This member did manage to land a 9 pounder...but, the giant bass won this one.
I will start pumping fertilizer into the lakes tomorrow. I can't fertilize Snag or Swamp lakes until the water stops running down the overflow pipe. These two lakes have a huge watershed and are clear due to the constant water turnover. Because of the clear water, there is a buildup of filamentous algae. This scum is great for the fish and is good for fishing...if you know how to fish scum. Several members are catching lots of fine bass from the swamp lakes...topwater scum rats, scum frogs, and minnow lures.
I talk to lots of members. On the same day some members are catching the mess out of fish and others are having bad luck. My best advice for bream fishing...4 to 6 lb test line and only as much lead as necessary...TRUST this advice...you will catch more big bream if you go light...ultralight! The same with bass...use no more than 12 lb test line. Fish at least two rods...always have a top water ready...in the wind fish a Dip-I-Diddie or Pop-R. Good Fishing!