PRINCETON, Iowa – Lost Grove Lake officially began filling at 12:35 p.m. on July 11, almost two years to the day after construction had begun. It will take 2 to 3 years for the lake to reach its filled size of nearly 400 acres.
This lake, five miles north the Quad Cities, was more than 20 years in the making, which was 10 years less than Brushy Creek Lake, in Webster County.
“Think of everything that had to be surmounted to make this lake happen – moving power lines, redesigning the dam, getting all the funding together – I don’t think 20 years is an unreasonable amount of time to get this done,” said Chad Dolan, fisheries biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The $11.5 million project includes the dam ($4.5 million), buying land, moving power lines, installing water protection structures in the watershed, fish habitat, shoreline protection and shoreline access like fishing jetties and parallel fishing structures ($1.2 million), trails, ramps and parking lots ($550,000).
The first parcel of land was purchased in 1988 and all but the final parcel was bought by 1993. The project was on hold until in 2003 when a willing seller sold the final parcel.
While the lake fills, work will continue on the parking lots, trails and boat ramps at the lake and on drop inlets fitted on road culverts in the watershed to keep silt from entering the lake.
“This project is really coming together nicely,” said Dolan. “Visibility of the water is obstructed by trees in the creek channel and is kind of hard to see, but you can see it backing up by the dam.”
On July 18, the DNR released 100,000 1-inch bluegills in a protected area off the main creek channel.
Dolan will be stocking about 2,000 4 to 5-inch largemouth bass later this fall, then channel catfish, redear sunfish, black crappies, walleyes and muskies, in future years.
“This mix of fish species will work together filling in different zones – bass near shore, walleyes deep with a few muskies mixed in.
It offers a good predator base with enough diversity to be appealing to many anglers,” Dolan said.