Abstracted References to White Lake Water Levels
The Fishery of White Lake
A. Anthers nd S.J. Kerr, Technical Report TR-107, Southcentral Sciences Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Kelptville, ON 31p. 1998

Water Level Management


White Lake is a partially artificial lake that has always been subject to annual and seasonal draw-downs (see 'Physical Parameters and History'). Five different water level management regimes have been utilized over the past fifty years (Table 9). From 1860 to 1960 a dam was operated by Stewart's sawmill on Waba Creek with the floodgates opened regularly to allow for the floating of timber downstream. The frequent water fluctuations (up to 1.5 m) maintained a good flushing rate and kept the water clear, rocky shoals clean, and maintained a good walleye fishery. In 1968, a new concrete dam was constructed and water levels were kept high followed by a winter draw-down during the period of 1968 to 1976. Summer water levels were stabilized for the benefit of boaters and shoreline property owners. This stable water level regime resulted in accelerated eutrophication with rapid growth of aquatic plants, reduced water clarity and subsequent failure of the walleye fishery. By 1972, anglers reported that spawning beds had silted over, an absence of small fishes, and by 1976/1977, walleye had all but disappeared from the lake (von Rosen, pers. comm.).


In 1977, the water level management regime was altered to allow gradual summer draw-downs (0.76 m/yr) to clean spawning shoals and reduce midsummer algal blooms. Fall and winter water levels were stabilized by mid-late September each year. This resulted in increased walleye spawning activity on traditional spawning sites. Since 1982, summer water draw-downs were modified in response to adverse public reaction to the previous water level management regime.


In the fall of 1991, a mail survey of shoreline residents and lake users was conducted by MNR to identify the most desired water level management regime. Three options (moderate summer draw-down, severe summer draw-down, and total summer stabilization) were presented. The majority of respondents favoured the moderate summer draw-down option which essentially confirmed the water level management regime which had been in place. This option seemed to represent the best compromise for boating, fisheries management and other interests. Under this scenario, it was recognized that walleye stocks would probably continue to decline and the lake would shift predominantly to a northern pike-largemouth bass sport fishery.



Anecdotal History of White Lake and its Fishery, 1974



The above document cites the history of White Lake water levels starting in 1860 up to 1984. The information is anecdotal in nature, but written by Mr. Evan R. Thomas, a fish biologist working for the government.