Let the dirt moving begin
We are creating this site to follow the steps in the creation of a new lake from start to finish. Addie Lake will
be managed for trophy bass to compliment our other Wildlife management practices . After a couple of years
of interviewing engineers, wildlife biologist, professional bass fisherman and getting the necessary permits
(fun, fun), we begin our project on August 27, 2007. We will continue to update this site as we progress with
construction, filling, and stocking of the lake to keep those of you who are interested, apprised of our
successes, as well as our challenges. If you are considering building a lake we'll be happy to share our
experiences with you. If you have any advice, we'd love to hear from you at email@example.com. The
Lake should take about 2 years to completely fill and will hold about 500 million gallons of water when full.
Core Trench (key-way)
After an extended summer drought in the Southeast, we thought we
were finally ready to get under way. Our contractor advised that we
wait until we had a decent rain because there was no moist clay,
even 2 feet down, to repack the Core trench... So, we waited another
two weeks and finally got about one inch of rain.
The most important aspect of any lake is the construction of the
core trench or "key-way". The Key-way is simply a deep trench
that is dug below the gravel and clay to hit the clay soil in most
areas. The concept is that any water moving underground will
not penetrate this compact clay core and back up to form the lake.
All top soil was moved to a staging location for future use on the
dam and banks. Clay and other dirt particles were used in the
35,000 yards of dirt that were moved to construct the dam. The best
clay was used in the 10 ft wide section of the key-way and compacted throughout the process. Banks
were sloped on a 4-1 scale with a minimum depth of 4 feet to minimize growth of unwanted weeds.
The dam was sloped to 3-1 on the back to allow for mowing and 2-1 on the face. A 15 " corrugated
pipe was used as a siphon system. This will allow the deep water, with low oxygen levels, to flow out
of the lake when it reaches full pool stage. We then moved all off the stumps into strategic locations
for future fish habitat and marked them with a GPS as well as digital photos. After the lake was
The first step that we took to building the lake was to select a suitable site. We evaluated several different
locations considering: size, water drainage, esthetic value, and ecological features. We used Google earth
as well as topo-maps to give us an idea of the potential size and run-off amount,to support the water shed.
Topo-maps will also identify "blue line" streams which can be a great source of water, but can also be quite a
head ache in the permitting stage (see permits acquired).
Once we selected our preferred location, we made a visit to our
local NRCS office to get advice on the project. They were also
able to provide a soil sample map of all the land in the area.
They can usually provide information on whether other ponds in the
immediate area held water or failed. This quite possibly may be
the most valuable data that you receive. Another valuable resource
they can provide is the USDA's Ponds--Planning, Design, &
Construction Manual. This guide seemed a little "dated" but was
a valuable tool in developing ideas and providing necessary calculations for various components of the
project. You can also click on the image to the upper left to access a digital version of this the manual.
Another valuable resource is the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agencies (TWRA) "Managing Small Fishing
Ponds and Lakes in Tennessee"
Building of Addie lake
Pond Planning guide
We've now selected the site; An area that drains about 70 acres from the surrounding watershed and
sits in the middle of our 444 acres of hardwood's. It should prove to be a beautiful location. The
standing timber was clear cut in the immediate impoundments location and was select cut to 18"
and greater in the surrounding perimeter up to about 200 yards. This left us a nice stand of timber
and will give us great views of the lake. The sale of the timber generated some income ( about $15,000),
but don't count on it making a dent in the cost of the project. We chose to leave, or relocate, many of the
stumps for future use in the development of our fish habitat.
We started interviewing potential contractors in the Dickson/Humphreys counties area. We created the
specs, got pricing, and sent a final RFQ to 5 contractors that we had narrowed down based on initial meetings at the site. The estimated
time frames were all around 30 - 45 day's. We thought we were off an running but then were notified that we must receive a permit from TDEC.
Now the challenges begin. The area that we chose has a "blue-line" stream running through the middle of it. According to TDEC Tennessee
Department of Environmental Control (and they do mean control), You can not alter or impound water on your property that shows up as a
Blue line stream. The simple definition of a blue line stream is water that flows continuously for 30 day's or more. About half of the potential
contractors suggested not getting the permit(s) and taking our chances as it can be quite a long process. We chose to get it, and really glad
that we did. Several people in the area have received substantial fines for circumventing this part of the process. All in all, it was not that bad.
It did take about 5 months and we had to hire a consultant/biologist to come out and write a stream determination letter to have this Blue-line
stream changed to a "wet weather conveyance" (a ditch). Click the above link to read a copy of this letter. We also had to get a storm run-off
permit from TDEC. This particular project did not require permit's from the Corps of Engineers or safe dam's act. So we were able to begin
once we received TDEC's permits.
Complete and the equipment was removed. We seeded all of the banks and dam with a combination of winter wheat, rye, clover, and orchard
grass. We then fertilized and limed the entire area. It is especially important to seed, fertilize and lime the area that will be covered in water
within the next few weeks. This practice will provide the necessary nutrients for the micro-organisms that will start the trophy bass process.
Finally what we're here for!
After a couple of years, and several coins, we finally got some rain and about 5 feet of water. We
think we're ready to start our Bass management program. I called the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife
Resources Agency) and picked up our initial bream to start the process. We'll start with about 2000
bream in October. We then added 1100 3" Coppernose bluegill in April. These can get up to
2 pounds and are great forage fish for giant bass as well as myself. The bream will feed
on the micro-organisms for the winter and we'll be ready to add about 500 bass in
June 2008. We are planning on adding the "tiger" bass, which is a hybrid of the huge
Florida bass and the "bait bustin''" Northern bass with an attitude.
Lake about 25% full
Click play to view helicopter tour