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I have regularly fished Orchard Lake in Oakland County for almost 15 years. I have always caught a good mix of bass, bluegill, crappie, rock bass, and the occasional pike and perch. But in the last couple of years things have changed. I have not seen one bluegill or crappie. The weedbeds are almost totally gone. There was a milfoil problem in the lake, and whatever treatment has been done has killed almost everything else also. It looks like the smaller fish have lost all their cover. While I have caught good sized bass so far this year, that's all I've caught - no yearlings, no juveniles. And as I have said, the bluegill seem to be totally gone.

Anyone familiar with the lake know what is going on? Is this lake dying?
 

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I haven’t fished that lake since 2007, but I do regularly fish a private lake that gets severe weed treatment several times a year where for about a month after each treatment there are absolutely no weeds, and weeds are the only cover source besides docks. The fish don’t disappear when this happens, but most of them turn pelagic. On the evenings you can catch a ton of bluegills and bass either trolling small crankbaits or fishing topwater lures in the hour before and after sunset.

Now I’m assuming the weeds are gone from Orchard because because of treatment and not just a massive die off. If they are really gone for good, then likely the bottom of the food chain has collapsed and the rest of the fish are following suite. Try to see if you can find any recent survey data to see if the fish population is still healthy.
 

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Orchard has turned to junk... I use to ice fish it alot... it always treated me well... the last 3 times there Ihave caught nothing and drilled no joke hundreds of holes... not even marking fish and we spent with 4 guys about 6 hours this past year all over... all the weeds are gone, even the ones we found looked unhealthy .... sad for sure ... dont know what happened but it has changed... and I fished it for the past 10-12 years... I know the lake well... they did something to ruin it
 

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When they use to spray Houghton Lake cuz of the milfoil 95% of the weeds die. Just gotta go look for the other 5%. On the bluegill side a big gill goes nomadic. He will search out soft bottom where the bugs will float up. Go look for minnows too big gills will eat minnows. Best bet right before dark look to see where there hitting on top of the calm water. Crappie on the other hand this time of the yr are in the basin suspended. Use electronics to sniff them out. I’m just saying from past yrs I’ve fished that lake might not be the same but I bet I’m not far off.
 
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