Mid-April Electrofishing Recap

The electrofishing team has been bouncing around middle and south Georgia for the first part of April. The team has been tackling many diverse fisheries from lakes less than two years old while others have run their course and need to be drained.

Georgia electrofishing
The weather was erratic at best. The weather fluctuated between down pours and gorgeous early spring skies.

Post-Spawn Conditions

The spawn was very flat this year. There wasn’t much of a buildup. With the amount of rain and unusual temperatures the bass spawned when the conditions were right. Many of the fish we shocked had fresh sores and flat bellies indicating the spawn has already happened. Some lakes had schools of bass fry with males guarding the school.

Georgia Electrofishing
A few pounds in the bass world makes a load of difference.
Georgia Electrofishing
Even after spawning this fish is still in great shape. Her relative weight was well over 100%.
Georgia Electrofishing
The crappie were moving up to spawn as well. This crappie was about 1.5 lbs. Crappie spawn before bass hence why their numbers can get out of control but, it seemed like this year the bass and crappie were spawning side by side.

Seasonal Growth

This time of year we get lots of calls about algae growth. With the warming water algae is starting to grow again. There are some species of algae that grow in specific temperatures but die in warmer or colder temperatures.

Georgia Electrofishing
Growth this sever needs to be chemically treated.
georgia electrofishing
Launching our shock boat in lakes with aquatic vegetation can be tricky. It’s critical that we clean our trailer so we don’t transfer vegetation from each lake.
georgia electrofishing
When algae is this thick it makes fishing almost impossible. A topwater frog is about the only thing that works in when filamentous algae is this thick.

Wrapping the Week Up

With a long week week of electrofishing coming to an end the team saved the best lakes for last.

Georgia Electrofishing
These bass are small but they are what all sizes of bass should look like. We always tel people healthy bass should look like footballs. Often times when electrofishing we shock bass that look more like torpedoes which indicates unhealthy bass.
Georgia Electrofishing
We are always telling people to diversify their forage base. Bass evenly eating four different forages allows no one forage base to get depleted. This particular client has low bass numbers so a small amount of goldfish survived. This particular lake had great numbers of shad. The property owner was adamant about stocking another load of shad but electrofishing revealed he had plenty.
Georgia Electrofishing
Let the boss get on the rail.
georgia electrofishing
An aerial view of the shock team pushing some fish off shore.
Georgia Electrofishing
Pure Florida strain bass are slow growers but they have constant growth while other strains of bass slow down after a hot start. Greg is holding two bass that are in the 4 year old age class.
Georgia Electrofishing
Bass harvest is a great tool to ensure fisheries remain in balance. With this lake being a quality bass fishery we only released bass that had relative weights greater than 95%. At the end of the day almost 70 lbs of bass were harvested.

After four days of electrofishing and being on the road the team heading back to Ball Ground. Electrofishing is all fun till the boat is hooked up and pointed home. The real work starts now with report writing. We are booked out till mid-May so if you have any interest in getting your lake shocked now is the time to get in contact with us.

 

Lake Aeration in Jackson, Georgia

outdoor water solutions

Aeration and lake liming are two lake improvements that generate the least amount of enthusiasm from clients. Unlike fishing stocking where there’s instant gratification of seeing 10,000 bluegill go into the lake, seeing 800 meters of weighted airline sink into the lake is a big let down. However, subtle improvements are the difference between phenomenal fisheries and mediocre ones.

Today’s job was an aeration installation in Jackson, GA. Aeration installations are simple to install but they take lots of prep work to make for a smooth day. Outdoor Water Solutions is the company we used for this client. They provided AES with a detailed project map of where each bottom diffuser is to be dropped as well as the amount of air line.

The Parts

outdoor water solutions
This is the cabinet which houses the air compressor to produce the aeration in the lake.
pond management
The tubing comes in large spools for big jobs while for smaller jobs they come in 100 meter boxes. The tubing is weighted so it sinks to the bottom.
bottom diffused aeration
These are the diffusers that go on the lake bottom and produce the fine bubbles.
pond management
The pores on the membrane are extremely fine to produce the small bubbles.

The Installation

Pond aeration
Aeration systems only require PVC glue, teflon tape, and hose clamps.
pond management
Josh is putting the last few turns on a diffuser before it gets dropped.
pond aeration
We use PVC glue with a barbed connector but as extra insurance we secure a hose clamp to the diffuser.
pond management
Lots of logistics were required to make today go smooth. With the amount of diffuser stations and tubing things could go sideways quickly.
pond management
Deploying the diffuser stations requires care because too much pressure on the diffuser stems can cause cracking. We use PVC glue and clamps to secure all air lines but great care is still used.

The Worst Case

This particular client has a lot invested in the fishery both in time and money. Aeration systems prevent summer fish kills among other things. They also help break up bottom muck, reduce foul odors, and limit the amount of biting insects. If your lake water resembled a bowl of pea soup last summer, an aeration system is something that should be seriously considered.

Below is a client that had four years worth of management invested in his lake. He sent us these horrific pictures of his lake one summer morning. This is why we aerate lakes.

Threadfin Shad
These are dead threadfin shad.
bluegill
This shoreline was where the bulk of the bluegill washed up. This client loves to fly fish for big bluegill. Seeing crows and buzzards fly off with your dead 1 lb bluegill cuts deep.
big bass
A front loader full of stud 4-6 lb largemouth.

The reason this lake experienced a fish kill was because the lake flipped. There was a period of cloudy rainy weather during the heat of the summer. Oxygen levels crashed and the fish had nothing to consume. Call the office this spring before it’s too late for your pond.

 

 

 

 

Duluth, Georgia Vertex Aeration Install

Recently a client came to us wanting a proper aeration in his pond. He has had issues with cheaper units burning themselves out in the past. As you will see later there is a reason he was worried about the longevity of his current system. We worked closely with Vertex Aeration systems to construct a custom aeration map that would best suite the pond.

The pond that was in question. Although small, pond is still at risk of turning over and causing a fish kill.

Prepping the Job Site

Josh hunting for the old aeration lines so proper ones can be installed.
Josh found the old aeration line. It was very small in diameter compared to the line we use which is another reason the unit was producing unsatisfactory results.
Finally dragged the unit out. There was a reason it was so hard to get the unit out with all those snags we had.
The backbone of the unit was an old sign.
After a little cleanup we discovered a Pepsi Cola crate made up the base with four aquarium airstones to produce air bubbles.
Snagged to the unit was a fully functioning fish rod and reel. It still castes like a champ.
Single units were used today instead of doubles like we usually use.
We housed the unit inside a landscape feature to keep the aesthetics of the property. Josh is trying to brush the fire ants off his arms which also call the feature home.

The Process of Installation

Since the units were only singles, the compressor is also downsized. Those plastics bags are padding to protect the unit during shipping. They are removed before the unit is powered up.
A small jon boat is all we need to deploy these units. One person drives while another person feeds tubing.
After some fine tuning the stations were working perfectly.

This was a quick job due to the size of the lake and small number of units. If you have a questionable aeration system give us a call to get your pond back on track.

Canton, Georgia Vertex Aeration Installation

Today’s blog is a quick recap of installing a single station Vertex aeration system. These systems offer incredible benefits to pond owners from decreasing fishy smells to reducing the chances of a fish kill. The systems are easy to install and take less than three hours to install. The only requirement is there needs to be a power source near the lake. If power source is an issue we offer a solar unit.

Today’s lake was about two acres in size so that’s why we only recommended a single aeration unit.
Josh doesn’t need any fancy tools to get the unit up and running.
Josh is seen here connecting the self weighted tubing to the main compressor unit.
Hose clamps and PVC cement are all we need to get the tubing connected.
The power source on this particular lake was a good ways away so we buried the tubing so it won’t be in danger of meeting the bush hog.
Josh is loaded and ready to deploy. When we send in proposals to Vertex Systems they create a custom lake map with locations to drop the units. We do not randomly drop units.

If you would like to improve your pond and safe guard your fisheries investments call the office to get talk with a biologist that will point you in the right direction.

 

Vertex Solar Aeration Installation

In order to eliminate the stratification of the water column, prevent turnovers, and increase fish habitat, we recommend installing a bottom diffused aeration system. Bottom diffused aerations systems are designed to pump large volumes of air that pushes water from the pond bottom to the surface where it spreads out and contacts the atmosphere and becomes oxygenated. The pumping action is created by millions of tiny bubbles emitted by the diffuser that rise and entrain water with them.

This system will eliminate thermal stratification (eliminate the thermocline) and turnovers in the lake providing oxygen throughout the water column. The thermocline is the boundary between warmer surface water and cooler deep water. These areas do not usually mix naturally. The upper water column is oxygenated by contact with the atmosphere, phytoplankton and aquatic vegetation growth and supports aquatic life.

Traditional aeration systems need a power source located close to the pond. This is typically not an issue but every now and then a pond located well off the grid needs aeration such as today’s pond. It would be very expensive to get an outlet installed.

The installation process if very similar to a traditonal aeration system. The main difference is digging a 3ft hole that’s 18 in wide to anchor the solar panels in.

Josh is drilling holes near the bottom of the pile. Rebar will go through these poles. The rebar will prevent twisting of the solar panels in high wind conditions.
The dig.
Quickrete replaced red clay and gave the unit much more stability.
It’s important to keep every thing level to get maximum exposure to the sun.
The skeleton is complete. The next steep is to adjust the angle that the panels sit. Each season will require a different angle.
Vertex air compressor
Josh working on getting the air compressor up and running. The compressor is much smaller and quieter than most imagine. This unit in particular weighed about 20 lbs and could be carried by one person.
Each panel has a negative and positive wire that then will be joined to the compressor.
Each panel has its own positive and negative connection. To join these two a special connector married the two together so only one negative and positive wire were running to the compressor instead of four wires.
Once the wires were connected it was time to lay the aeration hose. The aeration hose is special because lead is infused into the hose making it self weighted. It’s important that the hose be weighted and on the bottom.
Since the pond is a new construction we aren’t able to get a boat in it to drop the diffuser station. New guy drew the short straw.
This is the complete solar station. Upon connecting all the wires the unit started up.
The end result is lots of stratification busting bubbles which is exactly what we want.

If you think your pond might need aeration give the office a call to get an answer.

 

Emerson, Georgia Aeration Installation

The warmth of summer brings both joys and frustrations for lake owners in the Southeast. Long days mean plenty of daylight to get some after work fishing in. The warm water has fish’s metabolism firing on all cylinders so that means they ready to eat.  However there are some downsides to the shift in weather. Many of our clients will notice aquatic weed growth emerging as well as surface algae. Besides hampering aesthetics and making it hard to bounce a worm along the lake bottom, aquatic weeds do not harm the fishery often. There is a much more silent threat pond owners need to be aware of. It’s called lake stratification. The thermocline is the boundary between warmer surface water and cooler deep water. These areas do not usually mix naturally. The surface water is oxygenated by contact with the atmosphere and supports aquatic life. The deep water soon loses its oxygen through digestion of organic matter on the pond bottom and cannot support desirable aquatic life. Fish kills and bad odors can result from lake stratification. Fortunately lake owners have a solution in the form of bottom diffused aeration.

This is a close up of a bottom defused aerator. The black circular membrane has tiny holes in it that allow compressed air to be released into the water column.  Small lakes may only need two of these units will larger lakes will need many more. A small compressor on the shoreline creates the pressure. 
Tyler is attaching the hose to the unit so air can be sent from the compressor to the unit. The hose is self weighted so it doesn’t need extra weight to get to the bottom.
The weighted hose comes on large spools so here Tyler is making sure the boat operator has plenty of hose. We don’t want to put a lot of pressure on the units where they are connected. With such a high pressure system any weakening of the materials could be costly. 
The final step of the process is to connect the hoses to the compressor. The compressor is very discrete and quiet.
In addition to wanting the aeration unit installed the property owner also wanted to get several Texas Hunter fish feeders installed. With his goals of producing trophy bluegill Purina Aqua Max fish food was the only choice. With 45% protein this feed will quickly add size to bluegill, catfish, or feed trained bass.
Texas Hunter fish feeders are on of our favorite units to install. They are simple, well built, and carry a five year warranty on parts. We give property owners the option to install the feeders themselves because of their simplicity. However, at AES we know most owners are very busy so we can install, fill, and program feeders for the owners.

At the end of the project the owner was pleased to know his pond will be protected this summer. Lakes are investments whether it be time or money. If you would like to protect your investment this summer contact us and we will get you covered.

Pop Eye Disease

Did a little eye surgery today and removed these ocular nematodes from bluegill eyes.  They had Pop Eye disease. Only cure for Pop Eye disease is ridding the muck from your pond.  If you see Pop Eye disease in your pond, then contact us for an aeration quote.

 

Vertex Aerators Also A Fish Habitat

vertex aeration systems

Vertex Aerators Also a Fish Habitat – 

We all know that Vertex aerators offer many benefits and here is another one, great fishvertex aeration systems habitats!

Check this out to see bass and forage jumping from the Vertex aeration system while on an electrofishing survey.

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