Athens, Georgia Electrofishing

Georgia Electrofishing

Athens, Georgia Electrofishing

Unseasonably warm weather by February standards had the shock team on the water recently. All the lakes were near the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. The first lake was an aging county watershed lake. Since the lake was designed to hold drinking water not trophy bass the fishery was is in terrible shape. County watershed lakes are typically barren bowls and today was no exception.

Georgia Pond Management
Par for the course the lake had a sketchy boat ramp. People are often hesitant to contact us because their private lakes lack boat ramps so they think we can’t access their lakes. 95% of our clients don’t have boat ramps so we are use to launching in tight spots.
Georgia Pond Management
Client knowledge is invaluable to our study of the lake. Today’s lake had some quirks that only the client knows since he’s on the property very often.
Georgia Pond Management
One of the quirks was the lake level. The dam has a small leak so the county lowered the lake level. The lake dropped almost 15 feet for a full season. The one upside to this lake drop is terrestrial vegetation had a chance to grow. These grasses make great habitat for bluegill. 
Georgia Pond Management
Any type of government created watershed always has an over built outlet structure.
Georgia Pond Management
This lake was very deep. Most ponds average around 8-12 ft. Seeing 36 ft means we won’t be shocking many fish in this area of the lake. Fish can move around out electricity in such deep water.

The Results

This was a tough shock but we still managed to get a few solid fish. The flooded grass provided great bluegill habitat so the bass followed. The larger bass were still hanging deep but some we shallow enough for us to shock them.

Georgia Pond Management
These were the two better fish of the shock. Even lakes full of 8-12″ bass will still have a few good fish.
Georgia Pond Management
We tagged certain fish because we want to see how their weights change after the spawn.
georgia pond management
Since the fish were stunted so much Capt. Matt wanted to look at the fish’s insides.
Georgia Pond Management
A spotty liver isn’t too surprising with the harsh water quality and lacking forage base.

Lake #2

The second lake was similar to the first one except it was a built for fishing. It had produced several nice fish in the past but it’s approaching 12 years old so the original fish are dying off. This has resulted in lots of small,stunted fish since bass are rarely harvested.

georgia big bass
Some pre-spawn females were hanging in about 8ft of water near standing timber.
Georgia Pond Management
The biggest fish went a little over 7 lbs. 

Wrapping Up

Spring is the best time to shock the largest fish in your lake or pond. The big females that hang deep offshore for the majority of the year come shallow for a short window. Sometimes fish appear more healthy than they are due to females carrying extra weight. Fall is the best time to see the true state of a fishery. Electrofishing in Fall will show how well the fish recovered from the spawn and survive high water temps of the summer.