Seneca, South Carolina Lake Liming

Lake Liming

Trophy Bass Start in the Dirt

When you think of growing trophy bass, dirt isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Bluegill, crawfish, shad and other forage grow big bass but have you thought about what grows a bass’s food?

All fish start out as fry and feed off their yoke sack. Once they are done with the yoke sack they move onto small aquatic insects. Lakes with poor soil don’t support as many aquatic insects.  When we attempt to fertilize these lagging lakes our fertilizer has no affect because alkalinity levels are low. Luckily for lake owners there is an easy solution to get top notch dirt.

Liming your lake is an easy job assuming there is proper boat access and a good tractor operator. Liming food plots is a normal fall ritual for hunters, but liming lakes is mostly unknown. Unlike food plots, lakes only need to be limed once every 3-5 years with the rates we recommend. Lake liming ensures the fertilizer will be effective and produces an algae bloom.

lake liming
The first few loads are always the hardest. The ground is very saturated so carrying such a heavy load makes operators nervous.
The lake being limed is a classic South Carolina up state lake with red clay composing the bulk of the soil. Red clay isn’t good for growing crops or big bass.
Lake Liming
When we are spraying lime off the barge we are liming the soil. We aren’t liming the water as many clients assume.
lake liming
In two to three months the lake will be ready to fertilize. Hydrated lime is quicker acting but it will last less than six months.  We used agriculture lime today. Agriculture lime is slower acting but last years. We lime lakes at 4-6 tons/acre because we only want to lime every 3-5 years.

In a few hours the pile of 24 tons was in the lake and working on the soil. We like to lime lakes in the cold months because lake owners won’t be losing growing season. We start fertilizing lakes once the water temps reach 60 degrees, so ideally our owners start fertilizing in April.

 

 

Madison, Georgia Lake Liming

The summer time is prime time to do mid-season chores on your lake or pond. The fishing has slowed down and it’s down right miserable to be out past 11 am. Today we were in Madison, GA helping a long time customer. When this property owner came to us about five years ago his lake was so full of weeds a boat could barley navigate, the bulk of the bass were 8-12″, and the forage base was running on fumes. After several chemical applications and grass carp stockings the lake was cleared of vegetation. After many bass were harvested several loads of threadfin shad were stocked. This spring the lake was shocked to see how the lake was doing. To the utter surprise and delight of the owner his shad were thriving. He was planning on getting another load or two stocked but after our survey he realized no shad needed to be stocked. Situations like this show why an experienced professional is needed. Instead of the client spending money on something they already have they can now use that money for other forage.

40 tons of agriculture lime waiting to be spread. Property owners are often shocked when we recommend 4-6 tons/acre. Other lake management companies will recommend 1-2 tons/acre. The reason we recommend higher amounts is we don’t want property owners liming every year or every other year. We would rather property owners lime once every 3-5 years and use their budget for fish stocking or habitat enhancements.
Agricultural lime is usually a mysterious topic when we mention it to property owners. Lime is crushed limestone as you can see in the picture above. Lime is high in calcium which raises the pH and alkalinity of the soil. Georgia has incredibility poor soil which doesn’t allow pond and lakes to carry a lot of pounds of fish. When we fertilize we can triple the amount of fish a lake carries. 
This 85 hp tractor had a giant bucket so it made quick work of the pile. We always want tractors to be at least 20 hp and four wheel drive. Smaller tractors will struggle with the dense nature of lime. 
Nosing off the bank is made much easier when there is a good drop off. We have a few tricks up our sleeve to get out of tight spaces but a good bank slope is hard to beat.
Spreading 40 tons the easy way.

If you suspect your water quality is holding back your fishery call the office to see if we can help you out.

Winter Chores

Ever wonder why the Midwestern United States grows such huge deer versus other parts of the lower 48? A little hint is good dirt grows big deer. The same concept applies for growing trophy bass. Unlike the Midwest, here in the Southeast we are not blessed with good dirt. Being famous for having red clay isn’t a huge source of pride for most lake owners. Luckily liming is an easy and effective way to improve water quality.  Liming does a lot of good things for your pond such as raising alkalinity and reduce pH swings. High alkalinity will make fertilizer more effective and small pH swings will make the aquatic environment stable.

Digital titration is the most accurate way to measure alkalinity. Want alkalinity to be at least 20 ppm.

With deer food plots landowners typically apply one ton per acre every year. As lake managers we apply four to six tons per acre. This seems like overkill. That is exactly what we want because at this rate you only have to lime every three to five years. Some will luck out and be good for many years. Factors such as watershed size effect the rate. Also years with flooding will wash out lime quickly.

Liming a lake is a straight forward process. First we will get lime brought in and dumped near the shoreline. We will bring our lime barge to the lake. No boat ramp is needed. There just needs to be an area with clean bottom and good drop off. Of course we need plenty of room for the trailer and trucking company.

A front end loader is needed to load our barge. Typically one bucket is enough. We require the loader to be 4 wheel drive and at least 20hp. We’ve used small loaders and they will tip over or break due to lime’s density.

The final step is to blast the lime off. On our barge we have a 2in trash pump that produces 213 gallons per minute. With this flow rate we are typically able to move eight to ten tons of lime in a hour.

When liming we are liming the soil not the water so we drive around blasting lime off.

Typical lakes only need 24-50 tons so we can get your job done in an afternoon. Winter is the time to get this done so when it warms up you will be back to enjoying your lake. Call us now to get ahead of the spring rush.

Trophy Grower Pond Fertilizer is Here

Trophy Grower pond fertilizer is Here!!! We have 38,000 lbs of Trophy Grower pond fertilizer ready to deliver or come and pick some up for your   pond.  2 boxes of Trophy Grower pond fertilizer will treat 1 acre per year.  Now is the time to get your Trophy Grower in your pond. Give us a call.