Middle Georgia Habitat Enhancements

At AES we know money does not grow on trees. Clients come to us because we know how to use their money efficiently and wisely. Harvest and habitat are a client’s best tools to manage their lakes. Today’s job took us to Forsyth, Georgia to implement a artificial and natural habitat enhancement project. The client wanted to use MossBack artificial habitat kits while also taking advantage of shoreline trees. The shoreline trees were dropped then dragged out slightly so they were not an eye shore. The property owner wants to keep the aesthetics  while also helping out his bluegill population. Later this fall he will be getting several fish stockings so it was critical we create as much habitat for the future bluegill population.

Josh selecting which trees are to be cut.
Alders made up the bulk of what Josh was cutting.
Alder trees make great habitat because they are easy to cut and regrow in a few years so they can be cut again.
The Stihl making easy work of the alders.
Lashing the alders with rope and cinder block is the last step before we dragged them out.
Trees with green leaves hold more fish than trees with just a few branches remaining.
One of the bigger trees Josh dropped.
Once the naturals were done we moved on to artificial MossBack kits. These Reef kits were placed in five to seven feet of water to provide good structure for fishermen.
Loading these kits can be tricky. They are not heavy but awkward.
We always give clients GPS points but today the client requested decoys so he can see the habitat locations while on the water.
Deploying the units is the fun part. Place a 8x8x12 cinder block on the base to ensure the unit sits on the bottom evenly.

The team wrapped up just in time as the mid-day heat rolled in after an early start. Habitat projects are great chores to get done on your own property during winter and summer. It would be a shame to be lashing trees together in the spring while the biggest fish of the year are ripe to be caught. If you have questions about a habitat project coming up give the office a call and we can help you out.

 

Rockmart, Georgia MossBack Habitat Installation

At AES we shock lakes and ponds to get a snapshot of what’s happening underwater. Often times people assume we are after big fish and a photo op when we electrofish. In reality we want to harvest as much information and small bass as we can. Electricity isn’t bias so we shock aggressive fish as well as more docile fish. When anglers are fishing they will usually catch aggressive fish. Once we gather enough information we will make recommendations based on the client’s goals and budget. Today’s client gave us a budget to work with to improve habitat. We always give clients the best recommendations but understand budget is always a concern. We installed a variety of different MossBack kits today to improve habitat in different areas of the lake. For example a rootwad kit will be dropped in shallow water near bluegill spawning beds to give protection to newly hatched bluegill fry. In deeper water reef kits were deployed. Reef kits are not as dense as rootwads and are meant for bass to hang off. These deep water structures make for great places to fish around. No more random cast.

Today we constructed almost 30 MossBack habitats. Mossback kits are very easy to install. If the property owner has the time and resources we always encourage them to build and install themselves to save on cost. Each kit will usually take about 20 min to build. 
MossBack Habitats
The hardest part about deploying habitat is figuring out how to get back on the boat once the boat is fully loaded. The tightly packed habitats will test your flexibility.
MossBack Rootwad Kits
Another load ready to be deployed.
Lime barge
The boys coming back for more kits. The key today was to beat the rain. As we left the property the rumble of thunder was close.  

If you have a project in mind but aren’t sure where to start give the office a call!

 

Ellijay, Georgia Cold Water Stream Evaluation

At AES many of our clients are busy business professionals that are looking to escape the daily grind. Whether it be bringing back their grandfather’s farm pond they grew up fishing or building one from scratch we can service all their needs. However, from time to time we are called to the mountains to aide a different type of client.

Anyone that lives in Metro Atlanta knows that the North Georgia mountains are the place to be. While the mountains may not have many ponds and lakes they are loaded with a network of streams. Some are cold enough to support trout while others get slightly warmer and support species like Redeye bass.

The buyer of this property is interested in possibly stocking trout in this creek. All streams in Gilmer County, Georgia are classified as trout streams even if they are only marginal waters. As a biologist my job was to evaluate this stream for it’s potential to support trout. For a stream to support trout their are a few criteria that must be met. Temperature, habitat, and water quality are the most important aspects to determine if a stream can support trout.

A healthy watershed is critical to a trout streams survival. These ferns are not only pleasing to the eye but also keep soil intact. Riparian erosion releases silt into streams. Silt gets in trout’s gills, reduces reproduction success, and muddies the water. All of those things are not good for trout. 
A variety of habitat is required for trout. They need deep holes to rest in and riffle/runs to feed in.
These are the tools of the trade to check the metrics. Higher elevations are needed to support trout. Higher elevations will stay cooler in the heat of the summer.

To check the water quality there is a system called the Shannon Index. The Shannon Index uses aquatic insects to assess how much pollution is in a stream. All the insects we collected today are pollution intolerant. This indicates good water quality. If we found insects like crane flies and blackfly larva this would suggest that water quality is not the best it could be.

This is a small black stonefly nymph.
The king of the aquatic insects, Golden stonflies!
An adult stonefly. We know it’s an adult because it has wings.
This is a clinger mayfly. Another great source of food for trout.
This is actually a cased caddis not a tiny pile of rocks. Cased caddis build their homes using materials from the creek bottom. These guys are the original tiny house builders!
Whole colony of cased caddis on the bottom of this rock.
Taylor, the fearless realtor/guide for the day. We got some extra walking in because the beavers dammed up a road.
Many people would not consider beaver dams to be pretty but they have their own beauty. They also provide great duck habitat. Unfortunately for trout purposes they slow water down which warms the water up.
This picture is above the beaver dam complex. The stream is back to its original self of running cold and clean.

The end result is the client will start out with a put and take fishery. This means we will stock trout in late October and tell the client to harvest trout starting late May. We also gave the option to let the trout stay and see how they handle the summer heat. We recommended the client halt fishing when water temperatures exceed 74 degrees since those warm temperatures are stressful to trout.

As the mountains become developed we look forward to serving a different demographic of clients. If you have stream on your property and wondering what’s in it give us a call.

Middle Georgia MossBack Habitat Install

The calendar doesn’t agree but it’s spring in Georgia. This means ponds are starting to come back to life. Whether it’s fish stocking or electroshocking we are getting busy at AES. When we shock lakes each report comes with custom recommendations from our senior biologist. Habitat is usually a key component. Why stock thousands of dollars of bluegill and golden shiners in a pond without cover? They will just get ate as soon as they hit the water.

Today’s ponds were the final phase of habitat installation. To ease budget concerns we will break up habitat projects over two to four years. Doing it over a long period of time allows the pond owner to give us feedback. Sometimes in year three the owner might want to add a Texas Hunter fish feeder and want to drop some MossBack rootwad kits near the feeder.

It’s been a month long rain storm here in Georgia. Today was no different.
The taller units are MossBack safe haven kits. They are great for dense offshore cover. The smaller kits are MossBack rootwads. They are our bread and butter units. Small, well priced units that protect bluegill like no other.
Blue skies put a smile on the Captain’s face
Units are easy to deploy.
Slide them off and mark on GPS…easy stuff.
You know it’s spring in the South when you run the back roads and come out covered.

 

If your pond or lake is lacking cover and full of small bass give us a call. We love to work with concerned property owners. Budget shouldn’t be the reason you and your family/friends are not enjoying your pond.  We know how to bring the most value to you.

Newnan, Georgia Lake Enhancement

Here at AES we are big fans of artificial habitat. Last forever and when it goes off the edge of the boat you are done with it. The one drawback is it is very expensive. Recently we have been working with a good amount of HOAs. Improving a community lake will increase property values even for those not living directly on the lake. Unfortunately many communities have tight budgets. However that is not an issue at AES. We are here to create the best fishery with the given materials.

This lake is on the rebound after being managed poorly for over a decade. Funds for next year have been set aside to help the fishery but community members still wanted to help the fishery now. Christmas trees were collected throughout the neighborhood around New Years to be dropped as fish habitat. To save cost the community did all the prep work themselves. We simply showed up with our work barge and dropped the trees in pre-selected locations.

Boat ramps…a luxury in our line of work!
Prepped and ready to be dumped
Simple but effective
Community support is key to getting these efforts accomplished

Barge is ready to go
Proper location is critical.
Bluegill spawn in 3-5ft of water so don’t dump too deep.
Last drop of the day

With all the prep work this was a short day with a lot accomplished. There were plenty of people here to help load. Getting community members involved is important for these efforts. When more people are educated about their waters they will start to care more. Not many people will complain about getting tired of catching big bass. No matter your budget give AES a call and we will get you on the right plan.

Winter Fish Habitat Improvements

The holidays have wrapped up and the dread of taking Christmas decorations down has sunk in. Most of your decorations are headed back to the attic or for curbside pick up. Think twice before chunking that Christmas tree away.

When bluegill first hatch they are less than one inch long and extremely vulnerable to bass. To help them survive they need dense habitat to hide in. This is where your old Christmas tree comes into play. Christmas trees are phenomenal natural habitat to spruce up a pond that is lacking bluegill habitat. This blog is a quick guide to getting your trees in the water and protecting bluegill.

Home Depots are great locations to pick up extra trees. This Home Depot’s pile just north of Atlanta has been steadily growing since New Years Day.

Bluegill habitat is not something to skimp on. I recommend clients get a few buddies together, take a trailer to Home Depot, and load up as many that safely fit on the trailer. The more cover that’s dropped will equal more bluegill this spring and summer. More bluegill means healthy bass. Bluegill reproduce multiple times throughout the warm months. If proper habitat is in place they will sustain their population which means pond owners don’t have to spend $2,000 in bluegill stockings every year. Bass harvest is also a serious consideration as well.

All the supplies you’ll need

First part of getting ready is corralling all the needed supplies. A perk of having a few buddies is while everyone else is loading the trailer one can run into Home Depot to purchase the rope and cinder blocks.  8″x 8″x 16″ cinder block is a good size.  Polypropylene rope is the preferred rope material. Cotton based rope will decompose quickly.

 

The good stuff
Secured to main trunk. Don’t loop rope through limps. They will break under weight of cinder block.
Knots don’t have to be pretty

Once all supplies are ready cut about four feet of rope. Now thread the rope through the cinder block and main tree trunk. Tying in the middle is the safest bet but some tie to bottom so tree will stand up. When the tree becomes water logged it will lay on its side so it does not matter where it’s secured to. A few granny knots to tie rope off and it’s ready to be dropped.

Location is the most important part of the process. The quick and dirty whiteboard sketch shows what is right and what’s wrong. Lets start with correct positioning.  All the trees have been dropped right on the edge of bluegill spawning sites.  There are lots of trees surrounding spawning sites. It’s better to have a little too much gusto than be stingy. Now for the wrong way to drop. Trees have been dropped way too far from spawning sites. Bluegill fry will get ate in their journey from beds to cover. The trees have been dropped sparsely.

One note about using Christmas Trees or any natural materials is that they have a limited lifespan. As soon as natural materials hit water they start decomposing. One year is about what we expect to get out of a single tree so plan to make this a yearly tradition. At AES we sell artificial habitat. Unfortunately they are not free but they last forever which saves time. After all, time is the ultimate currency.

If you need guidance on dropping trees or curious about artificial habitat contact our office. Winter is a slower pace here so we will be able to quickly help you. Come spring we are extremely busy and schedules are tight.

 

Bristol, TN Lake Improvements

This past spring Bass Pro Shops contacted us to do an electrofishing survey of their lake at the Bristol, TN store. Matt, our senior fisheries biologist, came up with a game plan to get the lake back on track. The lake was lacking cover and forage. The owner decided to go with feed trained bass due to their aggressive, fast growing nature. Habitat was also added to aide the forage that was being stocked.

Feed Trained Bass, Fish Stocking
Tyler unloading feed trained bass.
Bass Stocking, Fishery Improvements
Small mouths, thick shoulders
Fish Feeders, Purina Aquamax, Pond Management
Texas Avenger Big Mouth feeder being filled with Purina’s special Largemouth Bass feed
Feeding Largemouth Bass, Fish Feed
Close up of Purina’s Largemouth Bass feed nuggets

Feed trained bass will grow quickly as long as they are fed a proper diet. Purina started making large pellets to work with Texas Avenger Big Mouth feeders. They are the only feeders on the market currently that can shoot this feed. Each pellet packs 45% protein and 10% fat that will add quality size to fish.

Fish Habitat, Fishery Enhancements, Mossback
Lots of units built today
Mossback Habitats, Fishery Management
MossBack habitat units waiting to be deployed
Artificial Fish Habitats
MossBack’s signature textured pipe is superior to normal PVC
Habitat for Fish
MossBack even textures their limbs to encourage algae growth
Fishery Management, Fish Habitats
Dense cover is key to protect forage fish

MossBack’s units come with roughed up surfaces. When the surfaces are roughed up they grow algae much quicker than traditional, slick PVC pipe. Algae growth is important to the pond ecosystem because it forms the base of the food chain. Without it the whole food chain will suffer.

After putting in a long day the only thing left to do is wait. With proper planning and execution there is no such thing as a hopeless pond at Aquatic Environmental Services.

 

Mossback Fish Habitat

A
nother successful Mossback Fish Habitat install.  Mossback Fish Habitats
are versatile, realistic, and long-lasting.  Mossback Fish Habitats are an excellent addition to your existing fish habitats like trees, brush, and other fish habitats. Contacts us for a Mossback Fish Habitat quote. We can plan and design a Mossback Fish Habitat specifically for your pond.

Read more about Mossback Fish Habitats here: http://lakework.com/fishery-mgmt/fish-habitat-enhancements/

 

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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.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbrxJas08Y4[/youtube]