Another great week is in the books for the shock team. Erratic weather continues to plague the Southeast but the fish are still making their migration towards the shallows. Luckily the nighttime temperatures are not dropping drastically so the water temps are not moving much. This week our average water temperature was about 54 degrees which is great for shocking pre-spawn fish. However, farther south we are shocking some post-spawn fish. We can blame the 80 degree February blast for that.
Weekly fishing tip- Stay off the bank. Fish are pre-staging about 15 feet off shoreline. Work spots with brush, tree tops, or rock. Rolling some big females that are holding tight to cover. Smaller males are cruising the shoreline or preparing beds. Keep it simple lure wise. Texas rigged soft plastics or smaller jigs are the best. Floating worms like the Zoom trick worm in bubble gum or merthiolate are great pre-spawn colors. Bright colors traditionally do best before the spawn when fish are aggressive.
This coming up week we will be shocking along I-20 in East Georgia and far Northwest Georgia. The weather still looks crazy with a brisk start then a huge mid-week warm up. We hope this warm up will be the trend but March is the most volatile month in weather as we are finding out.
Yearly Lake Management Services
As many lake owners know keeping up with your lake is a full time job. It’s easy to get behind. Life happens and we understand that. Unless you have a dedicated caretaker it can be a daunting task. There are so many things that a property manager needs to be aware of. Feeders need to be filled, water fertilized, and outlets kept clean among other things. Throw in otters, nuisance wildlife, and your head will start spinning. Fortunately here at AES we offer full lake management services. Property owners can sign yearly contracts. We can manage your lake very intensely with visits every two weeks or just check on them once a month to make sure everything is working as it should. We fill feeders using only the highest quality Purina feed and dump the most water-soluble fertilizer to increase phytoplankton. Time is the most valuable asset we have as humans. We would rather get pictures of you and your family enjoying your pond than hearing about the seventh Black Widow you found servicing your feeders.
Photo Credit: Grant Bobo
Winter Pond Bass Fishing
So far in the Southeast this winter is stacking up to be a dozy. Atlanta has already had 8 inches of panic dropped on her and it’s not even New Years. Many pond owners take this same icy attitude toward their ponds this time of year. However winter pond fishing can be phenomenal if you have a solid game plan. The point of this article is to serve as a general approach to enjoying your pond in the cold months.
The first aspect of bass fishing in winter is all about timing. The days are shorter and colder. Bass know this and adjust their movements accordingly. There is no need to get up at the crack of dawn like we have to do in the summer months. The best times to fish are between 10am to 3pm. These will be the warmest parts of the day making sluggish bass a little less sluggish. An often overlooked time to fish in the winter is during rain or fronts. In Georgia it’s common for the weather to be 10 degrees warmer before and during a front. Pond temps in the high 40s will revieve runoff in the 60s. The warm runoff draws bass in like magnets. Fishing areas where runoff enters the pond will be key.
Tackle this time of year doesn’t have to be super fancy. A 6’6” to 7′ medium heavy bait casting set up will be good for jigs and heavier soft plastic rigs. A 7′ medium spinning rod will handle smaller soft plastics and drop shotting well.
On to baits and lures! I’m a minimalist at heart and don’t want to lug around four tackle boxes. I carry a small backpack with the essential baits and terminal tackle. Bass will hug the bottom this time of year. Some will suspend as well. Jigs are my favorite lure because you can do many things with them. Bouncing them slowly off the bottom mimicking crayfish is my go to technique. However during those rainy events with warm runoff swimming a jig is a good technique to try. Swimming a jig simply means slowly reeling in the jig similar to a spinner bait. Below are several jig and trailer combinations that are proven.
The next category of baits that do good in cold water are soft plastics. There are so many options on the soft plastic market today. Similar to jigs I like to keep stuff simple. With the water being cold I don’t fish plastics with lots of movement. I prefer smaller plastics that move very little so no curly tail worms or crazy twin tail trailers.
Hooks and weights are simple. A 1/0 to 3/0 hook is all you will need. A small built weight that weighs around 3/16oz is plenty for Texas rigging . So now you know what to fish and when to fish. The last piece of the puzzle is where to fish.
Most ponds are one to three acres so that means you can cover them very quickly and easily. The red “x’s” are winter time hot spots. Lets start at the dam. The corners of a dam are great fish holding locations because there is a change in bottom contour which allows bass to pin forage. The standpipe is a structure suspending bass will hold to. Most ponds have a few fallen trees. Fish the trees in deep water and pass on the shallow trees. The row of “x’s” is located on the western side of the lake. The western side will receive the most afternoon sun thus warming quickly. Lastly the inflow pipe will be worth fishing after a warm rain. The warm water draws fish in and also food from the watershed gets funneled into a small area.
Follow these simple tips to put more winter time bass on the end of your line!
AES has been super busy lately with many pipe repair jobs. Check out this pipe repair that AES just finished. During the pipe repair, a metal box was specifically made to protect the pipe and prevent any future damage. Give us a call to come check out your outlet pipes to make sure they are in working order. Remember, it is easier to prevent a pipe repair than it is to repair!
Silver Lake Massive Bass
Our clients on Silver Lake are catching massive bass. Here are the Silver Lake massive bass catching statistics in pounds:
This week: Tuesday, Robert – 8 and Thursday, Robert – 9.5
Last week: Jeff – 8, Brad – 5, and Matthew 3.5
February and 3 weeks ago: Dylan Thomas – 8.5 and 9.5
Proof that we know how to stock fisheries. Want to catch bass like the Silver Lake massive bass, give us a call!!
Congrats to Robert and Dylan!! Keep the Silver Lake massive bass stats coming!
Big Redbreast Sunfish
Check out this big redbreast sunfish. Any guess as to the GA state record on the biggest redbreast sunfish caught? This big redbreast sunfish is not the biggest redbreast sunfish caught, but close at 1+ pounds. Read more about the fish we stock here http://lakework.com/fish-stocking-2/
Constructing Secchi Disks
We are in the process of making Secchi disks. Secchi Disks are one of our best selling items and the best item to ensure the success of your pond’s fertilization program. If you don’t already have a Secchi Disk, visit our Shop at https://lakework.com/shop/secchi-disk-2/. We sell Secchi Disks for $33.00 including shipping.
I hate beavers!
We just got done fixing a 6+ year old fountain for a client, and they called saying that it isn’t working after just a few weeks. Crazy beaver ate through the power cord!
Lake Mapping in Record Snow Event
Aquatic Environmental Services braved the record snow event and cold weather to map a nine acre lake in Rome, GA on January 12, 2011. After delaying the job for two days we had to finally suck it up and get the job done before our schedule for the entire month became backed-up. The lake we mapped is located at Castle Farms in Rome, GA. We have been providing fisheries management services on this lack for several years now and have constantly battled with submersed grasses in the lake. This lake has a lot of water with depths of three feet or less and “gin” clear water. This creates prime habitat for aquatic weed growth because the sunlight can penetrate down to the lake bottom which allows the weeds to grow.
This lake is managed for quality bass fishing and more importantly aesthetics. Castle Farms provides company meetings, weddings, etc. overlooking the lake so any weed growth in the lake needs to be eliminated. Since the herbicides were not getting the job done and the grass carp escaped the lake during a flood, we determined the best solution is to dredge the lake to increase water depths. Increasing the water depths will decrease the amount of sunlight that reaches the pond bottom which will in turn decrease the amount of weed growth. But to accurately determine how much sediment needed to be dredge to achieve the proper depths, we needed to create a bathymetric map.
Common uses for these maps include: sedimentation control, volume calculation, recreation maps, habitat and ecology management, watershed management and awesome fishing maps. For this particular project, we wanted to find how much sediment needed to be removed to achieve a depth of four feet. With this data, we can the project the cost of dredging the lake instead of our client getting surprised with an enormous bill at the end of the dredging work.
Using a high end GPS unit connected to a depth finder, we are able to collect the data needed to create the bathymetric map. This system collects a GPS coordinate and water depth every second. To acquire the data needed to create the map, we simply drive around the lake while collecting data. In a lake with very little depth changes this is a very easy process but if the lake bottom has a lot of contours (ridges, channels, etc.) we have to make sure to collect enough data at these locations to accurately show theses changes on the map. Once all our data is collected, we send to our partner company The Mapping Network where they convert the data into the bathymetric map.
The pictures below show Castle Farms Lake. One shows the contour lines and the other is a 3-D representation of the lake.