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.

Pond Fertilizer

Spring is fast approaching along with warmer water temperatures. Remember we begin fertilizing ponds once the water temperature reaches 60°F. It is critical to get a bloom established early in the spring. If fertilization efforts are delayed further into spring, there is a chance that aquatic vegetation will get a head start and limit fertilizer’s success.  Also, to maximize the potential of the fishery it is critical a bloom is established before fish begin reproducing. Having a strong bloom increases the survival of the newly hatched fish.  A side benefit of an early bloom is deterring submersed vegetation growth as well.

For the initial fertilizer application you need to use eight pounds of fertilizer per acre. Once a bloom is established drop to four pounds of fertilizer. Our fertilization rates are always based off of the visibility of the water which is measured with a secchi disk ( link here). Make sure to check the visibility every two weeks and apply fertilizer as needed based off of the visibility reading. To keep on top of fertilization program we offer yearly Fisheries Management Contracts.  Please contact to get a proposal for AES to tackle maintaining the fertility of your pond and other pond management services.

For a year supply of fertilizer typically requires 50 pounds, or two boxes, to get you through the growing season. Place you order before March 15th and receive discounted delivery if applicable.

Check out these links to our Fertilizer and Secchi Disk.

The fertilizer label
Fertilizer label

Threadfin Shad Survival

The start of 2014 rang in the coldest temperatures that in over a decade. For those with threadfin shad, the bitter cold could have led to the demise of your threadfin shad population. Threadfin shad are great bass forage but they die once the water temperatures reach the low 40’s especially if the water temperature stays too cold for too long. Ice may equal dead shad. However, just because some shad die off does not mean that the entire population died off. In deeper lakes, shad can survive by seeking out thermal refuges that provide warm enough water temperatures to get the shad through the cold winter.

The best key to determine how the shad fared through the winter is by conducting an electrofishing survey this spring. You can also look for schooling shad at the water surface in the evenings once the weather begins to warm.  If a majority of the threadfin shad population or the entire population was eliminated, shad can be re-stocked this spring. Remember that we only stock shad when they are ready to spawn which increases the establishment of the shad since they will spawn shortly after being stocked. Typically, our shad stockings occur in April through June. Because of timing the sooner we determine the status of the shad the better the chances of stocking this spring.

** Though thick ice in north GA leads to rare kids fun activities (with safety measures in place), this particular ponds was covered in thick ice for four days. If you experienced heavy ice cover similar to this, you threadfin shad population likely did not survive unless the pond has a high abundance of deep water; and yet their chances of survival are still limited in such a severe ice cover. Also, we don’t recommend walking on ice in the south due to thinness of ice.

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4th day of completely solid ice!

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Winterize your lake or pond

With winter fast approaching, many of our managed lake see a dramatic change in weed density and water clarity.  Just like your Bermuda lawn, most aquatic weeds will turn brown and go dormant for the winter.  Most weeds will seem to be completely gone, but we know from experience that the roots and seeds are quietly biding their time until the sunlight increases and the water temperatures rise. And just like your lawn, treating the young shoots of the aquatic weeds is the easiest way to control them as opposed to letting the weeds become deeply rooted again.

Lake owners will also see the clarity of their lakes increase, sometimes dramatically, during the winter.  Why is that? As the water cools, the natural cycle of phytoplankton is halted, thus clearing the water or its summertime green or brownish color. With this cooling comes slower growth for all animals in the lake, as their bodies try to conserve energy through the winter.   As fishes metabolism slows, you should slow down the rate at which you provide supplemental feeding with your fish feeders to bluegill and/or catfish.

Fish feeders this time of year need to be set for a mid-afternoon feeding and shut down by the time the water temps are consistently in the low 50’s. Now if you feeding cool water fish such as trout, then keep them running.  Just keep in mind you want the fish to consume all of the food in around five minutes. Once turned off. Break down the components of the feeder and clean them well.  Apply lubrication to moving parts.  Thoroughly clean the solar panel.  Put your batteries on a load tester to make sure they are ready for next spring.  Never leave a feeder shutdown for the winter with food in it. Fish food sitting in a feeder that is shut down will lead to corrosion problems.

Winter is also the best time of the year to place fish habitat.  In our work, it is common to find lakes with a lack of protective cover.  This is critical to promote bluegill recruitment which will improve the growth rates of your largemouth bass. You can cut trees and sink them near spawning beds.   Next month, collect all the Christmas trees from your neighbors and sink them in less than 4 feet of water where small fish spend their time.  Also, increase fishing hot spots with placement of trees out in deeper water.

Old ponds that may have sediment buildup can use some dredging.  A silted in pond is not good habitat for spawning and may lead to a muddy lake.  It facilitates aquatic weed and algae growth. Dredging it out means draining the lake and there is no better time to drain the lake for the fish than when cool.

What else could I do this winter for my lake? If you experienced aquatic weeds in the warmer months, stocking grass carp this winter will give your lake a jump-start on the spring growth.

  • The best long-term control of the submersed weeds is stocking grass carp.
  • Grass carp are very effective in controlling submersed grasses and can eat up to 5 times their body weight in one day.

Installing a bottom diffused aeration system can prevent winter turnover fish kills and add beneficial oxygen to the water body.  Aeration systems have also been proven to reduce nutrient levels in the water, stunting weed growth.  Although not a aesthetically pleasing as a fountain, bottom diffused aeration adds more oxygen and actually takes less electricity to operate.

Just because winter is here and normal fishing slows down, you can add rainbow trout to your lake for added action in the winter months.  Trout are cold water fish and are very aggressive in the colder months, and are good tasting and easy to catch.  Supplemental feeding with a fish feeder is recommended for trout.

So don’t give your lake the cold shoulder this winter,  pick a project that will increase your enjoyment of the lake!

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 lake 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.

Castle Farms 3D

Castle Farms Contour

Please contact Aquatic Environmental Services at 770-735-3523 or www.lakework.com if you are interested in lake mapping or any other fisheries management services.