Tannic Acid in Ponds

If you’ve ever driven by a lake that has brown water resembling ice tea then you’ve seen a pond with tannic acid.  Most of the time tannic acid is just an aesthetic issue. However, sometimes it can be more serious. This client was about to stock 6,000 3-4″ bluegill before we checked his water quality. The water didn’t even hold 1 milligram worth of oxygen. This would have been a death sentence for the bluegill and an ill-spent $3,600.  To help reduce the tannins in the water and improve oxygen levels we applied aglime. Aglime contains high amounts of calcium which raises the pH levels and alkalinity.

Checking oxygen levels
Josh is checking the oxygen levels of the pond.
oxygen levels
Oxygen levels are still substandard. The percent saturation is about 15% at 1.21 milligrams per liter. Ideally we want the percent saturation around 100% and milligrams per liter at 6-8.
Duck Weed
In addition to high levels of tannins the pond also has a severe case of duck weed.
Boat ramps are great but we can always bob sled down a gentle red clay bank if need be .
Tractor loading barge
Getting loaded up with some aglime.
Loading lime
Keeping the barge still and dumping the load is a dance. Luckily there was no wind today to cause the boat to drift.
Dump truck
We weren’t the only ones dumping today. This is a new pond so getting rock and gravel dropped is key to keeping the dam healthy.
Lime barge
We nosed up into the brush as much as possible. These decomposing organics are what are causing the high levels of tannins.

With the aglime applied we will give it a few months to start changing the soil and water characteristics. Although this is not a good situation  it could have been much worse if fish were stocked. The owner isn’t on the property at all times so the fish would appear to go in healthy but by the time he was out next the buzzards would have cleaned everything up. If you ever face a tough situation with your fishery give AES a call. We have plenty of experience and creativity to solve problems.

 

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.

Threadfin Shad Kill

As temperatures continue to plummet in the Southeast many lakes are reaching unheard of temperatures. Most fish will hunker down in the deepest portion of the lake and ride out the storm. However, some fish are more susceptible than others.

A key food source that becomes vulnerable in extreme cold is Threadfin shad. Around forty-five degrees is all threadfin can take before they start to die. They will search the depths trying to find suitable water. It’s common for threadfin to suspend in a certain portion of the water column. Whenever visible ice forms on the surface of the lake a shad kill becomes a real possibility. If your lake is small you can make a quick visible inspection to look for dead shad. If your lake is large you can also make a visual inspection but also be on the look out for seagulls or vultures picking off the dying shad.

If a shad kill is seen call our office and place your order for restocking. Shad stockings occur in April and early May. There is a limited amount of shad from suppliers so it’s critical to place your order early. Getting the lake electroshocked to inventory the shad population will show us how your population fared. Some luck out and have a partial kill while others loose the whole population.

Pop Eye Disease

Did a little eye surgery today and removed these ocular nematodes from bluegill eyes.  They had Pop Eye disease. Only cure for Pop Eye disease is ridding the muck from your pond.  If you see Pop Eye disease in your pond, then contact us for an aeration quote.

 

Sterile Grass Carp

  Sterile Grass Carp

Along with warmer temperatures upcoming, so are submersed weeds in ponds. The best long-term control of submersed weeds is stocking Sterile Grass Carp. Sterile Grass Carp are very effective in controlling submersed weeds and can eat up to 5 times their body weight in one day.  Get your Sterile Grass Carp in soon before the submersed weeds take over. We can deliver Sterile Grass Carp or you can come by and pick up Sterile Grass Carp. Give us a call!

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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Winter Algae Blooms? Really?

Common cooler weather condition seen here, oils from decaying plants forming on the surface causing a somewhat unsightly “skim”. We have had a few calls of “cold weather algae blooms” which turn out to be this oily skim. Any body else seen this?

winter algae bloom
winter algae bloom?