When most pond owners think about managing their own pond they think of shock boats, loud generators, and fish stunning electricity. For the most part they will feel helpless without the aide of a professional. However, there are options for property owners to make their pond the best it can be in between visits by the professionals.
If you are interested in any of these products head over to our store. If you need advice on using any of these products give the office a call!
How Do We Shock Small Lakes With Little To No Access?
With the Metro Atlanta are growing at a steady rate many ponds are becoming enclosed by apartments and homes. The bulk of our clients are located in rural areas where our biggest worry is avoiding a collision with the pasture bull. Occasionally we will be summoned to survey neighborhood ponds on behalf of the HOA. Working in highly populated areas brings a new set of rules. We must be conscious of Mr. Smith’s impeccable centipede lawn he’s been grooming for the past 20 years, septic lines, or property boundaries between two neighbors that don’t like each other. Launching a twenty foot shock boat usually doesn’t go well in the above situations. For these instances we have a 10 ft boat we can carry a short distance.
Now you know a few of our secrets to getting into those tight spaces. If you got a tough job give the office a call.
Pond Survey Without Electricity?
99% of the time we can figure out a way to get our shock boats into a pond but there will be a few forever out of our reach. Using standard electrofishing techniques is the most comprehensive way to survey a pond. This will give us direction when it comes to fish stocking and other pond management tasks. Even without electricity we can use other techniques to get a good idea of what’s happening. When ponds are in balance or out of balance there are certain things to look for. Ever heard a friend say they catch only huge bluegill and small bass? Feel safe to bet your week’s paycheck he has an out of balance pond. Ponds that are in balance will have many different sizes of bluegill along with healthy bass.
Angler surveys and seine netting are the most commonly used techniques we use to survey a pond without our shockboat. Any college graduate did a thousand seines before they received their hard earned diploma. Angler surveys are a fancy way of saying we get paid to fish. A rod and reel are the most common tools. AES has a select few employees that think they are sophisticated and insist on fly fishing. Once fish are seined or caught the same inventory procedure follows as if we were on the shock boat. Bass will be weighed and measured for length. Bluegill will be measured for length. Any other species of interest such as channel catfish or black crappie will be inventoried as well.
Although not electricity, a rod and reel can be revealing in the right hands. At AES we know budgets are fluid so an electrofishing survey may not be in the cards. However, we encourage property owners to fish and figure out their own waters. If owners are unsure send pictures and accurate measurements for AES to look at. We want to help everyone to the best of our ability achieve their goals.
Summertime Fish Stockings
Many people think that we raise fish at our home office but the truth is we try to hold onto fish for the least amount of time as possible. Holding high densities of fish is a risky business. No only is oxygen a concern but high levels of nutrients result from eating feed. Ammonia and phosphorus levels can build up. These nutrients can fuel algae blooms. Algae blooms create lots of oxygen during the day but absorb oxygen at night. This can be a dicey situation. Along with oxygen issues there are predatory birds and otters.
This blog is a quick snapshot of us working some channel catfish up from our ponds.
After an early morning the fish were delivered and stocked healthy. Keep up with our Facebook and Instagram page for updates on unique fish stocking opportunities.
Where did all my Big Bass go?
Most of our blog posts are a summery of what we’ve been up to at AES. People are surprised to learn that there are businesses that manage lakes and more specifically fisheries. Our job is to educate people so they have the knowledge going forth to make the most informed decisions. With things slowing down this post is going to be more information based and less what we’ve been up to.
Often times during an electrofishing survey the question comes up of what happened to all the bigger bass. Owners report lots of big bass 5lbs and bigger. All the sudden these stud bass are gone and they are catching small, stunted bass. It almost seems like a cruel magic trick but it’s actually science unfolding. A bass has a life expectancy of eight to thirteen years depending on environment. Many of these ponds were built brand new and stocked according to a customized AES stocking plan. We always stock forage first to allow for reproduction. Only after the forage base has had plenty of time to grow will we introduce bass. It’s important to note that these first bass fingerlings that are stocked will always be the best fish in the pond. We are introducing them into an environment with plenty of food and no competition. Usually around year ten in when owners notice the bigger bass are becoming fewer and harder to catch. The reason these fish are getting harder to catch is their numbers are decreasing from natural mortality. It may not happen all at once but it will happen eventually.
There are three strains of bass fingerlings we stock. Each strain of bass has a different purpose to fit a client’s goals. Northern bass are very aggressive but don’t have the top end potential of a Florida strain bass. We recommend these to clients that want fast action and don’t mind if their bass top out around 8 lbs. Florida strain bass are the ones that you hear about breaking records. They are not as aggressive as Northerns but can grow to true trophy status. We would use these for clients wishing to grow large fish but at the same time not have lots of numbers or fast angling action. Lastly there is F1 strain. F1s are a cross between Florida and Northern bass. They are considered to have the best of both strains while still maintaining a happy median. F1s are the most common strain we stock.
Blue Catfish Removal
The aquatic and fisheries business is unique because no one company has a stronghold on the industry. There are just as many small operations as there are multi-state companies. Similar to the restaurant game, this industry has a high turn over rate. Many people get into fisheries based off their love for the outdoors and being on the water. Ultimately this passion has to met some business savvy to survive. This industry will give you seventeen hour days and so many problems that all you want to do is pout under your stocking truck. Today’s lake removal was the result of this.
The catfish that were seined out of this lake are unique because they are a hybrid between blue catfish and channel catfish. There are many advantages of this hybrid like high disease resistance, tolerance to low oxygen levels, fast growth, and high dress-out percentage.
At AES we are always trying to set ourselves apart from the rest by creating unique opportunities for our clients. We want our clients to have lakes and ponds that they are proud of. We are always hunting for special items whether it be brown/brook trout in the winter or hybrid striped bass in the fall. Give the office a call to set your pond apart.
Emerson, Georgia Aeration Installation
The warmth of summer brings both joys and frustrations for lake owners in the Southeast. Long days mean plenty of daylight to get some after work fishing in. The warm water has fish’s metabolism firing on all cylinders so that means they ready to eat. However there are some downsides to the shift in weather. Many of our clients will notice aquatic weed growth emerging as well as surface algae. Besides hampering aesthetics and making it hard to bounce a worm along the lake bottom, aquatic weeds do not harm the fishery often. There is a much more silent threat pond owners need to be aware of. It’s called lake stratification. The thermocline is the boundary between warmer surface water and cooler deep water. These areas do not usually mix naturally. The surface water is oxygenated by contact with the atmosphere and supports aquatic life. The deep water soon loses its oxygen through digestion of organic matter on the pond bottom and cannot support desirable aquatic life. Fish kills and bad odors can result from lake stratification. Fortunately lake owners have a solution in the form of bottom diffused aeration.
At the end of the project the owner was pleased to know his pond will be protected this summer. Lakes are investments whether it be time or money. If you would like to protect your investment this summer contact us and we will get you covered.
The bass spawn is a far memory for most bass anglers as the South is switching gears into summer. However as biologist we are constantly thinking bass and big bass at that. If you’ve been out fishing in the last month you’ve probably caught some beat up fish. These beat up fish are recovering from spawning. To release eggs from the female the male bass will ram the female. To start the healing process bass will gorge themselves. The post-spawn feeding frenzy is real and crayfish are the perfect snack!
Crayfish pack more protein than any other forage item we stock and they are the cheapest. We still have a few runs left if you want to grab a few sacks!
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.
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.
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.
Forsyth, Georgia ElectroShock Recap
Weather finally started acting like late spring and all of the solar powered AES employees are over joyed. Bring the pull over and coffee for morning shocks then break out the Sun Bum and straw hat for the afternoon jobs. It looks like the heat has set in for good so that means shock season is operating on limited time. We are still shocking some good fish but, we are much more cautious with the fish. As water temps become warmer the water holds less oxygen hence why there are no trout streams in South Georgia. When we shock fish we put them in a live well. We are constantly adding fresh water and pumping out soiled water but there is a certain carrying capacity we reach. This time of year we are always watching the fish in the tank to make sure the client does not loose any fish.
After a few lakes in the Forsyth area we headed a ways out on hwy 41 in Crawford County, Georgia. This client has us shock every few years to make sure their habitat efforts and harvest are still going in the right direction. We love their pond because there goals are for a quality bass fishery. We shocked tons of healthy three pound fish. The fish are stacking up around sixteen or seventeen inches so the next step is stocking gizzard shad. It’s always a privilege to work with clients that take our management suggestions seriously.
If you missed out this spring we will be back shocking this fall. Call the office to guarantee your spot.