The pond being electrofishing today has a common problem that not many property owners think about but something we see often. The lake was stocked a few years back and everything was great. Owners get caught up in the excitement of seeing bass, bluegill, shell cracker, and shad going into the pond. The real work starts a few months later. Among a new lake owners duties is bass harvest. The initial bass that are stocked in a new pond will be the best class ever.
If you own a lake less than ten years old your best bet is to harvest bass aggressively and add habitat. Shoreline trees are a great start as the are usually small and will fall directly into the water. Digest these two tips then make them happen on your home water.
Lake Liming for New Lakes
New lakes are a beautiful thing. They are ripe for the imagination. Property owners can make humps and points to bounce a football jig off or sticking tree tops mid-lake that will one day result in a bass crushing a top water plug. However, till that point we have to do the small things that make those big dreams possible. One of the small things that results in big dividends is lake liming. Proper alkalinity also fertilization programs to be effective. Fertilized lakes can hold 300-400 lbs per acre of fish while unfertilized lakes hold 40-100 lbs per acre. Lime is a composed of basic compounds so it keeps pH cycle much more stable. Stability is king in nature.
Break in the Rain
Anyone living in the Southeast is probably wondering if our temperate deciduous forests is slowly becoming a rain forest with the amount of rain we are battling. After a few dry days we tip toed the lime barge across the virgin ground.
Today’s lake only needed fifty tons so it was a quick job. The tonnage was a little overkill but liming at high rates will last longer. Other companies will suggest one or two tons to the acre. It will appear cheaper at first. However the catch is it needs to be done every year so the company makes more money on application fees. At our tonnage rates we lime lakes every three to five years.
As we head into the summer this is the time we lime the bulk of our lakes. We also lime in the winter. We are booking up quickly for the month of June and July so get in contact the office if you would like your lake limed.
South Alabama Aeration Installation for Cyanobacteria Prevention
With cyanobacteria becoming more and more wide spread we are taking preventive steps for our clients. Lake aeration is a great way to keep water from becoming stagnant.
Why is Cyanobacteria Bad?
Cyanobacteria grows in stagnate and nutrient-rich waters. Cyanobacteria produce toxins that affect people and pets. The most common and serious health effects are caused by drinking water containing the toxins or by ingestion during swimming or playing in contaminated water. Not all Cyanobacteria produce toxins but many do. Lakes near heavy agriculture are more vulnerable due to the amount of fertilizers used. South Florida has been the hot spot in the last few years with poor water management, heavy organic loading from agriculture, and development. With few treatment options prevention is the best treatment.
With days of rain in Georgia is was exciting to be installing a lake aeration system under sunshine and not worrying about getting a truck buried in mud. Today’s installation had two cabinets and twelve total bottom diffused aeration stations. With the heat of a Southern Alabama summer the lake owner wanted to protect his investment from Cyanobacteria and fish kills. He plans to push this fishery to the max with future lime application, fertilization program, and heavy fish stocking.
After a few thousand meters of tubing the team successfully installed all the units. The lake owner was very pleased knowing his investment is being protected. If you would like to protect your investment give the office a call. Don’t let a family member get sick be the reason you get your lake worked on.
Mid-April Electrofishing Recap
The electrofishing team has been bouncing around middle and south Georgia for the first part of April. The team has been tackling many diverse fisheries from lakes less than two years old while others have run their course and need to be drained.
The spawn was very flat this year. There wasn’t much of a buildup. With the amount of rain and unusual temperatures the bass spawned when the conditions were right. Many of the fish we shocked had fresh sores and flat bellies indicating the spawn has already happened. Some lakes had schools of bass fry with males guarding the school.
This time of year we get lots of calls about algae growth. With the warming water algae is starting to grow again. There are some species of algae that grow in specific temperatures but die in warmer or colder temperatures.
Wrapping the Week Up
With a long week week of electrofishing coming to an end the team saved the best lakes for last.
After four days of electrofishing and being on the road the team heading back to Ball Ground. Electrofishing is all fun till the boat is hooked up and pointed home. The real work starts now with report writing. We are booked out till mid-May so if you have any interest in getting your lake shocked now is the time to get in contact with us.
Start of 2019 Electrofishing Season
The Start of 2019
With water temperatures creeping up to the magical 60 degree mark, the shock team has been on the move. The electrofishing team was recently in Cartersville, Georgia. The client being serviced has an unconventional goal of wanting to grow large Redear sunfish. Redear sunfish feed primarily on mussels so they become very large but the growth takes a while. As of now, no fish food company has figured out a food that Redear will consume.
The fish are staging in preparation for the spawn. All winter they have been in deep water seeking shelter from the weather. People ask us why we don’t perform lake audits year around and the reason comes back to the fish. In the winter and summer, fish seek deep water. Deep water is more stable than shallow water. Our electrofishing equipment has an effective range of 4-6ft so our catch rates wouldn’t be high. Summer time water temps can be stressful to fish while they are in the lake so shocking fish in the heat of the summer can be deadly.
As the weather continues to warm, keep up with the AES shock team this spring. Spring is when the largest bass are shocked.
Ageing a bass is one of the best ways a biologist can gauge the health of a bass. In the Southeast we use the otolithes to determine age. In the North or where there are defined cold and warm seasons scales can be used to determine age. This is a quick guide on how otolithes are retrieved and aged.
Once age has been determined we can now implement strategies to improve the fishery. Most lakes have never been managed so they are full of old, stunted bass. In most cases the best option is to drain the lake and start over. It is possible to get these bass healthy again but it may be too late. Bass have a lifespan of eight to ten years. If a bass is stunted at six years old then pouring $2,000 of bluegill in the lake is futile. During an electrosurvey we take otolith samples so call us today and get booked.
Fish Stocking Fun for Kids
Here at AES we love to introduce children to all aspects of fishery management from stocking of a forage base, to the importance of habitat and the thrill of catching a great fish. We made a delivery of bluegill to one of clients extra special for the neighborhood kids.
The children eagerly awaited as buckets of bluegill were loaded from the truck and then taken to the pond.
Once taken to the pond they all watched intently as the bluegill were released.
Another happy client!
Electrofishing Outside of the Southeast
Although the bulk of our business comes from Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina we are more than capable to survey lakes outside of our home range. With the number of years Greg has been in the pond management industry he has forged a reputation of building the finest fisheries so naturally word has spread. The shock team makes a road trip to Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi in late spring and another trip to Illinois in early summer. Shocking in Florida is an emerging area for us as well. There are many companies in Florida than manage vegetation but few provide fisheries services.
Even if you do not think you’re close to the home office give us a call. Many times we can complete fish population surveys on multiple ponds in an area to reduce the travel cost.
South Florida Exotics
Exotic plants and animals have been an issue in Florida for years. During our past shocking of Lake Parrish near Tampa, Florida we ran into huge schools of tilapia. Often they would be feeding on the surface in schools of over a hundred fish. We knew their numbers were high but our senior biologist found some startling images.
Tilapia are illegal to stock in Georgia but there is a lesson for pond owners. When stocking your pond know what you are getting. Purchase from a company or hatchery that has a good reputation in the industry. The guy your buddy met at QuickTrip around 2am my not be the best choice even if the price is right. Georgia DNR tickets are not cheap.
Electrofishing Season Is Here
Started this year’s electrofishing season in Palm City, FL. We had the pleasure of sampling twelve ponds for Piper’s Landing Yacht and Country Club which is an absolutely beautiful place. The fishery in these ponds have been neglected since their conception so the fish we sampled were not quite as beautiful as their surroundings. But now that we have a good data set on the fishery, we will get these ponds turned in the right condition.
Though we did not sample any trophy fish, we did sample a few species that you will probably only see in ponds that are in South Florida.
Also, we did hear some information from Lake Committee that unfortunately is not that uncommon. Many of these ponds were stocked last year with fry to help improve the forage base. Unfortunately these lakes are clear (i.e. not fertile) so when these fry were stocked they had no food to feed on once they used up their yolk sacs. This resulted in no survival of these fry which means a lot of money was wasted. So next time you want to improve your fishery whether it is fish stocking, electrofishing, etc., please make sure you use a reputable biologist.