Metro Atlanta Lake Management

Lake Audit, Lake Survey, Fishery Management

When people imagine a world class bass fishery Atlanta’s I-285 usually isn’t at the top of their list. Nestled near Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport is an oasis . This client has been with us for many years and most importantly takes fisheries management seriously. Due to its large size the lake is shocked twice a year to insure the appropriate number of bass are harvested. In addition we come out once a month to fertilize and monitor water quality during the warm season. On this visit we shocked the lake for bass harvest as well as the final fertilization of the season.

Electrofishing, Lake Audit
Most fish were offshore on shad but a few still on the banks
Lake Survey, Lake Audit
Not the only ones working today

Lake Audit, Lake Survey, Electrofishing

Electrofishing Threadfin Shad
Bustin’ some Threadfin shad
Electrofishing, Electrofishing Boat
Capt. Matt getting the leftovers
fish population survey, assessing fish populations
We go were ever the fish are
fish analysis
Seth quick on the sticks

Once we collected all the bass it’s time to weigh and measure. Fish that are healthy are tagged and released. Fish that don’t meet the cut are taken out.

lake audit, Bass
Data is not the most exciting position yet it’s the most critical
Female Bass
No worries for this big girl
Fisheries Management
Tagged and released
fishery management plan
Seth with another golf course pig
fish population
This one isn’t so lucky
measuring fish population
Inches matter

 

fishery management
To the ice chest he goes
Bass, Fishery Survey
Fish like this kill fisheries. Too many mouths make for skinny bass
Fishery Management
Donald is making sure nothing goes to waste.
Lake Fertilization, Pond and Lake Management
Fertile water equals happy shad and fat bass. Seth dumping the final bag of fertilizer.
Fisheries Management
Capt. Matt burning the midnight oil

After a long day the shock boys were worn down but a lot was accomplished. Harvesting bass could be considered the most important aspect of lake/pond management. It doesn’t matter how many bluegill you stock if there are too many bass their will never be enough bluegill. An advantage of electrofishing instead of rod and reel is that our sample is not bias. We shock aggressive and less aggressive fish just as well. Call us today to get your lake shocked and back on track.

Ageing Bass

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.

Age of Bass
First step is to gain access to spinal region
Age and Growth Large Mouth Bass
Next Matt uses some precision tuned pliers to gently remove skin
Working space is prepped and ready for otolith removal.
Dating and Ageing Trophy Largemouth Bass
The otolithes are tucked in a nerve bundle along the spine.
Size and Age Bass
Each fish has two otolithes

 

Fish Ageing
Matt will split and sand the otoliths so that he can see through them. They are glued to a microscope slide so Matt can count the rings. This fish is five years old. It weighed 434 grams with a length of 13″. This is extremely poor growth.

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.

Aging A Bass – Answers Revealed

 Aging A  Bass 

Think you can age a bass by its otolith?

Check out these zoomed in images of a bass we just aged from the otoliths below:

Want to take a guess at age and weight of these two bass?

These two pictures are from a largemouth bass otolith

Bass Otolith      

 

These two pictures are from a spotted bass otolith

spotted bass olith 1 spotted bass olith 2

 

We will give you the answers next week. – ANSWERS REVEALED

The largemouth bass was 8 years old, 11.75″ long and 0.75 lb while the spotted bass was 14 years old, 20″ long and 2.95 lbs.

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.

1

4th day of completely solid ice!

2

Check out the growth for this bass that we stocked only 9 months ago…

This bass just weighed in at 1.3 pounds and 12.5″ after only being stocked 9 months ago. How does one achieve this? Watch our presentation on how to produce a trophy largemouth bass fishery https://lakework.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/sdafs-trophy-lmb.pdf

Happy Fishing!

Growing a Trophy Largemouth Bass
Bass grows to 1.3 lbs and 12.5″ in only 9 months

 

What do you think this bass ate??

See the Bass who ate the Crappie

Take a look at the bulging belly on this bass! What did this big guy eat?

Bulging belly

Take a look below and see what we found inside this bass.  Bass are basically opportunistic feeders, that consume whatever is readily available.  Guess this one pound crappie was in the wrong place at the wrong time!

Bass and crappie

Did you know?

  • Bass feed primarily by sight
  • In low light conditions, they must rely on other adaptations that sense sound or vibrations
  • Smell and taste are probably used less for feeding than other senses
  • Bass are basically opportunistic feeders that consume whatever is most readily available
  • Feeding of largemouth bass is triggered both by hunger or by a reflex
  • Adult largemouth bass do not feed continuously. Once a meal is ingested, the bass may not feed again for hours or days, depending on the size of the prey that was eaten
  • Largemouth bass prefer temperatures in the range of 65-85o F. Feeding frequency declines considerably when water temperatures occur outside of this range
  • Feeding occurs any time during the day or night, but appears most frequent at daybreak, dusk, or during overcast conditions