Newnan, GA Fish Habitat Improvements

Christmas tree for fish habitat

Lake Redwine Fish Habitat Improvement

Lake Redwine in Newnan, GA is a 300 acre lake surrounded by hundreds of homes. With such a large group of people living around the lake this can make management tricky.

AES has years of experience is striking a delicate balance with HOA/POAs. Lake Redwine is shocked every year to harvest bass and to check the health of the fishery. Recommendations are generated from the shock but, unfortunately with such huge acreage these recommendations can get expensive. This project is an example of when biologist and residents come together for a creative solution.

AES constructed a yearly plan to do small fish habitat improvements that fit into the budget while residents do their part collecting Christmas trees for fish habitat. This plan includes MossBack artificial fish habitat and Christmas trees as natural cover.

An Early and Cold Start

MossBack Fish Habitat
Hauling a 22 foot work boat thru Atlanta is no fun so we make a point to leave Ball Ground around 5 am to get ahead of the traffic. Early starts are part of the game.
Boat Ramp
Always a good day when we have a boat ramp.
MossBack Habitat
Volunteers made the process go quickly and efficiently.
MossBack Habitat
We started off the morning with loading up MossBack rootwad habitat.
bluegill habitat
A few days earlier volunteers tied blocks to the trees so things would move quickly once we arrived.
Redwine Sunrise
It hovered around 24 degrees for the bulk of the morning so it was exciting to see the sun pop over the trees.
MossBack fish habitat
Our first drop of MossBack rootwads were all centered around known bluegill and shell cracker spawning areas. Chad is the head of fisheries on Lake Redwine so he was on the boat with us to direct us. Chad is a great voice for us when HOA and Lake committee meetings occur. He cares deeply about the lake and the fishing. 
MossBack Rootwad Fish Habitat
MossBack rootwads are dense habitat designed to give bluegill and other forage species cover. The limbs and tubes are roughed up. This rough surface promotes algae growth which serves as the base of the food chain.
MossBack Rootwad Kits
With the brick adapters the MossBack rootwads stand straight up making great bluegill habitat. These post aren’t very tall so they can be deployed in shallow water. When working from HOAs it’s critical to not have fish habitat breaking the water surface. It can be a navigation and swimming hazard if people aren’t paying attention.
bluegill habitat
Once we got done with the artificial habitat we started loading the Christmas trees.
bluegill habitat
We loaded close to fifty trees in addition to the MossBack rootwads.
Bluegill Habitat
The marina was the final area we dropped trees. A lot of residents like to fish off the marina docks.

Natural vs. Artificial Fish Habitat

In the lake management world it has always been known that artificial habitat is the best. It last longer and there’s so many different configurations these days. There are configurations for deep water that will aide bass. There are also shallow water kits similar to what we used today. The main drawback to using artificial habitat is the cost. This is when natural habitat comes into play. Natural habitat in the form of Christmas and cedar trees make phenomenal bluegill habitat. The one down side to natural is decomposition. Trees will usually last one to two years then need to be refreshed.

MossBack habitat has been working closely with private pond owners and state agencies to study how mixing natural and artificial habitat in one unit. They have begun to notice that sites that have a natural habitat beside an artificial kit hold more fish than just a single kit or tree by themselves. They suspect the bass hold in the artificial cover then bust the bait fish out of the natural habitat.  Although this research has just started this could have big implications for state agencies working under tight budgets.

Something is Better than Nothing

As we wrapped up today there was a great sense of accomplishment among the volunteers and AES staff. Redwine is such a huge lake that it’s almost impossible to cover every bluegill and shell cracker bedding location. Today’s job was a step in the right direction. Every year we chip away and get one Christmas tree closer to their goals.

 

 

Society of Lake Management Professionals Summit

Bob Lusk

Each year SLMP holds a summit to allow industry professionals an opportunity to discuss the latest in industry trends and new advancements. The summit was held in Memphis, Tennessee this year. Lake management is still a young industry. The industry started firing on all cylinders in the mid-1980s so there is plenty of room for growth. There were many topics discussed at the summit but the topics of cyanobacteria and trophy bass garnered the most attention.

Day One- Starting Things Off

It was only fitting to have Bob Lusk, the grandfather of the lake management industry, to start the conference off. Bob has been in the game since the late 70’s so he knows his stuff. Many of the industry standards we take for granted these days Bob learned the hard way.

Bob Lusk
SLMP attracts some big names and there’s no other name bigger than Bob Lusk in the lake management industry.

After a few talks on the first day the audience broke for some free time to talk with vendors. This is a prime time for companies to get to know their vendors. Often times in our line of work companies are just an email or phone call. It’s good to put a face to the email address.

Fish Food
Optimal fish food is a quality fish food company located in South Dakota. They are dedicated to making the best feed and constantly pushing the boundaries.
Air Max
Having one on one time with vendors is great for us to discuss concerns and questions we have.
cyanobacteria
Solitude Lake management has been heavily invested in cracking the cyanobacteria code as this issue becomes more common. They presented their findings and what they hope to do in the future.

Evening Social

After a long day of travel and talks it was fitting to have an evening out. A vendor generously provided appetizers, BBQ, and brews for the summit attendees. Socials are a great way for people to get to know each other. Pulled pork and Budweiser are the best ice breakers.  SLMP is all about exchanging ideas so events like this are critical to group cohesion.

Memphis night lift
Capt. Matt is usually on the shock boat in hot pursuit of bass and bluegill but tonight pulled pork was his quarry.
Ice Breaker
Outdoor Water Solutions was the sponsor for tonight’s social. As a perk of being president Greg got the first plate.
America
Lots of knowledge was exchanged as people get a feel for everyone. We might live in different parts of the country but we all have the similar problems that unite us.
SLMP
Bob Lusk and Dave Bealsey enjoying the evening.
Pulled Pork
The place to be.
Memphis BBQ
Pass the sauce.

Day Two

Day two was a mixture of presentations and round table discussions. SLMP has the round table discussions because they give vendors one on one time with clients. Vendors can also hear issues that clients have with products so they can give feedback to developers. This is the time of year that vendors unveil new products which is always exciting.

Tom handing the mic off to Wade. Wade had some exciting news as he has been developing an app so clients can record relative weights from their mobile device.
EPA
Trent gave a talk concerning EPA regulations and how they effect our industry.
big bass
Greg gave a detailed talk about growing trophy bass and the future of this aggressive management strategy entails.
Aeration
Outdoor Water Solution’s round table.
fish feeder
Texas Hunter feeders are our favorite feeders are the market. A five year warranty and world class customer service makes them a crowd favorite.
Dredge life
The dredging industry has a lot of mystery surrounding it so it’s good to have a sit down with them.
pond dye
Dyes are not our favorite but they do have a place in the lake management industry. The chemistry behind dye is fascinating to watch.
pond dye
It only took a tiny drop to turn the whole tube blue. Live demonstrations are great learning opportunities since this is what we will be doing in the field.
SLMP
All the SLMP attendees.
SLMP
SLMP summit Vendors.
SLMP
2018 SLMP Board Members

Wrapping Things Up

President
As the outgoing president Greg was honored for his dedicated service to the organization.
college scholarship
During the summit a silent auction was held to raise funds for the SLMP scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to outstanding students that in actively involved in the lake management world. The highest bidders were reveled during the dinner.
Texas hunter fish feeder
Texas Hunter feeders donated a complete feeder for the scholarship fund.
back ground
After a long week and many months of planning the summit came to an end. It was all smiles from the people that worked in the background to make sure everything went off perfectly.

It was an informative week but as all good things do it had come to an end. Next year’s Society Lake Management Professional Summit will be held in Florida. After the near Arctic conditions of Memphis a warm coastal breeze will be welcomed.

 

 

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.

Fish Stocking Fun for Kids

Fish Stocking, Bluegill

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.

Fish Stocking, Bluegill

Once taken to the pond they all watched intently as the bluegill were released.

Fishery Improvements, Forage Fish, Bluegill Stocking

Another happy client!

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.

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.

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

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.