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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Storm causes major Trout loss. Massive cleaning effort helps feed the needy.

Cleaning trout to feed the needy

As much as we like to showcase the exciting things happening at AES, we also have to share the tragic moments with you as well. We are humans  and we all make mistakes from time to time. The heavy rain Thursday night shut off the water to our ponds, causing a near total kill if our trout.  Close to 1200 trout died in the storm, and with a retail value of about $4/lb, we lost about $4800.  We tried to make lemonade from this lemon and cleaned over 200 of these 2-3 lb trout to provide food for the needy. It was a chore, as you can imagine, but hope to use these trout to raise money for a charity or volunteer to cook them for a food bank.

Dead Trout

Cleaning trout to feed the needy