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Fisheries Management: The Benefits of Electrofishing

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 15, 2017

AS SEEN IN The Angler Magazine: Written by Industry Expert Steven King, Field Manager

ElectrofishingWhether you’re interested in creating a prized trophy fishery or just want to improve the health and longevity of your fishing pond, electrofishing is an essential tool for fisheries managers. This method is the primary sampling technique used to gather necessary information about the current state of a waterbody and determine what can be done to meet or exceed the goals of the specific fishery.

What exactly is electrofishing?

Electrofishing helps biologists track reproductive success and survival rates of fish species. The assessment is performed by sending an electric current into the water in order to safely stun any nearby fish. Stunned fish can then be easily scooped up in a net and placed in a temporary holding tank where they can revive and be observed for data collection. Most often, fish are measured, weighed and marked with PIT or Floy tags, which are used to determine the health and growth of the fish year over year. Then, they are released back into the water completely unharmed.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Published Articles

Sweat Equity’s Role in Trophy Fisheries Management

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 01, 2017

AS SEEN IN Pond Boss Magazine: Written by Industry Expert, David Beasley, Fisheries Biologist & Director of Fisheries

sweat-equity-role-trophy-fishery-pond-boss-david-beasley-pg1-e2.jpgImagine stepping out your back door and strolling down to your pristine, sparkling fishing hole, where you spend time in a boat catching trophy caliber fish. Sound enticing? Fisheries management techniques have improved to the point where it’s feasible to develop a high-end private fishery in your backyard, but it comes with a price—payable by either writing large checks or making a big investment in sweat equity—or a combination of both. 

To help combat potentially overwhelming budget numbers, many people invest large amounts of their time and energy. As a general rule, the less money spent, the more sweat equity is required. If you have time, this work can be lots of fun.

The sweat equity method often boils down to understanding what needs to be done to reach the end goal, and then staying diligent about getting it done.One practical way to achieve a trophy fishery with sweat equity is to take an integrated approach, such as working together with a fisheries biologist to ensure all of the required tasks are understood, communicated, and completed properly. Often, a biologist needs to be involved with several key management tasks including electrofishing, water quality analysis, and fish stocking. In addition to paying a biologist, other typical expenses include the purchase of fish feed, fish feeders, fertilizer, fish stocking, aeration, water quality equipment, lime, gravel, installing beneficial vegetation, and herbicides and algaecides to control nuisance vegetation.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Published Articles

Five Benefits of Feeding Fish with Automatic Fish Feeders

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   May 04, 2017

Written by Industry Expert, Aaron Cushing, Fisheries and Wildlife Biologist and Environmental Scientist

automatic-fish-feeder-fisheries-management-blog.jpgRegularly feeding the fish in your lake or pond with an automatic feeder can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. Many waterbodies are lacking a natural food source or don’t produce enough natural food to support the desired predator population. And while not all species eat fish food, every fish in your lake or pond will benefit from the additional food source. Here are five reasons to consider adding fish feeders to your lake or pond this year:

5. Fish feeders are flexible, dependable and come in multiple sizes to meet the exact needs of your aquatic ecosystem. They are solar powered and operate on timers so they can easily be placed in almost any location on your property. Feeders can be installed on the shore, on a dock or on a float. Quality feeders require minimal maintenance and can last a lifetime.

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Topics: Fisheries Management

Fisheries Management Strategies: Seeking Professional Advice

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Apr 06, 2017

AS SEEN IN Pond Boss Magazine: Written by Industry Expert, David Beasley, Fisheries Biologist & Director of Fisheries

seeking-professional-fisheries-advice-pond-boss-e.jpgThanks to the information age and rapid online answers to most any question, creating a high-quality fishery is within closer reach to pond owners than it has ever been. As a result, many pond owners are taking a do it yourself approach to try and produce high quality fisheries. Sifting through the vast resources available on the Internet, pond owners are able to piece together a fisheries management plan on their own, one step at a time. Although this process seems appealing to many, it comes with a larger risk than having a seasoned fisheries biologist help develop a plan and provide foresight and insight as to what to expect. Management processes such as stocking strategies, installing aeration, understanding water quality, and feeding fish can be self-taught, but investing in the opinion of a professional often greatly enhances the odds of being successful.

In the last two years, I have had the pleasure of meeting a large number of people who have taken this do it yourself approach to develop high quality fisheries. In conversations with them, I observed several common threads. First, each of them built new ponds or drained and dredged older ponds, since each of the landowners were well informed that new and reset ponds have much greater potential than trying to fix a broken fishery. Secondly, all of them were capable of affording the advice of a professional, but gained enough confidence through their own research to avoid that expense. Lastly, while all of these pond owners were given good advice through their resources, they were all stumbling over similar issues, resulting in their seeking professional advice prior to stocking predator fish.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Published Articles

Fish Habitat Management: “Cover” Your Waterbody

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 09, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Paul Dorsett, Fisheries Biologist and Territory Leader

How to Create a Better Aquatic Habitat for Your Fish

1_Fish Cover e-1.jpgThere’s an old adage that states, “Ninety percent of fish live in ten percent of the water.” This statement has more truth than most realize. Fish move throughout their environment for a variety of reasons including spawning, optimizing their temperature, feeding, and avoiding predators. For “lie in wait” predators and many baitfish species, these movements are mostly relegated to being in or around the desired cover at varying depths. The availability of quality fish cover and the fishes’ desired depths will determine which 10% of the aquatic environment the fish choose to live in at any point in time. Therefore, placement of the right amount of cover at the appropriate depths should be a major objective of a lake or pond owner’s habitat improvement projects.

For the purposes of this article, I’ll limit discussion to the non-living cover that can be placed in a waterbody to provide cover for your fish. The first consideration in choosing cover type is the physical make-up of this cover with respect to its suitability for both forage fish and predator species. Baitfish tend to prefer large dense cover that offers the tight interstitial spaces and volume needed to protect them from predators. Larger predator species, however, prefer less dense cover with larger interstitial spaces that provide them a place to “loaf” while they await prey to make “their last mistake.”

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Checking In On a Trophy Fishery in West Virginia

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Dec 29, 2016

AS SEEN IN Pond Boss Magazine, September/October 2016: Written by Industry Expert, David Beasley, Fisheries Biologist & Director of Fisheries

pond-boss-trophy-fishery-article-page-1-e-1.jpgThe thrill of catching a trophy fish is an incredible feeling that sticks in the memory bank for a lifetime. For an avid angler, the simple opportunity to go fishing on a trophy caliber fishery is enough to cause an adrenaline rush. Unfortunately, for most anglers, these experiences are few and far between, and most trophy fish caught are attributed to an act of chance over anything else. One private pond at a time, the opportunity for anglers to routinely catch trophy fish is slowly improving across this great country, thanks to the progression of the private pond management industry.

One waterbody in particular, located in West Virginia, has been methodically transitioning from a predator heavy, out of balance fishery, into one that has a great chance of exceeding all expectations. As you may recall from an article in the May/June 2014 issue of Pond Boss, this property was just going through a transition of combining four ponds into one larger waterbody, and resetting all of them to start a fishery with a predator population that does not reproduce. Combining tiger muskies, hybrid striped bass, and female largemouth Bass, this waterbody had its sights on a bright future.

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Topics: SOLitude News, Fisheries Management

Fisheries Management: Strategies for Stocking Triploid Grass Carp

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 03, 2016

Written by Industry Expert, Paul Dorsett, Fisheries Biologist 

At first glance, the idea of stocking triploid grass carp appears to be a win-win. Win number one is that grass carp offer a natural solution to controlling nuisance aquatic vegetation. Win number two is that they are cost effective and offer long lasting results. But, how do you keep an aquatic weed problem from becoming a grass carp problem?

Stocking triploid grass carp in your lake or pond can be a beneficial strategy as part of your overall fisheries management plan. Overstocking can be a concern, particularly when predator species such as largemouth bass are your management goal. Although they are sterile and will not reproduce, overstocked grass carp can denude the entire waterbody of vegetation and increase turbidity in the form of suspended solids or harmful algae blooms while also disrupting the balance of the fishery. If not managed properly, stocking grass carp can be worse for your aquatic ecosystem than not stocking them at all. The best way to get the most benefit from triploid grass carp, while minimizing risk, is to work with a fisheries biologist to tailor a custom stocking rate based on the needs of the waterbody.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

Fisheries Management: A Young Fishery with a Bright Future

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Sep 08, 2016

AS SEEN IN Pond Boss Magazine, July/August 2016: Written by Industry Expert, David Beasley, Fisheries Biologist & Director of Fisheries

Pond_Boss_Young_Fishery_July-Aug16_page_1_Beasley-001_e.jpgTwo years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a landowner who had an innate passion for the outdoors. He had recently closed on a farm with a seven-acre pond, and was looking to transform the property into a recreational paradise.

Tucked in the center of his property, where rolling hills lead to a perennial creek cutting through the landscape, the picturesque pond was full of character. Nestled in the creek bottom, the elongated waterbody is relatively deep, based on its narrow width. Access is limited in areas due to ridges which run its length. The natural topography of the land teamed with a large watershed, yielding year round flow, creating a unique area destined for a productive pond.

Rather than leaving his bass fishing to chance and inexperience, he decided to seek advice from a professional pond management company to help ensure the fishery developed properly. He was fully aware that developing a high quality fishery can be a daunting task. Although some fisheries become good over time if properly established, the best way to enhance his odds of creating a trophy fishery was to have a biologist collect appropriate data, make the observations required to foresee upcoming issues, and create a management plan.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Published Articles

SOLitude Lake Management Adds Industry Expert, Vic DiCenzo, to Growing Fisheries Team

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 12, 2016

SOLitude Lake Management, an industry leader in lake and pond management, fisheries management and related environmental services for the United States, is pleased to welcome fisheries biologist, Vic DiCenzo, PhD, to their growing fisheries team. Vic has over 20 years of professional experience in fisheries management and will serve as an integral member of the SOLitude family.

Vic DiCenzo earned his PhD in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. He received his Master of Science degree in Biology from Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Tennessee, after earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries Science from Virginia Tech. As a fisheries biologist, Vic takes a quantitative approach to fisheries management and is experienced in designing and implementing studies to collect fisheries data from lakes and ponds, and developing recommendations for clients for the sustainability of their aquatic resources.

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Topics: SOLitude News, Fisheries Management

Transforming a Fishery Using Proactive Fisheries Management Strategies

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 28, 2016

Written by Industry Expert, Dave Beasley, Fisheries Biologist and Director of Fisheries

01_5-6_lb_pound_largemouth_bass_DaveB_color_e.jpgEstablishing and maintaining a high quality fishery is a challenging task requiring a firm understanding of fisheries management. By using a variety of proactive strategies, fish populations can be manipulated over a few years to produce a desired outcome.

One specific fishery, an 85 acre mill pond located in the heart of Virginia, recently improved its largemouth bass population with the help of SOLitude. Rich in history, the pond was built over 300 years ago, in 1678, to run a mill for grinding wheat and corn. A couple hundred years later, in 1900, the pond was purchased and the Cohoke Fishing Club was formed.

Like the pond, the Cohoke Fishing Club has a long history, and in its prime would yield around 60 fish annually weighing between 5 and 10 pounds, while during off years as few as three of these quality fish were caught. Inconsistent numbers of quality fish over the years is natural when dealing with Mother Nature, but some members of the club started wondering if their laid back management strategies were truly allowing for a quality fishery.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Aquatics in Brief Newsletters

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