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Building the Fishing Pond of Your Dreams

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jan 18, 2018

Largemouth Bass

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

Pursuing your dreams is an incredibly gratifying experience that has a way of bringing out the best in yourself. For some of us, that involves creating a trophy fishery where kids and adults alike can spend time together bonding in the essence of nature. Spending a day on the water with loved ones, in pursuit of the next fish that family and friends will be talking about over dinner or around a campfire, can provide just enough motivation to keep someone from settling when it comes to building the pond of their dreams.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

The Benefits of Supplemental Fish Feeding

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jan 16, 2018

Fish Feeder

Written by Industry Expert Logan Cowan, Fisheries Biologist 

“Why should I feed fish food to my fish?” As a Fisheries Biologist working on private ponds, this is one of the most common questions I receive each spring from clients hoping to enhance their fishery. In response to the question, I always explain that while fish food can significantly improve Largemouth Bass size and population structures, it is typically utilized to sustain forage fish.

The carrying capacity of forage fish is one of the most limiting factors of a bass fishery – but regular 

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

Are Turtles Bad for Ponds?

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Dec 14, 2017

Snapping Turtle

Written by Industry Expert Cole Kabella, Wildlife & Fisheries Biologist

Think back to the last time you were on a lake or pond. Chances are, you can recall seeing a turtle—or 10. Turtles are to water as meatballs are to spaghetti. This close relationship raises a few questions. Why are they there? What is their purpose? And the biggest question: Are turtles bad for ponds? Answering these questions will provide us with a better understanding of the role turtles play in the aquatic ecosystem.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Nature's Creatures

Trophy Largemouth Bass Fishery: Keys to Sustainability

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Dec 12, 2017

Largemouth Bass

AS SEEN IN Pond Boss MagazineWritten by Industry Expert Dave Beasley, Fisheries Biologist & Director of Fisheries 

Complacency and trophy bass fishery are incompatible concepts that don’t belong in the same sentence. So, don’t let complacency sentence your trophy bass lake to an unsustainable destiny. While that may start off sounding a bit harsh, vigilance is a key to success in many aspects of life. That includes managing a trophy fishery. Just because you might figure out how to create a trophy fishery, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it will then sustain itself. Diligence is a key to long-term success.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

What Largemouth Bass Should I Stock?

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Oct 30, 2017


AS SEEN IN Pond Boss MagazineWritten by Industry Expert Dave Beasley, Fisheries Biologist & Director of Fisheries 

Pond BossChasing the dream of growing trophy caliber Largemouth Bass is becoming more common throughout America. Although managing for trophy bass is an acquired skill that takes years of practice (and patience), we live in a time where pond owners can learn, via a variety of sources, enough to figure out a reasonable plan for success. As many have come to realize, managing for trophy bass can seem as much art as a science. There are multiple paths a pond owner can take to achieve a trophy fishery, none of which is guaranteed to work. Although you can implement various processes and still find success, some strategies are better than others. 

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Published Articles

Should I be concerned with genetics when stocking Largemouth Bass?

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Oct 17, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Dr. Vic DiCenzo, Fisheries Biologist

Largemouth BassFish stocking is one of the most common management practices employed by fisheries managers to help enhance recreational fishing. There are a variety of reasons why managers stock fish:

• Establish populations in new or reclaimed lakes and ponds

• Supplement a population that experiences poor reproductive success

• Create a “put-and-take” fishery (such as trout or channel catfish)

• Introduce an alternative species

• Introduce genetic diversity

• Control predator populations

• Enhance the forage base

• Control undesirable species with a biological solution

Given the myriad of reasons why managers stock fish, a number of decisions must be made prior to stocking. 

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Pond Management Best Practices

Patience Is Key: Raising Trophy Largemouth Bass

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Sep 21, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Aaron Cushing, Fisheries & Wildlife Biologist

Largemouth BassWith so much instant gratification in life these days, it is becoming harder and harder for people to exercise patience. When it comes to fisheries management, however, patience often leads to great future rewards.

A pond owner in North Carolina decided to take the patient approach to establishing a trophy Largemouth Bass fishery in his 9.1-acre pond. The pond was reset by the owner in 2011 and stocked with a variety of forage fish such as fingerling Bluegill, Redear Sunfish and Golden Shiner, as well as two-inch Largemouth Bass. In the spring of 2013, the pond owner decided to reach out for professional guidance to better gauge if his fishery was on the right track. That spring, SOLitude electrofished the pond for the first time, collected water quality data, and designed a Fisheries Management Plan to help the pond owner meet his long-term goals.

Electrofishing is a sampling technique conducted by fisheries biologists. Using a specialized boat that produces an electrical field, professionals can temporarily stun and collect fish to gather population data and remove undesired species. SOLitude’s initial electrofishing sample reflected the narrow size-class structure of mostly 12-15-inch Largemouth Bass from their stocking two years prior, with an average Relative Weight (Wr) of 90. Unfortunately, not all of the Black Crappie were eliminated during the owner's reset and their population remained well established. Additionally, the sunfish population of Bluegill and Pumpkinseed was comprised of mostly three- to five-inch fish, and based on the goals for the pond, the overall forage base was poor. There were plenty of tree stumps, but dense fish cover and spawning areas were also lacking, and water test results revealed very low alkalinity.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

Assess Fish Habitat to Maximize Better Bass Fishing

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Sep 14, 2017

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

Bass Habitat.jpgWhen it comes to bass fishing, any experienced angler would agree that targeting the correct structure is essential to catching fish on a consistent basis. Throughout the year, changing weather patterns and seasons can trigger the natural instincts of various bass species to behave differently and seek different types of cover. While this can make day-to-day bass fishing more challenging, improving your knowledge about fish habitat and tendencies can help improve catch rates.

To anglers, the word “structure” is a very broad term that can be broken down into two main categories:

1) Natural fish cover (trees, brush, rocks, aquatic vegetation and natural contours of the waterbody)

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Pond Management Best Practices

A Young Fishery with a Bright Future: Part II

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 31, 2017

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

A Young Fishery II_e.pngThree years ago, I started on a journey with a client who was interested in growing big Largemouth Bass. He had recently closed on a farm with a seven-acre pond and was looking to create a special retreat for friends and family.

As you may recall from an article in the July/August 2016 issue of Pond Boss, this pond is picturesque and full of character, tucked down in the center of the property where rolling hills lead to a perennial creek that cuts through the landscape. The natural topography of the land, teamed with a large watershed yielding year-round flow, created an area that was destined for a productive pond.

In the spring of 2014, the pond was sampled using an electrofishing boat to determine how the newly purchased fishery was doing. The findings depicted a predator heavy waterbody with a depleted forage base. The stunted bass population had an average relative weight (Wr) of only 87, with most fish ranging between 11 and 14 inches in length. The water quality was also assessed, and the findings indicated the pond was eutrophic (nutrient rich), which was supported by the visual cues provided by the large biomass of aquatic vegetation.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

Adaptive Management of a Prominent Recreational Fishery

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 17, 2017

Written by Industry Expert Vic DiCenzo, PhD, Fisheries Biologist

Laremouth BassLakes and ponds contribute substantially to society by providing recreational opportunities, water supply, flood control and power generation. These multiple purposes often challenge lake managers, as different stakeholders have different goals and expectations. Successful management of fisheries resources requires a thorough understanding of fish populations, fish habitat and the users of those waterbodies.

Lake Monticello is a 352-acre recreational lake in central Virginia that was impounded in the late 1960s. This private community is home to approximately 13,000 residents who desire that Lake Monticello has a healthy and sustainable fishery. An initial fisheries assessment of the water quality, habitat and fish populations was conducted in 2014 to determine the current status of the fishery.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

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