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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

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

Creating a Trophy Fishery: Tiger Muskie, Largemouth Bass & Hybrid Striped Bass

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 27, 2014

AS SEEN IN Pond Boss Magazine, May/June 2014: Written By Industry Expert David Beasley, Lead Fisheries Biologist

Creating_a_Trophy_Fishery_-_Pond_Boss_-_Dave_B_-_MayJune_2014_cAcross this nation are some truly magnificent properties where man has utilized nature’s offerings and helped mold and create a truly spectacular setting. Located in a remote area of West Virginia, completely off the grid with the exception of a land line, is such a property. This place is stunning. Entering the driveway on my first visit, it was apparent this landowner has great vision. At that time, the property had four ponds bordering a par three private golf course that plays as a nine-hole course, even though it has three greens. There is a live, vibrant stream meandering through the property, adding ambience and character to the outdoor feeling of serenity. The main house has a modern, yet rustic touch that ties to the mountain backdrop a few feet out the back door. Adding to the distant landscape is a large national forest bordering the property, providing countless benefits, both esthetic and ecological.

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Topics: Fisheries Projects, Published Articles

Creating a Trophy Bass and Muskie Fishery in WV, Part 4

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 15, 2013

Blog Series, Part 4: Pond Completion and Fish Stocking

Written by Industry Experts Aaron Cushing and David Beasley, Fisheries Biologists

In the summer of 2013, we began working on another fun and exciting project, this time in southern West Virginia, helping to design a trophy fishery from start to finish. To take advantage of this and other unique opportunities we decided to share the story, showing each step in creating a healthy pond with a trophy fishery.

In Part 1, our Fisheries Biologists focused on resetting and redesigning the lake, through electrofishing and heavy construction.

In Part 2, we drained the lakes, removed the fish, started installing fish habitat and continued construction of the lake.

In Part 3, we completed the installation of the habitat units and added gravel spawning areas as well as several directional fish feeders.

Part 4:
It has been about a month now since we completed the habitat installation and connection of two small ponds to the main lake. The new 15 acre lake is almost filled with fresh creek water and is ready for fish stocking.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

Creating a Trophy Bass and Muskie Fishery in WV, Part 3

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Oct 11, 2013

Blog Series, Part 3: Habitat Completion, Fish Feeder Installation and Continued Lake Design

Written by Industry Experts Aaron Cushing and David Beasley, Fisheries Biologists

We recently began working on another fun and exciting project, this time in southern West Virginia, helping to design a trophy fishery from start to finish. To take advantage of this and other unique opportunities we decided to share the story, showing each step in creating a healthy pond with a trophy fishery. 

In Part 1, our Fisheries Biologists focused on resetting and redesigning the lake, through electrofishing and heavy construction.

In Part 2, we drained the lakes, removed the fish, started installing habitat and continued construction of the lake. 

PART 3: Following the draining of all the ponds, the physical characteristics and bathymetry of the new lake were shaped to favor the new trophy fishery, and more steps were taken to prepare and improve the 15 acre water body. The new expanded portions of the lake will be shallower, providing areas preferred by largemouth bass and tiger muskie (a sterile cross between northern pike and muskellunge), with several deeper open areas favored by the hybrid striped bass.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

Creating a Trophy Bass and Muskie Fishery in WV, Part 2

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Sep 27, 2013

Blog Series, Part 2: Fish Removal, Habitat Installation and Continuing Construction

Written by Industry Experts Aaron Cushing and David Beasley, Fisheries Biologists

We recently began working on another fun and exciting project, this time in southern West Virginia, helping to design a trophy fishery from start to finish. To take advantage of this and other unique opportunities we decided to share the story, showing each step in creating a healthy pond with a trophy fishery. 

In Part 1, our Fisheries Biologists focused on resetting and redesigning the lake, through electrofishing and heavy construction.

Part 2: Things are moving along pretty quickly with the preparation and construction of our West Virginia trophy fishery and there were several new developments this past week. More steps were taken to prepare and expand the existing 5 acre main lake and combine with smaller ponds, creating one 15 acre water body. The new expanded portions of the lake wll be shallower, providing areas preferred by largemouth bass and tiger muskie (a sterile cross between northern pike and muskellunge). 

HM Lake Construction 3

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

Creating a Bass and Muskie Trophy Fishery in WV, Part 1

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Sep 20, 2013

Blog Series, Part 1: Resetting and Designing the Lake

By Industry Experts Aaron Cushing and David Beasley, Fisheries Biologists

We recently began working on another fun and exciting fisheries management project, this time in southern West Virginia, helping to design a trophy fishery from start to finish. To take advantage of this and other unique opportunities, we decided to share the progress, as it happens, through a series of blogs, emphasizing the importance of each step in creating a healthy pond with a trophy fishery. We welcome you to follow us in our journeys!

The West Virginia trophy fishery project began with an initial electrofishing study of a 5 acre pond. Electrofishing provides important data that will greatly influence fisheries management strategies and is key to determining current population dynamics. The results of the study revealed an unbalanced heavy predator-to-prey ratio with high numbers of stunted largemouth bass and very few forage fish. The lake itself was lacking proper dense habitat for forage fish and large structural habitat for predator fish.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

SOLitude And Fishiding Design Habitat Projects With Young Fishing Teams

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 23, 2013

North Augusta Border Bass Invitational Fishing TeamThe first Annual North Augusta Border Bass Invitational is set for March 2, 2013 at Wildwood Park Landing, Appling, GA. There will be teams of students from middle and high schools in GA and SC that promote the sport of fishing and resource conservation through education. North Augusta Fishing Team (NAFT) goals are to promote environmental conservation and efforts including Tournament Fishing and getting kids off the couch, away from TV and video games, and getting them outside to fish and enjoy the great outdoors. After all, our youth are our future!

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Topics: Fisheries Projects

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