6 Tips to Prevent Summer Fish Kills & Improving Pond Water Quality
Hot summer temperatures can put a strain on aquatic environments and often push animals, such as fish, to their limits. As temperatures increase, so does the possibility of a fish kill. When a fish kill is discovered, it’s common for communities to fear the worst – from chemical spills to foul play. However, most fish kills are a natural occurrence that can happen as the water warms and dissolved oxygen levels become depleted. While nature is often to blame, communities can take action to improve the summer conditions of their waterbodies.
"The risk of a fish kill can remain high over time unless steps are taken by property owners to break the cycle. It’s important for communities to understand the cause and introduce proactive lake and pond management strategies before a fish kill occurs." - David Beasley, Director of Fisheries
#1: Be Observant
Fish respire through their gills and require oxygen to survive—and warm summer water retains less oxygen than colder water. If dissolved oxygen levels become too low, fish will often gather at inflow areas as well as near the surface of the water where oxygen is most saturated. Fish will also exhibit stressed behavior, and quickly startle in mass when you approach the waterbody. If these signs are recognized early on, it is possible to take steps that may prevent an imminent fish kill.
#2: Introduce An Aeration System
Without suitable circulation, the water column can become stratified by temperature and dissolved oxygen levels that cannot effectively sustain life. Floating fountains may help distribute oxygen in the upper water column by spraying water across the surface. Submersed aerators can also help oxygenate the waterbody by pumping air through weighted tubing at the bottom of the pond so that bubbles circulate the water column as they rise to the surface. And depending on your waterbody’s unique needs, a new innovation called Oxygen Saturation Technology may be used to directly inject dissolved oxygen into the water column.
#3: Prevent Pond Algae And Nuisance Vegetation Growth
When nuisance aquatic algae and plants like duckweed, watermeal, and hydrilla are left unmanaged, they may form dense blooms or mats on the surface of a lake or pond, blocking sunlight, impeding water circulation, and depriving native plants and fish of necessary oxygen. Nutrient management measures like beneficial buffers, biological augmentation, and the application of phosphorus-locking technologies can help limit excess nutrients in the waterbody that are known to promote undesirable algae and vegetative growth.
#4: Conduct Regular Water Quality Tests
Lake and pond owners often wait until after a fish kill occurs to conduct water quality tests, but a proactive water quality testing program can help identify water quality impairments, like dissolved oxygen, pH, and nutrient levels, before they get out of hand and ensure the most effective management methods are being utilized to maintain balance in the waterbody.
#5: Acknowledge The Unpredictability Of Nature
No matter the steps that are taken to protect the fish in your waterbody, Mother Nature sometimes throws curveballs. Large thunderstorms and natural disasters can create lake and pond turnover, where water chemistry changes rapidly, suddenly trapping fish in stressful conditions. As a result, the waterbody may experience a fish kill that is very difficult to prevent. Your fisheries management professional can help you design a stocking plan to replenish fish populations in these instances.
#6: Consider An Integrated Management Plan
While fish kills are typically a natural occurrence, knowledge, and diligence can help prevent them from happening—or help your pond bounce back if one has occurred. If your waterbody is susceptible or has sustained a recent fish kill, consider consulting with a fisheries management professional to implement new preventive strategies. A professional can help you develop a unique long-term management plan and recommend the most suitable types of aeration, beneficial plants and vegetation, fish species, and management methods to enhance your waterbody.
Excellent Results Made My Choice Easy
If you’d like to manage your waters professionally – then the best choice is SOLitude Lake Management. If you fish, then it’s more important. I had the good fortune to fish a property managed by SOLitude BEFORE I needed a pond management company…those excellent results made my final choice easy. They care and it shows.
“We appreciate that a management program was developed that fits within our budget and that the fisheries biologists at SOLitude are available to talk with us when we have questions. The fish survey SOLitude completed for us, the recommendations on slot sizes, and the stocking and feeding program that were developed are producing outstanding results. Our club’s fishery is in the best condition it has ever been!”
SOLitude Helps Community Define Vision & Achieve Goals
As the manager of wetlands and open water for my community, I work with SOLitude Lake Management closely. They have helped us define our vision and achieve our goals. Every wetland area and body of water has different uses and different needs. SOLitude understands that and ensures those needs are met all the while keeping the budget in mind. We have annual fishing tournaments and they come out and talk with the anglers, explaining what we’ve done during the past year and what our future steps will be. Management of wildlife and waters is an ongoing and long term commitment, SOLitude understands this. They have a dedicated staff that not only manages these areas but also helps educate their clients.
Our Club’s Fishery Is In the Best Condition Its Ever Been
Once again, thank you to David Beasley and SOLitude for all your help at Cohoke Fishing Club. Our hydrilla problem is practically non-existent now. The fish survey you completed for us, the recommendations on slot sizes, and the stocking and feeding program you developed are producing outstanding results. Our club’s fishery is in the best condition it has ever been! Your presentation to our stockholders at our annual meeting was extremely well received. We are getting ready to enhance our fish attractors as suggested.
We appreciate that a management program was developed that fits within our budget and that you are available to talk with us when we have questions. We look forward to continuing our association with David Beasley and SOLitude.
Our Fish Are Thriving
I wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the results of the algae treatment. We noticed a huge improvement very quickly, and at this point the pond looks really, really great. Also, the fish are thriving – some of the bass are over a foot, and the blue gills have also gotten big. We are just thrilled.
Thank you so much for your responsiveness.
Thriving, Fish-Filled Ecosystem
In one season, SOLitude Lake Management turned the two lakes on my Virginia property from dead, weed-infested, eyesores into thriving, fish-filled, ecosystems – and they have maintained them as such ever since!
Excellent Pond and Fisheries Management Advice!
After I had to drain my pond in 2010 to fix the dam, I took the opportunity to start from scratch. I did online research and subscribed to Pond Boss Magazine and restocked in 2011 with the equally important goals of creating a trophy bass fishery and a “guaranteed catch” bluegill pond for my eventual grandchildren. I contacted SOLitude to begin feeding the bluegill and to begin an electroshocking program to help guide my long-term management. Two years after my original stocking, we electroshocked for the first time. I was very surprised to find that the predator to prey ratio was dangerously lopsided and my pond goals were headed toward failure. Based on the electroshock survey and Dave Beasley’s advice, I restocked 10,000 more larger bluegill. Now I have 3 feeders feeding 3 times a day while the water is warm. My friends call me when they have “Daddy day” because they know they can come to my pond and their kids will catch bluegill bigger than my hand until they get tired of it. After 4 years, the bass are reaching 6 pounds and in an hour enough heavy bass can be caught that would beat a full-day’s fishing on any lake in the region.
Dave Beasley has always been available to answer questions and give prompt advice. Without SOLitude and Dave Beasley, despite all my research, my pond would be in an ever-worsening downward spiral. Now SOLitude and annual electrofishing surveys to keep me on track are a permanent part of my pond management plan.
What A Great Company!
When looking online for a new fish feeder, we had unpleasant experiences with two local fisheries. I decided to call a feeder manufacturer in San Antonio, who recommended SOLitude Lake Management. They were terrific! Paul Dorsett called me directly and was so kind and helpful. He arranged a feeder to be delivered and set up for us. Although Paul was out of town, he sent his “ace” out, Ryan Young. Ryan and Alex Harrison were efficient, answered all questions and were very nice young men. Paul even followed up to make certain that everything went smoothly. What a great company! Customer service is what it’s all about these days and SOLitude Lake Management knows exactly that.
Educated and Helpful Team
I wanted to take this opportunity to say how amazing Cory Smith has been with my new ranch. I have two ponds that have never been managed and he has helped me put a plan together. We have added fish, fish feeders and even planned changing the size of the lakes. He has been an amazing asset to have. He loves his job which makes it enjoyable to email and text him to ask questions. He is a huge help and always provides an amazing amount of information. I appreciate all his help! He is an invaluable asset to your team and me!
In Awe of SOLitude’s Knowledge
I want to thank you all for coming out to Fort Pickett and for an excellent report and meeting. SOLitude’s knowledge about the industry and all of the different species, habitat and needs was impressive. Between Brandon and myself, I think we were both sitting there with our mouths open in awe of SOLitude’s command of the subject. You all really know your species and their requirements. It was excellent!
Proof Is In The Pudding
Paul Dorsett and the rest of the team at SOLitude have done an absolutely wonderful job in helping us to create Lake Willis! In just a few short years we have gone from having just a few baitfish and perch, to catching a nearly 9-pound bass (our new record). Now if we could just have more time to fish as recommended, we could take out the 300 fish that need to come out. As far as we are concerned, we followed SOLitude’s recommendations and our fish have averaged growing of 2 pounds per year…proof is in the pudding! Thank you, Paul. I look forward to seeing you and your team again soon.
Could Not Be More Pleased
Logan Cowan has for the last year or so been the person I work with on my ponds. I could not be more pleased with his work. He works hard, is always on time, he calls and keeps me informed, he explains the pros and cons of treatment alternatives, etc. I could go on. Bottom line – this young man is an asset to your company. Keep him and promote him. Thank you for all you do for me.
Truly Valuable Investment
We began with two small lakes that were never managed 10 years ago. With SOLitude’s help and expertise we expanded both lakes from 2 acres to 6 acres and began a monthly management program. We went from a spotty fish population to trophy bass with some over 10 pounds! SOLitude is efficient and really cares about the lake ecosystem. Seeing my three-year-old granddaughter catch her first bass makes the investment truly valuable. Thanks SOLitude.
Frustrating to 100% Fishable
When we hired SOLitude, our 12-acre lake was about 1/3 full of lily pads and hydrilla which were frustrating to the fish. Within 4-6 months, the lake became 100% fishable and the coloring and bloom were much more attractive. The recent addition of 8 or so built brush piles has added much needed structure for bait fish and is now a great target that is producing bass on every other cast! A very common afternoon will produce 100 fish a day. Cory Smith and Stan Smith’s team communicates well and we feel confident that a game plan is in place form year to year.
The Best Choice Is SOLitude Lake Management
If you’d like to manage your waters (or watershed) professionally – then the best choice is SOLitude Lake Management. If you fish, then it’s the more important. I had the good fortune to fish a property managed by SOLitude BEFORE I needed a pond management company…those excellent results made my final choice easy. I’m sure that every firm is good – but if the phrase “by fishermen for fishermen!” rings true with you – then there is one choice: SOLitude Lake and Pond Management. They care and it shows.
Our club’s fishery is in the best condition it has ever been!
We appreciate that a management program was developed that fits within our budget and that the fisheries biologists at SOLitude are available to talk with us when we have questions. The fish survey SOLitude completed for us, the recommendations on slot sizes, and the stocking and feeding program that were developed are producing outstanding results. Our club’s fishery is in the best condition it has ever been!
Best Lake Company In Florida
Best lake company in Florida. Always available when needed and the person that shows up is very professional and courteous while on our property. You need more like this rep.
The SOLitude Team is absolutely fabulous!SOLitude consistently provides top notch customer service and performance, whether it is over the phone or in person on-site. My questions are always answered promptly by your professional and knowledgeable staff. The SOLitude Team is absolutely fabulous!
Working with the team from SOLitude Lake Management took away the pressure of dealing with an issue that I had never specialized in
Working with the team from SOLitude Lake Management took away the pressure of dealing with an issue that I had never specialized in. The knowledge of everyone involved helped keep the process moving, from engineering to local code compliance. They knew the course that needed to be taken and it was implemented in a timely manner, causing the project to come to completion well within our expectations
Immediate Communication and Actionable Timelines
SOLitude Lake Management has consistently performed to a high standard within the three communities they currently service for my clients. Whether it is routine maintenance or a major issue, I can always be assured that when I call or email we will have almost immediate communication and actionable timelines. I am particularly impressed with Brent Weber, the Environmental Scientist that is routinely assigned to my properties. He consistently keeps me informed and up-to-date on the status of new issues and general or routine upkeep. In a busy industry such as this one, having someone that stays in touch is critical and appreciated. Hat’s off to Brent and to SOLitude for a job well done!
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty, preserve natural resources and reduce our environmental footprint. SOLitude’s team of aquatic resource management professionals specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, pond, wetland, and fisheries management programs that include water quality testing and restoration, nutrient remediation, algae, and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, bathymetry, shoreline erosion restoration, mechanical harvesting and hydro-raking, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat evaluations, and invasive species management. Services and educational resources are available to clients nationwide, including homeowners associations, multi-family and apartment communities, golf courses, commercial developments, ranches, private landowners, reservoirs, recreational and public lakes, municipalities, drinking water authorities, parks, and state and federal agencies. SOLitude Lake Management is a proud member of the Rentokil Steritech family of companies in North America.