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Fisheries Management

electrofishing boat

Develop a Balanced, Health Fishery with Electrofishing

Are you looking to improve or maintain a balanced, healthy fishery? Perhaps your goal is a trophy fishery? Either way, you can benefit greatly from electrofishing.

Electrofishing is a fish sampling tool used to gather fish population data, allowing managers to make accurate decisions and improve pond management techniques. To accomplish this, professional fisheries managers use a specialized boat that produces an electric field in a small vicinity in front of the vessel. During this process, fish are momentarily stunned and carefully collected with dip nets. The question most people ask when they hear about electrofishing is: “Does it hurt the fish?” They are happy to hear that it is quick and completely harmless.

The Key Elements Of Electrofishing:

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Capturing Data

Once netted from the water, the fish are placed into a live well on the boat where they quickly recover and start swimming around. Once safely onboard, length and weight data are recorded, observations are made, and then fish are released back into their environment. If desired, fish can be marked with PIT tags or Floy tags to determine growth rates when recaptured in the future. The data collected during electrofishing provides insight into current and future issues, giving pond managers the needed facts to make a fishery productive and keep it productive. In addition to collecting data, undesired species of fish or overpopulated size classes of predators can be relocated from the waterbody.

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Determine Goals & Frequency

For owners looking to enhance a fishery, an initial study will provide the required information to make improvements. The frequency in which a waterbody undergoes an electrofishing study is directly related to the goals for the waterbody, the available budget, and how long it takes to implement key management recommendations. Those who want a balanced, healthy fishery should consider electrofishing every one to three years while those who want to create and maintain a trophy fishery, or want to make big improvements in a relatively short period of time, will require electrofishing once or twice annually.

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Design Your Fisheries Management Plan

Fisheries that are in great shape require management just as much as fisheries in poor shape if the goal is to maintain a great fishery over time. Designing and following a Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) allows lake and pond owners as well as biologists to stay ahead of potential issues. Using electrofishing as part of a proactive management approach is key to success. FMPs are designed based on the waterbody’s characteristics as well as the goals, timeline, and budget of each individual lake or pond owner or community. While electrofishing allows biologists to track changes in the fishery, a number of other things are often recommended in a FMP to achieve those goals. Fish feeders and fish stocking to boost the forage base are often combined with selective predator harvests to improve the predator to prey ratio. Likewise, submersed aeration is often installed to improve water quality and can be teamed with liming and fertilization to increase a waterbody’s productivity.

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See An Increase In Fish Health & Growth

A private fishing club that implemented a Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) for their 85acre lake serves as a great example of how electrofishing and a management plan can improve a fishery. Following several meetings with club members, a long-term budget and strategy was approved to include electrofishing, bluegill stocking, selective bass harvesting, fertilizing, water quality monitoring, and introducing a few fish feeders. After just five years, the forage base has greatly increased and the number of large fish caught by anglers has steadily risen, with the annual percent of 16+ inch largemouth bass increasing from 9.8% to 40%. The number of bass greater than five pounds has also steadily increased, from 16 fish to 48 fish in five years.

Whether you are monitoring a fish population and adjusting strategies or taking your first look under the surface, electrofishing and a Fisheries Management Plan are keys to successfully managing your fishery. Remember, it is always easier and less expensive to maintain a high-quality fishery than to fix a broken one. Contact a professional fisheries biologist today to grow large, healthy fish for all to enjoy.

SOLitude Helped Us Achieve Our Community 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.

Robert Payne

HOA Chairman, Warrenton, VA

December 8, 2014

Our Fishery Is In It’s Best Condition Ever

Thank you to SOLitude for all your help at our 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 SOLitude.

John McCracken

Fishing Club President, West Point, VA

February 23, 2015

A Huge Improvement with SOLitude

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 Bluegills have also gotten big. We are just thrilled. Thank you so much for your responsiveness.

Gwen Goodkin

Private Landowner, Charlottesville, VA

June 16, 2015

From an Eyesore to Thriving 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!

Angus Yates

Private Landowner, Middleburg, VA

September 17, 2015

Excellent Pond and Fisheries Management Experts!

After I had to drain my pond in 2010 to fix the dam, I took the opportunity to start from scratch. 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 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. 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.

Marc Daymude

Private Landowner, Cameron, NC

October 7, 2015

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 for 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.

Cindy & Jim Bandy

Private Landowners, Centerville, TX

August 22, 2016

In Awe of SOLitude’s Knowledge

I want to thank you all for coming out and for an excellent report and meeting. SOLitude’s knowledge about the industry and all of the different species, habitats, and needs was impressive. We were 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!

Ken Oristaglio

Fort Pickett, Blackstone, VA

June 7, 2017

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!

Weston Willis and Family

Private Landowner, Abilene, TX

June 9, 2017

A 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.

Ric Campo

Private Landowner, Houston, TX

October 12, 2017

From 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.

Darrell Hernandez

Private Landowner, Athens, TX

April 5, 2018

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 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.

Carlton Howard III

Private Landowner, Raleigh, NC

June 18, 2018

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