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    Fisheries Management: Water Quality Woes

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 25, 2019

    dock

    AS SEEN IN Pond Boss: Written by Fisheries Biologist David Beasley

    One of the most amazing attributes of water is its ability to provide people with a sense of happiness. Regardless of upbringing, nearly all of us have something to gain in life by having access to a recreational lake or pond. Some people find enjoyment being surrounded by crystal clear water—the type of environment that entices people of all ages to jump in. Others find greater happiness with fertile, emerald water teeming with life as they spend hours trying to outsmart and entice hearty fish thriving beneath the surface. Likewise, there are some people who have a passion for waterbodies choked out with invasive vegetation, attracting a wide range of waterfowl with an all you can eat buffet.

    Although lakes and ponds have a variety of water uses, each waterbody has natural characteristics and water quality that determine its clarity, vegetation coverage, productivity, and a plethora of biological and chemical influences. Water quality is a primary factor that determines how much effort it will take to transform and maintain the waterbody to meet your goals. As a result, a strategic plan for monitoring and manipulating water quality should be at the center of nearly all aquatic management strategies. 

    After all, water is the medium. If your water isn’t healthy, your pond can’t be, either. If your waterbody is not meeting your aesthetic or recreational needs, it is fair to say that altering the water chemistry will likely increase the chances of success.

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects, Published Articles

    What Exactly Is an Electrofishing Survey and Will It Harm My Fish?

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 14, 2019

    Electrofishing - 1

    Written by Industry Expert Ben German, Fisheries Biologist

    Collecting data on fish populations, which are inherently difficult to directly observe, has always presented a unique challenge to fisheries biologists. To combat this issue, a subset of the fish population is sampled (collected) and used to draw conclusions about the larger population in the water body. Many techniques to accomplish this fish collection have evolved over time with several ancient technologies like nets, weirs, traps, and lines still in use today. More recently, in the mid-20th century, biologists began exploring electrofishing surveys as a viable means to capture fish.

    When performed by a trained professional, electrofishing is a safe and efficient survey method that allows biologists to obtain a complete picture of the fishery and accurately calculate important metrics. This data, evaluated in conjunction with water quality assessments, fish habitat, and stakeholder goals, provides fisheries biologists with the information needed to develop customized fisheries management plans.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    Are My Fish Healthy? Key Steps to Achieve a 'Healthy' Fishery

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Oct 03, 2019

    Big Largemouth Bass_TX (2)-1-1-1-1

    Written by Vic DiCenzo, PhD, Fisheries Biologist

    Whether you use your lake or pond for boating, bird watching or fishing, everyone can agree that they desire a healthy waterbody, especially one with healthy fish. But what constitutes a healthy fishery?  What signs would indicate that a fishery is unhealthy and what approaches could improve an impaired fishery? The health of a fishery can be interpreted in several ways, and the recommended management approaches may vary depending on your ultimate goals.

    Goal: A Balanced Fishery

    Fisheries managers often describe a healthy fishery as one in which the predator-prey ratios are balanced. This assumes that a sufficient amount of prey (Bluegill, Shad, Shiners, etc.) exist to support predators (often Largemouth Bass) so that they maintain adequate size, growth and condition. Indicators that suggest a fishery is unbalanced could include high catch rates of small fish, a reduction in the maximum size of fish caught or fish that appear significantly underweight.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    Stock Fish Ponds With Rainbow Trout Now for Winter Fun & Forage

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Sep 10, 2019

    Rainbow Trout-1-1

    Written by Aquatic Biologist Chase Brown

    Lake, pond and fisheries management is often put on the back burner during the winter months as most sport fishing becomes slow, but one species thrives in colder conditions: rainbow trout. Rainbow trout offer a fun fight on a fly or rod and reel for anglers of any skill level—and they make excellent table-fare. No matter your waterbody, rainbow trout can be stocked for fishing and as an excellent source of forage for trophy fish in search of easy meals come springtime.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    Lessons Learned: Monitoring Dissolved Oxygen to Prevent Fish Kills

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jul 16, 2019

    Copper_Toxicity_fishkill_c-1-1

    AS SEEN IN Pond Boss: Written by David Beasley, Director of Fisheries 

    For avid pondmeisters, there’s not much worse than the sinking feeling of disbelief followed by the rush of anxiety when you stroll to your favorite fishing hole, only to be greeted by hundreds or thousands of white bellies floating around your pond. It’s sickening. Developing and managing a productive fishery requires ongoing effort and attention to detail. It takes fisheries biologists years of practice before we learn enough to maintain high odds of success, and even then, Mother Nature has a way of making things difficult. Even with extensive experience on a biologist’s side, the risk of failure looms.

    A significant failure biologists face is when a waterbody falls victim to a fish kill. When a fish kill occurs, it is typically a result of a lethal drop in dissolved oxygen levels. For most warm water fisheries, this oxygen crash tends to occur in the summer months when water temperatures are above 80 degrees. Warm water temperatures, teamed with multiple cloudy days in a row or a rapid drop in surface water temperature from a heavy thunderstorm, are the primary events that trigger fish kills.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    Fertilizing Your Fishery

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   May 06, 2019

    SOLitude Lake Management

    Fisheries managers often use pond fertilization to improve the biological productivity of a waterbody, resulting in improved fish growth and abundance. As with any management strategy, geographic location, pond owner goals, and primary use of the water body must be considered prior to implementation. If you are interested in the fertilization process (also referred to as productivity manipulation), it’s necessary to first understand how it works in an aquatic environment. Second, it’s important to understand where it is applicable—or not. Last, you should have a thorough idea of what to expect should you choose to employ this technique in your pond.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    Using Human Dimensions in Aquatic Plant Management

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Apr 08, 2019

    Pond - SOLitude

    AS SEEN IN Bass Master: Written by Fisheries Biologist Vic DiCenzo, PhD

    Fisheries biologists consider aquatic plants to be an important component for healthy aquatic ecosystems. Aquatic plants serve a variety of functions including production of oxygen, recycling nutrients, reducing turbidity and providing food, spawning substrate and habitat for invertebrates and fish. However, while anglers and hunters favor an abundance of aquatic plants in reservoirs, many lake users prefer little to no vegetation. These differences challenge reservoir managers when developing management plans.

    A survey of 1,299 reservoirs in the U.S. identified excessive plant coverage was a management concern in only 10 percent of the reservoirs surveyed, and not enough plant coverage was a concern in more than 25 percent.

    How much aquatic vegetation should be in the lake? It depends on which stakeholder you ask. On U.S. reservoirs, stakeholders include anglers, hunters, boaters, swimmers, homeowners, commercial interests, wildlife watchers, state and federal agencies, real estate agents, just to name a few. Each of these groups likely has a unique tolerance for aquatic vegetation and reservoir managers must face the challenge of recognizing those differences.

    How do decision makers manage aquatic plants for different stakeholder values? Is there a level of plant coverage acceptable to all stakeholders? How do invasive species affect management options? What does a successful aquatic plant management plan look like?

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    Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Fisheries Management, Published Articles

    Largemouth Bass Movement in Flooding Events

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 12, 2019

    SOLitude Lake Management

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

    Heavy rain has a way of devastating communities and properties across this great country. It seems common to hear of places that receive 6-8 inches of rain within a 48-hour period. During these flooding rain events, lakes, ponds and fisheries must receive a large increase of incoming water within a short period of time, and release excess water in an orderly fashion. When this occurs, fish movement in and out of ponds can be a real concern.

    Flooding from upstream occurs when

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    Fisheries Management: The Benefits of Electrofishing

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jan 31, 2019

    electrofishing-shocking-survey

    Whether 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

    Thinking Past the Obvious When Managing Your Fishery

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Dec 06, 2018

    Fisheries Management

    Pond ownership is a journey that can prove to be exciting and fun, as well as frustrating and disappointing. The good times are typically fueled by great memories of relaxing on the water or catching fish with family and friends, and the bad times are fueled by something that prevents those good times from happening. As owners, we would like the pond to always provide a high level of entertainment, allowing for a continuous stream of lasting memories as well as a source of excitement and energy that motivates family to draw closer together and enjoy the presence of one another.

    Over the years, many private waterbodies that became a pillar of lasting memories start to change. Oftentimes these changes occur slowly, and at times it happens so gradually that the transformation goes unnoticed until the pond or fishery have been altered considerably. When this occurs, it is typical for people to be concerned and take action.

    Unfortunately for pond owners, the issues that are often viewed as problems are actually symptoms of the real problem.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects