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Electrofishing Private Waters and Implementing a Fisheries Management Plan

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 26, 2018

Written by Industry Experts David Beasley, Fisheries Biologist and Director of Fisheries and Aaron Cushing, Fisheries and Wildlife Biologist and Environmental Scientist

3_Electrofishing_NC_Daymude_DaveB_04.15_e.jpgAre 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. Using an electrofishing boat, the electric field produced affects a small area of water in front of the vessel where fish are momentarily stunned and safely collected with dip nets. The question most people ask when they hear about electrofishing is: “Doesn’t that hurt the fish?” Surprising to most, the process is safe and harmless to fish. 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 on board, length and weight data is recorded, observations are made, and fish are released without harm 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 removed from the waterbody.

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Topics: Fisheries Management

Invasive Common Carp & White Suckers: Removing Nuisance Exotic Fish

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 08, 2018

Common Carp

The United States has a history of non-native fish species entering waterways and becoming a nuisance within the aquatic ecosystem. The state of Colorado, in particular, is home to nuisance species such as Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) and White Suckers (Catostomus commersoni). Though some of these invasive and exotic fish may be desirable by some, the impact they have on the health of a waterbody and the native fish can be detrimental.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Pond Management Best Practices

Use Aeration to Protect Your Fish This Winter

by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 01, 2018

Frozen Pond

Written by Industry Expert Joe Holz, International Sales Manager at Kasco Marine

As we continue through the cold, winter months, protecting your fish should be on your top priority list. Many pond owners understand the need to have good oxygen levels to maintain a healthy, thriving fish population, however, most only think about oxygen levels during warm, summer months. Winter oxygen levels in areas that ice over can be just as, or even more, critical than during warmer times of the year. Low oxygen levels and the buildup of harmful gases over the winter can create dangerous conditions for fish in your pond.

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Topics: Fisheries Management, Aeration

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

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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

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