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    The Benefits of Utilizing Grass Carp in Your Lake Management Plan

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Apr 08, 2020

    Grass Carp

    Written by Aaron Cushing, Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist, Environmental Scientist

    As professionals in the lake and pond management industry, we view ourselves as the caretakers of our freshwater resources. As such, we continually seek ways to improve and create Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs that preserve those valuable ecosystems. If an improvement can be made to an IPM that is beneficial to the environment and can possibly save pond owners money, we view it as a win-win for all. One such improvement is the use of Grass Carp to help manage nuisance vegetation in lakes and ponds.

    A voracious plant-eating fish native to Asia, Grass Carp were originally imported to the United States in the early 1960s to serve as a “biological control” option for nuisance aquatic vegetation. Unfortunately, as a non-native species without natural predators, they also had the ability to reproduce quickly, posing a substantial risk to the environment. In the 1980s, researchers developed a process to create a sterile triploid fish that cannot reproduce and establish undesired populations. Currently, commercial hatcheries propagate Triploid Grass Carp for stocking in many states across the country.

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    Topics: Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    Should I Stock My Pond with Threadfin Shad?

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 20, 2020

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    Written by Paul Dorsett, Fisheries Biologist

    When asked to choose my favorite species of fish, Threadfin Shad is always the first thing that comes to mind. Threadfin Shad play an incredible role in many fisheries as a prolific prey species and their high fecundity (ability to produce lots of offspring) makes them an especially attractive option for stocking. Not only do they occupy a unique ecological niche, they can also provide an exciting angling experience by altering the behavior of predators.

    Threadfin Shad are primarily pelagic, meaning they inhabit the open water, rather than the areas near the bottom or the shoreline. They travel throughout their environment in large schools—almost like a single organism—with rhythmic movements reminiscent of flocking birds. When pursued by predators, they will “pop” along the surface and easily lose bright silver, golden or blue-green scales into the water column, which causes further confusion to their pursuers, which include Hybrid Striped Bass, Largemouth Bass and Crappie.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management

    The Pros and Cons of Supplemental Fish Feeding

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 18, 2020

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    Written by Logan Cowan, Wildlife and Fisheries Biologist

    Throughout the country, small ponds serve a variety of uses in our communities. Biologists help manage ponds for aesthetics, recreation, and stormwater collection—as well as for trophy fishing. Establishing a trophy fishery can be a complex endeavor that requires many tools and strategies to support the goals of the property owner. Supplemental feeding is one of these important tools, which is often essential to establish and maintain a productive fishery. However, the success of a supplemental fish feeding plan can depend on a variety of factors. Before implementing a fish feeding program, it’s important to confer with a professional Fisheries Biologist about the expected benefits and potential undesirable impacts.

    Supplemental feeding with a high-quality pelleted fish food is a cost-effective technique to increase forage production. Feeding forage such as Bluegill and Golden Shiners can improve Largemouth Bass growth and condition. Depending on the unique goals and characteristics of the fishery, managers may also opt to feed Largemouth Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass instead of the forage base. No matter the approach, automatic fish feeders can be highly effective at providing consistent feed and attracting sportfish, including catfish and Rainbow Trout, to specific locations for improved catch rates.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management

    Utilizing Electrofishing to Develop and Manage Your Fishery

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Feb 10, 2020

    Written by Dylan Kwak, Wildlife and Fisheries Scientist

    Unlike management of deer or bird populations, which are visually observed, collecting fisheries data requires methods designed specifically for aquatic habitats. Fisheries Biologists use a variety of sampling techniques to overcome the difficulty associated with properly assessing fish populations. Common sampling tools include gill nets, traps, angling and electrofishing. Electrofishing is one of the most common and successful techniques for sampling fish in shallow water.

    Electrofishing offers many benefits that other sampling techniques do not. Gill nets and traps, for example, reduce the slime coat of fish, making fish more susceptible to parasites and diseases. Due to the passive nature of other sampling techniques, fish commonly trapped in the nets do not survive. Furthermore, angling and nets tends to target specific size and/or species of fish. Electrofishing, on the other hand, can capture all species of fish that are accessible in the water.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management

    Top 10 Pond Management Articles of 2019... Hint, #1 is Slimy & Toxic!

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jan 07, 2020

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    That's a wrap! What a year it has been. In honor of the new year, we gathered all of our educational articles and picked the top 10 most-viewed of 2019. Read our most popular articles covering toxic algae, aquatic weed control, fisheries and wildlife management and new innovations and technologies.

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    Topics: Water Quality/Nutrient Remediation, Aquatic Weeds and Algae, Fisheries Management, Pond Management Best Practices, Published Articles

    Fisheries Management: Water Quality Woes

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 25, 2019

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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