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    When Disaster Strikes: Design Your Fishery To Withstand Weather Events

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Sep 24, 2018


    Written by Industry Expert Paul Dorsett, Fisheries Biologist

    I could hear his excitement when Mike called requesting a consultation on plans to build ponds and lakes on the ranch he intended to purchase. Upon arrival at the ranch to evaluate the potential for several 1- to 20-acre impoundments, and after consulting a topographic map, I quickly realized Mike’s excitement was about to be severely diminished. The entire area he wanted to develop into scenic lakes and trophy bass fisheries was fed by over 1,600 acres of watershed. This watershed may be suitable for a 150-acre lake in this area but for the relatively small impoundments Mike envisioned, this watershed would have resulted in unmanageable fisheries with expensive and difficult dams to build and maintain. In short, his lakes would have flushed like a Texas tube chute every time a sizable rainfall event occurred.

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    Topics: Seasonal Pond Tips, Fisheries Projects

    Managing a Fishery to Avoid Excess Phosphorus Levels

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 20, 2018

    fish feeder

    Written by Industry Expert Dave Beasley, Fisheries Biologist and Director of Fisheries

    As you may know, phosphorus is a nutrient that helps fuel the growth of aquatic plants and algae. The amount of phosphorus that waterbody owners and managers want or tolerate will vary significantly depending on goals. For example, a community manager seeking clear water with minimal aquatic growth in their stormwater pond will have a much lower tolerance for phosphorus than a private landowner whose goal is to produce trophy bass or attract waterfowl. Depending on these goals, along with your budget and the characteristics of your waterbody, the maximum amount of phosphorus that is considered desirable or acceptable will vary.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    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

    Written by Industry Expert Logan Cowan, Fisheries Biologist 

    “Why should I feed fish food to my fish?” As a Fisheries Biologist working on private ponds, this is one of the most common questions I receive each spring from clients hoping to enhance their fishery. In response to the question, I always explain that while fish food can significantly improve Largemouth Bass size and population structures, it is typically utilized to sustain forage fish.

    The carrying capacity of forage fish is one of the most limiting factors of a bass fishery – but regular supplemental fish feeding can help grow forage populations that will push and extend the carrying capacity of your Largemouth Bass. Bass with access to as much forage as possible are more likely to reach their growth potential and stay on track to meet your fisheries goals.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    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

    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

    A Young Fishery with a Bright Future: Part II

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 31, 2017

    AS SEEN IN Pond Boss MagazineWritten by Industry Expert Dave Beasley, Fisheries Biologist and Director of Fisheries

    A Young Fishery II_e.pngThree years ago, I started on a journey with a client who was interested in growing big Largemouth Bass. He had recently closed on a farm with a seven-acre pond and was looking to create a special retreat for friends and family.

    As you may recall from an article in the July/August 2016 issue of Pond Boss, this pond is picturesque and full of character, tucked down in the center of the property where rolling hills lead to a perennial creek that cuts through the landscape. The natural topography of the land, teamed with a large watershed yielding year-round flow, created an area that was destined for a productive pond.

    In the spring of 2014, the pond was sampled using an electrofishing boat to determine how the newly purchased fishery was doing. The findings depicted a predator heavy waterbody with a depleted forage base. The stunted bass population had an average relative weight (Wr) of only 87, with most fish ranging between 11 and 14 inches in length. The water quality was also assessed, and the findings indicated the pond was eutrophic (nutrient rich), which was supported by the visual cues provided by the large biomass of aquatic vegetation.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    Adaptive Management of a Prominent Recreational Fishery

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Aug 17, 2017

    Written by Industry Expert Vic DiCenzo, PhD, Fisheries Biologist

    Laremouth BassLakes and ponds contribute substantially to society by providing recreational opportunities, water supply, flood control and power generation. These multiple purposes often challenge lake managers, as different stakeholders have different goals and expectations. Successful management of fisheries resources requires a thorough understanding of fish populations, fish habitat and the users of those waterbodies.

    Lake Monticello is a 352-acre recreational lake in central Virginia that was impounded in the late 1960s. This private community is home to approximately 13,000 residents who desire that Lake Monticello has a healthy and sustainable fishery. An initial fisheries assessment of the water quality, habitat and fish populations was conducted in 2014 to determine the current status of the fishery.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects

    Creating a Trophy Fishery: From Tiger Muskie To Hybrid Striped Bass

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Jun 27, 2014

    AS SEEN IN Pond Boss Magazine, May/June 2014: Written By Industry Expert David Beasley, Lead Fisheries Biologist

    Creating_a_Trophy_Fishery_-_Pond_Boss_-_Dave_B_-_MayJune_2014_cAcross this nation are some truly magnificent properties where man has utilized nature’s offerings and helped mold and create a truly spectacular setting. Located in a remote area of West Virginia, completely off the grid with the exception of a land line, is such a property. This place is stunning. Entering the driveway on my first visit, it was apparent this landowner has great vision. At that time, the property had four ponds bordering a par three private golf course that plays as a nine-hole course, even though it has three greens. There is a live, vibrant stream meandering through the property, adding ambience and character to the outdoor feeling of serenity. The main house has a modern, yet rustic touch that ties to the mountain backdrop a few feet out the back door. Adding to the distant landscape is a large national forest bordering the property, providing countless benefits, both esthetic and ecological.

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    Topics: Fisheries Projects, Published Articles

    Creating a Trophy Bass and Muskie Fishery in WV, Part 4

    by: SOLitude Lake Management   |   Nov 15, 2013

    Blog Series, Part 4: Pond Completion and Fish Stocking

    Written by Industry Experts Aaron Cushing and David Beasley, Fisheries Biologists

    In the summer of 2013, we began working on another fun and exciting project, this time in southern West Virginia, helping to design a trophy fishery from start to finish. To take advantage of this and other unique opportunities we decided to share the story, showing each step in creating a healthy pond with a trophy fishery.

    In Part 1, our Fisheries Biologists focused on resetting and redesigning the lake, through electrofishing and heavy construction.

    In Part 2, we drained the lakes, removed the fish, started installing fish habitat and continued construction of the lake.

    In Part 3, we completed the installation of the habitat units and added gravel spawning areas as well as several directional fish feeders.

    Part 4:
    It has been about a month now since we completed the habitat installation and connection of two small ponds to the main lake. The new 15 acre lake is almost filled with fresh creek water and is ready for fish stocking.

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    Topics: Fisheries Management, Fisheries Projects