Why a Professional Is Needed for Fish Stocking
A diverse and productive fish population is essential to creating an ecologically balanced lake or pond. Fish stocking has clear benefits – from plant and mosquito management to exciting fishing opportunities – but many property owners are unaware of the sheer number of fish species to choose from, making it very easy to get confused.
There is more to fish stocking than the act of adding fish to a pond. Rushing the process by stocking the wrong fish, or doing so at the wrong time, can result in unhealthy population conditions and ecosystems. A key part of lake and pond management is making sure the fish population is well-balanced and best equipped to help achieve your specific goals for the aquatic ecosystem. That’s where a professional comes in.
Each body of water is different, so there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. A customized plan created by experts will ensure that your lake or pond has the right fish population to endure its health and your continued enjoyment. Based on the state of the ecosystem in your lake or pond, a professional will recommend whether or not you should add fish, what species are best suited for your waterbody, what time of year to stock, and how many.
Creating Balance In Your Fishery
To create balance in a lake or pond, it’s important to strategize the appropriate predator-to-prey ratio. This helps ensure that predator fish have enough food to go around and that the feeder fish will have a chance to mature and reproduce. These strategies are further supported by the development of the right habitat. Structures like fallen trees, rocks, or modern equipment can be introduced to create more dynamic hunting and breeding grounds.
Selecting Fish Species
Different fish species can help you accomplish different things. Fishing enthusiasts, for instance, love to catch trophy fish like Largemouth Bass and Bluegill. Conversely, pond owners seeking eco-friendly water quality solutions may select Triploid Grass Carp for natural plant management or Mosquitofish for mosquito control. Your fisheries manager will work with you to determine your goals and choose the right fish for your waterbody.
Before stocking a pond, a professional fisheries manager will evaluate the presence of any “wild fish” that are already present in the pond and potentially recommend removal through electrofishing, the safe and humane process of temporarily stunning fish for retrieval at the surface. This helps create a blank slate to support the development of a successful new fisheries program.
Scheduling Fish Stocking
Depending on where you live, spring or fall is typically the best time to stock fish because temperatures are milder and dissolved oxygen levels are high. This helps prevent fish stress and reduce the chance of a fish kill, which often occurs as a result of thermal stratification and oxygen deficiency.
Acclimating Fish to Your Water
Transporting fish can be risky, so your best bet is to have them delivered. When they arrive, fisheries professionals often let the transport bag float in a shady area of the lake or pond for about 15-20 minutes so the fish can slowly adjust to the temperature of the water.
Maintaining Your Fishery
Several tools can be utilized to ensure new fish populations remain healthy and balanced. Supplemental fish feeders can be placed on-shore for strategically scheduled feedings. Seasonal liming can be used to help maintain the ideal water pH. Fountains or submersed aerators may be introduced to help sustain consistent dissolved oxygen levels throughout the year. No matter your goal, experts can recommend the best tools and management practices available to you.
Build the Fishery of Your Dreams
Fisheries can be unpredictable and may sometimes take years to achieve their full potential. A professional fisheries manager understands the science and strategies required to stay on the path to success. When a plan is executed correctly, it’s possible to cultivate an incredibly healthy, functioning, low-maintenance ecosystem for all to enjoy.
Build a Productive, Thriving Fishery
SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty and preserve natural resources.
SOLitude’s team of aquatic scientists specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, stormwater pond, wetland and fisheries management programs. Services include water quality testing and restoration, algae and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, shoreline erosion control, muck and sediment removal and invasive species management. SOLitude partners with homeowners associations, golf courses, private landowners, businesses and municipalities. SOLitude Lake Management is part of Rentokil, a leading business services company, operating across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.