Fisheries Management & Toxic Algae Control

Boy fishing off a pier
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Fertilizing With Purpose: Boost Your Fishery’s Productivity while Limiting Toxic Algae

As many lake and pond owners know, fertilizing is an effective fisheries management method to increase the biomass of fish a waterbody can naturally support and strengthen the food web. Through the application of additional nutrients to the water, fishing ponds can accommodate more than three or four times the amount of fish than ponds lacking suitable nutrients, leading to a larger population of game fish. But with the various fertilization strategies and nutrient-supplying products available to property owners, how can you know which program is most effective and environmentally responsible?

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Prevent Fish Kill By Testing Your Waterbody For Toxic Algae

While green is a much-avoided color in lakes and ponds used for recreation and aesthetic beauty, it is a desirable color for fisheries because it indicates the water is well-fertilized and rich in the nutrients necessary to sustain trophy fish. However, many years of trial and error, inquiry, and research have shown us that the results can differ immensely from fertilizer program to fertilizer program, no matter how green a pond may look. Nearly all traditional fertilizing programs are focused heavily on the delivery of the nutrient phosphorus to the water and are less focused on the nutrient nitrogen. Both of these nutrients play a critical role in stimulating the growth of algae that supports fish development, but at times, too much phosphorus can encourage cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) capable of producing toxins that can greatly disrupt the balance of the surrounding ecosystem.

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) like cyanobacteria are undesirable for fisheries that are focused on effectively growing trophy fish. Cyanobacteria threaten the productivity of fisheries by obstructing the movement of energy and biomass up the food chain, subsequently limiting the growth potential of forage fish, resulting in less growth amongst your trophy fish species. When phosphorus-heavy fertilization programs are initiated in systems that already have enough phosphorus, this problem is often exacerbated by creating more cyanobacteria and less healthy algae. Put simply, without water quality testing and algae identification to confirm the needs of a waterbody, the fertilizer being added to a fishery can possibly discourage fish growth, rather than promote it.

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Try Low-Phosphorus Fish Feed To Increase Fish Population

Additionally, other steps can be taken to maximize productivity. For instance, lake and pond owners can switch to a low-phosphorus fish feed to reduce excess phosphorus from entering a waterbody, which can help maintain the desirable nitrogen to phosphorus ratio needed by beneficial green algae to properly compete with cyanobacteria.  Ask your fisheries biologist about creating a fertilizing and feeding strategy that considers the unique water quality parameters, goals, and budget for your waterbody, as well as other sustainable strategies to improve the health and longevity of your waterbody.

All Fisheries Can Benefit From A Forage Fish Population

Adopting advancements in science by fertilizing with a better-defined purpose is key to creating a safe environment for your loved ones while also achieving a thriving trophy fishery. Once a healthy and productive environment has been cultivated, it is time to consider other management tasks, such as fish stocking. Lakes and ponds that are managed for the appropriate algae species gain synergy from the introduction of desirable forage fish, which can evoke impactful changes in an aquatic ecosystem. Forage species may vary depending on region and local jurisdiction, but all fisheries can benefit from thriving forage populations such as Bluegill, Fathead Minnows, Redear Sunfish, and Threadfin Shad this spring.

Bluegill serve as excellent forage fish in both growing and well-established fisheries. Bluegill grow to 6-10 inches and begin spawning when the water temperature reaches 70°F, making it critical to complete stocking before April. In addition to serving as a staple food source for Largemouth Bass populations, Bluegill helps keep the water column clean by feeding on a variety of small organisms, including mosquito larvae.



Fish Stocking Species Highlight: Fathead Minnows

Fathead Minnows fish-stocking forage fish fisheries management

Golden Shiners

Golden Shiners

Likewise, Fathead Minnows are outstanding forage and sources of mosquito control. At three inches in length, adult minnows thrive in turbid, low-oxygenated waterbodies and spawn along the shoreline where mosquitoes often lay their eggs. Fathead Minnows are a proven method to eliminate mosquito larvae from ponds, in addition to feeding on algae and other organic materials in the water column. Fathead minnows are an excellent choice for forage species in ponds that are void of predator fish and are typically only stocked in trophy fisheries during the development phase prior to the introduction of predator species.

Golden Shiners serve as an excellent forage species for predator fish such as Largemouth Bass. They thrive in ponds and lakes and are oftentimes stocked to support Largemouth Bass growth in states where Threadfin Shad are either not legal or not readily available. They spawn in the spring and summer months and can reach nine inches in length. Golden Shiners are typically stocked in the spring and fall months, depending on the needs and goals of the fishery.

Thanks to SOLitude!

My stocked pond looks better than it has looked in 45 years, thanks to SOLitude!

Donnie Manry

Private Landowner, Bryan, TX

SOLitude Helped Us Achieve Our Community Goals

As the manager of wetlands and open water for my community, I work with SOLitude Lake Management closely. They have helped us define our vision and achieve our goals. Every wetland area and body of water has different uses and different needs. SOLitude understands that and ensures those needs are met all the while keeping the budget in mind. We have annual fishing tournaments and they come out and talk with the anglers, explaining what we’ve done during the past year and what our future steps will be. Management of wildlife and waters is an ongoing and long-term commitment, SOLitude understands this. They have a dedicated staff that not only manages these areas but also helps educate their clients.

Robert Payne

HOA Chairman, Warrenton, VA

December 8, 2014

Our Fishery Is In It’s Best Condition Ever

Thank you to SOLitude for all your help at our Fishing Club. Our hydrilla problem is practically non-existent now. The fish survey you completed for us, the recommendations on slot sizes, and the stocking and feeding program you developed are producing outstanding results. Our club’s fishery is in the best condition it has ever been! Your presentation to our stockholders at our annual meeting was extremely well received. We are getting ready to enhance our fish attractors as suggested. We appreciate that a management program was developed that fits within our budget and that you are available to talk with us when we have questions. We look forward to continuing our association with SOLitude.

John McCracken

Fishing Club President, West Point, VA

February 23, 2015

A Huge Improvement with SOLitude

I wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the results of the algae treatment. We noticed a huge improvement very quickly, and at this point, the pond looks really, really great. Also, the fish are thriving – some of the bass are over a foot, and the Bluegills have also gotten big. We are just thrilled. Thank you so much for your responsiveness.

Gwen Goodkin

Private Landowner, Charlottesville, VA

June 16, 2015

From an Eyesore to Thriving Ecosystem

In one season, SOLitude Lake Management turned the two lakes on my Virginia property from dead, weed-infested, eyesores into thriving, fish-filled, ecosystems – and they have maintained them as such ever since!

Angus Yates

Private Landowner, Middleburg, VA

September 17, 2015

Excellent Pond and Fisheries Management Experts!

After I had to drain my pond in 2010 to fix the dam, I took the opportunity to start from scratch. I contacted SOLitude to help guide my long-term management. Two years after my original stocking, we electroshocked for the first time. Based on the electroshock survey and Dave Beasley’s advice, I restocked 10,000 larger bluegills. My friends call me when they have “Daddy day” because they know they can come to my pond and their kids will catch bluegill bigger than my hand until they get tired of it. After 4 years, the bass are reaching 6 pounds, and in an hour, enough heavy bass can be caught that would beat a full day’s fishing on any lake in the region. Without SOLitude and Dave Beasley, despite all my research, my pond would be in an ever-worsening downward spiral. Now SOLitude and annual electrofishing surveys to keep me on track are a permanent part of my pond management plan.

Marc Daymude

Private Landowner, Cameron, NC

October 7, 2015

What A Great Company!

When looking online for a new fish feeder, we had unpleasant experiences with two local fisheries. I decided to call a feeder manufacturer in San Antonio, who recommended SOLitude Lake Management. They were terrific! Paul Dorsett called me directly and was so kind and helpful. He arranged for a feeder to be delivered and set up for us. Although Paul was out of town, he sent his “ace” out, Ryan Young. Ryan and Alex Harrison were efficient, answered all questions, and were very nice young men. Paul even followed up to make certain that everything went smoothly. What a great company! Customer service is what it’s all about these days and SOLitude Lake Management knows exactly that.

Cindy & Jim Bandy

Private Landowners, Centerville, TX

August 22, 2016

Proof Is In The Pudding

Paul Dorsett and the rest of the team at SOLitude have done an absolutely wonderful job in helping us to create Lake Willis! In just a few short years we have gone from having just a few baitfish and perch, to catching a nearly 9-pound bass (our new record). Now if we could just have more time to fish as recommended, we could take out the 300 fish that need to come out. As far as we are concerned, we followed SOLitude’s recommendations and our fish have averaged growing of 2 pounds per year…proof is in the pudding!

Weston Willis and Family

Private Landowner, Abilene, TX

June 9, 2017

A Truly Valuable Investment

We began with two small lakes that were never managed 10 years ago. With SOLitude’s help and expertise we expanded both lakes from 2 acres to 6 acres and began a monthly management program. We went from a spotty fish population to trophy bass with some over 10 pounds! SOLitude is efficient and really cares about the lake ecosystem. Seeing my three-year-old granddaughter catch her first bass makes the investment truly valuable. Thanks, SOLitude.

Ric Campo

Private Landowner, Houston, TX

October 12, 2017

From Frustrating to 100% Fishable

When we hired SOLitude, our 12-acre lake was about 1/3 full of lily pads and hydrilla which were frustrating to the fish. Within 4-6 months, the lake became 100% fishable and the coloring and bloom were much more attractive. The recent addition of 8 or so built brush piles has added much-needed structure for bait fish and is now a great target that is producing bass on every other cast! A very common afternoon will produce 100 fish a day.

Darrell Hernandez

Private Landowner, Athens, TX

April 5, 2018

Managing Fish Habitats

Creating a trophy fishery is not always easy, but with the proper ecosystem preparation, fish stocking strategies, and proactive management, it is possible to cultivate a productive fishery that achieves your long-term goals while meeting your budget. Need help getting started? Contact a fisheries biologist for recommendations for your unique property.

What Are Your Fishery Goals?

SOLitude Lake Management is a nationwide environmental firm committed to providing sustainable solutions that improve water quality, enhance beauty, preserve natural resources and reduce our environmental footprint. SOLitude’s team of aquatic resource management professionals specializes in the development and execution of customized lake, pond, wetland, and fisheries management programs that include water quality testing and restoration, nutrient remediation, algae, and aquatic weed control, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, bathymetry, shoreline erosion restoration, mechanical harvesting and hydro-raking, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat evaluations, and invasive species management. Services and educational resources are available to clients nationwide, including homeowners associations, multi-family and apartment communities, golf courses, commercial developments, ranches, private landowners, reservoirs, recreational and public lakes, municipalities, drinking water authorities, parks, and state and federal agencies. SOLitude Lake Management is a proud member of the Rentokil Steritech family of companies in North America.

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