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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.