In many ways, winter allows us to start each new pond season with a clean slate. Make sure your 2018 New Year’s resolutions include some of the following points to enhance enjoyment your treasured waters.
Did you procrastinate vegetation management last year and lose quality fishing time because every other cast was fouled with annoying weeds? Compared to recent winters, nature has given us a colder than normal season. As outlined last month, those weeds have receded, and you have an opportunity to begin 2018 with no frustrating fodder. Create a vegetation plan and implement it by April 1 to improve productivity. Was 2017 bass growth stunted because forage populations were not strong enough to support healthy development or you didn’t meet harvest quotas? You get another reprieve. Finalize a plan to supplement the food chain by March. Aggressively cull small bass through November. See impressive results by Thanksgiving.
Wish you had taken more time for fish fries and picnics? Let’s visit about shoreline and dock amenities to rewrite that chapter. Build a cabana you’ve talked about for years. Install a dock so visitors don’t wade weeds to feed fish or catch a bucket of bluegill. Looking at a pond management calendar, there’s a three-month break between seasons. We’ve buzzed through busy December and January holidays. There’s only 30-days to evaluate facilities and ensure you’re ready to kick-off March 1. Do you need a:
- Secchi disk to measure water quality
- Fish tag gun
- Turtle trap
- Water line gauge to measure lake level changes
- Pond bacteria to breakdown organic matter
- Water test kit
- Fresh fish food
- Does the fish feeder need a new battery? Solar panel charging?
Formulating a management plan resembles creating a scouting report. Without knowledge of water chemistry and habitat, you can’t lead the team. Develop a base-line of information to monitor progress. Are relative bass weights reflecting normal growth? What’s the average plankton density? Without these answers, you’re paddling in circles.
Invest time to maintain a journal. During each visit, log:
- Weather conditions.
- Water temperature.
- When you fertilized.
- Secchi disk readings of plankton density.
- Lake level.
- Lengths and weights of bass caught.
- Numbers, sizes, and species of fish harvested.
- Rainfall measurements.
- Cormorant or other predator sightings.
- Beaver or otter traffic and effects of their activity.
- Unusual water quality or vegetation issues.
- Abnormal fish movement on the surface.
- Fish stockings.
- Other events that establish ecological patterns.
We have a customer who can relate conditions at his lake during each visit for the past nine years. Such information helps you make confident management decisions and become a better angler. Data turns a casual program into a scientifically-based model.
There’s nothing more disappointing than receiving a phone call from a pond owner who has experienced a fish kill. We recently spoke with a party who had invested five-years of intensive management to attain high goals. In one brief period, water quality declined, and he lost prized fish. The pond was two acres. The owner invested $1,275 to stock fish, $900 for an automatic feeder, and a five-year supply of fish food. The mature fish were worth thousands of dollars. Costs to restock will be $1,275. Five more years of feed. The most challenging part, waiting another five-years to regrow lost trophies. Folks view water analysis and aeration as insurance policies. Click here to see form for submitting a water sample to the Soil Testing Lab at Texas A&M. Test fee is $20.
Contact us for assistance interpreting the information above. Call for options to install a custom-designed aeration system.