What do fish need?
Water quality, food, and habitat. These are the three main parts of enhancing a population so that it can reach a higher level of production. Monitoring fish growth and adjusting the harvesting and management going forward creates long term success and the true benefits of a managed private fishery.
Hardness and alkalinity can be tested with a water sample and if needed, enhanced with liming with the addition of agricultural lime.
is likely one of the most significant improvements you can make for increased production. Aeration increases oxygen levels, but it also removes harmful gases that can build up do to decay of organic material. Aeration also contributes to mixing and uniform distribution of temperature, nutrients, and pH. It stimulates a healthy balanced productivity. The mixing aspect and the increase in oxygen in deeper areas will provide fish with a consistent environment and access to the full water column and all of the habitat throughout the pond or lake.
Food for fish can come in the form of microscopic zooplankton stimulated with the addition of pond fertilizer, stocking of forage fish, and also with the use of fish feed. We seasonally stock forage fish of several different species depending on your goal and availability. For more rapid production fish feed and automatic feeders are a great tool. High quality feed is a must to avoid poor water quality and to get the desired results. We feed Optimal brand bluegill feed
and find that the high quality, well-researched nutrition delivers the results that we want for our clients and their fisheries. Automatic feeders
provide regular timed feedings with control over amount fed. Fish learn rapidly to respond to the feedings and fast weight gain is the result. Forage fish respond with increased spawning and this feeds predator fish like large mouth bass, delivering the growth you want to culture trophy fish.
Fish need a variety of habitat for feeding, resting, protection, and spawning. Largemouth bass and bluegill both enjoy orienting near vertical structure. Logs, trees, brush, root structures, Christmas trees are all commonly used to enhance structure for bass and bluegill to orient near. This serves to bring predator and prey in healthy interaction, which benefits both populations and your fishery.
Artificial, manufactured fish structures
can be employed to serve the same purpose. Benefits to deploying artificial structures include easy deployment and large, three dimensional structure that does not easily catch a hook. when fishing. Then there is the consideration for spawning and juvenile fish. Gravel beds in 2-5 feet of depth and complex smaller structure nearby can serve to protect and enhance spawning and juvenile fish survival.
Sampling of the fish population and keeping records including length and weight is vital to knowing the progress of your fishery. Tagging with individually numbered tags can allow for individual fish monitoring as they grow into trophy fish.