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2 August, 2011 by admin No comments
Editor’s Note: Many hunting lands may have old ponds on them that if handled properly can provide some outstanding fishing for Mossy Oak Properties’ clients. However, perhaps the clients don’t want to incur the costs involved to drain the pond and then restock it or to wait for 2 or 3 years before they can fish the pond. According to fisheries biologists, you may enjoy better fishing in an old pond without draining it. Barry Smith, one of the co-owners of American Sport Fish in Montgomery, Alabama, and a longtime fisheries biologist, gives these keys for rehabilitating an old pond.
“You need to assess what you have,” says Barry Smith. “There are two methods to evaluate the fish population in a pond – a balanced seine check and electrofishing.” A balanced seine check will tell you whether or not the pond has both reproducing bluegills and bass. If it does, then by implementing management procedures, you can rehabilitate the pond without draining it. “What the balanced seine check doesn’t do is let you know the size of your adult fish,” Smith explains. “To get that information, you must do an electrofishing survey.”
An electrofishing survey takes a representative sample of the fish in that pond to help you determine the size distribution (how many fish of each size) you have in the pond. It also will tell you the size and the number of the forage fish (shad and minnows) there. “Too, from the electrofishing survey, you can know the health of the fish in the pond,” Smith says. “For instance, a 14-inch bass that only weighs 3/4-pound is too skinny. A fisheries biologist has a program to evaluate that bass and tell you what a bass that size should weigh in a well-balanced pond.”
In a year, after implementing some management tactics, biologists can run these two tests again to learn the improvement in the health of the pond’s fish. The cost to have two evaluations done by a fisheries consultant usually cost $600 to $700 per pond, and you can get the names from most state fisheries agencies.