Green Algae Control Lake Management

Fishery Evaluations

      One of the most under utilized and misunderstood aspect of fisheries management are fish evaluations. Many times people use arbitrary terms such as, this bass is skinny or this bass is fat. If there isn't a standard set of criteria to base those judgments on they don't tell us much about our fisheries. However when we use a set of standard weight to length ratio formulas and couple that with detailed catch records, shoreline seining results and various other techniques, we can learn the true health of our fish and determine the general status of our fishery. Generally the evaluation process is done through electroshocking however this can be costly and evaluations are based on a single evenings viewing or fish. We can use an equal or larger amount of data gathered over a years time and use some of the same tools and formulas to determine the health of the fish. The advantage to electroshocking is that you can view your predator and forage fish in a single pass and typically the same fish are never reevaluated during a single survey. Only using catch records has limitations but can certainly be used to take a deeper look into what's going on with your lake or pond and can be done by the average pond owner at very little cost.

Green Algae Control Catch Records

      Catch Records are the best way to keep tabs on your pond. A simple form that tracks how many anglers fished for what length of time, what fish were caught and what size those fish were can tell you more about a fishery than one might think. The first thing that we want to determine from these catch records is PSD or Proportional Stock Density. The concept of PSD is very simple, Largemouth Bass are broken into three size categories, Stock, Quality and Preferred. Stock bass are 8"-11.9", Quality bass are 12"-14.9" Preferred bass are 15"+ while anything under 8" are not classified for PSD. You simply determine what percentage of fish caught over 8" are also over 12", essentially how many "quality" bass are present as related to "stock" bass. If you are using your GAC Catch Record Form you'll notice that the columns for Bass are already broken down into those size categories and additional catch record evaluation tools are available from Green Algae Control.
     To offset the limitations of the catch records near exclusion of forage species, test seining can easily be done to help evaluate the forage base. By comparing availability and relative abundance of forage fish of all sizes we can determine the general health of Bluegill populations. Small seines can be bought at many outdoor stores. A simple 40' by 4' deep seine can give you invaluable information to measure against your catch record data and relative weights. The gathering and interpretation of this data allows you to make informed and intelligent management decisions.

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