Time To Assess 2018 Management Results And Plan For 2019
Does Your Plan Require Minor Adjustments Or Major Changes?
We spend nine-months passionately caring for treasured fish and their environment. Then, one cold day, it’s like a sign appears on the dock—Closed Until March. This is a good time to assess last year’s results and create a plan for 2019.
When was your last evaluation of the pond and facilities? Does your lake have a flood control pipe? Is it corrugated pipe? Are you seeing rusted areas? If the answer is yes, call your dirt contractor immediately and schedule an inspection. He’ll examine the system in-front and behind the dam. Early detection can save devastating consequences. Some old pipes can be sealed before blowing-out. It may require constructing a new spillway, but it’s better than losing the dam, the lake, and fish.
Our colleague, Mike Otto, recommends checking overflow pipes monthly, particularly if the pond is carrying above-average runoff. He suggests not using corrugated metal pipe in a dam. There are other options. Repairing damaged pipe is a tedious job. Work is demanding, often in extremely close quarters, and a race against the clock to save the lake. “Once water exercises its power through movement”, Mike explained, “there is just no simple way to block it until Mother Nature finishes showing us who’s boss”.
Aeration is one of the greatest improvements you can make to a pond. It increases productivity and provides durable service. However, compressors mustbe maintained to sustain a valuable lifeline to the fishery and water quality. Bottom diffuser systems are designed for low-maintenance and typically require minimal service. Disconnect power before opening the cabinet. See the owner’s manual for approved procedures to clean or replace compressor air filters and piston cups. Regularly flex air stations. Enhance ventilation by keeping cabinet air inlets and outlets free of debris and weed growth. Delayed response may result in significant damage. If the size and appearance of bubble action on the surface has decreased since installation, perform general cabinet cleaning and replace air filters. Also check the date of your last air station flexing. Aeration is highly beneficial, especially if you feed fish in small ponds. Call for a quote on maintenance of existing units or installation of a new system.
Review this important check list:
- Assess bass relative weights in 2018. You may need more forage.
- Did you meet 2018 bass harvest quotas?
- Look for seeps (wet ground) behind the dam.
- Walk the shoreline. Watch for beaver or otter trails into the lake.
- Order tilapia to bolster the food chain and control algae, plus crawfish and threadfin shad for bass forage.
- Clear flood-control pipes and spillways to ensure efficient drainage.
- Replace weak steps and boards on dock decks.
- Test feeder batteries and solar chargers. Can feeders be flooded by sudden rises in lake levels? If so, place on elevated pedestals.
- Evaluate fish habitat and replenish as needed. It’s critical for young fish.
- Monitor vegetation. Were there problem areas in 2018?
- Maintain a 2019 calendar recording rainfall, water level fluctuations, fish harvest, angler catch rates, water turkey, otter, or beaver sightings, water quality readings, and related observations that help make informed management decisions.
- Test boat batteries and chargers.
- Schedule spring and/or fall lake surveys.
Let’s develop a proactive strategy before neglected areas require costly damage control.