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Thoughts on Sportfish Management
Charles “Bo” Collins, Fisheries Biologist
Sunrise Fisheries, Inc.
When it’s too cold to fish and you have already harvested
your buck of a lifetime, this is the time to start thinking about how you
might improve fishing conditions in your private lake.
The following is a list of things you might want
If the body of water does not contain any fish (new
or recently reclaimed with rotenone), locating a source of fish must be
done. Also contact a fisheries consultant who can advise you on what
species, number, and size of fish to stock. Spring is a prime time
of year for fish stocking.
If the lake bottom is dry, this is a good time of year
to have the soil tested. Most soils are acid and will need liming
to raise the soil pH, which will improve the productivity of the water.
The type of lime recommended is agricultural limestone. Lime can
be purchased in bulk at most farm store outlets and they also should have
equipment to spread the material. To determine the amount of lime
needed, take several soil samples in the basin and take the samples to
your county Cooperative Extension Service. They can test the soil
and recommend the amount of agricultural limestone needed.
If your lake does not contain enough fish habitat such
as brushpiles, you might want to consider constructing fish shelters by
tying a number of small trees together and anchoring them in strategic
locations in the lake. Christmas trees are great for this purpose.
A fisheries consultant can help you with the number you need and the design.
It has been proven that fish shelters attract fish and by concentrating
them, it makes fishing more productive.
Keeping a daily fishing log on the species, size, and
number of fish caught can tell you a lot about the structure of the fish
If you are considering feeding your fish, such as bluegill
or channel catfish, now is the time to start looking for a fish feeder
and locating a place to install it. By feeding, you can improve the
growth and condition of the fish and make fishing more productive.
Aeration is becoming more popular with private lake
owners since lakes can experience oxygen problems. Oxygen problems
can result in losing numbers of expensive fish. Installing aeration
is like adding insurance for your fish crop. If you are seriously
looking at aeration, contact a fisheries consultant for his or her advice
If you have an existing lake and are not sure of the
condition of the fish population, a fisheries survey would be helpful before
anything else is done. Most fish consultants have the equipment to
sample the fish population and then make recommendations on how to improve
Sunrise Fisheries, Inc. can provide you with all your fish stocking
needs, chemicals, fish feeders, and aeration needs. We also have
on staff professional fisheries consultants to advise you with all your