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Listen Now: Bassmaster Radio interview on lake and fishery management

By Lochow Ranch

“Fascinating stuff,” says Thom Abraham, host of Bassmaster Radio, as he interviews our company president John Jones.

In the interview this week, Thom and John discuss a range of lake management and fishery management tips, stemming from our work with Bassmaster on the Lake Y Project.

Click here to check out the interview.

Bassmaster Radio with Lochow Ranch Pond and Lake Management

We teamed with Bassmaster to take an anonymous 56-acre lake in Alabama and turn it into a thriving bass fishery.

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Bassmaster pond management 01

Check out the latest article on the Lake Y project from Bassmaster Magazine editor James Hall and don’t miss the latest video in the series.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see the progress in the Lake Y project in coming months.

Why Choose Lochow Ranch for Pond & Lake Management

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management proudly puts more than two decades of experience to work for you. Our team includes biologists, technicians and other professionals with deep expertise in pond and lake management services.

Check us out if you are considering building a lake, looking for pond stocking services, to buy fish for a pond, or getting professional pond management and maintenance or fishery management. Our services include lake design, pond construction, pond renovation, pond water testing, electrofishing, pond stocking, control of pond weeds, and pond liming and fertilizing.

Let us help you build your dream pond that will delight your family and friends for generations to come.

Click here to get in touch to get started today.

Our project with Bassmaster: ‘Let’s get shocking’

By Lochow Ranch

“It’s all about the process,” writes Bassmaster editor James Hall, referring to a favorite principle of Alabama’s football coach in the latest write-up about our Lake Y project. 

And each step of the fishery management process is important for turning Lake Y into a bass fishing paradise.

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That’s how we found ourselves in Alabama last fall conducting the second electrofishing survey of Lake Y. 

We have teamed with Bassmaster for The Lake Y Project, as we look to turn an underperforming 56-acre lake in Alabama into a thriving fishery.

Now in year 2 of the project, we are running through the steps of the process for effective fishery management, including understanding the lake’s current conditions, creating a plan to improve it, and then executing on that plan.

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“Let’s get shocking,” said John Johns, president of Lochow Ranch, as he kicked off the second electrofishing survey of the lake in Episode 6 of the video series Bassmaster is publishing about the project.

The first electrofishing survey of Lake Y last spring showed there were a number of undesirable fish species in the lake, John explained to James. The next step in the management plan and process is to conduct a second survey and take action to remove some of those fish.

The nature of Lake Y, with its water inflows and outflows, means these undesirable species will not be able to be eliminated entirely, John said, but at least they can be managed. That will give bass and forage fish the chance to thrive.

Electrofishing in action

If you have ever wondered about electrofishing and how it works, the latest Lake Y video provides a great overview of the technique.

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Electrofishing is considered by fishery biologists to be the best approach to inventorying the fish population of a lake.

An electric current pushed into the water by a specially-designed boat briefly stuns the fish. The fish are collected and weighed and measured for recording by our fishery biologists, then returned unharmed to the water.

electrofishing services for pond management

“We get to see the fish, how they’re doing, weigh them, measure them, check on their body condition, really get a sense of how and where a lake is in its development process,” explained Matt Ward, one of our fisheries biologists, in the video.

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Matt showed multiple examples of undesirable species of fish that the second survey found in Lake Y. These fish can end up competing with the fish you do want in the lake, such as bass and the forage fish that they feed on.

Often these fish can be removed during an electrofishing survey. Or, as in the case of Lake Y, trotlines can also be run to catch and collect the undesirable species to remove them from the lake.  

Lake Y project proceeds: pond stocking & feed

In addition to the population surveys, we conducted pond stocking at Lake Y, introducing coppernose bluegill to provide forage for bass and boost growth.

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Another step was to add supplemental food for the fish. Installing our fish feeders and providing high-quality food is an important factor to further spur growth of bass.

Check out James’ article in the latest issue of Bassmaster magazine and don’t miss the latest video in the series.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see the progress in the Lake Y project in coming month.

We’re also booking electrofishing surveys for the season, as well as taking orders for pond stocking. Get in touch to schedule yours today!

Why Choose Lochow Ranch for Pond & Lake Management

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management proudly puts more than two decades of experience to work for you. Our team includes biologists, technicians and other professionals with deep expertise in pond and lake management services.

Check us out if you are considering building a lake, looking for pond stocking services, to buy fish for a pond, or getting professional pond management and maintenance or fishery management. Our services include lake design, pond construction, pond renovation, pond water testing, electrofishing, pond stocking, control of pond weeds, and pond liming and fertilizing.

Let us help you build your dream pond that will delight your family and friends for generations to come.

Click here to get in touch to get started today.

Our project with Bassmaster: Lake structures can improve an underperforming fishery

By Lochow Ranch

Our project with Bassmaster reached a very important milestone in the latest installment of the video series: the addition of structure to Lake Y.

Structure refers to the underwater features that give bait fish and young bass shelter and larger bass a place to feed.

For Lake Y, adding structure to make a fish friendly habitat will be one of the most important steps in creating a prime bass fishery, according to Lochow Ranch President John Jones.

We have teamed with Bassmaster for The Lake Y Project, focusing on turning an underperforming 56-acre lake in Alabama into a thriving fishery.  

In Episode 4, John and James Hall, editor-in-chief of Bassmaster Magazine, dive into the importance and types of structures that can be added to lakes as part of fishery management.

The video installment can be viewed here on the Bassmaster website. The video features explanations of structure options and then follows members of the Lochow Ranch pond management crew as they add several structures to Lake Y.

“What we like to see in a lake is somewhere around 20 percent structure,” John explains. That much underwater structure helps the bait and game fish population to grow while still affording good fishing.

John and James survey the different types of structure that are commonly used.

A popular form of lake structure is old Christmas trees. A tree can be weighted at the base with cinderblocks so that it can float upright and fish can shelter among the branches.

The positives of Christmas trees are that they are an inexpensive approach and can be easy to find if you ask neighbors to let you take their trees after the holiday season.

But there are several drawbacks, John says. Christmas trees disintegrate in a few months in a lake and no longer offer adequate structure. They also can snag lures, and getting a hook unsnarled from an underwater Christmas tree is very hard.

That said, Christmas tree can work very well as fish-friendly cover while they last, John says. One pond survey the Lochow team conducted found 150 bass at a single Christmas tree.

Another structure option is to sink bundles of brush including pieces of hardwood. This can be much longer lasting than Christmas trees, John says, explaining that he has seen hardwood structure that was still effective 15 years after it was placed.

When putting in brush as structure, John says, it is best to use bundles and to place the bundles in roughly the size and shape of a semi trailer.

You want brush structure placement to be long but narrow so that the fish have cover but also so that you can get access to where the fish are for good fishing.

The final type of habitat elements that John and James discuss is the manmade structure. Naturally these are very long-lasting and provide excellent cover for fish. They don’t create as many headaches with snagging lures as sunken trees do, and it is relatively easier to extract a caught hook from an artificial structure.

For Lake Y in particular, the addition of structure is key to improving the lake’s performance as a fishery.

In fact, fish were spotted around the Christmas trees shortly after they were installed in Lake Y. “To say that this lake was dying for some structure, these fish were needing some structure, may have been an understatement,” James says.

Adding structure to an underperforming pond is a very important step in fishery management, John says, but you need to make sure you have your goals in mind and realize it can take time and patience for a fishery to reach its prime.

“You want to put forth your goals and you want to make them attainable,” John advises. “So it’s not reasonable to assume we can get everything done overnight. Taking something like a lake with almost no structure and getting it to 10 to 20 percent is going to take several years.

“But once you’ve got a good plan, and you’re efficient and you stay targeted with what you’re doing, you’re going to get there.”

John started his assessment of Lake Y in the first episode with a walkabout, identifying overall problems and opportunities. The second episode focused on inventorying the lake’s existing fish population, highlighting an electrofishing survey in action. The third episode explored water quality, clarity and vegetation management considerations.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to see the progress in Lake Y in coming weeks.

Interested in getting your own pond assessment? Get in touch to schedule yours today!

Why Choose Lochow Ranch for Pond & Lake Management

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management proudly puts more than two decades of experience to work for you. Our team includes biologists, technicians and other professionals with deep expertise in pond and lake management services.

Check us out if you are considering building a lake, looking for pond stocking services, to buy fish for a pond, or getting professional pond management and maintenance or fishery management. Our services include lake design, pond construction, pond renovation, pond water testing, electrofishing, pond stocking, control of pond weeds, and pond liming and fertilizing. Let us help you build your dream pond that will delight your family and friends for generations to come.

Click here to get in touch to get started today.

Our project with Bassmaster: Clues about clarity, pointers about plants

By Lochow Ranch

The third installment of our video venture “The Lake Y Project” with Bassmaster is short but important and focuses on water clarity and vegetation management.

Lochow Ranch president John Jones is quick to tell James Hall, editor-in-chief of Bassmaster Magazine, that all water’s not created equal as the two continue their conversation about how to transform an average lake into a fishing paradise. You can see Episode 3 here.

“We try to use water clarity to our advantage,” John says. “The perfect bass lake would have somewhere around 18 to 24 inches of visibility. The water would be a dark green color, nothing floating on top of the water. That would produce a lot of phytoplankton, grow a lot of baby fish and, importantly, shade out submerged weeds after a certain depth. We like to reduce light penetration.”

Lake Y, an anonymous 56-acre creek-fed lake in Alabama, has suboptimal water clarity, John says. “Certainly, it’s not horrible,” he explains. “We’ve had many, many lakes with 1 inch or less of visibility. Those lakes are generally very unproductive.”

For really “choked” lakes, you’ll find three main categories of pond weeds, he says: emergent plants such as cattails; submerged plants such as hydrilla; and floating plants such as the white water lily.

When designing a new lake, John likes to plan for 20-30 percent vegetation coverage. “That’s not always possible,” he says.

As he examined Lake Y, John says, “This is a very common plant community for a lake that’s got probably, honestly too many grass carp in it.”

Adding grass carp are an inexpensive route that lake owners often take to reduce submerged pond weeds, he says. “I like to say using grass carp to control your lake is like using goats to mow your yard,” he says. There are pros and cons.

Used correctly, they’re an affordable way to reduce submerged pond weeds at a tiny fraction of the cost of herbicides, and are a great tool with proper fencing and management. But unmanaged they will almost always cause a crash in your bait fish and bass conditions in the longer term.

John identified mainly woody, dense-type species of pond weeds that grass carp don’t like such as water willow and milfoil. He also pointed out emergent cattails in the dam area that could attract beaver dens and secretly damage the dam.

John says he’d add a couple of plant species that are easy to fish, not too invasive, would thrive and be easy and inexpensive to treat, as well as being preferred by grass carp. He says using EPA-approved herbicides or algaecides around the dock areas – which are almost always too dense – is optimal for anglers of all skill levels.

As lake owners keep a close eye on weeds, they also need to be aware of harmful or invasive species, he adds. States are already responding to problems that private owners aren’t seeing yet, but most likely will.

John started his assessment of Lake Y in the first episode with a walkabout, identifying overall problems and opportunities, then followed in the second episode with an electrofishing survey to reveal the lake’s fish population.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to see the progress in Lake Y in coming weeks.

Interested in getting your own pond assessment? Get in touch to schedule yours today!

Why Choose Lochow Ranch for Pond & Lake Management

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management proudly puts more than two decades of experience to work for you. Our team includes biologists, technicians and other professionals with deep expertise in pond and lake management services.

Check us out if you are considering building a lake, looking for pond stocking services, to buy fish for a pond, or getting professional pond management and maintenance or fishery management. Our services include lake design, pond construction, pond renovation, pond water testing, electrofishing, pond stocking, control of pond weeds, and pond liming and fertilizing. Let us help you build your dream pond that will delight your family and friends for generations to come.

Click here to get in touch to get started today.

Our project with Bassmaster: Electrofishing in action

By Lochow Ranch

In episode 2 of our Bassmaster project, we find out  what lurks in the depths of “Lake Y.”

You can see an electrofishing survey in action as we categorize the fish population of the anonymous 56-acre creek-fed lake in Alabama.

Click here to check out episode 2 of our video series with Bassmaster, “The Lake Y Project.”

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Lochow Ranch president John Jones chats with James Hall, editor-in-chief of Bassmaster Magazine, to discuss the species, sizes and weights of fish found during the survey.

Electrofishing briefly shocks and paralyzes fish and allows for a lake management inventory of the population to be created.

John first studied Lake Y with a walkabout, identifying problems and opportunities. John advised Lake Y owners start an improvement strategy with satellite photos identifying other water body influences and an examination of the lake’s history: when it was built, watershed influences and management approaches. He identified Lake Y as being off color and in a shallow ravine with a small dam.

His visual assessment also included evidence of otters, and identified issues surrounding the lake’s number and condition of boats, fish feeders and spillway.

Bassmaster says Lake Y “could well represent the majority of small lakes and ponds scattered throughout the country.” And, indeed, that’s exactly what John found after analyzing the data his team collected during the electrofishing survey.

“Really, this is a very average lake,” John said, “which is a great starting point. This is what people are dealing with all over America. You’re overpopulated with small stunted bass, not horrifically so but certainly so. You have all the right species in the lake. In addition, you have some species that, we’ll call them undesirable, stuff that’s not really adding to production.

“I feel like we got great data today,” he added.

There are lots of variations of electrofishing boats, John explained, but Lochow Ranch “basically builds ours in-house.” A generator using between 10-50 amps pushes about 10,000 volts through cables attached to the boat. The current puts fish in a state of temporary paralysis and allows for easy collection and analysis.

One survey will produce a dataset of about 3-5% of the lake. Lochow’s teams use it daily both for exploring new populations as well as for managing existing populations. Multiple electrofishing surveys over time will allow for an even more complete picture.

It’s an excellent tool for correcting an out-of-balance pond. Stunted fish or unwanted species can be easily and quickly removed as part of the service. And the survey acts as the reference point for a long-term pond management plan and provides clues for corrective stocking and harvest recommendations.

While on the boat, Lee Schoech, one of our fisheries biologists, identified several species, including largemouth bass; freshwater drum (which indicated the creek is substantial); channel catfish; carp; threadfin shad and gizzard shad; bluegill; crappie; redear sunfish; longnose gar and spotted gar among them.

Lee rubbed swabs on the tongues of the fish to get their genetic profile and establish a baseline for the fishery.

Asked about his gut feeling on Lake Y, John says, “I’m going to enjoy this project. … I believe this lake is going to take just some very traditional improvements. It’s going to do a heavy feeding program, a quality stocking program. We’re going to look at the genetics on the fish.”

But in the next episode, Lochow and Bassmaster are going to focus on ways to add structures and cover to the lake and create much-needed habitats to increase productivity. The structures also create areas where fishermen know they can find fish.

Capping off the episode, James asked John about some of the craziest things John has shocked up in his career of electrofishing surveys.

The largest largemouth bass he’s personally shocked was 19.1 pounds, John replied, as well as a lot of fish in the 15-16-pound category. He’s pulled alligator gar he believes were well over the state record; blue and yellow cats approaching triple digits; and goldfish over 10 pounds.

Aquarium fish such piranha are always a surprise, but the cormorants, alligators and the 60-70-pound beaver were also very memorable, he said laughing.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to see the progress in Lake Y in coming weeks.

Interested in getting your own pond assessment? Get in touch to schedule yours today!

Why Choose Lochow Ranch for Pond & Lake Management

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management proudly puts more than two decades of experience to work for you. Our team includes biologists, technicians and other professionals with deep expertise in pond and lake management services.

Check us out if you are considering building a lake, looking for pond stocking services, to buy fish for a pond, or getting professional pond management and maintenance or fishery management. Our services include lake design, pond construction, pond renovation, pond water testing, electrofishing, pond stocking, control of pond weeds, and pond liming and fertilizing. Let us help you build your dream pond that will delight your family and friends for generations to come.

Click here to get in touch to get started today.

Our project with Bassmaster: Will Lake Y become a bass fishing heaven?

By Lochow Ranch

Turning an average, underperforming lake into bass fishing heaven requires some thought, planning and know-how.

Getting those details right is the goal of our new project with Bassmaster, “The Lake Y Project.”

The resulting project is a complete video series, which just aired its first episode at: https://www.bassmaster.com/lakey

The series examines how we tackle Lake Y, an anonymous 56-acre creek-fed lake in Alabama. Bassmaster says Lake Y “could well represent the majority of small lakes and ponds scattered throughout the country.”

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In Episode 1, James Hall, editor-in-chief of Bassmaster Magazine, introduces the project with our president, John Jones.

John first studied Lake Y in the spring and did a walkabout, identifying problems and opportunities.

Overall, John says “there are a lot of chances to grow a lot of fish,” but Lake Y also has a lot of problems that need to be addressed.

“Left unmanaged, small fisheries, say from 3 to 100 acres, can get out of balance a lot faster than you would imagine,” Bassmaster explains in its series description.

“Bass can become scarce from predation of other critters, or worse, overpopulate a lake and stunt. Non-desirable species (at least to hardcore bass anglers), like catfish, gar and carp, can create such a biomass in limited space that largemouth simply cannot thrive. Cover and structure can deteriorate, vegetation can choke out open water and water quality can become unbearable for fish in a matter of a few years.”

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In the video, John advises that Lake Y owners start an improvement strategy with satellite photos identifying other water body influences and an examination of the lake’s history: when it was built, watershed influences and management approaches. He identified Lake Y as being off color and in a shallow ravine with a small dam.

A lot of people find a great dam site, John explains, but they don’t put money into deepening the lake, which could have cost 10 times as much. But that doesn’t have to be a hindrance, he adds.

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His visual assessment also included evidence of otters, and identified issues surrounding the lake’s number and condition of boats, fish feeders and spillway.

It’s a beautiful lake, John says, but multi-owner lakes (as this one appears to be) have to be handled very differently, and multiple ownership could be a help or a hindrance with different priorities. Among many other observations, he also notes the creek could present some challenges with species diversity, and managers should probably come up with a catfish control program.

John notes, “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great lake, but money speeds things up.” He says he asks customers to give him a budget or a timetable for goals. Now that the visual assessment is complete, the next Lake Y episode will focus on its electrofishing survey.

Electrofishing uses an electric current to briefly stun the fish population. This then allows for an accurate assessment of species, size, relative abundance and growth rates of a lake’s fish.

It’s an excellent tool for correcting an out-of-balance pond. Stunted fish or unwanted species can be easily and quickly removed as part of the service. And the survey acts as the reference point for a long-term pond management plan and provides clues for corrective stocking and harvest recommendations.

“In the end, we hope to inspire you to not settle for unimpressive or average fishing, because you can do something about it,” Bassmaster says.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to see the progress in Lake Y in coming weeks.

Interested in getting your own pond assessment? Get in touch to schedule yours today!

Why Choose Lochow Ranch for Pond & Lake Management

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management proudly puts more than two decades of experience to work for you. Our team includes biologists, technicians and other professionals with deep expertise in pond and lake management services.

Check us out if you are considering building a lake, looking for pond stocking services, to buy fish for a pond, or getting professional pond management and maintenance or fishery management. Our services include lake design, pond construction, pond renovation, pond water testing, electrofishing, pond stocking, control of pond weeds, and pond liming and fertilizing. Let us help you build your dream pond that will delight your family and friends for generations to come.

Click here to get in touch to get started today.

On the way to Trophy-Catching Glory: Eight lucky Texas electrofishing survey winners

By Lochow Ranch

Response to our electrofishing sweepstakes was through the roof!

In fact, we have decided to up the awards to EIGHT free surveys instead of the original five.

If you missed it, we announced back in February that we would give away five free electrofishing surveys to lucky Texas pond or lake owners.

electrofishing services for pond management

Electrofishing is the state-of-the-art way to start maximizing the potential for your fishery.  It’s the safe and effective way that biologists measure fish populations and is key to effective fishery management.

We bring out our custom electrofishing boat and run a mild electrical current that briefly stuns the fish in your lake or pond. Our experts then examine each fish to log its species, size, health and other characteristics.

In the end you have a clear picture of what lurks beneath the surface of your lake. Electrofishing allows our biologists to make scientific recommendations for improvements based on the current condition of your pond or lake.

Electrofishing surveys are the most important tool in making informed management decisions for your water body. Whether it be pond stocking, control of pond weeds, fish feeding, habitat enhancement, or anything else, a survey allows us to make a tailored management plan fit for your lake.

Well, the response was so good to our contest for free electrofishing surveys that we hated to disappoint too many people, so we increased the giveaway to eight surveys.

The winners of the free surveys are:

  • Nick R. of Huntsville
  • Clayton C. of Brenham
  • Angela K. of Rockwall
  • Michael H. of Tira
  • Jim G. of Columbus
  • Stephen S. of Chandler
  • Kurt B.  of Wilcox
  • David C. of Cameron

We will be in touch with all of you to arrange your surveys.

If you did not win, do not despair. You can still take advantage of this great technology to create your dream fishing pond.

Electrofishing Arkansas Louisiana Texas Oklahoma

Just drop us a note with the form below to learn more about scheduling your electrofishing survey.

Be sure to follow us on social media to be notified about more of our exciting giveaways! Just click below:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lochow_pond_and_lake_mgmt/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LochowRanch/

itter:  https://twitter.com/LochowRanch

Why Choose Lochow Ranch for Pond & Lake Management

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management proudly puts more than two decades of experience to work for you. Our team includes biologists, technicians and other professionals with deep expertise in pond and lake management services.

Check us out if you are considering building a lake, looking for pond stocking services, to buy fish for a pond, or getting professional pond management and maintenance or fishery management. Our services include lake design, pond construction, pond renovation, pond water testing, electrofishing, pond stocking, control of pond weeds, and pond liming and fertilizing. Let us help you build your dream pond that will delight your family and friends for generations to come.

Click here to get in touch to get started today.

2021 can be an epic fishing year if you win one of our free electrofishing surveys

By Lochow Ranch

Time is quickly running out to register to win a free way to gauge your Texas pond or lake’s fish population!

There is just over a week remaining to enter our contest. You might be one of five people to snag a free electrofishing survey for Texas ponds from Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management.

The contest is open to Texas pond owners who want to turn their lakes into an angler’s paradise. Knowing the number and size of species present in your fishing hole, as well as the amount of forage fish available to them, is key to making your pond exceptional.

Electrofishing is safe and effective and a standard way biologists determine fish populations – and it does not harm the fish.

Lochow Ranch uses a custom electrofishing boat with state-of-the-art systems to briefly stun fish in your pond with a mild electrical current. Our experts then examine the fish to determine species, size, health and other characteristics.

A completed survey will give you a clear picture of the fish population in your pond and you will then know exactly what needs to be done to turn it into your dream pond for fantastic fishing.

It’s an important first step in pond and lake maintenance, along with exploring the right way to feed your fish, what sort of pond stocking is best, and options to control pond weeds.

To enter to win a free electrofishing survey, just fill out the entry form before March 31, 2021.

If you are one of five lucky entrants whose name is drawn at random, we’ll conduct an electrofishing survey of your pond this season. You will be well on your way to enjoying your new fishing paradise!

Why Choose Lochow Ranch for Pond & Lake Management

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management proudly puts more than two decades of experience to work for you. Our team includes biologists, technicians and other professionals with deep expertise in pond and lake management services.

Check us out if you are considering building a lake, looking for pond stocking services, buying fish for a pond, or getting professional pond management and maintenance or fishery management. Our services include lake design, pond construction, pond renovation, pond water testing, electrofishing, pond stocking, control of pond weeds, and pond lime and fertilizer application. Let us help you build your dream pond that will delight your family and friends for generations to come.

Click here to get in touch to get started today.

Love your lake? Let’s learn what lurks there

By Matt Ward

In order to accomplish great things, we have to take an honest look at where we are and decide on where we want to go.

This is no less true of lake and pond management than it is of life.

Knowing how things are in your pond at any point in time is the only way to be sure of what fishery management steps need to be taken and how a fishery is progressing over time.

Maybe you are planning pond stocking, wondering how pond weeds are affecting your fish, thinking about adding bass or trout, or wondering if you need to add forage fish.

electrofishing services for pond management

The right first step is to assess the current fish population in terms of numbers, types and size.

Multiple assessment tools have been developed over time including gill nets, hoop nets, seining, pole and line, and electrofishing.

All of these methods have a place and have been developed to move fishery analysis from the “yarn” to science. Each of the first four methods are generally biased to a specific type or size of fish, making general assessment difficult.

Electrofishing is the closest thing we have to a broad-spectrum fishery analysis tool. Electrofishing is somewhat biased toward shallow water fisheries, but generally offers the most complete analysis of the widest variety of fish in a given pond or lake.

That’s why we are giving away five free electrofishing surveys to lucky Texas pond owners. There is no better way to learn what lurks in your lake.

What is electrofishing?

Electrofishing involves the application of specific current to a given water body with the goal of temporarily stunning fish in order to safely collect them. Sampled fish are netted and analyzed as needed to assess the fishery.

After analysis, fish are safely returned to the water to swim away unharmed. Equipment to conduct this work is quite sophisticated and requires extensive experience to maximize sampling efficiency and minimize risk to fish. Desired current varies in each fishery, just as conductivity of waters varies across the country.

Electrofishing Arkansas Louisiana Texas Oklahoma

Our electrofishing equipment is optimized for scaled fish and involves a gas generator, which is connected to a rheostat that allows us to cycle between DC/AC, various electrical frequencies, and a wide variety of applied voltages.

These settings are combined with a variety of telemetry equipment that allows us to track amp pulls and the load on our generator at any given point in time. In addition to varying settings on the rheostat, we have a variety of different hardware settings we can use to manipulate our anodes and cathode to optimize our equipment to a given water body.

Electrofishing involves applying very powerful current to water and as such involves significant risk. This risk is managed by crew training and safety policies that ensure the safety of our customers and ourselves.

Be sure to pay attention to safety instructions given prior to an electrofishing survey.

What information is collected?

Sampled fish are recorded for species and relative abundance. Next, the relative size distribution of all species is recorded. Specific gamefish are then measured and weighed to determine their relative body condition. This data is recorded and plotted against standards that have been set in scientific literature.

In addition to these direct observations, every decent fishery manager should be making many secondary observations that are critical to developing management strategies.

These include aquatic vegetation, non-living cover, water temperature, clarity, depths, predator signs, and access. All fishery assessments should also include a basic water quality analysis to check for buffering capacity and nutrient loading.

What information is gleaned from this data?

Fisheries managers use this information to understand the general species composition of a particular fishery.

Combining that with relative size data, managers are able to provide a good understanding of the forage availability for various gamefish. Gamefish data allows for an understanding of the size structure of a population and the relative health of gamefish of various sizes.

Ultimately, this data is used to determine the predator-to-prey ratios and general forage availability. In short, we find out what your fish are eating and if they have enough to eat; if you have enough fish in your lake to enjoy the fishing; if you are getting hit by predators; and the list goes on.

This information allows us to figure out what the best fish to stock would be and how many of those fish could be stocked. This kind of analysis can easily save a pond owner many thousands of dollars per acre that could be wasted by stocking “blind.”

When To Shock

The best time to shock a lake is when you need to understand the state of that fishery.

This can really be done most any time of the year with one general exception. Hot weather is hard on fish, so generally we try to avoid shocking most lakes in the heat of summer (but even this rule has exceptions).

In a perfect world, we shock all lakes annually in the fall to understand trends. The fall is preferred because standard fish data is also collected in the fall giving the best possible picture of the state of a given fishery.

That being said, we shock throughout most of the year to assess loss to predation, the strength of a spawn, fish loss due to a flood, and to conduct selective harvest.

There are also specialty shocking events that can serve specific purposes. My favorite is the pre-spawn shock for largemouth bass. Because largemouth bass females peak in weight and move shallow just before the spawn, this is the best time of year to go looking for trophies!

Final Thoughts

Electrofishing is a very safe method for sampling fish by stunning fish for short periods of time while data is collected. Check out our video of the process here.

Note that fish can occasionally be killed by the stress of electrical shock or by getting hit by the electrofishing boat’s propeller, but this loss is very rare.

Efficiency does vary though, and it should be noted that standard professional electrofishing is highly effective on scaled fish that inhabit shallow water and somewhat less effective on deep water denizens such as crappie or scaleless fish such as catfish.

All in all, if you love your lake, schedule an electrofishing survey and find out how to make your fishery shine.

Why Choose Lochow Ranch for Pond & Lake Management

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management proudly puts more than two decades of experience to work for you. Our team includes biologists, technicians and other professionals with deep expertise in pond and lake management services.

Check us out if you are considering building a lake, looking for pond stocking services, to buy fish for a pond, or getting professional pond management and maintenance or fishery management. Our services include lake design, pond construction, pond renovation, pond water testing, electrofishing, pond stocking, control of pond weeds, and pond liming and fertilizing. Let us help you build your dream pond that will delight your family and friends for generations to come.

Click here to get in touch to get started today.

Matt Ward is a Fishery Biologist for Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management. He has a Master of Science in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University and has worked in fisheries management in Texas for 15 years.  He brings a passion for good science and an interdisciplinary approach to the natural sciences to help property managers steward their aquatic resources and achieve management objectives.

Win a Free Electrofishing Survey and Make 2021 Your Pond’s Best Year Yet

By Lochow Ranch

Your pond can become a fishing paradise that you, your family and friends will enjoy for generations.

And the first step to making that fishing paradise is to know what kind of fish are inhabiting your pond now, and which kinds to consider for pond stocking.

An electrofishing survey is how you can investigate the existing fish population in your pond.

It’s a standard fishery management process for creating a fish inventory and answering questions like:

  • Which species are present and how mature and large are they?
  • Do you need to stock forage fish so other fish can grow larger?
  • Are there any species that you do not want?

Electrofishing is safe and effective and does not harm fish.

At Lochow Ranch, we conduct electrofishing surveys with a custom boat uses state-of-the-art systems. These systems will briefly stun fish in your pond with a mild electrical current. Our experts then examine the fish to determine species, size, health and other characteristics. A survey can help you understand how the fish population has fared during winter months.

At the end you will have a baseline on the population in your pond. Then you can plan fish stocking to supplement the existing population and build the perfectly balanced ecosystem.

Win a Free Electrofishing Survey

We want to make 2021 a year to remember for your pond. That’s why we are giving away FIVE electrofishing surveys at no cost to lake owners in Texas.

Why Choose Lochow Ranch

Serving Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, Lochow Ranch Pond & Lake Management proudly puts more than two decades of experience to work for you. Our team includes biologists, technicians and other professionals with deep expertise in pond and lake management services.

Check us out if you are considering building a lake, looking for pond stocking services, to buy fish for a pond, or getting professional pond management and maintenance or fishery management. Our services include lake design, pond construction, pond renovation, pond water testing, electrofishing, pond stocking, control of pond weeds, and pond liming and fertilizing. Let us help you build your dream pond that will delight your family and friends for generations to come.

Click here to get in touch to get started today.

Let the certified professionals at Lochow Ranch provide you with a detailed on-site assessment of your pond’s condition.

Contact Us Today!

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