(866) 422-9022

lake y

Fish Stocking: Exciting Step in Our Lake Y Project with Bassmaster

By Lochow Ranch

Our partnership with Bassmaster to turn Lake Y into a bass fishing paradise took an exciting turn in the latest episode.

“This one’s exciting because we’re putting fish in the lake,” Bassmaster editor James Hall says.

Bassmaster pond management 01

The deposit of thousands of coppernose bluegill into Lake Y is not just exciting, says John Jones, president of Lochow Ranch, but the addition of this backbone of the food chain is one of the most impactful things someone can do to improve fishing quality in an underperforming lake.

The Lake Y project aims to educate anglers on how to identify opportunities to improve small lakes, and steps to take to turn an average lake into bass fishing bliss. We teamed with Bassmaster for The Lake Y Project, as we look to turn an underperforming 56-acre lake in Alabama into a thriving fishery.

Bassmaster Lake Y with Lochow Ranch 8

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.

So far in the series, issues such as topography, water source, water quality and clarity, area predators such as otters, vegetation, fertilization, and pellet feeding were covered. We also employed electrofishing surveys to identify fish populations and get a complete understanding of the state of the 56-acre creek-fed lake.

Bassmaster Lake Y with Lochow Ranch 6

Our surveys found that forage fish populations are low and bass are underweight.

Adding a variety of bluegill sizes to the Alabama lake makes sense, John says. The larger ones are already sexually mature and ready to spawn. They’re also too big for all but larger bass to eat, so they should grow to adulthood and provide consistent spawn.

“There’s reasons to put in different sizes of bluegill,” John adds, noting that a bluegill can produce up to 25,000 eggs at a time and up to four spawns in a year. “These are pretty expensive and so generally we’ll mix these in with some mediums and smalls. You’ll get a little bit more bang for your buck if you will.”

Bassmaster Lake Y with Lochow Ranch 1

Bassmaster Lake Y with Lochow Ranch 2

So the plan is that the bluegill will make it through the upcoming winter without much loss due to weather or cormorants, and in the spring their population will surge. In about 18 months, John expects to see trophy size bluegill, which could start to be harvested by next summer, with the addition of a much higher-quality, high-protein feed.

Bluegill respond well to a good feeding program, John says. They also are a fun fish for children to catch.

“With kids, bluegill is about the most fun you can have. It’s simple fishing. It doesn’t take much. It takes a worm, takes a bobber. It’s not too hectic sometimes. You know people love the idea of fishing with kids but parts of it can be pretty hectic, but bluegill’s not that way,” he adds.

The more bluegill stocking, the faster you turn around a fishery, John explains. In Lake Y, they deposit about 1,000 per acre.  

Bassmaster Lake Y with Lochow Ranch 3

“Well this is exciting,” James says in the video. “This is one more step to making this Lake Y our dream bass lake and I think it’s really important step and I’m excited to see the impact that it has next year.”

“We’re gonna change this lake forever today,” John adds.

Bassmaster Lake Y with Lochow Ranch 4

Follow us on InstagramFacebook 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.

Bassmaster pond management 01

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.

Focus on Feeding: Where do you get the most bang for the buck?

By Lochow Ranch

Fish feeders are a common sight at many private lakes and ponds. But if your goal is to grow trophy bass, is your feeding strategy tuned to maximize growth?

That was one of the points our president, John Jones, made in his recent interview with Bassmaster Radio.

Bassmaster Radio with Lochow Ranch Pond and Lake Management

Host Thom Abraham asked John about his advice for feeding options for pond and lake owners who are looking to maximize growth of gamefish and panfish.

“First off, of course, in the well-balanced pond or lake, you do not need to stock fish repetitively,” John said. 

“There’s an amount of growth that a body of water can sustain that’s based on water quality inputs, fertilizer, generally the health of the water, because that’s the base of the food chain,” he said. 

In the interview, Thom and John discussed a range of lake management and fishery management tips, stemming from our work with Bassmaster on the Lake Y Project. They explored a topic that many people ask about, supplemental feeding and other steps to spur fish growth.

Bassmaster project with Lochow Ranch12

John explained that supplemental feeding is sometimes accompanied by pond or lake fertilization, which can nourish the whole lake food chain. “If you want to supplement what that natural process will grow – and a lot of times in a private lake, that’s somewhere between 40 and 300 pounds of total fish per acre – you can move to fertilization, which can raise the total poundage of fish 500 or maybe even 1,000 pounds per acre. But really, probably 500 would be a max with a really heavy fertilization program.” 

He continued, “But a safer way to do that is to use a pelleted fish food. Pelleted fish food is how commercial farms grow fish. It’s the cheapest way to grow fish safely.

“And generally speaking, depending on the quality of the feed, if you use a good quality feed you’re going to grow about a pound of bait fish for every 2 pounds of feed.”

Fish feeders pond lake 080 scaled

John said a lot of people feed their fish but use low-quality feed that is less expensive. It’s a case of you get what you pay for, and he recommended buying the best quality feed you can afford. 

“And just know that if you buy the highest quality feed, for every 50-pound bag of fish food you put in, you grew 25 pounds of bait. You can skip that step and move directly to stocking bait. But buying bait, you’re cheating time and it costs a lot more money.”

John concluded, “It roughly takes about 10 pounds of bait to grow 1 pound of bass. So you could see, it could add up pretty quickly. I recommend people to stick with a good pelleted feeding program if they want to supplement the natural processes.”

feedhands

Along with supplying fish feeders and feed, Lochow Ranch can provide feeding guidance to maximize the productivity of your fishery. 

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

Bassmaster pond management 01

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.

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.

Bassmaster pond management 01

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.

Bassmaster project with Lochow Ranch11

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.

Bassmaster pond management 01

“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.

Bassmaster project with Lochow Ranch10

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.

Bassmaster project with Lochow Ranch2

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.

Bassmaster project with Lochow Ranch4

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.”

Bassmaster pond management 08

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.”

Bassmaster pond management 03

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.”

Bassmaster pond management 011

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.

Bassmaster pond management 014

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.

Scroll to top