Why Do We Electrofish?
It looks like spring is upon us, and most of us are eager to jump right to the fun part—stocking fish. Bjornsen Pond Management loves stocking fish as much as the next guy, but honestly, there are better ways to go about building a fishery than just adding a bunch of fish. The better way is to start with electrofishing. What is electrofishing, you ask? Here is an overview.
This is what we hear from many pond and lake owners:
“I already know what’s in my pond. I just stocked it five years ago.”
So you stocked your pond five years ago. What was your pond’s fish population before you stocked? Did you have a balanced fishery—meaning a proper balance of predator fish and feeder fish, of the proper size? Without an electrofishing session followed by a pond audit, you might have taken a shot in the dark then—and you may be ready to do so again. In this scenario, adding more of the wrong fish will likely take your fishery down the wrong path.
“I keep my eyes on my pond at all times. I’ve never had a major fish kill”
So, you have never had a major fish kill. How do you know that? Contrary to popular belief, fish kills are not always the result of a hard winter—there are summer time fish kills as well, and they can be triggered by algae blooms, heavy rains, and many other factors. And, contrary to popular belief, dead fish do not always float up to the pond’s surface. We have seen very large fish kills with barely a trace visible on the surface. Many dead fish will just sink to the bottom of your pond.
“We don’t have an issue with predators. I’ve never seen any evidence at all.”
The third statement may not be as clear cut as it seems. Many things happen around your pond during hours of darkness. Many predators are night feeders—and they can be crafty killers, dragging their catch far away from shore. By the next morning, there is hardly a clue that they were there. We have seen fish populations seriously decreased by predators that were not believed to be an issue. Keep in mind that your pond is one element of a diverse habitat. Your pond will attract all wildlife. Learn to allow for this diversity.
“I have too many pond weeds. I need a bunch of grass carp.”
And finally, grass carp. This is a common—yet rarely accurate—perceived “solution” to your vegetation problems. The fist step is identifying what weeds are growing in your pond, and in what months they take over. Pond Vegetation Control has always been challenging. Learning about what exactly you are dealing with before jumping to a conclusion is the best plan of attack.
We are now scheduling pond audits with electrofishing for spring 2020
Over the next few months we we will be conducting pond audits with electrofishing in ponds all over Iowa. Our customers (Home Owners Associations, campgrounds, and private pond owners) will be able to see firsthand what fish species and sizes they have in their ponds allowing us to provide stocking and harvest plans that will help them reach their goals. Concerns over invasive vegetation will also addressed with a bit of education and mitigation plans for the control of unwanted plant species.
After you receive your pond audit, we will work with you to develop a stocking plan that works with your pond’s current fish population. In time, your pond will become the healthy and diverse fishery that you want.