A fishery survey (fish survey) or assessment is a comprehensive study the fish community in a pond or lake. It's best if the study includes lake water quality monitoring, an assessment of available fish habitats, as well as an assessment of the fish population itself.
In a fishery survey or assessment, captured fish are generally identified to species and examined for disease and overall condition. The length and weight of captured fish are measured and recorded. Fish scales can be collected and later analyzed to age captured fish and fish can be tagged for growth investigations. All of the above fish data are then analyzed and interpreted by our professional fishery managers to assess the health of a fishery and make the proper management decisions to further improve the fishery.
Fish removal projects are sometimes required when lakes have to be significantly lowered in order to preform work on dams or other lake related structures. Also, fish removal and associated fish relocation projects are routinely needed when dams are intentionally removed to restore streams back to their original conditions.
The importance of performing fishery surveys (fish surveys) on a routine basis can not be over looked. First, fish surveys allow lake professionals to determine the current state or condition of a ponds or lake's fish population. This includes which fish species are present and at what abundance.
Based upon the results of the fishery surveys, various fishery management strategies may be implemented to meet the objectives of the pond or lake owners. Fish management strategies such as forage fish stockings, game fish stockings, implementing fish harvest regulations (no harvest, slot size creel limits, big bass waters designation) fish habitat improvement projects, water quality improvement projects (aeration and lake liming), and managing excessive amounts of aquatic plants are often evaluated to improve fisheries.
Fish surveys also provide insight on the presence of any unwanted fish species including invasive fish species and fish diseases. Early detection of any invasive fish species or early exposure of any fish diseases in lakes can be used to avoid serious fish population problems in the future.
Aqua Link is staffed with a team of professional lake and fisheries managers with extensive experience in fisheries management ranging from fish removal and relocation projects to developing comprehensive fishery management plans. For our fishery surveys and fishery assessments, fish are generally captured using seine nets, trap nets and electrofishing techniques.
Captured fish are typically measured, weighed and inspected for any diseases or parasites. Scales are routinely collected from game fish like smallmouth and largemouth bass for aging back at our laboratory facility. Some captured fish can be tagged for recapture in order to determine growth rates. All captured fish in fishery surveys and assessments are safely returned to the study pond or lake.
Cool video showcasing fishery surveys (fish surveys) and assessments performed by Aqua Link on four different lakes. More of our pond and lake management videos can be viewed at our Aqua Link YouTube Channel