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snapper G

how to know if you have a healthy lake or not

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Have you ever wonder how to know if you have a healthy lake, with healthy bass? Well it's simple, if you bass has a big belly and a normal sized head for the size of it's body than you have a healthy lake!! CONGAULATIONS!!!!  

However, if you have an unhealthy lake with rather skinny bass with big heads, than the lake is not very healthy. Chances are, that their bait to bass ration is off, with more bass than bait, not good.   >:( :( :-[

But you can help it! You need to harvest more of the bass that you catch over 1.5lbs, do this until the bass get smaller heads and bigger bodies, you can also help out the lake if you gp to very large healthy river or lake and take some of the blue gill, and, bait fish, and put some into the unhealthy lake, do this and in about a year, you bass will be good and healthy!  :):D ;D 8-)

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moving fish from one body to another is also a good way to possible spread disease into a lake that might not have it.  This will have the reverse affect that you are looking for

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I could see harvesting and eating them or giving them to someone else, but it's not good to move fish from place to place. You can introduce disease, parasites, and other problems.

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You need to harvest more of the bass that you catch over 1.5lbs, do this until the bass get smaller heads and bigger bodies,

If the fish's heads get smaller then you're not getting bigger fish.  You want their heads to get BIGGER and their bodies to be proportionate.

You're better off keeping as many as the small legal fish as you can.  The big ones should always go back as there won't be very many of them in a small body of water and they take YEARS to grow from 1.5 lbs to 5 lbs or larger.

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You need to harvest more of the bass that you catch over 1.5lbs, do this until the bass get smaller heads and bigger bodies,

If the fish's heads get smaller then you're not getting bigger fish.  You want their heads to get BIGGER and their bodies to be proportionate.

You're better off keeping as many as the small legal fish as you can.  The big ones should always go back as there won't be very many of them in a small body of water and they take YEARS to grow from 1.5 lbs to 5 lbs or larger.

Agreed.  A body of water with stunted fish will have few fish 1.5lbs or better and loads of smaller fish.  

Then again, judging the health of any body of water is guess work by a typical angler.  Your best bet is to contact your local DNR or conservation officer and have an expert take a look at your lake and your catch rate and make the call.  There are other things that can cause a poor fish population besides an out of balance ratio of bass.  

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In the State Of MD im pretty sure its illegal to move fish from one body of water to another

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I'm sorry, but you've got to be kidding.......... So that's the "fix all" for every lake with less than ideal sized bass. If so then why do people go to college to study fisheries management.

So removing bass over 1.5lbs and increasing the number of baitfish in the lake is going to bring the entire ecosystem into balance and harmony within that body of water. Do you think that will be sustainable for years to come?

It is not that simple. There are countless other factors to consider and adjust.

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Your local biologist will love to hear what you have to say about that body of water. They may also educate you on the principles of management and fix the body of water by stocking of forage.  ::)

They call it job security!

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do this until the bass get smaller heads

small heads.

Is that a new species?

A healthy bass will appear to have a smaller mouth because their body is larger than we are used to seeing on bass of a particular size.

The standard weights of healthy bass according to the American Fisheries Society are as follows:

Length       Weight

8in             5oz

9in             7oz

10in            9oz

11in            11oz

12in            14oz

13in            1lb 3oz

14in            1lb 7oz

15in            1lb 13oz

16in            2lb 4oz

17in            2lb 12oz

18in            3lb 4oz

19in            3lb 14oz

20in            4lb 9oz

21in            5lb 6oz

22in            6lb 4oz

23in            7lb 3oz

These are intended as optimum goals. Standard weight may vary by region, according to length of growing season, elevation, water quality and other limiting factors.

This is a fish who sits well above that. She is 18 inches long and weighs 4lb 7oz. Notice the smaller looking mouth. This is a regular sized mouth for an 18in fish but the larger than normal body size makes that mouth (head) look small.

034-1.jpg

To accomplish this, the first thing to consider and adjust is an environment in witch all the organisms can live and grow and reproduce. That is where you start. Every pond and lake is different and each of them require different solutions. There is no "fix all" solution to grow healthy bass in every lake.

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That's an interesting concept.  However, it poses the question, why the shortage of forage for the bass?  Could it be something other than too many bass?

I'm concerned about one of my favorite ponds, and the majority of bass that I catch average better than two pounds.  

This pond, when I fished it forty some years ago contained no largemouth and plenty of smallmouth, pickerel, perch, bluegills, crappie/calico bass etc.

My dad won a tournament with a smallmouth that weighed just shy of eight pounds.  I had caught several smallmouth in the five pound range, primarily during the spring when they were on the beds.  I also caught a 36 inch pickerel and a 16 1/2 inch crappie back in the 1960s.

The pond is about six feet deep with three small areas of about nine feet.  

Back in the day, the entire west shore was lined with lilly pad beds from a hundred feet wide to a hundred yards or more.  The water was always clear.

Now, the pond suffers from tremendous algae blooms which reduce water clarity to zero.  The only way you catch a bass now is if you land the lure or bait on its nose, and it strikes as a reaction.  If you don't get a hit in the first crank or two of the reel, odds are you should retrieve as quickly as possible and cast again, working every inch of the weed cover along the shores.

I have been told that the algae blooms have gotten progressively worse over the years.  Will there be a bloom of sufficient magnitude that it will deplete the pond of oxygen, wiping out or seriously reducing the fish population.

Right now, by your fish size standards, the pond is healthy.  But different symptoms indicate otherwise.

Regards, Tom

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Right now, by your fish size standards, the pond is healthy. But different symptoms indicate otherwise.

According to the bass the fish are healthy. They have adapted to the changes in the lake and are continuing to find the food they need to stay healthy. According to your description the symptoms indicat that the fishing stinks.

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Right now, by your fish size standards, the pond is healthy. But different symptoms indicate otherwise.

According to the bass the fish are healthy. They have adapted to the changes in the lake and are continuing to find the food they need to stay healthy. According to your description the symptoms indicat that the fishing stinks.

At the moment, with the algae bloom, it does indeed stink.  One or two fish per two hour outing.  A couple of weeks ago, it was five or six per hour, sometimes more.

It isn't just the visibility.  Some areas of the pond are clogged with brown gunk (another form of algae?) that floats on the surface buoyed up by gas trapped underneath.  From a distance the "bubble" under the brown matter makes the mess resemble a cypress knee.

Those bubbles can protrude a couple of inches above the surface of the pond.

Some areas are clear of this stuff.  It tends to be found along the northeastern shoreline, probably because it is not anchored to the bottom, and the prevailing wind is from the southwest.

I've given up on that pond until the bloom dies off when the weather cools, probably in September.  A few hundred yards to the west is another pond which is about twice the size but has always been similar in character.  It has no such problem and the water is sparkling clear, and it remains much as it was forty years ago.

If anything, there has been more development along the waterfront of that pond, so it can't be attributable to the use of fertilizers for lawns, etc.

In fact, when I fished Devol Pond forty years ago, there were active farms with livestock that had access to the pond.  My father-in-law's cows would wade in the pond in the summer heat.  Today, only one farm, on a smaller scale remains, so there is considerably less runoff from manure.  The fields, by and large are only used for haying.

Supposedly, the state has recently taken water samples.  I don't know what action they will take since there is no public access to this pond.  Usually when the state spends money on something it comes with strings attached, such as providing access for the public.  

Sawdy Pond, which has no noticable problems is on the Mass, RI border, and drains into South Watuppa Pond, bordered by Westport and Fall River, MA.

Devol pond drains into Sawdy Pond via swamp and marsh, which apparently filter the cause of the problems in Devol Pond.

Regards, Tom

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Having ideal sized bass to catch makes a lake or water body HEALTHY??  I have caught bass in water bodies that had sewage seeping into them.  Not sure I would classify that as a healthy lake?  Would you?  There are lots of factors and variables that must be in harmony to be considered a a "healthy lake".  Everything from fish populations, plants, algae, water clarity, water chemistry and so on.  I think you need to look at the big picture and not just the bass.  Just my 2 cents.

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There are many more factors to be considered than just head/mouth size.

The one thing that no one has posted yet is adding structure to your pond or lake.  If you sink multiple brush piles/trees it will improve your lake or pond.

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I always consider a lake to be healthy if the bass have heads.  If I come across lake where the bass have no heads, I move on.  

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