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Structure question
#6676 02/12/03 01:50 PM
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I didn't get any response to my post on another area of the forum, so I'll rephrase and generalize it here...
I just bought a house on an ~8 acre lake that is about 10 yrs old. There's a large shallow flat 4-8 ft on my end, which is also fed by a waterfall from the "upper" lake and thus aerated as well. Heading away from the waterfall, past the flat the lake drops to 12-16 feet and on the far end gets as deep as 20-24 feet. The edges of the lake (people's backyards) have a good amount of cover, however from 5' off the bank to 5' from the far side in most parts of the lake, the bottom is completely flat. I keep reading here that most cover should be around the edges, but what about mid-summer when the water is hot and the bass go deep? I'm wondering how much structure I should sneak in there (homeowner's association) and what it should be made of.

Re: Structure question
#6677 02/12/03 04:05 PM
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Bass will only go as deep as the thermocline allows. Even though fish will travel into the colder lower layer of water, they can't stay there, or fish suffocate.
Remember this..90% of fish live in 10% of the lake. Pick your areas, then put in cover. The HOA shouldn't object to improving the lake.
What's the best material to use? Depends what you have. I like limbs from hardwood trees, especially limbs 3-4" diameter, tied together and anchored with a concrete block. PVC pipe works well, drilled with holes, with smaller pieces of pipe pushed through. Make an artificial "tree" of PVC, and put several trees in each area. Rock, concrete blocks piled like a pyramid work well, too.
Think like the fish you are trying to attract. Bass like "fluffy" cover, sunfish and other forage fish like "dense" cover. Peripheral is best, but big shallow flats will hold fish, especially if you create a pathway to and from the shoreline to your main cover. Bass and bluegill don't necessarily appreciate having to traverse distances where there's no cover.


Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...
Re: Structure question
#6678 02/12/03 05:30 PM
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Follow Bob's advice. In the deep area of the pond, measure the depth at which the water gets about 7 to 10 degrees cooler that the upper part. This is the thermocline and keep structure above that depth.

Other homeowners will love you for putting unknown devices in the lake that "steal" their fish lures.


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Re: Structure question
#6679 02/12/03 09:14 PM
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I am actually already building some PVC trees (waiting on marine epoxy to cure to hold the limbs in place), and I've nearly got a small wall of cinder blocks stacked in the garage waiting to be dumped as well. I'm also planning a rather unique structure consisting mainly of 4x4 beams and some spare latticework, I'll have to send in pictures to PondBoss when it's done... \:\) As far as other homeowners, my neighbor and I are the only ones who fish really, couple people will bank-fish from the dam now and then but really it's practically "my" lake as long as what I do doesn't attract the wrong sort of attention. ;\)

What I'm considering doing with the PVC trees is putting them just off the flat on the high side of a slope where it goes from being 4-8' to 12-14', but I was really thinking of putting the "reef" in deeper water, at least around the 14-16' area. After reading the above advice, I do have a remaining question, and that is how much (if at all) will the thermocline layer depth move from season to season?

Re: Structure question
#6680 02/14/03 08:57 AM
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Here's a few ideas and points for you guys...

As far as where I like to sink structure goes, I try to sink some in very shallow water (2 to 3 feet) for the minnows and smaller fish to hide in, as well as for summer bass fishing. I also sank some evergreen trees and limbs tied together in deeper water (7 to 9 feet). Some of this is within casting distance, but others are not. The ones that are outside of casting distance from the shore are in areas that I prefer to ice fish around in the winter.

I'm not allowed to mark off brush piles with markers above water thanks to the real boss of the pond...the owner's wife. :') So, the best method I've found is to visually mark it off via FOUR different visual objects around the pond (IE: For finding one I line up a church steeple and the aeration stone, then two trees on opposite banks). I keep a map of the lake with these information written on it, along with dates when certain brush piles were sank so I can replace them in the future as they decompose.

Concerning PVC trees. I had an idea that should work well when you don't want to wait for the ice cover to melt, or when you have to sneak them in nice and quick to avoid friend's wifes finding out. :') You could cut a hole in the ice using a standard ice fishing auger and fold a flexible PVC tree to slip threw the hole. The tree could be built using a small enough diameter PVC for the limbs on it to allow them to flex up and against the trunk of it while you slide it in, then they'll flex back when they are threw the hole. You could ancor the tree by placing a brick at the bottom, hooked length wise so it too will fit through the hole. To make the tree stand upright you could either cap the top of the trunk to trap air, or tie a 2 liter bottle to the top.

Re: Structure question
#6681 02/14/03 05:02 PM
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TopH2O - Depth of thermocline layer is different from one pond/lake to the next. Each water body has its own characters that make them unique. (many similar ponds in the region will also behave similar) Each has a pattern that tends to be consistant from one year to the next providing no unusual weather events occur. What you need to do is track the depth or decent of the thermocline of your pond over the coarse of a summer. It will usually remain similar after that, but as with everything else in nature exceptions do occur.
Deep water (14'-16') reef might only be used in the winter or during periods when oxygen is present around/in it.


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Re: Structure question
#6682 02/14/03 09:40 PM
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Critterhunter: Good idea, but generally here in Georgia the ponds don't freeze over!

Bill: Thanks, that was my real question, how much the thermocline might move in depth from season to season. I've got no problem with the big reef being useful only portions of the year, it's far better in my mind than knowing where the fish will/should be during times, then having no clue during other times.

Also, another slightly different "shape" of PVC tree than the ones described here, that can be used in conjunction: Take 8-12 pieces, 4-6 feet in length, small diameter (I actually used several different diameters) and position them inside a cinder block lashed together at the bottom and allow/force them to spread out at the top. It makes for a denser piece of cover, and also has the added benefit of being very difficult to snag a lure on due to no horizontal pieces. One easy way to force them to spread a bit is to drill a 1/4" hole clean through about 3" from the bottom, but don't go STRAIGHT through, go on a bit of an up/down angle and use bailing wire etc to lash the various pieces.

As soon as my digital camera arrives in the next few days, I'll get pictures of all the various constructions I have hidden in my garage prior to sinking them. Thanks for the help gang!

Re: Structure question
#6683 02/17/03 11:33 AM
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I've got some old clay tiling sections (at one time used for farm field drainage)available to use as structure. My plan would be to pile them on the ice in the next couple of weeks. I would think that their tubular shape and composition would be great for a structure pile or two. Is there any reason this wouldn't be a good idea?


THOMAS R. NESHEK
Re: Structure question
#6684 02/17/03 04:04 PM
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It should be good structure tom. It should attract more fish if it is put at the edge of weed growth in deeper water. I forget if you had catfish or not, but they will use the tile for spawning. The young are easily eaten by bass and shouldn't become a problem. Be careful on the ice if you have strong spring flow.
Robert

Re: Structure question
#6685 02/18/03 03:50 PM
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toph20, I'm sendig a personal email about the crayfish, but wanted to mention that I manage several ponds in the Duluth area. Most of the time we can use a angle of improved asethetics, water quality, etc. to get the board to approve a contract if few fisherman are members of the HOA. I can also attend the HOA mettings to better descirbe benefits of a lake management contract. The fact is usually included is a water quality and fisheries analysis. We would be able to determine the thermocline while perfroming the water quality analysis.


Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com
Re: Structure question
#6686 02/18/03 04:29 PM
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Thanks for the offer, Greg, but the HOA already has a contract with Aquascape. I just haven't been in contact with them personally as of yet. Go ahead and drop me the email, and there's nothing saying they can't change management companies! \:\)

Re: Structure question
#6687 02/18/03 04:56 PM
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TopH2o,
Did you post that you had elodea or hydrilla in the pond? If so why has Aquascape not done anything about it? I'm not in the business to cut down other companies, but Aquascape is great if you want shoreline plantings but not fisheries management ;\) . I perfomred the fish analysis for them in the past, and my prices are usually less for management. I just got the contract for Lake SOveregin (43acres) that has been managed by Aquascape for the last 2 years \:\) . My point is if intersted in improving the fishing let me know, and I can provide a free proposal to the HOA. It looks like we are both checking out post instead of watching American Idol that I can hear in the background :rolleyes:
Thanks, Greg


Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com
Re: Structure question
#6688 02/18/03 05:13 PM
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Greg,
You hit the nail on the head about Aquascape, but considering I just moved in here Jan 1, I sorta have to give them a chance before I start ripping them. However the only other guy who fishes the lake lives two doors down from me, and his wife is President of the HOA, so I DO have an "in" if we need to change things. I'm going to drop you an email so we can quit cluttering the boards. \:\)

Re: Structure question
#6689 02/24/03 10:12 AM
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TopH20,

i mangage a few ponds in your area. Cardinal Lakes and Berkeley Lake to drop names. I can show you a few pieces of structure that I have worked on if you like. also, PVC works well, but is expensive. I have built some plastic structure out of that black corrigated pipe that goes under the drain pipe of your house. its plastic (wont rot), bulky, light and cheap. I thougth I dropped some ideas about vertical structure in your other post. let me know.

later

Shan O'Gorman
Pro Ponds

Re: Structure question
#6690 02/24/03 10:30 AM
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Shan, I live just south of Berkley Lake. What is the fishing like? I have allways heard that even though alot of people live nearby it is under fished which has caused problems. Also is the dam still on the state watch list?

Almost bought a house on the lake in 1988, the lot would now be worth three times what the house costed. Story of my life!

Re: Structure question
#6691 02/24/03 12:57 PM
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Wow, looks like NE Atl is taking over this place.. \:\) Shan, if you go to http://toph2o.freewebsitehosting.com you'll see a picture of some of the PVC trees I'm going to be sinking in the near future. Also got some pallets free from Home Depot and the mother of all reefs is under construction on my deck. I'll keep everyone posted!

Troy

Re: Structure question
#6692 02/24/03 01:08 PM
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Bill,

Fishing is ok. Its very bass heavy but there are a good population of 5 pounders. The bass are putting off huge spawns and then the adults are living off the bass fry. Relative weight is surprisingly good but fish top out around 5 lbs. I harvested about 1100 pounds of bass out there last year. I plan on working the lake hard again this year and stocking some shad.

you are correct the lake is badly underfished. There are a few serious fishermen out there. One guy (who is retired and fishes everyday) told me he catches about 100 5-pound fish a year. I believe him, the 5's are there.

It will be 95 acres of fertilized paradise with the right management. i'm trying to get some tournys orgainized out there. I dont know if they will allow people from outside the 'hood. its hard to get your foot in the door over there.

Once I get a forage base re-established there will be some monsters coming out of Berkeley.

drop me an email maybe you can fish a tourny with me over there.

later

Shan O'Gorman
Pro Ponds

Re: Structure question
#6693 02/24/03 01:15 PM
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topH20,

good looking trees, remember to use the stealth approach.

Shan

Re: Structure question
#6694 02/24/03 04:35 PM
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Stealth isn't as big a concern as it was a couple weeks ago, since I bugged the HOA President enough about the lake that she made me Chairman of the lake committee. \:\)


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