Lake Lanier 2011 Fall Gill Netting
An update from the Lanier Striper Bass Coalition
Mike Maddalena, President of the Lanier Striped Bass Coalition tagged along with Anthony Rabern and Chris
Looney from the Georgia DNR/WRD while they performed their collection of the annual fall gill net samples. The gill net samples are one of the primary methods by which the Georgia DNR/WRD determines the health of the Striped Bass fishery on Lake Lanier. The numbers, size and plumpness factor (weight to length ratio) are all factors that they take into consideration. The sampling took place between October 25th and October 28th.
Below is a graph of recent gill net averages.
The collection method: The nets were set out in the afternoon and collected the following morning. The nets consist of a 200’ long by 8’ high 1.25-.5” mesh net, with heavy weights on the bottom, and floatation on the top. Nets are placed off of main lake points with long sloping bottoms, perpendicular to the shore. The nets run from the shore out to a depth of 16-25’ depending upon the slope of bank. The fish are measured for weight and length; and scale samples are taken for the larger Stripers. Due to the nature of the gill nets, most samples of all species collected are deceased or mortally damaged. Healthy fish are released alive and the rest are disposed of.
The preliminary results: On Wednesday October 26th , a total of three nets were retrieved in the general vicinity of Shoal Creek, 6 Mile Creek, & Mud Creek. The nets yielded a preliminary average of 7 stripers per net. On Thursday October 27th, a total of four nets were retrieved in the general vicinity of Sardis Creek, River Forks, Chestatee Bay, and War Hill Park. The nets yielded a preliminary average of 7 stripers per net. On Friday October 28th, a total of three nets were retrieved in the general vicinity of Wahoo Creek, Laurel Park, and Clarks Bridge. The nets yielded a preliminary average of 4 stripers per net.
The DNR is still organizing and reviewing the data, so all of these numbers are approximate based upon Mike’s observation and not any official measures. It is anticipated the Anthony Rabern will be discussing the outcome of the samples at the LSBC meeting at Bass Pro Shop on November 3, 2011 at 7:00pm.
General observations: The most prevalent specie of fish collected was Longnose Gar (up to 60”), followed by Crappie & Gizzard Shad (up to 18”). Channel Catfish and Spotted Bass were next in abundance, followed by Striped Bass (up to 32”). Walleye, White Bass and Largemouth Bass were also caught in limited numbers. No perch were collected in the samples. Some samples showed signs of predation after being caught in the nets. If Mike remembers correctly, it was the first time Walleye have been collected in the fall gill nets.
Concerning the Striped Bass in particular; the samples yielded fish ranging from zero year class (fish stocked
this year), to six year class (fish stocked six years ago). The sizes of the fish ranged for 6” to 32” in length. Due to the small size of the gill net mesh, the larger fish are rarely caught (and the DNR was surprised that they netted Stripers as large as they did). The majority (again this is from Mike’s memory) of the fish samples were in the zero to one year class, which is the typical average and the numbers would appear to suggest that we will have an improving Striped Bass fishery in the coming years.
The Lanier Striped Bass Coalition is committed to lead in the conservation and preservation of striped bass on Lake
Lanier and to be a participating and active partner with all levels of government in successfully maintaining a
thriving and healthy population of striped bass on LakeLanier. We would like to encourage your active support of this organization by asking you to attend out inaugural public meeting at the Bass Pro Shop in Lawrenceville on November 3rd, at 7:00pm in the Tracker Boat area. Capt. Clay Cunningham, Capt. Mack Farr, and GADNR Anthony Rabern will all be speaking about the Striped Bass fishery on Lake Lanier.