Editor’s note: this is part 3 of a 3-part series on fishing tips and advice from professional angler Jeff Holland.
Jeff Holland splits his days as both an aquatic biologist and tournament angler who fishes the Bassmaster Southern Opens. He spent a spring day fishing on Lay Lake after a spawn and a late season cold snap and offers the following advice to those hitting the water.
QUESTION: Why is aquatic plant management important?
ANSWER: Aquatic plant management programs are important on all lakes — even if it’s a simple survey, cataloging where all the plants are growing and how thick they are growing. It’s good to know what you have.
It’s much better to plan than react after something is a major problem. There’s a misconception that native and invasive plants will just balance themselves. Twenty years ago, when you didn’t have all the exotics, a lot of natives would have been kept in balance with just a little management.
Nowadays, we know these invasive plants grow faster and deeper and denser than our natives. We must manage them. These invasive plants will totally outgrow our native plants and mess up our entire ecosystem.
Anglers will often get upset with plant management because it moves the fish. Learn your native plants so when the invasive plants are managed, it doesn’t affect your fishing. The fish will go over to the natives and you can still catch your fish.
QUESTION: Why else would plants be managed?
ANSWER: Even the most beneficial plant sometimes grows in the wrong area, places we don’t want it to grow, and it must be managed. Some reasons include if it’s a human health hazard or if it’s a threat to the hydrogeneration power. Others are if it blocks recreational access for boaters and if it is an ecological threat to the system. Those are the four additional reasons plants are managed in this area.
For more information about fishing and aquatic plant management, visit apcshorelines.com or download Alabama Power’s Smart Lakes app on your smartphone. Alabama Power manages 11 reservoirs, 14 hydroelectric dams, 3,500 miles of shoreline and nearly 120,000 acres of land on the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Black Warrior rivers.