The SmartFish app is a mobile fish management tool for lake and pond owners and all anglers. Harvest of fish, primarily a top predator like largemouth bass, is often necessary to maintain a healthy, growing sport fish population. SmartFish creates a focused, specific, and purposeful fish harvest approach by employing an index called relative weight.
Relative weight is a scientifically developed metric used by professional fisheries scientists to evaluate the overall well-being or plumpness of a fish. The observed length and weight is compared to a standard weight for a fish of the same length (by species). If the observed fish weight is equal to its standard weight, then its relative weight would be 100; if its observed weight was less than the standard weight, its relative weight might be 85 for example. By simply entering a fish’s total length and weight, the SmartFish app computes that fish’s relative weight.
Most professional fishery scientists use relative weight to monitor and to harvest fish as part of annual fishery management practices. Prior to SmartFish, lake and pond owners were typically given a target number and size (length) of fish to harvest annually, since calculation of relative weight was cumbersome. This often lead to harvest of fish that could be the ‘rock stars’ of the future, such as the fastest growing, most aggressive individuals. Now with SmartFish, anglers can selectively remove those fish that don’t meet their performance criteria.
Angler catch and harvest data are vital components of a successful fishery management plan. In addition to providing a relative weight estimate, SmartFish can also automatically log the catch and harvest information into a database the lake owner can download later and use for charting annual fish management steps. The lake owner also has the option to share this data with a lake management company of their choice.
Charting relative weights with an annual database also provides insight into potential seasonal stress a fish population may experience, such as periods of poor water quality or lack of adequate prey. Often fishery professionals are sampling a lake or pond only once per year when seasonal environmental stressors may not be present. If management goals are not being met, these annual data can assist managers in identifying roadblocks to a quality fishery.
It is important to know the current status of your fishery in order to develop a harvest strategy that utilizes relative weight. We recommend working with a qualified lake management company to develop a relative weight-based harvest plan specific to your lake or pond that meets your own management goals.
SmartFish was developed by fisheries professionals with over 25 years of experience managing sport fish populations in large reservoirs, lakes and ponds.