Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Casting A Line In Ocean Lakes | Campground Conversations

This week, on Campground Conversations, we are talking to our Landscaping and Grounds Manager, Sammy Gore! Sammy was promoted to his current position about a year ago, and he came in with BIG ideas, and great execution. The Ocean Lakes landscaping received a beautiful makeover and our lakes got the attention they so deserved (dredging, research, bedding, restocking).

While Sammy is an expert on quite a few topics concerning landscaping and lakes, we are focusing on fishing this week. So, pull up a chair, cast a line, and let’s get fishy with Sammy!

Here is what Sammy had to say on fishing in Ocean Lakes |

Ocean Lakes Family Campground features eight freshwater lakes, so pack your tackle box! Our lakes are stocked with Catfish, Bass, Bream, and Carp. Fishing is a favorite activity for many Ocean Lakes families.

In the Spring of 2017, we hired specialists, The Smart Group, a science-based consulting group in nearby Pawleys Island, to access the condition of our lakes and the creatures that live there. We know our guests love to fish and we want to make sure we are being good stewards of our property.

Let’s Go Back In Time | The lakes around Ocean Lakes started getting special attention in the 1990’s when the campground launched a Lake Management Program. The program initially aimed to improve the look of the ponds, which had become covered in weeds and algae. Officials started stocking the ponds with sterile, grass-eating carp to control the vegetation. Guests who were fishing started catching these impressive fish – Feeding a new frenzy for fishing in the campground ponds. With tales of landing these great fish circulating through the campground, fishing became an even more popular activity. Ocean Lakes started stocking the ponds every three years with more Carp, Bass, Bream, and Catfish for sport fishing. But through the years, the stocking was not working as well as officials had hoped.

Jump To The Most Recent | Back in January, we added five more parking spots around Lake Sandlapper to give our guests more room to fish. Before, they only had the north side of the lake because of all the cars parked along the bulkhead. Along with Lake Sandlapper, we added six golf car pads to Sand Dollar Lake. Then, Palm Trees were added at Sandlapper as part of the new landscaping.

Recycling Christmas Trees | Throughout December and January, we recycled Christmas trees. The purpose of the Christmas trees was to provide a habitat for the fish. Fish depend on habitats to survive and reproduce. Once our lake dredging project was completed, we added the recycled Christmas trees into the lakes. There were five clusters of three trees placed in front of every golf car parking pad.

The Christmas Trees will be added again in January of 2021 to give the fish more habitat. We will be putting most of them in Lake Emily and some in Lake Sandlapper.

Restocking | Our goal is to use an electrofishing method in early September. This affects the movement of the fish so that they swim toward the anode, where they can be caught. Electrofishing is a common scientific survey method used to sample fish populations to determine abundance, density, and species composition. This pulsed direct current results in no harm to the fish, which return to their natural state in as little as two minutes. This will be done by an outside contractor with the help of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

In October, we will be restocking Lake Emily and Lake Sandlapper with Bream, and the Bass will be restocked in the Spring. The number of fish will depend on the results of the research. 

Ocean Lakes is looking into automatic fish feeders, which will help in the growth and population of the fish. We would like our guests to have a better chance at catching larger fish on every cast.

Things to remember when fishing in Ocean Lakes |

Recycling Fishing Line | Monofilament line lasts for 500 years. It is harmful to wildlife (and a nuisance to boaters). Please cast your used fishing line in one of our six receptacles adjacent to our lakes. Through Ocean Lakes’ iCare Program, we try to educate our guests about ways we are trying to be better stewards of our environment. Please recycle!

Bait and Tackle | No worries about bait or tackle – It is available at Sandy Mart! Located at the Camptown Center, Sandy Mart has a lot of your basic fishing supplies, including live bait and the snacks to make your time fishing even better.

Catch and Release | When fishing in any of our eight lakes, we require guests to “catch and release” any fish that bites their line. This is to ensure the fish population in all of our lakes remains highly populated and not depleted.

Until Next Time | Stay tuned for the Campground Conversations video segment tomorrow on our social media! You will hear first-hand the efforts we are making in taking care of our eight lakes and ensuring that our guests have a great fishing experience with every cast.

That’s our Campground Conversation for the week – We will catch ya later, Ocean Lakes!

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