New member, old pond: water, algae, etc.

Posted by: Bocomo

New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 05/06/12 05:09 PM




Hi everyone. I'm John, and I've been lurking the PBF for a while now, finally made an account. I had been at a loss for what to do with our pond for years until I stumbled across this site. After reading for weeks, I have questions about algae management, water testing, as well as corrective fishing for stunted LMB, and CC.


The BOW

My family owns 80 acres of claypan prairie in central Missouri, complete with a 25 year-old, 2.2 acre farm pond. I estimate the max depth at about 12'. We are just now starting to manage it actively. The watershed is entirely farmland, with a 100' permanent grassland buffer between the edge of the pond and any livestock. Most of the watershed is not on our property and includes some livestock and some crop production, mostly soybeans. Soil testing in this area showed low pH, which is fairly typical.

The water
We plan to test the water soon through the local ag extension program. What do I need to order? I know we need to determine the pH, but they also Nitrate-N and/or nitrite-N, Ammonium-N, Chlorides, Sulfur-sulfate, Phosphates (ortho), Boron, Calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, Micro-nutrients (zinc, iron, manganese and copper), Carbonates and bicarbonates, Electrical conductivity, Total solids, and Hardness.

The algae
The pond visibility is generally moderate, with Secchi depths of about 2' I would estimate. It's limited by what I would guess is planktonic algae. We did the Mason jar sediment test, there wasn't any sediment, colloidal or not. It sounds like at least 2' of visibility and a green, fertile pond is not something to worry about? Filamentous algae currently covers 10-20% of the total surface area, worse this year than last most likely due to a nitrogen application in the adjacent field. Trying to tell our neighbors what to do with their cropland would be ill-advised in these parts...So to manage this it sounds like planting tilapia would be a good idea, but they're illegal to stock in MO. Any thoughts?

The fish
The pond contains BG, CC, and LMB, the classic Missouri Dept. of Conservation stocked combination. After fishing the pond for two summers, I can say with some confidence that it has the typical 'bass heavy' distribution of under-fished ponds with most LMB about 10"-12" and thin. The pond record currently stands at a measly 15". The pond is teeming with fish, and there do appear to be abundant BG, so I think the balance can still be corrected. For about 10 acre-feet of water, how much weight of LMB should I pull out? Do I even need a slot at this point? After correction, how much weight of LMB and what slot should I use for maintenance?

There are also some green sunfish, all of which we either eat or toss on the bank. The CC are huge, averaging about 3' long. I'm not sure what to do with these...should I get rid of them? We don't really like to eat catfish and fishing for them is so boring. They're probably eating my LMB, too.

Priorities
I'm hesitant to mess with aeration, feeding, or structure at this point. My priorities are water quality and population management at this point. Please let me know what you think about the plan.
Posted by: Doctor Duck

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 05/06/12 09:34 PM

Sounds like you don't want the catfish. You should remove every one you possibly can. They are competing with your bass. I wish I had never stocked them in my pond. They are hard to catch even though I enjoy eating them. The small bass need to be removed as well. If you are after large bass I'd leave the bluegill alone. If on the other hand you are after large bluegill, you'll need to remove some of them as well. I'm sure some of the real pond pros will let you know what will work. Feeders can be helpful without breaking the bank. Check out some of the units available.

As far as the filamentous algae. It seems to be a never ending battle to keep it under control. Not sure of Missouri's laws but you could possibly get permission to add the tilapia. Good luck and Keep us updated.
Posted by: Rainman

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 05/07/12 03:45 AM

Tilapia will never be allowed in a pond as long as we have our current MDC Director. You may want to treat your FA with Green Clean.

You are right,asking a farmer to limit fertilizers will get you laughed at at best, or shot in rural Boone County...(I grew up in Cooper County).

24" of clarity, limited by a "healthy green color" sounds ideal. I would not be concerned about ammonia, nitrites and nitrates because you would have fish dying if there was an issue. The soils will give you a more accurate Ph over the widely swinging water Ph and I am sure around 15 ton of lime spread directly into the pond and inflow areas will be called for...MFA charges about $8-12 per ton delivered and spread.

Unless your pond is aerated, only about half or less of your 10 acre feet of water is habitable for most of the year. A rough guess on ponds of bass to remove would be about 220-250 pounds, anything skinny and everything 14" and below.

The green sunfish could be remnants from hybrid bluegill....are you catching straight northern gills?

Before doing much in the way of fish removal, try to get a good idea of exactly what all is in the ponds as far as sizes and species first by heavy angling and trapping along with good record keeping.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 05/07/12 09:16 PM

Thank you both for your thoughtful answers.

I will probably rig a trotline for catfish one of these days just to be rid of them.

We did soil testing two years ago and limed all the cropland last year. Most of the run-off comes from other people's property, though, and the soil is known to be acidic throughout the area. How do I determine if I need to lime the pond, and how much? Which water tests are worth ordering?

EDIT: After some more PB reading, it sounds like you mean I should test the soil from the pond bottom itself. I assume I'd need to send multiple samples. How many, and what depth?

There are what appear to be proper Northern bluegills in the pond. I'm really not confident I could say for certain. What ratio of greens to blues warrants starting over?
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 05/14/12 01:56 AM

The local high school has a wildlife conservation class, and they're all coming out to fish this Wednesday on the last day of school. We will be yanking skinny bass left and right. I'll try to post some photos.

The FA has all died back, as has the phytoplankton. The Secchi depth has soared to 6'!

It sounds like the greens are okay for the moment, thanks, Esshup. Soil and water tests are pending.
Posted by: Bocomo

Pictures!! - 05/15/12 12:17 AM

"Operation Eat Bass" has begun, and they are biting furiously. We recruited our best fisherman, my niece Julia, for the job. She is three (and a half!!). She can't quite cast yet, but she loves to reel, so we tied on a Roostertail. She has a yellow Disney Princess pole with LED lights that flash when you crank it and she landed this fish on her own. Her pop looks proud.

The Princess Pole


Her first big one



Me at the "office."


Should have brought the fly rod!

Posted by: Doctor Duck

Re: Pictures!! - 05/15/12 07:13 AM

Great pictures. Keep it up and keep us updated.
Posted by: Missouri Bill

Re: Pictures!! - 06/13/12 11:17 AM

Bocomo,

Where in Boone County are you located? I'm about four miles northeast of Harrisburg.

To catch some of your CCs, try this: Get a 50-pound bag of shelled corn. Dump it into a couple of 5-gallon buckets, filling them about 3/4 of the way full. Fill entirely with water and leave them out in the hot sun for the next 10 days. Add water as needed.

When the corn is good and ripe, scatter a bucket of it into 6-8 feet of water, maybe 25 or 30 feet offshore. Dump it in the evening. The next morning, at daybreak, fish in the baited spot with chicken livers, Sonny's dip bait or whatever bait you prefer. I like fresh chicken livers. Use a couple of split shots to slowly sink the livers. You can wrap them a few times with cotton thread to hold the livers on the hook. Don't try to fish more than a couple of rods, because you will almost certainly lose one of them if you do.
Posted by: esshup

Re: Pictures!! - 06/13/12 12:11 PM

Bocomo, Julia looks like the LMB put her thru the wringer! No hat, hair a mess. laugh
Posted by: ewest

Re: Pictures!! - 06/13/12 02:26 PM

Thanks for the pics. Have you found the answers to your questions ? Test results back yet?
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Pictures!! - 06/13/12 08:03 PM

Missouri Bill, our place is 15 miles east by northeast of Columbia. Your catfish recipe sounds like fun, I'll have to try it after we take down the seed corn this fall (free bait).

Esshup, earlier this summer Thomas started to teach her how to fish with plastic worms. She reels so slowly the LMB can't stand it and she hooks up every time. Last time one of the LMB jumped at the dock and scared her, so she dropped the rod into the lake... Lately Thomas has been fishing down at Table Rock Lake (see http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=295471#Post295471).

Ewest, yes, I have, thanks for all the help, everyone. We are in the process of thinning the LMB herd. I am planning to spend nearly 3 weeks at the farm in October and I hope to do a lot of culling. I will send the soil and water tests at that point, too, as we want to test some of our production fields as well and it's best to do that in the fall. The FA problem has disappeared, and I didn't have to lift a finger. In future years I will probably rake the lake to manually remove the nutrients from the ecosystem.

Things like aeration and feeding we will postpone until we can afford a better dock. The one we have now is a tiny floater in rough shape. I hope to convince my dad that he'd enjoy something a little closer to the house and a little bit more comfortable. I think the way to convince him will be to wear down my mother first, as she loves to serve dinner outdoors in the summer months, and where better to do that than on the water without any pitching and rolling with the wind ... wink
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Pictures!! - 06/25/12 04:20 PM

Soil questions...

We have taken samples from the pond bottom at various places. Some of the samples came up looking like clay, and some came up looking like muck. What's the best way to get a representative sample of the pond's soil chemistry? The muck, the clay, or a mix of the two?

We've also plumbed the depths with a pole and a canoe. It looks like the max depth is 10' at full pool, with an average depth of 6'. We're currently one foot below full pool.
Posted by: esshup

Re: Pictures!! - 06/25/12 07:20 PM

Treat the pond bottom as would your fields, just on a much smaller scale.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Pictures!! - 06/26/12 02:04 PM

Thanks, Esshup. Soil samples mixed together and submitted!

If we were to aerate, could we expect any reduction in muck over time?
Posted by: esshup

Re: Pictures!! - 06/26/12 06:32 PM

Yes but it's a slow process. You'll see results in inches not in feet.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Pictures!! - 06/26/12 06:37 PM

Inches per year? smirk
Posted by: esshup

Re: Pictures!! - 06/27/12 12:46 AM

That's correct.

Give Nate Herman a shout. He's doing stuff with bacteria and he might be able to shed more light on it.
Posted by: Bocomo

The drought (photos) - 08/06/12 02:58 AM











40" down.
Posted by: Bocomo

Soil tests are back - 09/08/12 05:47 PM

Soil test results on pond bottom samples are back. Water test on Monday.

Any thoughts? Ag lime, and how much?

pH 5.2

Neutralizable acidity 3.5 mEq/100g

Organic material 1.3%

Bray available inorganic phosphorus 10 lb/Ac

Ca 3585 lb/Ac

Mg 511 lb/Ac

K 272 lb/Ac

Cation-exchange capacity (CEC) 14.9 mEq/100g
Posted by: ewest

Re: Soil tests are back - 09/09/12 08:36 PM

I have not seen results in that form. Is that all the info and did they test for pond use?
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Soil tests are back - 09/09/12 08:51 PM

They're soil tests, for unspecified use, I guess. Do you need different units? Water tests will be sent Monday.
Posted by: Bocomo

Water tests are back - 09/25/12 05:31 PM

Finally got the water tests back. Some problem with the e-mail address...

Please help me interpret these! Do I need to do anything? I'm guessing my alkalinity is low. I have about 9.6 acre-ft of water. How much lime do I need?

  • pH 7.98
  • Electrical conductivity 0.219 ppm
  • Total dissolved solids 140 ppm
  • Carbonate (CO3-) 0 ppm
  • Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 87 ppm
  • Nitrate-N (NO3-N) 0.059 ppm
  • Sulfate(SO4 2-) 4.1 ppm
  • Chloride (Cl-) 20.4 ppm
  • Phosphate (PO4 3-) 0.02 ppm
  • Calcium (Ca2+) 22.5 ppm
  • Magnesium (Mg2+) 3.97 ppm
  • Potassium (K+) 2.19 ppm
  • Sodium (Na+) 11.9 ppm
  • Iron (Fe2+) 0.03 ppm
  • Manganese (Mn2+) 0.005 ppm
  • Copper (Cu2+) 0.005 ppm
  • Hardness 72.7 ppm
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Water tests are back - 09/25/12 08:06 PM

Using SRAC's guidelines for estimating lime needs (http://www.ca.uky.edu/wkrec/LimingPondsAquaculture.htm) I get to an Effective Neutralizing Material (ENM) requirement of 1110. Probably 2 tons of ENM 600 ag lime would do the trick?
Posted by: djstauder

Re: Water tests are back - 09/26/12 09:07 AM

Was the soil test done from the pond bottom? If so, how can the soil test come back PH-5.2 and the water test PH=7.98.

5.2 is acidic and 7.98 if minimally alkaline???
Posted by: ewest

Re: Water tests are back - 09/26/12 10:10 AM

See this for a good review

https://srac.tamu.edu/index.cfm/event/getFactSheet/whichfactsheet/112/
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Water tests are back - 09/26/12 07:29 PM

Thanks for the link.

That's annoying that they didn't measure alkalinity! I will request it specifically.
Posted by: Bocomo

Creel survey - 10/12/12 03:31 PM

16 hours of fishing over the last four days yielded 40 LMB and 10 BG.

LMB:
Biggest: 14.75", 0.83#, WR 49%
Average length: 102 in. Median length: 9 in. Mode length: 8.5 in.
Average RW: 5010 %

BG:
Biggest: 9", 0.5#, WR 83%
Average length: 8.00.6 in. Median length: 8 in. Mode length: 8.25 in.
Average RW: 9010 %

All LMB removed for a total of 14#. All BG released unharmed.
Posted by: esshup

Re: Creel survey - 10/13/12 01:24 AM

Keep yanking out LMB, buy or build a seechi disk. Easy to do and also easy to use.

I agree about removing all the catfish you can. They're taking up biomass, and depending on their size, will be eating small BG and other fish.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Creel survey - 10/24/12 11:07 PM

I'm now up to 95 LMB removed for a total of 34 pounds harvested. The coyotes sneak up to the bank each night to eat their fill...nothing left but a few scales in the morning.

The bass fishing has slowed considerably. I caught the first 60 or so on the same small topwater popper. The next 35 have required a rainbow of small crankbaits and senkos.

I caught a lone green sunfish today, the first of this trip. He's outnumbered in my fishing log by BG at least 30:1 so I don't think they're a problem.

I haven't been able to catch any catfish on stinkbait in several hours of trying. I'm going to try cut bait next. My parents had some work done on their house this year, and their painters did more fishing than painting. They may have pulled out the last of my cats. Good riddance!
Posted by: Bocomo

Winterkill Worries - 03/07/13 04:04 PM

Three feet below full pool making my max depth only 5' plus ice cover for the past 10 days with 8" of snow on top. I'm guessing it's awfully dark and anoxic down there frown . 100-year drought in Boone County followed by late snowstorms, what terrible luck.
Posted by: esshup

Re: Soil tests are back - 03/07/13 05:17 PM

If the ice is thick enough to walk on and you don't have an aeration system in place and running, shovel off the snow so sunlight can go thru the ice. Or, if you cannot get on the ice to shovel due to safety reasons, can you pump water up on top of the ice to melt some of the snow?

Even an electric dewatering or sump pump hooked to a garden hose. Throw a line across the pond, tie it to the end of the hose and pull it out from shore across the pond as far as you can go or to the middle, whichever comes first. Put the pump where it can suck water but not the bottom muck and start pumping.

What you are describing sounds like similar conditions that resulted in a winterkill last year for a client. (shallow pond, VERY limited sunlight)
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Soil tests are back - 03/08/13 03:13 PM

Good idea re: the sump pump. I should have posted earlier! 51F today and the water's open again. I will consider that for next year especially if our drought doesn't break this year.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Soil tests are back - 03/10/13 06:16 PM

62F and a thunderstorm, with the snowmelt the pond is back at full pool for the first time in a year. Gained 3' of water in a day. Amazing.
Posted by: esshup

Re: Soil tests are back - 03/10/13 06:20 PM

Congrats! Still no rain here. Pond is half melted, the pond only came up 1/2" with the majority of the snow melted. It looks like the rain will only brush us. I'm afraid that this is the pattern that will set up for the whole year.
Posted by: Bocomo

First cast of 2013 - 03/31/13 04:46 PM

ICE OUT!


Let the skinny bass harvest begin.
Posted by: Bocomo

Creel survey data analysis - 04/23/13 07:11 PM



Time for an update! For those of you just tuning in, I'm trying to balance this old 2.2 acre, bass-heavy farm pond by use of selective harvest. Last fall, I did a creel survey and harvest with the goal of removing as many bass as possible. I pulled out 115 LMB for a total of 40# removed. I surveyed the BG last year and their WRs were all 80% and relatively large (and all were returned to the pond), again consistent with the classic bass-heavy, under-harvested pond.

After a few days of fishing this spring, I've pulled out an additional 91 LMB worth 29# for a total of 206 LMB and 69# over the last six months. I did not survey the BG yet this year.

I recorded the weight and length of nearly all the fish during both sessions and here are some charts to help display the data:

This is a summary graph that shows all the fish in both the Fall '12 and the Spring '13 surveys. The '12 fish are in blue, and the '13 fish are in green. The x-axis shows the length of the fish, and the y-axis shows its relative weight. There are a few things I noticed about the distribution of the data in this 'raw' form.

The first thing I noticed was the bent rainbow shape to the distribution. The shortest fish have the worst RWs and the fish around 12" have the best RWs. As the fish get larger than 12" the RW falls again. The best explanation that I have for this is that the smallest fish are the most crowded -- the five-inchers won't take a lure very often, but those that do must have lots and lots of competition in their class. My guess is that the RWs improve for the larger fish because there are fewer of them in that size class, and then the RW falls again for the very long fish because of inadequate forage.

The next thing I noticed is that most of the green (2013) dots are higher than the corresponding blue (2012) dots at the same fish length. This suggests that the fish are in slightly better condition this year. It's possible this is a result of the harvest the year prior, but I'm guessing it reflects the fact that the fish I'm catching now are pre-spawn.

The last thing that jumps out at me is that most of the fish are between 8" and 9", and most of the RWs of those fish are in the 40% range. I think this is the size where most of the fish stunt and stop growing.

The following charts attempt to illustrate these trends in a way that's easier to comprehend graphically.

Here is the original Fall 2012 creel survey depicted as a combined histogram showing the number of fish caught in each length class as well as the average RW of the fish in each length class. Note how the average RW of the fish in each class improves as the fish get larger.

Here is this year's creel survey. The same RW trend is present. Also note how there are relatively fewer of the large fish, but those that are present (>12") approach 100% RW. The 8" fish class dominates the data set.

This chart shows the percent change in RW from 2012 to 2013. The RW of fish in every class except the smallest one increased. Again, I think this is likely to be a result of this year's fish being pre-spawn vs. last year's post-spawn fish.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Even though some of the 12" fish are posting ~100% RWs, my impulse is still to keep pulling them out. I hope I will see some continued improvement in WRs when I survey again in the fall.




Here's a pic that shows just how many LMB my cousin and I pulled out in about three hours this week (30+!). There's also one BG in there that didn't survive the catch & release we did with about 29 of his friends over the same time period.

Survey data album
Posted by: Bocomo

New pond record: 4# LMB (pics) - 06/07/13 06:43 PM




So the neighbor's son came over to do some fishing today...and wouldn't you know he caught a 4# LMB. Length estimate 20", which puts the RW at around 90%. Not bad for post spawn.

I had no idea there were any fish of this size in the pond. I mean, I haven't caught one this big in almost 100 hrs of fishing...
Posted by: dlowrance

Re: New pond record: 4# LMB (pics) - 06/25/13 10:00 AM

You want to find out how big a bass you've got in your BOW? Just let someone that's never fished it come give it a try. Works every time.

I fished our farm pond on my parent's place heavily for 15 years - caught a LOT of fish, but the biggest LMB was 5 lbs. Caught several in that class but nothing bigger.

I leave for the military in February years ago, a neighbor kid comes over in March and in his first session about 15 minutes in catches a 9 1/2 lb LMB. Biggest ever out of that pond to my knowledge. Big old hog.

Figures.
Posted by: jakeb

Re: New pond record: 4# LMB (pics) - 06/25/13 11:21 PM

This is a great thread! I have to start keeping better data, you have inspired me!
Posted by: Bocomo

Nieces gone fishing - 08/12/13 10:56 PM

My brother went fishing for awhile this weekend with his wife and two daughters. They did pretty well!

Posted by: ewest

Re: Nieces gone fishing - 08/13/13 11:17 AM

Very nice work on the data/charts. Fish condition seems to be improving.
Posted by: ewest

Re: Nieces gone fishing - 08/13/13 11:20 AM

See below. This may help or provide ideas. Frank has shown this which is a good improving RW situation




Read this thread on PSD for guidelines which include comments from the Prof who developed the concept Richard Anderson.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=23612&page=1

Dick Anderson - he created the concept of PSD.

"Keep taking <12 in bass until the number 8-12 equals number 12-15. Ideal pond structure is 40% 8-12, 40% 12-15 and 20% 15+ "


Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Nieces gone fishing - 08/15/13 12:10 AM

Thanks for the comments and advice!

Yes, the fish condition appears to be improving at least by visual inspection. I will be doing a fall creel survey to confirm. We have noticed a pretty extensive fluke infestation. I would love to get some RES of the appropriate size to try to take care of it. I think we'll probably have to cage some and pellet feed in order to do it right.

Hah, we still have a long way to go with maybe only about 10% in the 12-15 category and less than 1% 15+! And as far as getting the size classes the right size for a balanced pond goes, I'm a little worried that a creel survey won't get the job done. I'm concerned about getting a representative sample with rod and reel.

We have re-confirmed the fact that LMB prefer prey of the appropriate size -- changing the size of the lure we use changes the average size of the fish that we catch. The 9" weaklings love 1/16 oz. chartreuse Rooster Tails, the 12" cruisers like 3" or 4" senkos or 4" worms, and the pond boss 4-pounder (see above) was caught with a gigantic spinnerbait.

I suppose fishing with live BG from 2"-4" would be the best bet to make sure we're sampling the entire population?
Posted by: Bocomo

What happens when you Esshup-ize cattails - 09/12/13 01:48 PM

The cattail stand on our puddle had grown too big for its britches. So we zapped it using the Esshup Recipe (thanks Esshup!) and this is what happened smile

Very happy with the result.

Posted by: Bocomo

Creel survey, 2012-2013 - 09/27/13 01:50 PM

We finally had some time to go fishing this fall. We collected this data set over four days of fishing in probably about 30 angler-hours. The catch rate has dropped dramatically and the fish condition has obviously improved quite a bit. There were quite a few YOY LMB we could see around the brush piles, but not a single BG fingerling was seen. Still too bass-crowded.

The fishing was good on three of the four days which were breezy, sunny, and about 78F. On the third night, a cold front came through and dropped an inch of rain which really put a damper on the action.

The fish were holding tight to the cover we had placed around the dock last fall. 4" Senkos worked slowly through the brush piles worked best. A few fish were also taken on rattletraps and diving crankbaits. Topwater action produced only the smallest LMB, possibly YOYs.

We still cranked out enough for a survey and a fish fry! I'm very happy to say that thanks to you guys, we have dramatically improved the median RW. We still have a long way to go, but at least now our LMB will have plenty to eat.

"This old pond" project update:

Spring 2013 creel survey results:
LMB removed: 40
Weight removed: 28#

2012-2013 totals:
Size of pond: 2.2 acres
Starting Median LMB RW, Fall 2012: 0.51
Ending Median LMB RW, Spring 2013: 0.97
Number LMB removed: 246
Weight of LMB removed: 97#





Posted by: Bocomo

Fish Fry! - 09/27/13 07:39 PM

Delicious!




Posted by: RER

Re: Fish Fry! - 09/27/13 08:00 PM

I often have to neglect to tell people they are eating "bass" at my fish frys..
Bass if very good, !!!!
They love it every time!
Posted by: Bocomo

Help with proportional size distribution - 09/30/13 07:13 PM



It would appear that we are approaching the ideal PSD that you described -- 50%<12", 50%>12".

What should my next move be? The median WR is 0.97. Should I keep indiscriminately harvesting? Should I selectively harvest individuals with poor WR? Should I use a slot?
Posted by: ewest

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 09/30/13 09:14 PM

Harvest the fish in the range that is over represented and concentrate on the fish that look skinny. Leave those in the best condition. Keep in mind that RW has some large swings over the year in its merit. Just after the spawn and near the end of a long summer LMB will show marked condition reductions.

Those LMB look good.

BTW nice work on the data collection.
Posted by: benji havens

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 09/30/13 11:00 PM

What you use to kill those cat tails?
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 10/01/13 02:44 PM

Originally Posted By: benji havens
What you use to kill those cat tails?


Send a private message to Esshup. I used his recipe. He can give you some details and he also sells the corresponding products smile
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 10/01/13 04:15 PM

Originally Posted By: ewest
Harvest the fish in the range that is over represented and concentrate on the fish that look skinny. Leave those in the best condition. Keep in mind that RW has some large swings over the year in its merit. Just after the spawn and near the end of a long summer LMB will show marked condition reductions.

Those LMB look good.

BTW nice work on the data collection.


Thank you!

So I should cull all fish with poor RWs (or those that don't pass the eyeball test)? What is the total weight of LMB that I should pull per year to stay ahead of them?
Posted by: ewest

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 10/01/13 09:31 PM

Cull from the size group that is over the limits set by Anderson (crowded group) first and take out all that seem in less than ideal condition. Then cull a few from the other class sizes and make all of those be fish in poor condition. I can use the eyeball test to pick them out. With a little experience the eyeball test is close to what RW will show.

I would shoot for 20 lbs per acre while watching RW and condition to adjust that number.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 10/02/13 05:11 AM

The old rule of thumb is to cull anything that is 13 inches and under. Of course, some will just look like they are over achievers. I keep those.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 10/09/13 07:40 PM

Thanks, Dave.

I would love to add some RES to the pond. The fish we ate were pretty grub-infested. Maybe I could cage some next spring and feed them out?

Also, should I consider adding BG now that the LMB seem to have been knocked down?
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 10/10/13 06:15 AM

The bass may seem to have been knocked down but there will be plenty left to eat stocker sized BG. If I were going to try to raise fish in cages, I would try both BG and RES.
Posted by: ewest

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 10/10/13 06:38 AM

I would first try to buy 5 inch+ RES if I could find them. Unless the RES are feed trained I would skip the cages (would try a blocking net that allows the RES to forage on natural food). I would habituate any fish that was not big enough to avoid predation for at least 3 hours before releasing it into the pond free-for-all either in a blocking net or cage.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 10/10/13 01:42 PM

Thanks, guys. How many of each?
Posted by: animal

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 01/10/14 02:37 PM

Cool thread. I am impressed with how quickly the ecosystem responds to the fish removal.

Is there any CC left? No data on these?

I am interested to see how spring '14 looks!
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Help with proportional size distribution - 01/10/14 04:05 PM

Re: catfish

I haven't caught a single one, but then again I haven't tried very hard to catch them. I have only gone fishing for catfish once since I started this thread, and even then I only used stinkbait. I might try again in the spring with chicken liver or any of the other techniques listed above.
Posted by: Bocomo

Rolling the dice - 02/16/14 03:50 PM



Take a 30-year-old pond, add the coldest winter in 50 years and extended snow cover. Let sit for 6 weeks.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Rolling the dice - 03/16/14 12:19 AM

We have escaped the long winter without a major fish kill!! The visible victims include a thirty-year-old, 38.5" carp, three LMB, and two BG. Not nearly as bad as I'd feared.

Posted by: hang_loose

Re: Rolling the dice - 03/16/14 12:38 AM

Just curious Bocomo, did you keep the snow off the ice in "AREAS" several times this winter? I did but older fish stress out easily also.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Rolling the dice - 03/16/14 07:17 PM

We did not do anything to help out. The area is constantly windy and so had snow-free ice until we had a warm day immediately after the snowstorm. From 2/7 to 3/12 or so the pond was frozen over and under heavy snow cover.
Posted by: Bocomo

Ice out 2014 - 03/18/14 11:01 PM

Posted by: hang_loose

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 03/19/14 12:58 AM

I shoveled areas off my pond maybe 4 to 5 times this winter. Haven't found a dead fish yet. But I'm going to try a 50 yard field goal with one of these geese if I can get someone to hold it for me wink laugh laugh.
Posted by: esshup

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 03/19/14 01:22 AM

Originally Posted By: hang_loose
I shoveled areas off my pond maybe 4 to 5 times this winter. Haven't found a dead fish yet. But I'm going to try a 50 yard field goal with one of these geese if I can get someone to hold it for me wink laugh laugh.


Where's Lucy???
Posted by: hang_loose

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 03/19/14 07:42 PM

On the bench... Never knew kicking field goals was so hard on your back grin.
Posted by: astubbs

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 06/07/14 01:08 PM

I just found this thread. Bocomo, we don't live very far from you. We are just off 63 north of Columba (Sturgeon outskirts). Do you have any problems with pondweed in your pond? We are not too concerned with our fish but we are concerned that pondweed has decided to call our pond home.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 06/21/14 12:29 PM

Hi there, neighbor.

We do get some APW in July-August after the filamentous algae dies back a bit. It hasn't been a nuisance to date. If yours is a problem, I'm sure Pond Bossers could dig up a recommended product and application method.
Posted by: therapist

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 05/04/15 04:30 PM

You guys were talking about ways to get some holes in your ice. This could be especially useful for ice that you can't walk on and you could add some rockpiles to your pond and have a ton of fun at the same time.

Its just a thought LOL.

I have gone to this event in Delaware a few times and its pretty amazing! Just use big rocks instead of pumpkins!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC6RJxFEMfY
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: New member, old pond: water, algae, etc. - 05/04/15 06:38 PM

LOL

That thing is awesome! File under "Hold My Beer"
Posted by: Bocomo

Finally got out to fish for a while - 05/28/15 03:27 PM




We had a big party at the farmhouse over Memorial Day Weekend. I finally got a chance to put a few fish in the boat. We culled 6# of fish, all of which were under 14".

The RW is about the same as Fall 2013, which isn't too bad considering all of the fish in this year's survey are post-spawn.

What's a good RW to cull? Keep in mind that we don't supplement with feed. Right now we're culling everything under 14" but we don't have a good feel for RW cutoff. Should we take everything 75% RW or lower?





Posted by: basslover

Re: Finally got out to fish for a while - 05/28/15 04:16 PM

Nice pictures.

We will cull every bass with RW 100% and lower. Right now the lowest LMB RW is 110% so no removal has been necessary.

What are your goals for your LMB? I would think anything 90% RW and under would be a candidate for removal.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Finally got out to fish for a while - 05/28/15 04:39 PM

Originally Posted By: basslover
Nice pictures.

We will cull every bass with RW 100% and lower. Right now the lowest LMB RW is 110% so no removal has been necessary.

What are your goals for your LMB? I would think anything 90% RW and under would be a candidate for removal.


We are prioritizing large LMB. I was a bit worried about removing fish immediately post-spawn. How much weight does a fish typically lose during that period?
Posted by: Bocomo

Caught something worth smiling about - 06/18/15 10:15 AM




21", 4#.

Probably the same fish that Daniel caught.
Posted by: RAH

Re: Caught something worth smiling about - 06/18/15 05:30 PM

Nice fish!
Posted by: james holt

Re: Caught something worth smiling about - 06/22/15 05:50 AM

very nice fish and nice place
Posted by: Bocomo

Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/13/15 05:54 PM



Thanks to Daniel, we have significantly extended our creel survey results for the year.

We have been removing everything under 14". The PSD shows about 60% > 12" (40% < 12", 40% 12-15", 20% > 15"), which according to Anderson is where we want to be.

Should I be concerned about overcrowding in the 14" group (see histogram)? The average relative weight of the fish in this group approaches 100% but shorter fish generally have higher RWs.

How should we adjust our big bass strategy to reflect this data?
Posted by: bassmaster61

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/17/15 10:54 AM

Really nice fish! Where did you buy that measuring device you are using? Looking forward to hearing the experts chime in on your harvesting length limit question.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/17/15 12:11 PM

Originally Posted By: bassmaster61
Really nice fish! Where did you buy that measuring device you are using? Looking forward to hearing the experts chime in on your harvesting length limit question.


Amazon.com! Search for "hawg trough" or "bump board."
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/17/15 12:59 PM

5/2013:



7/2015


Posted by: ewest

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/17/15 02:35 PM

Looks like good progress and excellent results !!!!!
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/17/15 05:01 PM

Originally Posted By: ewest
Looks like good progress and excellent results !!!!!


Thanks, Eric!

Any comment on the 12-14" fish?
Posted by: ewest

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/19/15 01:36 PM

Yes if it was May data then the LMB were in or just through the spawn. A fish male or female can lose a lot of weight during the spawn. I have seen data suggesting it is not uncommon for a LMB to lose 15 - 25 % of its weight during the spawn.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/19/15 04:53 PM

Originally Posted By: ewest
Yes if it was May data then the LMB were in or just through the spawn. A fish male or female can lose a lot of weight during the spawn. I have seen data suggesting it is not uncommon for a LMB to lose 15 - 25 % of its weight during the spawn.


The latest dataset is from this month. Does the 12-14" group look crowded?
Posted by: Ben Adducchio

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/20/15 08:29 AM

Have you thought about keeping all fish in the 12-15" range that have a RW below 100? If it was my pond that is the direction I would go in but I am not an expert.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/20/15 10:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Ben Adducchio
Have you thought about keeping all fish in the 12-15" range that have a RW below 100? If it was my pond that is the direction I would go in but I am not an expert.


We definitely do that. But all classes are well above 100 except for 13-14". No fish under 14" goes back in.
Posted by: ewest

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/21/15 12:05 PM

Yes - the 12-14 inch size are likely a high % male LMB who would have been spawning and had weight loss - if the data was may data. I would take samples again in early oct and see what that size class shows.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 07/22/15 11:25 AM

Thank you for clarifying!
Posted by: 3z3k3l

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 10/22/15 10:42 AM

Any updates? This thread is great info.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 10/22/15 03:17 PM

Originally Posted By: 3z3k3l
Any updates? This thread is great info.


No updates on fish populations at the moment. We have been able to remove a couple of the channel cats, though!

This one had corralled a school of BG YOY and was caught with a 1/4 oz roostertail on 6# test. 27", 7.9#, 85% RW taken on July 21st by my brother, Thomas.

Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 04/11/17 07:59 PM

We have continued a selective harvest program, pulling all LMB under 14". It has definitely paid off.

I did about 8 hours of fishing over 3 days last week, and I caught nothing but quality fish. They ranged from 16-18", and the best was a 3.92#, 18.25" fatty clocking in at about 120% RW (pictured). Don't bring your crappie rod to Two Mile Prairie Pond!

Posted by: Bill D.

Re: Adjusting cull target based on PSD - 04/14/17 07:51 PM

Well done sir! That's a beautiful healthy fish!