Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE

Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 12:32 PM

SORRY FOR THE NOVEL

My parents have a stock pond ( .85 acres) that Iíve fished since I was 5/6. My wife and I have a 4 month old baby girl, and this will hopefully be the pond that helps me get her to love the outdoors as much as I do. Spring fed clear water pond. Lots of vegetation, though I am not sure about structure.

In the spring of 2017 I caught one LMB that was 2.99 LB, but besides that 98% of the fish I have caught have been below .5 lb with nothing over 1.25 LB.

Last 6 catches: One 11 inch LMB, 2 eight inch bass, and 3 pretty good size Greenies.

Most bass I have caught recently have been 8-11 inches. There really hasnít been any harvest, so I know the bass are over populated and there is not much bait in the pond. There is a Fish Truck coming through town tomorrow, and I plan to pick up at least 10 pounds of minnows. I understand that several are just going to be an immediate meal.

My plan is to take a 100 foot seine net, walk across the shallow end and drag to the bank (would cover approximately 40% of the surface area, but the main area is up to 16 ft deep). Iím going to sort the bass and greenies, remove most If not all of the greenies, begin tagging the bass, and probably remove some as well.

Over the next month or so, I would like to add at least 100 - bluegill, more minnows, and probably 100 channel cat, however Iím rethinking that after watching the live video from January Ď18.
We have a feeder up, but turtles eat most of that. They will be gone soon as well.
May add 1 LB of Tilapia to take care of the Algae and take the pressure off of the forage species, while dying off in the winter.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks,
Cody Sandhoff
Sandhoff Services Pest & Termite
817-807-3641 cell
972-268-0331
Sandhoffservicesllc@gmail.com
Posted by: Snipe

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 01:06 PM

Cody, I think first you should determine your WR values of the fish you catch. Just because they're smaller doesn't mean there's too many.. The health of the fish will answer part of that question.
If you can measure in mm and weigh in grams you are about 25 times more accurate in assessing conditions.
If you want to post length and weights, I'll figure WR's for you.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 01:07 PM

What are your goals for the pond?

Growing big bass in 0.85 ac is challenging, and even if you could do it, you might not like the result.

Let's say your pond can support 200 lbs of fish/ac (middle range), giving you 170 lbs to work with. You might want 20% of the weight to be in LMB, so about 34 lbs. How would you like that weight to be distributed? A single-sex, female-only LMB + reproducing BG pond might give you six five-pounders. But after you catch and release them a few times they'll wise up and quit biting anything but live BG.
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 01:10 PM

Obviously I would love to have some tanks, but at this point 1 pounders would be a huge upgrade. My goal would be to consistently catch 2-3.5 lb with the occasional larger fish, while still having fun BG to catch.
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 01:12 PM

I should be able to do that this weekend. Iím hoping to go down Dunday after church and before I start working accounts at 5. Unless the wind is crazy, I should be able to get 5 or so easy in an hour
Posted by: Matzilla

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 01:13 PM

take pictures of the fish as you tag....measure and weigh them - calculate RW% and keep a record of all the bass you can. Exceptional RW Bass can have a fin clipped in addition to the tag so you can track that individual fish throughout its lifecycle.

I would remove as many low RW bass ass possible. Remove the larger GSF


Start feeding your fish...there is no better way to get children involved and help grow bigger bass than feeding them. Your existing bass should feed train extremely quick.

Adding BG and CC will just make it harder to grow the big bass you want - at this point anyway. Are you looking to add them as put and take food?
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 02:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Cody Sandhoff
Obviously I would love to have some tanks, but at this point 1 pounders would be a huge upgrade. My goal would be to consistently catch 2-3.5 lb with the occasional larger fish, while still having fun BG to catch.


You should be able to get an expert to chime in, not just a hack like me, but here goes:

To get big bass, my advice would be to remove every single LMB shorter than 14", add cover, and stock large adult BG. You really need the additional reproductive capacity that BG have in comparison to GSF to have enough forage to go around. We've had a lot of success following this strategy in our 2.2 ac pond.
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 03:53 PM

Nice to get a response from Bob.

Donít buy the minnows. Save those dollars for adult bluegills. Cull at least 25 bass, 13Ē and smaller. I like the idea of swing and culling green sunfish. Consider feeding Purinaís AquaMax 500 fish food. Itís designed for bluegills. Also, stock 10 pounds of tilapia, not just one. Better results that way.

Bad news part... I had just bought the minnows. Thatís okay though. There were several folks who wanted bigger bass, now they have a free source instead of buying the fish, and they may even be able to help me run the seine net
Posted by: jludwig

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 05:12 PM

Would you be willing to drain down the pond and nuke it to start new?
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 05:28 PM

If everything else fails I would be willing to do a kill, but not drain
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 06:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Cody Sandhoff
If everything else fails I would be willing to do a kill, but not drain


It's easier to kill everything off it you pump it down first. Starting from a clean slate would get you where you want to be faster and with less effort than trying to put it right as is.
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 10:04 PM

I hate to do a kill period, just because if my daughter was old enough to fish now, and we went out, she would catch fish immediately. Just wanting to make it more fun for her and for me. Itís spring fed, and with it being texas, of course itís been low before, but never dry. I would be too worried something would go wrong if I pumped it.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/16/19 10:11 PM

I would start fishing and culling. You havenít mentioned bluegills. They are the ultimate bass food. I bet, due to proper forage, the bass are stunted and need to be culled. Nothing wrong with the green sunfish. They are probably the only thing the bass have to eat.

My first step would be to cull bass or maybe kill everything and start over. Thatís not a step I like but may be the only option. If you stock minnows, they will be immediately eaten. So will small (affordable) bluegills.
Posted by: jludwig

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/17/19 07:44 AM

I would start culling then if you don't want to start over. It's going to be a long process and will take more methods than rod and reel may be needed. Traps, trot lines, and fishing all are viable options.

What are your optimal goals for this pond? Once that's established, the direction can become a bit more clear.
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/17/19 09:21 AM

Originally Posted By: jludwig
I would start culling then if you don't want to start over. It's going to be a long process and will take more methods than rod and reel may be needed. Traps, trot lines, and fishing all are viable options.

What are your optimal goals for this pond? Once that's established, the direction can become a bit more clear.


Obviously I would love to have some tanks, but at this point 1 pounders would be a huge upgrade. My goal would be to consistently catch 2-3.5 lb with the occasional larger fish, while still having fun BG to catch.
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/17/19 09:27 AM

Removed a minnow trap yesterday and there were two crawfish inside. Iíve caught less than 20 craws my entire life in the pond.


The minnows I put in yesterday were Rosey Reds. Delivery guy suggested putting a couple pallets in to allow the minnows additional structure to thrive. I may pick up tilapia tomorrow and maybe some BG as well.
Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/17/19 11:00 AM

Originally Posted By: Cody Sandhoff
Removed a minnow trap yesterday and there were two crawfish inside. Iíve caught less than 20 craws my entire life in the pond.


The minnows I put in yesterday were Rosey Reds. Delivery guy suggested putting a couple pallets in to allow the minnows additional structure to thrive. I may pick up tilapia tomorrow and maybe some BG as well.


Unless you're adding 4"+ BG don't waste money. Bass can eat BG 1/4 - 1/3 their own length. TP I'm less familiar with.
Posted by: bassmaster61

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/17/19 03:50 PM

After we electro-surveyed our ponds the bottom line was that the fisheries biologist wanted us to harvest 40 LMBs per acre...in one of the smaller ponds (1.6 acres) he said we could go up to 50-60.

Our ponds were full of stunted fish mostly in the 12-14 inch range. Many had RWs in the 65-75% range....really low. I suspect if all yours are in a smaller range you could boost up the harvest per acre a bit. He told us to not be picky and keep virtually every fish we caught. We harvested the fish in the 2016 season. We also added 250 adult northern 5"-7" BG per surface acre.

We have been in maintenance harvest mode for the last two years (2017 & 2018) and will continue to harvest 15 to 20 LMBs under 14" per surface acre each season.

Now, as we enter this third year of maintenance harvest, about 80% or more of the fish we have caught thus far have been north of 14" and greater than 90% relative weight. RWs have largely been in the 95-115% in the 1.6 acre lake. It feels like it might be tough to hit our maintenance harvest goal this year but we have had a cold, wet spring here and the fishing is just now getting good....we will see.

But here, in the early going, it seems that is going to be my dilemma....do i take out LMB under 14" even when they have RWs at or above 100? I do have another pond i am not currently managing that is overpopulated with BG where i can relocate these smaller management bass.

For you though Cody, I think you need to cull like crazy and add some adult BG. BM61.

Posted by: Bocomo

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/17/19 04:51 PM

Originally Posted By: bassmaster61
After we electro-surveyed our ponds the bottom line was that the fisheries biologist wanted us to harvest 40 LMBs per acre...in one of the smaller ponds (1.6 acres) he said we could go up to 50-60.

Our ponds were full of stunted fish mostly in the 12-14 inch range. Many had RWs in the 65-75% range....really low. I suspect if all yours are in a smaller range you could boost up the harvest per acre a bit. He told us to not be picky and keep virtually every fish we caught. We harvested the fish in the 2016 season. We also added 250 adult northern 5"-7" BG per surface acre.

We have been in maintenance harvest mode for the last two years (2017 & 2018) and will continue to harvest 15 to 20 LMBs under 14" per surface acre each season.

Now, as we enter this third year of maintenance harvest, about 80% or more of the fish we have caught thus far have been north of 14" and greater than 90% relative weight. RWs have largely been in the 95-115% in the 1.6 acre lake. It feels like it might be tough to hit our maintenance harvest goal this year but we have had a cold, wet spring here and the fishing is just now getting good....we will see.

But here, in the early going, it seems that is going to be my dilemma....do i take out LMB under 14" even when they have RWs at or above 100? I do have another pond i am not currently managing that is overpopulated with BG where i can relocate these smaller management bass.

For you though Cody, I think you need to cull like crazy and add some adult BG. BM61.



This is a bit of thread hijack, but BM61, consider graduating from just considering RW to taking into account "Proportional Size Distribution."

See this old thread from Dick Anderson (the originator of the concept) and the late great Dave Willis:

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

"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+ "


In my old pond thread we start talking about using this strategy from this post onwards:

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=347100#Post347100

Posted by: Snipe

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/17/19 11:46 PM

Bocomo, I agree with the PSD but my comment above (top) was maybe a bit shallow beings I didn't say why I was asking for WR's..
Simply put, I deal with this data all the time and my way of addressing this was to determine the size that showed up with low WR's, then form a plan based on forage present.
I think we have the same end result, just a different way of getting the answer.
Some may want to jump right in to the scientific explanation but in this case it seemed appropriate to get more answers first.
In this case beings the OP said 98% were less than 1/2 lb. with only 1-2 fish caught any bigger, we can speculate all day long but we both know there are several things missing or out of whack.
I just didn't choose to go the tech meister route right out of the gate.
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/19/19 10:43 PM

Ended up removing 15 LMB and 2 Green Sunfish today.

Added the Tilapia yesterday. Of all the Rosie red minnows added Thursday, I didnít see a single one yesterday or today. Used a small orange Zman TRD that I had to cut in half and put on a small crappie underspin. I actually caught 5 more but when I was putting them on a stringer I ended up dropping 2 and the other three flopped off the dock.
Posted by: BrianL

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 05/21/19 10:38 AM

Your minnows are all eaten, or soon will be... They are a lesson learned, but that is about it. They will not survive to reproduce in your pond, only a fish snack.

The culling and tilapia will be your best bet for now. I would suggest buying or catching adult ADULT bluegill as you can. They are expensive, but worth cost in the long run.
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/02/19 10:18 PM

Im all for stocking Adult BG.

I've tried Overtons and a fish hatchery out of Bryan College Station. No adult BG for sale at the moment. we will let you know when we have some....

I guess it makes sense. I could be wrong but im assuming its because If they sell the adults now, those same adults aren't spawning in their breeder ponds and will affect the amount of fingerlings available later in the summer/fall.

I have a couple city ponds that are loaded with 4-6 inch bluegill, they would just have to survive however long it took me to fish, plus the hour and a half trip to the pond. I have a cooler and aerator, but still not sure they would survive that long.
Posted by: Snipe

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/02/19 10:52 PM

Cody, you have access to a 60-70 gallon stock tank??
Silicon a 15$ 500gph Bilge pump to the bottom of tank, Hook a piece of 3/4" hose, screw a hose-end valve on the exit end hook pump to a batt, fill with well water. Get some electrolytes and salt (PM me-I'll tell ya what to get for salt).
You have a way to carry 150-200 4-6" BG for 6-8hrs-longer if cool enough.
Posted by: Dave Davidson1

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/03/19 03:27 PM

Cody, I recently bought 300 3 to 4 inch BG from American Sport Fish. They have 5 to 6 inch at about $3.00 per fish.
Posted by: wannapond0001

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/03/19 09:21 PM

I thought the same thing until the water cleared up some. My minnows reproduced after a few months. Saw a bunch of fry swimming. The adults are still alive too. I think most of my bass eat pellets. I see a few still feeding on minnows every now and than.
Posted by: fishwife

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/06/19 02:23 PM

I know I'm a fish moron, but what do you do with the fish you cull? I'm not cleaning that many fish! How do you dispose of them?
Posted by: Pat Williamson

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/06/19 03:08 PM

Critters eat them and there are always lots of folks that would love to eat them or stock their ponds
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/07/19 04:55 AM

Build yourself a Black Soldier Fly Larva generator. They'll dispose of anything you throw in there...QUICKLY...and if you have or know someone with chickens, they'll eat the puppae and so will your fish.
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/08/19 11:33 PM

Is that the 5 gallon buckets with an old vacuum hose that the maggots climb up and fall into the water?
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/09/19 07:52 AM

You can set it up so they climb out and fall in the water, yes. I've started a thred about it you can read or look at YouTube. There's quite a bit of information out there on them.
Posted by: Cody Sandhoff

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/09/19 02:36 PM

How bad does it stink?
Posted by: Mike Whatley

Re: Over Populated Stunted Bass- HELP PLEASE - 06/09/19 06:25 PM

It has virtually no smell to it at all. The only time I smell my generator is when I open the lid to add food. Even then it's not offensive. The larva dont leave anything long enough for it to rot. A 3 foot water snake was completely devoured in 30 hours. 11 inch crappie less than 24. Small fish will be eaten bones, head scales and all.