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#13917 - 01/25/06 07:30 PM Gambusia vs. Fathead
Alligator Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 821
Loc: East Texas
(Assumming we receive rain between now and spring)

I am planning on restocking my lake. It has been drawn down for several years. When full, it will be 8.5 acres. I plan on Bluegill and LMB long term.

Should I go with Gambusia or Fatheads for my inital stocking of forage base?

Gator
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#13918 - 01/25/06 08:04 PM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Sunil Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 11494
Loc: Somerset, PA
Gator, why choose?
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Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."


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#13919 - 01/25/06 08:15 PM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
ewest Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19409
Loc: Miss.
Gator :

What is the current status of the pond/fish and what is your stocking plan (big or little fish to start)? What additional types other than BG/LMB?
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#13920 - 01/25/06 08:45 PM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Alligator Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 821
Loc: East Texas
Sunil, good point.

ewest, the previous residents were LMB, HGB and an unknown species of Catfish. The lake has been drained down + the drought has dried up all but about 1 acre. There cant be much left at this point (compared to when it was full). There was a very large section that was only 12" - 18" deep before the last rain. Last time down there I could only spot a few HBG.

I am planning restocking with small CNBG first then LMB.

Gator
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#13921 - 01/25/06 08:46 PM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
Gator,

I agree with Sunil, why choose? Why not both? Chances are that you will have Gambusia regardless in our area...they are one of those fish that just appear in our area. However, stocking a few initially will get things rolling in the right direction.

Fatheads provide great initial forage for your predators but generally do not survive predation more than one year. Gambusia, on the other hand, will survive through reproduction and their ability to use very shallow water to hide in indefinitely. Gambusia are small, but many small bites add up.

If its one thing I've learned from the GG experiment, Gambusia are one terrific forage fish for hybrid bluegill. Before starting that experiment, I knew small LMB and larger BG fed heavily on Gambusia in my ponds based on observations and stomach sampling...but no kidding, the GG's absolutely slaughter Gambusia...even in 52 deg water temps, I have observed GG surface blasting of Gambusia. I'm more convinced than ever as to the value of these small fish to your low end predators....small LMB and BG, and especially hybrid BG.

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#13922 - 01/25/06 09:34 PM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
ewest Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19409
Loc: Miss.
Gator :

Have you set a budget for stocking or have a time schedule? As you know there are many ways to get where you are going. Will you use tilapia or other bait fish? IMHO any plan needs to be evaluated as a whole and not as the sum of its parts. Do you want a balanced pond or are you interested in trophy LMB or BG ? All of that is easier to plan for and do from the start. Depending on the path you choose you may want one or the other , both or nither. It all depends.
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#13923 - 01/26/06 08:15 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Greg Grimes Offline
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Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
side note-if pond is still down I strongly suggest rotenone or other agent to kill remaining fish especially if HBG. It only takes one bass to throw a major curve in fingelring stocking program. It has happened numerous times when pond owner was sure there were no fish.
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#13924 - 01/26/06 08:46 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
Greg,

Right on! So true. I drained a grow-out pond last year that was supposed to have only 40 HSB and one grass carp...it had one (very happy) LMB, one grass carp, and zero HSB.

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#13925 - 01/26/06 09:17 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13486
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I had the same thing happen. I had a small pond that I stocked with CC, FH, BG, and LMB.That was my first pond, less than 1/4 acre, and I had no idea about proper stocking rates. Everything was great for a couple of years. Then the bass over spawned and I soon had bass, CC and a population of huge BG. I thought all of the bass starved and died. Several years later I tossed some jigs in to catch BG and a big bass hit and broke my line. I never saw it again. Drought killed everything.
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It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP

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#13926 - 01/26/06 10:15 PM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Alligator Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 821
Loc: East Texas
ewest, Sunil, ML, Greg, and Dave,

First - thanks for the guidance here, this is my first attempt on restocking the pond.

I am looking for a balanced pond; I am not really interested in trophy LMB, just a fishing lake for my family. Since it has been drained down for so long – I am trying to kick start it again, as soon as it fills up…hopefully this spring. At capacity it will be 8.5 acres, current size is approx 1 acre, much of that only 12” – 18” deep. My thought was to build up the forage based since (I am assuming here) the pond has a small number of fish left and they must be hungry.

HBG – caught several of these last spring and summer. The pond is now very shallow and the predators have had a field day over the past year. I’m not really partial to these guys and would prefer to have CNBG.

LMB – I caught several sizable LMB before the drought and saw some fingerlings during the summer – I assume some are still in there.

Catfish – I have never caught catfish, but observed a black cloud of 1” – 2” Catfish in the spring – no signs since. There were several LMB following and picking them off one-by-one.

While drained down: I cleaned off all of the edges of the pond and shoved A LOT of trees and brush down into the lake area. And I do mean A LOT of brush. I estimate 50%+ of my lake bottom has brush piles/cover. There is much more than any of the pictures of others PB’ers ponds I have seen posted on the forum. The brush is at various depths and is spread-out over entire pond in lines, rows, piles and some standing brush that will be flooded...My thinking is that the (planned new stocking) forage base will have ample cover and (mostly) be able avoid the few LMB that are in there…not sure this is good thinking.?

Since I already have HBG and LMB in there, I could just wait and see what happens after it fills – but wanted to take whatever proactive steps necessary to ensure success.

Gator
_________________________
- Smoke 'em if you got 'em




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#13927 - 01/26/06 11:36 PM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Frank Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 369
Loc: Macon Georgia
I would echo Greg's advice about rotenone to remove any existing fish. That way you know your starting point and can control the number and the species when stocking "fresh"

Frank
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#13928 - 01/27/06 07:22 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
GAtor I have never seen enough cover to protect fingerling fish from bass if they are already there. You are not talking very long with good mgmt before you have good fishing and again sugggest killing existing fish especially if you have some bass and HBG. However you never know it may workout I have just seen the opposite happen with left over fish prior to stocking. Ok I will not mention it again.
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#13929 - 01/27/06 07:40 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Alligator Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 821
Loc: East Texas
What temp does the water need to be before Rotenone?

My hesitation to whack everything is because there are some nice LMB in there...

Gator
_________________________
- Smoke 'em if you got 'em




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#13930 - 01/27/06 08:42 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
Gator,

Three things about your described situation that would influence me to start over: 1) the presence of bullhead catfish 2) the presence of HBG, and 3) other possible unknowns. The first two pose known hazards to meeting your objectives and the third, of course, unknown. The nice LMB are good news and bad news. It will be very difficult to establish any forage base or successfully introduce fingerlings of any species with their presence.

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#13931 - 01/27/06 09:15 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Meadowlark Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 3075
Loc: East Texas
Forgot to address your question re rotenone.

I don't know about the temps, but would suggest you consider an alternative. I know you don't want to loose what water you have but since it is very shallow, rather than rotenone, why not rent a trash pump over the weekend and just pump it out. That way there would be no concern about chemicals, the fish would be perfectly eatable or even re-usable if you choose to place in holding tanks. You would need to be sure to get it completely drained, however, just as you would have to get complete coverage with the rotenone. I know a lot of folks have used rotenone and I'm probably viewed as overly conservative, but I'm just really cautious about using chemicals that kill everything.

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#13932 - 01/27/06 09:28 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Sunil Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 11494
Loc: Somerset, PA
ML has a good point about the trash pump idea. You have that 12,500 gallon cement tank, and if you found a fish that you really didn't want to kill, you could temporarily house him in the other tank.

That cloud of 1" to 2" baby catfish sounded like bullheads to me also.
_________________________
Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."


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#13933 - 01/27/06 09:39 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
We have put out Rotenone on ice beforoe it just takes a little while longer for it to "clear" but would be fine by the time you stock other fish. I suggest use of trash pump also but I never seen it get enough water out to rid of all fish. However the less water you have the less checmical you need and the less chance of surival. You can catch out the few larger bass and hold on to them? Also there are chemicals that will work besides rotenone. IN fact you can not put out roetnone unless you have a restriced use pesticide license. I do not but know many folks that use bleach (chlorine) and it works fine but also not legal except for HTH brand is registed as fish toxicatant.
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Greg Grimes
www.lakework.com

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#13934 - 01/27/06 09:45 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Sunil Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 11494
Loc: Somerset, PA
Greg, maybe that's the best combination idea?

Get as much of the water out, maybe let some more evaporate, take out what you want, and kill the rest.

We've all heard that the bullheads can live a long time with little water.
_________________________
Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."


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#13935 - 01/27/06 10:02 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Alligator Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 821
Loc: East Texas
You bring up an interesting idea...my pond is actually two ponds once it falls below a certian level. It is current two seperate areas due to the drought. I could use that to my advantage by pumping one and/or killing off the other, then use to keep the LMB.

Now if I can just get Mother Nature to cooperate with the rain.

\:\)

Gator
_________________________
- Smoke 'em if you got 'em




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#13936 - 01/27/06 10:29 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19409
Loc: Miss.
Gator :

I like the trash pump idea. If you get the water down then another product that will kill leftover fish, will help short term with acidity and have other benefits is hydrated lime and you can get it at the co-op and don't have to have a permit. See below :

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FA028

Hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide) is an inexpensive and effective pond sterilizer, raising the pH quickly and dramatically above tolerable levels for most aquatic organisms. It should be used carefully, avoiding contact to the applicator, and never used in ponds containing desirable fish.
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#13937 - 02/06/06 09:15 PM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Alligator Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/05
Posts: 821
Loc: East Texas
Guys,

I fished my lake on Sunday, this was the first time I fished it since early last summer. I tore them up! In 45 minutes I caught 10 LMB (missed 2 more). I stood in one spot and only covered about 1/2 of pond. The bass ranged from 4.5lbs to 8 ozs. One 4.5, Several were 3 lbers, several 2 lbers and a few 1 lb and under. All were healthy, some were shorter and fatter but none were skinny.

I'm really having second thoughts about draining and starting over vs. building on what I already have...

Gator

PS. No signs of stray dogs and saw several deer too!
_________________________
- Smoke 'em if you got 'em




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#13938 - 02/06/06 10:31 PM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
Sunil Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 11494
Loc: Somerset, PA
For us Northerners, those are some nice LMB to exist in "natural" conditions.

For you Texans, who knows.
_________________________
Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."


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#13939 - 02/07/06 08:28 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
JayMan Offline
Member

Registered: 07/21/05
Posts: 151
Loc: Western New York
 Quote:
Originally posted by Alligator:

I am looking for a balanced pond; I am not really interested in trophy LMB, just a fishing lake for my family.
Sounds like mission accomplished.

I don't think a few bullhead will ruin your pond as long as you have a healthy population of LMB. As you have seen, baby bullhead are a LMB delicacy. I guess it depends on how much you hate the little buggers. They are fun to fish for while sitting by the campfire. Tasty too.

Now the HBG. Not so sure about them.

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#13940 - 02/07/06 09:38 AM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19409
Loc: Miss.
Gator :

You can take any of several paths to get where you want to go. The differences are time , effort and money. I would not just let it refill and hope for the best. To me that would be the hardest method and least likely to get there. If you choose to leave some larger LMB then you will have to stock larger forage fish in enough numbers to feed the existing fish (and offspring)plus establish an adequate breeding population to sustain the fishery. But to do any plan you have to have a good idea what is there now.
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#13941 - 02/07/06 02:01 PM Re: Gambusia vs. Fathead
george Offline
Member

Registered: 06/22/02
Posts: 1074
Loc: Plano, texas
Alligator: (“Assumming we receive rain between now and spring”)

With 8.5 acres and only one acre under water, it a tough call….!
How deep is the remaining water?

If you are four feet low, as we are, you will have 7+ acres with four feet of water – hardly enough to survive another drought of this magnitude.
The last bad drought in the 50‘s lasted three years, so we’re not out of the woods yet…

Do I understand correctly that you have two separate ponds presently that will become one when full? How deep?

I would call 8.5 acres a lake if it were mine \:\)

I believe I would consult with a fisheries professional as to whether to completely eliminate all fish and start over. It would be tempting to save the 4 to 5 lb bass and transfer to separate pond if deep enough.

It would be a good opportunity to deepen the exposed drought portion of your pond – that way you would have three ponds during low water periods?

We deepened the shallow end of our pond first of the year, making two ponds presently, and connected if and when we get some decent rain in N.E. Texas.
http://www.pondboss.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=20;t=002266

My “balanced pond” would consist of LMB and HSB as primary predators, with CNBG and Tilapia for forage – supplemented with a good feeding program of high protein feed.

I would only stock ADULT fish – no fingerlings unless starting over, and “kick start” with all adults if no budget constraints.

If CC are desired, I would stock only the numbers I plan to harvest, and supplement on an annual basis.
If overstocked – as we did – they are nuisance and will eat you out of house and home.

It would be a tough decision for me to completely drain a pond and start over unless a very old silted in pond – or a pond full of “trash” fish – BUT - as I have learned on this forum – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Our ponds are down about four feet and luckily deep enough to survive the drought so far – but if it continues we all are going to be in bad trouble.

Good Luck.
George Glazener

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