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#165569 - 05/27/09 11:04 PM Very small pond advice, w/pics
bjennings79 Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Lufkin, Texas
Hi all. I have a very small pond near my house, which I estimate to be about .1 acres (1/10 acre). I have not fished it much, but it seems to be full of nothing but 3-4 inch BG. I have never caught any other species, or anything larger than 3-4 inches. I would like to do something to produce larger BG, or stock with some othe type of sunfish.

I guess my main question at this point would be is it reasonable to expect to be able to produce large sunfish from a pond of this size? These will not be for food, as I release everything that I catch. I plan on doing some extensive fishing over the next few weeks to see if I can pull anything out other than the BG. We just built a house near this pond last year, so I really haven't had much time to figure out whats going on with it.

See the link below for pics

http://picasaweb.google.com/bjennings79/PondPics?authkey=Gv1sRgCJvO2K_usoKtzgE#



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#165571 - 05/27/09 11:16 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: bjennings79]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
Welcome to the forum!

Placing some 12"-15" bass, say 5-10 of them will quickly help control your BG numbers.

If you get the BG numbers down with some bass and consider starting a feeding regiment, there is no reason you can't grow some nice sized BG in your little pond...

Keep fishing it to see if there are any other fish present.
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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#165584 - 05/28/09 01:05 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: CJBS2003]
Chad Fikes Offline
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Registered: 09/18/05
Posts: 121
Loc: Whitesboro, TX
Also identifying species of sunfish will be important in determining best course of action to take. We have a small hatchery pond that is 1/10th of an acre and we produce hundreds of 5+ inch bluegill per year in it. It is possible, but some harvesting will need to take place in order to grow larger fish. It sounds as though this pond may have a stunted sunfish population in which case you will need to harvest these fish to get their numbers down. This could include stocking a few bass rotenoning pond to start from scratch or fishing many of them out. If you have any questions PM me.
_________________________
Fisheries Biologist, Texoma Hatchery.
www.texomahatchery.com

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#165593 - 05/28/09 03:30 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: Chad Fikes]
MikeyBoy Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/16/09
Posts: 259
Loc: So Cal
I am always interested in the dynamics of smaller ponds as I will be looking at a smaller pond myself. Not to hijack the thread, but what are the opinions on maintaining a self sustaining fishery that could be harvested often. I would like a small pond where i could take out fish often for eating, leaning towards sunfish for eating.
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#165597 - 05/28/09 05:38 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: MikeyBoy]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
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Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 13088
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I think I would probably seine it and remove all I could. Then, get some same sex bass, maybe 5 or 10, to keep them beat back. If you aren't careful on the sexing of the bass, they will spawn and you will have the same problem with runt bass.
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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.

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#165611 - 05/28/09 08:40 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: Dave Davidson1]
Bob Lusk Offline
Editor, Pond Boss Magazine
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Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 3018
Loc: Whitesboro, Texas
One other thing...be absolutely positive you have bluegill and not some other species of sunfish. There are about 5 or 6 different sunfish species that could be there. If you don't have bluegill, the advice will be totally different.
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"As goes the habitat, so goes what lives in it."

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#165620 - 05/28/09 10:05 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: Bob Lusk]
bjennings79 Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Lufkin, Texas
I'll take some pics of what we catch this evening to get some help with ID. Another concern that I have is that there seem to be quite a few turtles in there. Will they have a major impact on my fish? Should I put in a turtle trap?

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#165621 - 05/28/09 10:12 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: bjennings79]
Bullhead Offline

Lunker

Registered: 03/16/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Cornhusker state
If he got rid of everything and started over, wouldn't this be the perfect place for HBG? Grow fast and will hardly reproduce.

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#165655 - 05/28/09 02:34 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: Bullhead]
CJBS2003 Offline
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I wouldn't stress about the turtles... Even if you did trap all of them out, more would just find their way in there.

Post the pictures of a few of the sunfish you catch, and we'll be able to get you an accurate ID on them.

HBG would be an option to consider, but the cost and difficulty of removing the fish might not be an option.
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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#165671 - 05/28/09 03:50 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: CJBS2003]
bjennings79 Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Lufkin, Texas
So are you saying that all existing fish would need to be removed in order to grow HBG?

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#165691 - 05/28/09 08:01 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: bjennings79]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
No, but the benefits of little to no reproduction wouldn't be there and that would pretty much negate the value of HBG...
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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#165726 - 05/28/09 10:40 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: CJBS2003]
bjennings79 Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Lufkin, Texas
Ok I took my 3 yr old out this evening and we caught around 20 fish in under an hour. Most were in the 3 inch range. We caught several that had a very large mouth compared to the others. Almost looked like a cross of a sunfish and LMB. I'm thinking they could be green sunfish.I think the large one may be a GSF as well. Here is a link back to the album with some pics of the fish added.

http://picasaweb.google.com/bjennings79/PondPics?authkey=Gv1sRgCJvO2K_usoKtzgE#5341068192529642690

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#165741 - 05/28/09 11:00 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: bjennings79]
Black Bass Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/12/09
Posts: 131
Loc: Northeast Ohio
Alright I'm thinking the pics are the following species of sunfish...

HBG (Hybrid Blue Gill), BG (Reg. Blue Gill), GSF (Green Sunfish), and a BG

Bjennings,

Do you notice the GSF is the only large fish in your pond? Well he is the predator and depending on distribution rate they may be all you need for a predator (well besides you removing some yourself). Your fish are obviously stunted. The one looks like a Goby! They exhibit the classic bulging eyes and the body cannot form it's natural oblong compressed shape.

The HBG is probably naturally occurring as the GSF and BG are probably necking...

This is my take. As for correcting the situation I will let some of the vets handle that. You will probably do well to take as many BG out as possible and start feeding them.

P.S. I have 35 lbs of generic feed that I am trying to get rid of. With my short growing season up in the North I need to give them the good stuff. PM me and maybe we can arrange a UPS ground shipment. Shouldn't be that expensive, if you're interested.
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#165752 - 05/29/09 12:11 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: Black Bass]
Walt Foreman Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/20/09
Posts: 743
Loc: Columbia, TN
The third fish is a warmouth, all but positive on that. They have a similar body shape to green sunfish but different coloration. The first fish looks like a green sunfish to me, but it could be a naturally occurring hybrid bluegill. All but the warmouth, as noted previously, are badly, badly stunted. 5 or 10 LMB would have a party in that pond. I'd go with ten just to be sure they thin the sunfish out, and then install an automatic feeder - one of the cheap ones like Bruce uses if you're on a budget, AquaPro and Moultrie both make ones under $100 - and start feeding them 3-4 times a day. Keep every sunfish you catch until some of them start looking fat - use them for garden fertilizer or whatever, but get them out of the pond - and then release the bigger, faster-growing ones to continue growing while continuing to thin out the smaller ones until every sunfish you catch looks healthy. With a regular feeding program, a pond that size should be able to support 30 or 40 large bluegill in addition to 10 or 20 bass (not lunkers). Right now it looks like it has hundreds or potentially thousands of tiny, stunted sunfish.

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#165756 - 05/29/09 12:38 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: Walt Foreman]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
Great pics! Thanks for sharing them... I always like seeing sunfish from a new pond. Even the same species has such different variations in coloration.

Fish #1-most likely an F1 BGxGSF but maybe a F2 second generation fish.

Fish #2-immature warmouth

Fish #3-A very nice sized warmouth who's loving being the big boss in your pond!

Fish #4-same as #1, natural hybrids are very common in crowded small ponds as there is not much space for spawning so nests are crowded and milt gets mixed up...

In all likelihood this means you have at least bluegill, green sunfish and warmouth in your pond. I would continue fishing it some more and post a few more pictures so we start getting a better idea what percentage each fish is present. If you have a larger seine you may want to try a seine survey... The addition of 10 to 15 bass should slowly remove many of the GSF and warmouths and lead to BG being more common and attaining larger sizes. Throw in a feeding plan and improvements will occur that much faster!
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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#165920 - 05/29/09 10:38 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: CJBS2003]
bjennings79 Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Lufkin, Texas
Thanks to everyone for all of the advice. I'll try to get some more pics tomorrow. What size bass should I be looking for? Is it necessary to build a floating food ring when feeding? .I already have a large bag of feed, so I'll just start feeding by hand until I can get a feeder.

I'm heading down to the Angelina river in the morning, if I can get out of the house before my little boy wakes up. Doubt I'll get any LMBs though.

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#165936 - 05/30/09 12:25 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: bjennings79]
Shawn Banks Offline
Lunker

Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 288
Loc: Northwest MO
Just one more thought that goes along with what Chad hit on quickly- consider rotenone. Your pond is small enough that you could kill every fish with a $100 worth of rotenone. I would do it for the main reason of being able to start with a clean slate. I have observed that hybrid bluegill lose their vigor after the first generation. In otherwords, when they back cross with a parental strain, their offspring are inferior. You definitely have some hybridization occurring at mulitple levels. Starting over will allow you to stock what you want, feed them heavily, and not have to worry about other genetically depressed and/or undesirable species of fish spawning and crossing with your target species.

In my opinion, you will reach your goal faster by starting over. It will certainly allow you to reach and more efficiently maintain your goal than by dealing with a hodge-podge of sunfish species.

For a pond your size, you could kill the pond, stock new fish, buy a cheapy feeder and feed for less than $500. Plus, you won't have to worry about so many variables down the road.

Whatever you decide, good luck. Little ponds like yours are a lot of fun. Oh yeah, you asked if little ponds like yours can grow bluegill- yes they can. There are many ways to do this. Read as much as you can on this forum to figure out your strategy. Start by doing a search for bluegill and Bruce Condello. People on this forum are doing some pretty cool things as you've read in this post (species of just the same sex being stocked, hybrid fish, etc).
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"Imagination is more important than knowledge" Albert Einstein

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#165939 - 05/30/09 12:44 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: Shawn Banks]
Walt Foreman Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/20/09
Posts: 743
Loc: Columbia, TN
Shawn makes a very good point. A pond can be righted through intensive, regular feeding along with adding of predators and very aggressive fishing out of excess numbers of sunfish, but you'd probably get quicker results just from starting over. The only caveat would be, I read somewhere just yesterday a study in which it was found that rotenone not only kills fish, but generally every other creature in the pond as well, such as any crustaceans present, pond snails, plankton, in other words all food sources in the pond, and it can take months or sometimes longer than that for those food sources to rebound. But that wouldn't matter as much if you were feeding, and also you can buy snails, crawfish, tadpoles, daphnea (water fleas), etc. from some hatcheries.

The same-sex idea would be an awesome approach for a pond that small. If you stocked only male 'gills you would have no worries whatsoever about overpopulation, assuming you started from scratch.

To answer your other questions, the bass should be at least 4-6" long or they'll just be more fingerlings in a pond already overcrowded badly for fingerling-sized food sources, whereas if they're a little bigger they can start right in on their cousins. 8-10" or larger would be ideal.

A feeder ring is not essential, but it will ensure less food is wasted by blowing up on the bank, and it also concentrates the food more so the fish can feed more efficiently.

Good luck!

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#166032 - 05/30/09 10:39 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: Walt Foreman]
bjennings79 Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Lufkin, Texas
Went fishing in the pond this evening with pretty much the same results as last time. Most fish looked like the BGxGSF, all in the 3 inch range. I would guess we caught about 15 fish in 30 min. Maybe one or two had a large mouth compared to the rest, so I guess they are bluegill/warmouth hybrid? Will probably start feeding tomorrow evening by hand until I can get a feeder. I think for now I will just try feeding and removing what I catch, and see if I can get some 8" to 10" LMB. I'll keep the rotenone in mind if the above isn't productive.

I caught a small long nose gar this morning at the river. I guess I should have put that in my pond for a feast.


Edited by bjennings79 (05/30/09 11:14 PM)

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#166036 - 05/31/09 12:01 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: bjennings79]
Walt Foreman Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/20/09
Posts: 743
Loc: Columbia, TN
DO NOT put a gar in there - in a short period of time you'll likely have a grand total of one fish in the pond, i.e. the gar. They are voracious feeders and commonly grow to 3 and 4 feet. It would eat every last fish in the pond, likely including any bass you add. Correct me if I'm wrong, any biologists out there, but that's my understanding of that particular species.

The fish with a larger mouth was likely a pure green sunfish, as their mouths are typically almost as large proportionally as LMB.

Getting bass in there is priority one, more important initially even than feeding them as not much growth is going to occur if they're badly overcrowded, which judging from your pics they are. You only need ten or so bass, and that's allowing for mortality of a couple bass. Once you have the bass in there, if you feed daily, within a few months you should have some eaters in there, and in a year or two some decent-sized ones.

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#166042 - 05/31/09 02:18 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: Walt Foreman]
burgermeister Offline
Lunker

Registered: 02/27/05
Posts: 4025
Loc: Houston, Tx.
The fish except for the hybrids are about 1/2 normal size. The eye is that of 6 inch not 3 inch fish. As Shawn said, bite the bullet, kill off, and restock, you will be much happier. You have a nice looking pond. In a year in Texas, you could have some catching size pure bluegill.
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#166062 - 05/31/09 09:23 AM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: burgermeister]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
Gar are high end predators, but I doubt one gar would have that much affect on the pond. I don't think they are anymore efficient a predator than LMB.
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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#166096 - 05/31/09 02:38 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: CJBS2003]
Walt Foreman Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/20/09
Posts: 743
Loc: Columbia, TN
The thing about gar is that they grow much larger, and therefore eat more, than any bass. I've heard time and again from fisheries biologists that a single flathead catfish can clean out a pond of a few acres because they eat not only smaller fish like bass do, but the larger bluegill, shellcracker, etc. as well as the largest bass in the lake, because they're big enough to. A gar could easily eat every fish in that pond. Not to mention, if it happened to be a female with eggs, you've just ruined the pond even if a few members of other species survive.

Some fish are more aggressive predators than bass; in years past I've stocked Northern Pike and Walleye into Southern ponds in which the bass were not controlling the sunfish, and the toothy critters did the trick. The pike in particular made a huge, almost immediate difference.

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#166126 - 05/31/09 09:41 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: Walt Foreman]
bjennings79 Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 7
Loc: Lufkin, Texas
Thanks for all of the advice. I've found some perch traps in one of the barns out here, so I think I'll employ them until I can get my bass. I threw out about a cup of food this evening, but there wasn't much action. I guess it will take them a little while to figure it out. Fished for 30 minutes or so and it was more of the same. Haven't caught any more of the warmouths, so there must not be many in there. Will keep everyone updated on how it goes. I'm really glad to have found this forum.


Edited by bjennings79 (05/31/09 09:42 PM)

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#166147 - 05/31/09 11:40 PM Re: Very small pond advice, w/pics [Re: bjennings79]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
Depends on the species of gar... Longnose, shortnose, spotted and Florida gar do not reach sizes any larger than largemouth and with their mouth size don't get close to feeding on the size fish largemouth can. Now alligator gars are another thing all together. They are not very common in most places though, as some of the other species are...

Flatheads growth to over 50 lbs regularly and over 100 lbs. Hardly close to comparison to a 20 lb bass. Obviously they can eat you out of house and home in a pond. Northern pike can cause issues in smaller ponds as well. One should be very careful stocking northern pike in a pond.

Perch traps can be efficient in removing a lot of stunted fish in a hurry... Let us know how your progressing....
_________________________
Men and fish are alike. They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.

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