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#25025 - 04/30/03 04:25 PM Correcting Fish Populations
jedred Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/03
Posts: 6
Loc: Bronx
Hello all. I am new to this forum, just wanted to post a quick question. I am co-responsible for managing a pond in PA, near Williamsport. Currently, the pond (about 3/4 acre, maybe a bit more) is overrun with stunted bluegill, as well as yellow and white perch. We'd like to turn the pond into a trophy bass fishery. The forage fish are there, not many of them are bigger than 2-3" How many bass would you suggest we stock, how large, and what time of year do you think is best? Thanks a lot, great site.

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#25026 - 04/30/03 04:33 PM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
jedred Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/03
Posts: 6
Loc: Bronx
I should add that these are the ONLY species in the pond, there currently are no bass at all.

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#25027 - 04/30/03 05:03 PM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
Eric Houchin Offline
Member

Registered: 07/27/02
Posts: 16
Loc: Vicksburg, MI
Hello fellow pond enthusiast you have found the right site. I was actually faced with a similar decision not to long ago. The options are protean: here are a few - one you could seine the pond and there are some good ways to do this and samples of such method are posted on this web site and in many books that describe basic pond management. This will allow you to get a better idea of exactly what is in the pond and their individual variations within their own lifecycle. Additionally you could kill off the ones that get trapped that are the undersirable say the ones under 6 inches and throw the bigger ones back in.

Another option is scrap what you have and start over - you could chemically kill the existing gills and start the whole process again. the obvious advantage is that you will be able to control the populations to certain extent if you know what you put in like hybrid gills and bass, hybird stripers ect. Bottom line is that a pond can only support a certain poundage of fish and you decide how far you want to spread that out over gills, bass, cats ect. This sit a and other contain incredibly valuable inofrmation about building a good forage base of fish first and then introducing the predator - bass is you choice - allow nature to do its thing augment the feeding with some high protein fish food and hold on.

The third option is what i did and fortunatley it has worked so far. I bought big bass 12 inchers and threw them in 50 largemouth and 50 hybid striped bass and they kicked some gill butt. this option is expensive but has made for some good fishing from the beginning and some expensive purchases of fish chow. goood luck

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#25028 - 04/30/03 06:03 PM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Jedred -- I can throw out a few numbers as well. A common answer for a corrective stocking of largemouth bass in Midwestern ponds might be something like "try for 40/acre of 8-12 inch bass." So often, it is a matter of how many we can get. If your pond was in the Midwest, it sounds like an ideal candidate for the corrective stocking. Largemouth bass will get right after both yellow perch and bluegill. I don't know much about white perch, but sufficient bass will likely reduce them as well in good quality bass habitat.

I hesitate to apply our Midwestern rates to your waters because I don't know your water fertility. Our Midwestern fertility tends to be pretty high (fertile soil = fertile water).

I'll be interested to see if other pondmeisters from other parts of the country use similar or different rates. Also, I wonder if the white perch are of special concern to any experts who commonly work with them.

Dave
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#25029 - 05/01/03 12:25 AM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
shan Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 202
Loc: Georgia
First off I dont think managing a 3/4 acre pond for trophy bass is the best idea. you will only have a couple of big fish.

Dave,

I use adult bass at much lower rates depending on the situation. I usually dont stock any bass under 12 inches. 12-15 inch bass are over abundant around here. of course their relative weight is around 80 %. to give you some idea, i shocked one of the lakes I manage about a month ago. we sampled 158 bass - total weight 265 pounds. total time on the shock box = 2 hours. I'll usually stock around 12 bass per acre if the pond is badly overcrowded with bream. I like to stock bass 15 inches and over that way I can cull the bass under 15 for the next couple of years. makes it very easy to tell which fish were spawned in. Stocking adult bass is tricky business and will create a stunted bass population in a hurry if you are not careful.

I have no idea what stocking rates are in PA. I would assume they are completly different than here. If it were here I would probably start with 10 adult bass and make sure they were from different lakes (genetics) give it a few months and see how it looks. If large bass is what you desire adding lots of bass is not a good idea.

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#25030 - 05/01/03 09:11 AM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Thanks, Shan! I sure appreciate the information.

It's VERY interesting that your bass crowd at 12-15 inches. Ours seem to crowd between 8 and 12 inches. I wonder if that has something to do with latitude and our shorter growing season.

I'll give your my "record" shocking example. We once sampled a pond, actually now on Ted Turner's big ranch in western SD, that had not been fished. We angled to mark the LMB (paper punch in soft dorsal fin), and recaptured by night electrofishing.

The population estimate for that 3-acre pond was just at 1200 fish. We sampled just over 400 by angling, and recaptured just under 400 by electrofishing. So, we handled a good portion of the total population.

The pond had just over 100 pounds/acre of LMB. The Wr values, of course, were near 80 (this was June, so they were probably about the peak for the year). We collected 306 8-inch and longer LMB per hour of electrofishing. That remains my all-time record. I was just sweeping the net back and forth. Who knows what we would have caught with two dippers!

Well, the point of this long story is this: not one of the LMB that we handled was 12 inches long. They were all shorter, and that was well over 700 fish. They got to age 7, and it must have been a tough life, because there were no older fish.

So, those are the types of fish that we can move around for corrective stockings. Lots of stunted LMB populations out in central and western SD. Thanks again for the feedback.

Dave
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#25031 - 05/01/03 09:42 AM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
shan Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 202
Loc: Georgia
Dave,

around here i notice that bass seem to be smaller in smaller lakes and a bit larger in larger lakes. I have never seen a large population of stunted 15 inch bass in a 3 acre pond. I would expect to see fish in the 11-13 inch range. the lake I took those larger bass from was 88 acres. I have never shocked to for more than a few hours because I remove them and dont have enough room on the truck to haul more than a few hundered pounds. that place it stunted out like crazy, its no problem to catch 200 pounds of bass every time you put the boat in the water. The problem is during the same shocking survey we saw 35 bream. the bass are living off their own spawn.

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#25032 - 05/01/03 10:16 AM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Shan -- size at "stunting" vs. water body size does make sense. I use an older thesis, from the Univ. of Georgia, I think, as a similar teaching example (Jakes 1987). Maybe you've seen that one?

I just don't see that occurrence much up here. I wonder if it's because all of our larger water bodies have lower density, faster growing LMB. I just don't see a bigger water (several hundred to several thousand acres) with a "stunted" LMB population. Life is tough in the northern plains, and the big waters just don't seem to have appropriate habitat for LMB.

The one excpetion I can think of is a 300-acre natural lake (Cochrane) that's about 40 miles from here. We do catch over 100 LMB/hr of night electrofishing there, and most of the LMB are probably between 10 and 13 inches or so, so that one would fit your example pretty well. That particular natural lake is one of only two in the entire state that have plenty of submergent vegetation. Depending on the year, the vegetation typically grows out to about the 12-14 foot depth contour, and the plants cover about 40-45% of the lake bottom. Very unique, and very nice natural lake, for eastern SD.

Again, thanks!
Dave
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#25033 - 05/01/03 02:42 PM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
Greg Grimes Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 05/03/02
Posts: 3973
Loc: Ball Ground, GA
To answer your question. Rethink your goals, trophy bass in 3/4 acre is tough! You still want it that way stock only about 10 bass all over 3 lbs if you can get them and they will thrive on the forage that is there. DO not introduce another predator and remove all the white perch you can.

Dave,
Just a quick note I shocked 125 ponds last year and do not have the same coorelation of lake size to stunting. I see large ponds (20 acres or better) just as stunted as small 1-5 acre ponds. The average size I see is also 10-12 inches. It seems to me to be a coorelation of years of bass harvest. The pond that is neglected for several years maybe stunted at 8-10 inches and the pond just starting to get stunted may have them at 12-14 inches.
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www.lakework.com

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#25034 - 05/01/03 03:39 PM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
jedred Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/03
Posts: 6
Loc: Bronx
Thanks for all the great info! I think we'll try with some larger bass and see what happens. I'll let you guys know how it all works out!

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#25035 - 05/01/03 04:03 PM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
Dave Willis Offline

Lunker

Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 2587
Loc: South Dakota State University
Thanks, Greg.

Dave
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#25036 - 05/01/03 06:28 PM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
shan Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 202
Loc: Georgia
Dave, I think I have seen that study.

I guess if just depends on your definition of a large lake. I dont consider 20 acres a large lake. When I said large I was refering to bodies of water around 100 acres or larger.

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#25037 - 05/08/03 02:14 PM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
jedred Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/03
Posts: 6
Loc: Bronx
Just as an update, we stocked 24 6"-8" Largemouth bass (a hybrid of Florida & Oswego), into the pond. 4 so far have died of shock, we presume, but the rest seem to be doing fine, as they're already feeding. With the bluegill spawn coming, we figure the bass will have plenty of food to thrive on. I'll keep updating as time goes by. Thanks for all the advice and info!

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#25038 - 05/09/03 07:43 AM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
Cecil Baird1 Offline
Hall of Fame

Lunker

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 20043
Loc: Northeastern Indiana
Anybody consider upping their bass size and poundage in a small pond by stocking and feeding pellet trained bass? This year I am feeding at least 60 bass in my .62 pond daily that are at least 3 pounds, many over 4, and a few close to five. I also have smaller bass both smallmouth and largemouth I feed. Along with these bass I feed female only yellow perch and large bluegills.

I aerate heavily, and have overflow coming in from my much smaller trout pond that naturally fertilzes the water, and keeps recycling water out of the pond as it flows out of that pond too. The bass numbers also keep my bluegill numbers down for some dandy size bluegills that look like they are on steroids.

I use a special feed now by a company in PA called Mellick, and it is high in protein at 50 % and low in carbs and fiber which I learned from others like Mike Robinson is very important. The largemouths go for this high protein feed like liver shiners, and it sure beats anything Purina makes. In fact, I was using Purina's Aquamax last year the the bass seemed to have lost interest in that feed last year.

My bass have condition factors off the scale as they are so stocky. A 19 inch bass recently was about 4 1/2 pounds.
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#25039 - 05/09/03 10:36 AM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
Bill Douglas Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/29/02
Posts: 118
Loc: Memphis, TN
Cecil,
Tell us more about this new food you are using. What's the name of the company that makes it and do they have a web site???
Thanks, Bill
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#25040 - 05/09/03 11:08 AM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
Cecil Baird1 Offline
Hall of Fame

Lunker

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 20043
Loc: Northeastern Indiana
The company is called Melick Aquafeed and is located at 139 South First Street in Catawissa Pennsylvannia. It's the best feed I've used so far, and I've deat with several other big companies. I've used Martin, Silver Cup, and Zeiglers and prefer this company. The toll free number is 1-800-358-6595 and the sales rep's name is Phil. He's a really nice honest gentleman, and is service oriented unlike some of the other companies that treated me like small potatos. He's really knowledgable about feed composition, manuafaturing etc. too.

I have had some bags shipped U.P.S., but will be picking up my next orders in Ohio.

They have special diets for bass, bluegill, perch, hybrid striped bass etc.

Another plus about dealing with a company that only makes fish feed, is there are no other undigestable animal feed components mixed in.
_________________________
If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.







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#25041 - 05/09/03 11:10 AM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
Cecil Baird1 Offline
Hall of Fame

Lunker

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 20043
Loc: Northeastern Indiana
Sorry. Forgot to answer one of your questions. I don't believe they have a website.

Cecil
_________________________
If pigs could fly bacon would be harder to come by and there would be a lot of damaged trees.







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#25042 - 05/10/03 10:57 AM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
DuchntVA Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/10/03
Posts: 6
Kill the pond and start over for better control!!

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#25043 - 07/14/03 04:08 PM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
jedred Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/03
Posts: 6
Loc: Bronx
An update as of July 4th: The 6"-8" bass are now all in the area of 10"-12", closer to 12. The ones we could see all seem to be eating quite well, and my friend actually saw a lmb gobble up a bluegill, which was quite cool. It seems now that the bluegill are all either 1"-3" or so long, or 5+". Will keep updating as time goes on. Thanks for all the great information!

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#25044 - 05/14/05 11:32 PM Re: Correcting Fish Populations
3z3k3l Offline
Member

Registered: 01/31/05
Posts: 111
Loc: Dallas, TX
I am wondering how your fish have faired until this point? Any new numbers? I would think you would have a few good lunkers in there by now. \:\)
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