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#312862 - 11/24/12 12:05 AM bluegill control 15 acre pond
mohan15 Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 11
Loc: northwest indiana
okay i have a 15 acre pond with a max depth of 20 feet and average depth of 8 feet. there are way too many little stunted bluegills and i dont know a good way to get rid of them. the pond has a healthy largemouth bass population with some pretty good sized ones. also some but not many crappie and channel cats. is putting pike in there a possibility? they would be fun to catch and also help lower the bluegill population i hope? im in northern indidana need help on this!!! eek

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#312870 - 11/24/12 08:48 AM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
CJBS2003 Offline
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I would stock pure musky or tiger musky over pike. I am not sure they will solve your problem though. What percentage of the pond has aquatic vegetation?
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#312875 - 11/24/12 08:55 AM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
sprkplug Offline
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What size classes of LMB are present? Also agree with CJ....How much, and what kind of vegetation (hiding places for small BG) is present?
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#312891 - 11/24/12 10:38 AM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
Cecil Baird1 Offline
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Are you sure you have stunted bluegills? If so, northerns or even musky won't solve your problem IMHO. As they get larger they will just target your larger bluegills and smaller bass. Mostly likely the bass as they are more fusiform. LMB are a much more effective bg predator.

What are you goals? Bass pond? Large bluegill pond? Both?

I would add more bass myself if i wanted to get the bluegills in check if that indeed is a problem Get a thousand feed trained bass from Laggis fish farms in southwest Michigan in the spring. Feed them in a cages for the summer until the fall and then release them. (If you don't cage them they will be larger bass forage). They'll start on your smallest bluegill and will go after progressively larger ones as they grow which will be rapidly.

If later on you feel you have too many bass due to lower relative weights you can easily cull them.
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#312902 - 11/24/12 11:59 AM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
esshup Offline
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mohan15: Welcome to the forum.

Agreed on the points here regarding to the amount of plants in the pond (in relationship to the surface area of the pond), and the amount of LMB in the pond.

What size are the LMB, and do all sizes have the same overall body condition? Same question about the BG in the pond.

I know it's hard this time of year, but can you possibly post pictures of the LMB that are being caught and of the BG that you say are stunted?

Like othes have said, what are the goals for the pond? When it's fished, what fish are targeted, and is is C&R, catch and keep or?

Is the pond all on your property, or is it part of a housing development?

What city/town are you near? I'm about 12 miles West of Plymouth, just North of Rt. 30.
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#312905 - 11/24/12 12:16 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
Bill Cody Offline
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Cecil's advice is sound. Pike and musky when large will likely target your slender shaped bass instead of BG. In my old pond, I had a large n.pike (35") and bass recruitment was poor, and not very many bass in the 7"-11" range. After the pike died, I started seeing more small bass. BG population did not noticably change before and after the pike was present.

LMB are the best predator of BG. They evolved together. Ideally you want numerous bass present that are at least 3 times longer than the most common smaller BG that need thinned out. Other option is to have numerous small bass 3"-8" that prey on the smallest BG heavily thinning them out before BG get to 4" long. Each 6"-12" LMB eats about 150-250 BG per year.

15 acres can produce a lot of small BG when bass are out of balance. There are few labor intensive and sometimes expensive ways to manually remove lots of small BG - intensive target angling using bobbers and worms (cub scouts, youth groups rewards for most small 3"-5" BG caught), trapping, seining, electrofishing.


Edited by Bill Cody (11/24/12 12:27 PM)
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#312952 - 11/24/12 10:49 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
mohan15 Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 11
Loc: northwest indiana
ill try to answer all your questions at once but i have a few uncertanties. it is a man made pond that came from a swamp so half of it is full of stumps and is 4 feet deep throughout all the swampy area and is pretty choked with curly leaf pondweed and coontail but in the dug section of the pond there are very few clumps of coontail and is primarily clay rock and course sand. the water is crystal clear so i can see the vast amount of little gills and as for bass population all the bass are well fed and i think are thriving on crayfish and frogs and younger bass. the little gills hide in the thick weeds out of range for any bass to get them. it is all catch and release and in my 8 years of living on this pond only one bass has died from swallowing a crankbait. when we went to see what was in its stomach all we found were a frog some crayfish shells and a little bass. we only fish for bass and can careless about the bluegills. with a strictly bass pond with possibilities of another gamefish being stocked in mind what is the best way to preserve the bass population but reduce the amount of all the gills.i would prefer to stock another gamefish in there for something else to catch than bass but will help reduce the bluegills

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#312955 - 11/24/12 10:52 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: esshup]
mohan15 Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 11
Loc: northwest indiana
i am near st.john rite off of 41

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#312964 - 11/25/12 12:40 AM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
esshup Offline
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You ARE in the NW corner of Indiana! grin

Instead of stocking another predator, I'd look into reducing some of the underwater weeds to allow the LMB to target more BG. I think the BG have too many places to hide.

If you want a LMB fishery, then I wouldn't stock pike or muskies - they'll target the LMB in a few years.

Do you have any weights/lengths of the LMB that you are catching? Say, a 17" LMB weighs 2 3/4#, etc., etc.
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#312996 - 11/25/12 02:17 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: esshup]
mohan15 Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 11
Loc: northwest indiana
ill go out there and get some measurements soon

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#313021 - 11/25/12 08:58 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
Bill Cody Offline
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Most any predator that you use, it will also have a difficult time locating small BG in weedy habitat. IMO you should explore weed control. Herbicide for about 15 ac will be some $$. One option is to drawn down the pond then treat weeds. Or an annual drawdown will sometimes work to force small fish out of the shallows so predation is more efficient and effective.
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#313024 - 11/25/12 09:32 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
rmedgar Offline
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Would some HSB work?
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#313025 - 11/25/12 10:01 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: rmedgar]
mohan15 Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 11
Loc: northwest indiana
there is a lake about 5 miles away from my pond that is loaded with HSB white bass and striped bass if its not illegal it would be very easy to transport them in storage containers or coolers. will they help with the bluegills? walleye i heard will use those little bluegills as there only forage source would they manage them better?

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#313026 - 11/25/12 11:14 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
esshup Offline
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Like Bill said, ANY predator will struggle to find the BG in very weedy conditions.

While whole lake treatments will run some $$, if there are coves or bays, you could treat those individually and that might help. Spot treating in a large BOW can be done, but you'd have better results by treating "spots" that are at least 200' x 200'.
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#313041 - 11/26/12 09:32 AM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: esshup]
Shorty Offline
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Registered: 07/28/05
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Loc: Raymond, NE
So long as the LMB are healthy and doing well I wouldn't worry about the BG or the vegetation.

I know that in years where we had really good vegetation treatments at my dad's old pond the following year the LMB were left with too little forage and became skinny. There is a very fine line between too much vegetation and not enough.
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#313044 - 11/26/12 10:10 AM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
Bill Cody Offline
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Adding different predators will likely detract from the LMB population in some way, either reduced relative weights (RW) and/or reduced bass density. As mentioned a high amount or percent botom coverage of dense weedy habitat will inhibit or reduce efficiency of most if not all predators. If all you want is predator diversity, that can be done. But don't plan on addition of new predator species to make a significant decrease in BG density in a highly weedy pond. Normally in good conditions lots of BG result in larger fatter bass, but if the bass cannot find the BG due to too many weeds, then bass RW (body condition) often decreases and BG population trends towards more, smaller BG.
Before you do any fisheries adjustments and if you truly want to do this correctly, you should do three things. 1. get a good qualitative estimate of the weed community - all species present and percent coverage. Accurately mapping the weed community as location and depth is a good start. 2. learn if the BG are indeed too abundant and do a population struture evaluation - sampling and 3. do some relative weight measurements and population size analysis of the bass. All these things will involve some homework to be done correctly to determine the best approach and outcome. The shotgun approach is to just add new and more predators without knowing the real problems or causes. Cleaning up a "messed up fishery" is quite a bit harder, more time consuming and more costly than renovating a 1 acre or less pond.


Edited by Bill Cody (11/26/12 10:25 AM)
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#313045 - 11/26/12 10:19 AM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: Bill Cody]
Shorty Offline
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Registered: 07/28/05
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Loc: Raymond, NE
I agree Bill.

Relative weights on the LMB should vary with the season and vegetation densities. Winter time and early spring are when vegetation densities are usually at a minimum and LMB RW's their best.

I would also look into the body condition of any larger BG that might be present, if they are in poor condition then this would be a good indicator there are too many BG mouths to feed and some adjustments might need to be made.
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#313046 - 11/26/12 10:28 AM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
Bill Cody Offline
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Often very weedy shallow lakes have great fisheries. Rice lake in Ontario Canada above Lk Erie and I think the Sand Hills lakes in NE are just two examples. Fish balance and species of weeds probably play big parts. Dr Willis may be able to add some insight here.


Edited by Bill Cody (11/26/12 10:31 AM)
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#313072 - 11/26/12 01:30 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
Dave Willis Offline

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Bill, I think part of the Nebraska Sandhill lakes good fish quality is that the vegetation is interspersed. There can be open areas with no vegetation in the middle of the lake or near shore, and they can be lots of plant growth near shore or in the middle of the lake. Those plants produce a lot of insects that can be eaten by small predators and big panfish.
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#313079 - 11/26/12 03:44 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: Dave Willis]
Shorty Offline
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Dr. Willis, do you know what type of aquatic vegetation is most prevalent in the Sandhills?


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#313087 - 11/26/12 06:25 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
Dave Willis Offline

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Shorty, the aquatic plant communities are pretty diverse. I think one of my students has a plant survey report. If I can get a copy, I could email that to you?
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#313097 - 11/26/12 07:10 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
Bill Cody Offline
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Shorty, if you get a copy of the report please post the species of submerged vegetation that are present in the Sandhills Lakes. The average depth of a couple of the lakes surveyed would also be useful. They may also list the percent coverage of vegetation which would be informative. The turbidity and resulting light penetration of the lakes is no doubt important for those lakes with vegetation in the cenral basin. Some submerged weed species thrive in lower light intensities than other species.
Thanks.


Edited by Bill Cody (11/26/12 07:15 PM)
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#313100 - 11/26/12 07:56 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: Dave Willis]
Shorty Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Willis
Shorty, the aquatic plant communities are pretty diverse. I think one of my students has a plant survey report. If I can get a copy, I could email that to you?


That would work, even just a short summary of what is most abundant in the Sandshill lakes would work. I have to admit that I have never fished any of the Sandhill lakes. blush

Just from observing my dad's old pond for 22 years my gut feeling is that just having somewhat stable weed densities from year to year, no matter what type, are extremely important in keeping fish populations in balance. When weed densities suddenly and drastically change things tend to get out of balance quickly. I used to base how many LMB we needed to cull every year primarily on how well the milfoil/coontail treatments went. If the weeds got knocked back hard, then it was time to get agressive culling LMB. I will also say that winter ice cover, or the lack of it, and how long it lasts does play a role in weed densities the following summer.

IMHO aquatic vegetation is some of the best fish habitat there is, I would rather have it present than not.
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#313117 - 11/26/12 10:51 PM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
mohan15 Offline


Registered: 11/23/12
Posts: 11
Loc: northwest indiana
i dont mind the weeds at all and they are great to fish off of for bass. we just had a weed treatment in my pond and i can see drastic changes on some weedlines. now heres where i have a problem with the bluegills. after fishing on this pond since i was eight i have never caught an actual bluegill bigger than the size of my hand. there all so little and there are soo many the exact same size, but every once in awhile i catch some hybrid sunfish that are massive! the goal for this pond is strictly catch and release gamefish. with LMB BG a few channel cats some crappie and the rare hybrid sunfish what would be a good additional gamefish to add to the fishery just strictly catch and release for some fishing diversity. i dont want a dominant fish because the bass already are. just a supplement fish. need suggestions

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#313122 - 11/27/12 12:43 AM Re: bluegill control 15 acre pond [Re: mohan15]
esshup Offline
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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a strictly catch and release gamefish pond that has a spawning population of LMB will turn into a LMB stunted pond. They WILL eat themselves out of house and home, it's just a matter of time. Once they do that, it will be an expensive and time consuming fight to return a fishery that size back into balance.

By keeping track of relative weights and by keeping track of the forage fish you can keep the LMB in the pond from stunting, but you have to remove LMB..

I realize that my pond is smaller than yours. I have 37 tagged LMB in the pond and the rule is that ANY LMB that is not tagged gets removed, no matter how small or large it is.

Here's one from earlier this Fall that was not tagged and subsequently removed:




So you see that catch and keep isn't so bad after all! IIRC it weighed 4.2#. Notice the small head and small tail for the body size. That means that it's growing fast.

A single LMB needs 10# of fish to eat to gain ONE pound.

It's been said that a pond can comfortably carry around 50# of LMB per surface acre. BUT, a pond that is not aerated and doesn't have supplemental feeding can only carry around 300# of fish per surface acre. If there are 50 1# LMB/acre in that pond, then it would have to produce 500# of forage fish for those LMB to get to 2#. Remove some of the LMB and they will grow quicker.

Now would you rather have 50 1# LMB, 25 2# LMB or?

That's simplifying it, but you get the picture why strictly C&R is not a good idea.
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