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#330878 - 04/17/13 01:02 PM ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass
Scott Francis Offline


Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 25
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
Just started helping a friend manage his 1 acre pond. It has been around for longer than me so consider it an established pond. Up until a few years ago it was well balanced with BG and LMB in healthy numbers. Recently there are few if any BG left and all the LMB are 2-6lbs. Very few bass at all in less than 15" and hard to even find a BG. I'm assuming that we have a major forage fish problem. My question is, how to reestablish one.

Can we just add 100 or more adult bluegills (too large for the LMB to eat) and hope that they can repopulate?

Thanks, Scott

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#330885 - 04/17/13 01:11 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
small pond Offline


Registered: 01/31/13
Posts: 616
Loc: somerset county pa
I'm no expert but my basic understanding about reestablishing a forage base is that you have to take out some lmb, and stock some bg note when stocking bg stock them at sizes big enough that your biggest lmb can't eat them.
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#330888 - 04/17/13 01:19 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24001
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Welcome to the forum!

The easiest way to fix the problem is to remove a lot of the Bass then add BG (Bluegills) large enough so they aren't eaten by the LMB (Largemouth Bass). With LMB at 6#, you will have to stock BG at least 8" long.......

Here's why.

A single LMB needs to eat 10# of fish to gain one pound of weight. I haven't seen any figures on what it takes to keep a LMB at it's weight, but I'd guess at half that number, depending on the size of the LMB.

A LMB prefers to eat fish 1/3 to 1/4 it's body length, but a hungry LMB will eat a larger fish.....

Do the calculations on how many LMB are in the pond and you'll quickly see that just adding fish is futile and very expensive.

You're not seeing smaller LMB because the larger LMB area eating them.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#330890 - 04/17/13 01:20 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
Scott Francis Offline


Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 25
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
Thanks small_pond, that seems to be the consensus on here, but just not sure how many bass to take out or how many 6+" adult bluegill to put in.

Also, do I want to remove the 2lb or the 4,5 and 6lb bass. I'd hate to remove the large bass, they are the hardest to replace. Tough in this area of NE Pennsylvania to find a pond with a better concentration of trophy fish but obviously thats what eliminated the forage, along with a few guys who went over the top harvesting panfish.

Anyone have a more detailed answer? I'm no expert and have no ability to determine exactly how many LMB there are but I'm fairly certain there are few if any BG and few if any 4-14" LMB.

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#330892 - 04/17/13 01:23 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
Scott Francis Offline


Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 25
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
Sorry, was posting and didnt see your reply. Thanks ESSHUP! Getting closer to my answer.

Which bass to remove and how do i know how many to remove?

How many 8" BG do I add?

Thanks again, Scott

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#330898 - 04/17/13 01:40 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24001
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
I'll let you decide on which ones to remove. wink I'd think long and hard with a pencil and a piece of paper figuring out the size of the LMB in the pond, and the size and quantity of BG that I could source for the pond. BE VERY CAREFUL that you can identify a Northern BG. There are other fish that people think are BG, but aren't. Hybrid BG won't spawn enough to feed the LMB. RES won't spawn enough to feed the LMB. Crappie are a no-no in a small pond - they spawn before LMB and BG, eating both and competing with LMB for food when smaller.

Usually you want 20 to 30 BG per LMB. Probably 30%-50% more if you are stocking BG in the size range that the LMB can eat.

Also, be careful if you transfer fish from another BOW (Body of Water). You can bring in parasites, diseases or unwanted plants with the fish......

There is a relative weight (WR or RW) chart in the archives. Open it and print out the one for LMB. When catching LMB, remove the ones that are under 100% WR. Right now, probably all of them are over 100% WR because of being in pre-spawn condition. After spawning they'll weigh a lot less.

Somewhere on here there is a study that was made, showing the % of each size class of LMB in a healthy pond. That can give you an idea if what the size distribution in the pond should be.

If you want to track individual fish, Greg Grimes http://lakework.com/ (and others - Herman Brothers, etc.) sell a fish tagging kit so you can tell if you've caught that particular fish before. A scale that can weigh in 0.1# increments and a good ruler along with a note pad to record the fish caught are very good management tools.
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#330899 - 04/17/13 01:41 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
RockvilleMDAngler Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 11/28/06
Posts: 236
Loc: Rockville, MD
Remove the smaller bass. Any short bass or skinny bass needs to go. You may want to consider having the lake electroshocked to make sure that the bluegill really are gone. If the bluegill are in bad shape you have many options on how to get the forage base up again. In all honesty 100 large bluegill won't be enough with 6lb bass roaming the water, I would expect you will need closer to 600-700 if not more in the event the bluegill are gone.
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#330900 - 04/17/13 01:42 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: esshup]
esshup Offline
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Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24001
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Oops forgot the removal numbers. It all depends on the WR of the LMB, but somewhere in the 20#-50# per acre is a good place to start, then keep an eye on the WR of the LMB. Lower #/ac if the WR are high, higher #/ac if the WR are low.


Edited by esshup (04/17/13 01:44 PM)
Edit Reason: clarification
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#330906 - 04/17/13 01:58 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
Scott Francis Offline


Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 25
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
Very helpful. I'm ordering the tagging kit today. The 20-50lb per acre seems very low to me but I'm sure you are correct. I fished on Wednesday for 40 minutes and caught 5 bass, the smallest 2.4lbs (pre-spawn). I do weigh all the fish but haven't measured the length. I'll start doing that as well. If I had to guess I'd say there are well over 100lbs of LMB in the pond (last fall we caught 25 in 2 hours) so that is an area we'll have to work on.

One last question for now (:

What should I use to feed the BG? I would prefer to establish a forage minnow rather than pellet feed. Any suggestions?


Thanks a bunch for the help. I at least have enough information to get started.

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#330921 - 04/17/13 03:11 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24001
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Typically a pond can support between 50-75 of LMB per surface acre. That's LMB of all sizes, from 2" long to 20# fish......

To verify the surface area, go here , find and measure the pond.

With LMB in the pond it'll be impossible to get BG forage minnows established. They'll eat FHM (Fathead Minnows) and GS (Glden Shiner) young, but so will any small bass, and the LMB will eat more than the BG will.....

I feed the fish in my pond and our clients ponds AquaMax. If you are just feeding the BG, then Purina Game Fish Chow will be fine. We don't have other brands available here (Zeigler, Silver Cup) so I don't know what they have that is comparable.
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#330941 - 04/17/13 04:21 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
RC51 Offline
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Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 4200
Loc: Arkansas
Wow I have a 1 acre pond and never would have thought I could have 6 pound bass in it? Sounds like you have a nice LMB pond. Lets do some math here.

Most 6 pound bass are real close to 22 inches long. So that means that bass would prefer a 6 to 7 inch fish to eat. The only reason a 7 inch BG won't get ate is because it may be to tall to fit in the LMB mouth but he will sure try if he has to. smile And if you have a bunch from 2.5 lbs and one or two 6ers man you are going through BG like no ones buisness!!

A 3lbs bass is right around 17 to 18 inches one third of that is 5 to 6 inches so it's no wonder you don't have any BG left. It's time to start grilling some of those bass!! smile Keeping a few won't hurt. If you want some bigger BG I would get rid of a few of the larger bass. If you leave all the 4, 5 and 6 pounders in there you may never get any bigger BG in there again! What a terrible thing to have a pond full of HUNGRY and BIG LMB!! Dang it!! smile


Edited by RC51 (04/17/13 04:21 PM)
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#330954 - 04/17/13 05:01 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
Robert-NJ Offline


Registered: 09/06/12
Posts: 294
Loc: South NJ/Varna Bulgaria
Scott,I would look into using cages to allow you to buy smaller BG in greater numbers and raise them to a survivable size vs spending big money on big gills.As they grow and fill the cages you could release some for forage in order to keep the biomass in the cages where it needs to be for healthy fish.Combined with a slot limit for culling LMB I think you would have a good shot at keeping those monsters fat and happy while rebuilding your forage.

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#331666 - 04/22/13 10:48 AM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
Scott Francis Offline


Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 25
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania


This fish was caught yesterday, it was just over 4lbs and just over 19 inches. It seems the big bass (3lbs and larger) are healthy but the smaller ones aren't so healthy. I will start keeping records of all fish caught and try to compare them to the chart.

Also, the kids fished with worms and a bobber for over an hour and a half and caught only two bluegill. 2 years ago they would have caught 100. Last summer was like this also, couldn't catch more than 1 or 2 bluegill even when fishing for several hours. That just doesn't seem right to me.

There are minnows present, I haven't caught any with a net yet but will do that soon so we can figure out what they are also.

thanks, Scott

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#331672 - 04/22/13 11:08 AM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24001
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
The condition of the LMB tell you what sized forage is in the pond for the LMB to eat. LMB do well with forage that is 1/3 to 1/4 their body length.

It could be the smaller LMB are hammering the even smaller BG. The larger LMB don't have BG to eat, so they are hammering the smaller LMB.
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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

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#331676 - 04/22/13 11:18 AM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
Scott Francis Offline


Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 25
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
I will get some details on the sizes/weights soon. I'm just afraid that these healthy fish are going to run out of food. I'm also hoping that if we add a good number of bluegill and they spawn a few times we'll start seeing some smaller bass make it through the year.

On a side note, does anyone have the link describing how to take pictures of your fish so they look bigger? I've searched for it but can't find it.

Thanks


Edited by Scott Francis (04/22/13 11:27 AM)

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#331687 - 04/22/13 11:50 AM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
george1 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 3794
Loc: Plano Texas
Why would you want to make your fish look larger - except for fun?
G/
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Original george #173 (22 June 2002)





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#331690 - 04/22/13 12:01 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: george1]
Scott Francis Offline


Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 25
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
Mainly for fun. The kids would enjoy it. I know there is a post on here of how to do it but couldn't locate it.

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#331701 - 04/22/13 12:28 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
george1 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 3794
Loc: Plano Texas
Originally Posted By: Scott Francis
Mainly for fun. The kids would enjoy it. I know there is a post on here of how to do it but couldn't locate it.

Just for fun, here's the way to make a 3 1/2 lb fish look like a 7 pounder.
Just hold fish at arms length toward the camera - not fair hiding hands tho... grin



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Original george #173 (22 June 2002)





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#331713 - 04/22/13 02:01 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
Scott Francis Offline


Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 25
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
Thanks George!

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#332169 - 04/25/13 09:24 AM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
Scott Francis Offline


Registered: 04/17/13
Posts: 25
Loc: Northeast Pennsylvania
LOL, let the jokes begin. I've been involved, fished, hung around this pond for 20 years. For 20 years the owner has always called it a one acre pond and I went with it. Now that we are trying to actively manage it I took my golf laser rangefinder to the pond and measured it's length and width, its over 2 Acres!!! I am well aware of how to calculate area/acreage/volume/.... I teach high school math including AP Calculus, trigonometry.... How have I gone all this time without ever realizing that the pond is much larger than an acre? Oh well. Maybe that explains why I was shocked with the 50lb limit on LMB when I was sure there was nearly 100lb in this pond.

So, moving forward, I haven't done any fishing the past week so no new data to present. I plan on doing a bunch of fishing in the next few weeks and keep records of everything. I want to get a plan for stocking and culling that will get the balance back.

Thanks for listening. Scott

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#332225 - 04/25/13 04:06 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24001
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Originally Posted By: Scott Francis
LOL, let the jokes begin. I've been involved, fished, hung around this pond for 20 years. For 20 years the owner has always called it a one acre pond and I went with it. Now that we are trying to actively manage it I took my golf laser rangefinder to the pond and measured it's length and width, its over 2 Acres!!! I am well aware of how to calculate area/acreage/volume/.... I teach high school math including AP Calculus, trigonometry.... How have I gone all this time without ever realizing that the pond is much larger than an acre? Oh well. Maybe that explains why I was shocked with the 50lb limit on LMB when I was sure there was nearly 100lb in this pond.

So, moving forward, I haven't done any fishing the past week so no new data to present. I plan on doing a bunch of fishing in the next few weeks and keep records of everything. I want to get a plan for stocking and culling that will get the balance back.

Thanks for listening. Scott


Here's an easier way to measure it. No math involved, and it's easy to do if the pond is irregular in shape.

http://www.acme.com/planimeter/
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#332252 - 04/25/13 06:24 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: esshup]
sjburn Offline


Registered: 04/25/13
Posts: 1
Loc: Louisiana
I have a 5 acre pond that is 6 years old. It was originally stocked with bass and coppernose bream. I now have very large bream and lots of 1-1.5 lb bass. No big bass. Should I just stock bluegill at this point to give the bass more food? Will they co-exist with the coppernose bream ok? Thanks for the help!

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#332262 - 04/25/13 07:52 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
Bill Cody Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 11983
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
sjburn - if you get into the 'rut' of stocking more forage to give your current bass more food, the bass will then just continue to reproduce, hog and over eat the current or existing forage, have slow growth, and then in a year or two you need to stock more forage. It becomes a perpetual cycle. it is basically natural population dynamics. It is best to work within the natural system balance.

The key and wise management method for your situation is a heavy annual harvest of the smaller bass - 8"-12" ers. Reduce the number of predators so the currrent forage base can maintain a numbers balance to feed the existing predator base. Currently your predator base is too large. There are previous posts here to provide some guidelines as to how many pounds of LMB to remove. But it bascially amounts to keep removing bass until you see improved growth in bass length and plumpness. Seeing this growth is best done by keeping catch records of the fish you are catching, those released, and those removed. Feeding the forage pellets will help boost and improve the forage base providing you don't have too many "hogs" eating the forage.

Have you read all the discussions in these threads about bass management? There is lots of valuable, reliable, and proven predator management info there.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=255372#Post255372


Edited by Bill Cody (04/25/13 07:59 PM)
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#332654 - 04/29/13 02:23 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: Scott Francis]
RAH Online   content
Lunker

Registered: 05/17/09
Posts: 3746
Loc: Indiana, Boone County, 25 mile...
Question - If one transplants a large (<18") skinny LMB to a pond full of forage, will it end being a nice fish?

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#332657 - 04/29/13 02:37 PM Re: ??? HUH!! Too many BIG bass [Re: RAH]
RC51 Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 4200
Loc: Arkansas
Originally Posted By: RAH
Question - If one transplants a large (<18") skinny LMB to a pond full of forage, will it end being a nice fish?


Hey RAH,

This is one of those is all depends questions.

It could end up being a decent fish if said fish is not already stunted or is on it's end of it's life cycle. Just because it's only 18 inches long doesn't mean it's not very old. It could be pretty darn old actually.

The other thing I have always been told is your taking a chance at that size of a bass is going to make it at all when you transfer him. The older they are the harder it is for them to get used to a new place and water and pond environment. He may very well die and not make it at all.

Then of course if all is right in the world and said bass is not that old and gets along ok in your pond and makes it through the transfer you may very well end up with a nice 7 or 8 pound fish!
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