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#223382 - 06/24/10 12:27 PM Feeding Bullheads
MRHELLO Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/05/10
Posts: 1840
Loc: N.E. OKLAHOMA
Since many people on here think that Bullheads are tasty, I wanted to know if anyone has tried to raise these in a pond or feed them like CC?

I am sure they are like most other fish that if the water is clean and they eat a nice diet of food they would be better than if they laid in mud all day feeding on who knows what.

Just thought I would post this to see if this would be an option and what people’s thoughts would be on it.

Thanks

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#223386 - 06/24/10 12:49 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: MRHELLO]
WLCopper Offline
Fingerling

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 13
Loc: Indiana, USA
I wouldn't mind hearing some thoughts on Bullheads myself, especially regarding their effects (positive or negative) on ponds and fish populations.

I have caught these scrappy little wonders in many lakes for years, and I like eating them. In fact, I have been known to go after them specifically. Amazing animals! Hard to kill. I once put a bunch of them in a bucket without water overnight in a closed refrigerator, and they were still gasping for air the next day when I started cleaning them!

But, what are their impact on ponds? Or, on other fish? I believe they are bottom feeders. Do they serve any good toward cleaning up a pond bottom? Or, do they simply stir it up and keep it perpetually muddy? I would think they could visit strata with little oxygen without harm (see the anectdote above). I do not have bullheads in my pond currently, so I would have to put them there, if I wanted them there. I simply don't know enough about them at this point to make that decision.

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#223412 - 06/24/10 03:44 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: WLCopper]
CJBS2003 Offline
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Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10457
Loc: northern VA
I know Bill Cody has raised yellow bullheads in cages in his pond in the past. So I am sure he can share his immense wisdom and knowledge with you...

As far as my experience with brown and yellow bullheads...

I have always like the way they taste better than CC. Just my personal preference I suppose. They will readily take feed and grow quite well when fed. There maximum size is around 18" and 3 to 4 pounds. However, 12" and 1 pound is about where I like to harvest them for the table. If they are raised in a clean pond where there is a healthy LMB population, I generally don't see them getting overpopulated. It is when there are fish kills(they are rarely the ones doing the dying) that I see issues. Large numbers of bass die off and the bullheads then go wild. Turning into 4" runts. I have never seen bullheads stir up a pond into a muddy mess. I am not saying it can't be done, but in the several ponds I have managed with bullheads in them, this has never happened.

As far as which species to choose, I would pick either the brown or yellow bullhead. The black bullhead is the most prolific and also the smallest of the three. Yellow bullheads are the nest biggest with brown bullheads reaching the largest in size.

Brown and yellow bullheads are generalists in their diet. There is no doubt they will compete with BG and YP as well as others for food. How much of an overlap their is, I am not sure. I have seen some very large sunfish come out of ponds that contain bullheads and vice versa. If you feed your fish, the competition is greatly reduced. Bullheads are predatory and will gladly strike a jig or small crankbait, but not nearly as much as CC. IME, bullheads are also nowhere near as hook shy and far less picky about the bait choice.

So, if you like to eat bullheads, have a healthy bass population, stocking some isn't going to destroy your fishery. If you have the ability to cage them and raise them in a cage, that is also a viable option.

IME, bullheads that are not overpopulated reach 4"-6" by the end of their fist year, 6"-10" by the end of the second year and 8"-12" by the end of their third year. I usually harvest them in the 12" range.
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#223415 - 06/24/10 04:00 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: CJBS2003]
adirondack pond Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 08/31/07
Posts: 3135
Loc: big moose ny
CJ we have brown bullheads up here and in a cool or cold water pond do you think that chain Pickerel or YP could keep the bullheads in check?
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#227299 - 07/20/10 12:02 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: adirondack pond]
MRHELLO Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/05/10
Posts: 1840
Loc: N.E. OKLAHOMA
Well if I determine that one of our ponds is loaded with Bullheads, I think I am going to try to setup a feeder just to see what happens.

I will keep records and post pics for those that may be interested in this.

This is only if for some reason this has happened, but I will not intentionally stock them.

Thanks

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#227312 - 07/20/10 01:49 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: MRHELLO]
Bullhead Offline

Lunker

Registered: 03/16/09
Posts: 804
Loc: Cornhusker state
Does anyone make poison that will work in a fish feeder?

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#227322 - 07/20/10 02:39 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: Bullhead]
Okie Writer Offline
Lunker

Registered: 06/27/07
Posts: 59
Loc: Oklahoma
Oh, they'll eat CC food. Lots of it! mad Right now, I'm feeding twice daily, and the little buggers are killing my feed budget! Seriously, we must have 100 of them in our half-acre pond. They always come to eat and sometimes show up at the dock before I do. Ours came from upstream during spring rains, and I'm devising a plan to thin them out. Up to now, I usually just put throw them over my shoulder and keep fishing. grin

Having said that, we will eat bullheads---have a few in the freezer that I took out July 4. I just don't want them taking over, which it seems could happen if we don't get a handle on things pretty quick.
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#227337 - 07/20/10 04:47 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: Okie Writer]
MRHELLO Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/05/10
Posts: 1840
Loc: N.E. OKLAHOMA
What size are they now and could you add a few LMB to help take them Out?

I would think the CC would eat a few of them but may not be fast enough to catch them.

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#227382 - 07/20/10 11:09 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: MRHELLO]
Rangersedge Offline
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Registered: 05/22/03
Posts: 837
Loc: Illinois
To each his / her own. I certainly wouldn't intentionally stock one in any of my ponds. I've had enough problems with them as is.
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#227482 - 07/21/10 03:32 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: Rangersedge]
The Pond Frog Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 914
Loc: NorCal
In my baitfish cocktail pond my customer informed me a he caught a 4" catfish but did not know what kind it was. My heart just sank. That is the last thing I wanted. There is almost no way to get rid of them once you get them in. They will make the water turbid sifting through mud, hog up the food supply, outbreed everything and anything. I don;t care how they taste, and we used to eat them out of the Sacramento River every week, they suck in a pond. Literally, they suck all of the resources out. They can even make a pond crash and survive it. Pretty soon you have a boatload of little ones only. Too small to eat, and hard as hell to get off the hook. I had to take one off of my boys hook and it was so small it was hard to grip and it spined me in the palm. I could barely turn the crank on my reel the next day. I could go on a true Mel Gibson rant aobut bullheads. Oh, I already did.

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#227484 - 07/21/10 04:03 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: The Pond Frog]
MRHELLO Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/05/10
Posts: 1840
Loc: N.E. OKLAHOMA
Now how did the catfish get in your cocktail pond?

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#227488 - 07/21/10 04:19 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: MRHELLO]
txelen Offline
Lunker

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 271
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: MRHELLO
Now how did the catfish get in your cocktail pond?


Most likely, some idiot brought it in via bucket.

It's also possible that eggs stuck to the leg of a bird, or it swam in during a flood.
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#227520 - 07/21/10 09:07 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: txelen]
The Pond Frog Offline
Lunker

Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 914
Loc: NorCal
Rice paddy ditch. A few weeks ago I saw many schools of them in an adjacent ditch which supplies ag water to flood rice fields and feed this pond. I immediately told the owner about this threat and to screen the inlet from that ditch. However this pond sat empty for almost a season before I got consulted. Horse already out of the barn. Catch and cull, keep numbers down, all we can do now. What a bummer. Two things the rice paddy ditches normally have boatloads of, crawdads and bullheads, two species that can survive heat and very low O2.

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#233671 - 09/06/10 11:10 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: The Pond Frog]
RDinson Offline


Registered: 09/06/10
Posts: 3
Loc: Florida
I read alot on here about people hating bullheads or having them overtake ponds. I think bullheads are fantastic tasting and probably one of the most underrated fish. I could see if you never fish them out, they could overtake a pond just like catfish. I would love to have that problem of too many many bullheads, I would fish them out and eat them in bunches :-)

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#233681 - 09/07/10 03:19 AM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: RDinson]
Rainman Offline
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Field Correspondent
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Lunker

Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 6980
Loc: St Louis, MO area
Rdinson, yes bullheads do taste pretty good. The "problems with them in a pond is that they not only breed beyond any control, they also muddy the water which destroys the ecosystem needed for the primary fish most desire.

Channel Catfish rarely have recruitment of young in a pond and need to be re-stocked periodically and do not muddy the water while eating like bullheads.

There are several people that have ponds just for Bullheads.
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#233700 - 09/07/10 09:08 AM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: Rainman]
MRHELLO Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/05/10
Posts: 1840
Loc: N.E. OKLAHOMA
I have a couple of ponds that are already muddy due to cattle and not much water.

I have actually considered puttling Bullheads in it if my other fish do not take.

At least I will have some fishing use out of the pond until we have the money to fix them.

I am going to try to get more primary fish to take but if they do not, Bullhead and Trash fish (carp, drum, etc.) here I come.

I was thinking all of these fish if you can get them to take feed may not be that bad eating after all.

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#389117 - 10/07/14 11:48 AM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: MRHELLO]
Osprey Offline


Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Texas, United States
Originally Posted By: MRHELLO
Since many people on here think that Bullheads are tasty, I wanted to know if anyone has tried to raise these in a pond or feed them like CC?

I am sure they are like most other fish that if the water is clean and they eat a nice diet of food they would be better than if they laid in mud all day feeding on who knows what.

Just thought I would post this to see if this would be an option and what people’s thoughts would be on it.

Thanks


If you like Bullheads for eating? I would suggest going with White Bullhead Cats. They are the largest member of the Bullhead family, and from what I gather have less of a tendency to overpopulate a pond. Bass will also feed heavily on their schooling offspring as well. I've read that they are frequently caught in the lower Mississippi River, and it's tributaries from Baton Rouge Louisiana to to the Gulf Coast.

Although they might be hard to get in your neck of the woods? There use to be a fish hatchery in West Virginia that sold them for stocking, if I recall correctly? I'm sure if you do some checking around with hatcheries in the Southeast you could probably find them. Another alternative might be to contact: Auburn University School of fisheries at (334)844-4786, fish@auburn.edu. I know over the years they have done extensive studies on White Catfish.

Anyway just some thoughts?

[img]http://www.catfish1.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=235254&d=1403761492&thumb=1[/img]

[img]http://www.catfish1.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=248526&d=1411658665&thumb=1[/img]

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#389215 - 10/09/14 10:10 AM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: Osprey]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5281
Loc: SE Kansas
Osprey, don't know if you noticed or not, but you replied to a thread from 2010. Which is not a bad thing. I had not read that thread and it was interesting, so thanks for bringing it back up.

I also noticed you registered in 2012 but this is post number one. Let me welcome you to posting. And thanks for the bullhead links. Wife and I have eaten some (I think ours are yellow bullheads, but I am not absolutely sure) this year and we liked them just fine. Maybe 90% as well as CC, but still very good.

I feed bullheads, by the way, but not on purpose. They are in my old pond. My bullheads have no problem taking to pellets. The small ones I catch in a minnow trap baited with feed looks like their little bellies are going to explode they have eaten so much.


Edited by snrub (10/09/14 10:12 AM)
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#389430 - 10/12/14 03:38 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: snrub]
Osprey Offline


Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Texas, United States
Originally Posted By: snrub
Osprey, don't know if you noticed or not, but you replied to a thread from 2010. Which is not a bad thing. I had not read that thread and it was interesting, so thanks for bringing it back up.

I also noticed you registered in 2012 but this is post number one. Let me welcome you to posting. And thanks for the bullhead links. Wife and I have eaten some (I think ours are yellow bullheads, but I am not absolutely sure) this year and we liked them just fine. Maybe 90% as well as CC, but still very good.

I feed bullheads, by the way, but not on purpose. They are in my old pond. My bullheads have no problem taking to pellets. The small ones I catch in a minnow trap baited with feed looks like their little bellies are going to explode they have eaten so much.


Yea, I did notice it was an older post, but I thought it was a good topic. I've noticed a lot of people ask the same questions over and over. When there are a lot of previous placed post that could answer their questions. I also knew it would pop up on the ACTIVE TOPICS at the top of the forum introduction page.

I appreciate the warm welcome, and thank you for responding. I hear a lot of folks on here complaining about Bullheads and I really don't know why?? Some of the biggest Bass, Crappie, and Catfish I have ever seen have come from small lakes and ponds with good populations of Bullheads. Just me, but if you have to many bullheads? You don't have nearly enough predators like the afore mentioned. I witness every spring the gamefish feeding heavily on the slow swimming offspring. The Bullheads that do wind up surviving the onslaught from the ponds I fish usually wind up getting up to the 1-3 pound size, and in my opinion make great sport on light tackle.

You hear every kind of opinion about the eating qualities of this family of Catfish. You hear things like "they're only good for bait","they taste like mud & are terrible", to "there is no tastier catfish than Bullhead's!" I tend to agree with the latter. Let me clarify by saying just about any type of fish can be excellent, or terrible tablefare depending on the time of year, water quality, what they have been feeding on,the relative health of each fish overall, how they are prepared before cooking, and Last, but not least how they are cooked.


Attachments
BassEatBullheads.jpg (317 downloads)


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#389432 - 10/12/14 04:01 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: Osprey]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5281
Loc: SE Kansas
In my old pond, which I cleaned out, I left a small puddle of water in the middle which was too wet for me to get out with the bulldozer. Big mistake from the GSF and BH standpoint. I had decided to make this pond a RES "heavy" pond and only stock FHM and mostly RES, with just a few BG that I knew eventually would take hold and get ahead of the RES. Was going to add predators as soon as I saw enough recruitment of the sunfish to need it.

Well, that puddle changed my whole plan, as it had GSF and BH in it. I had already put the FHM and RES in when I started catching GSF and BH. So needless to say, plans changed. I was just going to throw the bullheads we caught away, but wife thought some were pretty nice size and big enough to eat so she cleaned some. We ate them along with some CC and a couple of small BG we gut hooked, and the BH tasted good battered and deep fried. So we eat any that are any decent size now.

Having all the BH and GSF in this old pond, had to add some predators to keep the numbers in check. Caught some 9-10" LMB out of our main pond and put in earlier this summer. Caught one of them a week ago and it measured 14". Nice fat belly too. The biggest one that I have caught out of our main pond (stocked as fingerlings Nov 2013) has been about 13 3/4. So I would say the LMB in this old pond are doing quite fine on GSF and BH fare.


Edited by snrub (10/12/14 04:06 PM)
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#389454 - 10/12/14 08:40 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: snrub]
Osprey Offline


Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Texas, United States
Originally Posted By: snrub
In my old pond, which I cleaned out, I left a small puddle of water in the middle which was too wet for me to get out with the bulldozer. Big mistake from the GSF and BH standpoint. I had decided to make this pond a RES "heavy" pond and only stock FHM and mostly RES, with just a few BG that I knew eventually would take hold and get ahead of the RES. Was going to add predators as soon as I saw enough recruitment of the sunfish to need it.

Well, that puddle changed my whole plan, as it had GSF and BH in it. I had already put the FHM and RES in when I started catching GSF and BH. So needless to say, plans changed. I was just going to throw the bullheads we caught away, but wife thought some were pretty nice size and big enough to eat so she cleaned some. We ate them along with some CC and a couple of small BG we gut hooked, and the BH tasted good battered and deep fried. So we eat any that are any decent size now.

Having all the BH and GSF in this old pond, had to add some predators to keep the numbers in check. Caught some 9-10" LMB out of our main pond and put in earlier this summer. Caught one of them a week ago and it measured 14". Nice fat belly too. The biggest one that I have caught out of our main pond (stocked as fingerlings Nov 2013) has been about 13 3/4. So I would say the LMB in this old pond are doing quite fine on GSF and BH fare.


I could be wrong, but I think it's probably a losing battle to try and keep bullheads and GSF out of ponds. I think the best thing to do is utilize them as a sport and food resource. Keep plenty of Bass, and other predators of your choosing in the pond to manage their numbers.

Bullheads and other small catfish are one of the easiest fish to clean. There are plenty of video's on youtube that will show you how to clean them quickly and efficiently.

Mookie Outdoors Bullhead cleaning 15 seconds or less.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eXrV4qPIPE

The Fastest Way In The World To Clean Bullheads and Small Catfish Whole!-1/1
http://youtu.be/7RjEUSkdks4list=PL3T5Zb924hBQZnQifuo-i_ccVuDAI3hWD

I don't know if this has anything to do with it? But one of the ponds I fish has spotted bass in it, and I have caught very few bullheads from it. Another thing I've observed is those "Spots" seem way more aggressive than the largemouths.

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#389457 - 10/12/14 08:53 PM Re: Feeding Bullheads [Re: Osprey]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5281
Loc: SE Kansas
I know it is a loosing battle trying to eliminate them for sure, other than killing and starting over. So it will be just managing around them for me.

Thanks for the fish cleaning links. Will give them a look.
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#389470 - 10/12/14 10:39 PM Bullheads feeding me [Re: snrub]
snrub Offline


Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 5281
Loc: SE Kansas
What good eating bullheads look like.

Half of it is CC, the other half BH on each plate. I can tell after biting in which is which by looking at the meat. The BH is a little darker. But I would be hard pressed to be fed one or the other and be able to tell which one it was.

Not pictured...... the home made biscuits that went with the plate of fish. Yummmm. Sure glad I married a good cook. And the fact that she cleaned the fish too............. I'm a lucky guy and life is good.

Edit: forgot to mention the home made apple pie made from apples off our tree for desert. Not that I'm bragging............ ok, well I am just a little. grin


Attachments
017.JPG (316 downloads)
Description: Bullhead and CC, yummm.




Edited by snrub (10/12/14 10:42 PM)
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#389501 - 10/13/14 09:50 AM Re: Bullheads feeding me [Re: snrub]
Osprey Offline


Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 7
Loc: Texas, United States
Originally Posted By: snrub
What good eating bullheads look like.

Half of it is CC, the other half BH on each plate. I can tell after biting in which is which by looking at the meat. The BH is a little darker. But I would be hard pressed to be fed one or the other and be able to tell which one it was.

Not pictured...... the home made biscuits that went with the plate of fish. Yummmm. Sure glad I married a good cook. And the fact that she cleaned the fish too............. I'm a lucky guy and life is good.

Edit: forgot to mention the home made apple pie made from apples off our tree for desert. Not that I'm bragging............ ok, well I am just a little. grin



You're making me very hungry! Your a lucky man to have a wife that's a good cook and even clean's fish! I wish we all were so lucky.

I've read the "The muddy taste in fish comes from a chemical produced by algae and cyanobacteria, and is strongest in the summer months. The chemical is called methylisoborneol."

One way I've found to give fish a cleaner taste in the summer months is by unloading them after a day of catching, in an ice chest with ice & clean water, enough to cover the fish and keep for at least 24 hrs. After a day or 2 in ice water I clean them. Make sure you keep an eye on the ice. Fish in most waters are better in the cold of winter. When I clean the fish and before freezing the fillets, I put a little lemon juice in the bags before I freeze em. They never have a muddy taste.

Another trick I've read about, but haven't tried is soaking the fillets in 7 Up for a time before cooking. Can't say for sure how well it works? I haven't tried it, but it sounds good.

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