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ewest 19920
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#424496 - 09/21/15 10:27 PM Sustainable Diversity
BJazz Offline

Registered: 09/21/15
Posts: 3
Loc: Southern Iowa
We have 5 main ponds on the farm. One is over 4 acres and 25+ ft deep and has been a productive fishery for over 30 years. It lately is having an issue with bass overpopulation. Another is a 5 acre wetland with a 15 ft trench and lots of shallow surface area. The other 3 are typical farm ponds at about 1 acre each. All have been stocked with the typical bass/bluegill/channel catfish mix years ago. All seem to reproduce well naturally in all the ponds. One pond also has black crappie and has been very productive with good sized crappie. We also have a couple other ponds that are less than .5 acres that I would like to make into “minnow ponds” to catch and use for bait, (just for on farm use) as well as supplemental forage.
• Manage bass overpopulation in the big pond
• Reestablish walleye in the big pond. They were there for years and even reproduced, but we haven’t caught one in a few years (maybe why bass are overpopulated now?)
• Diversify the types of fish we can catch in the different ponds
• Provide additional forage to all ponds and start minnow ponds
• Prevent crappie stunting in the crappie pond
• Add Red Ear to control grubs in ponds that we stocked via transfer of bass/bluegill/catfish from other ponds
• Improve the overall habitat and production of all ponds
Questions for you:
How large do walleye have to be that they wouldn’t get totally wiped out if we added them to the well-established big pond?
Would adding hybrid striped bass help control the bass overpopulation in the big pond at all? What about preventing crappie stunting in the crappie pond?
Any potential issues with establishing perch in the big pond and in one of the smaller ones?
Is stocking crawdads worthwhile? Maybe in the feeder ponds?
do things like spawning mats or honey hole trees work?
What type of pond might smb do well in?
Would adding a significant amount of fatheads at the same time as other fish help reduce mortality (of walleye for example)?
How much more time do we have to stock yet this fall or should we wait until spring?

I know that's a lot. But I'm somewhat new to fishery management and I have lots of variables. This will be a multi year project. I'm considering starting with the big pond this fall by putting in 200 WE, YP, RES, 20 lbs fatheads and 50 HSB. Thoughts on any and all of this are appreciated!

#424519 - 09/22/15 08:34 AM Re: Sustainable Diversity [Re: BJazz]
RER Offline

Registered: 01/23/12
Posts: 1926
Loc: N FL
IF you are bass heavy adding any thing is kind of a waste, it will just be quickly eaten by all those very hungry bass. Remove lots and lots of bass might be the first step to consider. As a rule of thumb if LMB in ponds are not culled or harvested they will over populate and eat out the pond.

Edited by BobbyRice (09/22/15 08:38 AM)
Goofing off is a slang term for engaging in recreation or an idle pastime while obligations of work or society are neglected........... Wikipedia

#424523 - 09/22/15 09:23 AM Re: Sustainable Diversity [Re: BJazz]
Bill Cody Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 12889
Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
I wouldn't stock any fingerling sport fish into a pond containing adult bass unless you have deep pockets. Renovate one or two of your smaller ponds and use them as grow out ponds to produce larger sized stocker fish from fingerling fish.

Edited by Bill Cody (09/22/15 09:26 AM)
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#424529 - 09/22/15 09:42 AM Re: Sustainable Diversity [Re: BJazz]
FINnFUR Offline

Registered: 03/24/15
Posts: 113
Loc: South Cemtral Virginia
The experts know more about this but short of a kill off in the 4 acre you might have a couple community fish offs / fry. Keep all bass caught in large #s no matter the size.
no catch and release. Then stock some larger of what you want established. And large HSB to keep the the LMB down. Repeat till numbers where you want.
Just a thought.

#424535 - 09/22/15 10:21 AM Re: Sustainable Diversity [Re: FINnFUR]
esshup Offline
Field Correspondent


Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 24033
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
BJazz, welcome to the forum!

Like others have said, adding fish to the ponds with overcrowded Largemouth Bass (LMB) would just be feeding the bass. Remove 100#-200# of LMB from the 4 ac pond to help the forage fish and be prepared to keep removing roughly 20# of LMB per surface acre per year to keep them from eating themselves out of house and home. That number can be adjusted after the first large scale removal by using relative weight charts for the LMB that are found in the archives.

To prevent stunting in the crappie pond, you will have to catch and remove a lot of crappie.

Some of the other ponds can be renovated and turned into minnow ponds, but when the renovation is planned, it should be with goal to easily allow you to harvest minnows in sufficient quantities to make a difference in the ponds that they will be stocked. That usually means harvesting with a seine, and harvesting many pounds of minnows. A pond that is shaped like a paint roller tray facilitates that method.

Rough rule of thumb is that it takes 10# of minnows to put 1# of weight on one fish.

To change a fish population, it's best to lower, rotenone and start completely over. If the ponds are old (30+ years old) it might be wise to also renovate those ponds before restocking. i.e. draining completely, removing organic build-up on the pond bottom, placing cover in the pond for the fish that will be stocked, then refilling the pond. Also, if there are steel outflow pipes in any of the dams, it would be a good time to replace them while the renovation is being done.

If the ponds on the property have any possibility of draining into each other with a high water event (a LOT of rain at once for instance), the fish from the higher ponds will find their way to the lower ponds. So, have the minnow ponds highest to prevent contamination from the other ponds.

To help minimize predation in the LMB pond, any fish stocked should be at least 1/3 as large as the largest LMB in the pond. If not, you could see predation rates as high or higher than 90% of the stocked fish.

To remove a lot of fish at the same time from a pond, electroshocking the pond at a time when a large majority of the fish population is in shallow water is the fastest way. i.e. for removing LMB, shocking when they are just starting to make spawning beds ensures that a majority are in shallow water.

3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).

#424543 - 09/22/15 11:23 AM Re: Sustainable Diversity [Re: BJazz]
ewest Offline
Hall of Fame 2014


Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19920
Loc: Miss.
The problem is keeping any pond aspect static as the pond is a dynamic biological model. It has been referred to as trying to balance on a knife edge between 2 unstable states being LMB crowded on one hand and BG crowded on the other. Both tend to get out of balance as conditions change.

Edited by ewest (09/22/15 02:27 PM)

#424565 - 09/22/15 04:24 PM Re: Sustainable Diversity [Re: BJazz]
BJazz Offline

Registered: 09/21/15
Posts: 3
Loc: Southern Iowa
Thanks all! I will see how big the WE I can get are to decide if it is worth it. We will just start fishing hard and throwing bass on the bank in the meantime I guess. There is a lot of cover and structure in the pond and I see minnows and little BG all the time, so I have a little more confidence then you all that at least some YP and RES would survive and spawn. And if not, no big deal. I love the idea of a "grow out pond " for the HSB though. I have the perfect setup for that.

#424581 - 09/22/15 07:43 PM Re: Sustainable Diversity [Re: BJazz]
Rainman Offline
Field Correspondent
Hall of Fame


Registered: 06/06/07
Posts: 7022
Loc: St Louis, MO area
I would suggest catching even more LMB then esshup mentioned, about 300# to start and around 150# a year till weights look great and catch rates drop to around 2-3 LMB an hour. I'd remove anything in the 14" and under size (unless really fat) should be removed. I'd cut a couple gills on and toss back in for catfish and turtles to eat. Anything over 14", I'd also remove for table fare unless it looks extra healthy.

Maybe you can have a fishing party...buy a keg and let friends put in a bunch of fishing lines....or delete the beer and invite boy scouts and/or church youth groups out for a fun weekend of fishing. If you want to spend money on minnows, buy the minnows as live bait to make for high catch rates.


#424621 - 09/23/15 10:17 AM Re: Sustainable Diversity [Re: Rainman]
BJazz Offline

Registered: 09/21/15
Posts: 3
Loc: Southern Iowa
I like the beer idea!

#424638 - 09/23/15 12:16 PM Re: Sustainable Diversity [Re: BJazz]
ewest Offline
Hall of Fame 2014


Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19920
Loc: Miss.

This is what is suggested by Dick Anderson - the Prof who wrote the book on PSD.

Keep taking <12 in bass until the number 8-12 equals number 12-15. Ideal pond structure is 40% 8-12, 40% 12-15 and 20% 15+

This assumes good fish condition.

Another suggestion is take out all the fish in poor condition in all size groups. Note the size group that is stunted will have a much higher % of fish in poor condition.

These are all correlated to the concept of RW mgt.

Here are 3 archive links with a ton of info on the subject.




If the only method of removal is hook and line then you need to consider the catchibility issue which underlies your question about genetics.

Look for threads here on catchability. The info is here as is the research.

Here are a couple with links




Edited by ewest (09/23/15 12:17 PM)

#430096 - 11/25/15 10:42 PM Re: Sustainable Diversity [Re: BJazz]
Turtlemtn Offline

Registered: 11/24/15
Posts: 368
Loc: Missouri
I built a pond of 1/4 ac or little less 9 yr ago and stocked it, as it was filling, with 25 each of CCF, northern BG, RESF, and LMB. A year later I added 25 more CCF. These were all of the smallest size available. I had planned to eat the fish I raised, but I only ate one. Without any management, other than a daily hand feeding of floating catfish food, this summer I had about a dozen large CCF, two sizes of smaller CCF, indicating that the CCF had successfully spawned at least twice, a pond full of BG, and LMB of various sizes. Each evening when I fed, the BG would line up for their food, the thumb nail size closest to shore (sometimes one or two would flop out onto the bank), and one LMB of perhaps 4 lb or better would shoulder into the middle of them, as if it too wanted the floating food. But as soon as I began throwing the food, the orderly assemblage of fish erupted into a feeding frenzy and in the midst would be several explosions as the big LMB grabbed its meal, and smaller LMB helped themselves as well. The CCF would appear as soon as the food hit the water, and they would cruse around with their mouths open like sharks. The pond reached an equilibrium on its own, and maintained it year after year despite very low water levels during droughts and considerable spilling during floods. No water plants ever appeared other than algae. A year or two after the pond filled a large oak tree fell into it during an ice storm and provided valuable structure and cover. The tree is still there, although it's lost much of its mass and is slowly subsiding into the pond.


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