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#472309 - 05/19/17 10:52 PM Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time
GatorAg Offline


Registered: 08/08/16
Posts: 8
Loc: Missouri
Last May I bought a 10 acre lake in Missouri about an hour and a half south of Kansas City. I took my time fishing it and developing a fish log over the last year before I made any major management decisions. It has LMB, BG, White and Black Crappie, a few catfish and a few rough fish (carp and gar). All fish I have caught have been fat and healthy. I literally have not caught a skinny fish. I catch between 10-30 bass in an average outing. About 80% of the bass caught are under 13 inches in an average outing. I have caught bass up to 8 pounds and my best day I caught 5 fish over 5 pounds and two 7 or 8 pounders. I have a wide range of class years, just many smaller 13 and under bass. My goal is to have a few more 3-5 pounders and a few less 13 and under fish but otherwise not change much on a healthy fishery. After working with my biologist be said to harvest 300 bass per year under 13 inches and to keep all crappie, catfish and rough fish.

Over the past year I would catch an occasional crappie or big bluegill but have never caught them too consistently. Well this spring I sank some brush and the crappie followed. I'm now catching 20-30 crappie (90% white crappie) in a targeted outing on the brush. Most all of them 70% are over 12 inches with a few over 15 inches. Very nice crappie. It's such a good crappie bite right now with such mature fish that I feel bad pulling out all those old crappie, but I don't want to mess up my fish balance. Do I really need to harvest every crappie? Can I put in a slot or let the 14+ inches go without hurting my plan to grow an average size bigger bass?

Is it possible to have nice percentage of 3-5 pound bass and nice fat crappie at the same time or am I being greedy?

It's a really good fishery now, so I would hate to screw it up so am looking for opinions.

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#472318 - 05/20/17 08:33 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5122
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Hey Gator,

How is the BG population doing? IMO it sounds like your biologist has provided some good advice although I'm not sure you can manage the fish populations in a 10 acre by angling alone.
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You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!

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#472329 - 05/20/17 10:06 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 18609
Loc: Miss.
Take a look at the thread on Crappie in ponds. Keep in mind that every pond is different but in most crappie are unmanageable.

http://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=92447#Post92447


Edited by ewest (05/20/17 10:07 AM)
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#472363 - 05/20/17 02:38 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
GatorAg Offline


Registered: 08/08/16
Posts: 8
Loc: Missouri
There appear to be a decent number of bluegill but I haven't targeted them deliberately much. Is there a great way to assess that population and what it should be?

The pond hasn't been stocked in at least a decade and has only been lightly fished in recent years. I definitely don't see a bunch of stunted crappie or bass like I expected. Just a bit higher percentage of 13 and under bass than I would like.

My theory is there wasn't much cover and the high number of bass naturally kept the crappie in check.

My main concern is if I pull 300 bass out per year and add structure that the crappie may explode. But at the same time I don't want to pull out all the nice big crappie of I don't have to.


Edited by GatorAg (05/20/17 02:42 PM)

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#472364 - 05/20/17 03:02 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
Matzilla Offline


Registered: 08/12/16
Posts: 63
Loc: Iowa
What's the water clarity like? If clear enough you should be able to spot male BG on beds now or at least on warm sunny days. Catch a few if you can find them and report the largest size male, which should be Guarding a bed in the middle of the cluster

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#472369 - 05/20/17 06:25 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
GatorAg Offline


Registered: 08/08/16
Posts: 8
Loc: Missouri
Just took a worm, tiny fly fishing hook and bobber to get a better idea on BG size and quantity. I caught about 40 BG in about an hour and a half, had a bite on most casts. Size range was 2 inches to hand size. I would say maybe half were under 3 inches, maybe 30 percent in the 3-5 inch range and 20 percent over 6 inches. I didn't catch any monsters say over 8 inches, but I was using a small piece of worm and bobber. Multiple year classes were observed based on size. All appeared fat and healthy. Males were very bright and appear to be spawning.

I did have about four bass blow up on my bobber! Guess I need to throw a topwater tonight.

The water clarity is about 18 inches the or take depending on rain. About ideal. It does drop off to about 2-3 feet quickly. So I have vegetation right along but edge but not a whole lot, which I think helps the bass keep the crappie and BG in check.

I'm very satisfied with my crappie and BG numbers. I would like those to hold in numbers and size and reduce my small bass percentage to have a few more 3-5 pounders.

The crappie are the X factor though and I don't know if I have to harvest all the big ones and would prefer not to. I just worry if I add structure and pull out 300 small bass that my crappie may explode.

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#472370 - 05/20/17 07:08 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5122
Loc: Boone County Illinois
It sounds like you are happy with your fishery already but you would like more bass in the 3 to 5 pound range.

Perhaps food for thought...My understanding is, typically, BOWs with lots of big panfish have a lot of small bass. Those small small bass target the small panfish and reduce competition for the panfish that survive allowing them to grow to a larger size. I understand your concern that eliminating too many small bass could cause a crappie explosion. Have you thought about a harvest slot size on your bass? Maybe 30 pounds per acre of bass 10 to 14 inches? This would leave your small bass to control crappie and BG spawn while reducing the numbers of the size bass that are competing for the same size forage as your bass trying to get to 3 to 5 pounds. (Those 8 or 9 inch bass are also appropriate size and shape forage for your bigger LMB. IMO it would be a shame to throw them in the compost pile.)

Maybe also harvest crappie 10 or 12 and smaller?

Not a pro...just my 1 cent.

Bill D.


Edited by Bill D. (05/20/17 08:30 PM)
Edit Reason: After Thought
_________________________

You'll never know what ya can catch unless you wet a line!

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#472410 - 05/21/17 11:57 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 18609
Loc: Miss.
If you like what you have then spend your time gathering facts over a long time period. The more info you have the better mgt plan you can develop.
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#472600 - 05/24/17 09:28 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
GatorAg Offline


Registered: 08/08/16
Posts: 8
Loc: Missouri
The crappie sure are stacked up right now around my newly placed brush piles. I could have likely caught 100 crappie probably 80% in the 12-17 inch range. Huge crappie. About as good a crappie bite as is possible as it is just one after another of huge crappie.

I'm inviting some kids out next weekend to help me catch a mess of them and am wondering how many I should take out.

What's crazy is somehow this 10 acre pond without any management is pretty well balanced. The bass, crappie and bluegill are all fat healthy and plentiful. I worry I'm going to do more harm than good by taking out a bunch of small bass and big crappie and almost wonder if I should just use bigger baits if I want to get around catching so many small bass and not worry about it too much.

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#472610 - 05/24/17 12:31 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
BrianL Offline


Registered: 03/31/14
Posts: 422
Loc: Paris, TX
Lusk refers to BOW like a garden, and you need to harvest. Crappie are like the squash. All the sudden they explode in numbers you can't eat all it will produce.

From what I have read you will never catch enough crappie on that size BOW with just a few people fishing it.
_________________________
2.1 acre pond with FHM, CNBG, RES, HSB, and LMB
Trophy Hunter feeder.

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#472614 - 05/24/17 01:59 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
GatorAg Offline


Registered: 08/08/16
Posts: 8
Loc: Missouri
I tend to agree with that from everything I have read that I likely can't catch enough crappie to make a big difference, but again somehow it is pretty balanced and I would hate to throw that off.

Also, at what point is a BOW big enough to have crappie or to be self-regulating similarly to a public reservoir?

Could it be that mine is big enough to be acting in a similar fashion?

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#472629 - 05/24/17 04:58 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
ewest Offline
Moderator
Hall of Fame 2014

Lunker

Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 18609
Loc: Miss.
No - the size ranges from 80 to 500 acres and even in big waters there are large swings in crappie recruitment.

You need info as there is something unique to your water if its as described.
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#472878 - Today at 02:15 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
james holt Online   happy
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 1698
Loc: gainesville texas
I have a lake about the same size as yours. The crappie recruitment swings are huge! Three years ago we caught very nice crappie averaging about 12inches with some being much larger but almost all of them were very nice sized. The average catch rate was about seven an hour. this year the average size fish is about nine inches and you catch one on every cast! I had a friend of mine fishing with me Friday and in less than two hours we had kept over fifty small crappie. We then went to a larger lake only a mile away on Saturday looking for bigger fish. This lake is about six hundred acres and is well known for a really good crappie population. We had the exact same thing happen! Lots of nine-inch crappie! I'm guessing that the crappie in the lake and the crappie in my pond were the same age? The biologist that manages the lake wants all the crappie taken out of it this year just like Bob Lusk has told me to do on mine. Why the swings in the large lake and my pond are so similar I don't know. Could it be weather related? We had low water levels followed by lots of rain? I'm just guessing The only good thing about all these small crappie is that it seems the bass are getting really fat eating them. This makes me wonder if now it will swing in favor of higher bass recruitment and an overpopulation of bass in the future?

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