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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: 10
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: 5190
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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#472329 - 05/20/17 10:06 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 18750
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: 10
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: 106
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: 10
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: 5190
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
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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: 18750
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: 10
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: 502
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.
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1.8 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: 10
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: 18750
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 - 05/30/17 02:15 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
james holt Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 1712
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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#472901 - 05/30/17 11:09 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
james holt Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 1712
Loc: gainesville texas
It is in my opinion difficult to have large bass and large crappie in high numbers. Large numbers of small bass are needed to keep crappie numbers down. This encourages less crappie but larger crappie but now you have lots of smaller bass and less food to grow big bass? The other strategy is keep all the crappie and keep small bass? This strategy focuses on increasing forage numbers by reducing predators. Another strategy that has been discussed is trying to use hybrid stripers to control crappie numbers but they are not selective in what they eat. Hybrid strippers do forage along the shore for bluegill and shiners so it's not a magic bullet in only controlling crappie. The strategy I'm using now is focused on reducing crappie numbers. Im leaving bass for now until i can get these crappie numbers down and then will remove bass again. Im also adding hybrids and more forage. I think each year will be different and what you are you trying to accomplish might change

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#472904 - 05/30/17 11:22 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
james holt Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 1712
Loc: gainesville texas
Even the large lakes that are over 20k acres and above have up and down cycles of the bass and crappie in them. Look at lake texoma it's 93k acres and the shad populations go up and down with the predator populations following. I think it's like driving a car making adjustments as you go trying to keep it between the lines with the road always changi g

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#472925 - 05/30/17 03:09 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: james holt]
GatorAg Offline


Registered: 08/08/16
Posts: 10
Loc: Missouri
Thanks for the info and opinions. I took my wife out this weekend and we caught about 40 crappie in about an hour. We kept about 30 of them. Almost all were in the 12-17 in range. I plan on pulling another another 50-100 crappie out this weekend along with another 50 smaller bass.

I guess I'll just focus on getting as many crappie out as possible and trying to grow a few more bigger bass like the biologist recommends. Just seems a shame to pull out all these big crappie, too bad I can't keep them. Crappie fishing doesn't get much better.

I caught a few 3+ pound bass on crappie jigs this weekend so the bass are obviously eating the smaller crappie (which is my theory on why I have so many big crappie percentage wise).

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#472934 - 05/30/17 03:42 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
R&R Offline


Registered: 05/20/11
Posts: 355
Loc: Wash. County , IN. 10ac. pond
Gator ,
Sounds to me like you have an awesome place!! Congrats.

I am by no means an expert in the pond management category.(Come to think of, Any category) But I too have a similar situation going on. 10ac. BOW with LMB,BCP and BG. I have owned it 7 years now. I put the BCP in before I knew they "Might" become a hard to manage resident. As of right now I experience much the same results as you. In my mind the lack of cover and sometimes 8+ feet of visibility let the Bass keep the Crappie in check.
So at this time I just keep enjoying the great fishing. Hoping I don't have my head in the sand. Although I do have future plans for a small grow out pond for Red Ear and then maybe Bluegill. My Back-up plan are the Hyb-Strippers. Good Luck!!
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"If you aim at nothing you'll hit it every time"

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#473243 - 06/02/17 02:25 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: R&R]
GatorAg Offline


Registered: 08/08/16
Posts: 10
Loc: Missouri
Thanks Zig. I think monitoring it is probably the best thing to do right now to try to keep it in balance. I just worry that if I pull out 300 small bass and all these big crappie, that I am setting up myself to have an explosion of small baitfish next year and that might stunt the crappie and bass and diminish my goal to grow a higher percentage of big bass.

I plan on pulling about 200 fish out this weekend. I need to figure out how to post pics on here.

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#473245 - 06/02/17 03:00 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: 18750
Loc: Miss.
Please keep us posted on results. See the archive crappie thread for more info.

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

I don't know how one manages a species where one female can have from 0 to 200,000 offspring a year.



Edited by ewest (06/02/17 03:06 PM)
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#473248 - 06/02/17 03:20 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
bassmaster61 Offline


Registered: 06/18/15
Posts: 109
Loc: St. Louis, MO/West Central Ill...
Not that I am any expert but I believe that if you read material from any state Dept. of Conservation it will suggest that you not stock or allow crappie in any lake smaller than 40 acres (some publications I have read put it as high as 60 acres) because they tend to overpopulate and are hard to manage.

After having a crappie overpopulation problem in one of our ponds because of too much vegetation (coontail...too many places for small crappie to hide) we have found the best thing to do (after curing the coontail problem) is to keep EVERY crappie you catch and to keep 20 LMB that are 14 inches or smaller per acre per year. It may bother you to keep all those big crappie but you need to bite the bullet and do it.

That is a lot of fish in a 10 acre pond. We had to recruit some friends who are crappie fishermen to help us out....they follow our harvest rules closely and it is a win-win for all involved. In a big pond like yours we would have trouble spending enough time on the water to harvest the proper number of fish.

But it sounds like you have a great base to work with and might not have to get too technical in terms of management to keep it going. Remove small LMB and all the crappie you catch...that is the key or at least it was for us. BM61.
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#474417 - 06/18/17 09:49 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
DisplacedGill Offline


Registered: 06/18/17
Posts: 15
Loc: Oklahoma by way of Missouri. C...
it may seem counter-intuitive to release those bruiser crappie, but in my mind there are two different trains of thought:

1) Those bruiser crappie may be reaching the end of their life cycle anyways, so by releasing them your only allowing them to die in an ecosystem that arguably doesn't need any more extra food. Instead, by keeping them you're enjoying some quality table fare!

2) Without keeping these crappie and keeping a detailed log, you have no way of knowing if those 17"ers are in their prime condition or if they could be 20"ers but just can't feed enough!

I know there are some experts on this forum who could tell by looking at pictures if a crappie was stunted or not, so maybe add some high-quality photos for reference. I would also highly recommend looking into the relative weight charts for your fish population. They have been very helpful in management of my family's pond (smaller BOW).


Edited by DisplacedGill (06/18/17 09:50 PM)
Edit Reason: Addition of content
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#475570 - 07/05/17 08:46 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
james holt Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 1712
Loc: gainesville texas
dont stock catfish ever!!!

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#475590 - 07/06/17 08:55 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: james holt]
RC51 Offline
Ambassador
Lunker

Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 4108
Loc: Arkansas
Originally Posted By: james holt
dont stock catfish ever!!!


+ one on that!!

RC
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You don't just wake up great one day. That's not the way it works. What you get out of life is directly what you put into it. So if you think you can cut corners skip workouts and deny your body the fuel it needs think again! We've got work to do!!

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#475597 - 07/06/17 11:01 AM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: RC51]
Pat Williamson Offline


Registered: 08/08/14
Posts: 1987
Loc: Oakwood,Texas
Why not on the catfish....

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#475722 - 07/08/17 11:51 PM Re: Managing Crappie and LMB at the same time [Re: GatorAg]
james holt Offline
Lunker

Registered: 03/30/04
Posts: 1712
Loc: gainesville texas
when i stocked my pond I was told that catfish recruitment was very low and that the numbers could easily be controlled by fishing. That has not been the case for me and my pond. I have trapped them, had them taken out by large groups of kids. removed every fish caught and they are still the number one fish that shows up at the feeder. If you think crappie numbers are hard to control just try controlling catfish. They aren't a bad fish they just really do multiply and take over. as long as you are prepared for that then go ahead.

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