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#474426 - 06/19/17 01:29 AM SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG?
DisplacedGill Offline


Registered: 06/18/17
Posts: 16
Loc: Oklahoma by way of Missouri.
My dream would be a truly trophy BG pond, but it saddens me to think that I wouldn't be able to let any LMB grow past 14-16" due to their predation on the top bluegill. But what about SMB? A 16-18" SMB wouldn't prey on your largest bluegill, and a 20" SMB would be trophy enough for me. I feel like in this way, I would get my cake and eat it too, so to speak. Trophy BG and quality SMB.

So my question to you all is if SMB will keep a BG population in control if it is just those two species in the pond with additional forage for the BG like PK shrimp and the expected snails and insect larvae.
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#474510 - 06/20/17 08:51 AM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
Theo Gallus Offline
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Registered: 05/14/04
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I will give an answer so that it can be followed by three semi-contradictions, two outright contradictions, and one over-extended rehashing of what I state.

I have SMB in a pond with YP and about a million BGxRES hybrids (F1's, Fx's, and backcrosses with a resident RES population). The hybrids should be easier than straight BG for the bass to control - lower fecundity and easier to swallow (slightly more fusiform from the RES genes). The SMB in the pond range up to 20" in length, and I don't take out very many of them (maybe 1 a year that is over 17", perhaps a few 6" - 8" juveniles for transfer to another pond if I catch them). The SMB population is healthy and replenishing itself with no problems.

But the SMB do not do a great job of controlling the BGxRES. (I am sure they have an easier time swallowing, if not catching, YP.) I remove 400-500 hybrids every year by angling (it's a half acre pond) and over the last several years, the BGxRES population has pretty much stayed steady. (The YP population is steady or perhaps slightly increasing.)

Now, (thanks to feeding) I do have what could be considered to be a trophy BGxRES situation going on:


But I think given the higher fecundity of straight (not that there's anything wrong with that) BG, SMB alone will not provide sufficient predation to produce a trophy BG situation for you. You will probably need to assist the SMB in reducing BG numbers by heavy angling/seining and/or introducing a secondary predator (HSB might help out IF there is a large amount of open water for them to work in).

Let the games begin.
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#474518 - 06/20/17 11:18 AM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
sprkplug Offline
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Registered: 06/02/08
Posts: 6945
Loc: Freedom, Indiana
Agreed.
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"Forget pounds and ounces, I'm figuring displacement!"

If we accept that: MBG(+)FGSF(=)HBG(F1)
And we surmise that: BG(>)HBG(F1) while GSF(<)HBG(F1)
Would it hold true that: HBG(F1)(+)AM500(x)q.d.(=)1.5lbGRWT?
PB answer: It depends.

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#474524 - 06/20/17 12:11 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
Bill Cody Offline
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Registered: 04/18/02
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Loc: Northwest Ohio - Malinta OH
Agreed. Theo provided good information on this topic based on his good experiences with SMB - hybrid BGxRES. Maybe try and copy his pond stocking & management strategy; evidently it works darn good if followed closely. Those hybrid BGXRES are impressive coming from a small pond fishery.


Edited by Bill Cody (06/20/17 04:09 PM)
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#474533 - 06/20/17 01:42 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
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I agree and note in Theo's pond the YP will also work on reducing the small sunfish especially when it gets cool/cold.
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#474545 - 06/20/17 03:26 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
RC51 Offline
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Registered: 07/06/09
Posts: 4237
Loc: Arkansas

Theo,

Them are some fricken BULL BG's man!! What do you mean considered trophy... lol

Dam 12 inchers.... that's what I'm talking about!! Booyahh... Nice man Nice...

RC
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#474548 - 06/20/17 04:18 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
teehjaeh57 Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 7851
Loc: Lincoln, NE
My experience mirrors Theo's that SMB alone will not effectively manage BG populations. Additional pressure from predators such as YP, WE, and HSB have resulted in BG population management in my 2 ac fishery, but also required frequent trapping, angling, and cast netting in order to get my stunted BG population under control. Important to note my pond is also virtually devoid of structure - allowing HSB to feed in open water as their pelagic nature dictates. SMB could likely manage RES populations, and suspect HBG would also be easier to manage due to lower fecundity as well and could be worth a try if they are true F1 HBG where up to 97% are male.

If you want trophy BG/SMB fishery, I suggest stocking male only BG. I have a "trophy" sunfish pond dedicated to male only RES, HBG, and BG. It's doing well, but one must be absolutely certain when performing sex ID. I cage raise my BG until 5-6" and still triple check prior to stocking the top 5% [with help from Condello].

Theo, those BRES are amazing, well done! What a great fishery it turned out to be!


Edited by Bill Cody (06/20/17 10:46 PM)
Edit Reason: added color for emphasis
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#474573 - 06/20/17 10:42 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
DisplacedGill Offline


Registered: 06/18/17
Posts: 16
Loc: Oklahoma by way of Missouri.
Thank you all for your input! I sincerely appreciate the different opinions and insights.

Theo those are some monsters! That would be exactly what I'm looking for, some trophy panfish for the fun of angling but also for the pan!

I completely understand the thought process behind putting in hybrids or RES due to their lower reproductive rates, but if I went that route, I'd need to follow in the footsteps of some of the others here in raising small RES and training them to accept feed to supplement their diet and grow them bigger. I'm not against doing that but it would be an additional step in the process. But it would be a worthwhile one for sure.

Do RES grow as big as BG and are they as catchable? Seems I can't catch them as well as the bluegill on the family farm. And by that I mean I know they're there, and I hardly catch any but maybe that's the exception, not the rule.
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#474583 - 06/20/17 11:15 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: teehjaeh57]
Yolk Sac Offline

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Registered: 02/06/07
Posts: 1255
Loc: Nashville
Wow Theo, those are really beautiful. But tell the truth, your daughter has been sneaking you some proprietary info on domesticated Bluefins, right?

Originally Posted By: teehjaeh57
My experience mirrors Theo's that SMB alone will not effectively manage BG populations. Additional pressure from predators such as YP, WE, and HSB have resulted in BG population management in my 2 ac fishery, but also required frequent trapping, angling, and cast netting in order to get my stunted BG population under control. Important to note my pond is also virtually devoid of structure - allowing HSB to feed in open water as their pelagic nature dictates.
+2

3 acre pond with SMB, BG, RES, HSB YP and a pretty good smattering of WE, lots of rocks, humps and drop-offs for structure. I will probably remove close to 100# of BG this season, in stunt prevention efforts. Like TJ, I fish, trap, and net pretty constantly from early spring until the feeder goes off in November. This year I'm also stocking very heavily with spotfin shiners, in the hopes that they'll raid nests, and perhaps eat a lot of larval stage bluegills. Jury is out on that one, but I enjoy trapping and watching the shiners....some of my small SMB have learned that a fat guy with a white bucket means easy pickings and will come up to greet me when I do a shiner release.

I have a large population of SMB in the 16-22 inch range, and can say without equivocation that they just can't begin to hold the BG in check in my situation. With less cover, the combination of all these predators might have a better chance, but that would reduce some of my angling pleasure, which is the whole reason I'm doing this in the first place.
Please don't take this as an indictment of the idea....I love fishing for bluegills, and wouldn't change anything if I was doing it all over again, with one possible exception--I have always wondered if I established the SMB, HSB and WE first, then added a limited number of fair sized BG, if a different balance might have been achieved. This would be exactly the opposite of the usual "forage first" approach, but with this type of nonideal, rapidly producing forage, better control might be possible if the predators far outnumber the prey from the get go.


Edited by Yolk Sac (06/20/17 11:19 PM)

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#474589 - 06/21/17 01:31 AM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
teehjaeh57 Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 7851
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Great observations DR. D - I like the idea of establishing those predators first at least until age 2-3 then trying a limited stocking of adult BG. Maybe my next lifetime...
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#474592 - 06/21/17 07:35 AM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
NEDOC Offline
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Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 727
Loc: SC Nebraska
I'm 3 years into a SMB and RES only pond and love it. That may be worth looking into if you want trophy sunfish. Plenty of info on here about such.
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#474619 - 06/21/17 01:55 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
DisplacedGill Offline


Registered: 06/18/17
Posts: 16
Loc: Oklahoma by way of Missouri.
NEDOC, are your RES feed trained? How many #/acre of each species would you recommend yourself to take our per year?

Thanks in advance.
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#474623 - 06/21/17 02:26 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
NEDOC Offline
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Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 727
Loc: SC Nebraska
I have a .6 acre pond and put in 250 RES the first year and then 25 SMB the following year. My RES weren't feed trained, but were genetically selected from parents that took to feed. So that may have helped. With that said, they didn't seem interested in feed until I began throwing Optimal. They trained within a week!! On this past Monday night, I made 9 casts. I caught 8 RES between 10.25" and 10.75". Up here in Nebraska where we are on the northern range for RES, those were all Master Anglers. On the other cast I made I caught a plump 13" SMB.

Also of note, I stocked Fathead Minnows before I stocked RES. Without predation, they exploded in numbers. They are still present in HUGE numbers. Even with all of those FHM, my RES feed trained easily on Optimal. And recently I've added in Optimal Bass and my SMB have slowly began to feed train themselves.
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#474636 - 06/21/17 04:57 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19373
Loc: Miss.
Keep in mind the different locations of the posters in this thread. Location can makes a difference. The cooler the climate the higher the chance that BG will get out of control and stunt. That is why stocking recommendations (timing) for BG differ for northern ponds vs southern ponds.
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#474637 - 06/21/17 04:59 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
beastman Offline


Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 223
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
I have a 3/4 acre with HBG, SMB ( only 10 ), HSB, YP, RES. In the future I have thought about adding some adult BG to help with forage once the predators reach year 2-3. I did not do the traditional year of forage recruitment before adding my predators. All species have taken to pellets (except RES ) and I feed heavily at least once a day.

Angling pressure is also high , so helping to cull the BG should not be a problem if I go that route in the future.
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#474641 - 06/21/17 05:13 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: ewest]
NEDOC Offline
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Registered: 08/20/04
Posts: 727
Loc: SC Nebraska
Originally Posted By: ewest
The cooler the climate the higher the chance that BG will get out of control and stunt.


Interesting. I did not know that.

I wonder if having RES in a pond where they don't have to compete with BG for feed help them to feed train.

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#474642 - 06/21/17 05:25 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: ewest]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5580
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Originally Posted By: ewest
Keep in mind the different locations of the posters in this thread. Location can makes a difference. The cooler the climate the higher the chance that BG will get out of control and stunt. That is why stocking recommendations (timing) for BG differ for northern ponds vs southern ponds.


Ewest,

Why is that? Please expand on this when you get a chance.

I don't doubt what you say but think I'm missing a key piece of info to make it clear to me why that is the case.

I could argue that BG spawn more often in warm climates so there should be more BG produced per season than cool climates but then again I could also argue that predators have a longer growing season in the warmer climates and will eat more BG per season. confused
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#474650 - 06/21/17 09:44 PM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
Posts: 19373
Loc: Miss.
BG in the south and north produce about the same number of eggs/offspring just in a different manner. South more spawns less per spawn while north less spawns but more per spawn. LMB in the south almost always reproduce at 1 yr while up north usually at 2. One year less of predation up north can make a huge difference.

Here is info from Penn

Stocking bass-bluegill ponds
When small bass and bluegills of the same age were stocked simultaneously in Alabama, balanced populations always resulted. When this stocking strategy was followed in the North, the result nearly always was a stunted bluegill population and a bass population unable to spawn successfully. Research at Cornell University showed that to achieve successful bass-bluegill populations in northern states, the initial stocking must consist of bass that are at least 1 year older than the bluegills. This can be achieved by stocking yearling bass 1 year ahead of yearling bluegills or combining 2-year-old bass (over 6 inches) with yearling bluegills less than 2 inches long. Researchers currently believe that the proper number of fingerling fish to stock is 100 bass and 200 to 500 bluegills per surface acre. This stocking strategy has been shown to be successful in Pennsylvania ponds.


Edited by ewest (06/21/17 09:54 PM)
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#474670 - 06/22/17 09:36 AM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
Bill D. Offline


Registered: 10/19/14
Posts: 5580
Loc: Boone County Illinois
Thanks! That makes sense.
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#474677 - 06/22/17 11:18 AM Re: SMB and BG. A viable mixture for Trophy BG? [Re: DisplacedGill]
ewest Offline
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Registered: 03/08/05
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Bill D that was a very good question. I gave you some results but not a real good explanation of why that occurs. I will do some looking. I have some guesses but have not seen a scientific "why" in scientific journal/paper. My WAG would be some combination of climate and all its related functions (temp , photoperiod , adaptive genetics/evolution).
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